BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

JANE0904

Blues and Greys
Saturday, September 30, 2006

Follows on in my Mal/Freya series from Resolution and Slaves. What is Inara mixed up in? Feedback, please, as I'm not sure I got this one quite right ...


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 2162    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

Simon had been very firm: she had to go for a long walk at least once a day, twice if she could manage it. He was still medicating her for the effects of the Naxom, but he insisted the exercise would help eliminate the cravings. He was right, as usual, and in fact she had begun to look forward to them.

Mal had been very supportive, making sure that they were within easy reach of planetfall most days, even if it meant turning down jobs, and she really appreciated it. He asked her occasionally how she felt, mostly at night when he was getting undressed, as if he was afraid his sexual advances would be unwelcome. In fact it was just the opposite. In the throes of passion, on the crest of orgasm, she was at her freest, the need for the drug at its lowest, and every time they made love it was a little better afterwards, a little less pain.

Simon had been perfectly clear. “Naxom is highly addictive. When it is used it’s under strict supervision, and never for more than thirty six hours. They gave you large doses, Freya, over several days. It can take as little as one dose for the body to suffer withdrawal symptoms, so you’re lucky. Your system is strong, and you’re throwing it off faster than I would have imagined. But don’t try and force it. Take things easy, dong mah?”

She understood, and the only help she took, apart from Simon’s little grey pills, was the pleasure of Mal in bed and his making her feel whole and complete once more. Oh, and the walks.

She rounded the corner of an old Hyperion, no longer spaceworthy from the gaping holes in its hull, and saw Serenity sitting in her berth. As usual the sight of the Firefly lifted her spirits and she smiled. She walked up the cargo bay ramp and stepped inside.

Jayne was just putting his weights back on their stand. “Good walk?” he asked, glancing at her.

“Shiny,” she said, heading for the stairs.

“Wanna do a set?” he asked. “I’ll spotcha.”

She was surprised – he’d never offered before. “Maybe later,” she said. “Got some stuff Inara asked me to pick up whilst I was out.” She held up the small bag she carried. “But thanks.”

“No problem,” he said, shrugging. “Just let me know.”

She smiled at him and headed towards shuttle one. The door was open and she stepped inside, about to call out, when she realised Inara was on the Cortex.

“I told you I would. Now just leave me alone.” The Companion’s voice was strained.

“You know what’ll happen if you don’t.” A man’s voice, slightly tinny from the connection, but threatening.

“I am perfectly aware of the arrangement. And I will fulfil my side of the bargain. You just keep to yours.” The connection broke but Inara stayed staring at the blank screen.

“What’s going on?” Freya asked, moving into the doorway.

Inara jumped. “Freya! Were you … did you –“

“Hear? Some of it.” She stared at the Companion. “What, were they the ones that took me?”

Inara shook her head. “I don’t –“

Freya interrupted, her voice low, steely. “They thought I was you, Inara. Did you hand me to them? Is this what you meant by dealing with me?”

“It isn’t like that!” Inara stood up, her face white.

Freya took a deep breath, wishing she could read Inara right now. That the Naxom hadn’t taken her skills, hadn’t left her deaf and blind to the thoughts of others … “How can I know that?” she asked.

“Because I’m telling you the truth!”

“And I should just believe you?” She leaned closer. “They used drugs on me that … I can still feel them, Inara. Still taste them.”

“It wasn’t me!” Inara cried, moving past her to sit down on the sofa before she fell down. “I haven’t stopped thinking about it,” she admitted. “As soon as you said they thought you were me, I’ve been thinking about it. I haven’t been able to sleep …”

“So you don’t know who it was?”

“Freya, I’d tell you if I did.” Inara looked up, her dark eyes sincere.

“Then tell me what the di yu is going on.” She sat down next to the Companion. “Is it those men in the grey suits?”

Inara nodded. “They … came back.”

“Why didn’t you tell anyone?”

“Because it isn’t anyone else’s business but my own!” Inara said with a trace of asperity.

“What have you gotten yourself involved in?” Freya asked gently. “What information is it that they want?”

“Not … not information. Something else.” Inara looked down at her hands, idly noting a chip in her nail polish.

“So you lied to me.”

“I didn’t lie! I … just … neglected to tell the whole truth.”

“I don’t appreciate people who play with words, Inara.”

“And I don’t appreciate people telling me what to do!” She stood up again. “Please leave.”

