Playing Parts - Part IX
Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Maya. Post-BDM. There's a fight in town, and the girls back on Serenity are concerned.


Act IV cont – Amity

Simon dragged Mal out from under the pile, narrowly avoiding a fist aimed at his head. “I think we should leave,” he said loudly.

“Couldn’t agree more.” Mal kicked someone in the crotch, who fell away, holding the affected area and keening. “Get the others.” He sidestepped a couple pummelling each other on the floor, coming up behind Jayne but staying out of arm’s length. “We’re going,” he shouted above the noise.

“Aw, hell, Mal,” the big man said, grabbing two heads and banging them together, dropping the resultant bodies like ragdolls. “It’s just a fight.”

“And they’re passengers. Come on, get them and let’s get out.” Mal elbowed a man trying to pull him around and felt cartilage burst in his nose.

“Mal …”

“Just do it!”


“Guns?” Zoe suggested.

Freya shook her head slightly. “I don’t know …”

River came out onto the catwalk above them, quiet as a ghost.


Simon ducked as a bottle was swung at his head, getting in two jabs to the belly that caused his assailant to drop the improvised weapon, gasping for air. Stepping back he felt rather than saw someone fall forwards, onto the bottle, and heard the crack of broken glass. He winced, reaching down to turn the injured man over, but someone grabbed him and pulled him backwards off his feet.


Kaylee stared out into the black. “Someone hurt?” she asked.


“Thought you promised Zoe you wouldn’t gamble,” Mal said, pulling a man intent on throttling him off his pilot.

“She ain’t here!” Hank wheezed.

“So it …” Mal paused, throwing an uppercut that could have shattered teeth. “So it only counts when she’s around?”

“I wasn’t cheating!” Hank ducked a chair.

“People don’t seem to believe you.” Someone hit him a glancing blow to the side, and he kicked back, hearing a howl.

“Don’t I look honest?” He noted a coin on the floor and bent down, thus avoiding a body thrown into the bar.

Mal grabbed him. “Hank. It’s time to leave.”


“Frey, if they need help –“ Zoe began, turning to go and get her weapon.

The other woman grabbed her arm. “No. I don’t think …” She shook her head.

River suddenly laughed, and most of the women turned to look up at her in surprise. “Jayne’s winning.”


The big man laid into the men trying to stamp on Simon with the remains of a table, grinning broadly.

“Doc, gotta go,” he said, grabbing him by the shirt front and hauling him upright.

“Thanks,” Simon muttered, letting Jayne clear a path through the melee. He almost collided with Mal and Hank in the doorway as they too made their escape. “What about the actors –“

Mal stopped, staring. Theo and the others were already outside in the cool air.

“How’d you –“ Mal began. “No, don’t bother.”

“Practice,” Theo said succinctly.

“Come on. Better get back to Serenity ‘fore some fool calls the local Feds.”


“Are they okay?” Inara asked, her hand to her chest.

“At the moment,” Freya said darkly. “Can’t they, just once, go for a drink and not get into a fight?”

Zoe chuckled. “Our men? You think that’s likely?”


“They’re gonna kill us, aren’t they?” Hank said, his words slurring a little from the punch in the mouth he took. He ran his tongue around his teeth, checking they were all still there.

“Probably,” Simon agreed.

“Can’t we lie? Say we fell over? A lot?”

“I somehow think they’re not likely to believe us.”

“No. I think you’re probably right.” Hank sighed. “And I wasn’t cheating. Don’t have to.”

“Hank, I think you need to learn to lose once in a while.”

“Nope,” the pilot said, shaking his head. “Not going to gamble again. Promised Zoe. And I mean it.”

Simon raised an eyebrow at him.

Ahead of them, Mal was walking with Theo. “Sorry about that,” he said.

“Not your fault.” Theo smiled. “I haven’t been in a good fight for a long time. Glad to know I haven’t lost my touch.” He blew on his bruised knuckles. “Not that Etta’s going to be very pleased.”

“Oh, I think that’s the least of our worries.” Mal nodded towards the bright light washing out of Serenity’s cargo bay. “The very least.”

Freya stood at the top of the ramp, her hands on her hips.

“We have returned,” Jayne said, grinning widely, his arm wrapped around Toby’s shoulders as they appeared out of the darkness.

“Bruised, bloodied but unbowed,” the young man added, his accent even more pronounced.

Jayne nodded. “Upheld the honour of Serenity.” He staggered a little as they made their way up the ramp, but recovered gamely.

Freya waved her hand in front of her as they drew level. “You smell like you’ve been rolling in alcohol.”

“Prob’ly have,” Jayne admitted. “Someone threw a jug or two. Was a fight.” He grinned up at River but was met by an icy stare.

“I know,” Freya said.

Mal stepped towards her. “Not much of a one, in case you were worrying. Just an honest brawl.”

“I thought you went with them so this didn’t happen?”

“It really wasn’t much, Frey.” He came further into the light and she could see the collar of his shirt was torn.

