Arrivals - Part I
Thursday, January 25, 2007

Maya. Post-BDM. Freya needs a few last minute things ... Please let me know what you think!


“I'm grateful to you, Mal. The man who’s hurt is my foreman, and I can’t rightly run the place without him.” The man on the vidscreen was clearly more relaxed now.

Mal smiled. “That’s no problem. We’ll be with you in a few hours.”

Hammond returned the grin. “I think he can hang on that long. And I’ve got a new batch of brew I want your opinion on.” He laughed and cut the link.

“You think it’s a good idea, Freya going with Jayne?” Hank asked as Mal hung the link back up. “And us taking Simon?”

“They need a doctor.”

“Yeah, but so does Freya,” Hank pointed out, turning in his seat to look at the Captain.

“She ain't due for well over a week,” Mal said calmly. "And I don’t think I’m gonna tell her she can’t do that last bit of shopping she wants – all the arguing wouldn’t be any good for her or the baby.” He half-smiled. “And I've kinda got past the ‘getting Simon to knock her out’ bit.”

“If you’re sure …”

“Just get us into orbit, and I’ll let Freya know we’ll be away for the day,” Mal ordered.

“Yes sir,” said Hank, turning back to the controls.

Mal left the bridge and strode into the dining area, finding Freya sitting at the table, her head down. “You okay?” he asked, suddenly wondering whether Hank had been right after all.

She looked up at him. “Shiny,” she said, smiling. “Not particularly comfortable, but I guess that’s going to be the way for the next few days.”

He sat down next to her. “You sure you want to go down to Priam? I'm sure we can –“

“I need to get me a few bits. Just some stuff I need for when the baby comes, and some other stuff, and I don’t think anyone else can.”

“Frey, honey, what about Kaylee? She has –“

“Mal.” She smiled at him. “I’ll be fine.”

“I know that, but I have to take Simon with us: Hammond’s got a man who’s hurt. We’ll be gone twelve, maybe fourteen hours. You gonna be okay with that?”

She put her hand on his face, feeling the slight growth of beard pushing through the skin. “I’ll be fine. I’ll be waiting for you soon as …” She grimaced slightly.

“Frey –“ Mal was more than concerned now.

“It’s just cramps. I spoke to Simon, he said I’d be getting them. It’s your child moving into position.” She smiled at him reassuringly, putting her other hand on her belly. “Got some kick on him, too.”

Mal still looked a little worried. “Look, maybe Kaylee should come with you. Or Inara. I just don’t like the idea of Jayne being the –“

She put her finger on his lips. “Sweetheart, I will be fine. Kaylee’s still trying to keep that catalyzer from blowing again, so she won’t go, and Inara’s not well enough.”

“Maybe a day out in the fresh air –“

“She’s better off in bed. It’s just a touch of ‘flu, but it’s cold down on Priam, and if she …” She grinned at her husband. “Jayne will take care of me.”

“As long as you’re sure …”

“I'm sure. Go on, the sooner you go, the sooner you get back. Just don’t let Hammond talk you into one of those drinking matches of his.”

Mal sat back, a hand on his chest. “As if I would do that.“

He sounded so hurt that she would even suggest it that she laughed out loud, managing to stand up awkwardly. “Just ask Jayne to meet me in shuttle two.” ---

“You sure you’re gonna be okay?” Jayne said, looking down at the bulge inside the coat Freya was wearing. It didn’t meet anymore, and she’d wrapped scarves around herself to keep out the worst of the cold.

“I’ll be fine,” she assured him.

“Only Mal said I was to stay with you.”

“I’m not going far. Just looking at the market, and going into a few shops.” She patted him on the arm. “You go and … do whatever it is you intend doing.”

“Hell, ain't gonna do that,” Jayne protested. “Not with you …” He stopped. “Just want a drink and maybe a game.” He looked towards the bar across the street. “If’n you need me, I’ll be in there.”

She smiled. “Shiny. Just don’t lose all your money.”

“Ain't playing with Hank, so I figure I got a better’n even chance of making a profit.”

“He doesn’t cheat, you know.”

“If I thought he did that …” Jayne shrugged. “Anyway, I’ll be in there.”

“Okay. I won’t be long.” She turned and waddled off towards the stalls, her centre of gravity somehow wrong, looking more like a badly tethered balloon than the Freya he knew. Not that he was gonna say that, he considered. He kinda liked breathing. ---

“Can I come in?” Mal asked, poking his head around the door to the shuttle.

Inara sat up in bed. “I have to say, Freya’s been a civilising influence on you,” she said, quickly picking up the used tissues and stuffing them under her pillow. “It used to be that you’d barge into my shuttle whenever it pleased you.”

Mal stepped inside, a slightly sheepish look on his face. “Well, she’s done a lot of things like that. I even find myself thinking twice before taking on some of the more challenging and interesting jobs that come our way.”

“Does it stop you doing them?”

“Nope,” he admitted. “But I think twice.” He smiled. “So, how’re you feeling?” He put his head on one side and looked at her critically. “You kinda look like fei-oo.”

