'Til Death Parts Us--Part V
Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Co-written by Midnight Obsidian. The Hit or Miss crew’s plans for Marcus swing into effect.


“Can’t hardly believe you didn’t demand Anya come home right this instant,” Mal said, looking at his best friend with equal parts relief and confusion.

“No need to make Marcus have to make two trips, ‘specially since he’s got just the one day longer to go to get the job done,” Zoe replied. She paused for a moment, looking out at the dust of the Greenleaf docks. “And, if you want to know the truth of it, I expect I’m gonna need at least until the Hit or Miss docks back here to wrap my head around why she’d do such a stupid thing to begin with. ‘Magine it will be all I can do not to wring her neck when I see her.”

Mal nodded, figuring as much. “Parenthood ain’t exactly for sissies, is it?” he agreed. “Can’t wait for ‘em all to grow up strong and independent, and then just as sure as spittin’ that it’ll kill me when they do.”

Zoe smiled, though it was a bit tight around the edges. “Least you got a few years before you have a teenaged daughter.” Sighing, she turned on her heel and headed toward the infirmary.

“You feelin’ all right?” Mal called after her.

“Headache,” Zoe replied.

Mal nodded, thinking that his own head felt less than perfect after the day they’d just been through.


Marcus strode purposefully down the docks toward the Hit or Miss. His pockets heavy with coin from the job, he marveled at how smoothly it had gone off, except of course for the whole thing with Anya. Barely two days out and already he and the crew could head back to Greenleaf a sight more prosperous than they were when they left. Thinking with pleasure about just how he and Elizabeth might spend the coin on their upcoming honeymoon, he did not notice anything amiss on the docks of Verbena.

Bear met him at the door of the Hit or Miss. “Think we got a problem here, boss,” he said more softly than one would think a man his size could talk.

Marcus frowned. “What makes you think so?” He looked around suspiciously. “And why aren’t the engines running?”

Bear shifted uncomfortably and cleared his throat. “Well, about that…” he began. “Whilst you were closin’ the deal, me and Murdocke were gettin’ things ready for leavin’.”

Marcus nodded, impatient now to hear the rest.

“And, um, well….”

“Just tell him,” Murdocke barked, striding into the bay area like a bantam rooster. “Wasn’t our gorram fault.”

A small pulse began to beat unpleasantly under Marcus’ right eye. “What wasn’t your fault?” he asked, his voice rising with alarm.

Looking somewhat chagrined, Bear sighed. “Long story short, we’re landlocked.”

“Because?” Marcus asked, motioning with his hands for the man to continue.

“There was a random check,” Bear replied. “Just a random check on the docks for proper registration papers and such.” He paused, looking meaningfully at his captain.

Marcus frowned. “So?” he asked. “Why didn’t you just show ‘em the papers?”

“We did,” Murdocke said, unable to suppress a small grin. “Seems they didn’t take kindly to the idea that we were in possession of a stolen ship.”

“What in the sphincter of hell are you talking about?” Marcus asked. “Hit or Miss ain’t stolen. Been mine free and clear for….” He paused, suddenly struck by the recollection that currently the Hit or Miss did technically belong to Malcolm Reynolds since the transfer of registration in preparation for the wedding ceremony later in the week. Cursing his sentimental wish to be married with Mal officiating aboard the Hit or Miss, he muttered, “Gorram it!” Stomping toward the bridge in no small amount of agitation, he added. “Can NOT believe I’m having to deal with this go se now.”

Bear and Murdocke walked steadily behind their captain, exchanging a small smile at his expense.

Murdocke said, “Best be trying to get in touch with Captain Reynolds, Marcus. Dock master says that we’re grounded until he gets confirmation from him that we’re authorized to use the ship.” He grinned widely, aware that Marcus was about an eighth of an inch away from a serious meltdown.

“Fine,” Marcus thundered, cursing the need to ask someone else for permission to fly his own gorram ship.


Half a day later, Marcus still sat fuming on the bridge of the Hit or Miss. “No luck, huh?” Pierre asked, sliding into the co-pilot’s chair with his typical grace.

