GENIUS SERIES: 34. "Housekeeping"
Tuesday, May 2, 2006

"A new peace settles on Serenity. Thadius and his friends deliver their own brand of justice and the Captain reflects on what has been lost against what has been gained."



SUMMARY: "A new peace settles on Serenity. Thadius and his friends deliver their own brand of justice and the Captain reflects on what has been lost against what has been gained." The usual disclaimers apply. The characters and 'Firefly' are the property and gift of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. No infringement of copyright is intended.


"Firefly" story

Written by Alison M. DOBELL

* * * *

Morning was a heady daze of pin sharp memories blurred by the shiny walls of passion which insisted on interrupting the beat of his gorram heart. It took a moment or two to recognise the emotion for what it was. He was happy. Not the momentary flame of content, nor the passing humour of a job well done or a moment of sweet peace snatched from the jaws of death, but the good honest wall to wall happy of a heart that had found its' match. So much joy he could hardly contain it still less keep the rutting smile off his face. Every cell in his body was celebrating that new awareness, his mind so illuminated with hope that it was painful to look back on the disaster scenes of his former life. The ruined landscape of broken dreams, loss and terrible deeds. Both those he had committed himself and those he had endured at the hands of others. Enemies who thought nothing of torturing his friends if it would hurt him more. Sick basket-cases that had littered his past with blood and ashes now swept away by the new emotions ruling him heart and soul.

Mal turned his head and gazed at the source of his deep content. Inara Serra lay like a goddess in the crook of his arm, the warmth of their bodies entwined and sated. It was at times like this that he felt most alive. A long prayer of thanks for every blessing that had befallen his benighted heart. The friends that surrounded him now like family, the bonds that were stronger than steel, the emotions his stumbling tongue could not voice for the aching of his proud heart. Yet he loved them, loved them all, and in this one remarkable woman he had found a way to express what he felt in a way that engraced him beyond his wildest dreams.

She awoke to the smile on her lips, warm and pleasing. Curving her own in the bow of his joy and desire. Her lips answering with awakening passion. As the Captain opened his mouth to speak she devoured him, stealing his breath then making him beg for more. Oh yeah. He was happy. Just didn't have the gorram energy left to say how much.

* * * * *

Thadius Clay couldn't help it, he loved it. The way the sleek vessel reacted with seamless loyalty to his every command, no sacrifice to speed or efficiency when in stealth mode. A veritable Queen of the Black. He smiled, couldn't help it and didn't ever want to stop. Ruben was mightily amused. Carl a little jealous and Michael baffled that anyone could be so enamoured of a hunk of metal. Okay, so the tech was neat but that was about the only concession he would give to anything approximating praise for something spawned by the unholy marriage of the Alliance and the Blue Sun Corporation.

*We were born in a petrie dish*. Helen admonished.

*Doesn't matter*. Michael sulked. "We're flesh and blood. We have minds, souls."

*It is a tool no more*. Soothed Thadius.

*A tool of the enemy*. Corrected Michael, his mind dark with descending sadness.

All five minds joined in that sorrowing vision, their collective mood darkening in synch with Michael's. Thadius brooded for a few moments, his thoughts dipping into solitude so as to be apart from the others. He did not lock them out, just stepped into an adjoining room. The door left open but the request clear in their minds. They respected his need for a little privacy and lost themselves in a kaleidescope of thoughts, content to wait for him to rejoin them. When moments later he did so all felt the rush of quiet relief.

*This will be risky*. Ruben mused gently.

*We cannot wait until they have destroyed one another*.

*Alive is so much harder to achieve than dead, Thadius*. Carl cautioned.

