Friday, May 11, 2007

"Recovering from his bout in the Alliance prison Mal finds out it is not all plain sailing at home."



SUMMARY: "Recovering from his bout in the Alliance prison Mal finds out it is not all plain sailing at home." 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

* * * * *

It was days later. Fourteen hours out from Persephone. Captain Malcolm Reynolds was sitting in the co-pilot chair, his bruised and battered face showing signs of healing as well as the road travelled to get there. Wash was glad to have him back. Hadn't liked the worry and strain on his Zoe, nor the way the crew didn't seem able to function properly without him. Not that he would say as much but somewhere along the way between jealous husband and wary pilot the man had become a friend. Sometimes a grouchy pain in the *pigu* and stubborn sumbitch but a friend nontheless. Now here he was finding himself in the odd role of father-confessor. He squinted sideways at his Captain, glad that no one else was on the bridge right now.

"You sure you don't wanna talk to the Shepherd? No trouble to just call Book..."

The alarm on the Captain's face stopped Wash before his hand touched the com. "No, no. Ain't somethin' to bring up with the Almighty even if'n I was one to still believe in him."

Wash blinked slowly but held his peace. For a man that had supposedly stopped believing in God, Mal mentioned Him an awful lot. Could be there were more than a few unresolved issues there. Wash had a sudden flash in his mind of Mal as an altar boy, a white smock and innocent butter-wouldn't-melt-in-his-mouth look almost choking him as Wash struggled not to laugh. The Captain's eyes narrowed dangerously.

"You findin' somethin' funny here, Wash? 'Cause I have to say ain't no laughin' matter."

A few seconds passed before Wash could trust himself to speak. "Not laughin' at you, Mal, just not sure why you're askin' me."

"You're a married man, Wash."

The pilot nodded as soberly as he was able. "That I am but what does that have to do with..."


Wash blinked. The Captain was giving him an earnest look.

"Women as in married."

"You really want to talk in the plural?"

"*Tianna*, Wash, there are times you try the patience of a ruttin' Saint!"

"No, just tryin' to understand."

The Captain took a couple of deep breaths. It was late and most of the crew were either already in their bunks or in the commons area having a last hot drink before sleep took them off to their beds. "Woman, then. Singular."

"Thought you said she was married?"

Mal swore, the feeling behind every expletive so concentrated that Wash's ears got tinged pink. Not that he was embarrassed but it got a mite warm for a moment or two. "She IS married Wash. I said singular as in 'one of'', not unmarried *dong ma*?"

It amazed Wash that there was not actual steam coming out of the Captain's ears the man was that wound up. Deciding to cut him some slack Wash dropped the teasing. "Look Mal, prison does things to people. I think she's just turnin' to you because you rescued her. You make her feel safe."

"Safe I can handle Wash, believe me. It's the sneakin' into my bunk an'..." The Captain trailed off and turned his head away. Wash had a job not to laugh. As big and mean and ornery as Mal could be the man was almost puritanical when it came to sex.

"You need to tell her." He said quietly. Wash waited until Mal turned to face him again. "Explain that she makes you feel uncomfortable comin' on to you like that. You don't have to be all abrupt an' scathin' about it neither. Just..."

"Just what?"

"Be tactful."

"I *am* tactful."

Wash's lip twitched, made him wish he still had his lip fairy if only to hide how much he wanted to laugh out loud. Enraging the Captain when there was just the two of them on the bridge was so not a good idea. "Mal, you're the Cap'n."

"So? Cap'n's can be all manner of tactful. Gentle too. Been known to calm spooked folk a time or two an' I don't just mean River."

"Well, yes, there is that."


"Yes, good. So you'll tell her?" Silence.


Malcolm Reynolds had turned his head slightly, looking out into the Black as if all the answers were printed on that fathomless cloth in the Big Empty only it wasn't empty, not really. More like it was a wilderness, a pathless tract of space that could lead him any of a thousand ways off his course. And him no pilot to speak of. With no gorram star to steer by. Lost was what he was and it wasn't a goodly feeling.


His given name penetrated where his title didn't. "Mmm?"

"Maybe she's just flirtin'?"

The Captain gave him a look that said he ought to be in pain. Lots of it. And if he wasn't he could happily oblige. "It ain't flirtin' when a hand touches you while you're sleepin', Wash."

His pilot's eyes bugged out. Wash sat straighter, looked almost eager you could say. "*Zhen de*? She... she 'touched' you? Where?"

"That ain't the point Wash, get your gorram mind outta the gutter *mashang*."

"Yeah, gutter. Leavin' it behind. I can do that."

Mal sighed.

"*Shenme shi**, Mal?"

The Captain groaned softly and put his head in his hands. "It gets worse."

Not sure how to react without setting the Captain off again, Wash tried to keep his response non committal. "*Weishenme*?"

Mal lifted his head, eyes red rimmed from lack of sleep. "'Nara saw her comin' outta my bunk."

All the pieces slotted together in Wash's brain with a loud click. Was a wonder the noise of the pennies dropping didn't wake the whole rutting ship. Inara. Those two had been dancing around each other ever since the Companion first came aboard. Even a blind man knew the steps of that particular dance, didn't matter a good gorram that both of them were in denial about it. "Have you explained to Inara that there's nothin' between you an' Casey?"