“You telling me to go?” Freya asked.

“It’s my shuttle.”

“It’s Mal’s shuttle, you rent it.” Freya leaned back, putting one booted foot across her knee. “I ain't going anywhere, Inara. You need to talk, and I’m going to listen.”

Inara stared at her, then suddenly turned to a cupboard, flinging the doors open. She took a small bottle from inside. “Do you know what this is?” she asked, holding it up so the light filtered through the green glass.

“I'm presuming it isn’t perfume.”

“No. It’s poison.”

“Poison?” Freya repeated, her foot sliding to the floor. She sat forward. “Who for, Inara?”

“At the moment, I’m seriously considering taking it myself,” Inara said, a bitter smile on her lips.

“Inara –“

“Oh, I won’t. I've never been – anyway, I won’t.”

“Then who is it for?”

“Lao Chi.”

Freya just looked at her. “Sorry, is that supposed to mean something?” she asked.

“I thought you might have heard of him.” Inara sat down again, the bottle in her hand. “He’s very rich, owns several moons in the Georgia system.”

“So … what? You were going to poison him?”

“That was the plan.”

Freya stared at her. “Why?”

“Because otherwise they’d kill Mal!”

“Who? The grey suits?”

“You don’t know them, Freya. The man they work for has contacts everywhere, he can get to anyone. No-one is safe, not even out here in the black.”

“Who?”

“I don’t know his name. Not his real name, anyway. But … everyone calls him Midas.”

Freya’s jaw dropped. “Midas? Run-tse duh fwo-tzoo, Inara …”

“Now can you see why I couldn’t tell you?”

“Not really.” Freya took a deep breath. “So his men have told you to kill this Lao Chi? Is he a client of yours?”

Inara nodded. “He lives on Bellerophon. All that state of the art security, they know no-one else is going to be able to get through.”

“Why do they want him dead?”

“I don’t know – they wouldn’t tell me.”

“How much of this did you know before?” Freya asked, a nasty suspicion brewing in her mind. “When I found them with you?”

Inara had the grace to look ashamed. “Most of it,” she said.

“So you lied to me about that too.”

A wave of anger coursed through Inara’s bones. “Of course I did. Did you really think I was going to tell you the truth?”

“You could have trusted me!”

“I didn’t know you.”

“And now?”

“Oh, Freya, you have to leave it!”

“I got sold, Inara! Because they thought I was you!”

“I know.” Inara was white-faced. “Please, Freya.”

“Why shouldn’t I just go tell Mal? Let him deal with this?”

“Freya, you can’t tell him. Please,” she pleaded.

“What’s goin’ on in there?” Jayne asked, peering under the hanging. “Heard shouting. You gonna fight? ‘Cause I’ll take twenty on Freya any day.”

“No, no fighting.” Freya glanced at him. “But do me a favour, will you? Call everyone together in the kitchen? Inara needs to say something to them.”

“Freya –“ Inara began but the other woman stilled her with a look.

“We can’t deal with this by ourselves, Inara,” she said. “Come on. Best get this over with and let Mal get to the planning.” She smiled a little. “With appropriate interruptions and suggestions from the rest of us.”

---

“She’s right, ‘Nara,” Mal said. “Soon as they approached you, you should have told us. We could have been to dealing with it before.” He looked over at Freya, his blue eyes disapproving. “But that don’t make it right that you didn’t tell me what had happened. What your suspicions were.”

Freya shrugged. “It was nothing concrete, Mal. And I never read my friends.”

“Yeah, well, we need to make some plans.” He pulled his chair out and sat down. “I’ve heard of Lao Chi, even if the rest of you haven’t. He’s powerful, so it’s not surprising he has enemies. But this smacks of something more.” He looked at Inara. “What’s he up to at the moment?”

The Companion shook her head. “I don’t know. We never talk business, Mal, he doesn’t like to. Some men, well, they want to talk about things like that, but Chi is more … we hardly ever say a word.”

Mal nodded, ignoring the sudden mental image of Inara silently servicing another man. “Well, that don’t help us any.”

“I might be able to,” Simon put in unexpectedly.

“Doc?” Mal turned to him in surprise. “You have something you want to contribute to this discussion?”

“I've heard of Lao Chi. My father used to talk about him. As you say, rich and powerful. And a stabilising influence.”

“What?” Jayne asked, leaning back in his chair. “Stabilisin’ on what?”

