Vows - Part V
Sunday, November 26, 2006

The theft gets underway ... Thanks for the feedback - but don't stop!


Simon was … well, scared probably wasn't too strong a term for it. Terrified might be better. Saffron had him pinned against the panelling in one of the rooms upstairs. “No, really, thank you for the offer, but … you’re not my type,” he insisted as she leaned into him.

She smiled. “I’m sure I could be.”

“No, really.”

“But that’s what we’re here for,” she said. “To have fun.”

“But not yet.” Simon squeezed out and stood by the open doorway. “That’s not until this evening, is it?”

“We could always –“

“No!” His voice sounded loud even to his own ears.

Saffron pouted. “Ah well.” She looked at him. “Are you sure we’ve never met before?”

“I … don’t think so,” Simon managed to say. “I’ve not been off Londinium until just a short while ago.”

“But you seem so familiar.” She moved closer and stroked his thigh.

“Thank you, but I’m still not interested.”

“Why not?” she asked. “You came and started talking to me.”

“No. To your husband, actually.” Simon felt the treacherous tide creep up his neck again.

“My …” Saffron almost laughed out loud. “You’re sly?”

“I … please don’t say anything.”

“But you’re married!”

“And I love my wife. But sometimes I …” The blush had reached his cheeks.

“You like to indulge that part of you?”


Saffron nodded wisely. At least she knew now it wasn’t anything to do with her. “Then, would you mind telling my husband that I’d like to see him up here?” she asked, giving him some space.

“No, of course.” He stepped back hurriedly, aware he was being ungentlemanly but doing it nevertheless.

“Thank you.” She smiled and reached out to touch his cheek. “And remember when the time comes. For the pairing. I‘m sure we can find something for all of us to do.”

Simon gave a little bow. “Of course.” He almost ran down the stairs.

Saffron laughed. So young, and so very inexperienced. If she wasn’t actually working, it would be fun to make him fall in love with her. Ah well, better get to work.. ---

“Anything?” Kaylee asked, carrying Bethany onto the bridge.

“Nothing yet,” Hank said, smiling at her. “Better sit down, you look pooped.”

Kaylee sank gratefully into the co-pilot’s chair. “I don’t know how the Cap and Zoe do it all the time, this pretending to be something they ain’t. I mean, I seen ‘em do it, and they make it look easy, even if it’s just posing as buyers, but it ain’t.” She shifted the baby to her other arm.

“Here. Let me hold Bethany for a moment.” He stood up and took her, settling back gently.

“Thanks.” She shook her arm. “I didn’t realise how heavy she’d be. I’ll have arms like Jayne before she’d toddling.”

“That won’t be long,” Hank said, lifting down one of the dinosaurs from the console and putting it within Bethany’s reach. She grabbed hold of it and started to suck on the tail.

“Oh, Hank, I don’t think that’s a good idea,” Kaylee said, sitting up.

“Why? Not poisonous are they?” Hank asked, immediately taking it from the little girl’s grasp. Bethany waved her hands about and started to screw her face up.

“No, but … they were Wash’s,” Kaylee explained. “I don’t think Zoe would be pleased if she saw you giving them to Bethany to chew on.”

Hank looked down, just in time to see the little girl take a breath, and hear a wail come out of her mouth.

“You’d better give it back to her,” Zoe said from the doorway. “’Fore she brings the roof down on us.”

Kaylee looked around at her. “You sure?”

Zoe smiled. “I think Wash’d be pleased to know that someone was making use of them. If we’d gotten around to having kids, I know they’d have been chew toys for them.”

Hank put the dinosaur back into Bethany’s hand, and immediately the crying stopped. “See?” he said. “She likes it!”

“Well, there ain’t no accounting for taste, as I often said to Wash,” Zoe commented. “So, how’d it go at the judge’s quarters?”

“Pretty good, I think,” Kaylee said, watching Hank playing with the baby and thinking what a good father he’d make. “I did what you said, and I’m pretty sure they’re going to get the cup tested.”

“Good,” Zoe said approvingly. “I’ll go tell Freya. At least that’s one thing she doesn’t have to worry about any more.”

“Is she?” Kaylee asked. “Worrying, I mean.”

