Firefly: After Miranda Part 4
Sunday, July 24, 2011

Serenity has a job and Jayne plays Santa Claus but not everyone is happy.


Part 3 can be found here

- 4 -

Mal strode across the landing pad towards Serenity’s open cargo bay. The rest of the crew was already waiting inside.

“Are we about set folks?” Mal asked as he walked up the ramp.

“We are, orders sir?” Zoe quickly and routinely responded.

“River take us…what?” Mal asked puzzled as he turned around and found River was smiling up at him, her arms crossed behind her back, slowly turned back and forth making the hem of her new dress swirl around her ankles. It took him a minute to realize what she wanted but after seeing she had been freshly washed and groomed he got it. Smiling back at her he said, “Would my very pretty young pilot please take us out of the world?”

“Yes, Captain,” River answered. “Should I set a course?”

“Might as well, since you already know where we’re headed. I’ll be up to check in a minute”

River spun on her heels and headed up to the bridge. Mal turned to his right to find Kaylee standing close by, also with a big smile on her face. Her hair was also freshly washed. Her face was free from grease and dirt, for once, and she had traded her usual jumpsuit for a new summer dress which was white with large pink and yellow flowers. It fit her well Mal thought.

“Okay,” he stated realizing the game that was going on, “Would my extremely lovely mechanic go make sure nothing blows up in the engine room, please.” Felling overly generous he added, “Take the Doctor with you, don’t want that dress dirtied. Just make sure that dress stays on, we still work before we play.”

“Will do cap’n,” Kaylee joyfully responded grabbing Simon by the arm.

Mal turned again, “Zoe…”

“Don’t have to complement me, sir.”

“Good, I’m running out of fancy words.” Mal smiled. He did notice that Zoe looked fresher then she had in some time. While she still wore her usual clothing he could tell they had been finely laundered. “You and Jayne see to getting Inara’s stuff into her shuttle.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Oh and Zoe…you do look nice.”

Zoe merely nodded in acknowledgment.

“So, what are my orders, Captain?” Inara asked from behind him.

Mal turned to face her. He was surprised as how absolutely beautiful she looked. The past few months she had managed to stay looking lovely as she always did, despite a limited number of clothes and other supplies. Now, however, freshly made up she was almost beyond the Captain’s belief.

“You look might stunning, Miss Serra,” he said smiling at her.

“Miss Serra, I must have done something right.” She responded, returning his smile.


“Are you asking me to dine with you, Mal?”

“No, those are your orders,” he smirked.

“You want me to cook for you?”

“No, for the crew, although I would take it as a kindness if you made enough for me as well.”

Mal had never asked her to cook for the ship before. He knew she had the training to do so, but she was never part of the crew chores before, which cooking was one of. She also had never volunteered simple because Serenity hardly had the types of cooking supplies she was use to working with.

“Ok, I will see what I can do,” she said as she turned to head up stairs. “You are going to wash up, right?”

Mal just smiled and hit the controls to close Serenity’s doors.



“This is d-licious!” Jayne exclaimed as he shoveled more of Inara’s stew into his mouth.

The crew all seemed to agree with him. It helped that she had a fairly well stocked cupboard in preparing dinner. This meal did seem rather special. Inara, River and Kalyee were still wearing their new dresses and along with Zoe still looked more lovely than normal. Simon seemed to fit the mood wearing one of his suits and Mal had even washed up. Jayne, well he was still Jayne.

“Did you learn to make this at the academy?” Simon asked between spoonfuls.

Inara smiled, “No, this is more a family recipe.”

Once everyone had finished eating Mal announced, “Well now, since we all seem to be happy and full we have some business to discuss.”

“Actually, Cap’n, before we do that I’m liken to do somthin’.” Jayne interrupted with a partially full month.

“Fine, Jayne, speak you peace,” Mal replied.

Jayne spooned the last bit of stew into his mouth and made his way to the small sitting area in the corner. There he retrieved and number of sacks he had hid behind the seats.

“Um…I’m guessin’ that it ain’t very easy to live with me sometimes. So I got you’ll a little somthin’ just too…well um…just because.” Jayne stammered.

“Should we be scared?” Zoe asked.

“I’m thinking not.” Mal replied, “Well Santa-Cobb get to given.”

“Fine,” Jayne huffed, “Since you’re in a hurry you can have yours first.” Jayne pulled out a small bundle of shirts from on the sacks and tossed them over to Mal. One red, one blue, and one a dark gray in the style Mal wore.

Mal looked at the bundle and gave a little smile, “Thanks, Jayne.”

“Well, figured you’d need ‘em, seeing as you’re always gettin’ stabbed or shot.” Jayne smirked.

Mal just replied with a look, as Jayne dug into another sack. After a moment he found what he was looking for and pulled forth a wooden box which looked very much like a large shallow jewelry box.

“This is for you, Zoe,” he said as he carefully handed it to her over the table. Zoe gave the box a strange look as she took it. “Well open it up,” Janye said impatiently.

