Thin Ice - Part VII
Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Maya. Post-BDM. Mal has a surprise for Freya, and one of the puppies has a surprise for Jayne ... Please, read and comment - it makes my day!


“Mal was looking for me, apparently,” Freya said as Inara opened the door for her.

“So I understand.”

“Do you know where he is?”

“I think he’s upstairs. In the south-east corner room.”

Freya had to smile a little. “The one Kaylee calls the ballroom?”

“I don’t think it’s big enough for that, but yes.”

“What’s he doing up there?”

“I wondered if one of the main beams was rotten, and he offered to take a look for me.” She waved her hand airily. “I don’t think he’s come down yet.”

“Okay. Thanks.”

Inara watched her friend climb the stairs, and smiled.

“Madam?” Mrs Boden stood in the doorway to the other part of the house. “Will you be wanting tea now?”

“I don’t …” She stopped. “You know, yes, I think we will. In the kitchen.”

“Madam?” If Mrs Boden could have looked shocked, it must surely have been then.

“In the kitchen. And we can talk.”

“Talk, Madam?”

“I want to know all about you. How you and Mr Boden met. What you’ve been doing all these years.”

Mrs Boden’s lips tightened just a little. “I’m sure Madam wouldn’t find it very interesting …”

Inara took the older woman’s arm. “And I think it will be fascinating. Do you have any of those wonderful biscuits?”

“I … yes, Madam. I made a fresh batch this morning.”

“Good.” Inara patted her hand. “You know, I’m going to end up as big as a house if I’m not careful, with all your wonderful food.”

Mrs Boden preened a little. “Thank you, Madam. But, if you don’t mind me saying, I don’t think you need to worry about your weight.”

Inara smiled at her. “Well, perhaps you can make us a pot of tea while we discuss ways to make sure I don’t.”

“Yes, Madam,” Mrs Boden said, allowing herself to be escorted back to her domain.


“Mal?” Freya reached the top floor, wondering what the diyu was going on. Inara had Mr Boden to fix things - what did she need Mal to look at?

“In here, xin gan.” Mal’s voice drifted through the closed doors from the corner room.

She slid them open. “What’s going …” Her voice failed.

The room was filled with late flowers, some in planters and tubs, others in vases full to overflowing. The scent was intoxicating. Mal stood in the centre of the floor, a smile on his lips. “Do you like it?” He held his arms out. “Took most of the crew the day to gather them.”

“They’re … it’s beautiful.” She was still in shock. “Um … why?”

He grinned. “For you, Frey.” He stepped closer. “I know we had a picnic just a few days ago. But that wasn’t our wedding anniversary, bao bei.” He took her hand and led her towards the blanket spread across the floor.

“Our …” She swallowed. “I thought you’d -”

“That I’d forgotten?” He smiled and shook his head. “Frey, I’m just sorry we weren’t able to celebrate our first.”

“No. There were other things going on at the time,” she admitted.

“Yeah, like you being just a bit pregnant.” He pulled her down onto the rug with him.

“Not just that. We were a bit busy.” She looked around at the tall purple spikes of flowers, the large white daisies ... “Mal, did you do all this for me?”

“All for you, ai ren.” He nodded towards a bottle of champagne in an ice bucket, two glasses sitting ready. “I’d got this idea before we were manoeuvred into it before, so I’m sorry it ain’t that much of a surprise.”

“It … Mal, it’s wonderful.” Her eyes were filling.

“You likely to cry?” he asked.

“Quite possibly.”

“Well, I’m kinda prepared.” He dragged two white handkerchiefs from his pocket, placing them next to him. “And I got more if needed.”

She smiled. “Oh, Mal.”

He grinned. “Frey, you oughtta know by now there ain’t nothing I wouldn’t do for you.” He leaned over and kissed her gently, feeling her hands in his hair, pulling him closer. He broke the kiss and moved back. “Now hold hard, there,” he said. “There’s more.”