Mei-mei, Mal’s with Saffron. If he were my husband, I’d be worried. He doesn’t exactly have a perfect track record with that woman.”

“But we won last time.”

Zoe shook her head. “Naked? In the desert?”

“Oh. Yeah, well, there was that.”

Hank looked from one to the other. “Am I missing something here?”

“I’ll tell you later, dear,” Zoe said, turning to walk down the steps.

He looked at Freya, a wide grin on his face. “You heard that?”

Kaylee grinned back. “I did. I certainly did!”

“Do you think she knows she’s doing it?”

“Does it matter?”

Hank laughed. “Not at the moment, no.” ---

Jayne was cold. He was also wet through. It had begun to rain shortly after Inara and Simon had gone inside the house, and it hadn’t stopped yet. There was a point at which you couldn’t possibly get any wetter, and he’d probably reached that an hour ago. Still didn’t make him feel any happier. Mind you, the look on Simon’s face was almost worth it. He’d seen the same look on a few rabbits he’d shot, when they’d stared straight at him, knowing their short little lives were going to be even shorter. At least they’d gone towards a good cause, namely filling his belly. And damn, but Simon reminded him of a rabbit. He chuckled, then grimaced as the gutter above him vomited another gallon of water down his back. This had better be worth it. ---

Simon hurried back into the main room, seeing Mal and Inara still deep in conversation. He hurried over to them.

“Why, if it isn’t the ardent young lover,” Mal said, his eyebrow raising. “She finished with you already?”

“Saffron wants to see you upstairs,” Simon said, his face carefully blank.

“Better get this over with then.” The captain of Serenity straightened his jacket. “You know, this time yesterday I was a married man with no cares in the world over making sure my wife was happy and my crew had enough to eat. Never had any idea I’d be facing a rope for something I didn’t do.” He ran a finger round the inside of his collar.

“Well, I suppose it makes a change from getting away with something you did,” Simon responded dryly.

Mal glared at him, but let it pass. After all, the young man was doing him a favour, albeit somewhat ungracefully. “Best you two get gone. If this does go wrong, and with Saffron at the helm there ain’t no telling, I don’t want you in the middle of it.”

“Mal, we should stay. We can help -” Inara began.

“No. That’s an order. I’ll see you all at the trial tomorrow.”

“Do you really think this is a good idea?” Simon asked, his concern palpable. “Saffron has tried to dupe you twice now.”

“Well, forewarned is -”

“Forearmed, yes.” Inara shook her head. “All right. We’ll go. But Jayne’s outside. Freya made him keep an eye on you, so if you need help, just shout.”

Mal smiled a little. “Kinda figured he might be.”

“She has your best interests at heart.”

“She just doesn’t want to be a widow quite yet,” Simon put in.

“I’m sure that’s it, doctor.” He stood straight. “Well, no time like the present.” He strode towards the stairs.

“He’s walking as if he’s going to his executioner,” Simon observed to Inara.

“I hope not.” Inara shivered slightly. “Come on.” She steered him towards the front door, only to be stopped by Killian Ornstein.

“Inara? Not leaving us already?”

Inara smiled, her charm switched to full. “Killian, I am so sorry, but Simon is …” She stepped closer so that no-one else could hear. “This was a sort of test for him. To see if my work is complete. And I’m afraid to say it isn’t.” She shook her head sorrowfully.

“Have we scared him?” Killian asked in what he thought was an undertone but was loud enough to be heard by most people in the room. There was the sound of muffled laughter, and Simon went pink.

“I think someone propositioned him,” Inara admitted. “And although I had told him that would happen, he …” She stopped, looking into Killian’s eyes for sympathy.

He gave it. “Inara, that is fine. But you don’t have to leave.”

“I think I should. If I stayed, enjoyed myself, which, I have to admit, I am sorely tempted to do -” She held him arm in a conspiratorial manner. “- that would be fun, but I wouldn’t be a very good Companion is I did. And you might be left with a spare body.”

“Oh, I’m sure they’d find some group to be with.”

“No, Killian, I think it better that I take him back. Perhaps after some further work …”

“Of course.” Killian half-bowed, acknowledging her consideration. “Another time then.”

“I would be delighted,” Inara said, smiling, taking his arm and using him to gain the front door. “And I’ll make sure I bring someone a little more … experienced.”

