Broken - Part IV
Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Maya. Post-BDM. Simon deals with Kaylee, Bethie deals with River, and Mal deals with the bad guys. NEW CHAPTER


Freya undid another button on her shirt and glared up at Mal. “That’s it.”

“Just one –“ He reached his hands up towards her cleavage then stopped at the look on her face and let them drop again. “Okay. Should be enough.”

“The rate you were going I’d be walking across there naked,” she grumbled.

“Be a good decoy, though, wouldn’t it?” He grinned at her, but it didn’t make much of a dent in her currently less than sunny disposition.

Unstrapping her gunbelt she handed it to Zoe. “Better take this now,” she said quietly. “Before I decide to shoot him.” Then she slid the gun from its holster and pushed it well down into the waistband at the back of her pants. “Don’t really feel like going out there unarmed.”

“Where are the horses?” the other woman asked.

“Left hand side.”

“Right. Give me a couple.” She melted into the shadows, leaving the two of them alone.

Freya very deliberately turned her back on her husband, staring out at the warehouse across the empty street.

The silence was deafening for a minute, then Mal said, “I … that dream …”

“I know.”

“I don’t feel that way about Zoe. Just so’s you know.”

“I'm aware of that.”

“Only I wondered if you’d … you know, since Zoe and Hank …”



“Simon. I dreamed about Simon.”

“Oh.” He stared down at his boots, idly noting they were in need of a polish. “Simon.”

“And handcuffs.” She glanced back at him, but looked away before he could lift his head. “I have to say, though, he looked quite fetching in the leather shorts.”

His chin jerked up. “Shorts?”

“Very short shorts. More like a belt, really. With a pouch.”

“A –“

“Pouch. Lined with fur, if I recall correctly.” She sighed, although he couldn’t tell if it was in pleased recollection or not. “Certainly had stamina.”


She couldn’t keep it up, but turned to look at him, her lips curving. “It was only a dream, Mal. That’s all. And I seem to recall you saying once that a person shouldn’t be blamed for what they dream.”

“Well, no more they should. But you didn’t have to sound so … happy about it.”

She chuckled. “And you should have told me when you woke up.”

“You didn’t tell me,” he pointed out.

“Probably because I wasn't embarrassed by it. You could hardly get out of the bunk fast enough.”

“I was not embarrassed!”

“Then why didn’t you tell me? Did you honestly think I’d believe you wanted Zoe like that?” She reached out and touched his arm, letting her fingers caress his bicep.

“I … truth to tell, I didn’t know. That green-eyed monster of yours surely came to the fore over Inara, and I didn’t –“

“Not the same, Mal,” she said, tightening her grip just a little. “You were in love with Inara.”

“Yeah, well, I wasn't sure you weren't gonna get the same wrong impression over Zoe.”

“Do you think I want Simon?” Freya countered.

A hunted look crossed his eyes. “Well –“

“You did.” She was surprised, and a little shocked. “You thought I wanted to take our young doctor to bed.”

“It was a long time ago!” Mal insisted. “Back when you first came on board, and you both seemed to be spending so much time together, and you got along, and I felt …” His voice died away.

She stepped closer to him, her warmth coming not just from the exposed flesh at her neckline but from her whole body, reaching out to him. “You’re a boob.”

“Maybe I am. But I was scared, okay?”

“That I might decide to run off with him?” Now there were only clothes between them. “I love you, Malcolm Reynolds. And I don’t want anyone else. Ever. Not if they had the best body in the ‘verse – and I have to say Simon’s takes some beating –“ She yelped as he pinched her. “You’re the man I love. The man I married. The man who’s fool enough to think I’d be jealous of a dream.”

He lowered his lips until they were only just above hers. “It was a good dream.”

“Just be glad you weren’t dreaming about Jayne.”

Mal stopped, and she could read the run of his thoughts in his eyes without having to look into his mind at all. “That’s …”

“Yeah. Sorry. And I'm glad it wasn’t him. But you’re right. It was a good dream. You’re better, though.”

