EY: War IS Hell
Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sequel to "One of Them" part of the Early Years....Mal and Cat have a talk and Mal finds out first hand just what Cat 'knows'


based on the world of Firefly by J. Whedon ------------------------------------

The sun set on the third night as Sargent Reynolds looked at his watch. Three nights now since they had heard anything from the mysterious Cat and though they had stayed busy driving more Intel to the Independent command, he couldn't help but worrying about her.

Strangely, he wasn't sure why, though his second would be quick to point out, with her around, everyone slept better. He would lie and admit that was the reason. It was easier than dealing with the burn in his chest when his thoughts slipped to those green eyes.

"Sarge, we're passing out rations." Tracey had been silent from the last few days, each of the unit knowing Cat had become on of his closest friends. Truthfully, Cat didn't talk, but listen to the young man as he talked about his family and his hopes at getting rich quick after the war. Maybe sell his story...

"I'll eat later, Son. You go and make sure everyone gets enough." He didn't turn, but took another drink from the canteen at his side, shouldering the rifle as his blue eyes filled with the rising moon.

"Yes, Sir," Tracey whispered, but Mal knew he wanted to say more, to tell his Sargent that the men were complaining about having to eat the bland military food when three days ago they had fresh rabbit. Still, he let it go and moved away, back toward the fire.

"You are a foolish man, Sargent Reynolds." It was a harsh whisper, sliding from the shadows like a deadly serpent.

"Yes, I am, but at least I chose my path." He squinted to see the source of the voice, but remained still. His hand reached for the pistol at his side.

"I would never have gotten this close if you hadn't drove off your guard dog." Still remaining in the dark, the stranger laughed.

"Didn't drive her off. She just needed time to think is all." Mal lied, but then maybe this man didn't know that. "And I don't need her to kill you."

"Probably not, but I have men in the hills surrounding you. I so much as stop breathing and they will drop every one of them...including that hot little dark number. She was a might pretty on the eyes taking a dip in the lake."

Mal growled low, hand clenched tight to the pistol. In a matter of moments, his hand and it would be one and the same. "You're suppose to capture, not kill us."

"I only capture those who come quiet like. Ain't met a Browncoat that's done that." What little light was around count on the man's teeth as he smiled. "Now, how would you like to die, Malcolm Reynolds?"

"Preferably of old age with a few kids and grandkids running around my legs." His finger stroked the trigger as he sighed. "And on a ranch...smell of fresh hay and horses."

"Sadly, that's not one of your options." He saw the shadow go for his gun, but Mal was quicker, the bark of his pistol echoing. From the dark fell the body of an Alliance commander, the wound in his head pouring out blood. A beeping sounded as the man's heart stopped alerting his troops their leader was dead.

Mal knew he couldn't warn this men in time, not without spreading more chaos, but still he ran to them. At least they would die as a group and not a single one could say they were anything, but heroes.

Toward the fire, his legs carried him and then he just stopped as a smell filled his nose. Meat...fresh meat and fresh coffee...

"Hey, Sarge." Tracey smiled up at him, his mouth covered in the juices from a boar's leg. "What took you so long?"

He didn't speak, but made the rounds with his eyes. Lastly, he fell to Zoe, who looked at him before motioning to where they had been keeping watch. On the log, Mal saw a single soul and knew it wasn't one of his.

"She told me to give you these." Standing, the dark women held tight to at least thirty set of dog tags, Alliance issue. "I don't understand why."

"You don't have to, Zo. Just go place them with the purple belly commander who thought it wise to sneak up on us." He pointed toward where he had been and she nodded, a slight shock in her face.

"What are you going to do, Sir?" She asked handing him a cup of coffee as he breathed it in before pointing toward the shadow.

"See if she wants something to eat and maybe a cup of coffee. It's cold out there without a fire, you know."

"Apologizing was never one of your strong suits." She smiled at him before heading to deliver the tags. At least then, their families would find peace.

--------------------------------------- She heard him, but didn't acknowledge, using the small puddle of water to wash the blood from her arms and hair. The shirt she had been wearing hung on a branch, still dripping from its own dunk in the muddy water. Her pants were replaced by some she'd found amongst the dead, a little big. Her belt held them to her hips.

Blue eyes rolled over her bare back, resting for a moment on the wet red hair as he moved around her. Slight disappoint registered in his breathing when he realized she was wearing a bra. A smile slid over her lips on for a second as she shook the moisture from her skin and then stood. Not quite at attention, Cat let her gaze meet his.

"Those were the plans, the ones you intercepted?" He tried to sound official, but sadly, he couldn't, not staring at the woman who had saved them once again. She nodded as he continued. "I'm not condoning your actions."

She laughed, a sound that he had not heard in a long while. "What's so funny?"