Thadius knew. Understood. But for this to work they needed to pick their targets not only with swift precision but pick them well. They needed the strongest, the hungriest, the most violent specimens. Nothing else would bespeak the evil that their masters had spawned. One by one all five came to consensus, knowing even as they did so that the success of the plan would seal their own fates. The length of a life mattered not, the content as variable as any other existence. It was the quality, the passion that filled it, the sacrifice that elevated it to another realm. One beyond the fractured pain and torment of those that would meddle with the gifts of Creation. What was Death but one more dragon worth the slaying? If it stole the foothold that Evil wished to claim as its' crown what could be more noble, more fitting an addendum to the cry for freedom? They might have been born slaves, but thanks to Malcolm Reynolds they would not die slaves.

A brief wave of sorrow and loss echoed through their minds, hearts feeling the imprint of that pain then letting it go. Commitment burned in every mind, the little ship turning on its' course, the cloak making it invisible to even the naked eye. Thadius thought it was unfair that the Alliance should have the shiniest toys.

* * * * *

The Captain swore. The long colourful stream of Mandarin leaving Inara breathless with laughing. Oh that was rich, having her laugh at the gorram interruption. Kaylee was not even blushing which was something of a wonder seeing as how her Captain was all flushed and sweaty and unable to find cover in time for a modesty not shared by his mechanic.

"Why don't you gorram knock, little Kaylee? That doctor not teach you no manners, *mei mei*?"

A hand half covered the guffaw, laughter spilling out where her fingers couldn't quite trap all the hilarity inside. Eyes wide with amusement, tears glimmering with mirth at the corners. Face all creased up with the humour of it as he tried to shoot daggers at her. Never could stay mad at Kaylee for more than a moment. He had to hop on one foot to snag the silk sheet up off the floor and wrap a little dignity around him. Inara didn't bother, she just rolled on to her stomach and smiled at the mechanic, the two sharing a sense of mischief that disturbed Mal more than he was wont to put into words.

"*Duibuqi*, Cap'n, thought ya would'a finished by now."

"*Shenme*? What business is it of yours how your Cap'n spends his time?"

"It ain't on'y we're about to land an' have to pick up the ore."

The Captain's grumpy aspect changed, all embarrassment forgotten at the reminder of the job. Soon as they dropped off the foodstuffs and picked up the iron ingots they could be on their merry back. Pick up the rest of their pay then plan a real welcome rest. Preferrably on some planet light years from the gorram Alliance and with locks on the doors. Not that Kaylee and River couldn't pick any rutting lock in the 'verse if they turned their minds to it, but they might not be so inclined if he didn't let on where he and Inara would be staying. Yep. That sounded like a plan. "Well, why the *diyu* didn't you say so?"

Kayleed grinned, "Just did."

Before he could think of a pithy reply, Kaylee gave Inara a wink and closed the shuttle door on her way out. Mal turned a baleful eye on Inara. Woman looked too gorram pleased with herself by far. "What you smirkin' at, *xin gan*?"

The Companion raised her eyebrows and rolled slowly over, watching Mal swallow as his eyes travelled over the lush curves of her very beautiful and tempting body. His mouth dry and like to forget his name any minute. Inara leaned over the edge of the bed. The Captain started to lean towards her when suddenly a hand flashed out and tugged the sheet from his hands. Inara's smile widened when she saw that her interest was the equal of his own. A saucy smile tugged at her lips, her eyes shining and fixing him with a silent dare. Growling low in his throat he pounched on her, Inara laughing and rolling, her legs wrapping round him as he kissed her throat. Oh yeah, they were coming in to land. In more ways than one.

* * * * *

On the bridge Zoe was frowning. River smiled to herself as she answered the com and identified Serenity to the port control. Wally had obviously waved ahead of them because it seemed they were expected. Accepting the docking code and following the landing instructions River kept darting a little sideways look at the scowling first mate.

"What?" Zoe snapped.

River shrugged. "You keep scowling. If the wind changes you'll stay like that."

Jayne stomped on to the bridge. "Stay like what?"

"Zoe was scowling. Making faces."

"Huh?" Jayne stared at Zoe but couldn't see anything unusual. "What ya talkin' about moonbrain, she always looks like that."

