Commitment - Part III
Saturday, December 2, 2006

So what's the story behind Kaylee's revelation? And what's happening on Zoe and Hank's date? Please leave feedback, good or bad!


“You’re what?” Freya had to force herself to breathe.

“Engaged. It ain't formal, or nothing. No ring,” Kaylee said quickly. “Only … I said I’d marry him.”



“And who the hell is Dray?”

“Drayton Buchanan.”

“Nope. Still none the wiser.”

Kaylee pulled out a stool from under the workbench and sat down, ignoring the dust on it. “His daddy used to work with my daddy, and we were always around each other, playing in my house or his. Got caught once when we were twelve, playing doctors and nurses, but it was worth the whupping.”

“Was he your first?” Freya asked gently.

“Hell, no!” Kaylee laughed. “We ain't never been to bed together, no matter what my Pa used to think.” The humour died a little in her eyes. “But maybe that’s the point. If’n we’d rolled it out in the sack, maybe I wouldn’t still be feeling like I’d got an obligation to him.”

“What happened?”

“It was the day the Cap’n found me and Bester in the engine room, and he offered me a job …”

“Kaylee?” Dray poked his head around her bedroom door.

“Dray!” She dropped the t-shirt she was holding into the bag on the bed and grinned excitedly. “Did ya hear? I got me a job!”

“Yeah, your Pa just told me.” He stepped inside, pulling the door closed. “Why’re you leaving?”

“Didn’t you hear what I just said? I got a job!” Kaylee turned to the small open chest next to the bed and pulled a pair of coveralls from it, twisting them over and around until she could squash them into the bag as well.

“So?” Dray put his hand on her arm. “I thought you and me … we was going to be together.”

She looked at him. “It’s just a job, Dray. Don’t mean like I'm going to be away forever.”

“But it’s on a ship. Taking you off into the black. That’s almost forever.”

“I’ll be home. Regular, I bet. And we can write.”

“You know I ain't no good at putting my feelings down in words.” He looked so sad that Kaylee felt sorry for him.

She took him by the arms and sat him down on the bed. “Dray, we’re good, yeah?” She lifted his chin so she could look into his eyes, grey like a storm cloud. “And it ain't forever, no matter what you say.”

He lifted his hands and pulled her towards him, fastening his lips hungrily on hers. She let herself be rolled onto the bed, feeling the weight of him above her, the pressure of his hand on her thigh, reaching up under the floral dress she was still wearing.

“God, Kay,” he moaned, trying to get his fingers under the edge of her panties.

She luxuriated in the closeness for a moment, then pushed him back. “No, Dray. Not here. And not now.”

He looked down at her. “Why not? Why not me, Kaylee?”

“It ain’t …” Kaylee wriggled out from underneath him, standing up and pulling her dress down. “You’re special, Dray. I don’t … I ain’t gonna spoil it.”

“What if I want it spoiled?” He sat up, swinging his legs from the edge of the bed. “I’ve been waiting for you for a long time, Kay. And I’ve seen you go with all those other men, with that man today, that mechanic, and I’ve wanted to know why I ain't good enough for you.”

She gave a little cry and went down onto her haunches in front of him, taking his hand in hers. “It ain't that!” she insisted. “It’s the other way around! I ain't good enough for you!”

“What?” He looked so confused, then angry, then just sad. “Kay, you’re beautiful.”

“Beauty ain’t everything, Dray. Men’ve told me I’m pretty for a long time, and after a while yeah, maybe you get to believe it. But when they up and leave you because they’ve got what they want, or you leave them because they’re clinging too hard … don’t feel so beautiful then.”

“Am I clinging?”

She reached up and touched his cheek, still warm with need. “No. You’re different, Dray. I know you care about me for me, not what you can get outta me. And that makes you special.”

“That why you won’t lie with me?”

She nodded, standing up. “I don’t sleep with men I care for, Dray. It’s something I decided a long time ago. When that happens, it’ll be with the man I want to spend my life with. Who I’ll want to have kids with.” She couldn’t take the look in his eyes and swirled away, picking up her brush, her comb, and the small slide he’d bought her to put in her hair.

“Couldn’t that be me?” he asked, standing up and putting his hands on her shoulders, making her stop.

“I …” She looked at herself and him in the mirror on the wall, how suddenly he was taller than her, his body more compact than before, more muscular, and she felt a shiver inside.


