Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Serenity is on her way to Phoros to pay a visit to Kaylee's family ... Feedback, as ever, is my drug of choice!


“Why the hell did I marry you?” Freya shouted over her shoulder as she stepped down into the galley.

“No idea,” Mal called back, heading for the bridge. “Oh, yeah. ‘Cause no-one else was stupid enough to ask you!”

Freya opened her mouth to retaliate, but instead strode to the counter, picked up a mug and hurled it across the room. Unfortunately it wasn't metal, but one of the few bits of china they had, and it shattered into fragments against the wall. For a long moment she just stared at the pieces, then crossed the dining area and started to pick up the shards.

“Mal getting to you again?” Zoe asked, not having moved from her seat.

“That man is such a sha gua chun zi, a qiang bao hou zi de hun dan … as well as being a ching-wah tsao duh liou!”



“Why don’t you say what you really think?”

Freya glared at her, then she smiled ruefully. “Sorry,” she said. “It’s just … sometimes …”

“I used to fight with Wash like that,” Zoe admitted, sitting back in her chair. “Just throwing insults at each other until neither of us had any breath left. Then he’d storm off to the bridge and I’d break something.”

“Very similar,” Freya agreed, picking up another piece of mug. “What were you fighting about?”

“Nothing much.” Serenity’s first mate sighed. “Just fighting. When you’re married, there’s no real need for a reason.”

“I’ve found that out.” Freya sat back on her heels. “How can he do that?”

“Do what?”

“Wind me up so tightly that I bust?”

“Is that what you’ve done?”

“I don’t know what I've done!” Her hand closed tightly over a piece of china, and suddenly she realised blood was seeping between her fingers. “Tzao gao,” she breathed, lifting her arm. Red liquid dripped to the floor.

“Uh oh,” Zoe said, out of her seat in a moment. “Better get that looked at.” She grabbed a tea cloth and wrapped Freya’s hand in it.

“It’s fine.”

“You’re bleeding.”

“It’ll stop.”

“Humour me.” ---

“I gather all is not well in the Reynolds’ household?” Hank asked, turning in his seat to look at Mal.

“Just fly. I want any comments, I’ll ask.” Mal threw himself down in the co-pilot’s seat and glared out into the black.

“I used to fight with Risa like that,” Hank said, returning his chair to its normal position and ignoring Mal’s words. “And she was a terrible thing to see when we did.” His face softened as it always did when he spoke of his wife, long since passed on.

“She’d throw things?”

“No. Worse.”

“How can it be worse?”

“She’d just go quiet on me. Stand by the door and just look at me.”

“How can that be worse?”

“You don’t know. Freya obviously ain't never done that to you.” Hank shivered. “When a woman looks at you like that, all silent, you think she could do anything. Pick up a carving knife and cut your heart from your chest, or just walk out the door and never come back. Although the outcome, I always figured, would be pretty much the same.”

“Frey’s not done that yet,” Mal admitted.

“If’n she ever does, you do not want to let it lie. Even if it’s you starts throwing stuff, her best knick-knacks even, you need to get her shouting again.” He remembered times …

“Frey’s never had that problem.”

“Well, good.” Hank gave a dry laugh. “And I sincerely hope you don’t.”

“Is it really that bad?”

Hank nodded. “So what were you fighting about that got you so riled up?”

Mal thought back. “Damned if I know,” he confessed. “Kinda came out of thin air.”

“They do sometimes.”

“Why?” Mal asked, turning his chair to look straight at the pilot, his elbows on his knees. “I love Frey, and she loves me. How come we fight?”

“Mal, there ain't no real reason. Maybe it’s proximity … cabin fever. We’ve been cooped up for a couple weeks now, with no real air or sunlight. Or maybe you left your socks on the table again.”

“Me? Whoa, there, no. It wasn't me.” Mal put his hands up in denial.

“You sure?”

“I’d know.”

“Ah, well, that just goes to prove you ain't been married that long.”

