Lifesize - Part I
Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Maya. Post-BDM. A shortish story, so shortish chapters. Mal makes a discovery in the cargo bay. NEW STORY


River was singing. Just quietly. Not loud enough to wake the ghosts, but just enough to keep her company as she began work.

“Albatross?” It was Mal, and he sounded concerned. “You in there?”

She didn’t look up, just carried on. “No.”

“Right. So I should just go looking for River someplace else, right?”


“Only … are they my best sheets?” Mal stared at the white cotton walls in front of him, curtaining off a goodly portion of the side of the cargo bay.


“Ah. I was just asking as there’s a couple of ‘em looks like they’re slightly pink, and I seem to recall Kaylee accidentally putting in one of her T’s with the laundry that time and we were sleeping on blushing bed linen for a month.”

“They weren't doing anything.”

“No, no, I conjure you’re right about that. Not likely to be tap-dancing around the galley. But they were clean.”

“Still clean.”

“But not as likely to get used if they’re hanging up here.” He stepped forward. “What’re you doing in there?”


“Then why –“

“If you ask any more questions I might get cross, and if I get cross it’s not good for my hormone levels,” River pointed out.

“Maybe not, but this kinda thing ain't exactly good for my own blood pressure.”

River stuck her head out between two of the sheets, like a magician about to perform an amazing trick. “Nothing to worry about.” She smiled brilliantly then vanished again.

“Mal …” Simon stepped hesitantly out of the common area. “Is there something going on that I might need to know about?”

Serenity’s captain turned to look at him. “That depends. Your sister often creates a room for herself, does she?”

“You mean River’s –“

“Inside. Yes.”

“River?” He moved closer.

“Go away.” She didn’t sound angry, more … resigned.

“What are you doing, mei-mei?”


“Then why can’t I come in and –“ He reached out a hand to twitch the sheet aside, but she was faster. In a moment she had stepped through the slight overlap and grabbed his wrist.

“Nothing for you to see,” she said, smiling at him.

Simon glanced at Mal, who shrugged. He turned back to his sister. “Um … you’re hurting me, River.”

She let go, grabbing his fingers lightly and pressing her lips briefly to his hand. “Kiss it better,” she said, then slipped behind the curtain again.

“Can you see from above?” Simon asked, rubbing his wrist absently and looking up the stairs.

“Nope. She’s managed to sling the sheets across to make a roof as well. Not quite sure how she managed that in her condition, but –“

“I'm only pregnant,” River’s voice drifted out to them. “Not incapable.”

“You checked her hormones this morning?” Mal asked, crossing his arms.

“Well, no, but I was busy changing the dressings on Kaylee’s hands, and …” His voice trailed off.

“You know, every day I come more and more to the conclusion that shipboard romances are just plain wrong.” Mal shook his head and tutted.

“I'm presuming you’re not including yourself in that conclusion.”

Mal smiled at Simon’s dry tone. “Probably not.” He glanced over the young doctor’s shoulder. “Did it look to you like River had paint on her?”

Simon was startled. “Well, I didn’t …” He looked at his wrist. There were streaks of colour rubbed into his skin where his sister had grabbed him and he’d massaged the bruises. He held it up. “Paint,” he agreed.

“River, honey, are you painting?” Mal called, careful not to get too close to the curtain, not wanting to end up black and blue himself.

“Might be.”

“Can we see?”

“No. Not finished. Only just started.”

A thought occurred to him. “Are you painting the bulkhead?”

“No.” They could hear her sigh heavily.

“Only Jayne mentioned something once about you wanting the bay to be sky blue or something …”

“I have canvas,” she said, as if she was talking to a somewhat slow and recalcitrant child. “Left over from Theo’s troupe. He said I could have it for painting. As a thank you.”

“Well, that backdrop you did for him was surely wonderful,” Mal conceded. “Only you don’t have to paint behind there. And we’d all like to watch you.”

“Wouldn’t be right. Not until it’s ready.”

Freya walked down the stairs. “Mal? What’s going on?”

“River’s painting,” he explained, watching her intently as he had done the past few weeks. “Only she won’t tell us what it is.”

She didn’t comment on his gaze, just calling out towards River, “Honey?”

This time the sigh from inside the sheets was much more dramatic. “I have work to do, so I would appreciate it if you could all go away and let me get on with it!”

