Lifesize - Part III
Thursday, December 20, 2007

Maya. Post-BDM. River's still painting while Jayne stands guard, but she's about to let Mal into her secret. NEW CHAPTER


River woke up in the semi-darkness of the shuttle, and as always let her mind run through the ship, making sure everything was okay, nothing needed killing, and people weren't doing something they shouldn’t. Her nose wrinkled at what her brother and his wife were up to in the infirmary – even temporarily without the use of her hands Kaylee was still able to make him moan – but everything else seemed fine.

She touched her belly, her psyche circling down to the child growing within. Sleeping at the moment. She smiled. She knew the sex, of course, and Jayne had finally got up the courage to ask her, and she’d told him, but she was pretty sure no-one else knew. Even Freya had been careful not to peek.

She sighed and let the static wash back over her. It was getting more and more difficult to see through it, and it always made the bridge of her nose hurt when she tried, but it was her job to make sure the crew were safe.

Sitting up, she stretched a little, aware of a certain emptiness inside. Hungry. Her eyes fell on the plate of sandwiches next to the bed, and she grinned. With quick fingers she pulled it onto her lap and ripped off the clear plastic covering, devouring the food almost before she had a chance to savour it. She smiled, though. Kaylee must have been involved somewhere along the line, since the fake-chicken protein slices had a thin layer of her mother’s relish on, making it taste nearly real.

As the last morsel disappeared down her throat, she lay back, satisfied for the moment. Then she sat up abruptly, swinging her legs over the side of the bunk. Jumping to her feet she grabbed the dress she had taken off only five hours, thirteen minutes and seven seconds before – or thereabouts – and ran out of the shuttle.

Skidding to a halt on the catwalk, grasping the handrail tightly, she looked over.

“Hi,” Jayne said, smiling up at her.

“Hi.” She released the railing and started down the stairs.

“You thought I was asleep?”

“I wasn’t sure.” She fiddled with her dress. “Did anyone …”

“Nope. Your bro was hanging around for a while, but I sent him away with a flea in his ear, and he ain't come back. Frey brought me some food, but that was it.”

“She didn’t try and persuade you to let her look?”

“She trusts you, River.”

She nodded seriously. “She does.” Putting her head on one side, she looked at him. “Do you want to see?”

“Not ‘less you want to show me.”

“It’s not ready yet.” She bit her lip.

“Then I can wait. Hell, you know I can do that.”

“Are you going to stand guard while I work?”

“Ain't got nothing better I wanna do, so I'm figuring I’ll stay put.”

She hugged him, her belly pressed into him so he could feel his off-spring. “I love you, Jayne.”

“Love you too, moonbrain.” He nodded towards the curtain. “Better get on with it, though, ‘fore you give your brother a heart attack or something.”

“It won’t fail – his heart’s strong.”

“You keep an eye on him?”

“On everyone.”

He hugged her. “That’s good.” Kissing her gently on the lips, as if he’d been doing it all his life, he let her go. “Go on,” he said softly. “Got work to do.”

She flashed him a wonderful, loving smile, and dipped back into the curtains.


“How’s it going?” Freya asked, an hour later, carrying Jesse through to the infirmary for her monthly check-up.

“Coming along.” Jayne eased his backside on the crate. Not that it helped. His ass was in serious danger of falling asleep.

“Have you seen it yet?”

“Nope. Don’t want to. Not ‘til she’s ready.”

Freya smiled. “You’re a good man, Jayne.”

He grunted. “Don’t go telling anyone, Frey. Don’t do my rep any good to hear you saying that about me. ‘Specially since it ain't true.”

She patted him on the arm and went on her way, Jesse gurgling and blowing bubbles at her Uncle Jayne over her mother’s shoulder.


Mei-mei?” Simon stood a distance outside the linen wall, his scanner in his hand.

“She’s busy,” Jayne said, startling him since he’d had his eyes closed, doing an excellent impression of having fallen into a doze.

“I know that.”

“Then why’re you bothering her?”

“I wanted to test her blood.”

“Is it gonna matter if it’s not done today?” Jayne asked, opening his blue eyes.

“Well –“

“I mean, Frey ain't worried. So I'm figuring neither should you.”

“But –“

“She’s promised not to kill anyone. Not ‘less she posts a sign first.”

Simon’s jaw slammed shut, then he managed to grind out, “She’s my sister, Jayne.”

“And she’s my woman. You leave her be ‘til she finishes, dong mah?” He glared at the young man until he went away, muttering to himself.

“Thank you,” River said.

“You’re welcome.”


“Uncle Jayne, are you going to play with us?” Bethie stood in front of the big man, looking up into his face. Ethan was next to her, grasping her hand.

“What’re you playing?” Jayne asked.

“Hide’n’seek.” The little girl smiled. “Now Ben’s started to walk, it’s fun.”

“You mean he’s hiding from Zoe?”

“Uncle Hank’s looking for him right now. It’s time for his bath.” The smile grew wider. “Uncle Jayne, I didn’t know Uncle Hank knew some of those words.”

Jayne chuckled. “Your Uncle Hank knows a damn sight more of ‘em than he lets on. ‘N’ I think we need to keep it secret that you heard.”

“Is that good?” Ethan asked.

