Broken - Part V
Thursday, February 14, 2008

Maya. Post-BDM. Mal is angry about what happened, but understands eventually. Decisions are made, and Mal and Freya have a long talk. In bed. NEW CHAPTER


Mal was furious when they got back to Serenity with the cargo and he found out what had happened to Kaylee.

“Wasn’t her fault,” the young mechanic said, sitting on the medbed, her arm strapped to her chest. “I didn’t understand, tried to stop her. Shouldn’t’ve done that. You wanna blame someone, blame me.”

“Not blaming anyone, mei-mei,” Mal said, aware he had been doing exactly that although unwilling to admit it. “But I'm beginning to think my initial reaction of locking her in the shuttle was the right one.”

Simon leaned against the counter, taking some of his weight on his hands. “It isn’t River’s fault. Nor is it her hormones. I checked them this morning.”

“Then explain to me why my mechanic’s sitting here looking like something out of a pyramid on Earth-that-was.” Mal crossed his arms and glared at the doctor.

“I think the baby’s consciousness is interfering with River’s control so she’s doing repetitive tasks to get some of it back,” Simon said. He nodded towards his cupboards. “She’s had everything out of here, gone through it, itemised things in more detail than I ever did.” He shrugged. “I think it helps.”

“And if we don’t let her?” Mal asked. “She takes it into her brain to attack us?”

“It wasn’t like that, Captain,” Kaylee insisted.

“Maybe not, but what if she decides to re-organise everything on the bridge? Maybe by opening all the airlocks, just so they’re the same.”

“I don’t think she’d do that,” Simon said.

“Don’t think? Ain't really wanting to hear that you don’t think.” Mal’s voice was sharper than when speaking to Kaylee.

“Well, that’s all I have. In something like five days time she’ll be giving birth, and hopefully this will all be over.”

“Hopefully. Another word that I'm wishing wasn't in your vocabulary.” Mal felt Serenity powering up, preparing to lift off. “Are you going to keep an eye on your sister?”

“I don’t have to. Bethie is.”

Mal’s shoulders went back. “Bethie? Simon, that girl’s only –“

“She’s a Reader. And she calmed River down more than any of us was able to.” Simon let his annoyance with the other man show. “Do you think I’d put my own daughter at risk? Do you honestly think I’d do that?”

They glared at each other, then Mal shook his head slowly. “No, I reckon you wouldn’t. But that doesn’t help us keep your sis in check.”

“I don’t think we have to,” Freya said from the doorway. “Simon’s right. Bethie’s watching her, and as long as we keep her busy, River will be fine.”

“Frey, darlin’, there’s only so much tidying a person can do,” Mal pointed out.

“Then we find things. Like this.” She held up a ball of string. “You help me tangle this all up, and it’ll take her a while to get straight again.”

“She’s not stupid, you know,” Simon said quietly. “She will understand what you’re trying to do.”

“I know.” Freya sighed. “And she knew what Bethie was doing with the toys.” She saw Mal raise his eyebrows in query, but she shook her head slightly. “The point is, she knows she needs it. She’s embarrassed by it, but she knows. So we find her things.”

“She can still tidy my tools,” Kaylee offered. “Not like I can at the moment.” She touched her shoulder gingerly. “And I hate to see ‘em all over the place.”

Jayne, standing next to Freya and silent up until this moment, grunted slightly. “She’s sorry. More’n anything, she wishes she hadn’t done that to you, Kaylee.”

“I know.” The young woman smiled at him.

“And Frey’s right. There’s things. I can put a box of ammo together and she can sort that. Maybe get some of her pictures out, see if there’s a way she can catalogue them.”

Freya nodded at him encouragingly. “That’s it.” She looked back at Mal. “There’s only a few more days. I'm sure we can find enough things for her to do.” She narrowed her eyes a little. “And don’t go pretending you were thinking about putting her out of the airlock.”

He managed to look shocked. “Did I say that I was?”

