'Til Death Parts Us--Part II
Thursday, October 6, 2011

Co-written by Midnight Obsidian. Anya asks a favor of Mal, and Marcus plans a job.


Mal’s eyes narrowed as he watched Anya heading toward him. He recognized the look on her face, the one that usually ended up with him agreeing to something he did not want to do but would do anyway to keep her happy. He suppressed a sigh.

“Captain Mal,” she began sweetly, causing him to wonder at what point she had added feminine wiles to her arsenal of already formidable persuasive weaponry.

“Um hmm,” he said as noncommittally as he could manage.

Anya paused, waiting for him to look up at her. When at last their eyes met, she smiled softly. “I was just wondering…”

“Hold on,” Mal said, raising a hand in self-defense. “Whatever it is you’re ‘bout to ask, have you already asked your Mama? And if so, what did she say?”

“I haven’t asked Mama anything yet,” Anya said, widening her eyes innocently.

“On accounta’ you know she’ll say no…right?” Mal asked. “’Cause I ain’t over-fond of the idea of gettin’ into the middle of things, if that’s the case.”

Anya could not suppress the eye roll requisite of all teens. “You always get into the middle of everything on this boat, Captain Mal,” she pointed out. She paused for a moment, regaining her sweet demeanor. “Anyway, I haven’t asked Mama because it’s not something she has authority over.”

One of Mal’s eyebrows threatened to disappear into his hairline. “Ain’t a thing on this boat your Mama don’t have authority over, best I can tell,” he replied wryly.

“Be that as it may,” Anya said, slipping into the chair beside him. “It’s for you to decide. You see….well….there’s this dance…”

“Yep,” Mal said, interrupting her. “Just like I said. Something for your Mama to decide.”

“It’s on Osiris,” Anya blurted out. “And there’s no need to ask Mama for permission to go to the dance if I can’t get to the planet somehow.” Seeing Mal’s frown, she added quickly, “It’s a really important dance, Captain Mal, or I wouldn’t even ask.” She looked up at him hopefully. “Please?”

Much to Mal’s horror, a little part of his heart melted as he saw the hope shining in the child’s eyes. He wondered what it was about Anya that always tugged at him so. Sighing, he said softly, “Osiris is a long stretch from here, Anya.”

“I know, but I charted it,” she said. “And if we leave now, we could be there in time for the dance, and be back in time for Captain Marcus’ wedding….if he could postpone it for a few days.” She looked up at Mal, blushing. “And I think he would postpone it too, if he knew how important this dance is.”

Mal inwardly cursed the time River had spent teaching the young girl how to chart a course. Choosing not to point out the relative insignificance of some teenage dance when compared to Marcus’ wedding, he said instead, “All the same, Anya, it’s a long way.”

To his dismay, Anya’s lower lip began to tremble. “But if we can’t go, then Jared will have to take some other girl to the dance,” she whispered, her tender heart breaking at the thought of another girl in the arms of the boy she was certain she would love forever, or at least a year or two.

“So it’s still this Jared fella’,” Mal said, more by way of filling the increasingly uncomfortable silence as Anya struggled to get control of her raging teen hormones. “Seems to me that if he’s the kind of young man he oughta’ be, he wouldn’t be thinkin’ on taking another girl to the dance.”

“It’s the social event of the year,” Anya said in defense of her young love. “I couldn’t expect him just to stay at home and miss it, just because I can’t get anyone to take me there. I mean…he says that just everybody who’s anybody will be there.”

“Well, Anya, that ain’t the case,” Mal said as gently as he could. “’Cause we’re somebody, and we’re not going to be there.” Seeing her crestfallen expression, he added, “Just haven’t got the fuel to spare, nor the coin to fund the trip. I’m sorry, child.”

Seeing the first tear spill over her lashes, he swallowed thickly and rummaged around in his pocket for a tissue. “There’ll be other dances, Anya. I promise.”

She blew her nose loudly. “Nobody on this boat ever wants me to spend any time with Jared,” she wailed. “Just because he doesn’t come from a family of ex-Browncoats...and his Daddy isn’t a….” She stopped, embarrassed that she had almost said “criminal.”

“Don’t believe I ever have known what Jared’s father does for a living,” Mal said smoothly, handing her another tissue.

Anya snatched it from his hand. “What does it matter?” she snapped. “It isn’t like we’ll ever be together anyway, from the look of things.” So saying, she rushed from the room, crying with all the pent-up emotion of a teenaged girl denied her way.

Mal sighed, watching her go and wondering how it was that he would live through her pubescent years. River slipped into the doorway Anya had just vacated. “And once she’s done, it will be Hannah’s turn,” she observed.

“Don’t remind me,” Mal said ruefully. “Just…don’t.”