Zoe slowly opened the dark wooden box. Inside she discovered a very nice gun cleaning kit. Each piece had its own little space carved out of the thick gray foam that filled the inside. “Thank you, Jayne,” she said sincerely as she closed the box and ran her hand along its outside.

“Thought you could use a new kit is all,” the big merc said as he dug for the next gift. After a moment he pulled a silver hair brush from the sack. “Nara,” he said handing it to her. “I know you must have a bunch of…”

“I love it, thank you Jayne.” Inara announced cutting him off with a smile. The brush was not high quality, and obviously not real silver. It did, however, have inscribed on the back of it “Serenity is Home” in Chinese. Surprisingly Inara could not remember anyone ever giving her a hair brush as a gift, it was quite thoughtful.

“You’re welcome, Nara,” Jayne replied while picking up another sack the looked overstuffed. “This is yours, little Kaylee.”

Kaylee joyfully took the sack and untied it. Reaching in she pulled out a large stuffed turtle. The bright green turtle seemed to smile at her as she looked him over. She hugged her new friend tightly, “Thank you!”

“That ain’t everything, but the other was the Doc’s idea.” Jayne said.

Kaylee once again reached in the sack and pulled out a flowery summer dress. The dresses bright colors, mainly reds and yellow, matched Kaylee’s sunny outlook. A huge smile grew on her face, “It’s so pretty! Thank you both.”

Both Simon and Jayne smiled back at her.

Jayne then cleared his throat as he saw River sitting with a smile waiting for her gift. “Um, see I asked the Doc what he thought ‘bout this and he was okay with it, so…” Jayne pulled a small black leather belt and holster from the last sack and handed it to River.

The slim girl took the gift with a smile and started to look it over very intently. She seemed slowly started inspecting every stitch and she said, “Thank you.”

The rest of the crew had mixed looks. Jayne knew they were looking for some explanation. “I figure since we seem to always get inta situation where bullets start flying it be a good idea for all of us to have somethin’ to respond with. River knows how to handle a sidearm, figure she should have a solid way of carryin’ one.”

Mal was the first to speak up, “Doctor you sure you’re okay with this?”

“I’m not going to pretend we will never be in a situation where River’s skills could save lives, including her own. Nor I’m I going to believe that you, Captain, will never ask her to go into a dangerous situation. I would just hope that you do ask her and not order her to do so,” Simon responded.

“I reckon I can extend that kindness, given the circumstances.” Mal said before turning towards River. “You alright with that and what it means lil’ albatross?”

“You said no touching guns, but I will to help my family,” River responded looking up from her gift.

“Are we really going to ask a teenage girl to take up arms, sir?” Zoe asked stoically.

“Seeing as River is not your average teenage girl and has chosen to remain a part of this crew, yes if we need her.” Mal responded. “Now, I can’t help but wonder what the Doc got.”

Simon shyly pulled back the left side of his suit jacket revealing a slightly worn leather shoulder holster. “I picked it out, didn’t think having a gun strapped to my hip was me,” he explained.

“Simon!” Kaylee exclaimed smiling in unbelief.

“Does make it easier to conceal.” Zoe commented.

“Very nice, Doc, just don’t shoot yourself.” Mal joked.

“I’ll try not to.” Simon said seriously.

Mal smiled at the Doctor and stood up, “If Jayne is done being eerily generous, I’d like to discuss our job.”

The crew settled in and gave the Captain their full attention. There was a feeling of anticipation in the room. Having a job meant returning to a sort of normal for Serenity and her crew.

The Captain took one final sip from his cup and began. “We’re going to Whitefall, rescue some kids…”



The hatch to Mal’s bunk opened with a thud. “May I come in?” Inara asked as she climbed down the ladder, her night gown flowing around her.

“Absolutely” Mal said sitting on the edge of his bed. “Really don’t have to ask.”

Inara reached the bottom of the stairs and moved to sit next to Mal. “I just wanted to make sure. Is something wrong, Mal?” She asked noticing the expression on Mal’s face.

“What are we, Inara?” He asked as she sat down next to him.

“I’m not quite sure what you mean, Mal.”

“I mean are we together, are we...what are we?”

“What is our relationship? I don’t know. Why do we have to be anything except together?” Inara said as she wrapped an arm around Mal’s waist, pulling herself closer to him.

Mal moved closer to her wrapping his arms around her and letting her head rest on his shoulder and chest. “Sheydra mentioned that you could use lose your license because of us.”

“I could, but I doubt that will happen. It would be a bigger problem if we were operating in the core. Even the Guild understands that things out here are different.”

“I can’t help askin’ what does it means when we are worried about your standing with the Guild?” Mal asked leaning them both back against the wall of his of his bunk.

“Are you asking if I’m going to continue servicing clients?”

“Are you?”

“Some clients, yes.” Inara felt Mal’s posture change, he was getting upset. “Not like that, Mal.”

“Like what?”

“Not all my clients expect or ask for sex. Those are the clients I will be seeing.”

“Huh” Mal said a little confused.

