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Well, Remix names are up, so I can reveal that I wrote Home (Float On) for TaraLJC.

I'm sure you were all a-tingle with anticipation, and I guess what I can say about it is at least she liked it. *G*

On a similar note, I'm not posting that LJ popularity meme, because y'all are incredibly more popular than I.

Now: Fic.


Home (Float On)
By [livejournal.com profile] cherryice

Firefly, PG. Many thanks to [livejournal.com profile] thefourthvine, who pulled off an amazing last-minute beta. This is a remix of Tara LJC's Home.


Growing up, Malcolm Reynolds never had much use for the stars.



Home (Float On)
By Cherry Ice


Shadow wasn't any too different from every other border world. Of course, that wasn't something Malcolm Reynolds thought about much, growing up. He was a child like any other, all elbows and skinned knees, playing soldier in the fields with the boys from town and underfoot when his family's hired men drove the cattle.

The hired men taught him how to rope and ride, his mother taught him sums and how to shoot a gun. His father (the week before he set out for town and didn't come back) taught Mal the names of every constellation overhead in the summer sky, night air still carrying the heat of the day, dust on their skin and in their lungs.

You couldn't ride you couldn't go much anywhere. You couldn't do sums you didn't know if the dealers were shorting you. You couldn't shoot, you were like to lose cattle to coyotes or thieves. You didn't know the stars by name, well –

Well. Growing up, Malcolm Reynolds never had much use for the stars.

*

Zoe is from Nehemiah, which was one of the first things he learned about her. Not that she volunteered the information, because Zoe never was much one for personal talk, even before the war, before the things they saw and the things they did.

She was sitting beside the fire the first time he saw her, hands stretched out towards the flames. "Malcolm Reynolds," he said, dropping down in the dirt beside her. He was five months out of basic and she was greener still.

"Zoe," she said, looked at his proffered hand and then back at the fire.

"Nice to meet you, then," he said, and she inclined her head as he rose.

(He got the story out of O'Neil later that week. "A mite standoffish," Mal said, and O'Neil just shook his head.

"She was from Nehemiah," O'Neil said, flicking the shaving foam from his straight razor. "Working smuggling runs on a freighter when the bombing started.")

*

That first year out, Mal tried to get leave to head home every time their unit's CO was replaced with the next one in line who was still alive. Six lieutenants and two sergeants later he was still in the trenches, still breathing.

He stopped counting kills somewhere around lieutenant number three. (That particular lieutenant had a chip on his shoulder the size of Arial and died when he threw himself and his flack jacket on top of a live ordinance that found its way over the barricade.)

*

"Do you miss it?" he asked Zoe one night. "Home?"

"Not much point in missing things you can't have, sir," she said. They were on some backwater moon he didn't even know the name of, but the camp was the same as every camp they'd set. Trenches were trenches and tents were tents, and the only thing that ever changed was the stars and the faces buried in the makeshift cemetery out back.

"I suppose not," Mal said, staring up at stars he didn't recognize, and he started telling her a story about the Chen brothers, who'd worked on his mother's ranch for as many years as he could remember. This was their routine – him telling stories in the dark and watching the stars, Zoe a solid presence at his side.

He was half way through the story before he realized he'd told it to her before. She was sitting close enough for him to touch, if either of them were the touching sort. There was a chill in the air and dust tickling the back of his throat and he swallowed. "Anyway," he said, cutting himself short. Tried to think of another one to tell, but the Chen brothers had been knifed in a bar fight four months before he left Shadow.

*

Year two, they hit a lull in the fighting. Their CO offered a bit of leave and Mal stayed planetside with Zoe, O'Neil and crazy Kate. They got in four brawls, accidentally started one fire, and drank two pubs dry.

During that leave, Mal dreamed of the ranch. The door was unlatched, swinging back and forth in the breeze, and there was a fine layer of red dust on every surface. His mother was sitting on the bed she'd died in four years past, the bed she'd slept alone in since Charlie Reynolds set off walking, and her eyes were not unkind. "Home is not a place," she told him.

The bedspread beneath her was faded by time and sun, and the stars outside the window were completely unfamiliar.

*

New Kasmir is where he made Sergeant. Their latest took a few rounds to the belly and bled out on the battlefield, and Mal didn't even realize he was up until Zoe brought him Fenwick's stripes. He looked around when she handed them to him, like he was expecting to see Kate or O'Neil, and all he saw was a sea of faces he didn't recognize. They were green and scared and scarred in the snow drifting down around them.

"Don't you lot have something better to do?" he snapped, because he knew exactly how many of them would survive long enough for him to know them.

New Kasmir hadn't taken too well to the terraforming -- snow year-round and the mix of gases in the air not quite right. Frostbite and hypothermia and hypoxia, but if you bundled up right and you kept your head it was something approaching fine.

(It will be one of his strongest memories of the war: sitting beside a fire with Zoe, snow dusting her hair and tapping at the tin roof that partially covered the trench. They shared a blanket for warmth, ratty grey wool. He didn't talk about Shadow at all.)

