Addiction - Part I
Saturday, April 19, 2008

Maya. Post-BDM. A game, some conversations ... just whetting your appetite! NEW STORY


“We’re losing.”

“Yeah, but that makes us more dangerous.”

“Can we take ‘em?”

“Of course we can.”

“You don’t sound too convinced.”

“Just one more push …”

“Our usual tactics?”

“Worked before.”

“Then let’s get this over with.”

The huddle broke up and Freya tossed the large silver ball from one hand to the other.

“I think they’ve been discussin’ us,” Jayne said out of the corner of his mouth.

“You think?” Mal shot him a glare.

“Can’t we just surrender now?” Hank panted, his hands on his knees. “I just want to go someplace and die quietly.”

“Didn’t think you did anything quietly,” the big man said. “S’why River and me moved into the shuttle.”

“I thought you moved into the shuttle ‘cause River didn’t want to live with all the women you’ve bedded over the years,” Mal pointed out.

“That too.”

Freya coughed significantly. “If you boys have finished …”

“You were the ones huddlin’!” Jayne was indignant.

“And now we’re not.” She smiled, making the men’s blood run collectively cold. “Ready.”

Simon, sitting on the sidelines with Kaylee, all the children around their feet watching the game avidly, looked at his wife. “Are you sure you don’t want to play?”

Kaylee shook her head. “I‘m enjoying bein‘ a spectator. ‘Sides, they don’t need me.”

“No?” Simon laughed as Zoe knocked Mal down, taking the ball from his hands even as he fell, tossing it accurately through the improvised hoop.

“Nope. Seems they can take on all the men, no problem.” She smiled at him. “You could play. Maybe even it up a little.”

“I'm not much better than useless, you know that. And Jayne would take far too much pleasure out of telling me what to do.”

Kaylee grinned and squeezed his hand.

“Hey, old man,” Jayne called, seeing Mal struggle to his feet once more. “We too much for you?”

“I ain't old!”

“Well, I was figuring now you’re middle-aged –“

“You’re older’n me!”

“Only in years,” River said, smiling sweetly.

“Hey!” Jayne protested, turning on her. “Thought you were on my side.”

“I was just agreeing.”

“Who with?”

“And I'm not on your side. You wanted it to be girls versus boys,” she pointed out.

“Shoot me next time I suggest it.”


He grinned at her. “Anyways, we’re tied now.”

“We’ve only been lulling you into a false sense of security,” Freya insisted.



Zoe picked up the ball. “Then the last hoop makes it,” she said, handing it to Mal.

“Last one,” Jayne agreed. “But give me twenty seconds to knock some skill into my team.”

“Is that possible?” River breathed, then looked away from the men’s glares.

“C’mon,” the ex-merc said. “Huddle.”

“Did he say huddle or cuddle?“ Freya teased. “Now isn’t that the sweetest thing you‘ve ever seen?”

“Men not afraid to show their softer side,” Zoe added.

“They are so going down,” River finished.

Jayne lowered his head and his voice. “Look, I ain't about to throw this game ‘cause Hank’s got a worse arm than the doc.”

“Well, excuse me for living,” the pilot said, affronted. “But I've scored more than Mal.”

“Only ‘cause I've been keeping ‘em occupied.” Jayne exhaled heavily. “But there’s only one thing’s gonna win this for us. Tactics.”

“Jayne, that’s really not –“ Mal began, but the big man interrupted him.

“I'm team captain, here, not you.”

“When did you get elected?” Hank asked, his eyebrows almost disappearing into his hair.

“Just shut up and listen.”

The girls watched intently.

“I don’t think I like the look of this,” Freya commented.

“Can’t you just …” Zoe lifted a finger towards her temple, dropping it before it made contact.

“That would be cheating.”

“Only if we get found out.”

“No peeking,” River admonished.

“Oh, I don’t need to,” Freya said quickly. “Besides, I can read Mal without having to look into his mind.”

The men stood straight and Jayne clapped his hands. “Time to win this!” he crowed.

Mal tossed the ball to Hank, who immediately dodged behind a stack of crates, Zoe following. Freya stuck to her husband like glue, marking him and not letting him anywhere near the ball. Or so she thought. Suddenly Hank was up the stairs behind Kaylee and Simon, Zoe chasing uselessly behind him, and a flash of silver sailed over her head, safely into Mal’s large hands. He turned away, his body between her and the ball, legs set.

Zoe was still on the stairs, and Hank was holding onto her for dear life, even as Jayne blocked River from tackling Mal.

Freya couldn’t get to the ball, couldn’t even touch it, so she did the only thing she could. Aiming low, she grabbed him around the knees and put all her weight behind it, thrusting forward.

Mal began to fall, but twisted as he did so. Now, in the heat of battle, he was at his most dangerous, and as he allowed the momentum to carry him forward he aimed in a split, and let fly.

Jayne began to whoop, knowing it was sure, that no-one could get to it, that they were gonna win one, that he’d be able to lord it over …

River disagreed. She more or less ran up him, her slim form quicker than his hands, and as the ball sailed towards the hoop she reached out and touched it with her fingers, not enough to deflect it so much as change its trajectory so it went right through the centre rather than lower right.

Jayne’s cry of triumph turned to one of despair. “No!”

“Yes,” River said, sliding back down him.

Mal, on his back on the deck, groaned.

“Hah!” Freya said, her body resting on his legs.

“You cheated,” he accused, pulling himself free and rolling towards her.


“You peeked.”

“Did not.”

He lifted himself up onto his arms, looking down at her. “Did too.”

“Did not.”

He shook his head. “Oh, you are so going to that special hell.”

“Only because you’re going to be there too.” She pulled him down and kissed him.

“Cap, there’s children present,” Kaylee pointed out softly, pulling her ponytail tighter.