“But we’ve been together a while!” Mal maintained. “And I've had women on this boat longer, and Zoe …”

“You ain't ‘had’ Zoe, have you?” Hank asked quickly, sudden worry in his eyes.

“Not in the biblical sense, no,” Mal assured him. “But what I mean is, I know women!”

Hank burst out laughing. “Mal, no man ever really knows women!”

“I've had enough experience to –“

“To what? Figure out what she means when she says no?”

Mal looked at him. “If she says no she means no.”

The pilot shook his head sadly. “Mal, Mal, Mal …”

“Look, I know what you’re saying, and in most cases where women are concerned, I might agree with you. But Frey’s different. She means what she says.”

“I really wish I had your blinkers, Mal. And your rose-tinted glasses.”

“I am not deluding myself.”

“So you know why you were fighting.”

“Well …” Mal paused.

“Mal, believe me. It is physically impossible for a man to understand a woman all the time. And if you want to take an old married man’s advice … well, a once-married man’s advice, apologise.”

“I didn’t do anything!”

“That don’t make any difference. ‘Sides, it can get you brownie points.”

“What? How?”

“How you ever survived without me I’ll never know,” Hank muttered, then said louder, “If you did something she thinks was wrong, and you apologise, she’ll forgive you. If you didn’t do anything, and it’s her fault, and you still apologise, she’ll feel guilty and then she won’t forgive herself.”

“Why would I want –“

“Because then she’ll say you have nothing to apologise for, you can be the big man, and then have great make-up sex.”

Mal stared at him. “You think that’s the point of fighting?”

“Can’t hurt.”

“Why am I talking to you about this?” Mal asked in disgust, standing up and looking down at Hank. “Why am I asking advice from a man who won’t even kiss my first mate?”

“Ah, well, that’s the thing about advice,” Hank called as Mal strode off the bridge. “You don’t have to take it!” ---

“Sit still,” Simon said, trying to inject Freya’s hand with a local anaesthetic, but she was fidgeting too much.

“I don’t see that it needs stitches,” she said, looking down at the slice in her palm.


“On what?”

“Getting your medical degree.” Freya raised an eyebrow at him, but he concentrated on completing the injection. “Right. Now I can irrigate the wound and take a proper look.” He turned to the counter and filled a large syringe with sterile water.

Freya looked at her right palm. The cut ran from under her middle finger towards the pad of her thumb, about two inches long, and she could see bone in one place amongst the blood. Maybe Simon was right after all. “So how many?”

“Stitches? Ten or so. I’ll see.”

“I don’t like needles.”

He looked at her over his shoulder. “Then you should be more careful. You could have damaged a nerve.”

“I didn’t do it on purpose!”

Simon brought the kidney bowl and syringe back to the medbed. “Anger and broken crockery do not mix. AND it makes your blood pump faster.” He started to wash the wound out. “What if you’d cut your wrist? You could have bled to death.”

“I think Mal might’ve taken exception to that if you’d let me,” Freya said, watching his movements, so precise and economical.

“Oh, yes,” Simon said dryly. “He might have thrown me out of the airlock. Whoop de doo.”

Freya couldn’t help it. She laughed. “Yeah, he does threaten that occasionally, doesn’t he?”

“Once in a while.” He lifted a probe from the tray next to him. “This might hurt.”

He poked into the wound and Freya felt a stab go right up her arm. She hissed. “Yep, you were right. It did.”


“Since when did you become a sadist?”

“Since I needed to check there wasn't any nerve damage.” He dropped the bloody probe back in the bowl and picked up the needle waiting in the forceps. “You might not want to look.”

Freya looked up at Zoe. “See? See what that man made me do?”

Zoe smiled. “If I recall correctly, your husband wasn't even in the room at the time.”

“But he made me mad!”



“What were you arguing about?”

“I …” She stopped, her mouth open. “I have no idea,” she finally said, very quietly.

