Not There Yet - Part VIII
Monday, June 11, 2007

Maya. Post-BDM. The operation is under way, while the rest of the crew wait. Thanks for all your comments - please keep them coming!


Jayne opened the door to the shed, smiling slightly at the sign outside. ‘Kaylee’s Workshop’, it said, with flowers painted all around. “She don’t change,” he muttered. Putting on the light he stood back. “Want me to stay with you?” he asked.

River shook her head. “We’ll be fine. But don’t go too far.”

“I’ll wait out here,” he said, taking the lead from Bethany. “Keep the little’uns company.”

River handed Ethan to him. “Thank you, bao bei.” She kissed his cheek. “Leave the door open a bit.”

“’Kay. Any idea how long?”

She shook her head. “As long as it takes.” She looked down at the little girl. “Come on, Bethie,” she said. “We have work to do.”


It was hard. Harder than ever he imagined it would be. He’d been through a war, seen men with bits missing, guts hanging out, pieces that he couldn’t even identify lying wetly on the ground. But this …

“Cap’n?” Kaylee said softly.

“I’m okay, mei-mei,” he replied. “It’s just …”



Simon turned off the saw and lifted out the bone end. He sighed in relief. “Good.”

“Now what, doc?” Mal asked, watching him place it in a bowl, the water turning pink around it.

“I have to remove the calcification, before I fit the replacement.”

“Is it going to be as noisy?”

The young doctor nodded, selecting a new tool from the tray. “Yes.”

Mal took Freya’s hand in his. Even though he knew she couldn’t tell, it was a comfort. To him, admittedly, but still … “You’re doing good, doc,” he said quietly.


River reached into her pocket and removed a small leather pouch.

“What’s that?” Bethany asked, perched on a high stool.

“It belongs to Auntie Frey,” River said, tipping the contents into her palm. She handed it to the little girl.

“What is it?” Bethany turned the small disc over in her fingers, examining the rough casting either side.

“When Freya was young, younger even than me, she had a friend. A man who taught her how to control her powers.”

“A friend?”

River nodded. “A teacher, just like she’s teaching us.”

“I have friends.” Bethany shuddered involuntarily.

“No, Bethie,” River said firmly. “You concentrate on me. On that.” She pointed to the medallion. “That’s what Freya had to do. Concentrate on it. Don’t let anything else into your mind. Try to make it change colour, shape, fly around the air and do handstands.”

Bethany managed a small smile. “Can’t do that, Auntie River.”


“That’s silly.”

“Why don’t you try?”

“Don’t know how.” Bethany glanced out of the door to where Jayne was sitting on the step, then beyond him.

“No, honey. You don’t think about that.” River put her hand under the girl’s chin, pulling it back around so that she could look into her eyes. “This is how we help her.” She took the coin, laying it flat on the workbench. “So, can you make it move?”

Bethany shook her head. “No.”

“Have you tried?”

“Auntie River …”

“For me, Bethie.”

For a long moment it looked like she might argue, but finally Bethany slowly nodded. “Show me,” she said softly.

River smiled. “Like this.”


The grinding had set his teeth on edge, and from the paleness of Kaylee’s face she felt the same. But finally Simon was satisfied. He stood up, and Kaylee dabbed the sweat from his forehead.

“Done?” Mal asked.

“With that part.” Simon reached into a second bowl and lifted out the replacement bone. It glinted silver in the blue light.

“You sure it’s gonna fit?”

Simon smiled slightly. “Hank brought back a selection. So if anyone else needs one, I may well have the right size.”

“Hope we never have to find out, doc.”

“So do I.” Moving the femur that remained in Freya’s thigh away from the muscle, he slid the new section into place. “And before you ask, I’ll pin it.”

“Thanks.” He winced as Simon picked up a drill. “More noise?”

“Sorry, yes.”

“Can I have ear plugs?”

“It won’t help.”


Jayne could hear the soft murmur of voices from inside the shed, mixing with the laughter and music from further off. A couple of times he’d glanced over his shoulder, but the two girls had been staring at something on the wooden worktop, and didn’t notice him.

Ethan grabbed at his t-shirt, grinning at the picture of a half naked woman on the front.

“Hey, that ain't yours,” Jayne said, moving his hand away. “And you shouldn’t be thinkin’ about that kinda thing, not at your age.”

Ethan gurgled, waving his arms around.

“And don’t you worry none. Your momma’s gonna be fine,” Jayne said, bouncing the little boy on his knee. “Only she’d kinda like you to talk to her. So I’d be grateful if you’d consider it.”

