Secrets - Part XVIII
Sunday, March 29, 2015

“Can you be sure the parts aren’t tagged in any way? Because I can’t.” Freya shook her head, then put her hand on Monty’s arm. “We can’t afford to have this getting back to you. To us. Besides, if the ship isn’t found then I’m sure Harper Lecomb isn’t going to give up looking for his son. We’ve got enemies coming out of our ears – we don’t need to breed new ones.” [Maya. Post-BDM. Randall Lecomb meets his final end, and Simon is still working on Inara's problem. Here's an extra long chapter to make up for the long, long delay in getting it to you!]


Mal looked up at the sleek lines of the Morell and squinted slightly. “You sure you can do this, xiao nu?”

River nodded, one dark strand of hair falling from its confines and across her face. “Yes. I’ve already disabled the automatic tracking system – the difficult part will be convincing the Cortex that he is where we say he is when the ship takes off.”

“But you can do it.”

“Yes.” She gazed at him. “Do you need glasses?”


“You’re squinting.”

Mal made the effort to smooth the lines between his eyes. “No, I don’t. Just got a headache coming on.”

“Brain tumour?”



Freya had been almost incandescent with rage when she walked into the clearing to find Mal and Zoe standing over the recently and very deceased Randall Lecomb …

Just a few minutes before her entrance Lecomb was still twitching, but the big cat had begun to feed.

“You think he’s dead, sir?”

“I kinda hope so.”

“Now what?” Zoe asked, peering around one of the huge erratic boulders. “Or were you planning on negotiating?”

Mal shot her a glance that should have turned her to stone, but it merely slid from her own personal armour. Instead he pulled his comunit from his pocket. “I was actually planning taking a leaf out of your own book from a few weeks back.”

“So you were planning, sir?”

The stone should have melted this time, but he spoke into the small device. “Hank, bring the shuttle.”

“What? Why? Jayne brought Molly, and I was just taking her home –”

“This first.”

“What’s that noise?”

“Just do it. Lock on my comm and fly low. Make a lot of noise.”

“Okay, Mal.”

“Do you think this is a good idea, sir?” Zoe’s voice could have dried up an ocean.

“You got a better plan? Over and above us shooting the cat?” He glanced around the rock at the flattened head and thick skull, blood dripping from its jaws. “That is, if we could. Remember that time on … where was it?”

“Oberon.” Zoe remembered. That time they’d got the boy back before too much damage had been done, but it had taken eight of them with heavier guns. Shooting this one might just make it mad.

Mal could hear the sound of the shuttle, a dull roar that was getting louder. “This is just easier.” At her look he added, “Maybe,” before speaking into his comunit again. “Hank, you’re pretty much on top of us. Ten seconds should be enough.”

The shuttle flew in, low, its downdraught pushing leaves from the trees and dragging up soil, dust and small stones into a maelstrom. The noise was deafening, but still they heard the sound of a pissed-off cat howling at being interrupted. Ten seconds seemed like a lifetime to Mal and Zoe, crouched behind the meagre protection of a rock. Then, as suddenly as it had started, it was over, and the shuttle wheeled away.

“Land close,” Mal commanded, tasting grit in his mouth.

“What about Molly?”

“Tell Kaylee to stay with her in the shuttle. But close as you can.” Mal spat to try and clear his tongue, just as Jayne stepped from behind a tree.

The big man glanced at the corpse, looking more like a bundle of bloody rags than what had recently been a walking, talking human being. “That Lecomb?”

“Yeah.” Mal wiped his mouth on the back of his hand.

“What, you get hungry or something?”

Mal glared. “There’s a big cat out there somewhere. Track it, make sure it doesn’t want to come back to finish its meal, at least until we get this sorted out.”

“On it.” He disappeared into the undergrowth as if he’d never been there.

“You think he’s part cat, Zo?” Mal asked idly, shaking crud from his hair.

Zoe didn’t get a chance to respond.