“Mal, she just needs some help.”

He looked at his wife, feeling the tendrils of her inside his mind, willing him to understand. “Oh, I do, Frey,” he finally said. “I'm just glad you didn’t go through this with Ethan or Jesse.”

She smiled. “Who’s to say I won’t in the future? In fact, I was looking forward to it. Throwing spoons and stuff.”

That elicited a chuckle from him. “Okay. Fine. We get things out, make a mess, let her clean it up. Hell, might even end up with a shiny boat out of it.”

“That’s not what it’s for, Mal,” Simon warned.

“You mean I can’t look on the bright side?”


“Pity.” Mal turned to his mercenary. “Better get the goods stored, then go see to your wife. I conjure she probably needs you right now.”

Jayne nodded and strode back into the cargo bay.

“He really loves her,” Simon murmured, more to himself than anyone else.

“Course he does,” Kaylee said. “Anyone can see that.”


Jayne pushed the last box into the smuggler’s hole, grunting slightly with the effort, then stood straight, aware someone was watching him. “You okay, jin wu?” he asked.

River smiled, just a little, gazing down at him from the catwalk outside the shuttle. “Shiny.” The smile disappeared. “Hurt Kaylee.”

“She knows you didn’t mean to.” Jayne hefted the section of bulkhead back into place, hearing it click into concealment. He looked up. “She ain't mad.”

“No, but I am. Crazy.” She tapped her temple. “Can’t control it, Jayne.”

He walked slowly up the stairs until he was level with her, then put his hands on her shoulders. “That’s kinda what I'm here for, darlin’. Stop you going all bibbledy and killin’ someone.”

“Trying not to,” she admitted. “I didn’t know it was going to be so hard.”

“What, not killin’ folks?”

“Having a baby.” She looked down at her belly.

He raised his eyebrow. “That mean you’d’a thought twice if you’d known?”

“Didn’t think once. Didn’t know until it happened,” she pointed out.

He huffed under his breath, remembering the trouble they’d had with her then, before she’d even admit to being pregnant. “Was it so bad?”

“No. But worse now.”

“River, you gonna start talking in proper sentences, or am I just gonna put you over my shoulder and carry you into that there shuttle?”

She let a giggle bubble from her lips. “No incentive to talk in sentences.”

“And we ain't done nothing for more’n two weeks. So all I was gonna do was –“

“I know.” She looked into his blue eyes. “I just want my Jayne to be with me.”

“I'm here, moonbrain. And we’ll find stuff for ya to do, don’t you fret. No need to start hurtin’ anyone.”

She glanced down towards the infirmary. “I need to apologise –“

“You did that already, more’n once, I've been told. Like I said, Kaylee ain't mad at you. She understands. Been through this herself, having a kid.”

“She’s not crazy.”

Jayne pulled her close to him, letting his warmth comfort her. “Not what Simon said those final coupla weeks. Things she wanted, had a craving for, he was racing ‘round like a chicken had its head cut off.” He chuckled at the memory.

“Salt.” River licked her lips.

“Nope, that’s you.”

“Want salt.”

“Well you ain't getting any. Your bro’d kill me if’n he found I’d brought you it again.”

She sighed as she remembered him buying her a small bag, all for herself, and she’d sprinkled it all over the bed before rolling in it. He hadn’t gotten rid of the grittiness in unexpected places for days. “Then I’ll take you.”

“That’s fine,” Jayne said, lifting her gently into his arms. “Just so long as you try and not kill anyone, okay?”

“Okay,” she promised as he carried her into the shuttle.


Zoe leaned on the catwalk railing, watching Freya lifting weights. Her skin gleamed with sweat, and there was the even, repetitive sound of breathing, interspersed with light grunts. They’d eaten dinner already, but most people felt a little antsy after the events of the day, and few had gone to bed. As was usually the case when she couldn’t rest, Freya was making use of Jayne’s bench, working her muscles until her mind calmed and she felt ready to sleep.