Zoe wanted to smack him but it wasn't worth the trouble of explaining the why of it and knowing Jayne he might mistake the rebuke for foreplay. Inwardly she shuddered at the thought.

Just as River coasted to a halt the Captain appeared on the bridge. His hair was damp with perspiration, his face a mite warm but at least he was wide eyed and awake. Zoe gave him a solemn nod. "Right on time, sir."

He gave a nod and didn't ask what she meant, trusting she was talking about the job. It was only later when he and Jayne got the mule ready that he noticed the time. No wonder Kaylee had come to get him, it was 3 in the pm! Gorrammit if that Companion wasn't gonna wear him to a frazzle. As they rolled down Serenity's ramp to exchange the food for ore, a smug smile settled on his face that no amount of crude comments from Jayne could shift. The anstier Jayne got the wider the Captain smiled. By the time they got back with the iron ingots, Jayne was ready to brain him but the Captain didn't care. Standing at the top of the ramp was Inara. Heart beating unevenly, it took all Mal's concentration to help Jayne unload and tie down the cargo.

"River, get us in the air!"

Jayne huffed and stomped angrily past the Captain, Kaylee catching his muttered imprecations about the Captain being even more unbearable when he was getting regularly laid than he had been before. River paused long enough to roll her eyes and look sideways at the distracted Captain. "Jealous, wishes he could watch."

Zoe blinked. The Captain turned his head to stare at River but she was already on her way to the bridge. Kaylee opened her mouth to say something but Zoe shook her head. For once Kaylee took her cue and left to go and find Simon. Finally alone, the Captain dipped his head a moment, a sudden shyness making him all manner of hesitant. Amused, Inara walked up to him, a hand reaching out to draw him near. "*Shenme shi*? You weren't shy last night."

He flushed. It never ceased to amaze her how easily she could make him blush. And yet there were other times when nothing would phase him. A case in point was when that *pofu* Saffron had left him naked and he had strode proud and smug up the ramp of the ship, not at all concerned that his crew were seeing him without a stitch of clothing on. Yet, let Kaylee walk in on them unawares, or Jayne talk about getting sexed or any one of a hundred little harmless comments about relationships and emotions and the man would get so tied in knots you would swear he was a virgin. Inara smiled and at his look of query gave him a sweet kiss on the lips. It was just another one of a thousand reasons why she loved him. He was about to kiss her back when a scream froze his blood. Inara's head snapped round in alarm then Mal was running past her, gun out before he even realised he had drawn it.

As he ran up the metal steps with Zoe naught but a step behind, they shared an anxious look. They didn't speak, each knowing what the other was thinking as the scream tapered off. The sight that met their eyes as they burst into the infirmary was one that would live long in the memory no matter how hard Mal tried to scrub the images from his mind. Kaylee. His gifted, cheerful, kind hearted and relentlessly optimistic mechanic was sitting astride a naked and partly bound Simon. Kaylee doing things that made the Captain wince even as he wondered just how she managed to get the doctor in that position in the first place let alone settle herself down upon him without snapping his manhood clean off. He had thought the scream was Kaylee's, now red faced and trying to find a way to back out without making it look like a retreat Mal realised his mistake. Simon had been the one screaming and not in pain but passion. His eyes were kind of glazed, the heat of sexual excitement a disturbing thing to see on the young man's strained face.

Mal fumbled as he reholstered his gun. "Best we leave you to it then."

Behind him Zoe was already making her escape. Mal bumped into Jayne at the door and had to pause to physically pry the man out of the room. When Jayne tried to get past him, the Captain stood firm and glared at him. "Jayne, move. Now!"

The big man didn't look at the Captain, his neck craning, eager to catch another glimpse of the doc and Kaylee in the throes of passion. The Captain was beginning to get mad now.

"Best not be mistakin' that for a suggestion."