“What the diyu do you think you’re doing?” It was Freya, as silent as Jayne but a lot more angry.

“Me?” Mal was surprised.

“Both of you.” She gestured towards the body. “He’s dead?”

“He is. And before you ask, no, I didn’t kill him.”

“But you didn’t stop it, did you?”

“I didn’t have much say in the matter. ‘Sides, better him than me. And Zoe was there too - why ain’t you mad at her?”

“Oh, I am.”

The first mate held her hands up in surrender. “Hey, keep me out of this.”

“Do you have any idea how much trouble this is going to put us all in?” Her hands on her hips, far too close to her gun for his liking, Freya was trying hard to keep it together, and only barely succeeding.

“The man was a rapist and would-be murderer. You think I should feel sorry for him now he’s kibble?”

“No, but you’re glad he’s dead!”

“So?” For once Mal held onto his temper, feeling there was something else behind all this. “Frey, you okay?”

“Mal, I …” Freya was speechless with fury.

They were glaring at each other as Hank stepped into the clearing. “Here you are. I landed next to that Morell,” the pilot said, running his fingers through his untidy brown hair. “All bright and shiny. Kaylee’s looking at it like she’s going to ask if she can keep it.” He smiled until his eyes fell on Lecomb’s body. “Oh.”

“Yes, oh,” Freya ground out, then took a deep breath to try and focus. “Hank, is there a tarp or something in the shuttle?”

The pilot shrugged. “I guess I could find something. Why, are we gonna bury him?”

“No. I have a better idea.”

“You do?”

“You do?” Mal echoed.

Freya ignored him. “But we’re going to need Monty’s help.”

That had been an hour since, and the sun had broken through thin clouds as Mal and River stood together, contemplating Lecomb’s personal spaceship.

“You had better be getting back,” River commented. “Monty is waiting.”


“Unless you’d like me to fly you back in the shuttle.”

He squinted at her again, then remembered not to. “Thanks, but I can fly myself.”

“Are you sure? With your eyesight the way it is …”

He glared at her this time, then stomped off into the trees, hearing her laughter behind him.


“Think you can do it?”

They were standing in the yellow drawing room, Zoe and Mal by the fireplace, Freya and Monty facing each other on the thick, rich carpet.

Monty sat down carefully, as if afraid his weight was going to break the furniture, and scratched his beard. “Well, it’d be a tight fit, but I figure maybe I can squeeze her in.” He looked at Mal. “Then what?”

Mal put his hands up. “Hey, not my idea. Frey’s the one with all the answers.”

“Well, someone has to be,” she snapped.

Mal glanced at Zoe, but the tiny twitch of her eyebrow was like a whole-body shrug of ignorance from anyone else. “Shiny. Go ahead. I ain’t gonna say another word.”

Freya quickly explained, then added, “River and Kaylee are working their magic on the Morell’s systems. At the moment it thinks it’s parked on the pleasure moon of Calypso.”

Despite his promise to keep quiet, Mal said, “Gorram good plan.”

“Think they can do it?” Monty asked, glancing at Mal then back at Freya.

“Two geniuses? I think so. And Hank’s helping with the donkey work.” Freya glanced guiltily at Zoe. “Sorry. I didn’t mean that the way it sounded.”

“None taken.”

“You sure about this?” Monty tugged at his beard. “I mean, it is a Morell. Pretty much new off the lot.”

“One careful owner,” Mal murmured, earning a stab of a glare.

“I meant,” Monty went on quickly, “there are places I could sell her. Even the parts’d make a good deal. And we could split the profits.”

“Can you be sure the parts aren’t tagged in any way? Because I can’t.” Freya shook her head, then put her hand on Monty’s arm. “We can’t afford to have this getting back to you. To us. Besides, if the ship isn’t found then I’m sure Harper Lecomb isn’t going to give up looking for his son. We’ve got enemies coming out of our ears – we don’t need to breed new ones.”

