Running River: Act III
Sunday, May 14, 2006

Final act of this episode! Mal employs his elaborate escape and rescue opp unbeknown to Inara. Some form of conclusion between Wash and Zoë (and the baby) as well!


note: it would probably be best to read the teaser and first two acts! the former can be found at

i have all the characters (cos i cant bear not to) and it doesnt take place at any particular time in the series or bdm... oh and zoes pregnant =D


The moment Mal stepped into the room at least six guns were trained on him, each cocked and ready to fire. He put his hands up and smiled cordially at the man before him. He was very upright and wore a deep red silken suit. “The intention to kill me?” Mal asked, as though out of pure curiosity.

Gerik ignored him, motioning quickly to his men to bind him.

“What about the deal? Where’s the girl?” Mal asked quickly as the men leapt towards him.

Gerik smiled. “Ah, yes, the girl. The price of your life?”

“So the intention is to kill me…” Mal muttered.

“No, it is not, interestingly. The intention is to give you to those who want you. I assume, however, they want you to die, sooner or later.” He said this matter of factly enough, signalling to a man in the corner who left, returning moments later with River in tow.

“Hello, little one,” Mal said, smiling. “How are you?”

River had a serene look on her pale face. “This is a very light room…”

Mal couldn’t help but notice the edgy look her guard was giving her. He looked awfully nervous. “The binds really necessary?” he asked, “She’s just a girl.”

“Well, you seem to think she is worth more than that, so I think I will decide what’s necessary.” Gerik stepped over to River, taking a lock of her long straggling hair between his fingers. “She is quite pretty, though. I can see why you like her.”

River pouted, looking angrily at him. “I don’t like you. You hurt people.”

“Now what makes you think I do that?” Gerik smiled, taking her face in his hand.

“She didn’t want you, but you forced her to have you. Then you left her with someone inside her, someone that you put there. Mal!” River pulled her chin from Gerik’s hand. “He didn’t even say ‘Goodbye’!”

“Well,” Mal said, “I’m thinkin’ that’s just downright rude!”

Gerik looked startled for a moment then with a swift movement slapped River hard on the cheek. She didn’t flinch. Glaring angrily at him, she muttered, “hurt her…”

“Alright,” Gerik drew himself up tall, “Enough chit chat. Get him out of here. Dump the girl, kill her, I don’t care what you do with her, just get her away from here.”

“Scared?” Mal asked, grinning.

Gerik scoffed. “Scared of a little girl?”

“Oh, she can get pretty violent if you push her, I assure you…”

“You won’t take him,” River suddenly said, looking up at Gerik. “You won’t because he won’t let you.”

“Don’t know if you had noticed, girl, but he doesn’t really have a choice, what with being bound up and all.”

River’s brow furrowed, her gaze became confused. “40… 39… 38… 37…” she muttered. Suddenly her eyes jumped to Mal’s. “Bomb!”

The men surrounding him visibly backed off. Gerik’s eyes widened. Mal just smiled. “Yup! Few more seconds and we’ll all be dust. Could be sooner, if you want me to voice activate it.”

Gerik made a leap towards the door, but Mal cried out to him. “Stop right there! See I’m gonna to die either way so don’t push me!”

River smiled quietly to herself, murmuring the ominous countdown under her breath. Gerik was rooted to the spot. “What do you want?” His voice was suddenly hoarse with anxiety.

“Untie me. Untie her. Let us leave.”

Gerik looked startled, “but… but…”

“15! 14!” River suddenly cried.

Gerik jumped. “DO IT! DO WHAT HE SAYS!” The men leaped towards Mal and hastily unbound him. Gerik was a picture of his internal debate. The money! Could he really just let them leave? Did he have a choice?

Mal grabbed River by the hand and rushed from the building before he could change his mind. They burst onto the darkening street, River instantly erupting into a fit of giggles.

Mal smiled at her. “Very good plan, mei-mei. Much better than mine.”

“I know,” she admitted.


Inara took a deep breath as she rounded the corner. Her heart was beating twice as fast as it should. She just hoped she wasn’t too late. She hadn’t intended on finding anyone she would give her life for, but Mal inspired something in her. She didn’t think she could live knowing she could have helped him. He was just so…

“Mal!” The exclamation escaped her lips almost without her notice.

Mal stared at her, his eyes shining happily. “What’re you doin’ here?” he asked suspiciously.

Inara faltered. “I urm… what happened?”

“We escaped! Masterful plan from our running River here. I’ll explain when we get back.” Mal suddenly smiled slyly. “So, Inara, care to tell me what you doin’ around here?”

“Not really,” Inara replied.

River smiled knowingly, but didn’t give up the secret.


“River!” Simon leapt to his feet and ran to greet his sister. “Are you alright? What did they do to you?”

“Fancy they’ll be the ones glad to see her go, Doctor,” Mal said, collapsing into a chair at the kitchen table. “Get us off this rock will you, Wash?”

Wash nodded and ran off to the bridge. “What happened?” Kaylee asked, relief flooding through her.

“Was there shootin’?” Jayne asked eagerly.

“Well, children,” Mal began, all eyes readily on him. He didn’t notice Zoë slip out towards the bridge.


“Hey, Sailor,” Zoë said, placing her hand on her husband’s shoulder as he navigated the ship from atmosphere. “Got something I want to show you.”

Wash flicked a few switches and turned to face her, resting the helm. “Is it sexy?” he grinned.

Zoë smiled. “No.”


Zoë pulled the small package from the folds of her shirt. “I bought this.”

Wash took it, slowly unfolding the parcel, a childish look of excitement on his face. Confusion flickered across his expression for a moment as the packaging fell away, but as he recognised it, he smiled, pulling Zoë onto his lap. “It’s beautiful, but I don’t think it’ll fit me, honey.”

“It’s for her.” Zoë’s voice became quiet, intimate. “Kya.”

Wash frowned. “Isn’t it a bit small?” He held the tiny, deep red velvet hat up before them.

“Baby’s are small…”

Wash gently stroked his wife’s round belly. “I can’t wait to meet her.”


Inara sat listening to the silence of her shuttle. There was a part of her that wanted Mal to come, a part of her that longed for him to ask her to be truthful. Her career was based on the lies she told, the façade she put on, but sometimes she longed to just be honest, genuine.

There was a knock on the door and she hastily pushed these thoughts to the back of her mine. “Qing-jin.”

Kaylee peered around the door. “You busy?”

“Not at all,” Inara replied, chastising herself for hoping it would be Mal. Of course it wouldn’t have been. When did he bother knocking? “What’s wrong?”

“Oh, nothing really… It’s just…” She sat dejectedly on the bed and Inara came to sit next to her. “I feel so guilty about today. It was all my fault!”

“No, Kayle, it wasn’t. No one is blaming you,” Inara insisted.

“Simon is…” Kaylee muttered, tears pricking up in her eyes.

Inara took Kaylee in her arms, gently stroking her silky chestnut curls. “Of course he’s not…”

“But he never says the right thing! He never makes me feel right!”

Inara sighed. I know exactly what you mean... “Fang-xin, mei-mei. Sometimes boys can just be utter fei-hua, hen-bu-ti-tie fei-hua.” She tried to not sound too bitter.


Serenity slipped silently through space, smiling to herself.


i hope this is ok! i have been really busy with school work so not had much time to write but... yeah. thank you for reading!


Tuesday, May 16, 2006 7:24 PM


Interesting wrap-up for this part of the story, Sofi...was almost expecting Inara to burst in when Mal was still spinning his yarn with River about a bomb (Gerik's a dumbass if he fell for that);)



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