Thin Ice - Part I
Friday, May 25, 2007

Maya. Post-BDM. With Serenity still grounded, there's fun and fluff coming. Mal and Simon chat ... Please be nice and comment, and there may be a 2BF coming up ...


Mal had taken his boots off, and his socks, and was now sitting on the end of the small dock, letting his feel dangle in the water.

“You know, you could go the whole hog and go swimming,” Simon said, walking up behind him.

“Nope, this is fine,” Mal replied.

“You’re virtually healed. It wouldn’t hurt.”

“You can promise that?” Mal smiled as the young man sat down next to him, resting his forearms on his knees and lightly clasping his hands.

“As your doctor I can promise you, light exercise would do you good.”

“Been getting that. Only it wasn't that light.” Mal smirked, and had to stifle a laugh as Simon blushed. “You know, you gotta get that under control.”

“I never had a problem until I came on board your boat.”

“You saying we corrupted you?”

“Big time.”

“Glad we could be of assistance.”

“So you could swim. Unless those scratches on your back have become infected.”

“Nope. That cream of yours seemed to do the trick.”

“And you’ve got no more?”

“You want a blow by blow description of my love life, doc?” Mal asked.

“Not particularly.”

“Then, no. Frey’s calmed a bit the last couple of nights. Now she knows Ethan’s fine.”

“I'm glad.” He truly was, too.

Mal gazed out at the mountains fringing the world. “Sure is pretty here.”

“Yes, it is. I'm not surprised Inara wanted to stay.”

“Oh, I think there’s more than just its good looks, doctor.”

Simon nodded, perfectly aware of the feelings of all involved. He glanced down at the water. “Is it cold?”

Mal shrugged. “It’s okay once you get used to it.”

For a moment the young man paused, then pulled off his shoes and socks, rolling up the bottom of his pants legs. Gingerly he lowered his feet into the water.

Wo de mah!” he muttered.

“Yeah, but it gets better.”


“’Bout the time your toes fall off from frostbite.” Mal wriggled his, looking down at his bare feet. The water was so clear he could see all the way to the bottom. “Fed by the mountains, according to Monty.”

“I can believe that. It’s colder than last time.”

“Fresh snow fallen up there,” Mal said knowledgably. “Autumn’s coming pretty fast. Wouldn’t be surprised if this lake freezes in the winter.”


“Ain't never done it myself.”

“Not even as a boy?” Simon was surprised.

“Shadow never got that cold, least not the part we were. Wet, yeah. I grew up being soaked through for four months outta the year.”

Simon shuddered. He hated getting rained on. “So you never saw snow?”

“’Casionally. Never really lasted, though. Wasn't until I got out to the war that I saw the real stuff. Bit too much of that once in a while.”

Simon didn’t press it. He and Freya had talked before about her experiences, and although she was more forthcoming than the captain, there were parts neither of them were ever going to discuss.

“I used to skate,” he said conversationally. “When I was a boy. There was a pond in the neighbouring estate, and I used to go there on the way home from school.”

“You and your friends?”

“I … didn’t have that many.”


“Don’t be. I knew what I was going to be, and that sort of …”

“Pig-headedness?” Mal suggested, his lips twitching.

Simon amended, “Ambition … well, it can be off-putting to other boys who just want to have a good time.”

“So you went alone.”

“The whole of one winter. In a pair of old skates I found in the attic. I got pretty good.”

“What happened?”

“The ice broke one day. I didn’t realise it had been thinning out, with the spring coming, and I fell in.”

“Your ma stop you?”

“I don’t think she ever found out. I managed to get to my room without anyone noticing, and let my clothes dry in the bathroom.”

“Surprised you didn’t drown, not knowing how to swim and all.”

Simon blushed again. “I’d forgotten everyone knew.”

“Thing like that, you ain't likely to keep a secret.”

“I suppose you can swim.”

“Like a fish.” Mal laughed. “Course, it’d have to be a fish with no tail and only one fin. But least I can stay afloat.”

“I didn’t. If I hadn’t been able to touch bottom I’d be dead.”

“Which would make life far too interesting for the rest of us.” Mal smiled. “Kinda glad you didn’t.”

“Me too.” Simon grinned, then looked along the edge of the lake to where Kaylee was playing with Bethany in the warmer shallows.

Mal followed his line of sight. “Ain't she supposed to be fixing Serenity?”

“She can’t work all the time.”

“We came here so she could get my ship back together. Four more days she said, and that was two days ago. Pickett ain't gonna wait forever.”

“And you expect her to ignore our daughter?”

“Well, no, but –“

“She’s worked damn hard this last week, Mal. I think she deserves some time off. Don’t you?”

Mal’s lips twitched. “You’re getting masterful in your old age.”

“I’m not old.”

“Well, if you intend getting any older, I’d suggest you don’t go ordering me around too often. Once a week is enough.” He held up a hand. “But I take your point. Kaylee needs some fun too.”

“Thanks.” Simon was really grateful. “I mean that.”

“That’s okay.”

They sat in silence, just being company, until the young man licked his lips. “Mal …”


“I …” He didn’t really know how to broach the subject.

“You got something to say, you’d better come out and say it,” Mal advised.

Simon nodded. “I suppose.” He thought for a moment, just making it clear in his mind, then said, “What with Kaylee saying Bethany can hear Serenity, and being so advanced for her years, I thought it would be a good idea to …”

“To what, doctor?”