“S’only kissing,” Bethie said, sniffing. “Know all about kissing.”

“You okay, honey?” her mother asked.

Bethie rubbed her eyes. “Tired.”

Kaylee picked her up, swinging her onto her hip. “Wanna take a little nap before supper?”

The little girl nodded. “Just for a while.”

Kaylee felt her forehead. “Simon, she’s a bit hot.”

He stood up. “Come on, munchkin. Let’s take your temperature then get you into bed, okay?”


Simon went to pick up Hope, but Zoe said quickly, “We’ll take her, doc.”

“Thanks.” He flashed her a quick smile then followed his wife towards the infirmary.

“Is she okay?” Freya asked, quickly getting up from the deck, her concern immediate as always. Ever since Ethan had contracted Minuet’s, she’d been more than a little paranoid about any fever among the children or crew.

“Simon will look after her,” River assured her.

“I know, but –“

Mal had followed her to his feet, and now put his arms around her waist. “It’s probably nothing,” he said comfortingly. “You know what kids are like.”

She managed a smile for him, but glanced towards the infirmary nevertheless.

“It looks like I’ll have to do dinner,” Zoe said, pushing Hank’s wandering hands away and walking down the stairs to collect Ben.

“Hungry,” the little boy agreed. He stood up, somewhat unsteadily, and held out his hand towards Hope.

“You know, I see another wedding in the future.” Mal squeezed Freya’s waist.

“Not for a long, long, long while yet. Or maybe even longer,” Hank said firmly. “I want more kids before I become a father-in-law.” He waggled his eyebrows at his wife.

“Oh, come on,” Zoe said, shaking her head and sighing. “I hear the kitchen calling.”

“No, we’ll do it,” River put in.

“Hey, moonbrain, it ain’t our turn!” Jayne griped.

“You lost the game. And I like cooking.” She took his hand. “You can chop things. With a knife.”

“Hey, I'm good at that!”

“Why do you think I suggested it?”


“Where’s short stub?” Jayne asked, stirring the pot, under strict orders not to do more than sniff the surprisingly appetising odour. Tasting was out.

Simon settled Hope into her chair. “She was asleep, so I thought I’d let her rest.”

“She okay?”

“I think it’s just a cold. She’s chesty, and she’s got a slight temperature, so staying in bed won’t hurt for a day or so.”

River paused as she put out the plates. “Do you want me to save her some? It’s only protein stew and a few vegetables, but –“

“I think she’d like that.” Simon nodded. “And one for Kaylee.”

“Won’t leave her, huh?” Jayne commented, adding a pinch of salt as if he knew what he was doing.

“Who won’t leave who?” Mal asked, ushering Ethan into the galley, Hank behind him with Ben.

“Kaylee’s staying with Bethie,” Simon explained.

“The little bit okay?” Mal’s concern wasn’t only as captain - it was as head of the family.

“Probably just a twenty-four hour thing, and then she’ll be demanding ice-cream and puppies.”

“Wonderful combination,” Hank threw in. “And yet somehow … disgusting.”

Both men ignored him.

“Did you test for … you know.” Mal glanced over his shoulder to where Freya was only just climbing out of their hatch with Jesse in her arms, and kept his tone low.

Simon understood, and spoke quickly, his own voice just above a murmur. “Yes, and it’s not Minuet’s. Jesse’s safe.”

Mal released a breath. “Good. And thanks.”

“I'm a father too, Mal.”

“And not that bad at it, neither.”

“I'm not sure I can take such flattery,” Simon deadpanned, sitting down next to his youngest daughter.

“I’d try if I was you,” Freya said, smiling at the young man. “He doesn’t do it that often.” She settled Jesse into the high chair next to Mal. “And thanks.”

“For what?”

“Testing for Minuet’s.”

Simon chuckled. “Why am I surprised you knew?”

“Because you’re a boob,” River supplied, carrying the stew to the table and dishing out spoonfuls onto the plates.

“Are you ever going to stop calling me that?”

“No,” she said simply.

He sighed. “I give up.”

“Best way when it comes to women,” Mal advised.

Zoe stepped down into the dining area. “Sir, I just had a wave from Dupont. He wanted to know when we’re going to be at Keyser to pick up his cargo.”

“When we get there. We’re not late.” Mal glanced at Hank. “Are we?”

“Nope. Making good time,” the pilot replied.

“Then what’s he complaining about?”

Zoe shrugged. “It’s Dupont. He always does.”

Mal sighed. “True.”

“And I told him we’d be on time.”

Hank sat down. “Actually we’ll probably be at the skyplex a few hours early. I managed to get us a push from a passing comet, and used that to -”

Mal held up his hand. “The push I get. The how I don’t need to know.”

“Just saying.” Hank piled vegetables onto his plate. “So it looks like we might have a little time to kill.”

“I could do with picking up a few things,” Simon put in. “For the infirmary.”

“Ben needs some bits,” Zoe added.

Jayne piped up with, “Could do with a drink.”

Mal looked at his crew. “We’ll see. If Dupont ain’t there then maybe you can all take some time off ship. But only then. I want to get this job over and done.”

Zoe looked at him closely. “You think there might be a problem, sir?”

“Not really. But I seem to recall the last few times we stopped at a skyplex things didn’t quite go as planned.”

to be continued


Saturday, April 19, 2008 1:55 AM


Great to see more from you! Loved the insights into life on board and playtime. Wondering as always where you're going to take this.

Saturday, April 19, 2008 4:32 AM


Glad to see another chapter. I also loved the banter between the crew. And of course SOMETHING is going to happen.

Sunday, April 20, 2008 1:18 PM


Entertaining start. More, please.

Monday, April 21, 2008 9:23 AM


I like this. Ready for part two.


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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!]