“No,” Marcus growled. “Where in all the ‘verse can they have gone? I’ve been waving Serenity for hours.”

Pierre shrugged nonchalantly. “Could be they’re out celebrating the fact that Anya is here safe with us. Or maybe…” He suppressed a wicked grin. “…maybe they’re all getting ready for the wedding.”

Marcus swallowed uncomfortably. “She’s gonna kill me, you know.”

“Who?” Pierre asked, as innocently as he could muster.

“You know who,” he replied miserably. “Elizabeth didn’t really want me to even take this job so close to the wedding. And now….well now, it looks like I’m not even gonna be there on time. You got any idea how dangerous that woman can get when she’s mad?” He looked over at Pierre balefully.

Pierre rubbed the new skin along his jawline thoughtfully. “Yeah, I can see as how it might be a problem when you finally get back to her. It’s a real shame.”

“And come to think of it, where the Devil is she?” Marcus interjected. “Why hasn’t she gotten in contact with me?” He jumped up and began to pace the length of the bridge. “It does look like a woman who’s about to marry would be a mite more concerned about her fiancé.”

“Could be she thinks we’re already headed back,” Pierre supplied. Unable to resist needling his captain a little more, he added silkily, “After all, she has no reason to assume otherwise. You DID promise her you’d be back on time, right?”

Punching up the wave coordinates for Serenity one more time, Marcus sighed. “Yeah, I did. And that’s most likely the thing that’s gonna get me killed in short order.”


On board Serenity, Mal watched the little light on the console blinking impatiently.

“How long are you going to ignore the wave?” River asked, slipping into his lap.

Mal grinned. “Marcus’ crew said to wait at least another hour or so. Apparently, he’s not worked up into quite enough of a lather to suit them just yet.”

“Mal…bad in the Latin,” River said, smiling.

“Yep,” Mal agreed lightly. “I am a very bad man.”


“Captain Reynolds, may I have a word?” Elizabeth asked some time later, sticking her head onto the bridge.

“We’re back to “Captain” now?” Mal asked. “Thought we’d got past that and were on a first name basis, considerin’ all that’s happened.”

“We were,” Elizabeth replied smoothly. “That is, until I found out about your little ruse.” She folded her arms across her chest and leaned against the nav console. “Care to explain yourself?”

“Wasn’t my idea,” Mal began to back pedal.

“Um hmm,” Elizabeth said. “So I was given to understand. But you do know that if this wedding gets postponed, everyone responsible will be in significant go se, right?” Her blue eyes flashed with fire. “Dong ma?”

Mal held up his hands in mock surrender. “The Hit or Miss crew’ve got it all figured out. They’ll get him here on time.” He grinned, his own eyes twinkling with merriment. “Of course, I can’t guarantee what kinda’ mood he’ll be in when he gets here…”

Unable to keep a straight face any longer, Elizabeth grinned. “So long as you’re sure he’ll get here….I’ll grant it serves him right for cutting it so close on the job. Mind if I join in the fun?”

“I was just about to wave him,” Mal replied. “But, by all means, be my guest.” Relinquishing the pilot’s chair to Elizabeth, Mal added, “So long as I can stick around and watch.”

“Certainly,” she responded. “The more the merrier.”

There was silence for a moment as she tapped in the wave coordinates for the Hit or Miss. Putting an appropriately ingenuous expression on her face, she waited for a response. She didn’t have to wait too long.

Marcus started talking before the screen completely coalesced. “Mal, where in the sphincter of hell have you been?” he began, only to see Elizabeth’s face instead. “Oh,” he stammered, his face feeling suddenly a few shades redder than he would have liked. “Elizabeth…honey…I wasn’t expectin’ you.”

“Obviously not,” Elizabeth said, widening her eyes innocently. “Is there something wrong, dear?” She paused for effect. “You are on the way back, right?”

Marcus gulped. “Well…about that…”

“Because we’ve got a kind of big day coming up, if you remember,” she continued, seemingly ignoring his stammer.

