The Morning After - REPOST
Sunday, November 11, 2007

Maya. Post-BDM. Complete. Freya and Zoe talk about the morning after a first time, and Mal has a surprise for his wife.


The morning after …

She woke in the unaccustomed position of feeling a body next to her. Someone had an arm draped across her, touching her. She didn’t move, pretended like she was still asleep. Listened. Someone breathing, other than her. And a smell, not like one she’d known before. More … masculine. A man. A man lying next to her, his arm across her waist. Her naked waist. She could feel the hairs on his forearm, and his hand was laying against her side. Against her breast. She opened her eyes. There was enough light coming in through the gap between the old curtains to see the ceiling, so enough to see who it was who had invaded her bed. Enough light to kill him. She moved her head slowly around, to look at the intruder.


Brown hair falling over his forehead. Long lashes twitching on his cheeks. The mouth she remembered whispering her name as he kissed up and down her skin was now open slightly.

It all came flooding back now. The bar. The fight, finishing just as she walked in. The man standing, swaying a little, about to be shot in the back. Couldn’t let that happen. Didn’t let that happen. And when he turned and she saw those blue eyes sparkling at her … she’d always been a sucker for eyes that colour.

Then drinks. Quite a number of them. But they weren’t drunk by any means when they went to that room, took off their clothes and she touched heaven. By the time they finally fell asleep in each other’s arms the night was waning.

“Was it good?” Zoe asked softly.

“I didn’t have much to compare it to,” Freya admitted. “Actually, nothing to compare it to, so as far as I was concerned it was the best.”

“And now?”

“Haven’t changed my mind.”

They were sitting in the room Hank had set up in the lower crew quarters, bringing everything a pregnant woman might need down from their usual bunk. It was a little cramped.

“And yet it didn’t come to anything.” Zoe shook her head. “I knew he could be stubborn sometimes, but this …”

He opened his eyes, and the shock of blue pierced her to the soul again. He smiled, lazily, drawn out, the corners of those eyes crinkling with pleasure as he reached for her, playing her skin like it was some kind of musical instrument, bringing her to a crescendo.

Afterwards they lay tangled together, until he made an excuse to use the bathroom. She moved onto her back, staring up at the ceiling, counting all the cracks and water stains, setting them firmly in her mind so she’d never forget. Then he sidled out of the other room …

Freya sighed. “He couldn’t get dressed fast enough. Pulled on his pants, boots, everything, all without taking more than a glance at me.” She shook her head. “And I didn’t read him. Didn’t want to. I couldn’t bear the thought of finding out he figured it was all a mistake. Oh, he was polite enough. Waited until I was dressed too, then escorted me outside, his hand under my elbow. But I never thought I’d see him again.”

It plainly hurt her to remember. Despite the years she could now look back on being in his bed, being his wife, it still pained her.

“Why didn’t you tell him?” Zoe asked.

“That I woke up that morning and realised I’d fallen in love with a man I’d known around ten hours? Less than half a day? I did.”

Zoe was surprised. “When?”

“Mostly when we were drunk. Last time was … you remember that time we pulled the payroll heist on Abingdon, stole it right out from under the nose of the local Alliance Governor? It was just after I got my own ship.”

“When Jayne got shot in the ass?”

“That’s the one. We all got blind drunk that night, remember?”

“I remember the hangover the next day.”

“I told him again that night. Took his hand and put it on my breast and told him.”

“What did he say?”

“Nothing. Just pretended like he hadn’t heard.”

“He always was good at that selective deafness when he wanted to ignore bad orders.”

“Still is. But then Inara came and …”

“Would you have stepped aside?”

“I did.” Freya looked into her friend’s dark eyes. “It hurt like hell, but I stayed away so they could work it out.”

“He did love you.”

“No. I don’t … I can’t see that.”

“She fogged his mind, Frey. They could have made something if they hadn’t been dancing around each other all the time like they did, but neither of them can truly have believed they were meant to be together.”

“Like you and Wash?”

“I haven’t forgiven you.”

“For what?”

“Sleeping with my husband before I did.”

“He didn’t even know you then!”

“That isn’t the point.”

“I’d say it was exactly the point!”

Zoe smiled. “What was it like waking up next to him?”

“Well, I only did it the once. And really all I can remember is staggering to the sink and throwing up loudly into it. I don’t think it did much for our relationship.”

“You stayed friends, though.”

Freya nodded, remembering the blond man with affection. “That we did.”

“You could have told us. I mean that you knew him.”

“Mal would’ve spaced him.”

“No, he wouldn’t.”

She backtracked a little. “Okay, maybe not. But it would have been awkward. Embarrassing. Besides, you two got together, then Inara … I … it was never the right time.”

“Until it was too late.”

“He was such a good man, Zoe. And he loved you so much.”

“I loved him too,” the dark woman admitted.

There was a pause, then Freya asked brightly, “So what about Wash? That first morning after you‘d made his millennium?”

“Didn’t he tell you?” Zoe asked.

Freya laughed. “Well, yes, but … that was from his point of view. When he was feeling decidedly cold around the top lip.”

“That moustache.” Zoe shook her head. “Gives me a razor as a gift, lets me shave him, then spends the next three weeks complaining.”

“Did he complain the next morning?”

“Nope. He was too busy.”

She opened her eyes and looked into the jaws of a monster. It took a moment for her focus to click back in properly and realise it was one of the toys he’d been buying lately. A T-Rex, she believed, but she could have been wrong. So not her bunk.

Someone was snoring. Not a lot, just a gentle buzzing, broken intermittently by a light snort..

His bunk.