“I measured Bethany’s IQ.” Simon spoke softly.

“Yeah?” Mal didn’t look at him, just kept staring at the mountains in the far distance. “And what did you figure? Genius?”

“Off the charts.”

Mal hid a smile. “I take it you don’t think that’s a good thing.”

“My father would have said she had to be nurtured, contained, possibly even sent away to a school where they could properly form her mind.”

“And what do you say?”

“I’ll kill anyone that tries.”

Mal turned to look at the young doctor. “Simon, I guess you’ve grown up. And I'm kinda proud of you. No-one’s gonna send Bethie away. Not now. Not ever. There’s the Cortex, you and River … and Kaylee’ll teach her how to be a mechanic, I've no doubt, if she wants. And she’ll grow up in a loving home. No reason for her to be put into one of those schools.”

Simon relaxed a little. “My father’d have it that a genius is of benefit to all mankind.”

“I ain't your father, Simon. As I had cause to tell Jayne just a while back. And your father let River go to the Academy.” Mal leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees. “Is being schooled here, on Serenity, gonna make her unhappy?”

“No. Just the opposite.”

“Then don’t worry none. If she ever feels like she’d being held back, she’ll tell you. Any daughter o’ Kaylee’s ain’t gonna be backward in coming forward. So no worries on that score.”

“I just feel …”

“Simon, if she’s meant to save the ‘verse, I kinda think that’s gonna happen whether she knows how to cuss in Latin or not.”

“I don’t do that.”

“But you know how.”

“Well …”

“And I know damn well I've heard River say stuff that’s probably in a dead language.”

“I want the best for her.”

“So do we all, Simon. And that looks like being here. With us.”

Simon let out the breath he’d been holding. “Thanks, Mal.”

“No need for that. There ain't no-one on that boat don’t love Bethie like she was their own.”

“But I still want to thank you. If it hadn’t been for you, I don’t know where we’d be.”

“That goes back double. You’ve saved our lives – all of us – more’n once. And now with Ethan …”

“It really is all about family for you, isn’t it?”

Mal nodded. “Most important thing of all. Even above freedom. ‘Cause if you ain't got family to share it with, it ain't worth the having.”

Simon’s lips twitched. “Is that so?”

“That it is.” Mal sat back. “So, did you …” He spoke diffidently.



“It’s difficult, as he’s not really talking yet, but there are ways … yes, to some degree.”

Mal grinned. “He ain't a genius.”


“Can’t say I'm surprised. Not with my genes mixed in there.”

“But he is highly intelligent. Works out problems very quickly.”

“Must be his momma’s influence.”


Mal glanced at his hand, the calluses where he’d made the skin hard from drawing and firing a weapon. “I wondered whether the sickness … that he …”

“It didn’t, Mal. The pacemaker … well, Greenleaf’s medics did a good job, and there’s no after effects from that. Nor any discernible from the illness.”

Mal breathed a sigh of relief. “It’s just … I remember someone I knew … their kid got sick, high fever, and the doc there said he’d never be right. That it burned out something in his brain.”

“Nothing like that here, Mal. And I‘ll be keeping an eye on him.”

“Mighty glad to hear that. Freya’ll be singing your praises again too, soon as I tell her.”

Simon smiled a little. “Mal, I’d … if Freya doesn’t mind … I’d like her to take charge of teaching Bethany. River can be too … eclectic.”

“You mean she scatter brains?”

“Sometimes. And now she’s … with Jayne … Bethany needs some kind of order. Not like a school, or being told she can’t do things, but … it’ll help her train her mind too. That control we’re always talking about.”

“Does Kaylee know about this?”

Simon nodded. “We spoke about it last night.”

“Then I'm sure Frey’ll be honoured you asked.”


“I told you. We’re family.” He paused a moment. “Look, I’d be beholden if you could do me a favour in return.”

“Of course.”

“Frey’s still limping. She says it don’t hurt, but … is there anything you can do?”

“I've been keeping an eye on her, but I suppose I could do some deep scans, see if there’s anything I missed.”

“I’d be obliged, Simon.”

“Like you said, Mal, we’re family.”

to be continued


Friday, May 25, 2007 2:13 AM


I really enjoy peaceful Mal/Simon moments. They're hard to find in most fics. Thanks for sharing!

Friday, May 25, 2007 6:26 AM


This was a wonderful conversation between Mal and Simon. It conveyed so much information and emotion in a short span and it's something I could totally see happening, especially considering all they've been through together - and they fact that they're both fathers and husbands with people in their lives more precious to them than any other.


Friday, May 25, 2007 10:39 AM


I absolutely loved this very honest and open conversation between Mal and simon. It was so very nice to have Simon acknowledge and thank Mal for taking him and River in, and to have Mal thank him in return for saving little Ethan's life. Simon hit the nail on the head when he told Mal it was really all about family for him. I agree one hundred percent and thanks for a perfectly wonderful chapter! I also loved them just sitting and dangling their feet in the gorram water, nice to see them both relax for a while. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Friday, May 25, 2007 12:58 PM


Absolutely perfect! And they are right. It's all about family.

Friday, May 25, 2007 5:48 PM


Gah! My comments keep getting eaten!

As I stated before, this was some utterly fabulous work here. Simon's remark about everything with Mal is about family was dead on, as Mal's character is very family-oriented in how he either becomes a close friend or someone you despise because of his habit of either doing everything he can to protect you or do everything he can to stop you dead in your tracks.



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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!]