“So he didn’t do or say anything to make you angry at him?” Zoe crossed her arms.

“No. Not then. I mean, it just … started.”

Zoe smiled. “Then I wouldn’t worry. If the time comes that you don’t fight, that you let feelings fester, grown rancid, then you need to talk to someone. But this was just normal.”

“But we don’t fight!”

“Welcome to marriage.”

“Is this what it’s going to be like?” Freya asked, not looking down at Simon pulled the skin together. “Fighting when we’ve got nothing better to do?”

“Sometimes,” Zoe admitted. “But the make-up sex is great.”

“What?” Freya’s jaw dropped. “You think I’d pick a fight just to have sex?”

“No. You don’t need to. Mal just has to look at you to want that.” She laughed. “It can make life terribly interesting at times.”

“When has it ever been a problem?” Freya demanded.

“Oh, honey,” Zoe said, grinning widely. “Next time we’re out on a job, just keep an eye on your husband. Unless he’s actively being shot at, or likely to be shot at, and he sees you … well, it can be hard.”

Freya giggled. “Really?”

“Can you two stop talking about sex?” Simon asked.

“Why? What’s wrong with it?”

“Because I had to leave Kaylee to come and deal with this,” he said, finishing the last stitch.

“In flagrante?” Freya suggested, and was rewarded by Simon’s ears turning slightly pink.

“And very delicto,” he agreed. “And I’ve just spent hours trying to calm her down before I finally get to meet her folks tomorrow.”

“Hell, they’ll be so busy looking at Bethany, they won’t even notice you.”

“Thanks.” He pulled off his gloves with a snap. “Nearly done.”

“Who, her or you?”

He glared at her and picked up a dressing pad. “You won’t be holding a gun for a few days,” he said, pressing it carefully over the stitches. “And tell me if it feels hot or painful.”

“I know the routine, doc,” Freya assured him, almost sorry for winding him up.

“Yes.” Simon picked up the debris. “Sometimes I wonder if all of you do this just to keep me busy.”

“What else would you do?” Zoe asked.

“I’d love to find out.” He made shooing motions towards the door. “Go. Let me clean up. I have an almost-wife to get back to.”

“Thanks, Simon,” Freya said, sliding from the bed.

“And no sex with that hand,” he called as she left the infirmary.

“You always say that,” Freya said, picking at the corner of the sticky. “And I'm not Jayne.”

“And that mental image is something I can do without!”

Freya smiled at Zoe as they walked up the stairs.

“Have you calmed down?” the dark woman asked. “Can I go back to my bunk now? Or are you going to break something else?”

“No. I intend to go to bed myself.”

“Good idea. And talk to Mal. He’s only a man – he doesn’t understand these things.”

Freya laughed. “Is that what you thought about Wash?”

“All the time.”

“And Hank?”

“We weren't talking about him.”

“I was.” They got to the top landing. “Zoe, you’re ready.”

“No I’m not. Not by any means.” But there was hesitation in her voice.

“I'm not suggesting you marry Hank. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.” Freya smiled to take the sting from her words. “But at least you could go on a date with him.”


Freya looked at her friend as they passed through the galley towards the bunks. “You know, sometimes …” She clenched her fists then winced.

Zoe gazed at her, her impassive expression back in place. “Is that a good idea?”

Freya threw her hands in the air. “I give up!” She turned to her and Mal’s bunk, pushing the hatch open. “Do what you like! I don’t care! I despair of the pair of you!” She started down her ladder.

Zoe’s lips twitched and she turned to her own room, then glanced towards the bridge. ---

It was awkward getting down the ladder, as she couldn’t grip with her right hand, and had to hook her arm around the upright. As she descended, she realised Mal was already there.

“Frey …” he began, then saw the dressing on her palm. “What the diyu happened?” he asked, crossing the room in one stride to stand next to her, taking her hand in his. "I leave you alone for ten minutes ..."

“I cut myself,” she said, gratified by the expression of concern on his face.