“On the sector. He owns a lot of real estate, several moons … he’s kept them from going under more than once. But he has a lot of family, all waiting in the wings to pick his bones. If he were killed, right now, it could throw the entire area into confusion.”

“Then the Alliance’d have to come and sort it out,” Mal mused. “Could be just the catalyst to start another war.”

“Do you really think so?” Inara asked, her face pale.

“Wouldn’t take much,” Zoe said. “A little push in the right direction and the Government could take it as the opportunity they needed.”

“Civilise us into dust,” Simon murmured, as if quoting something he’d heard.

“And it ain't like last time,” Mal said firmly. “They’ve made sure of that. Last time they didn’t have their cruisers patrolling this far out, so people could mobilise. It ain't exactly a free sky anymore.”

“Do you think that’s what all this is about? Destabilise the region and …” Freya shook her head. “Midas wouldn’t get involved in that. He’s all about profit.”

“Nothing makes money for some like a war, Freya,” Zoe said.

“All fall down,” River agreed.

Mal glanced at her but forbore to comment. Instead he looked at Inara. “And you’re sure they weren't the same ones took Freya?”

“I don’t see how it can be. Why would they go to all this trouble to get me to … to get me involved, and then have someone kidnap me?”

“’Nara’s right,” Freya said, unconsciously using her pet name. “It doesn’t make sense.”

“Then we need it to make sense.” He blew out a deep breath through his teeth. “Set course for Bellerophon, Frey. We got a man to see.”

---

“Inara!” Lao Chi, a man in his fifties, tall and thin, stepped forward, his hands out. “How good to see you again! I had no idea you would be in the area until next week, but this is an unexpected and fortuitous surprise.”

Mal, standing behind her in a loose-cut servant’s uniform, thought to himself that this man might not talk much while being serviced, but he certainly was voluble beforehand.

“Chi.” Inara leaned in and kissed the older man on the cheek. “We were passing, and I thought I should take the opportunity to see you.” She smiled at him, no sign of the inner turmoil that was making her stomach knot.

“And this is …?” Lao Chi looked Mal up and down.

“My indentured man,” Inara explained. “Lately it has been necessary to have some form of bodyguard with me.”

“Really?” Lao Chi was surprised. “I thought the Guild took care of all that sort of thing.”

“In the Houses, maybe. But out here, well, it’s not a good thing to be unprepared.”

“That it isn’t.” He stepped to one side. “Shall we go through? I have a light supper ready. If you’re hungry?”

Inara smiled. “Of course.” She allowed Lao Chi to lead her into the interior of the house, Mal following closely.

“Is he going to be with us the whole time?” her client asked, lowering his voice a little.

“Not the whole time,” Inara assured him.

At the doors to the sun room, Lao Chi turned to his own servants. “That will be all. I will ring when I need you.” They bowed deeply and disappeared.

Inara walked into the bright room, clapping her hands in delight. “Chi, you’ve had it redecorated!” she said.

“As you suggested, my dear. And you were quite right – this colour is so much better.”

Mal closed the doors behind him.

“It is lovely,” Inara agreed.

“Now, how about some food?” Lao Chi suggested, bending over the table.

“Not sure anyone’s hungry,” Mal said, stepping forward.

Lao Chi stood upright, only a slight tightening of the skin around his eyes to indicate any fear. “I only need to call. You will be dead before you leave this room.”

“Ain't here to kill you,” Mal assured him. “Pretty much exactly the opposite.” He looked at the older man, noting the concern mixed with anger in his almond eyes. “But someone does want you dead.”

“Me? Why?”

“Kinda hoped you’d be able to tell us that. Who would your death benefit?” Mal asked, undoing and dropping the servant’s coat onto the floor, revealing the gun strapped to his hip.

“Who wouldn’t it?” Lao Chi asked, his eyes not moving from Inara.

“Chi, please,” she said. “There’s so much that you don’t know about. Please tell him.”

“There are a number of people who would … is that what you came here to do, my dear? Assassinate me?”

“That was the plan,” Mal put in. “Man called Midas blackmailed the Companion here into giving you this.” He took a small bottle from his pocket, green fire glinting in the sunlight. “Poison, almost untraceable, according to our medic. All the symptoms of a heart attack.”

“Midas? That ape?” Lao Chi laughed, a most unexpected sound. “Then he’s a fool.”

“Perhaps. But why would he want you six feet under?”