“There’s an 83% probability that you will live through it,” River said, grinning. “Although, of course, there are several variables that may reduce that percentage substantially.”

“Beginnin’ to think your brother ain’t wrong about the ‘brat’ thing,” Mal growled, though his voice was shot through with warmth.

“There’s a high probability that he’s correct in his assessment,” River said, smiling as she slipped into Mal’s lap and kissed the tip of her ai ren’s nose.


Pierre turned on the light above his sink and leaned toward the mirror there. Turning his head from side to side, he followed the line of tiny stitches delicately with his fingertips. Though he was no surgeon, he could tell that the work was exquisite. Already a thin line of pink, near-perfect skin was beginning to form over most of the small incision areas. Abruptly conscious of having held his breath, he exhaled sharply and drew in a deep, satisfying abundance of sweet air. He took a step back and peered into the mirror again, imagining for a moment that he looked into the face of a stranger. Were that so, he pondered, would he have immediately noticed the thin slivers of scars that now framed his face? Or were they just more visible to him because he knew that they were there?

No way to know such a thing, he decided, breaking his gaze away from the reflection reluctantly. Only time would tell how he would heal, and how his new face would be received by the general population. He sighed, equal parts relieved to see such progress and alarmed by what it all might mean.

As he reached to turn off the light, a knock sounded at his door and Marcus strode in. “You got a minute?” he asked.

“Always,” Pierre replied, looking up at his friend and Captain.

Marcus paused abruptly, staring at his pilot.

Pierre smiled. “It isn’t as bad as all that, is it?” he asked lightly.

Recovering, Marcus returned the smile. “Just haven’t seen you up close since the last surgery,” he said. He cleared his throat. “Looks good….really good.”

Pierre gazed intently at Marcus, trying to decide if the man was being sincere or merely kind. Satisfied after a moment of silence, he smiled, “It does, doesn’t it? I was thinking of quitting this life of crime and embarking on a modeling career.”

Marcus grinned, glad the somewhat awkward moment had passed. “Wouldn’t quit my day job just yet,” he said, his voice tinged with gentle merriment. “Speaking of which, I just got a wave from Bill Rogers. Has some cargo needs movin’. By happy coincidence, it’s right here on Greenleaf too. Figure it’ll take no more than a couple of days, and we can pocket some coin, ‘stead of sittin’ around any longer.”

“You sure that you’ll be back in time for the wedding if we do this job?” Pierre asked.

“Nothing’s gonna stop me from being here for the wedding,” Marcus replied. “I’d say I’ve waited long enough, wouldn’t you?”

Pierre held up his hands in mock surrender. “Just asking,” he replied.

“Yeah, well, you worry about piloting and I’ll worry about the deadline,” Marcus said, turning on his heel to go. “Set the course for Verbena.”

“Aye, aye, captain,” Pierre replied sardonically.


Anya flung herself facedown onto her bed, rattling the frame with her frustration. Normally calm by nature, now she was shaken by the intensity of the emotions swirling about in her head. Captain Mal was usually her strongest advocate other than her mom, Zoe, and to have both of them so resistant to the very idea of Jared was almost insufferable to her way of thinking. They didn’t know him like she did, she thought angrily. Nor would they ever, if she was continually denied the opportunity to introduce him to them properly. And he was just so sweet, she thought longingly, and so very swai. The real issue, she was certain, was that Captain Mal and her mother, and really everyone on Serenity, thought of her as just a little girl, despite the fact that she was almost thirteen. The idea fueled her ire. It was obvious to her that something would have to be done to get the adults on Serenity to realize that she was practically grown. Sitting up on her bed, she rested her chin on her knees and began to think about just how to make that point abundantly clear.


“I wish you wouldn’t go on a job right now,” Elizabeth said.

Marcus smiled and gave her a glancing kiss at the corner of her mouth. “Won’t be for long, darlin’. And besides, if I can find the right job, there’ll be coin enough to let the ship sit for a bit longer whilst we go somewhere nice and quiet for our honeymoon.”

Elizabeth could not help but smile, never able to resist the wicked twinkle in her lover’s eyes. “Seems to me that Pierre and the others could do a job now and then without you,” she replied. “I mean, both he and Bear are perfectly capable…”

“But Murdocke would be with them,” Marcus interrupted her. “Not so sure letting those three loose on the ‘verse is a great idea anytime.” He grinned at the thought. “And besides, if I’m out of your hair for a bit, you and Inara can do that whole shopping thing….maybe find your dress for the wedding.”

Elizabeth nodded, warming to the idea. “That would be nice,” she said, wavering a little. She had found the dress she had very much wanted to wear, but it was made cruelly unsuitable by the angry red scar that the madman Robert had left between her shoulder blades in an unsuccessful attempt to kill her. Since then, she had scarcely had the heart to look for a replacement. It was time to put it all behind her, she decided, and a good way to start that process would be to find a new dress that would dazzle Marcus as she walked down the aisle on their wedding day. A new dress for a new beginning, she thought.

