Lifesize - Part II
Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Maya. Post-BDM. River is painting, but won't let anyone see. NEW CHAPTER


“What was that comment you made, mei-mei?” Mal asked, leaning on the catwalk and looking down at the shrouded area of his cargo bay. “Only I think you said something about it not taking that long.”

Kaylee sighed. “I just thought, you know, a small picture …”

“The Old Masters back on Earth-that-was used to take months to do something that would fit in your pocket,” Freya said, standing next to them with Hank and Zoe in attendance.

“Frey, that ain't helping.” Mal exhaled heavily. “And she’s been under there near twenty-four hours. Don’t she need to sleep? Eat? Use the bathroom, or something?”

“Mal, I really don’t think you want to follow that train of thought,” his wife said.

“You mean …” Several looks crossed his face, from concern to disgust, stopping for a moment to curse his imagination in between.

“Told you.”

“That’s …” He shook himself. “You know, I really think I’ve had about enough of this.” He stood up straight. “I’m captain. This is my boat. I fought the Alliance, I fought Reavers … hell, I even stared down Badger on a bad day. A ninety-pound girl ain’t gonna tell me what to do.”

“Kaylee, does Simon have plenty of bandages on hand?” Zoe asked, turning to the young mechanic.

“Sure, but … oh.” Kaylee nodded and glanced at Mal. “Plenty,” she agreed.

“She won’t hurt me,” Mal said, stalking down the stairs.

“You can swear to that, can you?” Freya followed, every one else trailing behind.

“She won’t hurt me.” He stopped outside the curtains. “River, sweetheart, you need to come out of there.”

There was no sound. Not even breathing.

“Are we sure she’s in there?” Kaylee whispered.

“Why are you whispering?” Hank responded, dropping his own voice nevertheless.

“I … it just seemed … but are we? Sure?”

“Go away.” River’s voice made them all jump.

Mal took a deep breath. “River, if you don’t come out, then I'm going to have to come in there.”

“Mal.” Freya wasn’t pleading. Yet.


“So not a good idea.”

He threw her an annoyed look and turned back to the curtain. “I'm gonna count to five, River. One, two –“

“Kaylee, go get Jayne. Before there’s blood spilled,” Zoe directed.

“I'm already here,” the big man said, standing on the catwalk above them. “What’s goin’ on?”

“Mal’s playing at being captain,” Hank explained.

“I'm not playing!” Mal crossed his arms.

“What’s … Mal?” Simon asked, stepping into the cargo bay. “I heard voices.”

“Have you checked your sister’s hormone levels since this started?” Mal demanded.

“Well, no. She won’t come out, so I –“

“Fine.” He turned back. “River, you know the deal. Pincushion or shuttle. Your choice.”

“I'm busy.” River was sounding increasingly exasperated.

“River …”

“Fine.” A hand snaked out between the curtains, somewhat paint stained. “Check.” Simon stepped quickly forward and pressed his little gadget against her finger. “Ow.”

The hand pulled back again and there was a humming sound, then Simon sighed. “Pretty normal. For a pregnant woman in her sixth month.”

“And for River?” Zoe asked.

“Not bad. Certainly no reason for her to be acting like this.”

“I'm not acting. I'm painting.” Her voice was slightly muffled, as if she had a brush in it.

“Well, I think you should stop now,” Simon said, using the voice he’d always kept in hand at the hospital, for small children who wouldn’t do what they were told. He conveniently forgot that the last time he tried it the little boy had kicked him hard on the shins and run screaming away down the corridor. He hadn’t been able to walk properly for a week.

There was mutterings and grumblings from inside the sheets, but River finally slipped out. She looked something of a mess. Her hair was untidily pulled back from her face, and paint streaked almost every inch of bare skin, while splashes of colour made her dress look like something out of a modern art gallery.

“Well?” she asked, glaring at him, her own arms crossed and her face bearing an expression reminiscent of Mal’s when his temper had grown shorter than usual.

“River, I think we need to lie down for a while.” Simon tried a smile.

Jayne snorted. “Hell, doc, no wonder she never took no notice of you, talking to her like that. She ain’t six.”

“When I was six I hated it too,” River said quietly, her eyes not leaving her brother. “I am busy. If you want to go and lie down, go ahead. I'm sure Kaylee will be only too pleased to join you. But I have things to do.”

Simon looked round at Mal, his eyes beseeching.

Mal glared back, but said, “River, you’ve been doing those things for a while. A break ain't gonna mean you have to stop. Just slow down a little.”

“You’ll look.”

Mal’s eyes involuntarily moved towards the opening in the curtains. “No, we wouldn’t.”

“You would.”

“I promise we won’t.”

She sighed. “Then I don’t have much choice.” But instead of stepping away from the sheets, as they expected, she reached behind her and brought out …

“Where the hell’d she get that?” Mal stared at Vera, looking huge in River’s tiny hands, as Hank and Kaylee took a step backwards. “How did she –“

“No idea,” Simon said unhappily.

Mal turned to Jayne. “Did you get it for her?”

“Nope.” The big man shook his head firmly. “Nothing to do with me.”

