The Picnic
Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Maya. Post-BDM. The crew is still on Lazarus, and Mal and Freya take some time to have a little fun. This was in the pipeline anyway, but this is for AMDOBELL! Please comment, as my muse is threatening to leave!


“They need some time.” Kaylee glared at Simon.

“Mnn?” He rolled over.

“Mal and Freya. They’ve been through the mill with Ethan, and I figure we need to give ‘em some space.”

Her husband tried to unglue his eyelids. “What? What time is it?”

Kaylee glanced at the clock and shrugged. “Early.”

“How early?”

“’Bout two.”

“Kaylee, that isn’t early! That’s very, very late!” He shook his head. “Couldn’t this wait until the morning?”

“It is morning.”

“Kaylee …” he pleaded.

“I got an idea.”

“Good. That’s good. Can I go back to sleep while you think about it?”

“And you’re gonna help.”

“Oh. Great. Can it be when I'm actually capable of physically functioning?”

“Course, sweetie.”

There was a pause.

“What are you doing?” he asked as he felt her hands moving southwards.

“Well, I'm kinda awake now.”

“I'm not.”

“I could fix that.”

“Kaylee, I said I just wanted to snuggle.”

“That was last night. This is this morning.”

“Not so’s you’d notice.”

Her hand was busy under the covers. “Oh, come on, don’t be a spoilsport.”

“Kaylee …” He shivered involuntarily and groaned a little.

“See? I said I’d wake you up!” she said triumphantly.

He gave in. “Shadow of a man …” he murmured, taking her into his arms.

“Nah,” his wife grinned. “That’s the Cap.”


“You’re going out.”


Simon finished his examination and did Ethan’s little shirt back up before looking at the Captain. “You’re going out. It’s all arranged.”

Mal’s brows drew together. “Not sure I’m understanding you, doctor.”

“Kaylee’s idea, and I happen to think it’s a good one.” Once I’d woken up, he added silently. “There’s a picnic hamper all ready, and you’re under doctor’s orders not to come back until at least dusk.”

Mal’s face cleared and his eyes twinkled. “Doctor’s orders, huh?”

“That’s right. And I’ll make you stay out longer if you don’t bring Freya back with a smile on her face.”

“That’s the kind of orders I don’t mind taking from you.”

“Are you telling my husband what to do again?” Freya asked, stepping into the infirmary.

“He is,” Mal agreed, smiling at her.

“Are you going to throw him out of the airlock? Only I’d rather you didn’t.”

“So would I,” Simon agreed.

“Well, since we’re on the ground, that ain't exactly too much of a threat.” He put his arm around her. “’Sides, this one I don’t mind.”


“’Parrently we’re going out.”


“You, me, a picnic basket.”


“Honey, close your mouth. It ain't dignified.”

“A picnic.”

“Seems so.”

“But what about Ethan?” She turned to look at her son, sitting up on the medbed playing happily with a piece of tubing, knotting it and laughing as it undid itself.

“There will be someone with him at all times. I promise.” Simon spoke firmly.

“But he’s –“

“Getting much better. The incision is healing, and he’s eating normally. Freya, a few hours away isn’t going to hurt him.”

“But what if –“

“Then I’ll take care of it and I’ll call you.”

“Simon –“

“Frey, if you don’t go, Kaylee’s going to make my life hell. Can you just say yes?”

She looked into the young man’s eyes, and had to smile. “Hell?”

“Do you know what time she woke me up this morning?”

“Knowing Kaylee …”

Mal squeezed her waist. “Don’t you wanna come on a picnic with me?”

“Course I do. But –“

“No buts.”

BUT Kaylee’s fixing Serenity, River and Jayne are still at the house –“

Simon interrupted. “Which leaves Hank, Zoe, Inara and me. You think we’re going to let anything happen to Ethan? Oh, and I almost forgot the most important watch-dog of all. Bethany.”

“Well …”

“Come on,” Mal said. “Time we weren't here.”

She looked into her husband’s face. “You’ve got a strategy, have you?”

“Just making it up as I go along.”

“As usual.”

