HOPE SERIES: 14 "Keep Your Friends Close"
Sunday, October 11, 2009

"Mal wonders what the good gorram he has got himself into. Meanwhile, Hope is not very happy with River."


TITLE: "KEEP YOUR FRIENDS CLOSE" AUTHOR: Alison M. DOBELL FANDOM: "FIREFLY" PAIRING: Simon/Kaylee. RATING: PG-13. STATUS: Sequel to "CHOSEN PATH". ARCHIVE: Yes. Just let me know where. FEEDBACK: Welcomed. EMAIL: WEBSITE: None. All Firefly stories archived at

SUMMARY: "Mal wonders what the good gorram he has got himself into. Meanwhile, Hope is not very happy with River." The usual disclaimers apply. The characters and 'Firefly' are the property and gift of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. No infringement of copyright is intended.


"Firefly" story

Written by Alison M. DOBELL

* * * * *

"Gorramit Patience, you got more money than God! You could buy your own ruttin' transport ship."

"You sellin'?"

The Captain gave her a shocked looked. "*Shenme*? Serenity ain't for sale."

"No, but you are."

Something in Malcolm Reynolds' eyes darkened. "Not sure I like your meanin'."

The old witch paused, looking so weary that a flash of concern crossed the Captain's face before he could hide it.

"What ain't you tellin' me?"

"Thing is Mal even when we don't see eye to eye there's always one thing I can count on. You get the job done."

He took that in without breaking eye contact, aware that there was more to her words than a throw away compliment. "I do the job, get paid."

Patience nodded. Her tone now matching his. "Keep flyin'."

For a moment neither spoke. Patience gave a jerk of her head and her men put their safeties back on then holstered their weapons. The Captain felt more confused than ever. "What's this really about?"

"Let's take a walk, Mal."

His eyebrows rose as he looked around at an ocean of sandy nothing. "We're in a gorram desert."

The dry chuckle brought his attention back to Patience's weather beaten face. The old witch's spirits seemed revived by his reaction. Her wry grin was almost affectionate. "Yeah, but it's my desert Mal."

* * * * *

"I should be out there!"

River calmly continued to play with the dinosaurs on Serenity's pilot console while her young charge paced angrily back and forth, impatience rolling off her shoulders in waves. "Not yet."

Hope huffed and gave River an accusing look. "You told me to be ready. I even lied to mama so she wouldn't notice I'd sneaked back onto the ship an' now you tell me 'not yet'? What's goin' on Aunt River?"

"What you think you see isn't always what's happening. It's what you can't see that causes the problems."

It was all Hope could do not to stomp her foot and yell at her. With an effort she calmed herself down. There were times when she could cheerfully strangle her much loved and totally screwed up Aunt. River turned and gave her a brilliant grin.

"Not screwed up." River put the dinosaur down and tapped her head. "Too much information. Sometimes it leaks out, sometimes it nearly drowns me. Have to slow it down, untangle the images and voices until they make sense."

Hope stopped pacing, a curious feeling of dread creeping into her belly. Her mama was going to throw a fit when she found out she wasn't on Carousel any more but it was nothing to how devastated she would be if this whole ruse had been for nothing. Everything she had done had been to be ready for this moment. The extra lessons handling and firing her gun, throwing knives with Jayne and letting River teach her self defence moves that would be banned in most training clubs. What was it for if all they were going to do was sit on Serenity and wait? *Diyu* she could have done that on Carousel and had a good time.


Never in a million light years would Hope ever admit to being in a sulk. "What?"

"There's an old saying from Earth-that-Was about the Straw That Broke The Camel's Back."

Her eyes narrowed. "You callin' me a camel?"

"No. You're the straw." Hope opened her mouth to argue when she saw River stiffen. With a sweep of one hand River knocked the dinosaurs to the floor, her hands flying over the ship's controls.

"*Shenme shi*?"

River didn't have time to explain. When the *goushi* hit the fan timing was everything. "We have to go - NOW!"

