Sleepless Night
Monday, October 23, 2006

Just a little fluff to fill in after EBB & FLOW and PROGRAMMING before I get back to the other stuff ... Mal can't sleep. Let me know whether you like this or not, while I try and clear the writer's block ...


Mal couldn’t sleep. Which wasn’t unusual – at least, it hadn’t been. There had been weeks at a time when he prowled the corridors of Serenity while everyone else slept, generally ending up on the bridge, staring out at the stars. It had been worst after Wash had died, when he expected to see the blond pilot at every turn, hear his voice ringing out from the cargo bay, or catch sight of his latest Hawaiian shirt just rounding the corner of the engine room. Then Freya came onboard, and after she moved in with him his sleep was better, as if he could relax properly in her arms.

Tonight, though, nothing he did would work. He tried counting sheep, then cows, then Jaynes jumping over a wooden fence. The only thing that happened was his muffled laughter at the final images had Freya rousing from her sleep to look at him out of one eye, then settling back down again. He didn’t want to disturb her any more than he had so he slid out of bed, pulling on his pants and shirt, and climbing the ladder in his bare feet.

As he strolled down to the darkened galley, he half-smiled. River did this all the time, he thought. Walked the corridors of the Firefly with no shoes on. “I feel part of the ship, captain, touching the metal. You should try it some time. Serenity would like it.” All he felt was the cold seeping up into his toes.

He put the light on in the dining area and stepped down onto the slightly warmer floor.

Only glancing at the coffee pot – that wouldn’t help him sleep – he instead reached into a high cupboard, taking out Jayne’s stash of bourbon. The big man wouldn’t notice a slug was missing, he told himself, smiling slightly as he poured the alcohol into a mug. ‘Sides, he figured it was the mercenary’s fault that he wasn’t sleepy. Making him laugh like that. Just because his mind had clothed Jayne in wolf’s clothing as he chased the sheep over the fence.

He sat down at the table, pulling Freya’s chair around so he could put his feet up on it, and took a sip. It burned the back of his throat, but it was a pleasant feeling.

So much had happened in the last few months. For a man who liked an easy, languorous journey, he sure had some interesting days. He glanced towards the bunks. And she was the cause of so many. She broken his heart, healed it, broken it again … and all he wanted was for her to keep on doing it. And now she was carrying his child … He knew he was in the wrong for forcing it like this, but she'd forgiven him. Still ...

For so long he’d only thought of Inara, wanting her, but at the same time hating what she did, pained every time he felt the shuttle disengage from Serenity, knowing she was going to be with another man … She told him, so often, that it wasn’t love, that it wasn’t passion on her side, but he couldn’t believe it. It was still sex, still someone else in her bed, not him.

He took another drink, feeling the welcome warmth begin to creep through his belly.

He’d never done anything about it, not even when he rescued her from the Operative, brought her home, it still didn’t happen. Now he knew why, but it hadn’t helped at the time. Only that he couldn’t take that final step. He didn’t believe anymore, couldn’t believe that there was something out there, watching over them, but he was mighty thankful that he hadn’t taken that step. Not now. Not since Freya had come back into his life, into his bed.

And now he was going to be a father, and it scared him. Not the responsibility … he’d always had that. As a kid growing up on Shadow, knowing he was going to take over the ranch one day, then in the war, looking after all those men, encouraging them, engendering belief in their inevitable victory, then here, on Serenity, making sure everyone was safe, fed, well …

He laughed a little. No wonder he couldn’t sleep.

“If I ain’t mistaken, that’s my bourbon,” Jayne said, scratching his chest through his t-shirt. He hadn’t bothered getting undressed, hardly ever did, but at least he’d taken off his boots before lying down, which explained why Mal hadn’t heard him.

“I believe you might be right,” Mal said. “You got a problem with that?”

Jayne shrugged. “Only with other people drinking my booze without me.” The big man crossed the galley and took out the bottle, picking up a mug of his own. “Another?” he asked.

“Don’t mind if I do.”

Jayne sat down opposite Mal, pouring a healthy measure into each of the mugs. “May you be in heaven ten minutes ‘fore the devil knows you’re dead,” he said, raising his.

“If I believed in that kind of thing, I’d agree with you,” Mal said, smiling.

“Just something my old man used to say, when he had a nip of a Saturday night.” Jayne chuckled. “Long time ago.”

“My dad didn’t drink,” Mal said. “Least, from what I can recall. He died when I was ‘bout five.”

“Yeah, I remember you saying once. Don’t talk much about family, though,” Jayne said, tipping bourbon into his mouth, letting it swirl around his teeth before swallowing it.

“Long time ago.”

“So why’re you thinking about it now?”

Mal was surprised, as he always was, by Jayne’s perception. The big man might not have the schooling, or be well read in any way, but sometimes he showed flashes of insight that was downright unsettling. “Didn’t say I was.”