Slowly the Captain's words penetrated the mercenary's brain. "Gorrammit Mal, it ain't fair! I ain't had no sexin' in months an' it ain't helpin' with you an' 'Nara ruttin' all the gorram day an' night, an' Kaylee an' the doc doin' it anywhere there's a flat surface..."


The big man blinked at the crack of authority in Mal's voice. His eyes finally focusing on his Captain. "It ain't fair Mal!" He wailed.

The Captain sighed and managed to half drag Jayne towards the commons area before stopping to speak to him out of earshot of the others. Mal put a hand on Jayne's shoulder. "You know we got a big payday comin', *dui*?"

Jayne frowned. "What's that gotta do with...?"


"Oh, yeah. So?"

"Once we get paid you'll be able to rut to your gorram heart's content."

A smile swallowed up the mercenary's face. He glanced back towards the infirmary then leered at the Captain. "That mean I can bring me a coupla whores to my bunk?" Mal shut his eyes a moment, silently counting to ten. "No Jayne, it means you can go to a whorehouse or wherever, get yourself taken care of *dong ma*?"

"Aw but Mal..."

"I mean it Jayne, but I promise I will have a word with Kaylee an' the doc."

"You will?"

"Yeah. Get them to confine their activities to their bunks."

"*Wei*, I don't mind watchin'."


The big man blinked, genuinely confused. What had he done now?

"There'll be none of that on my boat."

Jayne watched the Captain stomp off and remembered what Mal had said about that big pay day. His frown turned into a grin of anticipation. Oh yeah, he knew exactly what he was gonna spend his cut on.

* * * * *

The Council seemed to be at an impasse. The new Director looked ill at ease though it would be hard for anyone not familiar with Matthias Blake to know that. He cast an imperious eye around the members hastily assembled. "I cannot believe a young girl - barely more than a child herself - and her brother have managed to so effortlessly elude you."

"They had help."

That was Ethan Fogg. The alacrity with which he withdrew from the conversation was all Blake needed to know about that man. Straw. They were all made of rutting straw. "*Qu*, I know about the Firefly and its' crew."

"Reynolds." Began David Stewart Black, "Is a constant fly in the ointment, *shifu*."

Blake fixed them all with an unamused eye. "We all know what happened on Miranda, thank you Senator Black. Reynolds is but one man, his ragtag crew are the tatterdemalions of the Black. Tell me, how could such *goushi buru* best the might of the Alliance?"

Uneasy glances played ring-around-the-roses with a dozen of the Alliance's finest. Not a one wanting to name the nightmare visions made flesh that the Captain had uncovered for a disbelieving 'verse to finally sit up and take note of. Young Senator Nash began to utter the forbidden word just as the sealed doors to their parliamentary meeting were blasted inwards, the shock wave forgotten in the unholy host that swept among them. Eyes widening with fear, Ethan Fogg managed to force one incredulous word from trembling lips before a blood soaked hand raked the vocal chords from his throat. "Reavers!"

* * * * *

Simon Tam was embarrassed but not nearly so much as his Captain. Malcolm Reynolds tried to find a safe place to focus but there was nowhere he could look without making eye contact with one of his crew. Rutting grinning fools every one. Jayne was in high spirits, his crude comments even more unsettling now that the Captain had mental images of a bound doctor being played with dizzying effect by his deft mechanic. Gorrammit, he had known from the first time he had set eyes on her that the girl weren't the shy retiring type, but the kind of sex games they were playing still made his ears burn and his throat go dry. Where in the nine hells was the Shepherd when he needed him most? Not that he would allow God came into the equation none but Book did have a calming effect on his crew that was near miraculous.

"We wasn't doin' no harm, Cap'n. 'Sides, you an' 'Nara were..."

The Captain hastily cleared his throat, not daring to look in the Companion's direction and steadfastedly ignoring the obvious enjoyment his second in command was taking in his obvious discomfort. "*Bizui*! Not nobody should be havin' sex in the public places of my gorram boat, *dong ma*?"