“You too.” They kissed lightly, just touching. “So … who do you think Simon dreamed about?”

“Me, I think. At least from the way he wouldn’t meet my eyes this morning.”

“Hmmn. Might have to torture that young man some when we get back.”

“Don’t you dare.”

“So you think there’s like to be more of these dreams?”

Freya shrugged, her breasts moving visibly through the opening in her shirt. “Probably. Until River gives birth.”

“Can we help her at all?”

“I’ll talk to her when we get back.” She glanced over her shoulder. “If we get back. Haven’t we got a job to do?”

“That we have.” Carefully, letting his fingers ghost across her skin, he did the buttons back up on her shirt. “Don’t need to be showing all that to someone else,” he said softly, then lifted the comunit to his lips. “Zoe? Jayne? Time.”


“You’ve dislocated your shoulder, Kaylee,” Simon said, straining to keep his natural concern for his wife out of his tone. “I’ll give you some painkillers, and a sedative, then Hank and I’ll put it back.”

“We will?” Hank took a step back, his voice so high pitched that he was sure no-one heard him except dogs.

“I can’t wait for the others to get back.” Simon glanced at him. “Don’t worry. I’ll be doing most of the work. You’ll be fine.”

“Oh, shiny.” He sounded even less convinced.

Simon exhaled slowly. “Hank, honestly, you’re probably the last person I’d ask, but right now I don’t have a choice. If we delay there could be swelling and that will make it harder in the long run.” He prepared a hypo. “You just do what I tell you, and I promise I’ll give you a smoother after.”

“You may have to.”

“Hadn’t someone better look after River?” Kaylee managed to say, breathing hard in an effort to control the trembling that was running through her. She had her left arm cradled in her right, and every movement was agony.

Simon glanced out into the common area where his sister was pacing up and down. He shook his head. “You’re the important one at the moment, bao bei,” he said softly.

“Oh. ‘Kay.” For a moment she forgot the pain, just revelled in the fact that her husband was putting her first. Then she twisted slightly and her face screwed up as she tried not to cry.

“This will help,” Simon said, quickly injecting her with the hypo.

“Thanks.” She smiled weakly for him.

“Auntie River?”

Hank heard a little voice outside in the common area, and turned to see Ethan looking at the young woman, his stuffed alligator clutched to his chest.

She stopped her pacing to stare at him. “My fault,” she whispered.

He held out his hand. “Bethie said you should come play with us for a while.”

She gazed at him, and the short hairs at the nape of Hank’s neck stood on end. He got to the door just as River slid her pale fingers into the little boy’s, and he led her towards the lower crew quarters.

“Make sure everything’s okay, then come back,” Simon requested, torn between concern for his sister and his wife, who was even now beginning to smile lopsidedly at him.

“Will do,” Hank said, stepping out into the common area.

“Just like his Pa,” Kaylee said, her speech thickening slightly. “D’ya see that? Lookin’ out for us. Jus’ like Mal.” Her drug-induced good humour dimmed a little. “Shouldn’t be so serious, though. ‘S a li’l boy.” She tapped Simon’s arm with her good hand. “Needs ta be a li’l boy. Bet his Pa looked jus’ like that.” In the mercurial moodshift of the medicated, she laughed. “Hey, Simon, ‘s good stuff. ‘M I gonna get a hangover? Almost as good as my interengine fumen – farmu – my wine.”

“No hangover, I promise.” He smiled at her, then glanced out of the door.

“Be okay,” Kaylee promised, patting him again. “S’just River.”


Hank watched as Ethan led River into Bethie’s room, pushing the door across but not closing it entirely. He could just see enough to know that the little girl had got out all of her dolls and toys, making a great heap of them on the bed, and now stood next to it, Fiddler at her feet.

“Auntie River,” she said, sounding very grown up. “Can you help? They’re got all messy and I've got to sort them out before they can be put away.”

River seemed to relax before Hank’s eyes. Her hands unclasped and the tension in her shoulders dissipated. “Of course, Bethie,” she said, picking up the green toy called Jayne. “Start biggest to smallest.”