“Oh, Captain, you might turn my head with all these pretty compliments,” she said, with a measure of sarcasm in her voice. “And I'm fine. Simon said I need a couple of days in bed, that’s all.” She sneezed mightily into a hankie.

Mal took a surreptitious step backwards. “Well, just don’t go giving it to the rest of the crew.”

“I’ll try not to.” She palmed the soggy tissue and looked at him. “Did you actually want anything, or did you just come to gloat?”

“I came in to let you know we’re heading for St Helens, be there in about four hours.”

“Did I feel the other shuttle detach?” She motioned him to sit down.

“You did.” Mal perched on the edge of the sofa. Since the Reavers attack on Corvus, Inara had cleared a lot of the hangings away, leaving the bulkheads showing through, and most of the cushions had been put into the incinerator. It looked bare, and somehow it made Mal feel pained to see it that way. Almost as if she was in the process of leaving. “Freya’s gone down to Priam to get a few little bits and pieces.”

“On her own?” Inara was shocked.

“I ain't as crazy as that,” Mal assured her. “Jayne’s gone with her, and he’s under strict instructions to get her back in time to rendezvous.”

“And you think this is a good idea?” Inara sat forward, her little shortie nightgown gaping a little at the front. “Letting her go out in her condition?”

“Why does everyone keep asking me that?” Mal said, confounded.

“Because they worry about her!” Inara sniffed. “She’s having a baby, Mal. Very soon.”

“You think I hadn’t noticed? Months of throwing up, back-ache, getting bigger every day … you think I’d figured it was gas?”

She glared at him. “I would have thought you’d be a bit more concerned.”

Mal sighed. “’Nara, I've been concerned about Frey ever since she came into my bed. Every time I think of her going on jobs, getting hurt – “ He saw the slight tightening of the skin around Inara’s mouth and went on quickly, “Inara, I worry about her all the time. Like I worry about the rest of you, but it’s more … pointed. More focused.”

“That’s because you love her,” she said quietly.

“You know, I do believe you’re right.” He smiled again, if a little sadly. “A’course I worry about her. I don’t want her going down to Priam any more than I want Kaylee sticking her hand in the compression coil while we’re going to full burn … more, probably. But she isn’t exactly in the mood to be argued with. And I did try.”

Inara sighed. “I'm sure you did. But Freya’s Freya. She doesn’t tend to do what people tell her.”

“Found that out to my cost, on more than one occasion,” Mal agreed. “Still, we’ll be back well before she’s ready to leave, if her last shopping trip is anything to go by.”

“She didn’t buy that much,” Inara smiled.

“Seemed like half the planet.”

“Only because she made you carry it.”

“Well, I’d’a carried whatever she’s buying today too, if Hammond hadn’t called.” He leaned back on the sofa. “Ain't seen that man in a month of Sundays.”

“I seem to recall the last time. You had a hangover for a week.” Inara picked up her tea, grimacing when she realised it had gone cold.

“No, I promised Frey I wouldn’t be drinking with that man.” He stood up. “You want me to make you a fresh pot?”

Inara stared at him. “You?”

“What?” he asked.

“I’m just wondering if aliens are among us and where they’ve put the real you. I didn’t think you knew how to boil a kettle, let alone make jasmine tea.”

“My ma wouldn’t’ve taken kindly to words like that, even from a sick woman such as yourself.” He took the cup from her and headed towards the small galley. “She brought me up to a few of the finer things in life, and making tea – the right way – was one of ‘em.”

Inara smiled. “And I'm sure Freya is grateful for every single one.” She sneezed again.

“Damn straight,” Mal said, glancing over his shoulder at her, grinning, admiring the soft paleness of her skin, and not feeling anything else. “Frey’s got a lot to be thankful for.” ---

“Oh, that is so perfect,” Freya said, reaching into the shoulder bag she was using and taking out a couple of notes. “It’s a gift for someone. Hers was broken a little while ago and this will replace it really well. Thank you.”

The stall holder smiled, making change. “You must be near your time,” she commented, nodding down at Freya’s swollen belly.

“Just over a week,” Freya confirmed. “And I have to say I’ll be glad. I feel like a …” She stopped as a wave of pain overcame her.

The stall holder came out from behind her counter, taking Freya by the arm. “Are you okay?”

“I …” Freya had to wait. “I'm fine. Just a little …”

The woman put her hand on Freya’s stomach. “You say a week?” She shook her head. “I say more like a couple of hours. You’re in labour.”

Freya’s face went white. “I can’t be.”

“How long you been having contractions?”

“I haven’t been …” She stopped. “I’ve had aches,” she admitted. “And a few twinges for a day or so, but …”

“Well, you’d best be getting back to your husband, or else he’s gonna miss the birth of his baby.” The stall holder picked up the item Freya had just purchased and gently pushed it into her bag. “Go on. Don’t got no time to waste.” ---

“Simon, where’s Freya?” River asked. She slipped into the infirmary and stood next to her brother where he was packing a medbag.

“She’s gone to Priam. Shopping.” He turned to look at her, smiling. “Why?”


His smile faltered. “What is it?”

“Nothing. I just wanted to speak to her.”

“Anything I can help you with, mei-mei?”