“I know what you mean.” He scratched his cheek. “Okay. And it won’t be much out of our way, as it happens.”

“Thanks, Monty.”

“My pleasure.”

Mal cleared his throat. “Uh, Frey –”

She didn’t even look at him. “Now Jayne and I have a big cat to move on.” She strode out.

Monty lifted his head to gaze at Mal. “You in the dog house or something?”

“Seem to be. Not quite sure why, though. I mean, it wasn’t like I invited that cat to dinner.”

“Women.” Monty stood up, making the room seem smaller. “Don’t matter what it is, but they’ll find some way to make your life really interesting.”

Mal hitched his thumbs in his gunbelt. “Is that how you feel about Inez?”

“Sure. But with her, it’s in a good way.” He shook his brown coat to sit more comfortably on his shoulders. “Now, I’d better go clear my cargo bay.”

He almost ran into Sam in the doorway.

“Oh, sorry,” the doctor said, standing to one side.

“No problem.” Monty slapped the other man on the back and strode out of the house.

Sam rolled his shoulders. “Is he always like that?”

“I’d have to say he’s mellowed in his old age. Time was he could dislocate half a dozen ribs without even trying.”

Sam smiled, but only briefly.

Zoe stirred. “I’m going to see if Kaylee and River have killed my husband yet. Unless there’s something else you want me to do, sir.”

“Nope, can’t say I can think of anything at the moment,” Mal admitted. “Kinda feel like a spare wheel myself, seeing as my own wife seems to have taken over being captain.”

“I’m sure she doesn’t want the job permanently, sir.”

“Well, she’d have to fight River if she did. And Bethie’d be her second.”

“Jayne would sell tickets.”

Mal’s mouth creased into a smile, then a thought occurred to him. “You might see if there’s some food you could take ‘em. I don’t think anyone ate breakfast this morning.”

“I’ll check the kitchen on board.”

“No need to do that,” Sam put in. “I’m sure Mrs Boden would be happy to make something up for you all.”

“I’d’a thought Molly’d be their first concern,” Mal said.

“She is. But there’s only so much fussing a girl can take. I think it would be a good idea for her mother to have something to do.”

“You sure?”

“From the look on her face, Molly would be quite grateful.”

“Then I’ll head there first.” Zoe inclined her head and walked out, stately and serene.

“That is some woman,” Sam murmured.

“And taken,” Mal pointed out. “Or are you planning on making a play for her? I didn’t know you were feeling particularly suicidal.”

“I’m not.” Sam dropped into a chair. “But I might have to consider making a move.”

“Oh? Why?”

Sam sighed heavily. “Because Inara hates me. And you.”

Mal did a creditable attempt at innocence. “Me? Why me?”

“Because it was your wife told Simon to take her blood while she was unconscious.”

“She did?” Mal felt a faint warmth of pride.


“Can’t say I’m surprised.” He grunted a laugh. “Doesn’t explain why ‘Nara’s mad at me, though.”

“In all honesty, I think it’s pretty general.” Sam tried a smile but it was gone in a moment.

“She okay?”

“No.” The doctor shook his head. “I wish I could say otherwise.”

“Simon’ll figure it out. Have some kinda shot he can give her, get her back to her normal, snarky self soon as spit.”

For once Sam didn’t rise to the bait. “I’m afraid it won’t be as simple as that.”

Mal took a longer look, saw the greyness of the other man’s pallor under his normal olive complexion. “You really are, ain’t you? Afraid.”

“I had hoped it might just be the irrational anxiety of the soon-to-be father, but now …” He looked down, almost surprised at finding he was rubbing his hands together as if he was cold.

Mal felt like he was intruding in something intimate and compensated by patting Sam on the back. “We all suffer from that, believe me.”

“I suppose. But she won’t talk to me about it. And we’ve shared so much …”

Backing awkwardly away from such a sensitive subject, he instead latched onto something more normal. “So Inara’s mad at me?”