The Captain huffed. "She won't speak to me." A sigh puffed out like a breeze looking to stir a white flag. "Every time I open my mouth to speak she glares at me like a lie's gonna pop out. It's drivin' me *shenjingbing*."

Wash ran a hand through his hair. This confessional bit was more than a mite wearing. Reminded him of stepping through a field of gorram land mines. Had to be careful nothing he said would blow up in his face. He cast a more intent look at the Captain. Man was still recovering from the hell he had been put through in that *jianyu* but he was healing well. Least on the outside. This woman, this Casey, was a complication he didn't need but she was also funny and endearing, eager to help out and please where she could though wary of getting too close to any of the crew. Except the Captain and therein lay the rub. She wanted Mal but he didn't want her. The wonder of it to Wash was that Mal didn't just up and tell her straight. But the Captain was all hedging and avoidance, as if afraid to hurt the woman's feelings. How strange was that? A man who wielded sarcasm and wit like weapons being afraid of a little thing like hurt feelings? Then of course, there was Jayne. Another less benign complication. Wash could feel a headache coming on.

"How long 'til Persephone, Wash?"

The pilot siezed the mundane question like a lifeline. "Just over twelve hours."

Mal nodded, more tired than he cared to admit. "Good. Best set the autopilot an' get some rest while you can. Once we're closer we'll wave Badger, see if he's got anythin' for us."

Wash didn't say anything, just busied himself with checking their course one last time before locking it in and setting the auto-pilot. With a yawn he got to his feet and followed his Captain off the bridge. When Wash turned to go to his bunk he paused, noting that Mal just stood there. "Should get some sleep yourself, Cap'n."

He got an asbent minded wave back and Wash sped up his steps, eager to get to his bunk and into the welcoming arms of his wife.

* * * * *

Kaylee was laughing, her mood making Simon smile with happiness and deep content. When Kaylee was happy there was not a power in the 'verse could withstand it. Her lips on his was like tasting heaven, the glide of her warm hands on his naked skin firing off responses that had been dormant for too long. But Simon had a great memory. This was the feast after the famine and Simon intended to gorge himself until he would never feel hunger again. Merry laughter echoed like little bells in his ears, Kaylee wriggling down to follow the path of her hands. Simon's mouth fell open, eyes closing as busy fingers showed him that a good memory was no substitute for the real thing.


"Uh uh, Simon. Too much talkin'."

"But I..." He broke off as her teeth nipped him a little too close for comfort and yelped. "Kaylee!"

Muffled laughter turned to teasing in earnest, the teeth replaced by a gifted tongue, the suction of her mouth robbing him of the power of speech completely.

* * * * *

In his lair Badger shifted awkwardly. The man standing before him was not so ill at ease, his eyes fastened on the little king-pin like the lock of a laser on a target. "Can you do it or can't you?"

"Yeah, I can do it. Not sure if I want to."

"I was told there was no love lost between you and Reynolds."

"There ain't but that ain't it. I'm a business man, see? An' Reynolds, pain in the *pigu* that he is, gets the job done."

The man did not lean any closer but his words had that affect. "I get what I want, you get what you want. That's good business."

"Except where I lose someone to fetch an' carry. What if it don't go as planned?"

"Then you'll be compensated."

The glitter of greed swept the worry from Badger's eyes. "Oh yeah? How much?"

A smile marred a strong face. It would have been handsome had it not been so cruel. "You don't need to be sidetracked by figures on a page. I want what I want and will pay well for it. Supply and demand. Business. Now," the man paused before continuing "do we have a deal?"

* * * * *

CHINESE GLOSSARY: (Mandarin - Pinyin)

*pigu* = bottom *tianna* = oh God! *dong ma* = understand? *zhen de* = really *mashang* = at once/on the double/immediately/right now *weishenme* = why *shenme shi* = what's the matter? *shenjingbing* = crazy *jianyu* = prison


Saturday, May 12, 2007 2:31 AM


More so soon! And a lot more twists and turns coming up, looks like. Too bad nothing goes according to the plan.

Saturday, May 12, 2007 2:56 AM


Katesfriend, thanks for the feedback. I was away for a couple of weeks so have been writing like mad since getting back and trying to catch up on what everyone else has been doing. All comments are shiny! Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Saturday, May 12, 2007 7:20 AM


Catching these again, I realize I need to go back and re-read the whole series, as I think I've missed a few somehow! And they are too well-written to miss! Great work!

Saturday, May 12, 2007 11:58 AM

BLUEEYEDBRIGADIER me stupid, but it feels like there's a chapter misisng since the story goes from Inara sitting with Mal in the infirmary and wondering what she can do with him to Mal telling Wash Casey's been trying to sleep with him:(

Still...definitely some great stuff here, especially the awkward conversation between Mal and Wash, and the final scene between Mystery Guy and Badger;)


Saturday, May 12, 2007 12:35 PM


BEB, no there isn't a chapter missing. Go back to the beginning of this one and you'll see this is days later and the Captain is up and about recovering. Thanks as always for the feedback, Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me


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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.