She ran her hand down his chest. “More?” Her fingertips trailed across his groin.

“Yeah, well, there’s that,” he admitted, feeling a very pleasant shiver run through him. “But there’s also this.” He reached behind one of the vases and picked something up. “For my wife,” he said, placing it into her hand.

She looked down at the tooled leather box. “Mal …”

“I appreciate that you ain’t had that much time to get me anything, and I do understand that -” He stopped as she pressed her lips to his. When she let him up for air, he knew the blood was pumping pretty hard. “You … ah … ain’t even looked at it yet.”

“I love you,” she said softly, undoing the bottom button of her shirt and reaching inside.

“What’s that?” he asked as she held out a box.

“Not as fancy as this,” she said quietly. “But it’s with all my love.”

He took it, noticing his hand was shaking just a little. It was still warm from being next to her flesh. “When did you …”

“Wayborn.” She smiled at him. “Open it.”

He took a deep breath. “No. You first.”

“Okay.” She lifted the lid. “Oh, Mal.” Inside the box, on a lining of red satin, lay a fine silver chain bracelet, a single charm hanging from it.

Mal lifted it out and fixed it around Freya’s wrist. “For my pirate queen.”

She studied the small skull and crossbones. “You know Bethany is going to be all green-eyed over this.”

“Maybe we’ll get her one for her birthday.” He grinned. “You have no idea how hard it was to find.” He squeezed her hand. “And I’ll get you a new one, every anniversary, until there’s no more space. Then we’ll start on something else.”

“You intend to keep me around that long?”

“For ever, my xin gan.” He kissed her deeply, her body lifting up to his.

“You … you’d better open mine,” she said finally, leaning against his chest. “I hope you like it.”

“I know I will.” He kissed the tip of her nose, and opened the box.

“You don’t have to wear it if you don’t want to,” Freya said quickly, noting the stillness on his face. “I just thought … with what you’ve been saying … I …” She swallowed. “I’m sorry.”

“What are you apologising for?” he asked, looking up at her.

“I … you don’t like it.”

Mal shook his head slowly. “I do so. I get the feeling you know me better than I know myself sometimes,” he whispered. “You gonna put it on me?”

With fingers that shook slightly, she lifted the chain from the box, undoing the clasp and reaching around Mal’s neck.

He could smell her, the personal scent that filled his world and made his entire being wanting to give thanks for her.

“There,” she said, sitting back.

He looked down at the small gold cross hanging on his chest. “I love you, Frey,” he said softly.

“I love you too, Mal.”

He reached for her, pressing her back onto the blanket, about to show the ‘verse just how much he cared.

“What about the others?” she asked, teasing him as he put his hand inside her shirt, stroking her flesh.

“Ain’t inviting them to come and watch.” He slid his fingers around her waist, knowing her tattoo was bright and pulsing.

“That wasn’t what I meant.”

“So what did you mean?” He licked the skin down to between her breasts.

“Well, if they helped with all this, does that mean …” Her breath caught. “Does that … wu de mah.”

“They’ll be along later,” Mal agreed, nuzzling the shirt further open before looking up into her eyes. “But right now this is our time. You and me. Our wedding anniversary.”

She held his face. “Thank you.”

“No.” His blue eyes were firm. “Thank you. For making my life complete.” He paused. “Does that sound too … sentimental?”

“Depends on if you meant it.”

“Every word, Mrs Reynolds.”

“Then it sounds just perfect.” She pulled him to her. “Mr Reynolds.”

“Captain, if you don’t mind.”

“Oh, I don’t mind at all.”


Later that evening …

“That looks marvellous on you, Zoe.”

“I didn’t think it would. Not really my colour.”

“But it is.”

“I said the same. Just a little while back. You know, I offered to buy her a dress, but she said no.”

“Better things to spend coin on, dear.”

“Oh, I don’t think so.”


“God, that looks familiar.”