As if he was capable of reading her thoughts, Marcus pulled her into his arms. “Better than nice,” he said, his lips brushing deliciously along the tender flesh of her neck. “Can hardly wait to see you, all dressed up….and to unwrap you later.”

His throaty chuckle was swallowed by Elizabeth’s kiss.


“So, I was thinking,” Murdocke began.

“Oh God,” Pierre interrupted. “Why is it that every time a sentence starts like that, we end up in go se up to our pigu?”

Murdocke grinned. “Why, Pierre, you’ve gone all cynical-like,” he said. “And here I thought you’d have a much rosier disposition now that you’ve got a pretty-boy face.”

“Pretty boy or not,” Pierre replied lazily, “Nothing good generally comes from your twisted thought processes.”

“Anyway,” Murdocke pressed on, ignoring the barb from the pilot of the Hit or Miss. “Have you given any thought to what to do for Marcus’ bachelor party?”

“He plainly told us he didn’t want one,” Bear interjected, throwing a card into the middle of the table.

“All the more reason to plan a surprise,” Murdocke replied, picking up the card with a grin.

Intrigued despite himself, Pierre leaned forward. “What kind of surprise?”

“Well, I was thinking that maybe we could talk to Captain Reynolds….”

As Murdocke laid out his plan, Pierre and Bear listened carefully. And unable to quite hide their grins, they found themselves in the unusual position of agreeing wholeheartedly with their engineer.


To be continued


Thursday, October 6, 2011 8:35 AM


Enjoyed the scene with Anya trying to persuade Mal to make a trip to the Core so she could go to the dance. Glad Mal was able to hold firm, despite the "wiles" Anya was employing. Mal is very susceptible to "wiles," isn't he? I really enjoyed Anya's line about how Marcus could put off his wedding so she could go to the dance--this just made me laugh. Sooooo teenage.
I'm happy to see the Pierre's surgery seems to be a success. I was always convinced that he had been good-looking before the incident that made him don the mask.
And Bear and Pierre agreeing with Murdocke! Can't wait to see what they cook up.

Thursday, October 6, 2011 11:28 AM


This was perfect, loved it slumming. I couldn't keep the smile off my face at all the crew interactions and Anya trying to twist her Uncle Mal around her finger and for once failing. Ah, the pitfalls of young love. Very happy that Pierre's surgery went so well though I have to worry what those boys have in store for Marcus... Ali D :~)
"You can't take the sky from me!"

Thursday, October 6, 2011 12:56 PM


Well I doubt this mission goes so smooth and somehow I think Anya might see her boy sooner than she thinks.

Thursday, October 6, 2011 1:23 PM


Thanks, all, for the replies. I can't imagine why anyone would think that things will not go smoothly in a fic Midnight Obsidian and I write! *batting eyes innocently* :)


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'Til Death Parts Us--Part VI
Co-written by Midnight Obsidian. For Marcus and Elizabeth, the moment has arrived, and Mal gives the ceremony his best shot.

'Til Death Parts Us--Part V
Co-written by Midnight Obsidian. The Hit or Miss crew’s plans for Marcus swing into effect.

'Til Death Parts Us--Part IV
Co-written by Midnight Obsidian. The search is on for Anya, and Adam faces the music.

'Til Death Parts Us--Part III
Co-written by Midnight Obsidian. Anya makes an inadvisable deal with Adam, and complications ensue.
Note: Thanks, ebfiddler, for suggesting that we include a small reminder note about the timeline of this story. At this point in this version of the ‘verse, we are about 10 to 11 years past the BDM, for those who keep track of such things. My, how time flies when you’re having fun! :)

'Til Death Parts Us--Part II
Co-written by Midnight Obsidian. Anya asks a favor of Mal, and Marcus plans a job.

'Til Death Parts Us--Part I
Co-written by the ever-talented Midnight Obsidian. Takes place shortly after the events of “Fractured” and “Aftermath” in a continuing Mal/River storyline that began a million years ago with “Voices”.
Summary: Life goes on for the crews of Serenity and the Hit or Miss, as everyone prepares for the long-awaited wedding.

Bad...In the Latin
Set within the timeline of the series. Stream of consciousness study. River contemplates her new environment. I'm kinda' rusty, so here's to hoping I have remembered a little something about writing!

Love Letters
One-shot set anytime within scope of the Mal/River storyline.

Aftermath--Part IV--Mal
Conclusion. Mal deals with the aftereffects of his time spent with the madman.

Aftermath--Part III--Marcus
Follows the events of “Fractured” in a continuing Mal/River storyline. Marcus re-evaluates his choices.