“Woman, I’ll have you know I plan things meticulously. Just ‘cause they don’t always go smooth –“

She laughed. “It’s not your fault, I know.”

Simon smiled. “Go on. The sun’s out, it’s warm … what are you waiting for?”

“It does sound nice,” Freya admitted. She glanced at Ethan.

“He’ll be okay,” Mal said softly, pulling her out of the infirmary.

“If you’re sure.”

“I'm sure.”

Simon watched them climb the stairs to the cargo bay, and shook his head, smiling. Kaylee was going to be pleased, and when Kaylee was pleased, everyone else seemed to be a bit happier too.

Ethan gurgled, then dropped the tubing onto the floor. Simon reached down to pick it up, wiping it off before handing it back.

“You know, I’d really like it if you’d say Dada to Jayne,” he said, leaning on the medbed. “Especially if your father’s around at the time.”

Ethan looked up and waved the tubing. He knew who his Daddy was.


“It’s still there.” Mal touched the carving he’d done on the tree.

“Did you expect it to have disappeared?”

He knotted his hand in hers. “Nope. Just nice to see it’s forever. Like us.”

She glanced back at Serenity. “Forever.”

He saw. “He’s fine, Frey. I promise.”

She gave him a half-smile. “I know. It’s just …”

“I feel the same. Wanna keep him wrapped in cottonwool. Only I ain't too sure he’ll be thanking us.”

“He’s a baby.”

“He’s your baby. You think he won’t be strong, like you?”

“I think he’s going to be an incredible bull-shitter like you.”

Mal grinned. “Chip off the old block.”

“Oh, absolutely.”

They walked on under the trees towards the lake, and Mal adjusted the picnic basket in his other hand.

“Do you want me to carry it?” Freya asked.

“It ain't that heavy. You can carry it on the way back, if you like.”

“I'm okay now, you know.”

“I know.” He let go of her hand so he could wrap his arm around her waist. “’N’ I thank God every day for it.”

“I noticed.” She looked into his face. “I didn’t think you’d ever believe again.”

“Honestly, not sure I do yet. But He’s kinda done right by me, so I'm thinking maybe I should …”

“Do right by Him?”


“You’re a good man, Malcolm Reynolds.”

“Hope so. Least as far as you’re concerned.” He caressed her body through the shirt she wore.

She sighed happily. “That’s nice.”


“How far were you figuring on going?”

“Oh, all the way.” He cupped her breast.

“I meant walking.”

“No you didn’t.”

She smiled. “Okay, maybe I didn’t. But I wondered how far we were going to go for the picnic too.”

“Why? You getting tired already?”


He looked down at her. “You’re still limping a mite.”

She shrugged. “It’s nothing much.”

“You tell me if it pains you, dong mah?”

“It doesn’t hurt, Mal.”

“Then why’re you limping?”

“I don’t know.”

“You want me to carry you?”

A grin broke out on her face. “I don’t think you could.”

“I could try.” He put down the basket and swung her into his arms.

“Put me down. You’ll hurt your back.”

“Not ‘til you promise me you’ll speak to Simon. Maybe he can do something about it.”

“Mal, I can live with it.”

“And when I want to take you on a job? You think we can get away from the bad guys with you limping along after us?”

“I didn’t think you wanted me to come along any more. Not with Ethan.”

“You think I wouldn’t want you right next to me? Zoe one side, you the other?”

“Zoe pregnant, me limping.”

He chuckled. “Yeah, well, there is that. But being a mother don’t stop you being who you are. You’re Freya Reynolds. My wife. And a damn good pirate at that.”


“Yeah, well, maybe I've been listening to too many of those stories they’ve been telling Bethany. But you are, Frey. You’ve proved it, all too often.”

“You mean I've put myself at risk.”

“Maybe once or twice.”

“And you still want me out there with you.”

“I surely do.”

She leaned forward and kissed him. “Okay. Are you gonna put me down now?”

“I don’t think I will. I kinda like it.”

“And the picnic hamper? You’re going to carry that too?”