“What is it?”

“Did Mal make it?”

“I think I’ll pass.”

“You’re not allowed to.”

“It’s eating the spoon.”

“Just swallow it down.”

“I think my throat’s closed up.”


“So I told my Ma we’d be by.”

“How’d she take it?”

“Happy as can be. I think she’s making a party.”


“It won’t be as big as our wedding, silly.”

“I hope not.”

“It’s just there’s a lot of us Fryes, and we like the chance to meet up, eat too much, that kinda thing.”

“You are rather … intimidating en masse.”

“No we ain’t. We just overwhelmed you, is all.”


“Mal said yes?”

“That he did. We can move in soon as you like.”

“So you’re going to …”

“You gotta problem with that, doc?”

“No, no. It … sounds shiny.”

“Can I make it look more like home?”

“Sure, moonbrain.”

“Can I paint it pink?”

“No, look, that’s something the Cap said specific that … Oh. You’re winding me up.”

“Just a little.”

“You’re gonna pay for that.”

“Only if you can catch me.”

“You gonna run fast?”


“Oh, please.”


“So he was pleased?”

“Very. His daughter is now ready and able to go out into society and take her place amongst the best of them.”

“Must be pretty much the first time you got paid without getting naked.”



“As it happens, it wasn’t.”



“Something going on here I don’t know about?”

“Probably quite a lot, actually.”

“I think, as captain -”

“I think as captain you’d be better off not asking.”

“That bad?”


“Got any idea yet?”

“Ideas, yes. But nothing concrete”

“So more tests?”

“A few.”

“She’s complaining she feels like a pin cushion as it is.”

“I’ll figure it out, Mal.”

“See that you do.”


“Dance with me.”

“I don’t dance.”

“You do. I seem to recall a story being told of you dancing with someone once and ending up married.”

“I wasn’t married.”


“No. That I kinda saved for you.”


“When you finally said yes.”

“I thought I was the one doing the chasing.”

“Well, then when I stopped being stupid.”

“Okay. That I’ll accept.”

“Wanna go to bed?”

“The night’s young.”

“And so are we.”


“Mal! That damn puppy you bought has got out!” Jayne’s outraged voice filled the upper level.

“Why my puppy?” the captain asked, heading for the bridge.

“Well, it ain’t the one I got.” Jayne stuck his head out of his bunk. “And it damn well crapped in my boot.”

“It did what?” Mal paused.

Jayne thumped the offending footwear down on the decking. “Crapped in my gorram boot.”

“How, Jayne?” Mal’s nose wrinkled as the odour reached it. “How does a puppy climb down into your bunk?”

“I don’t …” A look of aggrieved understanding crossed the big man’s face. “I’m gonna kill him.”

“Kill who?”

“Hank. That son of a -”

“You don’t know it was him.”

“I’m pretty damn sure it was.”

Mal sighed. He’d had a good afternoon with Freya, then the party on Serenity in the evening had made everyone feel mellow and happy. Now he had to deal with a slight hangover and Jayne threatening murder. “You can’t prove it.”

“Fingerprints.” Jayne climbed the rest of the way out.


“’N’ … ‘n’ pawprints. Soon figure out which hwoon dahn got which dog to do this.”

“Jayne, you bought one of them.”

“I didn’t expect it to crap in my bunk!”

“That’s what dogs do.”

“Well, it ain’t right.”

“Probably not.”

“Don’t know why you’re so all-fire happy. Could be your boot next time.”

“At least you realised before you put your boot on.” There was a pause. “You did realise.”


Mal tried hard not to laugh, but it bubbled out of him. “You mean you put your foot into …”

“It ain’t funny, Mal!” The big man held out one of his socks. “Means I gotta do laundry.”

Mal backed up a pace. “Oh, no, it doesn’t. You ain’t putting that through our machines.”

“But Mal -”

“Take it down to the lake and wash it. Like they used to do on Earth-that-was. Beat it on a rock or something.”