“But there was someone watching her all the time.”

“Will’o’the’wisp, that’s my girl,” Jayne said almost proudly.

“She could have brought it with her,” Freya pointed out, sounding far too reasonable for the situation. Stepping forward, she smiled at the young psychic. “River, are you actually planning on shooting anyone today?”

“That depends.” She suppressed a yawn. “I need to rest. But if I do you’ll come in and look, and then the magic will be broken and it will all run away through the gratings and out into space. And I don’t think I have the energy to find it again.”

Mal exchanged a faintly worried glance with Simon. “River, xiao nu, you really need to put that down.”

She shook her head. “Not going to get around me by calling me daughter.” She smiled a little. “Even if I like it.”

“Aw, hell.” Jayne stepped forward. “Here. Give it to me.”


“I ain’t going inside, girl. Just gonna take over while you get yourself a nap.” He held out his hand.

“Promise me you won’t let anyone look?”

He grinned. “Course I do.”

She relaxed. “Thank you, Jayne,” she said formally.

“Anytime.” He took Vera from her fingers and turned around, cradling his very favourite weapon in his arms. “You rest now.”

She reached up onto the tips of her bare toes and kissed his cheek. “I love you,” she whispered into his ear.

“Good. ‘Cause you know I feel the same.” He grinned at her. “Go on, now. Go have a sleep. It’ll all still be here when you get back.”

She stretched, her limbs lengthening like a cat – a somewhat bizarrely pregnant cat, but feline nevertheless. “Good night,” she said, smiling at everyone, before scampering up the stairs to the shuttle.

“Jayne, I don’t know how you did that, but I'm glad you did,” Simon said, exhaling in relief. “Now, let’s see –“ He reached out a hand to move the sheet curtain to one side, but Jayne was suddenly in his face.

“Nope. That ain't happening, doc.”

Simon’s jaw dropped. “What?”

“You wanna do something useful? Get your sis some food so she can eat when she wakes up. But you ain't coming in here.” He planted his feet firmly on the deck.

“But that’s crazy.”

“No, it ain’t.”

“It’s not,” Freya said quietly. “He promised. And you should know by now that Jayne keeps his promises to River.”

“Yes, but –“

“No buts, Simon.” She stepped next to the big mercenary, facing the doctor. “No-one’s going in here. Whatever it is, it’s important to her. So we respect her wishes.”

“Freya –“

“Doc, I think you heard my wife say no,” Mal interrupted. “I don’t know what River’s up to, but thanks to Jayne at least she ain’t gonna drop from exhaustion any time soon, so you just be grateful for small mercies. And do like he says – get her some food.”

Simon looked like he was about to argue, but Kaylee put her arm through his. “Come on,” she said, tugging gently. “I can’t hold a knife yet, so you’re gonna have to cut the bread for me.”

Gingwa cao de liumang,” Simon muttered.

Mal laughed. “You been practicing your swearing lately, doc?”

Kaylee shook her head. “Come on, Simon.” She led him out of the cargo bay and back through the common area.

“You too,” Zoe said to Hank.

“You think there’s gonna be any more fireworks? Only I don’t want to miss them if there are.”

“No more today, dear.”

“Pity.” He followed her up the stairs.

Mal waited until they’d disappeared through the upper doorway before saying, “You really think River’s okay?” and pulling Freya into his embrace. He circled his arms around her waist.

“Didn’t you notice who was missing from this little scene?” she asked, snuggling closer to him, feeling his warmth along the length of her body.

Mal suddenly realised. “The kids.”

“The kids. If there was a problem I think Bethie would be the first one out here. It’s her Auntie River, after all.”

“And Ethan ain’t worried either, is he?”

She smiled, then leaned forward and kissed his mouth, feeling it open a little to her. “Not one bit.” She bit gently at his lower lip. “Soon as she’s ready, she’ll show us.”

“Mal, you think you could take it someplace else?” Jayne complained, sitting down on a crate and stroking Vera. He was looking at them with something approaching nausea. “It ain't natural, the way you two can’t keep your hands off each other.”

Freya laughed. “When you finally get married, you’ll see.”

“It doesn’t stop them now,” Mal put in. “Did I tell you what I saw when I got up for a drink a couple of nights ago? And on the dining table too.” He glared at Jayne, who went pink at the tips of his ears. “Never did see such a sight before.”

“Yeah, right,” Jayne grumbled. “Like I ain't never walked in on you two either.”

“My boat.”

“Ya know, Mal, one day that just ain't gonna wash no more.”

“Not today,” the captain of Serenity said firmly.

to be continued


Wednesday, December 19, 2007 3:35 AM


Yay for loyal Jayne! :D

Wednesday, December 19, 2007 6:19 AM


I really liked this. I hope theres not a big naked Jayne painting behind the sheet.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007 7:37 AM


***laughs at the thought of a painting of naked Jayne***

I can't wait to see what River's painted but I'll wait patiently like the rest of the crew.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007 11:21 AM


“Ya know, Mal, one day that just ain't gonna wash no more.”

“Not today,” the captain of Serenity said firmly

LOved that exchange! This is good!


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!]