“Ashes, rather,” Lao Chi corrected. “My end will be a funeral pyre.”

“It’ll be coming quicker than you think unless you explain,” Mal said, his temper growing short. “Does he want a war?”

Lao Chi was surprised. At first glance this man appeared uncultured, almost unintelligent, yet under that hard exterior perhaps there was … “Yes,” he said shortly. “But only in as much as he can make money from selling goods to all sides. Arms, food, ships … he’s like his namesake. Only he’s willing to slaughter worlds to turn everything to gold.”

“Then who’s trying to stop him?” Inara asked suddenly. She had been thinking long and hard about this, and as much as she believed in many things, coincidence wasn’t generally one of them. “Someone tried to have me kidnapped, sold to slavers.”

“My dear,” Lao Chi said, his tone sympathetic. “I had no idea.”

“But I'm beginning to believe it was because of this. Because of you.”

Lao Chi shrugged. “It is possible. Midas has one enemy who will do anything to stop him. Even deal with slavers.” He spoke with distaste.

“Who was it, Chi?”

“Dominic Vine.”

Inara looked in horror at Mal, whose face was set and stony. “No, he wouldn’t … not to Freya …”

“They thought it was you, ‘Nara,” Mal said quietly, more anger in his voice than if he’d shouted at the top of his lungs.

“But I thought he was Freya’s friend.”

“No, she never said that.”

“Are you going to tell her?”

Mal nodded slowly.

“So what now?” Lao Chi asked, looking from one to the other.

“We were followed,” Mal said, and the older man jolted. “I wouldn’t be surprised if it wasn’t those men in the grey suits, come to make sure Inara completed her end of the deal.”

“And their end?”

“Not to kill me.” Mal shrugged. “I can take care of myself, but I ain't letting Inara assassinate anyone.”

“I'm rather glad of that,” Lao Chi said.

“But I’m thinking that maybe we’ll have to do exactly that.”

The older man looked at this tall stranger with the piercing blue eyes rather doubtfully.

---

Lao Chi leaned on the railing of the verandah to the sun room, looking out into the gardens below. “How long do I have to stand here?” he asked, his lips barely moving.

“Our doc says it takes around ten minutes to work,” Mal said from behind him. “Be right about now.”

Lao Chi grasped his arm, working his mouth, then grimaced, sliding into a sitting position on the floor.

“’Nara,” Mal prompted.

The Companion rushed to the prone man, her loose hair catching the breeze. “Chi!” she shouted, pulling him into the room.

Mal, in the darkness just inside, muttered, “Here they come.”

Two figures in grey scurried up the trellis, dropping silently over the railing and stepping into the room. They moved forward, towards the man on the floor and the Companion at his side.

“Impressive,” the older one said.

Inara looked up, her face frightened. “What … what are you doing here? I did what you wanted.”

“Is he dead?”

“Dying,” Inara corrected. “He’s unconscious.”

The younger man drew his gun from under his jacket. “Good.”

“What … what are you doing?” Inara asked, sitting back on the floor.

“Slight change of plan,” the older man said. “You’re coming with us. Can’t leave someone around as might talk, so we’ve got a nice long drop planned for you, into the sea.”

“No-one’s going anywhere,” Mal said, stepping forward, his gun ready. He was surprised, then, when the older man exhibited an amazing turn of speed, spinning on his heel and catching Mal’s gunhand with his foot. Mal’s pistol went flying out of his fingers to skitter across the floor and he muttered, “Shen gai si!” He struggled to keep his balance and threw a punch with his left, trying to shake some feeling back into his right, but the man in grey dodged, burying his own fist deep in Mal’s solar plexus. All the air whooshed out of his lungs and he felt like he was drowning.

Inara, in the meantime, had swung her legs around and caught the younger man behind the knees, bringing him down with a crash to the marble flagstones where she kicked him with her heel behind the ear.

Mal opened streaming eyes in time to see the older man draw his weapon, and realised there was nothing he could – a small explosion and the smell of gunpowder filled the room. The grey suit crumpled, blood staining his back.

Lao Chi sat up, the small pistol in his hand. He turned to Inara. “Are you all right, my dear?”

“Is SHE all right?” Mal managed to say, trying to stand upright.

“I'm fine, Chi.”

He got to his knees and examined the younger grey suit lying very still. Too still. “Well, you haven’t lost your touch,” he added. “This one’s dead too.”