“Mal -”

“I ain’t joking. I find you put that sock through the laundry, I might just have to change my mind over you having the shuttle.”

“But I told everyone already.”

“Your choice.”

Jayne stared, then muttered something obscene. “’Kay,” he grumbled.

“Good. You’d better go get it seen to.” Mal headed for the bridge.

“Just tell Hank when I find him, he ain’t gonna have to worry about having any more kids,” Jayne threatened, stomping down the stairs in his bare feet.

“Jayne says you don’t have to have to worry about having more kids,” Mal said, apparently to an empty bridge.

Hank lifted his head from the lower bay. “I heard.”

“Did you?”

“Did I what?”

“Encourage a certain animal to relieve itself in Jayne’s boot.”

“Didn’t need no encouragement, Mal. Something about it just kinda cried out to her.”

“So it was his puppy?”

“Oh, yeah, Mal. I wouldn’t do that with the one you got.”

“Good to know. And I’m thinking it won’t happen again.”

“Absolutely not.” Hank shook his head vehemently.

Mal sat down in the pilot’s seat. “You know, I’m beginning to go back to my original opinion. Spaceships ain’t a place for dogs.”

“It wasn’t her fault, Mal,” Hank said, joining him.

“Not saying it was. But I seem to recall that two dogs tend to encourage each other, without any help from people.”

“Are you thinking about not letting the squirt keep ‘em?”

“I don’t know,” Mal admitted. “Thinkin’ on it.”

“It’d break her heart, Mal.”

“I know.” He sighed. “Only thinking.” He looked out into the morning sunshine, and felt the hangover pounding a little behind his eyes. “Get word to Pickett okay?”

“Yeah. He’s happy for us to get there in a week, so we’re gonna be able to spend a coupla days on Phoros.”

“Good.” Mal squeezed the bridge of his nose. “Good. Now, just so long as Kaylee can make good on her own deadline …”

Outside, in the corridor, Bethany was leaning against the bulkhead, tears running down her cheeks.

to be concluded


Wednesday, May 30, 2007 7:22 AM


Mal - that meanie! Bethie is going to throw a fit over not being able to keep her puppies. I wonder if she'll run to Inara and threaten not to leave unless the dogs can come with them.

I loved the beginning with Mal and Freya - it was supersweet, but just right. And I can't wait for Kaylee's family to overwhelm Simon once again!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007 8:01 AM


Oh God, why do I think Bethie's not crying over the dogs? What has she seen?!! Might be completely off track here, but can't wait to see how it plays out!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007 9:04 AM


I have to agree with slumming and say that I don't think Bethie's current emotional state is based on Mal giving a passing thought or two about having her give up the puppies. Honestly, I think Bethany's powers are probably of a magnitude higher than River's, what with both her parents having passive psychic skills, and she's seen somehtng from farther along than her aunt can:(

Still...Jayne! Oh I how I cackled manically! And I gotta say Inara still have her charm skills in proper order;)


Wednesday, May 30, 2007 9:27 AM


Loved the chapter, especially the first part with Mal and Freya. And Jayne, he cracks me up!

Poor Bethany, it must be both a blessing and a curse to have those powers.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007 1:29 PM


Absolutely adored the Mal/Freya goodness and almost cracked a rib laughing at Jayne and the puppy mess in his gorram boot! Oh my, Hank may have to hide out in a monastery. As for little Bethie, no way do I think she would believe Mal would get rid of the puppies, I'm agreeing with the others that she has seen something else. Something so not good that she can't hold back the tears. I just hope whatever the good gorram it is the crew can fix it. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Wednesday, May 30, 2007 2:23 PM


Oops, well, I guess I missed the obvious on that one didn't I? It makes sense that Bethie would be crying over something far more serious than the puppies ... we have been awfully angst free for quite a while - haven't we Jane0904?


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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!]