“It is for us.” He leaned forward, looking into the little boy’s blue eyes. “But don’t go telling your Pa we know. That makes it more fun too.”

“’Kay, Uncle Jayne.”

Are you going to play with us?” Bethie asked again.

“Well, I’m kinda busy right now.”

“You’re sitting.”

“That can be being busy too.”

“If I sit Momma asks if I want her to find me something to do,” she pointed out.

“That’s ‘cause she’s your Momma. And I'm a grown man.”

“Doesn’t stop you playing with us.”

“That’s true.”

“Are you going to play with your baby?” Ethan asked.

“Sure am.”

“And us?”

“All o’ you.” There was the faint noise of a pilot calling mournfully for his son. “Now, you two’d better go get Ben from his hiding place ‘fore Uncle Hank gets into too much trouble.”

Bethany smiled. “Too late for that.”

“Auntie Zoe?”

“Auntie Zoe,” the little girl confirmed.

“Well, you can earn them brownie points and find Ben for ‘em.”

“Okay, Uncle Jayne.” She stretched up and kissed his cheek before skipping off, Ethan running with her.

A hand slid down his chest, the arm it was attached to coming out between the gap in the curtains. “You are going to make such a good father,” River said softly.

“I just talk to ‘em, is all.”

“Like they’re grown up.”

“Is that the trick?”

“They love you.”

“They’re okay.” He grabbed her hand and brought it to his lips. “How much longer, girl? I'm gonna have this crate embedded in my cheeks if I don’t get the circulation going again.”

“Not long.” She stroked his face and disappeared back inside her studio.

He sighed. “Long as it takes,” he muttered, easing himself again. “Long as it takes.”


“Jayne, go take a rest.” Mal walked down the stairs.

The big man shook his head. “Sorry, but I got my orders. No-one gets inside ‘til moonbrain’s ready.”

“I'm not going inside. In fact, I’ll stand watch for a while.” He chuckled. “And it’s not my idea, if that’s what you’re wondering.”


Mal nodded. “She thinks you need to be relieved.”

“Well, I could do with going for a –“

“She meant for you to take a break.”

Jayne stood up, wincing slightly as his legs complained. “You want Vera?” He held out the Callahan.

“You’re letting me hold her?” Mal was almost shocked.

“Only for a while. Don’t go getting too attached.”

“You offered her to me once, remember? When –“

“This ain't the time to be bringing that up,” Jayne interrupted quickly, glancing over his shoulder. “Just … don’t drop her or nothing.”

Mal took the gun. “I won’t.”

Jayne didn’t look convinced, but strode off towards the john outside the guest quarters.

“I know about that,” River’s voice came out, like an unseen spirit. “How he offered you Vera in exchange for Saffron.”

“I’ve wondered whether I shouldn’t’ve said yes,” Mal admitted, perching his buttocks on the warm crate. “Mainly I wondered that as I fell to the floor unconscious.”

“The goodnight kiss.”


“He forgets I know these things. It worries him I might get angry.”

“Does it?”

River slid out of the curtains. “No.” She stroked her belly. “He loves me now. More even than Vera.”

“That’s saying something, albatross.”

She sat down next to him. “We fit.”

“I think you do.” He risked a look through the gap in the sheets, but he couldn’t see anything. “So … how close are you to being done?”

“It’s finished.”

He stared at her in surprise. “Really? That’s great.”

“It was finished two hours ago.”

“Two …” Mal’s brows drew together. “Why haven’t you told anyone, River?”

“Because I’ve been trying to make a decision.”

“What kind of decision?”

“Whether to destroy it or not.”

Mal put Vera down on the deck, very carefully. “Destroy it.” He sat back up straight and put his hands on the young woman’s shoulders, turning her so he could look into her dark eyes. “You’ve just spent the better part of two days painting. You’ve threatened my entire crew, almost worn yourself down to a frazzle, given your brother a heart attack –“

“No attack,” she muttered, dropping her face.

“- and now you’re saying you might destroy it?” He shook his head. “You want to explain this to me, preferably in captain-dummy talk.”

She wouldn’t look at him. “It’s not safe.”

“Okay, that’s too much dummy. Elaborate. Just a little.”

She stood up and held out her hand. “Come and see.”

to be concluded


Thursday, December 20, 2007 4:11 AM


I am really wondering what she painted.

You also have some gems of dialog here that are too numerous to mention.

Thursday, December 20, 2007 4:30 AM


Okay, now the suspense is getting me! How can a painting be dangerous? Well, she said it's not safe, not that it's dangerous.
Aside, I really enjoy the relationship you've painted, lol, between Jayne and River. Somehow it just fits, to use River's term. It reads as honest, and true. The best way!

Thursday, December 20, 2007 4:45 AM


It's been finished 2 hours and we have to wait for another chapter. Thats not nice.

Thursday, December 20, 2007 5:12 AM


Ack! What a place to stop! More please!

Thursday, December 20, 2007 12:55 PM


Hmm, got to wonder why River thinks the painting isn't safe. Hope it's not the one in Ghostbusters, that wasn't just creepifying, it was downright evil. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Thursday, December 20, 2007 4:37 PM


So did River draw them a picture of the future? If trying to avoid the future, they cause it to happen that way? Guess we gotta wait till tomotrrow.


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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!]

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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!]