Sam took the offered lifeline. “Actually, she’s pretty magnanimous about it.”


“Simon gave her a slight sedative and we put her to bed. She woke up an hour ago and stormed off to Serenity to demand Simon give her the sample back.”

“Did he?”

“Well, technically it was her blood. And faced with an irate ex-Companion, even his sang-froid wasn’t enough.”

“Not sure mine would’ve been either.” Mal exhaled heavily. “So we’re back where we started if he handed it over.”

Most of it.”

A smile twitched. “That young man is getting very devious.”

“I’m sure it’s the company he keeps.”


“Anyway, Simon said he hasn’t got enough to run all the tests he’d like, so he needs to think first.”

“Then maybe Frey can get something out of ‘Nara when she gets back.”

“Has she done something to annoy you?” Sam asked, trying to smile. “Sending her into the lion’s den?”

Mal rubbed the back of his neck. “I … in all honesty, I ain’t sure.”

“Then perhaps I should contact Simon and tell him to have weaves and antiseptic at the ready …”


The day had waned into night, and the world had already turned back towards the dawn when Jayne, sat on one of the wrought iron chairs under the apples trees with a blanket around him, lifted his head.


“My Jayne.” River materialised out of the darkness, crossing the grass silently and sinking down next to him.

“Done?” He pulled the blanket from his own shoulders and wrapped it around hers.

River nodded and snuggled into the rough fabric, feeling the residual heat warming her. “Done.”

Jayne reached down and started to massage her neck. “Tired?”

“Mmn.” The agreement turned into a growl of pleasure. “Don’t stop.”

“Wasn’t intending to, moonbrain.”

She smiled, as always the faint thrill coursing through her at the name that used to be an insult. “Were you and Freya successful?”

He knew she could have plucked it from his mind without straining, but she liked him to tell her things. “Pretty much. She … uh … persuaded it to move further south. Told it there was richer pickings there.”

“How far south?”

“’Bout hundred and fifty klicks.”

She turned, and her pale face caught what light there was. “That would make it right in the middle of Finiston land.”

“Reckon it would.”

“He will not be pleased.”

“Don’t think anyone’s gonna tell him, least of all the cat. ‘Sides, serve him right for complaining about everything.”

Silas Finiston, a local landowner who fancied himself as an old-time cattle baron, had tried to buy Inara’s property on more than one occasion so he could join two parcels he’d already purchased, and had met with polite refusal each time. Now he took every opportunity to threaten litigation, from water rights to the dogs barking.

“And Freya was aware of this?” River asked.

“I sorta pointed it out to her. She just smiled.”

River sat back against his leg. “I would like to have talked to that cat.”

“Yeah?” He absently began to tease the tangles from her long hair.

“I would have asked what human flesh tastes like.”

He paused. “This likely to be a bad day?” If it was he would have to hide his guns and all the kitchen knives again.

“No. Just curious.”

“So you ain’t planning on cooking up long pig sometime in the future?”

“I think people would notice if someone disappeared.”

Jayne chuckled deeply. “With the kind of meat Mal’s bought before, I ain’t too sure we haven’t already.”

She screwed up her nose. “Yuck.”

He found a hard knot and began easing it apart. “I heard tell once of a bunch of settlers on a moon somewhere got quite a taste for it after their supplies ran out. Used to lure ships in, scavenge ‘em and make up quite a feast. And Mal’s got a bit more flesh on him now –”


“You started it.” He tugged her hair gently. “Anyway, if anyone serves him up it’ll probably be Frey. Any idea why she’s mad at him? I mean, more’n him being Mal.”

“Did you ask her?”

“I ain’t that stupid.”

For a long moment River didn’t answer, then she sighed deeply. “So many secrets.”

“And you know them all?”

She shifted uncomfortably. “Sometimes the cause doesn’t relate to the effect.”