Kaylee wanted to protest, but Simon stilled her with a look. His silent plea melting her heart. The man looked purely miserable, the notion of having his private pleasures displayed for the rest of the crew to see and snigger over was almost too much. The mechanic dipped her head and realised she had perhaps gone a little too far but it was hard to hold back her lust for a certain very *shuai* doctor. For his sake she would try to curb her sexual fantasies, at least to the privacy of their own quarters. At least River had chosen to stay quiet and for that they were all thankful. "*Duibuqi*, Cap'n. Won't happen again."

Mal ignored Jayne's moan of disappointment and felt a glimmer of control seeping back. "Good, that's all I'm askin' little Kaylee. Ship can't function if'n it's turned into a gorram whore house." For a moment it seemed as if even the 'verse held its' breath. The Captain replayed his words inside his head then closed his eyes and mentally groaned. Opening his eyes he tried to recapture lost ground. "I didn't mean, ruttin' *diyu*, you know what I meant."

"Well done, sir." Zoe deadpanned.

He glared at her as Inara quietly left, everyone afraid to speak and make things even worse. The Captain wondered why these things kept happening to him and why his trusty second in command was no help, no help at all. He sucked in a bitter little sigh. Things had been going so gorram well. "Let's finish the job." He said flatly.

When he got to her shuttle Mal actually hesitated, not sure whether his timing would just add insult to injury. But though he was many things, Malcolm Reynolds was no gorram coward and this was his life, his and Inara's. Couldn't expect to make it through without a few bumps along the way. So he didn't knock, didn't allow himself a moment to change his mind. Breezing in with a confidence he didn't rightly feel, the Captain froze a couple of feet into the shuttle, his mouth hanging open in stunned shock. Sitting on the bed, Inara Serra had a rubber tornique around her arm, a steady hand removing the injector as her head turned to see who was interrupting her. All the blood fled from her face.

"What in the nine hells you doin'?"

"Mal, it isn't what you think."

His mind began to kick back into gear, the slow sluggish movement of thoughts speeding up as he struggled to fit the images he was seeing into a scenario that made sense. The pieces wouldn't fit. "What is this? You took sick?"

She shook her head, inwardly cursed for not locking the door. "*Bu qu*, just taking my monthly injection. Nothing to get upset about, Mal."

His voice quiet and deceptively soft, the Captain walked slowly towards her. "What monthly injection?"

Inara really didn't want to have this conversation here or now. In point of fact had hoped to avoid the subject all together. "The inhibitor stops a Companion from becoming pregnant."

The Captain's face paled. "You thinkin' you might fall pregnant?"

"No, Mal. It's just a precaution."

She could see her words had hurt him but what did he expect? Did he really think she would want to bring a helpless life into this mad death-defying struggle they called living? A whole slew of possibilities was running through the Captain's mind now, not none of them happy thoughts. Inara didn't want to risk getting pregnant. Companions couldn't be having rug rats under their feet still less husbands to clog up the works. Above all she didn't want to be having a baby with him, a child sired by Malcolm Reynolds. Hardly the social event of the year. He was silent so long that Inara felt moisture pool in the palm of her hands, only years of training stopping her hands from shaking as she put the ornate silver injector back in its' laquered box.

"Say something Mal."

It took light years for the words to make it to his lips. Heart numb, he was barely aware of what he was saying. "Don't matter now, 'Nara." He said quietly. "You made your choice."

Inara wanted to hit him, knock some sense into the man, her anger beginning to rise. How dare he think to take the moral highground just because he had bedded her. Why did men always get hung up on the sex? Did they think a few rolls in the hay made a woman theirs? A few thrusts and suddenly a woman had no brain or say in the running of her life? Well that wasn't her and it never would be. The sooner the Captain realised and accepted that the better. She opened her mouth to say as much then aborted the notion, all the air in her lungs turning stale as she realised the place where he had been standing aghast was now empty. Tears blurred her vision as she got up and made herself shut the door. This time she locked it and leant against the cold metal, sobs wracking her body as sorrow hit her hard. A whimper catching in her throat, Inara Serra slid to the floor and wrapped her arms around her knees and wept, the salty ocean of her tears smearing the kohl and making her makeup run.