Zoe waited for her to finish the set, then called, “Frey.”

The woman in question sat up and looked over her shoulder, smiling. “Hey. If you’re wanting Hank I think I saw him head for –“

“No. It was you I wanted to talk to.” Zoe noted the tattoo, showing above the sleeveless T Freya wore, was glistening, almost glowing. It seemed to have more colours on it than usual, too.

“Shiny.” She indicated the weights. “You want to do a set? I’ll spot you. Jayne won’t mind – he’s in with River.”

“Thanks, but I don’t feel in the mood at the moment,” Serenity’s first mate said as she walked slowly down the stairs. “You know, I get the feeling he’s not planning on letting her out of his sight.”

“Unlike Hank with you,” Freya pointed out, taking a pull on her bottle of water.

“Well, yes, but –“

“River’s just a pregnant woman, Zoe. Okay, an insane, occasionally violent pregnant woman, but on this crew, who wasn’t?”

“I wasn’t violent.” She paused. “Much.”

Freya laughed. “Course not.”

“Actually, that is kind of the thing I wanted to talk to you about.” Zoe sat down on the bench beside her friend.

“Why, are you pregnant again?”


“Just checking.”

Zoe took a breath. “Anyway, I wanted to talk to you as Mal’s wife –“

Freya interrupted. “Oh, look, Zoe, that dream … I was only winding Mal up about it. I know it didn’t … that he wouldn’t –“

“I know that.”

“Oh.” She relaxed fractionally. “Then –“

“Did he seem more … aggressive to you today?”

“Who, Mal?”

“I'm presuming it was him, and not his only slightly evil clone.”

Freya went to deny it, then remembered the inclination she’d had to separate a certain man’s head from his shoulders because he’d called her a whore. “Um …”

“You felt it too,” Zoe realised.

“A little. Not aggression so much as … well, maybe it was.”


“I imagine so.” Freya wiped at her face with her towel. “Are you afraid Mal’s going to do something crazy when we get to Argus?”

“When am I not afraid he’s going to do something crazy?”

The look on her friend’s face made Freya laugh. “I know what you mean. Zoe, you keep him on the straight and narrow. Well, as straight and narrow as crooks can be,” she added quickly. “And I’ll talk to him.”

“Thanks.” Zoe stood up. “Now I think I will try and find my errant husband.”

Freya smiled. “I’ve a notion River suggested he might like to do some gardening since she can’t get close enough to the bins.”


“A spoon may have been involved.”

Zoe chuckled.


Mal watched as Freya sponged herself down as much as she could in front of the mirror. She’d come back from the shower room complaining that Zoe and Hank were using the facilities, and from the sounds emanating from inside were likely to be some time. Not that he minded, at least about her not being able to shower. The view of his naked wife with a flannel in her hand was all kinds of interesting.

“I will be so glad when we get back to Lazarus so I can have a proper bath,” she muttered, reaching round to clean the area of the lowest sigil in her tattoo.

Mal smiled, enjoying the show. “You think it feels more like home?” he asked somewhat absently.

She glanced at him, lying in their bed already. “Did I say that?”

“No, but –“

“It’s just the bath.” She sighed and stretched, her muscles moving smoothly under her skin. “Lazarus is nice, but this is home.” She ran the flannel up and down her arms. “Still, a bath …”

“So if I put one in the cargo bay, maybe got Kaylee to rig up some kinda bubble making machinery –“

She grinned. “I’d love you forever.”

“I thought you already did that.”

“Then foreverer.”

“Is that a word?”

“Is now.” She screwed the flannel up to get the moisture out and hung it to dry. Pushing the drawer closed with her hip, she heard the water flush away and picked up a towel. “Although I don’t think that would work, not really. People would be barging in all the time, and I’d have to fight Jayne for it.”

“Jayne?” What she was doing with the towel was making him somewhat warm.

“Oh, yes. He really got into it when we were at Inara’s. Some evenings one or other of us would want to bathe, and he’d already be there before us, using her bath salts. And singing.”

