Jun. 18th, 2012

realmrsreynolds: (stop and smell the flowers)
"So Splinter says you were goin' to come see me at Cubefall. Why didn't you?"

It's abrupt, but Mal's always been used to his mother's questioning being just so. Especially when she explicitly goes through the trouble of leaving him a wave on Serenity instead of a note at the bar. It is ostensibly a dinner invitation though, and Mal's a sucker for food that looks like food.

"No ominous reason, Ma. I swear. My head was just elsewhere. I was out with Tequila and spent some time before goin' home. That's it."

"Well." Sallie's not sure what she expected. Not really. But, "I think I liked it better when I thought you were just busy." Instead of too distracted to say hello at your mother, she doesn't say.

But she doesn't really have to either.

"Duibuqi." It's soft but sincere. "Can I blame it on old habits?" An old line.

"What part exactly?"

That part is harder for Mal to actually answer. "Assumin' you have your own life. I think. There was Cubefall; the bar was bein'...itself. Maybe you would've been -- "

" -- too busy for you? Malcolm."

"It sounded smarter in my head."

Mother and son finish dinner fairly quietly, with more old habits in the form of Mal clearing the dishes and washing everything except for Sallie's pots. He never did wash them the way Sallie liked, and the remembrance of it makes Sallie smile.

When they settle into chairs in Sallie's living room, Mal opens his beer and adds, "Oh - did everythin' work out for Splinter?"

Sallie, due to many years of practice, does not sputter through a sip of her wine. "He chose to keep the human form. Much to my surprise, if I'm bein' completely honest about it all. He...um."

Um makes Mal's eyebrow raise and Sallie's smile is coming back to her.

"He and I...something. We went on a field trip to his New York." As if that explains everything going on here. (It doesn't.)

"So you're his reason."

"God I hope not! Not the only one, anyway. But -- " Sallie gnaws on her bottom lip slightly, wondering if this isn't too much. "I can't say I don't like being a reason someone does something, dong ma?"

Mal, for his part, takes another drag off his beer as he watches his mother nearly squirming in her seat. "It helps me that his sons are here. I do at least get that I don't need to be helped about all this, but it does. So that he's not like to leave like Joe did."

"Splinter's different."

"How?"

Wiser. Not looking for greener pastures. "He doesn't know how charming he is."


When Sallie closes the door after her son exits -- "'Nara and I'll have you over on Wednesday, if that's amenable?" -- she has laundry to put away before going to Shadow for the night. Her last dress is hung up in her closet; Sallie has to sit on the bed to reach under it for her shoes. The change in perspective puts a small framed picture directly into view - one of herself and Splinter in New York, with Splinter holding up two fingers behind her head with one of his nearly-stoic half-smiles.

Sallie only stops beaming at the picture when she lets out an entirely too girlish squeak, clamping her hand down tightly over her mouth as if anyone might actually hear her.

She can't believe herself. She can't believe this.

But she's not going to shy away from it. Not this time.

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Sallie Abigail Reynolds

May 2017

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