"Love hurts, love scars, Love wounds, and marks, Any heart, not tough Or strong enough To take a lot of pain, Take a lot of pain Love is like a cloud Holds a lot of rain. love hurts, Oooh-ooh love hurts..."

"Love Hurts" - sung by Nazareth

* * * * *

CHINESE GLOSSARY: (Mandarin - Pinyin)

*mei mei* = little sister *duibuqi* = sorry *shenme* = what *diyu* = hell *xin gan* = sweetheart *shenme shi* = what's the matter? *pofu* = bitch *dui* = correct *dong ma* = understand? *wei* = hey! *qu* = yes (lit. go) *shifu* = sir *goushi buru* = lower than dogshit/lowest of the low *bizui* = be quiet/shut up *shuai* = handsome/snazzy *bu qu* = no (lit. no go)


Tuesday, May 2, 2006 3:23 PM


Ohh, so very nice! The S/K scene had me rolling with laughter. God that was funny, as were everyone's reactions to it.

And Mal - thinking his boat is turning into a whorehouse? Open mouth, insert foot to the thigh....he's as bad as Simon!

And then Inara not wanting to have his baby...huh.

Is Kaylee taking those shots too....? The good doctor better be giving her regular injections too (in addition to the FUN ones!)

Great chapter. Looking forward to the next!

Thursday, May 4, 2006 9:06 PM


Oh crap....I knew that the joy couldn't last long! Just can''s in the rules for Firefly/Serenity stories of a certain length: Thou shalt have angsty out the pigu, with moments of sheer hiliary;)

Still....was laughing my ass off with all the crazy sexcapades until Mal walked in on Inara with her mystery vial. While Mal went a tad overboard in his reaction (silence is damn poignant), I think Inara has to see something of where Mal is coming from. He wants to be with her, wants to have a meaningful relationship....and probably children sometime in the relatively near future. Inara and her Guild prescribed meds for birth control are logically smart but something that hurts if not really known about because of their ability to remove the chance of conception from any equation. I think a session locked in a closet for a few hours should do the trick;)



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His head still ached from the rutting probe but after the men had satisfied themselves that his story was true a thousand questions peppered the air like machine gun fire.

The vessel was shiny, sleek and black with nowhere near the bulk of an Alliance ship. Something about the way it moved through the Black was more than a little creepifying.

Personally she didn't care if Serenity was towed off to a junk yard and stripped into spare parts. She had promised the ship to Jer and his crew as a bonus but it looked like scavengers had beaten them to it.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS: 2. "Counting Chickens"
The fact that her eyes were hard and sharp with intelligence kind of chilled him. Smart women always made him uneasy, it just weren't natural.

What in the nine hells were they so afraid of? Then he remembered Tracy. The body mailed to them by their old war buddy and all the trouble that had brought down on them.

If it was too gorram wet to hunt for rabbits what in the nine hells was his son really hunting? And was it something on four legs or two?

The man was in a terrible condition, his pulse weak, and for some reason he was soaking wet which did nothing to staunch the blood soaking through his clothing and seeping from the poorly tended wound where he had been shot.

THE DICHOTOMY SERIES: 9. "All The King's Men"
The man sighed like the weight of the of the 'Verse was on his shoulders but unlike anyone else he looked like he could carry the weight.

THE DICHOTOMY SERIES: 8. "All The King's Horses"
Without warning something came through the opening and rolled with a metallic clang across the ground before exploding.

THE DICHOTOMY SERIES: 7. "Friend or Foe"
Then he found himself falling, the whole world silent as in slow motion the hordes of *diyu* came to swallow him up and everything disintegrated in fire, blood and pain.