“Girl stuff,” she said, looking over his shoulder. “What are you doing?”

“Mal says a man’s hurt on St Helen’s. I'm just making sure I've got everything I might need.” He looked into her dark eyes. “Didn’t you read that?”

She shook her head. “I'm training myself not to.”

“Is that what Freya’s teaching you?”

She nodded. “It's difficult.”

“I'm so proud of you,” Simon said softly, putting his arm around her.

“Honey, do you have a weave you could … oh, hi, River.” Kaylee stepped into the infirmary.

“Why?” Simon asked, then realised his wife was holding her hand above her shoulder. He was immediately at her side, examining the cut she’d managed to inflict on herself. “What happened?” he asked, leading her to the sink so he could wash the wound out.

“That old catalyser jumped up and bit me,” she joked. “I was fixing it back when it slipped. Weren't nothing I could do about it.”

“See,” River said to herself. “If you’d gone with Freya you wouldn’t have been here to deal with this.” She watched her brother and his wife, the concern he showed for her, and thought about Jayne. ---

“Jayne,” Freya called, leaning on the doorway.

“What?” the big man replied, not looking up from his hand of cards.

“We have to get back. Now.”

Jayne glanced at her. “We got time, yet. And I got …” He stopped, seeing the look on her face. “Tah muh duh.” He dropped the cards and crossed the bar in three strides. “Is it what I think it is?”

“Baby’s coming, Jayne,” she agreed, a smile on her face that was interrupted by a grimace. “Sure wants to get born.”

“Better go see to your wife,” one of the other men at the table called, laughing. “Looks like she might drop right here.”

“She ain't mine,” Jayne muttered, putting his shoulder under Freya’s arm, supporting her until the contraction passed. “And don’t you dare. Mal’d kill me.”

“We need to get back to Serenity,” Freya panted.

“Wouldn’t you be better with a local doc? Someone a bit more available?”

“Serenity, Jayne,” Freya said firmly.

“Okay, guess you know your own mind,” the mercenary said, and they started back towards the docks, a light snow falling around them.

By the time the time they had managed to get back to the shuttle, however, the snow was a lot heavier, and already lying half a foot deep.

“It ain't a good idea taking off in this,” Jayne pointed out, looking up at the leaden sky. “I seen storms like this before – they hold all sorts of problems. Lightning, winds … Be best we wait.”

“I can’t wait, Jayne,” Freya said, stepping inside out of the cold. “And neither will this baby.” She shrugged out of the coat and unwrapped the scarves from around her waist.

Jayne sighed. Womenfolk were a trial, that was for sure. He headed towards the small bridge and thumbed the com. “Serenity, you there? Got something of an emergency here.”

That’s right, Jayne, Freya thought as she settled herself down on the bench. Break it to him gently.

Hank’s voice filtered over the ether. “Shuttle two, this is Serenity. What’s up, Jayne?”

“Mal there?”

“I'm here,” the captain of Serenity said. “What emergency?”

“Well, there’s the fact that I had to walk out on a full house, but mainly that you’d better get your ass back here or you’re gonna miss seeing your wife give birth.”

Back on Serenity Mal went white and his knees threatened to give way. “You mean …” He glanced at Simon who had come up behind him. “Freya’s …”

“’Bout to get all messy on me,” Jayne agreed.

Simon put his hand on Mal’s arm, his voice reassuring. “Don’t worry. First pregnancies … well, labour takes a long time. We’ll be back well before she’s in the final stages.”

Mal nodded. “Yeah, sure. Right.” He still looked deathly pale. “’Kay, Jayne. You’d better take off, rendezvous with us soon as you can.”

“We’re going now, Mal. Soon as I break link.”

“Then do it.” Mal looked down at Hank. “Better –“

“Already done,” Hank assured him, and the stars were indeed whirling crazily by outside Serenity’s window. “Don’t worry – be back there before you know it.”

“Fine. Shiny. Good.” Mal’s voice was as pale as his face. “Right.”

to be continued


Friday, January 26, 2007 5:58 AM


very good,cant wait to read part 2

Friday, January 26, 2007 7:52 AM


Oh great story again, but PLEASE pretty please let Mal get to Freya in time to see the baby get born. It would be too mean for him to miss it no matter how close it gets. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Friday, January 26, 2007 5:26 PM


Oh something tells me that if Freya's been having cramps for a little over a day, she's already very, very close to those final stages of labor. Something tells me Mal's going to miss ...

... and Jayne's going to be changed by it - River's in luck!

Friday, January 26, 2007 8:55 PM


Well...this was definitely a brilliant chapter, if a bit cliched with the "female character goes into early labour to cause dramatic tension" plot twist;D

Still...character behaviour and dialogue was spot on, and I have to give you props for the Mal/Inara moment in her shuttle. In my mind at least, if would be easy to just have them being completely platonic and at ease with one another by this stage, but I think it's the better road to have Inara still giving off "My precious!" vibes at Mal while he's trying to deal with his own go se and not lose either Inara as a friend or Freya as a spouse. That and the superb bit of dialogue between Mal and Inara about Mal's previously hidden skill of making tea made grin madly;)



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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!]