Down on the earth by his feet Fiddler scratched his ear with his back foot, then began to investigate his hind quarters with his teeth, snuffling loudly.

“Don’t have to be much,” Jayne went on. “Just callin’ her Mama’d make her day. Hell, even if you called Mal Mama I think it’d make her smile.”

“What’s going on, Jayne?” Zoe asked, walking across the open ground towards him, Hank at her side. “Where are the others?”

Jayne looked up and scratched at his beard. “Well, River ‘n’ the squirt are inside here. Having a lesson in not peekin’. As for the rest …”

“Something’s going on, isn’t it?” Hank said. “I can feel it.”

“It catching?” Jayne glared at him. “Something about being psychic making us all like that?”

River appeared in the doorway. “Sorry. Bethany was projecting a little,” she said softly.

“So something is up,” Zoe added.

River nodded.

“I don’t think I want to be psychic,” Hank added. “It’s like an itch you can’t scratch.”

“Imagine having that itch all the time,” River pointed out.

Hank shuddered. “Um, no thanks.”

Zoe ignored him. “River, what’s going on?”

“Simon’s operating on Freya.”

“And when was the Captain planning on telling us?”

“He wasn't. Not until it was over. He didn’t want you to worry.”

Hank’s mouth dropped open. “He thought we could just go ahead and enjoy ourselves while she’s … Can I just say that I think he’s a sha gua chun zi?” He started to walk away.

“Where are you going?” Zoe asked.

“You think I'm hanging around here?” He turned to look at them. “You coming, or not?”


Simon’s final stitch pulled the skin together, and he cut the thread. “It’s done,” he said.

Mal looked down at the eight inch line of tiny, even stitches. “Is it going to … is Freya all right?”

“She’ll be fine.” The young doctor wiped around the incision with a sterile swab, then gently pressed a dressing into place.

“And … the rest?”

Simon glanced up. “Let’s take that as it comes.”

“Sure, doc.” He smoothed Freya’s hair. “When’ll she be out of it?”

“Soon. I’ll keep her medicated, just to keep the pain down.”

“Is it going to be bad?”

“It’s a major operation, Mal.” Simon pulled the gown back down.

“That’s a yes, then.”

“We’ll control it.” The young man smiled slightly. “But this is Freya.”

“Meaning she’ll be up and about before the day’s out?” Mal’s lips twitched. “Better consider keeping her doped, then, doc. ‘Cause you ain't wrong about her.”

“Cap’n,” Kaylee said softly. “Look.”

Mal glanced at her, then looked out into the common area. Somehow he wasn't surprised to see his crew out there, waiting quietly, patiently. He crossed to the door and leaned on it, affecting nonchalance. “Party over, is it?” he asked.

“No sir,” Zoe said. She jiggled Ethan slightly on her hip. “We just wanted to … be here.”

Bethany let go of Jayne’s hand. “Auntie Frey’s asleep,” she said, walking towards her uncle. “She’s dreaming about you.”

Mal smiled a little. “Good dreams?”

The little girl nodded. “But I won’t look again. It hurt.”

Mal snapped the gloves off his hands and dropped them to the floor. He lifted her into his arms. “That’s good. But you will. I know it, and so does your Auntie Frey.” He sighed. “Do you know how long it took for your Auntie Frey to learn not to peek?”

Bethany shook her head. “No.”

“No, neither do I. ‘Cause she hasn’t stopped yet. Some days I can’t get a sentence out ‘cause she’s already read it in my mind.”

Bethany giggled, and so much of the tension in the room eased. “Auntie Frey’s naughty.”

“That she is. And I’ll tell her so when she wakes up.” He looked into her large brown eyes. “Point is, even Frey can’t control it all the time. But she tries. And you have to.”

“I’ll try, Uncle Mal.” She touched his cheek. “I love my captain,” she whispered.

Mal felt himself choking up. “Always good to know.”


“Don’t think I could ever’ve been a doctor,” Kaylee said softly, her face in Simon’s shoulder. “Seeing what you do, cutting people open, sewing ‘em back up … I didn’t throw up, but it was a close thing.”

Bao bei, I couldn’t fix Serenity.” He hugged her closer.

They were sitting in the common area so that Simon was close by, waiting for Freya to wake up. She wasn't alone, though. Mal couldn’t have been shifted from her side with dynamite. The rest of the crew had been persuaded to head back to the party and let the Fryes know what had happened.