“You do that,” Killian said, nodding to his man to open the door. “And please call me when you’re free. We have a lot to catch up on.”

Inara smiled brilliantly, stepping out into the rain and into the waiting hover. “Thank you, Killian.”

“You’re more than welcome.” He turned to Simon, clapping him on the back with a large hand. “And you should take this young lady’s advice, and relax a little. Life’s too short to worry about morals all the time.”

“I … I’ll try,” he stammered, and climbed in next to Inara.

The hover moved off, Killian waving at them before returning inside.

“There, that wasn’t too bad, was it?” Inara asked.

“If Freya ever - ever - tries to use her feminine wiles to get me to do something again, I will kill her,” Simon said quietly.

“Well, that makes a change on Serenity,” Inara said brightly. ---

“You wanted me?” Mal asked, stepping into the room.

“Where have you been?“ she asked, her hands on her hips. “And close the door.”

He did as he was bid and looked around. “Wow,” he said, taking in the opulent furnishings, the large crystal chandelier and the big, big bed. “Whose room’s this?”

“Our host’s. Not for sleeping in, but …” Saffron paused.

“Never thought I’d see the day you’d get embarrassed,” Mal said wonderingly.

“I’m not embarrassed,” Saffron responded, tossing her hair back. “I just don’t see the point if there’s no profit in it.”

“And you always make sure there’s a profit.”

“When I can.”

“Now that’s the Saffron I know and loath.”

“I love you too, peaches,” she said, smiling like a snake. “Come on, we don’t have all day here.”

“What have we come for?” Mal asked, looking at the various statues around the walls.

“This.” Saffron picked up a small figure, a woman made of bronze wearing very little but a smug expression.

“That?” he asked. “Doesn’t seem much for all this hassle.”

“This, Malcolm Reynolds, is worth more than that ship of yours.” She held it up, turning it this way and that.

“Seems like most things are these days.”

“And I have just the buyer.” She smiled, placing it carefully on the table and opening her purse.

“So now what?” Mal asked. “You planning on walking out of here with it?”

“Not quite,” she said, pulling an identical statue from her bag. She saw the look on his face. “Getting in is easy. Getting out … well, Killian Ornstein is known for scanning his guests as they leave.” She stepped towards him and undid the middle button of his shirt.

“Hold it right there,” he said, grabbing her hands and backing up. “What do you think you’re doing?”

“Getting you undressed, sweetie.” She smiled at him.

“For what purpose, if I dare ask?”

“To get the bag and rope from around your waist.”

“That what I'm wearing? I thought it was just padding.”

“Mal, really. Don’t be such a wimp. I’ve seen you naked before.“

“I wasn’t married before. And it was at the end of my own gun, may I remind you.”

“Honestly.“ She sighed heavily. “If you really don’t want me to touch you, you can do it yourself.”

“Thanks.“ He let go of her hands and undid his shirt, pulling the padding out. She took it and opened the side, sliding a rope with a small bag at one end.

“Hold this.” She gave him the back and proceeded to wrap the statue in padding.

Mal suddenly stiffened. “What was that?” he asked, looking towards the door.

Saffron handed him the covered statue and hurried to the door. Opening it a crack she peered out. A couple were meandering away from her towards one of the rooms at the far end of the corridor. As she watched they stopped, the man leaning into the woman, grabbing hold of her and kissing her. She broke free, giggling, and ran into the room. He grunted and followed, closing the door firmly behind them. “Just someone getting into the swing of things a bit early,” Saffron said, turning back.

Mal was stuffing the statue into the bag. “Is the rope going to reach?”

She smiled. “Of course it is.”

He rolled his eyes. “Forget I asked.”

Saffron opened the window and looked out into the rain. “Perfect weather. There’s not likely to be anyone around to see.” She stood back. “Come on.”

Mal joined her and put the bag over the sill, lowering it into the darkness. It seemed to get heavier as the rain soaked through it, but he held it easily. Hand over hand, he let the rope down, then as he got to the end he felt the weight change as it hit the ground. He let go and the rope snaked out of sight.

“Come on,” Saffron said, pulling him away from the window and locking it again. “Time to go.” She glanced at the bed. “Unless you’d like to … for old times sake.”