“Oh, well, maybe not. That might just be the straw that breaks this particular camel’s back.” He let her down gently to stand on her own two feet. “Come on,” he said, picking up the basket and taking her hand again. “’Nara told me about this place a bit further along. Real secluded and sheltered, but gets the sun all day.”

“You thinking about some nude sun-bathing?”

“Stop reading my mind.”

“I don’t have to be psychic to understand my husband.”

He laughed and they started to walk again.


It was pretty, there was no denying that. A small beach by the lake, trees behind them, some rocks … they weren’t going to be overlooked, that was for sure.

Freya stretched as Mal took the blanket from the top of the basket and laid it out flat. He watched her surreptitiously as she pushed first one arm into the sky, then the other, before pressing both hands into the small of her back.

“Aching?” he asked, standing up straight.


Liar, he thought but didn’t say. “Only I was thinking I could do you a back rub if you like.”

She grinned. “Oh, well, if a back rub’s on offer …”

“But only if you’re aching.”

“Well, it was a fair walk.”

He hid his smile. “Strip, then.”


“You think I'm gonna waste my skills with you fully clothed, you can think again.”

“So I have to be naked to get this rub.”


“Not sure I want it that much,” she teased.

“Fine. Maybe I can find someone else’d like to partake.” He looked around as if searching.

“You drive a hard bargain,” Freya said, undoing the buttons on her shirt.

“People’ve killed for one of my back rubs, I’ll have you know.” He watched her undress, her skin pale in the sunlight. She dropped her shirt on a rock, pulling her boots off and leaving them on the sand.

“You intending to stay dressed?” she asked, undoing her pants.

“I’m kinda thinkin’ it’s a mite chilly to be stripping to my undies,” he said, rubbing his palms up and down his arms.

“But it’s okay for me to.” She put her hands on her hips, wearing only her panties and bra.

“You want a back rub, that’s the deal. Naked.”

“This is as far as it goes.”

“Well …”

She went to pick up her pants. “If that’s how you feel –“

“Okay,” he said quickly.

She licked her lips. “So now what?”

“You lie down.”

Doing as she was told, she lowered herself onto her front, resting her chin on her forearms. For a long moment he admired the view, the curve of her back, the tattoo bright, burning almost, disappearing into the top of the panties that framed the two globes of her buttocks.

She looked over her shoulder at him. “Well?”

He dragged his mind back. “Um, okay.” He went down to his knees next to her, and began to massage her skin. From the small of her back, up her spine, over her shoulders and down again, his hands smoothing the muscles, pressing away all the tension.

“I’d ask where you learned this, only I'm not sure I want to know the answer,” she sighed in contentment.

“I'm just a gifted amateur.”

“You can say that again.” She closed her eyes, all the better to feel him.

“Hey, you falling asleep?”

“Could do.”

One hand slipped between her thighs. “No you don’t.”

“I don’t ache there,” she complained mildly, her voice catching as he ran his fingers down swollen flesh.

“Not yet,” he promised, leaning over her and kissing her neck.

She rolled onto her back, her arms coming up to encircle him. Her lips were pink, heavy. “You are a bad man.”

“Thought you said I was good.”

“Oh, that too.” She pulled him down between her thighs, feeling the fabric of his pants rub against her, the pressure of his own arousal pushing against her belly. “Oh, so, so bad,” she muttered into his mouth.

They made love sweetly, slowly, the sure movements of two people who knew each other intimately, who understood what the other wanted, what they needed, and gave it freely and without restraint. They came together, eyes locked on each other, sweat mingling in the warm sunshine.

Afterwards they lay wrapped in each other arms, talking about nothing much, until Freya’s stomach rumbled.

Mal laughed. “That some kind of comment on my lovemaking?” he asked, leaning on one elbow to look down at her.

“It’s been a while since breakfast.”

“And I know all you had was a cup of coffee.”

“Wasn't hungry then.”

“I don’t know what I'm gonna do with you,” Mal said, trying to put a stern note into his voice. “Simon keeps telling us breakfast’s the most important meal of the day.”

“I haven’t been … can’t help it, Mal.”