“Then colours,” Bethie suggested.

“Type,” River went on.

“All teddies together,” Ethan put in.

“All teddies together,” River echoed, smiling at him, and began to sort.

Hank shook his head. He shouldn’t be surprised that Bethie would know exactly how to calm her aunt, but he was. She just needed to put things in their rightful place, he figured. Make it neat. Ordered. Controlled. He hurried back to tell Simon and help him fix Kaylee.


Freya sauntered across the street to the warehouse, trying for sexy but figuring all she looked was desperate. She didn’t do sexy, but that’s what Mal wanted. She was the decoy, after all. With a gun stuffed down the back of her pants. Although on some planets maybe that was sexy. She had to smile. Even her thoughts were wandering today. Must be River. That girl was certainly putting out enough static to … She shook herself. Keep your mind on the job, Freya, she told herself. Mind on the job and you don’t get shot.

At the door she paused a moment, wishing she had hair more like Zoe’s, or Inara’s, so that she could fluff it up and look more attractive. Maybe Mal had been right, and she needed to –

“What you want?”

A man had thrown the door open, a rifle clutched ostentatiously in his hand. She hadn’t knocked, so either someone was keeping watch or … Ah. On the periphery of her vision she noted a tiny security camera, probably feeding directly to a monitor inside. Something to remember. She smiled and kept the gun at her back away from the lens.

“I'm kinda lost. Would a gentleman like yourself be likely to be able to help a lady in distress?” She found herself dropping into Mal’s tone and measured style of speech, even as she was wincing inside.

The man looked her up and down. “Might. If’n I saw a lady.” He guffawed at his own joke.

She made herself laugh along with him. “Well, it has been said before,” she replied, knowing she was going to scrub her skin clean as soon as they got back to Serenity. “But I am lost. I was looking for the Federal station. Can you direct me?”

His eyes slid over her form again, and she was immensely glad she was well buttoned up. “Like I said. I could. But what’s it worth to me?”

“My undying gratitude.” She smiled widely. “Ain't that enough?”

“Not sure.” He glanced out of the door, left and right. “You alone?”

“Well, I wasn’t,” she said, as if admitting it grudgingly. “I kinda got separated from the rest of my crew, and I figured the Fed station was the best place to go.”

“And they left you all alone? That ain’t nice.” The rifle had dropped a little.

“Oh, they’re probably looking for me. Well, eventually. But I don’t like to think I was causing trouble, you know?”

“That I do.” He moved half a pace closer, and she could smell stale sweat and beer on him. “I could always take you there. Just to be sociable.”

“Could you?” She was almost gagging at the thought, but managed to simper a little.

“Well, I –“

“Jasper!” A voice thundered from inside the warehouse. “What the hell’re you doing?” A second man came to the door, much more formidable than the first. “Get that piece of tail out of here. And you ain't to go running around just ‘cause some whore bats her eyes at you.”

“Whore?” Freya said softly.


Jayne opened the skylight and gazed inside, letting his eyes become adjusted to the gloom. He could see the doorway from here, and two men standing in the light. Positioned perfectly for a couple of kill shots, if truth be told, but Mal had said he didn’t want any gunplay. His fingers tightened on the butt of his pistol for a moment, wondering if he could get away with saying he’d forgotten, but realised Mal would probably still be mad. Instead he lowered himself carefully onto the roof of the small office.

Laying down, he peered over the edge into the room, seeing the other two men engrossed in the action on the monitor in front of them. One of them had the remote, and had zoomed in on what could be seen of Freya’s cleavage, even though it was covered in sandy-coloured cotton. That didn’t stop them leering. Jayne’s lips cracked a smile. Could be just the excuse he needed. And maybe they’d put up a fight.


“Who’re you calling a whore?”

The second man glared at her. “Just move on. Nothing for you here, and no-one’s got the coin to pay you.”

“I was just asking for directions.”

“Yeah. Into a man’s pants.”