“Saffron, we ain’t got old times, like I told you before.”

“She must be some woman.”

“She is.”

“Then I’m jealous.” She pouted. “I may have to -”

“No you won’t.” Mal strode to the door. “Like you said, time to go.” He stepped outside and almost into the arms of a naked woman.

“Oh, sorry,” she panted, smiling widely at him. “Or maybe not.” Her eyes raked him up and down before the man coming up the stairs after her grabbed her by the waist. “Later,” she breathed, letting the other man pull her towards one of the rooms.

Saffron looked over Mal’s shoulder. “Just when it was getting interesting,” she muttered.

Mal glared at her. “Come on.” He took her arm and pulled her towards the stairs, trying not to look into the room opposite where a threesome were currently engaged in something physically impossible.

“I never knew you were such a stuffed shirt,” Saffron joked.

“Just don’t feel like getting caught.”

“It’s a damn good copy,” she assured him. “It will take an expert to know it isn’t the real thing.”

“That wasn’t what I meant.”

As they reached the ground floor, Mal glanced around. Clothing was being lost left, right and centre, and there was a whole lot more naked flesh than he cared to look at. He pulled Saffron towards the entrance and the clean night air. As the servant opened the door, he heard a slight buzz as he was scanned, and had to admit that, for once, Saffron was right. Then they were outside in the rain.

Killian Ornstein, currently occupied with keeping two women from both biting his neck at the same time, shook his head. Someone else leaving before the party really got going. Perhaps he was getting stale, should try something different next time. Then one of the women bit his earlobe hard enough to draw blood and he forgot all his worries. ---

Saffron hurried around the corner of the house, Mal following her. She bent down over something. “It’s okay,” she said, relieved, as the head of the statue poked out, shiny in the rain.

“Why wouldn’t it be?” Mal asked. “So now you’ve got that, and I’ve got … what? You’re going to come to the court and tell them you ain’t married to me?”

“Not quite.” Saffron stood up, the light from the street glinting off a small gun in her hand.

to be concluded


Monday, November 27, 2006 1:59 AM


I just knew she wouldn't let Mal off the hook that easy. I'm hoping Jayne stops her little game. Wouldn't it be neat to drag Saffron before the judge with the stolen statue and set the record straight? I would so love to see that scheming *pofu* get her come uppance. And when a chapter or so back Mal was thinking of who else she was married to then decided to leave Haymer's name out of it, why didn't he mention Monty? Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Monday, November 27, 2006 2:36 AM


i can't wait to see what happens Saffron please continue soon

Monday, November 27, 2006 3:46 AM


Oh poor Simon. Now I really do feel for him. I cracked up when Saffron thought he was sly....then did it again when he played it up.

Mal, on the other hand, seems screwed. I say 'seems' because as I recall Jayne is out there somewhere, so maybe he'll come to the rescue.

In either case: Awesome cliffhanger.

Once again, your ficiness (yes, that's a word now) outshines itself.

Monday, November 27, 2006 4:52 AM


Oh, I like the idea of Mal dragging her before the judge with the stolen statue, but then I'm thinking he'll get fingered as an accomplice.

Still, great cliffhanger ... I really hope Saffron gets hers.

And Simon playing up the sly bit was a stroke of genius ... something tells me he's going to be very amorous with Kaylee when he gets back on board!

Monday, November 27, 2006 7:57 AM


I was wondering that too, AMDOBELL...I wonder if Monty wasn't called on because the Operative made sure he couldn't. That or Mal realized that Monty, while a mighty strong character witness against Saffron, is a smuggler like Mal & co.

And please let Jayne get the drop on her...she needs to get her just desserts! Though I get the feeling that the crew will have to do a bit of fancy talking to get around how Mal looks like an accomplice if she was hauled before a judge:(



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Now and Then - a Christmas story
“Then do you have a better suggestion? No, let me rephrase that. Do you have a more sensible suggestion that doesn’t involve us getting lost and freezing to death?”

[Maya. Post-BDM. A little standalone festive tale that kind of fits into where I am in the Maya timeline, but works outside too. Enjoy!]

Monied Individual - Epilogue
"I honestly don’t know if my pilot wants to go around with flowers and curlicues carved into his leg.”
[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!]