Monday, February 14, 2011

Maya. Post-BDM. Not part of my current storyline, just a STANDALONE for Feb 14. Kaylee suggests a party, and Simon decides on a surprise. Enjoy! And Happy Valentine's Day ...


Out of all the Core planets, only Osiris still celebrated St Valentine’s Day. At least, this was according to River on the morning of February 14th, as she helped Caleb eat his breakfast.

“St Valentine’s ...” Kaylee mused. “You know, I think I heard o’ that. But I ain’t too sure what it means.”

“It’s when a man or a woman lets the love of their life know they are ... wanted,” Simon explained.

“Don’t they do that anyway?”

“Yes, of course they do,” Simon said, pulling a rag from his pocket to wipe at David Gabriel’s chin as the warm cereal threatened to slide onto his little chest. “But they’re more formal about it.”

“You mean they don’t just go up to a feller and kiss ‘em?” Jayne asked.

“Considering how long it took River to catch you, I don’t think you should talk,” Mal put in from the head of the table.

River smiled but said nothing.

“And no,” Simon went on. “Perhaps in other levels of society, but in the one River and I were born into, marriages tend to be arranged, rather than a matter of personal choice.”

Everybody had long ago got over being annoyed at the doctor’s occasional descent into pomposity, so it was with honest interest that Zoe asked, “And yet they still have Valentine’s Day? I wouldn’t have thought that was the done thing.”

“I suppose they looked on it as a sort of escape valve.” Simon shrugged. “The one opportunity in the year to be spontaneous and actually send your love a card or flowers. Anonymously, of course.”

“They didn’t know?” Kaylee was scandalised. “What’s the point in that? You wanna know when someone thinks you’re suai, not have to be guessing.”

“Simon sent a card to Naomi Van Gelder,” River said, her bright voice belying the mischief on her face. “She talked about it for days.”

Simon blushed, just a pink tinge across his cheekbones. “I was twelve, River.”

“It was all sentimental, too.” River wasn’t to be stopped. “All hearts and rabbits, and a poem he wrote himself.”

“A poem?” Hank couldn’t help himself. “Do you remember it?”

“No,” Simon said quickly.

“I do!” River beamed.

“Don’t even think about it.”

“Why not? I'm sure everyone would like to hear your blandishments of affection.”

“River ...”

“No.” Freya spoke quietly from her place next to Mal. “Stop winding your brother up.”

“It’s fun.”

“Maybe. But just stop it.”

Caleb burped loudly, then grinned, successfully derailing the possible consequences.

“Like father, like son,” Hank said.

Kaylee, however, wasn’t put off quite so easily. “Natalie Van Gelder?”

“Naomi,” Simon corrected, then wished he hadn’t. “She was a girl in my class, that’s all. I think she smiled at me once.”

“She did more than that,” River said idly. “She let you feel her –”

Xiao nu.” This time it was Mal cutting her off, his quiet voice easily carrying. “Like Frey says, stop annoying him.”

“I was only going to say she let him feel her knee.” River sighed. “Honestly, what did you think I was going to say?”

“Hate to think,” Hank said.

“You all have dirty minds.”

“Yep,” the pilot agreed happily.

“Don’t mind her,” Jayne said, leaning back and putting his arm on the back of his wife’s chair. “It’s just one of her days. I’ll re-monstrate with her later.”

River giggled, leaving everyone with exactly the right idea of what that remonstration would entail.

“So you thought she was pretty?” Kaylee was still chasing, using the same determination that had her crawling through the ducts to find the source of the particularly worrying squeak that Mal had noticed the day before.

Simon tossed a glare at his sister, who just smiled, then turned to his wife. “Yes. Yes, I did,” he admitted. “She had long blonde hair that she could sit on, violet eyes, and a smile her parents had paid a great deal of money for.”


He reached for her hand, holding it tightly. “She was also eleven years old, and on her twelfth birthday her parents announced she was betrothed to Bradley Camberson, and her head swelled up so much she could hardly get through the door.”

Kaylee couldn’t help it. She giggled. “Bradley Camberson? The feller you knocked out for calling River a bad name?”

“That’s him.”

“Were you jealous?”

“No.” He laughed, but it was intimate, just between them. “Believe me, she wasn't a patch on you.”

She smiled, and it was as if the sun had come out. “Really?”


“Nicely done,” Hank murmured into Zoe’s ear. “Thought he was destined for the couch tonight.”

“Day’s young,” Zoe said, seeing River take breath. To forestall any further revelations of indiscretions, she added, much louder, “I got a Valentine card once.”