She turned around. “I don’t know, Dray.” She was trembling, but whether it was with desire or fear she wasn't sure. “Maybe you are the one. But I’ve got to do this, get out there and see something of the ‘verse before I settle down and get fat, popping babies every year.”

“You’ll make a great mom,” he said, dropping his head to nuzzle at her neck.

“No, that ain't in me,” she responded, closing her eyes a little to enjoy the feeling more. “More at home with a compression coil than a diaper. But it’ll happen, maybe. One day.”

“Stay with me. We can get married.”

Kaylee’s eyes flew open and she stepped away from him. “What did you say?”

“Marry me.”

She stared. “You ain't serious.”

“I am. Even if you have to do this, go away on that ship, see the ‘verse if you want to, but come back and marry me.” He smiled at her. “I want that.”

“You don’t mean it.”

He grinned and dropped to one knee. “Kaywinnet Lee Frye … will you marry me?”

“Get up,” she said quietly. “Get up! What if Pa comes in, finds you like this?”

“Then he’d be glad for us.”

“Please,” she pleaded.

“Not until I get an answer.” He held out his hands towards her. “Kay, I love you. I always have, ever since we fell out of the Johnson’s apple tree together and you carried me home ‘cause I’d broken my ankle.”

“That weren't nothing to fall in love with someone over.”

“That, and more. Answer me, Kaylee. Will you marry me?”

She looked at him, his eyes hopeful, not sure whether to smile or cry. “Okay,” she said, nodding. “When I come home, I’ll marry you.”

He jumped to his feet and picked her up around the waist, twirling her in the centre of the room. “I can’t wait to tell folks!” he said, laughing.

“No, no!” she insisted, holding tightly to his shoulders. “You can’t!”

He stopped, setting her down to look her in the face. “Why not?”

“Because …” She didn’t know what to say, just that she didn’t want him to. “Because it’s our secret.”

“A secret?” He shook his head. “Kay, I want to shout it out.”

“Not yet.” She smiled tentatively. “I’m going away for a while, and you have your own life. I ain't gonna make you be a monk, ‘cause I ain't likely to come over all nun-like myself. But I’ll marry you when I come back, only you got to keep it to yourself until then.”

“Kay –“


He sighed deeply. “Okay, I promise.”

She patted him on the arm and kissed him lightly. “Now, you gonna help me get my stuff together? The Captain ain’t gonna want to have to wait.”

Kaylee sighed, twisting her fingers together. “And I left. Got on board Serenity and flew out into the black.”

“Have you seen him since?” Freya asked gently.

“No. He wrote me, once or twice, but there ain't been nothing for more’n three years.”

“Kaylee, it isn’t a good enough reason not to say yes to Simon.”

The young woman looked up, and there were tears in her eyes. “I know,” she said. “And it’s not like I’d marry him, not no more. If I ever would’ve. I figured out a long time ago I said yes just to stop him, so I could go. But I still said yes.”

“Do you think he’s still waiting?”

Kaylee shrugged. “I don’t know. I ain’t … I been too scared to ask.”

“Oh, Kaylee,” Freya said, stepping forward and putting her arms around her.

“Crazy, ain't it?” She was trembling. “I want to marry Simon so bad, but I can’t even think about it until this is sorted out.”

“Then sort it.” Freya leaned back enough to look Serenity’s mechanic in the face. “Where does he live?”

“Used to be couple of streets away. I don’t know if he’s still there. His folks probably still are. People don‘t move around much here.” Kaylee pulled away and looked down at her feet, then asked hesitantly, “You … you think I should tell Simon?”

“Yes, I do. And I think you should have before now. It’s not going to be easy, either.”

“I know that. He’ll think I’ve been keeping secrets from him.”

“You have.”

“Not by choice!” Kaylee insisted. “Hell, I ain’t never told anyone, not even Inara, and that was something there were times I wished I could. But … I made Dray give his word he wouldn’t tell anyone, so I had to do the same. Not fair otherwise.”

“Oh, Kaylee,” Freya said, pulling the girl back into her arms and hugging her. “Come on.” She let go and took Kaylee’s hand. “I’ll come with you, if you like.”

“Frey –“

“We need to get this dealt with. Before Simon’s the one with the shotgun in his back.”

