World Without End - Part IV
Saturday, January 5, 2008

Maya. Post-BDM. Things come to a head in a dark alley. NEW CHAPTER Oh, and AMDOBELL, the stuff are stories already posted here, right back at the beginning. So if anyone wants to read them ...


River shook her head as she looked around the shuttle. So far she’d packed her bag five times, and every time she came back she’d found it empty, her dresses put away, her guns back on the wall. He didn’t want her to go, she understood that. She didn’t want to leave either, didn’t want to tear her soul in two by tearing his, but she wanted more for him to live. To still be around the ‘verse, swearing and shooting, even whoring if his mind took him that way. But to survive.

Undoing the zip on the soft holdall, she picked up her red raggedy jumper, old now but still loved, one of the first things Simon had ever bought for her after he got her out of the Academy. She hugged it tightly, breathing in the scent that now filled it, of the last time she’d worn it, and Jayne had …

She sighed. No. Memories for later. She pushed it into the bag, with the pictures that tried to fill her mind. Taking out an armful of dresses, she began to fold them carefully, wrapping her hairbrush up in one and … she stopped, overwhelmed by a certainty that made her knees want to give way, and she staggered back, dropping what she held to the floor.

“Jayne,” she whispered, both vocally and mentally, but there was no response. Too much static. And too soon. She hadn’t left yet.


They approached Xeno’s, recognisable from the steam coming from the pipes all around the edge of the roof where the geothermal activity that had been tapped was vented to the atmosphere. Although they’d have known it from the smell.

“It doesn’t improve,” Zoe said, waving her hand in front of her face.

“Rotten gorram eggs,” Jayne muttered.

“That’s terraforming for you,” Mal agreed, his own nose trying to pinch up and hide. “Free heat for as long as you want it, long as you don’t mind it stinking.”

”I'm just glad it ain't summer.” Jayne shrugged deeper into his coat. “Can’t hardly walk into the place then.”

Mal could hear the music playing from inside. “Doesn’t stop folks. Only place this side of the quadrant to pick up decent supplies. And even the Reavers don’t seem to bother them.”

“Not surprised. Be enough to knock ‘em out.”

They headed for the door, taking a deep breath of comparatively fresher air before venturing inside, their eyes tearing up immediately.

“Mal!” came a somewhat squeaky voice from the other side of the long counter. “Malcolm Reynolds! You actually made it!”

“Course I did, Xe,” Mal said, blinking hard and advancing into the room, being confronted by a man of his own age, but half the size, his bald head sweating slightly in the humidity.

The original Xeno had lasted long enough to make sufficient money to find someplace less noxious and with more likelihood of decent feminine company, handing the entire kit and kaboodle to his nephew, who took to things like a duck to water. Very few people knew what his name actually was, but he answered to Xeno pretty much as soon as he opened the door for the first time.

“And I see you’re brought Zoe to cheer the place up.” Xeno grinned. They’d met during the war, when he was a supply master, getting just about anything anyone wanted. Although often for a hefty price.

Serenity‘s first mate nodded at him. “Xe. Pretty as ever.”

He laughed, rubbing a hand over his bald pate. “That don’t change. And Jayne. Nice to see you again.”

The mercenary growled, deep in his throat.

“Jayne,” Mal warned.

“Still haven’t forgiven me, huh?” Xeno said, almost sadly. “It wasn’t my fault.”

“Damn near blew up on me.”

“Faulty batch. Killed another feller, so you were lucky. And I gave you your money back.”

“I guess.”

Xeno indicated the room. “So is it only business, or can I tempt you to a little pleasure as well?”

Mal surveyed the tables the other side of the building, the various card games going on, even the couple of women Xeno kept as company. “No, no, pretty much just want our supplies this time. You got them ready?”

“When don’t I?” Xeno smiled and indicated the four large boxes at his feet.

Mal’s brows raised. “More’n I thought.”

“Managed to get you a good deal on those ammo rounds you wanted, so I maxed out on the amount you were willing to spend. Oh, and I got that part little Kaylee was asking about.” He looked behind them towards the door. “Where is that girl?”

“With her children,” Zoe said pointedly.

“She ever gonna realise she’d be better off being with me instead of your medic?”

“I doubt it.” Mal leaned forward. “So how much extra is this gonna cost me?”

“As it happens, only another five. It came off a ship wanting to shift some spare stock, so I was able to get it cheap.”

Mal nodded. “Good. And I’m sure Kaylee’ll be eternally grateful.” He pulled a thin roll of notes from his back pocket, and began peeling several off. “Jayne, better head back and get the old mule. We ain’t gonna be able to carry this by ourselves.”

“Okay, Mal.” The big man turned and strode back out into the sleet, letting in a gust of fresh air that was regretfully cut off all too soon.

“How do you stand it?” Zoe asked, trying not to breathe through her nose.

Xeno shrugged. “It warms up later in the year.”

“No, I didn’t mean … oh, never mind.”


“Mama?” Ethan looked up from the cookie he was eating, his food radar having told him chocolate was being bandied about. “What is it?”

Freya was staring into the distance. “I … don’t know.”

“Frey?” Kaylee reached out, touched her hand.

“Where’s River?” Freya asked, intensely annoyed at the static that was making her feel almost blind.

“I don’t … where are you going?”

Freya jumped the steps out of the galley. “Just keep an eye on the kids, will you?”


“She’s coming.” He held the com unit close to his mouth so that no-one was likely to overhear.


“She’s left the ship and she’s heading your way.”

“On her own?”

“On her own and underdressed for this kinda weather. You won’t be able to miss her.”