As the memories of the evening before resurfaced, she felt her lips lift. The hot water, the sharp blade, lots of foam that seemed to end up everywhere …

“Merry Christmas, cupcake.”

She looked over. He was watching her, half rolled onto his side towards her. His hair stuck up in every direction, but the lack of any above his mouth made him look so much younger.

“Is it?” she asked, staring at him.

“Figure it must be. ‘Cause I had the best gift ever.”

“I’m glad you liked it.” He was so close, and she could feel the heat coming off his skin. She felt somewhat warm herself.

“Do we get to dance again?” he asked, running his hand up her thigh. “Only I’d kinda like to learn all the steps with you.”

“You know Christmas only comes once a year, don’t you?”

“Yeah. But I know for a fact that you don’t …”

“How did he know you loved him?” Freya asked gently.

“I bought him a dinosaur.”

“Which one?”

“The stegosaurus.”



“True love, then.”

“It was.”

“You know,” Mal said conversationally from the door, “I’m beginning to consider renaming this section of quarters the Maternity Suite.”

The two women looked up at him, the interloper into their quiet time.

“In less than two weeks I shall be giving birth, captain,” Zoe said, trying to sit up a little higher. Freya immediately moved to shift the pillows under her back. “Right now I feel like I’m big as a house, and about as uncomfortable as I’ve ever been. And I include back in the war in that statement.”

Mal’s lips lifted a tad. “Really. That much.”

“Like I’m about to push out an elephant.”

“Hope that ain't the case, Zo, ‘cause I don’t think we’ve got room for one of them. Not ‘less we make Jayne walk the plank.”

“River might object to that,” Freya pointed out.

“Dare say she might.” He glanced down at the two empty plates on the floor. “So did you two ladies enjoy your nice quiet meal?” he asked.

“Yes, thank you, it was delicious.” Freya grinned at him. “Pass our congratulations on to the chef, would you?”

“I’m sure he’ll be delighted.”

“At least someone’s getting some use out of those recipes of Mrs Boden’s,” she went on. “Although I’m oddly disquieted at it being Simon.”

“He sure shows a dab hand at cookery,” Mal agreed.

“Must be something in the attention to detail,” Zoe put in. “Like being a doctor.”

“It’s when he starts carving the meat I get a little jumpy …” Mal admitted.

Freya laughed. “I know what you mean.” Glancing back at Zoe, she saw her friend hiding a yawn behind her hand. “Time we let you get some sleep.”

“I guess I could do with a nap,” Serenity’s first mate said. “This little one kept me up most of last night moving around. You know, even if I wasn’t sure, I could tell this one’s Hank’s.”

“He moves around a lot at night, too?”

“Oh yes. As I figured out the morning after …”


“Frey,” Mal said softly. “Bed.”

She exhaled noisily, then grinned at Zoe. “Hold that thought until tomorrow,” she said, standing up. “Good night.”

“’Night.” Zoe laid her head back and tried to get comfortable.

Mal pushed the door gently across.

“How much did you hear?” Freya asked, letting him walk her up the stairs.

“Oh, not a lot. Only about … 99 percent.”

“You know, one day you’ll eavesdrop and hear something you didn’t want to.”

“Like how you thought I didn’t want you after that night?” He felt her stiffen a little in his arm.

“Well, you didn’t.”

“You know, that’s almost exactly untrue.”


Mal paused at the corner of the stair. “You and that damn tattoo. I wanted you all the more. ‘N’ if we hadn’t been shipping out, seeing you there, outside that crappy hotel, your hair down, I’d’a taken you back upstairs and stripped the clothes right off you again.” He smiled. “And close your mouth. It’s unbecoming in a lady.”

“Why didn’t you say?”

“Because I was afraid.”

“Afraid? Of what?”

“Of making you more important that what I was doing, what I was fighting for. Of thinking of you when I should be thinking of my men. Of planning how I’d take you when I should be planning how to take the next ridge. I looked in the fly-blown mirror in that bathroom, saw what you’d done to me, and I knew I had to ignore you, Frey. Or I wouldn’t survive.” He saw the pain flash across her eyes. “I’m so sorry I hurt you.”

“Apology accepted,” she whispered.

“If I could go back, change things, make it so I did take you back into that bedroom, even if it meant going AWOL, I would.”

“I know, Mal. It’s okay.”

He ploughed ahead. “No, it ain’t. I know how I hurt you, over so many things, over Inara … but I came back to you, xin gan. And I always will until you tell me to stop.”

“I’ll never do that.”

“Good. ‘Cause I wouldn’t listen even if you did.”

He held her tightly, as if his embrace could wipe away all the years he had been too stupid to know his own heart, and she returned it tenfold.

“Mal,” she groaned as his lips found hers.

His hips pressed against hers, and she leaned back into the bulkhead, feeling his burgeoning arousal.

Ai ren,” he whispered into her mouth.

“Here?” she asked as he ran his hand up to cup her breast.

“My boat.” His fingers were busy with the buttons on her pants. “They’d better keep a wide berth, is all.”

Above them, coming down the stairs first, Kaylee caught a glimpse of flesh, and she turned around quickly. “Other way,” she said, pushing Simon and River in front of her.

“What are you talking about?” her husband asked.

“Let’s go the other way round, and maybe I’ll show you.” She grinned.


Some time later, in the small hours of the morning after, River lay in Jayne’s arms, her head on his chest, and laughed softly.

“Wha’s up?” the big man mumbled, half asleep. “You got an itch or something?”

“No. It’s just the ‘verse has got a little bit more right.”

He lifted his head to peer at her in the gloom. “You’re still crazy,” he stated.

“I hope so.”



You must log in to post comments.



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!]