Jayne thought for a moment. “You mean he’s just convenient to be angry at.”

River laid her head against his knee. “My Jayne is far more intelligent than he is given credit for.”

“Nope. Pretty sure my IQ is lower’n my hat size.” He grinned in the darkness. “But you ain’t gonna tell me, are you?”

“Not my secrets to bring into the light.” A deep throbbing in the earth increased to sound, and a bloom of gold began in Carrie-Ann’s engines. River was on her feet in a moment. “Time to finish this one.”


They watched Carrie-Ann lift off in the distance, Monty having promised to let them know if it worked, and to see them all again soon. The big vessel’s engine lit the leaden sky and she broke atmo, then Mal turned to Freya. “Okay. I’d say your plan is working. So would you like to explain to me why you’re so all-fired angry at me?”

She didn’t look at him, just stared up into the heavy cloud as if she could see Monty’s ship go to burn. “Lecomb is dead.”

He followed her gaze, knowing the sun had come up, but with no evidence beyond a sallow, sickly glow that seemed to give less light than a candle. “So? I didn’t kill him.”

“You didn’t exactly try hard to stop it.”

“And have Zoe or me end up as lunch instead?” He deliberately stepped in front of her. “And the truth is, I ain’t sure I’d have stopped it if I could’ve.”

Her eyes dropped to his, and there was an odd mixture of fury, passion and incalculable sadness in their depths. “And I’ve had to clean up the mess.”

He kept his voice level, soft. “And you’ve done a pretty fine job, too.” He tried a half-smile. “Maybe you should be planning the heists from now on.”

“Maybe I should.” She turned on her heel and started back to the house, but in a few paces he caught up with her, taking her arm and making her stop.

“Frey, it’s better this way.”

“How? How is it better, Mal?” She shook her head. “Explain to me how this is justice?”

“Is that what you wanted? Justice?”

“I wanted him hung out to dry for what he did to Molly!”

“Frey, he got half-eaten alive by a wild cat. I’m pretty sure that’s justice of a kind.”

“And nobody will know what he did!”

“Oh, is that it? You wanted it to be seen to be done?”


He nodded, turning away and keeping his sometimes short temper under control. “And what could we have done? Handed Lecomb over to the Alliance? On what charges? Rape. Kidnap. Attempted murder. And Molly’d have to testify.”

“Mal –”

He went on as if she hadn’t tried to interrupt. “That’d bring in the Bodens, and no matter how good those IDs of Monty’s, it’d like to come out who they really are. And Linc would’ve been first in line to bargain for a deal, you know that.”

“I’m not saying he –”

“And you really think it’d get to trial anyway? With old Harper and his cronies? Molly’d just disappear, her parents too.”

“All right!” This time she shouted, startling something on the lake into flight. “Stop being so damn reasonable!”

“Well, it kinda makes a change.” He tried a half-smile. “It being me, I mean.”

“I just …” She took a deep breath, closing her eyes for a moment to try and calm her thoughts. “I wanted, just once, that someone would pay for their crimes.”

“A cat ate him. I think that’s paid in full.”

“I know.” She sighed. “I know.”

He moved closer, not reaching out for her yet. “Odd, ain’t it?” he said conversationally. “We break the law, take on jobs we know’d get us bound if we got caught, and it don’t phase us. But Randall Lecomb …”

“It’s not the same.” She closed the distance so they were touching.

“So there’s degrees?”


“And we’re on the side of the angels?”

“I doubt it.” She yawned, trying too late to stifle it.

He smiled. “You need some sleep.”

“I’m fine.”

“Really? ‘Cause I’m sure I could see what you didn’t have for breakfast just now.”

“I ate.”


She closed her eyes and shook her head, but her lips had curved. “I’m not sure.”

“Then …” He lifted his hands and placed them lightly on her hips. “Food, then a rest.”

“Are those your orders?”

“They are.”

Freya smiled. “You enjoy being captain, don’t you?”