Freya’s finger itched, and for a brief moment imagined the gun in her hand, and this man’s head exploding satisfactorily into blood, bone and grey matter. Then she mentally shook herself. “Look, I just wanted –“

She didn’t get the rest of the sentence out, as four horses galloped past behind her, reins flapping, saddles empty.

Lao cang, them’s ours!” the first man, Jasper, said, running out into the street.

“Really?” Freya raised her eyebrows in surprise.


Jayne watched as the two men in the office scrambled to their feet, grabbing their guns and heading for the door. As they stepped into the body of the warehouse he dropped behind them, crashing their heads together with a satisfying crunch. They fell to the ground, unmoving.

In front of him, the man still in the doorway had half turned at the slight noise, then crumpled to the dirt, revealing Freya standing behind him with her gun in her hand. Jayne grinned then turned back to grab the security monitor and feed.


Jasper had run into the shadows after the horses, pulling to a staggering halt when someone stood in front of him, thumbs tucked into his gunbelt, a smile tugging at his lips.

Raising his rifle, Jasper was about to let loose with a tirade of obscenities when he felt something cold press against the back of his neck, and he stopped mid-breath. A dark-skinned, female-type hand reached round and lifted the rifle from his suddenly nerveless fingers.

“That’s better,” the man in the brown leather coat said. “Now, you and me gonna have a little chat.”

“Cha … chat?” Jasper stammered.

“Yeah. Friendly, like.”

“Oh. That’s good.”

“I just wanted you to know we ain't stealing the goods in there. More like … repossessing. We work for the man you’ve been keeping them from, and we intend to make sure they get delivered. Nod if you understand.”

Jasper nodded, putting everyone in mind of one of the Geisha dolls.

“Good.” Mal smiled again. “Now, I imagine you’re just doing a job, like we are, so no-one wants to make any undue fussing, or trying to follow us, or anything like that. ‘Cause in some circles we’re known as mean desperadoes, and you don’t want to cross us. Dong mah?”

He nodded again.

“Okay.” Mal glanced at Zoe, her Mare’s Leg pressed lightly against the other man’s neck. “And just in case you decide to do anything foolish …”

The man dropped like a stone, the pale lights of Concepcion switched off as the carbine met his head.

“You really think that was a good idea, sir?” she asked, looking down at the unconscious figure. “Wouldn’t it have been better just to take the goods and run?”

“Who said we weren’t gonna run?” Mal raised his eyebrows at her. “Just wanted them to know we ain’t common thieves.”

“So we’re the uncommon type. And desperadoes, apparently.”

“Won’t do our rep any harm,” Mal said, stepping over the body and walking back towards the warehouse. “Better get those cases loaded up on the mule before anyone decides to come over all suspicious.”

Zoe inhaled deeply, watching him walk out into the watery sunshine, and idly wondered whether he was being affected by River more than he was letting on.

to be continued

A.N.: Just wanted to say thanks to those of you who are commenting on this tale. I'm not sure about it at the moment, but will carry on to see where it takes me. Jane


Tuesday, February 12, 2008 3:54 AM


I enjoyed this. One of the things I like about your stories is that I can jump in at any time and become engrossed - even if I've missed the last couple of postings.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008 12:02 PM


"We ain't just common thieves"
That is so Mal, ROFL. Great update, and the touch with River and the children was just outstanding! Great story here, Jane.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008 1:24 PM


Good story, so glad the children distracted River with sorting out the toys. Can't wait until she gives birth and gets back to normal-crazy. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Tuesday, February 12, 2008 3:29 PM


This was fun! You may not be sure of it but I really enjoyed it. It's kind of like watching a three ring circus. And your humor offset what otherwise could have been a very grim story - nice touch! River's pre-birth nesting instincts are going to be hard to put up with. Hope the others don't have too much longer to wait for their sakes. Glad to see Bethie had the solution, though. Loved Ethan in this piece, and Kaylee's impression of him.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008 2:33 PM


Like Katesfriend, I was very happy with Kaylee's observations about Ethan! Great job!


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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!]