She reached up to pluck at it. “It was enough.” Then she noticed the trickle of blood from the cut on his forehead. “Oh, Mal.”

“It’s just a scratch.” Still, he didn’t mind her hand resting on his cheek.

“Thought you were a goner,” Jayne put in, leaning over the table and snagging one of the remaining cookies. “Seeing that chair come down on ya like that.”

“Hey, they’re not yours!” Kaylee said indignantly, grabbing the tin and putting the lid back on.

“Always knew you kept a secret stash,” the big man mumbled over a full mouth. “Just couldn’t ever find it.”

She glared at him.

“Chair?” Freya asked pointedly.

“The infirmary’s not big enough for everyone,” Simon said quickly before another fight broke out. “If you all wait out here, I’ll bring my kit.” He hurried out.

“Sure thing, doc,” Mal said, looking around.

“I'm fine,” Hank said, wiping his mouth.

“You’re not.” Zoe lifted his chin. “And how did this start, anyway?”

Hank shrugged as best he could. “Damned if I know.” Zoe’s eyes narrowed but she didn’t comment.

Simon was soon back with his bag, a pack of swabs and some distilled water. “Here,” he said, holding out some swabs and the bottle. “Clean up what you can and I’ll take a look at the rest.” He looked around. “You first, Jayne.”

“Why me?”

“Because you’ve got the beginnings of a wonderful black eye.”

“Spoils of war, doc.”

“I can take it down, but it would be quicker if I could find some leeches.”

“Leeches?” Jayne took a step back.

“They’re still the best method of reducing the excess blood.”

“You ain't putting them things on me. Walked through a river once, had them. Came out with ‘em all over me. And I mean all over.” He shuddered. “No way.”

“Well, since I don’t actually have any in stock, and since I don’t think Mal’s going to give me time to go searching the local ponds, I have the feeling your sensibilities aren’t going to be damaged.”

Jayne glared at him. “You’re trying to use long words on me. Thinking I’ll just turn tail and run. Ain't gonna happen, doc.”

Simon sighed. “Just sit down. I’ll take you all in turn.”

“And who’s gonna see to your injuries?” Mal asked. “You’re favouring your side, and that suggests someone might’ve hit you.”

The young man touched his ribs and winced. “A knee, I think. And I’ll deal with it later.” He saw a flash of concern cross Kaylee’s face.

“Nope, that’s not the way it’s gonna be,” Mal said firmly. “You get seen to first, then you deal with us. Not having you pass out while you’re stitching me up.”

“You don’t need stitches.”

“Good to know, but you’re still getting dealt with first. Jump on up.” He patted the table and grinned.

Simon paled. “I'm not having you poking around my –“

Mal laughed. “Simon, I got by without a medic on my boat for a while before you arrived. I can run a scanner over you, see if you’ve busted anything.”

“I haven’t.”

“Let me be the judge. Just for once.”

Freya crossed her arms. “Simon, let him. He likes to play with toys once in a while.”

It looked as if he was going to argue, but finally the young doctor hitched himself up onto the table top. “Warm your hands,” he ordered, pulling his shirt out from his pants.


“Hank, you fit enough to fly?” Mal said finally after his crew and the actors had been seen to.


“Then get us gone. I don’t think anyone called the Feds, but I’d rather be out of atmo before someone grows a brain. And it’s not like we were hiding. Not playing parts like we were. I conjure people might know who we are.”

“I am sorry, Captain,” Theo said as Hank headed for the bridge. “We honestly didn’t want anyone to get hurt.”

Mal smiled a little, feeling the tug of the weave on his forehead. “Yeah, well, no-one did. Not really. But I think our next performance is gonna be enhanced by some rainbow bruises.”

“I’ll get out the make-up.” He waved his hands in a brushing motion, and most of his actors exited the cargo bay towards their rooms. Etta put her arm around his waist and they followed.

“Make-up?” Jayne grimaced. “Rather have the leeches.”

“That can be arranged,” Simon said, picking up his bag.

“You leave that,” Kaylee ordered. “You’re going to take a hot shower and then you’re going to bed. You’ve done enough for tonight.”

“Don’t worry,” Inara added. “I’ll clean up.” She started to gather up the used medical supplies.

“Thanks.” Simon followed his wife back towards their quarters, Noni trailing after them.

“The rest of you’d better get to bed too,” Mal ordered. “Zoe, take your other half off the bridge soon as he gets us on course to Whitefall. I can –“

“No, you can’t,” Freya said firmly. “The autopilot can handle this. You’re for your bunk.”

He raised an eyebrow. “You ordering me around?”

“Yes.” She stepped closer. “And I think, just for tonight, you’re going to let me.”

A smile curved his lips. “Think I might at that.” He took her hand and they walked up the stairs together, Zoe laughing quietly to herself and following them. A moment later Serenity juddered as Hank got them off the ground.

Jayne sighed deeply, scratching his chest. “Guess that means me too,” he said, looking up at River on the catwalk, then stopped as she turned around and walked into the shuttle, closing the door firmly behind her. “Or maybe not.”

Toby chuckled. “She locking you out?”