“When people let me.”

“Then I’m happy to obey.” Not that either of them moved. “I thought you were hungry,” she added after a moment or two.

“Just enjoyin’ the view, ai ren.”

“There’s only me to look at.”

“Frey, honey, there ain’t nothing in this whole gorram ‘verse more beautiful.”

“River’s right. You need glasses.” She yelped faintly as he pinched her.


Simon sat at the table with a mug in front of him, staring into its murky depths in case he could read the answer in the bitter liquid.

“Doc?” Mal let Freya step down into Serenity’s kitchen in front of him, then followed her to the counter. “You okay?”

Simon took a deep breath. “Not … really.” He took a mouthful of coffee, then grimaced.

“Jayne make it?” Mal asked, pausing in the act of lifting the pot to pour.

“I think so.” Simon ran his tongue around his teeth to make sure they hadn’t dissolved.

“If that man kills us all it’ll probably be with this.” Mal tipped the contents down the sink, then peered after it. “Think it’ll eat the piping?”

Freya laughed tiredly. “Tea, I think.” She ran fresh water into the kettle and put it on to heat.

Mal ran his fingers across the top of her buttocks then walked back around the counter to stand and look down at Simon. “So is it just Jayne’s attempts at refreshment, or is it something else?”

“Something else.”


“Mmn.” Simon sat back and ran his hands through his hair before pushing his palms down his face. “I … all I’ve managed to do is find a slight infection in her blood, nothing more than the start of a cold, I think. I’ve given her antibiotics, but …”


“Nothing.” Simon stood up.

“Wanna try that again?” Mal stepped in front of him. “With just a bit more conviction?”

They glared at each other.

“Oh, stop it,” Freya said. “Simon, just tell him, or he won’t be able to get to sleep.”

“I …” With a long exhalation of breath, as if the truth was dragged out of him, Simon said, “I don’t know. It’s just … what I found … it’s not enough.” He dropped back into his chair.

“Not enough? For what?”

“Damn it, I don’t know!”

Mal sat down slowly. “You think there’s more to it.”

“I know what pregnancy does to a woman. What she can experience.” Simon looked disgusted with himself. “But I don’t think that’s what’s causing Inara’s symptoms.”

“I thought she just fainted.”

“There’s more to it. I’m sure there is.” Simon jerked as he felt a hand drop onto his shoulder, and looked up into Freya’s face.

“You’ll find it,” she said. “I know you will.”

“Do you have any idea how many times Inara has let me examine her? Treat her?”

“Pretty much on the thumbs of both hands,” Mal put in.

Simon barked a humourless laugh. “Pretty much. Even after what Han did, and Atherton Wing …she barely let me do more than put on a weave or two. I’ve got so little to compare her blood to, and so little of her blood to compare.”

“How much sleep have you had in the past couple of days?” Mal asked gently.

“Not … much.” He rubbed his eyes with the heel of his hand.

“Then my prescription is bed.”

“Thanks, Mal, but you’re not my type.”

“Hell, I’m everyone’s type.” Mal stood up and pulled the young man to his feet. “Go find your wife and get your head down. You ain’t gonna be of use to man nor beast if’n you don’t get some shut-eye.”

“Why, are you planning on getting shot again soon?”

“Not planning on it, no. But these things happen.”

“They certainly do to you.” Simon swallowed a yawn then nodded. “I think you’re right. I’ll take a fresh look at things in a couple of hours.”

“Make it more like eight and I won’t get Frey here to dope you.”

“I’ll have you know I used to stay awake for days when I was at Medacad, especially before the boards.”

“Yeah, well, you ain’t as young as you used to be.”

Simon laughed. “No. No, you’re right. And I feel about ninety right now.”

“And you don’t look a day over eighty-eight.” Mal put his hands on his shoulders and turned him around. “Go.”

“Yes sir.” Simon wandered out, rubbing the ache at the base of his spine from having spent too long hunched over analysis read-outs.