"You." Her green eyes glistened as she approached him, her fingers reaching to trace his jawline, a little stubble just above the surface. It was the closest they had been since before he had been wounded, an act that had driven Cat away from him again. He knew it was for fear of getting too close, but right now, all that seemed to pass away.

"I'm funny?" He breathed against her hand, vanilla and brown sugar, blood and smoke.


"You killed all those people." His voice had become a whisper and she nodded.

"I do what is necessary to keep my pack safe." He moved to speak as she covered his lips with her fingers. "And I will continue to do so with or without your consent. You kicked me out, remember?"

Mal thought about it for a moment before trying to think of something to say. After his third start, his hand brushed some wet hair that clung to her face. "Not sure how to convince you that killing isn't always the answer, but my unit still stands because of what you did."

"War IS hell. Devil don't play fair. Only way to beat him is to outsmart him. Sometimes, it means getting your hands a little bloody." She looked at him first and then at the muddy red puddle. "Blood washes away, though. Death doesn't."

"They made you a weapon, though. I want you to prove them wrong."

"Why? It is what I am." She looked at him curiously. "You were born a man. Do I try and make you a woman?"

"No." He smiled at her. "God, I hope not. I'd look lousy in high heels." His hand slid down to draw her against him, an action that was more instinct than thought. "You are a woman, not just a weapon."

"How do you know?" She managed as he closed in on her lips.

"Not met many weapons that kissed back." His mouth warmed on hers as she pushed against him, tongues fighting a bit before breaking off. Breathing gently, he let his eyes find hers again. "To be loyal, you must be honorable."

"They would have killed you all without thought. Orders were to do so anyway, no matter what happened to you. I couldn't let them."

"Maybe I am too honorable." He sighed as Cat shook her head.

"You believe yourself to be better. Then, be better. That is what you are." Her fangs flashed though for a moment. "But, do not try and change what I am. When this ends, this war... they will look back on it and say that Sargent Reynolds was an honorable man and he lived through the war. You will grow old and have those kids and that ranch."

"And what of you? When this is over?"

"It will never be over for me. I am the prize, the one that everyone wants to control. I will be hunted until I am obsolete."

"Speaking of yourself as a weapon again, Bao bei." He let the term of endearment reach her ears before watching the hardness fall from her face.

"You yourself wish to claim me as well. To give your unit the advantage." His hand wrapped around her arm as he pulled her against him, this time a bit more forceful. Kissing her passionately, his voice was low when he spoke again.

"I want to claim the woman, Cat, not the weapon."

"Why? I don't..." Confusion flooded her eyes as she stared at him. This wasn't what they had taught her.

"Call me an old softie." He fetched the shirt from its branch, but instead, unbuttoned the one from his chest. Handing it to her, she shook her head.

"It's cold. You will get sick. Can't do that again."

"There is another in my pack back at base. Ain't about to have the woman who saved my men tossing on some wet shirt with ‘purple belly’ blood on it." Tossing the said object into the puddle, he helped her slide on his warm grey shirt. It hang off her shoulders, but smelled of him. Her belly rumbled gently, but not from hunger ...this was from something else.

"Thank you." She replied gently as his bare arm wrapped around her waist drawing her into him as they began to walk back to the fire.

"Heard there's boar and fresh coffee. I know where the pig came from, but I don't want to know where the coffee came from, do I?"

Cat grinned gently, licking one fang as she smiled. "Or the weapons, food rations, grenades..."

"We need to talk about this, you know that." His mouth curled as she allowed herself another laugh. It was a sound Mal could get use to. Light from the fire danced over her red hair and made her green eyes glow completing the eerie ambiance.

Pulling away from him, she took the cup of coffee from Tracey. None of them seemed to care that their Sarge had no shirt and that the woman who kept them fed and safe had it on. Instead, they all greeted her with smiles and laughter. Cat turned back toward Mal for a moment before sitting down. "Think that's your problem, Sir. You talk too much."

"Okay, now you sound like Zoe." =======

AN: I promise more of these, Ali. :)


Wednesday, October 13, 2010 2:32 PM


Loved and adored this! And Mal not quite apologising but getting her back within the fold of him and his all the same. I also loved Mal giving Cat his shirt rather than her wear the one sodden with purplebelly blood, plus she now carries his scent. Nice subtle way of marking your possession and that last line made me laugh out loud as I was thinking that the moment I read Cat's comment. Such a shiny gift, thank you! Ali D :~)
"You can't take the sky from me!"

Thursday, October 14, 2010 2:48 AM


Chalk one up for the good guys. And I agree with Amdobell - she now wears his scent as well as his shirt. And I love that the others accept her now, because she saved and fed them. Even more her pack than ever. And she *is* going to grow more, to development into the woman we know she becomes rather than *just* the weapon.

Great stuff!

Thursday, October 14, 2010 5:15 AM


How on earth is he ever going to convince her that violence isn't always the answer? I know he does, but at this point... Well, I guess we'll see.


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