*

Serenity was cold the first time he set foot in her, a stillness in the air that told him she'd been too long alone. The salesman behind him was extolling the virtues of the other ships in the compound. When he stepped into her engine room and laid a hand on her stilled heart, the sense of promise was almost more than he could bear. She belonged in the black, this girl, not millions of miles from the stars with dirt brushing her hull.

"I'll take her," he said, hand resting possessively on the turbine while the salesman sputtered.

*

There was an evening (an evening like a hundred other evenings, or afternoons, or mornings) where Mal walked into the dining area, and Jayne was sitting at the table and cleaning his guns. Kaylee had the most stable of their mismatched chairs dragged to the side and was balanced precariously on it, painting flowers across one pale yellow wall. Wash was draped across the couch, head in Zoe's lap and breathing even.

He could taste dust at the back of his throat, suddenly, and he turned his head away. Zoe was looking at him and he wondered if she could feel snow against her skin, smell smoke.

"Not much point," she said, "in missing the things you already have."

"No point at all," he said, a dryness in his throat, and when he closed his eyes he thought he could name the stars.

(no subject)

Date: 2006-04-03 01:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cgilmore.livejournal.com
*blink*

Sometimes I forget just how small fandom really is. Even with me just sitting on the outer fringes, you'd think I'd be more aware of it. Instead, something sneaks up on me once in a while and bludgeons me over the head with that fact. Ah well.

You did a lovely job with the remix. Bravo!

(no subject)

Date: 2006-04-06 03:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cherryice.livejournal.com
I'm going to take it you saw this on the Remix site? *G*

I'm glad you liked it, hon.

(It's also nice to see that you're still holding the hoardes of ravenous penguins at bay.)

(no subject)

Date: 2006-04-03 02:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] farwing.livejournal.com
This is beautiful.

(no subject)

Date: 2006-04-06 03:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cherryice.livejournal.com
Thank you. *G*

(no subject)

Date: 2006-04-03 07:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ex-thissuga.livejournal.com
aaaaahh! aaaaahh!!!

so, okay, if you might not have heard I am flying to toronto to move there in ten hours but I had to make time to read this because I knew how great it was going to be, you writing mal? AND I WAS SO RIGHT. :D

(no subject)

Date: 2006-04-06 03:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cherryice.livejournal.com
Hee! You're such a doll, thank you.

(And I know we already had this convo, but I do not know how I missed you planning to move. I am sorry. :( Hope your trip went well! I can't figure out if Toronto is the promised land of beer and honey, or if there's just some sort of attractive force caused by the massing of ficcers.)

(no subject)

Date: 2006-04-03 12:13 pm (UTC)
ext_3673: Manny, from black books (Default)
From: [identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/_bounce_/
That was so good.

(no subject)

Date: 2006-04-06 03:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cherryice.livejournal.com
Thank you, hon.

(no subject)

Date: 2006-04-29 05:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] erinya.livejournal.com
Oh, lovely. Lovely lovely lovely.

*inarticulate admiration*

(no subject)

Date: 2006-04-29 11:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cherryice.livejournal.com
Thank you, and thank you for reading. *G*

(no subject)

Date: 2006-04-29 06:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] reve-lucide.livejournal.com
Fabulous, schmabulous.

OMG, I love Tara's writing and I love yours.

Remix indeed.

(no subject)

Date: 2006-04-30 05:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cherryice.livejournal.com
Oh, thank you. I'm glad you liked it.

(no subject)

Date: 2006-04-29 03:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rinalin.livejournal.com
Here on [livejournal.com profile] ishie's rec.

And...I'm just, floored. That was a beautiful rendition. The flashes to Mal's military background, and then at the end. *heart*

Kaylee, and Jayne and Wash and Zoe... she's still there. And he doesn't have to say a word for her to know what he's feeling at that moment.

The last line is GORGEOUS.

(no subject)

Date: 2006-04-30 05:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cherryice.livejournal.com
Thank you ever so much. As much as a love the whole-crew dynamics, I've always had a special fondness for Mal and Zoe, because their relationship is just so wonderfully layered.

(no subject)

Date: 2006-04-30 06:36 am (UTC)
ext_18428: (you and i)
From: [identity profile] rivendellrose.livejournal.com
Oh, wow - that was really beautiful. I love how you cut the different moments together, and how they came together to make something so true to the characters. Lovely work.

(no subject)

Date: 2006-04-30 05:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cherryice.livejournal.com
Thank you for reading. *G* I'm glad you liked it.

(no subject)

Date: 2006-12-22 11:44 pm (UTC)
ext_2721: original art by james jean (jamesjean.com) (Default)
From: [identity profile] skywardprodigal.livejournal.com
That's gorgeous. May I archive?

(no subject)

Date: 2006-12-27 09:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cherryice.livejournal.com
Oh, thank you. Of course you may.

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