“Pa wouldn’t do that,” Kaylee said firmly, getting to her feet. “Might have if it had been Simon come with me when we told them, but not now. He knows it’s up to me.”

“Then there really is no time like the present.” Freya smiled gently. “Hell, if you don’t say yes soon, the boy’s gonna explode.” ---

Zoe sat back and put the menu down on the table in front of her, watching Hank trying to make up his mind. “Well?” she asked.

“Ssh, I'm thinking,” he said, his lips working slightly as he tried to make sense of the options. “Don’t they just have something easy?”

Zoe hid a grin. “According to the Cortex, this is an up and coming restaurant.” They’d stopped at a public terminal to find someplace close by and within Hank’s somewhat restricted budget.

“Yeah, but couldn’t they cook the food in English?”

“What did you fancy?” she asked, then added quickly, “In the way of something to eat.”

“Not sure.” This time Zoe sighed, and Hank looked up guiltily. “Look, I ain’t used to eating in fancy places. If I go out to eat, it tends to be in a fast food shop, or a bar where they serve bowls of things on the counter. Which I never touch, by the way.” He shuddered slightly. “If you’d seen where the men in there had had their hands …”

“We didn’t have to come here.”

“You wanted to!”

“No, you insisted on a meal.”

“Well, because it’s a date!”

“Is it?”

He stared at her, and she was surprised to see something like anger flash across his face. “So you’re playing games with me?” he asked, his voice quiet. “’Cause if that’s the case, I ain’t in the playing mood.”

There was a pregnant pause, almost long enough for it to be born and go to school, then Zoe said, “I'm sorry.”

“What?” Hank was so shocked he almost fell off his chair. “You’re apologising?”

“I went too far.” She leaned forward, her tight curls of hair falling from her shoulder. “You’re right, this is a date. I'm just … scared.”

Hank closed his mouth, aware it was hanging open. “Why?”

“Because … of how I feel.”

“And how’s that?” Hank waved his hands. “Tell me, ‘cause I have no idea what goes on in that head of yours.”

“It ain't my head that’s the problem.” Zoe picked up the menu again and pretended to study it, but he pushed it down.

“Then what particular portion of your stunning anatomy are we talking about here?” he asked, peering at her.

“Hank, I know it’s time to move on. And I am attracted to you. Maybe more than attracted. But it scares me.”

“Because I might up and get myself killed too?”

She pushed away the image of Wash sitting in the pilot‘s chair … “You nearly did because you weren't wearing the armour I bought you.”

“It rubs!”

“I don’t care. I don’t want you to die.”

“Me neither,” he admitted. “I’m having far too much fun trying to persuade the most beautiful woman I have ever seen that I ain't just around for the short haul, but I’ll be here as long as she wants me. If she wants me.”

Zoe stared at him, about to answer, when all hell broke loose. Figuratively speaking.

It was so sudden the patrons didn’t have a chance to react. From sitting eating their meals, chatter rolling from one side of the room to the other, to five armed men bursting in, was barely a heartbeat.

“Listen up!” called the leader, firing his gun into the ceiling and allowing small fragments of plaster to fall like snow. “Everybody be peaceable and we’ll be gone before you know it.” He laughed and stroked the flakes from his long brown coat.

Zoe tensed, but Hank shook his head.

“Zoe …” he pleaded almost silently.

She looked at him, anger in her eyes, but she stayed her hand. They were armed and she wasn’t.

“Best be getting any fancy bits you got with you out now,” the leader of the gang went on. “And we’ll be obliged if you can donate them to a far worthier cause.” He nodded to one of his men, who pulled a sack from his pocket and started going from table to table. One of the others had pushed the waiters to one side and was going through the till, stuffing bills into another bag.

The man with the sack stopped by Zoe, rattling it in front of her.

“Ain't got nothing to give,” she said flatly.

He rattled it again.

“Here,” Hank said, holding out the notes from his pocket, about to drop them inside.

“No,” Zoe said, grabbing his hand and pushing it to the table.

The man drew his gun, aiming it squarely between her eyes. “Don’t be stupid,” he said. “No-one has to die.”

Zoe just stared at him.

The leader, seeing something not quite going to plan, ambled over. “What the tyen shiao duh is going on here?”

“She’s being crazy, boss.”

He looked at Zoe, a flash of recognition crossing his face. “Yeah? Looks like it ain't the first time either.” He tapped his man on the shoulder. “And you’re gonna shoot her for a few credits? Go on, there’s better tables than that.”