“Is it okay? Has Simon seen it?” He looked into her eyes.

“I've got stitches,” she said unnecessarily. “And it hurts a bit.”

He lifted her hand to his lips and kissed it tenderly. “Does that hurt?”

“Well, no …”

“Good.” He smiled a little. “I'm sorry, Frey.”

“What for? You didn’t do this. It was my own stupid fault.”

“No, not that.” He led her to the bunk, away from the ladder, and made her sit down, joining her. “For making you angry.”


“I don’t know, it just –“

“No, I mean why are you apologising?”

“I thought –“

“Mal, whatever we were arguing about, and I don’t even remember, it doesn’t mean anything.” She reached up with her left hand and placed it on his cheek. “People fight, say things they don’t mean. It doesn’t signify a thing.”

He leaned back a little so he could see her whole face. “You are one remarkable woman, Frey Reynolds,” he breathed, shaking his head slightly.

“That I am,” she agreed. “And don’t you forget it.”

He moved back in and kissed her softly. “So you’ve forgiven me?”

“Depends. Have you forgiven me?”

“Nothing to forgive.”

She smiled. “Then let’s go to bed.”

“I need to take my last turn around the –“

“Not tonight. Tonight you can leave it to someone else.”

“Ain't no-one else gonna do that for me.”

“Then it doesn’t get done.” She stroked his neck, running her fingers down inside his collar to his chest. “I don’t ever intend to go to bed mad, Mal.”

“Sounds like a plan,” he whispered, hooking his arm around her waist and pulling her beneath him. ---

“Do you think they’ve made up?” Hank asked, glancing around as Zoe stepped onto the bridge.

“I should think so. They love each other too much to let it be like that.”

“I tried to give him the benefit of my vast and worldly advice,” Hank admitted. “But I ain't sure he was listening.”

“Mmn. Freya spoke to me too.” Zoe was standing behind him, looking out at the stars.

“Mule-headed, the pair of them,” Hank agreed, turning to stare out of the bridge windows. “Pretty, ain't they?” he went on. “Sometimes you forget just how beautiful they are, and how much you love ‘em, don’t you?”

“That you do.” With that Zoe leaned over and took his head in her hands, pulling him around to face her. She looked into his astonished eyes for just a moment, then lowered her lips to his. His arms came up, his fingers on her back, lifting himself from the pilot’s chair until she released him slowly.

“What …” He coughed and swallowed. “What was that?”

“When we get to Phoros tomorrow, you and me, we will go out. Spend some time together. Away from here.” She still had hold of his head, her fingers in his scruffy brown hair. “Dong mah?”

“Um, sure, w … whatever you say,” Hank stammered, trying to nod.

“Shiny.” She kissed him once more, just lightly, then let him go. “Good night.”

“Uh ... ‘night.” He watched her walk off the bridge, her head high, not looking back, still feeling her in his mouth. She tasted of honey …


Thursday, November 30, 2006 4:51 AM


The scene with Simon, Freya and Zoe in the infirmary was absolutely priceless! I adore sarcastic and snarky Simon and you have him down to "t"!

I also love that you have the two "veterans" Hank and Zoe, giving Mal and Freya marriage advice. And thank God Zoe finally kissed that man ... I had a feeling he was going to go crazy! You are going to show us the date, right? Because something tells me hilarity will ensue ...

Thursday, November 30, 2006 1:43 PM


Oh...Simon was in fine form here with his wit and sarcasm, Jane0904! Definitely had to restrain myself from busting a gut over his "And very delicto,” he agreed. “And I’ve just spent hours trying to calm her down before I finally get to meet her folks tomorrow" response to Freya's gentle poke at him.

And like TamSibling said...Zoe/Hank date? Write it out!



Tuesday, April 22, 2008 5:29 AM


I'm sooooo glad Zoe has decided to move on. It made me a bit teary her kissing him. Thank you for writing!



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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!]