“Doesn’t like me fighting when she can’t join in,” Jayne explained. “It don’t matter. I’ll sleep in the common area. Done it before.”

“You could always join me.”

Inara, still collecting used swabs, held her breath.

Jayne looked at the young man. “Join you?”

“In my bunk.”

The air seemed to shimmer with tension, and Inara began to wonder if she shouldn’t call Mal back, in case there was bloodshed. Then Jayne laughed. “Toby, you just ain't my type.”

“Are you sure?” He put his hand on the mercenary’s arm.

Inara bit her lip, waiting for Jayne to erupt.

Instead he just shook his head. “Yep, sure. My type’s up there in that shuttle. Even if she has thrown me out tonight.”

Toby smiled. “Well, if you change your mind, my door will be open.” He patted Jayne’s bicep then headed for his bed.

Inara released the breath she’d been holding. “Jayne, why …”

The big man twisted his head a little to look at Inara. “You thought I was gonna kill him?”

“I wondered. What you said to Mal. When he was wearing that costume.”

“Ain't the same, ‘Nara. I know Mal. What he’s like. Idea that he might …” He shuddered a little. “‘Sides, Toby’ll be getting off soon, Mal won’t. Can’t have the Cap thinking I'm gonna fall into bed with him whenever he likes.”

“I somehow don’t think that’s occurred to him.”

Jayne stretched, and grunted a little as a few aches made themselves known. “He didn’t mean it, neither.”

“No, I suppose not.” Inara studied him. “We were afraid River might get … jealous.”

“Ain’t nothing to get that way about.”

“In her condition –“

“You mean like she did over Dana?”

“We were … worried.”

Jayne leaned on the table. “’Nara, she didn’t have to be with Dana. Even less with Toby. He’s a good guy – I like him. He ain't so fey as the rest of ‘em, no matter how he gets his kicks. But I ain’t like that. Ain't never liked a man in that fashion.”

“I know.” She shook her head, smiling. “Jayne, you never fail to amaze me.”

“Kinda the point, don’t you think?” He stood straight. “I'm going to sleep. If you see River, and she’s changed her mind, tell her where I am.”

“Of course.” She watched as Jayne strolled through towards the common area, and considered that people really could be surprising.

Nineteen minutes later, as the ship settled down, speeding the crew through the black on their way to Whitefall, Jayne felt a slim hand curl around his. He opened his eyes to see River standing like a wraith in front of him, her pale skin accentuated by the dark hair falling around her face. She pulled lightly, and he got to his feet.



“No more fighting when I'm not there.”

“Didn’t exactly plan on it.”


“I’ll try.”

“Shiny.” Her lips curved sweetly. “Bed?”

“Sure.” He grinned, picking her up easily and holding her to his chest as he carried her back to their shuttle.


“Got it!” Polka shouted, almost emulating her name and dancing for joy.

“Got what, Pol?” Mikel stuck his head through the bridge doorway.

“All systems are up and running!”

“That’s great! Are we going to make Whitefall?”

Polka shook her head. “Not this time. But Borodin, for sure.” She sighed, collapsing back into the pilot’s chair. “Thank God for that. I thought I was going to have to give up.”

“You?” Mikel smiled, ruffling her short hair. “Never.”

“Sweet talker.” She turned in the seat and looked at him. “Better go tell Janith, hadn’t you?”

He shrugged. “Yeah. In a minute.”

“Come on, Mike. We know. We all know. It’s not as if you keep it quiet.”

He blushed. “It’s just … it’s fun.”

“You take care with her,” Polka said, standing up and looking into his eyes. “There’s something about Janith I don’t trust.”

“She’s fine!” Mikel insisted. “And she cares about me.”

“Maybe. Just … I don’t want you to get hurt.” She touched his cheek, then pushed at his shoulder. “Go on, get out of here. I need to get us moving.”

“I’m going, I'm going.” Mikel paused in the doorway. “You know, I think she might be the one.” He smiled and disappeared.

“Hope not,” Polka said to herself. “Really and truly hope not.”

to be continued


Tuesday, November 6, 2007 3:26 AM


Glad to see everybody got to keep their own teeth after the fight. You describe the unimportant, casual moments so well. Glad to see more of this story.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007 3:39 AM


Lovely, as always! Glad nothing worse than a few black eyes and busted lips happened in this little bar brawl! :D

Tuesday, November 6, 2007 4:10 AM


I like Polka, she echoes my sentiments exactly. And oh dear, Hank doesn't learn that his gambling always ends in trouble? You would think he would try to be more responsible seeing as how when things go pear shaped it is always the crew getting dragged into it. Hope he sees that and really tries to quit with the gambling. Also, very happy Mal wanted them off that world, I would have done the same. On the ground Serenity is vulnerable and we don't want our heroes landlocked. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Tuesday, November 6, 2007 5:20 AM


Laughed and laughed at River. All the other women gushing over scratches and bruises, and River's mad about what? NO fighting when I'm not there. THis was a great read! Not that I expect anything else from you :)


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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!]