“Good,” Inara said, getting to her feet and crossing to Mal. “Are you okay?”

“Shiny,” Mal ground out, finally getting air deeper than a couple of inches into his chest. “You killed him?”

Inara glanced at the body. “It seems like it.”

They became aware of banging on the doors, and suddenly half a dozen servants burst in, bristling with weapons.

“It’s all right,” Lao Chi said quickly. “But you can … dispose of these.” He touched one of the bodies with a slippered foot.

His men hurried past Mal and Inara, taking the bodies out with no sign of distaste, as if they did it every day of the week.

“What’re you gonna do with them?” Mal asked.

“Drop them off the edge. Poetic justice, wouldn’t you say?” Lao Chi asked, glancing at Inara.

“That I would,” Mal agreed. “That I would.”

---

Greenleaf’s main town had delusions of grandeur, as befitting one of the few border moons that had strong ties with the Alliance. Several tall buildings surrounded the main plaza, and on the eighth floor of the tallest Dominic Vine entered his office, hurrying to the vid screen set into the wall. He activated it and a man appeared.

“Well?” Vine asked.

“There’s no sign of them, sir. But I think we can assume that they were unsuccessful.”

Vine sighed. “I think we can.” He shook his head. “Make the usual arrangements, and let me know if you hear anything further.”

“Yes, sir,” his employee said, and the vid switched off.

Vine smoothed his black hair and turned back into the room. “Tzao gao!” he said loudly. “How the hell did you get in?”

Freya was sitting in the chair by the door, her legs crossed, her hands lightly clasped in her lap. “Dominic, you know me. I’ve been getting into places for a long while now.”

“That you have,” Vine said, letting his heart rate return to normal. “And what brings you here?”

“Lao Chi is still alive,” Freya said.

“Really? And that matters to me … how?”

“You arranged the kidnapping, didn’t you? Told them to take me to the slavers.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, Freya,” Vine said, taking a seat in front of his desk.

“I think you do. Mal and Inara had a long chat with Lao Chi, about how Midas’ only enemy was Dominic Vine. The only one who would try and stop him.” She leaned forward. “And you did try, didn’t you?”

Vine looked at her, calculating, then nodded. “It was the only way.”

“Slavers, Dominic?”

Vine shook his head. “Not you, Freya. I wouldn’t do that to you.”

“Nope, I figured it was a mistake. A bad mistake, Dominic. But you didn’t care if they did it to Inara.”

“I don’t know her,” he admitted. “So Lao Chi is alive. And who do I have to thank for that?”

“The crew of Serenity.”

“Then I thank all of you.” He smiled. “Midas won’t try this sort of thing again. At least for a while.” He looked across at the small bar. “Would you like a drink?”

“I’ll get it,” Freya said, standing and crossing the room.

“Of course.” He went on, “And your captain’s safe. Midas doesn’t tend to take revenge on people who get the better of him. At least, not right away. Best you tell him to sleep with one eye open, though.”

“I’ll do that,” Freya said, bringing him a glass of red wine. She retreated to her former position just inside the door.

“Don’t you want one?” he asked, noting she had no drink.

“Maybe later.” She looked at him. “So what was the reasoning behind all this?” she asked.

“He wanted to start a war. I don’t. At least, not yet.” He sipped from the glass.

“Why not?”

“Because we’re not ready.”

“Who are ‘we’?”

“The Independents.”

Freya raised her eyebrows at him. “Are you saying you –“

“Not your kind,” Dominic said quickly. “Not the little people who fought for their worlds, to try and make a difference, but those people behind, with the money, the ones who can make it happen.”

“You’re crazy. If there was such a thing, we’d’ve heard about it.”

“You didn’t before.”

Freya stared at him. Could he be telling the truth? Were there people out there manipulating good honest men and women? She almost laughed. Sure there were. Just mostly folks called them the Alliance. So why not the other side too?

“Midas and I … we dance about each other,” Dominic admitted. “Strangely enough we both want the same thing, but he’s coming at it from an entirely different angle.”

“Which is?”

“Independence for the outer worlds. But he wants to make a profit from it.”

“So you arranged for Inara to be taken, so she couldn’t get to Lao Chi.”

Dominic shrugged. “He’s pretty much a recluse, and she’s the only Companion he ever contracts with.” He took another drink, savouring the taste. “If she wasn’t available, they couldn’t get to him. Or at least, not so easily.”