The other man looked at him, obviously confused, but nodded and hurried off.

Zoe looked at the leader, her face inscrutable.

“Thanks,” Hank said quietly.

The leader barely glanced at him. “Next time, tell your girlfriend not to be so feng kuang, okay? Likely to get herself shot.”

“Oh, I will,” Hank promised.

The leader straightened up, looking around the restaurant. “We done?” There was general mutterings of agreement. “Good.” He smiled. “Now, all you good people, just get to your feet and follow that feller over there. He’s gonna lock you somewhere safe, and then we’ll be about our business. Got a few more places to visit for donations tonight, so we don’t want anyone raising any kind of alarms.”

Everyone got to their feet, Zoe last of all, her eyes never leaving the man in charge. She watched as he collected the bags, swinging them over his shoulder, almost gay in his attitude, like he was having the best of times.

“Zoe …” Hank said, touching her arm.

Still glancing over her shoulder, she followed him and the others to the back. One of them was standing by a large, walk-in freezer, herding the customers and staff inside. Hank paused, uncertain.

“Get moving,” one of the gunmen said, poking him in the back with his firearm. “It ain’t switched on much.”

“Um, couldn’t you just tie me up?” he asked, rubbing his hands together in anxiety. “Or knock me out. Just hit me over the head. Or … or …”

The man pushed him inside

“Oh, shit,” Hank said, watching the door close firmly behind them. There was a dull sound as the lock engaged. “Double shit.”

Zoe stepped to the door, trying the handle. “They’ve wedged it.” She looked around at the frightened people. “Does anyone have a com on them?”

There was general mutterings, and shaking of heads.

“Someone will notice,” the maitre-D said. “We’ve got bookings for the whole evening.”

“Great,” Hank said. “How much air is there in here, do you suppose?” He loosened his collar.

Zoe looked at him. “What?”

“Does it seem a mite warm in here?”

Zoe stared at him, then something approaching understanding flittered across her face. “Are you claustrophobic?” she asked, amazed.

“Well, no, just … I ain't too comfortable in closed spaces, not when I can’t get out.”

“And you became a pilot on spaceships?”

“Yeah, all that black out there. No getting hemmed in.”

“Except you travel around in a tiny tin can.”

“It ain't that small, and … “ He put the back of his hand on his forehead. “You sure we’re not using up all the air?”

to be continued


Saturday, December 2, 2006 4:45 PM


Oh god, poor Hank ... no wonder he and Zoe finally get close ... she has to help him at his most vulnerable moment.

And Kaylee ... whatever will we do with that girl? I love her and all, but she should have waved Dray as soon as she knew she was going to be with Simon and gotten it taken care of. I don't see her being so cowardly, but young love has an odd hold on all of us ... even once we're way past young.

Saturday, December 2, 2006 5:19 PM

BLUEEYEDBRIGADIER dramatic letters from the front or 26th century Western Union telegrams saying "Corporal So-and-So died in combat on such and such a day..."


Still...loved how you made Zoe and Hank's first date so memorable with the bandits and the claustrophobia;)


Saturday, December 2, 2006 8:34 PM


I'm glad Freya's pushing her - and making note of the fact that she blew it big time and might face some justified wrath. Simon's somewhat fragile in the trust department, and this is going to hurt him really badly.

The gang leader knew Zoe...from the war? I can see Mal issuing the man a beating just for bringing a bad name on browncoats.

Sunday, December 3, 2006 2:24 AM


I love this but just don't see Kaylee being so cruel as to be going off with other men, laying with them, yet keeping Dray on a string then saying she'll marry him when she comes back as she is packing to leave on Serenity. That isn't the Kaylee I thought I knew and as for then feeling guilty THREE YEARS LATER for wanting to marry Simon (a man she actually loves) not Dray - there is no way it makes any kind of sense. All she had to do was wave him the news or wave her folks and they would have told Dray. Kaylee isn't that kind of coward and she certainly isn't mean. I did however adore the whole Zoe and Hank part, and poor Hank stuck in that freezer and fighting his claustrophobia. Also, I'm wondering who that Browncoat gang leader was as sure as eggs are eggs he and Zoe knew each other. Please tell me you left them enough air, after all Hank has to have enough breath left to propose, *dong ma*? Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me


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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!]