Marcus cleared his throat. Deciding to bite the bullet and confess his dilemma, he said, “Well now, bao bei, there’s been a little problem.”

Elizabeth’s eyes narrowed. “What kind of problem?”

“Nothing I can’t handle if I can get hold of Mal,” Marcus quickly assured her, alarmed by her change of expression.

“Marcus Hazzard, if you’ve done something to prevent getting here in time to marry me…”

“I’m landlocked,” he admitted quickly.

“What do you mean, landlocked?”

“Elizabeth, I swear by all that’s holy, it ain’t my fault this time. It’s the paperwork…and the magistrate… and….” He gestured helplessly.

Elizabeth leaned back in her chair and folded her arms across her chest. In a low voice, she said as seriously as she could manage, “If you don’t want to marry me, Marcus, all you have to do is say so. You don’t have to go to such extravagant lengths to avoid it.” As she spoke, she saw Pierre behind Marcus, signaling quietly over his head. Nodding almost imperceptibly, she went on. “I mean, I think you at least owe me that.”

“Bao bei,” Marcus said, “Please believe me. I wanna marry you…I swear I do. It’s just a problem with the local magistrate, and Mal should be able to clear it up well enough. Just get him for me…please, darlin’.” Focused so intently upon convincing Elizabeth to let him off the hook for the problem, Marcus did not notice Bear and Murdocke joining Pierre behind him.

“I don’t believe you,” Elizabeth said. “I don’t believe you’re really landlocked at all.”

The frustration Marcus had been dealing with all day threatened to completely overtake him. “You think not, huh?” he said, steaming now. “Watch.” He began pressing buttons on his nav console, fully expecting the controls to be as unresponsive as they had been all day. To his dismay, the Hit or Miss hummed to life, its engines betraying him with a traitorous roar. He sat back, stunned. “But…but…what the…,” he stammered, as Pierre, Bear, and Murdocke broke into loud laughter behind him. “When…Gorram it, what’s going on here?” he thundered.

Mal leaned over Elizabeth’s shoulder, coming into the frame of the screen for Marcus to see. “My friend, I believe you have just been had.”

Blinking rapidly several times, Marcus got the joke. Swinging around to face his crew, he said, “You know I’m gonna kill you, right?”

Pierre wiped tears of mirth from his cheeks. “Just kill Murdocke. This whole thing was his brainchild.”

“Didn’t notice any of the rest of you trying to stop me,” Murdocke replied, grinning widely.

Marcus turned back to the screen and glared at Mal. “And you wouldn’t be safe either, if I didn’t need you to marry us,” he said. “Speaking of which…” He turned his attention to Elizabeth, who was also grinning like the cat that ate the canary. “I’ve got a bone or two to pick with you, too. You are in such trouble when I get home.”

“I can hardly wait,” she replied, her eyes twinkling at him with just enough mischief to set his mind to thinking of other things entirely. “Hurry home, ai ren.”

“Oh, don’t you worry,” he replied. “We’ll be at full burn in about two seconds.” And flipping the switch to end the transmission, he thought about what delicious revenge he would exact upon his crew after the wedding was done and their guards were down.


To be continued


Wednesday, October 12, 2011 8:23 AM


Brilliant, I couldn't stop laughing! Poor Marcus, he is so in hot water. Can't wait for the reunion between Anya and Zoe, just hope she isn't too hard on her daughter. I'm figuring that lesson has been well and truly learned slumming. Ali D :~)
"You can't take the sky from me!"

Wednesday, October 12, 2011 9:42 AM


Oh, boy. Marcus's crew is in big trouble! I don't think he'll really do anything about it now, but sometime...somewhere...when they think he's forgotten all about it, he will pay them back in kind! Very funny scene!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011 10:59 AM


Not very nice, but likely what he deserved.

Thursday, October 13, 2011 4:15 AM


Now thats some funny shit right there. I think Ima have to go and dig up the backstories for these characters, this is a quality yarn.


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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.