The man on the other end chuckled. “Easy money.”

“Yeah.” He moved out to follow their prey.


Freya ran to the shuttle. “River?” she called, ducking inside. She glanced around, at the clothing on the bed, the half-packed bag, but the distinct lack of pregnant young women. “Gorramit.” She was about to leave, to search the rest of the ship, when a thread of something icy ran down her painted spine, making the hairs on the back of her neck stand on end.

Mal, she thought strongly, trying to reach out to him, but the painkillers Simon had been giving her and the lack of sleep seemed to have blunted her ability, and she couldn’t reach him. The feeling of urgency growing exponentially every second, Freya grabbed one of Jayne’s guns from the wall and a handful of ammunition, and ran out into the bay.


River wasn’t sure of the way to Xeno’s, so let her instincts guide her. Her dress had been soaked through with sleet as soon as she'd stepped off Serenity, and she was shivering, but she ignored her discomfort. Even the mud splattering up her bare legs didn’t slow her down. She had to reach him. To stop them. To protect.


“You ready?”

“In place.”

“Won’t be long.”



Jayne trudged back towards the ship, his mind elsewhere. How could she do this to him? Didn’t she know how it was killing him? He should’ve kept to what he knew. Just being what he was before. Not let her dangle herself in front of him like she had, until all he could think about was making her happy. Should’ve stayed going to those whores - least they didn’t tear out his heart and stomp all over it. Wasn’t even like she was mad at him. If’n he’d done something to make her angry, that he could understand. But this, saying it was to save his life, this just made no sense. And he couldn’t shake any into her neither, not in her condition.

He felt a slither of half-frozen rain slide down his back, and hunched his shoulders even further into his coat. Gorram women, he thought as he turned into an alley.


“So you’re all okay?” Xeno asked, handing the change across.

“Sure.” Mal smiled. “Mutinous crew, ship about to fall out of the sky, but that’s all pretty much normal.”

Xeno laughed, his bald head catching the light. “You need to settle down,” he advised. “Find someplace like this.” He gestured with both hands. “Make a life for yourself.”

“I’ve got a life,” Mal said solidly.

“You really like it here?” Zoe asked.

The little man reached under the counter and pulled out a bottle and three glasses. “Really do. Make good money, see friends sometimes, and I don’t have to go out ‘less I want to. Got all I need right here.” He poured. “Join me?”

“Don’t mind if we …” Mal stopped, his gaze unfocusing.

“Sir?” Zoe was immediately concerned.

“Something’s wrong,” he said softly.


“I don’t know.” He pointed at Xeno. “Hold our stuff,” he ordered, running for the door.


Freya wondered if she’d ever been so cold. Even the snow on Three Hills hadn’t seemed to chill into her bone-deep, not like this. Not that she’d taken much notice of it there, having other things on her mind. A mind that now couldn’t seem to make her legs work fast enough, nor reach Mal. She should have told Kaylee to contact him, to call Xeno’s. If only their coms weren’t spread out in pieces on Kaylee’s work bench for her to boost the signal, maybe she’d have been able to -

There. In front. A flash of fabric and pale leg.

“River!” she shouted, putting on a burst of speed and sprinting into the alley.


River heard the voice and stumbled to a halt, turning, her eyes going wide at the sight of her friend. “Frey?”

The other woman caught up to her, taking her arm. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?”



“I have to -” She got no further as the light from one end of the alley was blocked off by a figure appearing like a jack in the box.


River felt her knees turn to jelly. “Jayne?”

The big man joined them. “What’s going on?” he asked, shucking immediately out of his coat and wrapping it around River’s shoulders. “You’re soaked through.”

She pushed at him. “You have to go. Run. Away. There’s -“ The young woman didn’t have time to continue as a gravel voice filled the confined space, interrupting her.

“Everyone just stay right where they are.” A man stood at the entrance to the alley, his hands full of a large rifle. “We’ll just take what we want and be on our way.”

“We?” Jayne growled, then felt someone coming up behind him.

“Me and my partner.” The first man grinned, his teeth showing whitely in the dim light.

“And what would that be?” Freya asked, her hand inching towards the gun in her waistband.

“That little girl there.” He gestured at River with his gun. “Make a good profit on this. So you just hand her over, nice and easy.”

“Forget it,” Jayne said, reaching for his weapon.

The second man swung his pistol around, just as River shouted, “No!” and launched herself between them. Freya reached out for her just as he pulled the trigger.


“Gunfire,” Zoe muttered, running full pelt at Mal’s heels.

“I know,” he ground out, dread filling him as he pounded towards the sound.

to be continued


Saturday, January 5, 2008 4:16 AM


Yep, you have your finger firmly planted on the angst button again. Does this mean you'll be posting again real soon ? Or leave us hanging here? Great job at building the tension and the confusion.

Saturday, January 5, 2008 5:42 AM


ARRGGHHH! You just HAD to stop it there, didn't ya? You're killing me, here Jane, killing me! What a great story. Hurry with the next update, 'fore I lose it!

Saturday, January 5, 2008 7:20 AM


Oh good gorram, it has all gone to hell in a handbasket and no mistake. This has me on the edge of my seat, all anxious and frantically waiting for the next part! Ali D
You can't take the sky from me

Saturday, January 5, 2008 9:25 AM


*gulps nervously* This is just all manner of disturbing! More soon, please!

Saturday, January 5, 2008 10:03 AM


MORE NOW! I command thee... Please? Pretty please? (Fingers crossed.)

Friday, January 11, 2008 4:29 AM


Been out of town for a while. So lots to catch up on. This chapter was great.


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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!]