Inara sat up to look at him, “You never understood. Being a Companion has always been about more that sex. Granted sex is a part of what most clients are looking for, but not all of them. One of my clients on Beaumonde is a lonely older man who simply wants me listen to his stories. He has no family. All he wants is someone to talk to.”

Mal stood up and walked over to his desk, “Oh, so you are going to give up those other clients, for me?”

“No, not for you… for us”

Mal smiled and started to undress. As he took off his shirt he noticed Inara staring at him. He looked down at himself, “What, I’m I getting fat or something?”

Inara smiled, “No, I was just trying to see how many of those scars I could identify.”


Inara stood up and walked over to him, “Well this one is from that ta ma de hun dan Niska sent.” She said as she ran a finger lightly over the scar near Mal’s right shoulder.

Mal step closer to her, “I remember,” he said softly.

“And this one, where Patience shot you for the second time,” She whispered running her hand up Mal’s arm.

“It wasn’t Patience, but closes enough.”

Moving her had down his chest towards his belly she began, “This one is from…”

“Don’t” Mal whispered.

“….is from when that hwun dan freighter captain shot you.” Inara whispered almost inaudibly.

“I think hearing you swear is turning me on.” Mal said moving his mouth closer to hers, getting lost in the darkness of her eyes.



Passionately their lips met.



Early the next morning Mal quietly slipped out of his bunk and onto the bridge. He had expected to find one of two things, an empty bridge or River sitting quietly in the pilot’s chair. He found neither. Instead he found Zoe sitting in the co-pilot’s chair staring out into the black.

“Moring Zoe,” he announced, “you’re up early. Worried about the job?”

“No, sir,” she responded keeping her gaze fixed out the main window. “So, you and Inara are together now.”

Mal sat down in the pilot’s chair and started checking Serenity’s course, “Apparently, can’t say I’m unhappy ‘bout it.”

“Didn’t think you would be, sir, just wondering what happened to your policy on shipboard romances.”

Mal stopped focusing on the ships controls and looked at Zoe. He had worried how she would react to Inara and him after losing Wash. “Seems like that got changed some time ago,” he answered.

“Was that after it cost me and Wash a few months together?” Zoe said anger slowly coming up in her voice. She had now turned to face Mal.

“I’m sorry about that, I was wrong, Zoe. It was wrong of me to do that to you.”

“You saying that because you mean it, or because you don’t want to be a hypocrite?”

“You of all people should know I’ve never worried about being a hypocrite.” Mal replied, anger building in his own voice.

“So that’s way you tried to keep Kaylee and Simon apart too?” Zoe shot back.

Mal’s eyes dropped to the floor. Unfortunately Zoe was right. After Inara and Book left Serenity he had tried to keep Kaylee and Simon away from each other. Why? He didn’t have a good reason. He was in a bad place. It felt as if everyone on the crew had something more important to worry about then Serenity. Zoe and Wash had each other, if one left the other would follow. Jayne had proved that ultimately he cared only for money. Book and Inara had both left. If Kaylee and Simon got together how long would it be before they left as well?

Mal’s eye once again focused on Zoe, “I was wrong there as well, been wrong a lot lately.”

“So now that Inara is back and with you everyone can be happy is that how it works, sir?” Zoe shot back, angrily staring at him.

“What, you going to be mad at anyone that has some happiness?”

“Not mad at anyone but you, Mal.” Zoe only used his name when wanting to dive a point home.

“Oh, everyone else can be happy except for me, is that it?” Mal shouted back angrily.

Zoe shot out of the chair, “No one else tried to keep me and Wash apart. No one else got my husband killed.” She shouted back at him. She marched off the bridge before he could respond.

Mal turned back to Serenity’s controls but could not concentrate on his work. He looked up at one of Wash’s dinosaurs sitting on the console. “Sorry Wash,” he whispered to himself.


Sunday, July 24, 2011 1:08 PM


When you switch scenes you might want to add a extra space or a divide or something. A couple of times the scene switched from one sentence to the next and wasn't obvious at first. Just offering advice.

Sunday, July 24, 2011 1:24 PM


I put some spacers in. The extra spaces I had refused to show up.

Sunday, July 24, 2011 1:56 PM


I liked this one. :)

Monday, July 25, 2011 6:05 AM


Liked Jayne being so mighty generous and how all his gifts suited the person he gave them to. I couldn't see Zoe turning on Mal like that and blaming him for Wash's death even if she was thinking it. Ali D
"You can't take the sky from me!"

Monday, July 25, 2011 6:05 AM


Liked Jayne being so mighty generous and how all his gifts suited the person he gave them to. I couldn't see Zoe turning on Mal like that and blaming him for Wash's death even if she was thinking it. Ali D
"You can't take the sky from me!"

Sunday, July 31, 2011 8:16 AM


I know some readers don't like it, but I live for Mal and Zoe tension, post BDM.

I like how you got Mal and Inara together, her examining the scars:)

There are a few typos, like "that" for "than", but over all well done.

Sunday, November 6, 2011 8:01 AM


Update 11-06-2011

Corrections and a bit of a rewrite.


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