“Fixing Serenity ain't like mending people, Simon. What you do … I'm so proud of you.” She lifted her head and kissed his cheek.

“It seems like we’re all gifted about something,” her husband considered. “Even Jayne.”

“There’s nothing wrong with Jayne.”

“No. Maybe I’m coming round to that point of view.”

She sat up and stared into his blue eyes. “You kidding?”

He had to smile. “No, actually I'm not. I don’t think we’ll ever be bosom buddies –“ He ignored the slight snort of laughter she gave at his choice of words. “– but perhaps, maybe, underneath it all, he’s okay.”

“Wow.” She shook her head. “That’s such a glowing recommendation.”

“That’s as good as you’re going to get.”

“You know that pride I just mentioned?” Kaylee said, leaning forwards so her lips were just a breath from his. “Getting bigger every minute.”

“That’s nice.” He shifted just enough so that they were kissing.

In the infirmary Mal moved forward. Freya’s eyelashes were twitching, and as he watched her lids lifted. “Hey,” he said softly.

“Hey.” She smiled, her gaze still full of sleep. “Everything okay?”

“Everything’s shiny,” he said, resting on his elbow by her head so that he could look into her face. “Simon’s done a good job.”

“Good.” She ran her tongue around the inside of her mouth. “Thirsty,” she whispered.

Mal picked up the cup and straw, holding it to her lips so she could take a sip. “Just a bit,” he said.

“I feel … woolly.” She tried to lift herself up.

“Whoa, no, you just lay back,” Mal insisted. “You ain't going anywhere for a while.”

“I just wanted to check …” She wiggled her toes, and despite a grimace as pain made itself known, she sighed happily.

“Afraid it wasn't there no more?” he asked, understanding her completely.

“A little bit.” She looked into his eyes. “Can’t help being a coward, Mal.”

“You? My beautiful, strong, wonderful wife? A coward?” He stroked her forehead. “You’re going to have to start reading that dictionary again, find a new word.”

She smiled.

“You could have told me my patient was awake,” Simon said, stepping into the infirmary.

“Just this minute.” Mal grinned. “’Sides, can’t a man have a few minutes alone with his woman?”

“And that’s out of the question for at least a month,” Simon added pointedly.

“You always say that.”

Simon grinned, looking like the young man he really was. “I do, don’t I? And one day, you might actually listen.”

“Nope. Shouldn’t think that’s likely in the slightest.” Mal looked back down at the woman on the bed. “Not when it’s Frey we’re talking about.”

to be concluded


Monday, June 11, 2007 3:54 AM


Hands down favorite line: "I love my captain." Beautiful from start to finish!

Monday, June 11, 2007 7:52 AM


"I love my Captain" too, and am so relieved the operation went well though we all know you can't get a better doctor than Simon (thank goodness). Loved little Bethie and all the dialogue was shiny. Not sure I could have stood the bone saw and drill and such cutting into Freya but when you love someone as deeply as Mal loves his wife it's a small price to pay. Hope she gets well soon and there are no complications. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Monday, June 11, 2007 9:28 AM


I loved Bethie in this (big surprise) and I'm glad that Mal finally admitted that even Freya can't always control her powers. It's important that the little one knows they all know it isn't easy.

So wonderful!

Monday, June 11, 2007 11:28 AM


My brother sells "replacement part's (but his specialty is spine hardware, not legs or hips) and he get to occasionally go into the operating room and observe the operations and says it is very, very noisy. I think you've given me a good idea about what he hears there. I couldn't do it.

Of course I loved Bethany and I loved this exchange between Mal and Simon

"Mal grinned. “’Sides, can’t a man have a few minutes alone with his woman?”

“And that’s out of the question for at least a month,” Simon added pointedly.

“You always say that.”

So very Mal and so very Simon.

Monday, June 11, 2007 12:16 PM


Other than imagining the noises coming from the various surgical tools - I imagined the noise of the tools used to remove my braces and clean the teeth off of glue residue and plaque magnified by at least 10...really disquieting:S - I was definitely in love with this chapter! Bethany was especially in fine form, since her "I love my captain" line just had me turn to mush:D

And I knew Bethie was projecting...even a little bit! Poor girl's gonna have one hell of a time in her life, since if she's outstripping River and Freya for her abilities at age 2...the Academy will soon want her:(


Monday, June 11, 2007 5:13 PM


Interesting look into the psychic workings of the ladies. Glad to see some solutions coming to their problems. Great job as always!


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[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!]