Hank’s eyebrows disappeared into his messy brown hair. “You did?”

She nodded. “Wash had been bored on watch one night, and he’d finally got tired of making his dinosaurs fight, so he was browsing the Cortex. He came across a list of ancient traditions, and that was amongst them. He liked the idea, so he made me a card. Found some old magazines and cut ‘em up, stuck ‘em all together and made a pretty picture out of them.”

“They were my magazines,” Jayne pointed out. “I was saving ‘em.”

“You no longer have the need,” River said, leaning into him and running her fingertips up his thigh.

“He shoulda still asked,” he growled, but without heat.

“Anyway, being Wash, once he’d made it he couldn’t keep it, so I got it on the 12th instead of the 14th.” She smiled in remembrance of her dead husband. “Always was impatient.”

“Is that what’s in the envelope in your sock drawer?” Hank asked quietly.

“Yeah.” She turned enough to look him in the eyes. “Do you mind, baby?”

He smiled. “No, course not. Why should I? We both got pasts – and I’ve still got that trinket of Risa’s.”

She leaned across and kissed him lightly.

“A dance,” River said suddenly.

“What’s that, mei-mei?” Simon asked.

“A dance. A Valentine’s Day dance.” She was almost bouncing in her seat. “We should have a dance to celebrate, like they did back on Osiris, so that young men could meet young women under the watchful eyes of their parents, and perhaps sneak away for an illicit kiss. Just like you and –”

Simon coughed loudly. “We’re already all couples,” he pointed out, his blue eyes promising murder if she continued in the same vein.

“Still, it could be fun,” Kaylee said, seeing her sister-in-law’s eyelid dip just a fraction. She turned to Mal. “How about it, Cap? Put up some lights in the bay, I can rig up some music ...”

“I don't know ...” He looked at Freya, who nodded.

“I think it’s a grand idea,” she agreed. “It’s going to be another week until we make landfall again, so a dance might be just the thing.”

“There’s not really the room –” he started to say, but Jayne interrupted.

“Me and Hank can move the stuff outta the way.” He glanced at the pilot, who managed to mix semi-outrage with resignation. “Won’t take us that long, seeing as he’s been working out.”

Mal gazed at his crew, then his eyes slipped down to the children, all of whom were paused in eating, their attention all on him. “Fine,” he said at last. “Long as it don’t interfere with other chores.”

Bethie clapped her hands in delight, and Ethan grinned widely, banging his spoon on his plate until his mother took it from him.

“Shiny!” Kaylee, said, already working out the arrangements in her head.


As everyone had assumed, the young mechanic roped them all into helping out every so often throughout the day, and by the time the onboard clock had worked around towards evening the cargo bay had been transformed into ... well, technically it was still the cargo bay, but as much space had been cleared as possible by stacking the crates on each other, and Kaylee had worked her magic stringing the Christmas lights up with River’s help, adding glows here and there, and music played from four speakers, one at each corner.

Freya, Jayne and Hank raided the stores, and considering their cooking skills were all on the low side they managed to put a small spread together that consisted of sandwiches, nibbles and crackers. Not that anyone cared – it wasn't the food they were looking forward to as much as the break in the monotony of space travel.

That, of course, had always been the problem. Despite Kaylee’s abilities and talents in keeping Serenity flying, she wasn’t the fastest ship in the galaxy, and even if she had been the distances between planets meant trips took days, sometimes weeks. All this meant that crews had to make their own amusement, anything to make the time go faster, to stop the temptation to start examining their consciences and perhaps coming up short.

Mal watched the preparations with a small smile tilting his lips, even as he helped Zoe secure the crates in case the dancing got out of control. In all honesty it didn’t matter what the excuse: all his crew enjoyed having fun, whether it was this, or just having fresh fruit for dessert. Mind, he hadn’t seen Simon for a while ...


The young doctor looked down at his handiwork and smiled. It had taken a number of false starts, and far longer than he had anticipated, but he was content with it now. He glanced at the chronometer on the wall, clucking his tongue as he realised it was later than he thought, and Kaylee was probably getting herself ready.

Hurrying out of the infirmary (he could clear up the debris later) he walked swiftly towards the lower crew quarters, hearing Kaylee singing softly as he approached their bunk. The door was slightly open, and he peered through, seeing her sorting through the clothes on the bed. She was only in her bra and panties, mismatched but comfortable, but to him she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen.

For a moment he remembered his first sight of her, that blue Chinese jacket, the paper sunshade, her hair in those ridiculous little bunches ... she was the reason he’d taken this Firefly, bought passage on a ship that in all honesty he thought should probably have been in the scrap yard, not plying for trade and passengers in the filthy docks at Eavesdown. Still, that was before he’d known the love Serenity held, the same love that – at least according to her captain – kept the ship in the air.

