HELLBOUND Series: 5. "Not So Gilded Cage"
Sunday, March 25, 2007

"Mal finds out exactly what happened on the journey to Argent and has a decision to make."



SUMMARY: "Mal finds out exactly what happened on the journey to Argent and has a decision to make." The usual disclaimers apply. The characters and 'Firefly' are the property and gift of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. No infringement of copyright is intended.


"Firefly" story

Written by Alison M. DOBELL

* * * * *

He wasn't sure how to broach the subject or even if he should but being crammed together as they were it was not as if she couldn't sense his unease.

"*Shenme shi*?"

Mal squinted at her. Not because he couldn't open his eyes this time but because of the harsh light in the compound. The swelling on his face had gone down but the lumps and bruises had now turned black and blue with a fair amount of yellow. The worse cuts she had already treated for him though some wounds kept reopening and bleeding. Soaking through whatever bits of cloth she could find to bind them. "Why you think somethin's *cuode*?"

She squinted back at him. No sun in her eyes, just sending his look back at him to underline the fact that she didn't believe him. "I'm pregnant not stupid, Mal. Spit it out, what's eatin' you inside out?"

"Besides the lack of food?"

When she didn't crack a smile at his poor attempt at humour he relented and sighed. Gorramit, he hated this kind of *goushi*. The only good thing was that because of the poor state of the prisoners no one was paying them any mind.

"It's just... what you did for me." He broke off, embarrassed and awkward.

"You were thirsty."

His eyebrows rose in surprise. "That what you call it?"

Silence echoed back at him. She wasn't going to make this easy he could see. Mal leaned in towards her, not wanting anyone else to hear what he was saying.

"When you, you know."

"When I what, Mal?"

He could hear her amusement and bit back a sharp sarcastic retort. Losing his temper would just make this harder. "You know, washed me with your tongue."

She blinked, eyes widening before definitely crinkling up with laughter. With an effort she managed to speak normally. "That wasn't my tongue."

Shock. Was there another word for it? "Then what the good gorram was it?"

Now she did laugh, but it was soft and gentle and kind of a comfort to his ear. "Mal, I tore a piece of my shirt, *dong ma*? You were covered in blood an' bleedin' so much I couldn't see what was from your wounds an' what was purplebelly blood."

The Captain blinked at her, a mite suspicious that she was just trying to make him feel better. "I felt..." He trailed off, his neck reddening as he blushed. A hand reached out and gently lifted his head, her eyes locking on his not to mock but to reassure. Her look was gentle, compassionate, her touch heaven.

"I washed you, Mal. You couldn't open your eyes so I'm guessin' I became part of some wet dream."

Now he was so embarrassed he wished the gorram guards would just come in and shoot him in the brain pan. Did she have to be so graphic? Her hand brushed over his bruised cheek, lightly enough to cause no pain but leaving a trail of growing fire as if she had branded him.

"I undressed you, had to see what I was workin' with. They don't give you water for cleanin' an' such Mal but I did what I could."

"Then what did you use?"

Her eyes slid from his and catching the glance he noted the battered metal bowl by the fence. The one the guards left for drinking water. His mouth dropped open. "You used your drinkin' water on me?"

A genuine smile came to her cracked lips. "What did you think I was doin'?"

"Don't make no never mind now, just call me a ruttin' fool."

Her laughter was light, musical. Something that definitely needed to be set free not caged in this foul pit of lost humanity. "I couldn't bear to see you like that." She said softly.

"Like what?"

"Hurt, broken."

"They never broke me, Casey."

"A poor choice of words but it was what they were aimin' for an' we both know it."

"So if you didn't..."

Her smile made his heart flutter, just a mite. "I admit I enjoyed touchin' you but I didn't do anythin' until you were awake. You were tryin' to speak but your throat was too dry. I had no water left for drinkin'. The on'y thing I had was what Mother Nature gave me so I shared it with you."

Realisation kind of humbled him. She knew. Could see it in his eyes and looking deep she liked what she saw staring back at her. "Huh, if you knew what I'd been thinkin' you wouldn't be talkin' to me now."

Another laugh. Low and light and just for him. "I'm not sayin' I didn't wanna."

That brought his eyes to hers, discomfort forgotten. "You did?"

She leaned in, her voice all husky now. "Still do."

"Casey, we're in the middle of a ruttin' prison yard."

"So? Still a man an' a woman."

"A beat up man an' a very pregnant woman."

Casey sat back on her heels and took a good look at him. "You sure are a shy one."

"Ain't shy, just think some things oughta happen in private is all."

"So you don't want me to kiss you?"

Now he was smiling back. "Didn't say that, darlin'."