“Love songs?”

“What else?” She laughed. “I think there’s a deeply sentimental man somewhere under all that violence and aggression.” She moved to the edge of the bed and sat down. “Here. Dry my back, would you?”

“Sure.” He took the towel from her hand and began to rub it up and down the flame. “So you think River’s found that streak of his?”

“I surely do.” She closed her eyes to enjoy the sensation better. “I’d never have thought it possible, but they seem to fit.”

“The assassin and the mercenary.”

She glanced over her shoulder at him. “She’s not really an assassin. What they did to her, what they tried to make her … she’s still a young woman, Mal. With all the wants and needs of a young woman. She’s just been lucky to find the man who complements her.”

“But did it have to be Jayne?”

Freya laughed. “Let’s put it like this. When she came on board, there were five men available. One was married, one was celibate, and one was extremely closely related. So unless she was considering adultery, blasphemy or incest, that left you and Jayne.” She turned so she could look at him. “Would you rather she’d set her sights on you?”

He stared at her. “Frey, she’s young enough to –“

“Be your daughter, yes, I know. So?”

“I never … there wasn't even a moment of my considering … I mean even when she came out of that box I didn’t ever –“

She took pity on him and reached down, placing a kiss on his protesting lips. “Oh, shut up,” she murmured.

Eventually he said, “You’re a tease, you know that, don’t you?”

“That’s why you love me,” she pointed out, tossing the towel onto the chair and shuffling herself across him so she could get into her normal spot. He groaned. “Sorry? Did you say something?”

“No.” He shook his head, trying to will his disobeying body to behave. “Nothing.”

“That’s okay then.” She snuggled down. “Actually, talking about aggression, Zoe was a little concerned about you today.”

He lifted his head to stare at her. “Me?”

“You seemed somewhat different to your normal self.”

He lay back. “You mean how I was lacking in my usual subtlety?”

“Something like that.”

“Yeah.” He breathed out heavily. “Not sure my own self, Frey. And it wasn't aggression. Not really. Just I seemed to feel stronger’n usual. More in control.”

“Because the plan went smooth?”

“Before that. And after, yes. Don’t quite know what came over me.”

“I do. River.”

“Riv –“

“She may be putting out a lot of static, but she’s leaking in other ways too.”

Lifting himself onto his elbow so he could look directly into her eyes, he said, “So this is how she feels?”

“How she wants to feel. Empowered. In control.” Freya rubbed her hand through her hair then rested her head on it. “I think she’s projecting.”

“Is it dangerous?” he needed to know.

“Depends. You likely to start believing you can breathe outside without a suit?”

“That’s crazy.”

“So’s she. But this confidence … over-confidence … could lead to a situation similar. You need to be on your guard against it.”

He touched her cheek. “Do you feel it?”

“Oh, yes.” She laughed shortly. “I nearly blew one of those creeps’ heads off. And Jayne wasn't much better, although that may just be because he’s an expectant father.”

“So we tell everyone so they’re aware of it.” His fingers moved down her neck. “Girl can’t stop it, I suppose.”

“She can’t. A bit like her name, really. It takes a lot of work to dam a river.”

“Don’t know about that.” His hand drifted south. “Jayne seems to have done it.”

“And look at the problems he has with her sometimes.” Her breath hitched. “What are you doing?”

“Just seeing if my lack of subtlety extends to anything else.”

“I'm all clean,” she objected, but with no heat in her voice other than the kind he was generating.

“So? I’ll wipe you down again after.”

to be continued


Thursday, February 14, 2008 12:40 PM


OOoh River, it's never anything simple with you is it? I am so glad she has Jayne just think of the mayhem if she didn't. And I loved the loving bit at the end between Mal and Freya. They just don't seem to get enough such moments lately. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Thursday, February 14, 2008 1:32 PM


River projecting...hmm, now there's a scary thought! :D


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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 ...]

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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!]