Mal turned and looked at Freya. “Is he right?”

“About …?”


For a long moment she didn’t answer, then said slowly, “I’m not going to Read her, Mal.”

“Not even for her own good?”

“You know how she was earlier. And Sam’s been thrown out of their bedroom, did you know that?”

“No. So she was mad. But is she sick?”


Mal felt a cold thrill down his spine.


They’d talked in their bunk for as long as they could stay awake, deliberately not making any mention of Lecomb, Molly or Inara. Freya couldn’t tell him any more than he already knew, and Mal was just glad she was with him at all.

Then, just as he could feel sleep creeping up on him, she spoke softly.

“You know I love you, don’t you?”

Mal turned his head, blinking in surprise. “A’course I do, ai ren.”

“Only I just wanted to make sure.”

His eyes narrowed slightly in the gloom. “What brought this on? You finally decided I ain’t enough for you and you’re running away with Simon?”

Her lips twitched, and he knew it wasn’t too serious. “Yes,” she agreed. “Only Hank’s coming too. For the weekends.”

“Always did know I could never play up to your level.”

“Oh, you do well enough.” She placed her hand carefully on the scar down the centre of his chest, where Simon had had to operate on his heart.

The trickle of anxiety was back, over and above the general level of anxiousness. “You okay?”

“I just … I don’t say it enough.”

“You don’t have to. It’s a done deal with us.”

“I know. But everyone likes to hear it once in a while.”

“Is that it? You don’t think I say it as often as I should?”

“No. No!” She went slightly pink, and he could feel the heat in her cheeks. “That’s not it at all.”

“Then maybe you should come out and tell me what this display of admittedly welcome affection is all about.”

She gazed at him, and he didn’t have to be psychic to know she was weighing up pros and cons. Finally she smiled, just a little. “I love you. Always and forever. With all my heart.”

“That’s nice.” He waited. “Is that it?”

“For now.”

He shivered slightly, and not from any chill. “Frey, whatever you ain’t telling me, do I need to be worried?”


“Then there is something.”

“Not really.” She sighed deeply, the vibration transferring to him. “I suppose I’m just worried about Inara. And Sam. I’ve been in his shoes often enough to know what he’s going through, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.”

“Hey, I do try and not get shot.”

“I know. And imagine what it would be like if you didn’t try.”

“I conjure Simon might run out of needles.”


He took a deep breath then said, very slowly, “Frey, when you want to tell me whatever it is, I’ll be here. I ain’t going nowhere. Just promise me you ain’t gonna go gallivanting around the ‘verse without me, dong mah?”

She looked faintly surprised. “Okay.”

“Shiny.” He interlaced his fingers with hers. “You even think about leaving me and … well, there might be tears.”

She laughed, the light sound warming him far more thoroughly than a slug of whiskey. “Couldn’t have that,” she murmured, snuggling down closer to him. “Besides, I have an idea or two to make things better.”

“Really?” He waited a moment. “Frey?”

But she was asleep, her lips slightly open, her face relaxed.

He smiled, closed his eyes, and joined her.

to be continued


Monday, March 30, 2015 1:27 AM


Quite nice to see this corner of this verse still alive and well. I gotta go back and reread all ur stories again now, there goes 2 weeks of my life.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015 2:59 PM


Thanks! I've missed your fine tales and like this story a lot. I should recap it a bit.

Thursday, April 2, 2015 8:31 PM


Glad to see more of this story, and glad to see some of the answers came out, but then you wrote in more questions! Thanks for all the hard work and the great story, and looking forward to more.

Saturday, April 4, 2015 11:54 AM


Wonderful, Jane0904. I just love Mal and Freya though am worried about Inara and the secret(s) she's been keeping. This is such a lovely series I always celebrate when you post a new chapter! *Xie xie ni*, Ali D :~)
"You can't take the sky from me!"


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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!]