“It must have been a shock when you found out it wasn't Inara they took.” Freya’s eyes were cold, like dark matter.

“Those chun huo couldn’t find their arses with both hands,” Dominic said. “I told them to wait, until they were sure, but my description must have been too vague. A beautiful woman in expensive clothes … I never dreamed they’d think it was you.”

“No, not beautiful.”

“I didn’t mean that.” Dominic leaned forward. “Freya, we’ve always been civilised over this. Haven’t we?” She stared at him. “Since the day we didn’t kill each other.”

“I’m thinking I made a mistake.” She drew her gun. “You’re lying. You’re Midas.”

“What?” Vine’s jaw dropped. “You think I’m that idiot?”

“Don’t lie to me, Dominic. I hate it when people do that.”

“But he’s my enemy, Freya. Everyone knows that.”

“What better way of hiding than in plain sight?”

“That doesn’t make sense.”

“No-one’s ever seen Midas.”

“And that’s your proof?” Vine laughed. “Hardly enough to stand up in a court of law.” He nodded to her gun. “Why don’t you put that thing away and sit down?”

“If people think Midas is your enemy, they don’t bother going after you, is that it? So you’re safer.” Her hand didn’t move. “Just admit it, Dominic.”

They gazed at each other for a long moment, then Midas sighed. “You knew when you came in, didn’t you?”

“I had a good idea,” Freya confirmed.

“And you let me talk?”

“Talk’s cheap. And it didn’t hurt none to hear you convict yourself. You knew far too much about Midas, his operation.”

“So you guessed.”

“I figured it out. You didn’t ask.”

“What?”

“You didn’t ask about Midas. How he was involved. You knew.”

“Ah. I didn’t, did I? That was a bad mistake. I shall have to be more careful in the future.” He raised the glass. “And thank you for bringing that to my attention.”

“So, which is it? You want a war to make a profit, or you don’t because you’re not ready?” Freya asked.

Vine shrugged. “Either. Both. Depending on your point of view, really. It doesn’t matter - I make money both ways.” He looked into her dark eyes. “If there’s a war people need guns, ships, which they buy from Midas. If there isn’t, well, people still live in fear of one, and I sell the same things to them as Dominic Vine, at the same time getting a reputation for being reluctant to do so. It’s business, Freya.”

“Business? You profit from the pain of others. And all that niou-fun about being an Independent … was that just a load of crap?”

“I suggest you don’t judge my morals, dear Freya. Your own aren’t so clean.”

“I never suggested they were,” Freya said coldly, and a little ice water ran down the back of Vine’s neck.

“So now what?” he asked, finishing the glass of wine. “Are you going to kill me now?” He waved a hand. “There are guards throughout the building. Do you think you can shoot me and get away from here?”

She shook her head. “No. And I don’t intend to.” She slowly reholstered her gun.

“That’s it?” he was surprised.

“It’s over,” Freya said, turning to the door. “Goodbye, Dominic.” She stepped out and closed it behind her.

Dominic Vine sat back in his chair, his grey eyes staring at the wood for a good long while. Then he stood up, going to the window, looking out. Down in the plaza he could see Freya, staring up at the building. She must have been able to see him, because she reached slowly into her pocket, taking something from it, holding it up so the light caught it. It flashed green fire. For a moment she just stood, then opened her fingers and dropped it so that it smashed into sharp fragments on the flagstones.

Dominic, his brow furrowed in puzzlement, watched her turn, and, without a backward glance, walk away. Slowly he went back to his chair, feeling a tightness across his chest, an ache beginning in his left arm. His gaze travelled to the wine glass on the table …

---

Mal didn’t ask. He didn’t need to know what she’d done, only that Vine wouldn’t be bothering them again. He held her close, listening to the sound of her breathing slow to the measured tone of one asleep. He glanced down at her, her long lashes fluttering briefly against her cheek as she dreamed. Good dream, he hoped, not full of men in grey suits.

They’d be back one day, he knew. Oh, not those particular ones – they were providing a feast for the sharks about now, but ones like them. Midas might be gone, but they had enemies aplenty with long memories, and the ‘verse was only so big. Well, come the day they were remembered, his crew would be ready.