He stroked her cheek. “I know. All the worries make you lose your appetite, don’t they?”

She nodded. “’Fraid so.”

Her belly rumbled again and he grinned. “But it does sound like that ain't the case any more. Shall we see what Kaylee packed for us?” He sat up and pulled the hamper towards him, lifting the lid.

“If it’s protein bars or ration packs I think I’ll pass.”

He whistled. “Ain't that. And I think Inara might’ve had more’n a say in this.” He lifted out several plastic boxes. “If these labels are to be believed, there’s chicken, corn on the cobb, stuffed potato skins, and strawberry cheesecake.”

“Strawberry?” She sat up, keen to know more.

He reached into the hamper. “And a bottle of something I don’t think I wanna know how much it cost.”

“Champagne.” Freya read the label. “Wow.”


“Don’t ask.”

He grinned. “Well, looks like we got ourselves one fine meal. And there’s plates, glasses, silverware … why, Mrs Reynolds, we can pretend we’re eating in a Core restaurant amongst the high and mighty.”


He shrugged, laughing. “It’s all the rage, didn’t you know?”

“That I would pay to see.” She put out the plates, napkins on top.

“No,” Mal said softly. “Ain't no-one ever gonna see you like this. ‘Cept me.” He leaned across and kissed her, his tongue pressing between her lips to meet hers.


She speeded up as they came within view of Serenity.

“Calm down,” he advised. “You’ll see him soon enough.”

“Is it that obvious?”


“I can’t help it. He’s my son, Mal.”

“He’s our son. And I want to see him too.”

She grinned. “We are a pair, aren’t we?”

“That we are.” He pulled her into his side. “Remind me to thank Kaylee, will you?”

“Oh, I’ll be thanking her along with you.” She pushed his hair off his face.

“Feeling better then?”

She sighed happily. “Much.”

“Good. Simon told me I had to bring you back with a smile on your face, otherwise there’d be trouble.”

“That young man is getting very assertive.”

“Must be taking lessons.”

“Who from?”

“Kaylee, I’d guess.”

“No, otherwise he’d be doing the puppy dog eyes.”

“It doesn’t work even when she does them.”


“Well, maybe once in a while.”

Freya laughed, putting her head into the crook of his shoulder as they walked back to the ship.


Ethan and Bethany were in the dining area, sitting at the table. Bethany had a colouring book open and was drawing a moustache and glasses on a picture of a queen, while Ethan was making some wonderful colourful squiggles across a sheet of paper in front of him.

“Hello Auntie Frey,” Bethany said, not looking up. “We’re drawing.” She stuck her tongue out of the side of her mouth, concentrating on getting the beard just right.

“So I can see.” Freya smiled and walked round to her son. “Did you have a good day?”

“Yes thank you.”

“What did you do?”

“Uncle Hank taught me to fly Serenity.”

“Did he now,” Mal said, leaning on the back of his chair. “Where’d you go?”

She looked up and pierced him with her eyes. “Nowhere.” She spoke as if he was being exceptionally stupid.

Freya laughed. “Well, that tells you.”

“It was pretend,” Bethany explained, and went back to her picture.

“Oh, good.” Mal hid a grin. “Just so long as the pair of you don’t crash my boat.”

“Ethan did that.”

Now Mal couldn’t control the laughter. “Did he?”

“That’s what Uncle Hank said. Then Auntie Zoe told him not to put ideas into Ethan’s head.” She glanced at him again, her forehead puzzled. “What ideas?”

“Never you mind.”

“And where are Uncle Hank and Auntie Zoe?” Freya asked.

“Right here,” Hank said, standing up from behind the counter. “Well, one of us is.”

“And you were doing … what, behind there?” Mal asked.



“Zoe’s playing hide and seek with us.”

“Auntie Zoe’s in her bunk asleep,” Bethany said, giving her picture a headful of green hair.

“She is?” Hank looked surprised.

Freya laughed. “Seems like you’re it.”

“Seems that way.”

“How come you ain't playing hide and seek, squirt?” Mal asked Bethany.

“Keeping Ethan company.” She smiled at him. “Drawing.”