Freya took a deep breath and looked at the two men. “You know, I think she might have a point. Come on. I think I need a coffee.”

“No, look, I really need to –“

She didn’t let Simon finish. “Coffee. Now. Or I’ll get hormonal.”


“Cap, what’s going on in the cargo bay?” Kaylee asked as the others entered the galley.

Bao-bei, what do you think you’re doing?” Simon rushed forward and took the coffee pot out of his wife’s hands where she was awkwardly trying to pour herself a cup.

“What does it look like?” She held up her hands, the bandages wrapped tightly around them. “If you weren't so … efficient, I could actually do something.”

“Kaylee, those burns were deep. You need to keep them covered so the cream can work properly.” He pushed her gently towards the table. “I’ll get the coffee.”

“Mine’s black,” Mal said, sitting down. “So’s Frey’s.”

Simon gave him one of the looks he’d perfected over the years, but took four mugs out of the cupboard, even as Freya grinned at him.

“I don’t know why she up and bit me,” Kaylee said as she took her chair. “Serenity’s usually pretty good at telling me when something’s going to go before it goes. Can’t have been listening.”

“My fault,” Freya said softly. “I know you’ve all been keeping an eye on me since Three Hills, and I don’t doubt you weren't concentrating as much as you should.”

Kaylee blushed a little. “Well, maybe a bit. But it’s ‘cause we care.”

“I know that.” She smiled at the younger woman.

“But burning me was a bit much. And while I was trying to fix her, too."

“I'm sure she’s sorry. Bethie says she is.”

“I know.” Kaylee chuckled. “Sometimes I think that daughter of mine hears more than I do.”

“Just so long as nothing else busts while you’re out of commission,” Mal put in.

“Only a few more days, then I should be able to get back to her. And Hank did a grand job once I’d told him what to do.”

“You know, maybe you should hold a few lessons,” Mal said, considering. “The basics of Firefly maintenance, that kinda thing.”

“I could.” Kaylee bit her lip. “Frey’s pretty good anyway at picking up stuff, and Hank … and of course, River’s a natural at most stuff –“

“Aren’t we here to talk about River?” Simon interrupted, bringing over two mugs of coffee and putting them down, one for Kaylee and one for Freya.

“Well, I guess that depends on whether you think she’s like to be a danger to herself or anyone else,” Mal said. “You think maybe we left Sam back on Lazarus too soon?”

“She’s not crazy!” Simon insisted, putting the other two mugs a little more forcefully down on the table than was warranted, then wilted a little under Mal’s glare. “Well, no more than usual. And I don’t think Sam can help with this. It’s the pregnancy.”

“I kinda figured that, doc.”

“And she’s not exactly hurting anyone here,” Freya pointed out reasonably. “I mean, she even promised she wasn't painting the wall.”

“I'm just not sure why she doesn’t want us seeing this painting,” Simon added.

Mal considered, then turned to his wife. “Can you … look?”

“Apart from the fact that I'm trying to be good and not peek, no. River’s way too staticy for me to get anywhere near her. And she’s blocking me anyway.”

“How about we ask her?” Kaylee suggested, then sank down a little in her seat at the looks from her husband and her captain. “Okay. I guess we did that already.”

“I think we just have to wait,” Freya added. “Let her get whatever it is out of her system.”

“’Sides, it’s only a painting,” Kaylee pointed out. “How long can it take to do?”

to be continued


Tuesday, December 18, 2007 4:26 AM


Am eager to see what River's painting! Looking forward to more.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007 6:18 AM


“’Sides, it’s only a painting,” Kaylee pointed out. “How long can it take to do?”

You mean before you asked that, or after? Seriously, Kaylee, that's like saying "At least it can't get any worse." Now she's gonna be painting until Christmas Day!

Love it as usual. We need some fluff after all the angst, and you usually mix it up quite well. Thanks!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007 6:20 AM


This is a cute little start. Loved the way you wrote River here.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007 7:38 AM


I loved this. At least River isn't crazy but determined that no one's going to see that painting until she's ready and I can't wait to "see" it either.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007 9:14 AM


A mystery! Oh, I love mysteries!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007 2:33 PM


I have a feeling that River is painting the baby to come. Just a feeling, and no, I didn't peek! Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me


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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!]

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"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!]

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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!]