* * * * *

Kaylee Frye was stuffed six ways from Sunday but it didn't stop her cramming one more morsal into her mouth. The smile of pleasure turned into a long groan as her belly protested. She hadn't been this stretched since she had carried the twins. Beside her Simon chuckled, more relaxed that she could remember seeing him in a long time. He was cradling Sam, her mama carrying Daniel up against her shoulder as if the babe was glued there. It amused Kaylee that Daniel was fast asleep and dribbling down her mama's shoulder. Sam was less content but Simon was learning and pretty soon both of the babies were quiet. One fast asleep the other too tired to complain any more. Simon gave her a triumphant smile that made Kaylee's heart melt with love for him.

"Knew you'd get the hang of it in the end, *bao bei*."

His smile widened into fatherly pride. "You look..." Simon fought for the right words.

"I ate too much."

Mrs Frye laughed and patted her daughter affectionately on the shoulder, carefully missing her belly. "Everybody ate too much."

Kaylee frowned. "Then how come I'm the one as can't move?"

They laughed. Huh. Not one little peep of sympathy but she couldn't pretend to be mad at them. Everything was just so gorram perfect. Shiny. Pity the Captain, Jayne and River couldn't stay but she understood. Without a job they wouldn't be able to make enough to keep Serenity fueled and flying. It was a sobering thought.

Out in the yard, Zoe stood with her hands on her hips. Eyes narrowed. Where was that child of hers? Not that there weren't kids a-plenty but none of them hers. Seeing a couple of Kaylee's cousins skip off towards a big old barn she smiled and set out to follow them. It was one of the few places she hadn't yet looked.

* * * * *

CHINESE GLOSSARY: (Mandarin - Pinyin)

*shenme* = what *diyu* = hell *shenme shi* = what's the matter? *goushi* = crap/dog shit *bao bei* = precious/treasure


Sunday, October 11, 2009 6:35 AM


Hope's been taken along?

Uh oh. Was that hinted at in a previous chapter? Did I miss it? Anyway, it has me wondering just what the two of them are going to do to help, Hope in particular, and what exactly's gone wrong.

Sunday, October 11, 2009 6:53 AM


Still too short! But I can feel the tension building, despite Kaylee's time with her family. And I can't help feeling Mal should really not trust Patience!

Sunday, October 11, 2009 11:16 AM


As always, you write a damn good Patience. I love the way she makes it clear to Mal who owns the desert. As for Hope...I think Zoe is really gonna have her hands full as well as the crew. :)

Monday, October 12, 2009 7:50 PM


Shouldn't it be Mrs Tam not Mrs Frye? Unless she kept her name and that was explained and i just haven't read it.....?

Monday, October 12, 2009 8:32 PM


Something tells me River is going to catch hell along with Hope from Zoe and likely Mal when this is all over.


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His head still ached from the rutting probe but after the men had satisfied themselves that his story was true a thousand questions peppered the air like machine gun fire.

The vessel was shiny, sleek and black with nowhere near the bulk of an Alliance ship. Something about the way it moved through the Black was more than a little creepifying.

Personally she didn't care if Serenity was towed off to a junk yard and stripped into spare parts. She had promised the ship to Jer and his crew as a bonus but it looked like scavengers had beaten them to it.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS: 2. "Counting Chickens"
The fact that her eyes were hard and sharp with intelligence kind of chilled him. Smart women always made him uneasy, it just weren't natural.

What in the nine hells were they so afraid of? Then he remembered Tracy. The body mailed to them by their old war buddy and all the trouble that had brought down on them.

If it was too gorram wet to hunt for rabbits what in the nine hells was his son really hunting? And was it something on four legs or two?

The man was in a terrible condition, his pulse weak, and for some reason he was soaking wet which did nothing to staunch the blood soaking through his clothing and seeping from the poorly tended wound where he had been shot.

THE DICHOTOMY SERIES: 9. "All The King's Men"
The man sighed like the weight of the of the 'Verse was on his shoulders but unlike anyone else he looked like he could carry the weight.

THE DICHOTOMY SERIES: 8. "All The King's Horses"
Without warning something came through the opening and rolled with a metallic clang across the ground before exploding.

THE DICHOTOMY SERIES: 7. "Friend or Foe"
Then he found himself falling, the whole world silent as in slow motion the hordes of *diyu* came to swallow him up and everything disintegrated in fire, blood and pain.