* * * * *

The two guards were watching on their hidden survellience cameras, dirty little smirks on their hardened faces. "Think they'll do it?"

"I think she could get him to do anythin'."

The first guard wasn't too convinced. "He don't seem too willin'. Don't suppose he's sly do ya?" The second guard laughed, an odd sound in the metal skinned office. Made everything tinny and unreal. "You never heard of Malcolm Reynolds? I tell you if there's anythin' that'll break him this is it."

The first one scowled and continued to watch the screen, his expression lightening up a little when Casey leaned in and kissed the Captain. Seconds into the kiss he was kissing her back. They pulled away then put their heads together, whispering too low for the condensed mike to pick up what they were saying. "Maybe you're right."

The second guard got to his feet and began to walk to the door.

"Where you goin', Maltby?"

"Gonna see the *laoban*. See if we can't give 'em that bit of privacy, *dong ma*?"

"This ain't a brothel, Malt."

"No it ain't but we just found Reynolds' weakness. Would be a mighty bad oversight not to use it now wouldn't it?"

The second guard said nothing. As the door slammed shut behind Maltby he watched the screen and told himself that what they were doing was for the good of the Alliance. Wasn't like Reynolds or Casey were real people anyway. They lost that right when they stood on the wrong side of that gorram line. People on the wrong side didn't have rights. Maybe if he repeated the party line long enough by the time Maltby came back he would believe it.

* * * * *

CHINESE GLOSSARY: (Mandarin - Pinyin)

*shenme shi* = what's the matter? *cuode* = wrong *goushi* = crap/dog shit *dong ma* = understand? *laoban* = boss


Monday, March 26, 2007 4:47 AM


this is such a good gorram fic!!! I'm kinda worried where this is going though, with the prison scene and the guards and... all that =O

Monday, March 26, 2007 11:33 AM


Did I miss something? How did Mal know Casey's name?

Monday, March 26, 2007 11:40 AM


BrerRabbit, I took it as a given that they would have introduced themselves. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Monday, March 26, 2007 6:17 PM


Well Chapter 3 was a wet dream, eh? Gotta say, my dear...that was quite a Whedonesque style of plot twist: truth makes everything we seen completely different...but one's initially perceptions are understandable and not completely off the mark.

Also gotta wonder about whether Casey is a plant or not. The conversations between Maltby and the other guard was definitely the right kind of vague, since the reader is left wondering about how to take their comments: perverts mocking Mal and Casey's attempt to find solace in their situation...or old hands watching as Casey does her thing on Mal to gain information after "earning" trust.


Monday, March 26, 2007 7:51 PM


Ahh, this explains the previous chapter quite nicely. This is a comment on that one, posted here so as not to be a spoiler: I think you did a very good job capturing the creepy "not quite right-ness" that often accompanies dreams.

This was very interesting, and that guard ain't wrong; Mal's deep respect and love for women is one of his greatest strengths as a person, but also a liability to him where people are willing to use that to hurt him. I got a feeling Mal's headed for a pretty heart-shattering experience here :(

Thursday, March 29, 2007 9:44 AM


The plot is starting to come together very nicely.


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His head still ached from the rutting probe but after the men had satisfied themselves that his story was true a thousand questions peppered the air like machine gun fire.

The vessel was shiny, sleek and black with nowhere near the bulk of an Alliance ship. Something about the way it moved through the Black was more than a little creepifying.

Personally she didn't care if Serenity was towed off to a junk yard and stripped into spare parts. She had promised the ship to Jer and his crew as a bonus but it looked like scavengers had beaten them to it.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS: 2. "Counting Chickens"
The fact that her eyes were hard and sharp with intelligence kind of chilled him. Smart women always made him uneasy, it just weren't natural.

What in the nine hells were they so afraid of? Then he remembered Tracy. The body mailed to them by their old war buddy and all the trouble that had brought down on them.

If it was too gorram wet to hunt for rabbits what in the nine hells was his son really hunting? And was it something on four legs or two?

The man was in a terrible condition, his pulse weak, and for some reason he was soaking wet which did nothing to staunch the blood soaking through his clothing and seeping from the poorly tended wound where he had been shot.

THE DICHOTOMY SERIES: 9. "All The King's Men"
The man sighed like the weight of the of the 'Verse was on his shoulders but unlike anyone else he looked like he could carry the weight.

THE DICHOTOMY SERIES: 8. "All The King's Horses"
Without warning something came through the opening and rolled with a metallic clang across the ground before exploding.

THE DICHOTOMY SERIES: 7. "Friend or Foe"
Then he found himself falling, the whole world silent as in slow motion the hordes of *diyu* came to swallow him up and everything disintegrated in fire, blood and pain.