“Oh, you’re back.” Simon stepped into the dining area from the direction of the engine room.

“Everything okay?” Mal inquired.

“Everything’s fine. As you can see.”

“And he’s not been any trouble?” Freya wanted to know, squatting down next to her son’s chair and ruffling his hair.

“Good as gold.”

“That’s nice.” He certainly looked okay, to Freya’s maternal eye. He was smiling, his eyes were bright, and he was thoroughly enjoying making a mess of the paper.

Then he lifted his head and saw her, his face lighting up even more. Carefully, he put down his crayon and picked up the paper. He handed it to her, his face mirroring Bethany’s with his tongue stuck out the side.

“For me?” she asked, taking it, turning it around a couple of times to decide which way up looked the best. “Thank you.”

“Dada,” he said clearly.

There was silence in the room.

“What … what did you say?” Freya finally stuttered.

Ethan looked from her to Mal, then held out his arms to the latter. “Dada,” he said again.

“He’s drawn Uncle Mal,” Bethany explained. “His Daddy.”

“I …” Freya’s voice vanished.

Mal couldn’t move. His son had … he’d just … “Ethan?” he said softly. “What d’you want?”

“Dada,” the little boy repeated, his fists opening and closing as he indicated he wanted to be picked up.

Mal walked around the table as if his legs didn’t belong to him, and did as he was told. Nestling his son onto his hip, he looked at Freya. “He …”

She had tears on her face, but a smile across her lips. “Dada,” she whispered, moving close, putting her arms them.

Hank’s jaw was down by his knees, and it was with an effort that he said, “Did he just talk?”

“I think so,” Simon smiled. “And once they start, it’s my experience you have difficulty stopping them.”

“Whoa. Zoe is gonna be so mad she missed this.” A huge grin spread across his features.

“So will Kaylee.”

“Kaylee will what?” asked the young mechanic herself, coming up behind him. “Everything okay?” she asked, seeing Mal and Freya holding their son. “What’s going on?”

“Oh, nothing much,” Hank said. “Ethan just said his first word.”

“He talked?” Kaylee was overjoyed. “What did he say?”

Mal looked across at her, joy on his face, unshed tears of wonder bright in his blue eyes. “Dada,” he said proudly. “My son called me Dada.”

Simon smiled. Ah well, another Machiavellian plan out of the window.


Wednesday, May 23, 2007 1:17 AM


Absolutely perfect ending - loved Simon's scheme ending so off target! Another precious raft of fluff in the stormy sea of angst, and well done as always.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007 6:18 AM


Thanks Jane0904, that was awesome and absolutely PERFECT! Loved it, loved it, LOVED it! And Ethan said his first word, and got it right too, calling Mal 'Dada'. Wonderful. I laughed earlier at Simon hoping Ethan would call Jayne Dada just so he could see the look on Mal's face. Hmm, methinks Simon's is an evil laugh though fate conspired against him this time, thank goodness. So happy to have some Mal/Freya goodness with no near death experiences or looming torture and such. And Ethan is happy and well, what more could a body want? MORE, that's what! Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Wednesday, May 23, 2007 9:24 AM


This was so perfect. Mal and Freya's banter was dead-on and I love the idea of Kaylee waking Simon up to get his help. And of course, the method she used - bwhahaha!

Plus, Bethany and Ethan are just adorable. And Yay for Ethan's first word!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007 12:55 PM


Utter brilliance, Jane0904...simply utter brilliance:D

Between Kaylee's mehtod of persuading Simon to help out in her plan for Mal and Inara, to the picnic itself to Ehan just getting ever the more cuter by saying his first word (and what a word!)...I was tearing up for all kinds of reasons;)

Though it would have been interesting to have seen Mal's reaction had Ethan called Jayne "Dada" first;D


Friday, May 25, 2007 5:49 AM


Whoops...just noticed Freudian slipped and said Ma/Inara, instead of Mal/Freya. I feel so embarrased:


Just sub Freya in for Inara (like you already have, Jane0904;D) and everything should be shiny;)



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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!]