The Other Woman
Thursday, January 18, 2007

Maya. Post-BDM. Mal's drinking ... Just a little ficle, sort of fluffy, set after POSEIDON. Keep the feedback coming, please!


Mal lifted the bottle and poured a large slug, somewhat unsteadily, into his mug, then topped up the one opposite him.

“… ‘n’ that’s when he decided I was old enough.” He laughed. “Damn thing was five times my height, and he expected me to ride it.” His laughter grew. “Biggest fengle horse you ever saw, and me a squirt no higher than my knee. I thought I was done for, and no mistake. But Gil, he lifted me up onto that monstrosity, settled my feet into the stirrups, and led me around the corral.” He hiccupped slightly. “I was only five, I didn’t know Horace was the gentlest horse you’re ever likely to see.”

Mal took a mouthful of liquor, wiping his chin where he’d spilled a drop, still grinning.

“Course, once I figured out they weren’t gonna kick me to death or stomp me into the dirt you couldn’t keep me away from ‘em. Got me a sweet little ride for my eighth birthday, and from then on I was out with the men whenever I could, if I wasn’t at my lessons or doing chores.” He smiled lopsidedly. “A great one for lessons was my momma. Said it was the best way for a man to improve himself, that and cleaning out the kitchen stove. She sure made me tired before I went to bed every night.”

His smile took on a wistful touch. “Used to sleep in the roof, had a window and everything. I’d lay there awake and look at the stars, wondering who was out there, what kinda adventures they were having. Used to dream sometimes of floatin‘ amongst ‘em.”

He leaned forward, staring into his mug. “Never thought I’d be out there. Always knew how my life was gonna turn out. My Ma’d stake me to a place, probably adjoining hers, and I’d build a house, white picket fence, the whole deal, and get me a herd. Get me a wife too, and half a dozen fat children. All boys. ‘Cept for maybe one girl, just for me to spoil.”

He choked for a moment and drank quickly, swallowing back thoughts of other children.

“But the war came and I decided I had to do the right thing. My momma waved me off, standing watching me until I was out of sight, and probably then some. I could still feel her eyes on me as I boarded the transport, finally leaving Shadow to see the stars at close hand.”

He looked at the woman opposite. “Wish I coulda told my Ma how I felt. That I loved her, and that I’d miss her. When I heard about what the Alliance had done, the way they’d scorched the place, all I could think was that I hadn’t got a chance to tell her.”

Emptying the mug down his throat, he let the heat build in his belly before refilling it. He gestured to the other cup but she shook her head.

“All the more for me,” he grinned, his emotions on an alcoholic switch-back. “Hell, but those stars were pretty. I guess you forget when they’re what you see most times you look out a window, but I just kinda fell in love with ‘em. Course, hardly ever saw ‘em for the next six years, ‘cept when we were travelling between battlefields.”

His words were slurring a little now as the drink finally began to befuddle his brain, and he shook his head to try and clear it.

“Then I saw this boat. Just sitting there, like nobody loved her, out on the edge of the yard. The owner didn’t even show her to me, but I knew when she told me she was the one I wanted. Just like … only this time I listened.” He sat back. “Bought her with the compensation the great Alliance paid for the loss of the ranch on Shadow.” He waved the mug, spilling booze on his hand. “I’d never’ve taken it, you know, if Freya hadn’t told me to screw them for every penny I could. Didn’t get anywhere near what my home was worth, a’course, but it was enough. Enough to buy me a piece of my sky. Been there ever since. Still flying.”

He stopped talking, his eyes unfocused as he remembered, and Zoe looked up to see Freya standing in the doorway.

She got up and crossed the galley floor quietly. “He’s okay,” she said, looking back at her captain then at Freya. “He gets like this, once in a while. ‘Bout once a year, less since you’ve been in his bed, and not at all since you got married. But I guess it‘s time.” She sighed. “Some of the stuff I’ve heard before, but there’s always something new. Things he’s never told anyone.”

“Not even me,” Freya said, nodding, remembering a conversation she and Mal had had not that long ago.

“He needs to get it out of his system.”

Freya nodded. “I understand.” She smiled a little. “Just make sure he gets to bed at some point, dong mah?”

Zoe sighed. “He usually ends up under the table, sleeping it off like a little boy, but I’ll try.”

“No. In which case, just … put a pillow under his head.”

“I can do that.” Zoe looked at the captain’s wife. “He’s okay, you know.”

“I know.” Freya stroked the mound at her waist. “Take care of him.” She glanced across once more at her husband, then slowly made her way back down to her bunk, leaving Mal to the ministrations of his other woman.


Friday, January 19, 2007 12:03 AM


I'm trying to pick out a favourite part, but I just can't - I think that this is the most beautiful example of your work that I've seen yet.

The characterisations and the dynamics were just lovely, and rang true.

Friday, January 19, 2007 1:44 AM


This was just lovely and so understanding of Zoe and Freya, knowing Mal needed to let his introspective self take a walk now and again speaking of things normally kept bottled up and deep inside. Beautiful job, Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Friday, January 19, 2007 7:00 AM


Is it weird I thought Mal was talking to Bethany while babysitting until you had "the other woman" shake her head when Mal offered some of his booze? Don't know why I would think that, but just picturing Mal just talking to Bethany about his life and his choices...just seemed to pop into my head.

Still...this was beautiful work, Jane0904! Definitely loved your Introspective!Mal, Quiet!Zoe and Understanding! on characterizations for the situation:D


Friday, January 19, 2007 12:42 PM


This was really great, a completely reasonable explanation on Mal's musings about the war and all that's happened since. Really shiny!

Saturday, January 20, 2007 5:45 AM


I love tales of Mal and Zoe's past and an explanation of their loyalty to each other. Great to see you exploring some of the complexities of their relationship.


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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!]