COMMENTS

Sunday, October 1, 2006 1:45 AM

AMDOBELL


Absolutely brilliant! I not only loved the pace of the entire story but the way you wrapped it all up in one hit, very satisfying. And Dominic Vine dying by the same means he had intended to have kill Lao Chi, I love the justice of it. Has a kind'a poetry to it. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Sunday, October 1, 2006 3:53 AM

TAMSIBLING


Really digging these one-offs and I'm still really liking Freya. She has got some cajones, and I like the fact that she can make Inara realize how stupid or selfish she's being. I would always think it would have to be another woman to get through to Inara and make her realize she doesn't have to be alone!

Monday, October 1, 2007 6:56 AM

LADYSAGE


I wasn't sure about Freya as a character at first -- partially because she's SO much like Mal and also because of her on-off animosity with Inara. However, the middle-to-end of this story really brought her into focus as a person for me. I'm looking forward to reading more with her.

:-)


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[Maya. Post-BDM. The end of the story, and the beginning of the last ...]


Monied Individual - Part XX
Mal took a deep breath, allowing it out slowly through his nostrils, and now his next words were the honest truth. “Ain’t surprised. No matter how good you are, and I’m not complaining, I’ve seen enough battle wounds, had to help out at the odd amputation on occasion. And I don’t have to be a doc myself to tell his leg ain’t quite the colour it should be, even taking into account his usual pasty complexion. What you did … didn’t work, did it?”
[Maya. Post-BDM. Simon has no choice, and Luke comes around.]


Monied Individual - Part XIX
“His name’s Jayne?”

“What’s wrong with that?” the ex-mercenary demanded from the doorway.

“Nothing, nothing! I just … I don’t think I’ve ever met a man … anyone else by that name.”

“Yeah, he’s a mystery to all of us,” Mal said. “Even his wife.”

[Maya. Post-BDM. Hank's not out of the woods yet, and Mal has a conversation. Enjoy!]


Monied Individual - Part XVIII
Jayne had told him a story once, about being on the hunt for someone who owed him something or other. He’d waited for his target for three hours in four inches of slush as the temperature dropped, and had grinned when he’d admitted to Hank that he’d had to break his feet free from the ice when he’d finished.
[Maya. Post-BDM. The Fosters show their true colours, Jayne attempts a rescue, and the others may be too late.]


Snow at Christmas
She’d seen his memories of his Ma, the Christmases when he was a boy on Shadow, even a faint echo of one before his Pa died, all still there, not diminished by his burning, glowing celebrations of now with Freya.

[Maya. Post-BDM. A seasonal one-off - enjoy!]


Monied Individual - Part XVII
Jayne hadn’t waited, but planted a foot by the lock. The door was old, the wood solid, but little could stand against a determined Cobb boot with his full weight behind it. It burst open.


[Maya. Post-BDM. The search for Hank continues. Read, enjoy, review!]


Monied Individual - Part XVI
He slammed the door behind him, making the plates rattle on the sideboard. “It’s okay, girl, I ain't gonna hurt you.” The cook, as tradition dictated, plump and rosy cheeked with her arms covered to the elbows in flour, but with a gypsy voluptuousness, picked up a rolling pin.

[Maya. Post-BDM. Kaylee finds the problem with Serenity, and Jayne starts his quest. Read, enjoy, review!]



Monied Individual - Part XV
“Did we …” “We did.” “Why?” As she raised an eyebrow at him he went on quickly, “I mean, we got a comfy bunk, not that far away. Is there any particular reason we’re in here instead?” “You don’t remember?” He concentrated for a moment, and the activities of a few hours previously burst onto him like a sunbeam. “Oh, right,” he acknowledged happily.

[Maya. Post-BDM. A little with each Serenity couple, but something goes bang. Read, enjoy, review!]



“Did we …” “We did.” “Why?” As she raised an eyebrow at him he went on quickly, “I mean, we got a comfy bunk, not that far away. Is there any particular reason we’re in here instead?” “You don’t remember?” He concentrated for a moment, and the activities of a few hours previously burst onto him like a sunbeam. “Oh, right,” he acknowledged happily.

[Maya. Post-BDM. A little with each Serenity couple, but something goes bang. Read, enjoy, review!]


Monied Individual - Part XIV
This wasn’t how an ex-companion did things. Perhaps she’d been hanging around a certain Firefly captain for too long. He listened at keyholes as if it were a competitive sport.

[Maya. Post-BDM. The crew go to the Spring Lights Procession, Mal gives some good news, and Sir Warwick puts in another cameo. Read, enjoy, review!]