Before he’d known romantic love for a woman for the first time in his life.

He smiled, then knocked before sliding the door open wider.

Kaylee looked up. “Hey, honey. What’cha been doing?”

“Nothing much.”

“We’re all ready for the dance.” She held up a dress. “Think this’ll look okay?”

He nodded. It was something she’d bought a year or so before, but maybe worn five times. Stepping into the small room he ran the fabric through his left hand then looked up. “I wish I could take you places,” he said quietly. “Show you the wonders of the Core, all the wonderful things ...”

“We seen places,” Kaylee said, smiling. “Stuff those folks stuck on Osiris and Londinium ain’t ever gonna get to enjoy. And there ain’t nowhere I need to be if you ain't with me.” She stepped closer, only the dress between his shirt and pants and her scantily clad body.

Simon sighed. “Kaylee ...”

She laughed. “I know. But don't you go forgetting where we were.”

“Oh, I couldn’t do that.”

She moved back, pulling the dress over her head and settling it over her hips. “How’d I look?”

He put his head on one side. “Not sure.”

“Not sure?” She looked down. “What’s wrong?”

“Something’s missing.”

“Well, I guess I could put a necklace on. Maybe find a ribbon ...”


Her gaze lifted to his. “Then what?”

“This.” He brought his right hand out from behind his back. “Happy Valentine’s day, bao bei.”

Kaylee’s eyes widened. “Simon?” She took the red origami rose from him, turning it over and over, examining every aspect and every side.

“I made it,” he said, his natural reticence trying to overcome him. “Hope let me have a couple of sheets of her paper, and some of her paints. I used to do it a lot at MedAcad ... River showed me how when we were young, and I used to practice because it was recommended for keeping a potential surgeon's fingers supple ..." He felt like he was trying to fill the silence. "Um ... Kaylee?"

Her head lifted, and he could see her eyes were shining. “It’s ... beautiful.”

“Not as beautiful as you.”

“Oh, Simon ...” She threw herself into his arms, wrapping herself around him even as she was careful not to crush the paper rose, her mouth passionately on his.


Out in the cargo bay, on the catwalk, Freya smiled gently.

“Penny for ‘em,” Mal asked, standing next to her.

“I don’t think we should wait for Kaylee and Simon,” his wife said.

“What? How come?” He stared at her. “It was all her idea.”

For answer she threaded her fingers through his, palm to palm, letting her love filter through their skin to warm his heart, and he chuckled deep in his chest.

Below them River grinned. More than illicit kissing, she dropped into her surrogate parents minds before turning up the music to drown out any possible noises from the rear of the ship.

Think you’re right there, xiao nu, Mal had to agree.

He had to stop being a boob sometime. River laughed out loud, making Hank and Zoe, spooned together on one of the crates that had been moved, look up in surprise.

River didn't explain, just pulled Jayne into the middle of the improvised dance floor. “Now,” she ordered.

“Yeah, moonbrain?” His blue eyes twinkled.


He twirled her around into a dip, her hair touching the deck plating, and the children grouped around the bottom of the staircase burst into applause.

“Come on,” Mal said, tugging gently on Freya’s hand. “Better make the most of it ‘fore I come to my senses and turn back into that grouchy old man.”

“You're not grouchy,” she responded, allowing him to coax her down the stairs.

He shot her a glare, but it didn't last. She slid into his arms, moving against him until he didn’t care what she said.

“Shall we?” Hank asked.

“Don’t mind if I do,” Zoe said, standing up and joining the others, letting her husband lead for once.

Bethie giggled, then grabbed Ethan’s shirt, making him stand up. Ben was a little more gentlemanly, holding out his hand for Hope, while Jesse helped Caleb toddle to the beat.

And as they danced, Serenity sailed on through space, protecting the loving families inside, bright stars lighting the way as her crew partied away the night of St Valentine.


Monday, February 14, 2011 5:16 PM


Awwwwww..... sigh. Loved it. Happy V day to you, my friend!! Hope it's as shiny as your story.

Monday, February 14, 2011 6:02 PM


I like the simplicity of an origami rose. It's fitting, homemade touch instead of a lot of money.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011 7:10 AM


I loved this, a fitting celebration with our BDHs and little ones all safe and free of Alliance entangelements for once. Shiny! Ali D :~)
"You can't take the sky from me!"

Monday, February 28, 2011 5:25 AM


Thanks for the gift on a grey day, Jane!


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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!]