“No. But I reckon that’s why you’re wakeful.” Jayne grinned. “Ain’t no other reason to leave a woman like that all on her own during the night.”

Mal laughed. “You picking up something from River?” he asked. “Are we gonna have to be calling you psychic from now on? You been spending enough time in each other‘s company.”

Unexpectedly Jayne coloured a little. “It ain’t difficult, Mal.”

“No. I guess maybe it ain’t.” Mal sighed. “Thinking about the past, Jayne. About how things might have been, how they are.”

“And the future?” Jayne finished his bourbon and poured another, waving it at Mal who shook his head. “It ain’t gonna be long before there’s kids running around this boat, Mal. What with Freya being knocked up and all, and Kaylee and the doc… Soon as that happens, things’ll change.”

“For the better?”

“Ain’t sure about that,” the big man admitted. “It was something to hear you telling us, that you were going to be a dad, ‘n’all. Something of a shock. But … I ain’t never seen anyone look so pleased, Mal, as Freya did. And you. Not even when Kaylee …” He took another mouthful of alcohol. “And I didn‘t think anyone could have looked more‘n them, but you managed it,” Jayne went on, swallowing.

“You feeling left out?” Mal asked.

“Maybe,” Jayne conceded. “I know I got Simon Cobb back on Jangyin, but he ain’t blood. And blood’s important.”

“But maybe not as important as the family we choose, Jayne,” Mal said quietly. “The ones we decide we want to spend the rest of our lives with.”

“You gonna ask her to marry you?” Jayne asked, his perception again surprising Mal.

“Been thinking on it,” he admitted. “I even got me a ring.” He reached into his pocket and pulled it out, laying it on the table so that it caught the light.

“Pretty,” Jayne said approvingly.

“It was my momma’s. Last thing she gave me before I went off to war. Took it off her finger and told me to keep it until I found the woman I wanted to be with forever.”

“And that’s Frey?”

“I reckon it is.”

“Better ask her, then.” Jayne grinned. “’N’ I wouldn’t worry about what her answer is gonna be.”

“You think she’ll say yes?”

“I think all the stars’d go out before she said no.” Jayne finished his drink. “So, you gonna ask?”

“Soon,” Mal said, picking the ring up and putting it back into his pocket. “When the time’s right.”

“Mal, you bed that woman every night, she’s carrying your child - you think there’s a better time?”

“I just want to pick me the moment,” Mal admitted.

“Ain’t it usually you coming for me?” Freya asked from the doorway, yawning hugely. She’d got the sheet wrapped around her, but it was threatening to slip and reveal all. “And what moment were you picking?”

Mal smiled and stood up. “Nothing, honey. And you’re about to show Jayne a whole lot more than he’s seen before.”

Freya grabbed at the sheet and laughed. “You wanna bet?”

Mal stopped. “That is downright unsettling,” he admitted. “And as soon as I get you back to your bunk you are going to tell me just exactly what you meant by that remark.” He went to pick up his mug but Jayne stopped him.

“You go,” the big man said, “I’ll clean up.” Mal smiled. “Thanks.” He turned back to Freya. “Go on, before you embarrass yourself.”

“I don’t get embarrassed,” Freya said, heading back towards the bunks. “I just cause it in other people.”

Jayne watched them head back down the ladder, then sighed. He knew his kind of life wasn’t perfect, not by any stretch of the imagination, and he fully anticipated dying one day in a hail of bullets, or maybe at the end of a rope. But it would be nice, just once, to have someone around who hadn’t been paid to want him, who needed to be with him …

He sighed and stood up. Must be the alcohol, he told himself. Getting all introspective. Still, there was something he could do about that, he thought, grinning, and headed back to his bunk.


Monday, October 23, 2006 11:07 AM


Nice ... I like this bit of insight into Mal and his thought process and it's good to see him and Jayne being all civil.

I have to wonder there, does Jayne really have his eye on River? I love Rayne, so that wouldn't bother me in the least ... just curious is all!

Monday, October 23, 2006 2:56 PM


Loved this and nice to see that Mal has realised that any feelings he might have had for Inara would be doomed to come to nought with her being married to the Guild. With Freya he has someone who loves him wholly and whom he can love and cherish in return, plus the little one will fill a want in them both that cannot be bettered. And he has his mama's ring for when he pops the question! Aw, please say you will write that moment so we can all enjoy it. I also love perceptive Jayne, I have always felt there is more to him that he shows folks - a lot like Mal in that respect. And I see no incongruity with the pair of them having a quiet spell of truthsomeness while the rest of Serenity sleeps. Lovely job, Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Wednesday, October 25, 2006 6:13 AM


Mal will be a great dad i really enjoyed this

Wednesday, October 25, 2006 3:43 PM


Oh...lovely introspection here, Jane0904! Definitely could see Mal having a quiet moment to think on his new realities...though Jayne's imput was surprisingly wonderful (cuz it's Jayne, not because you suck as a writer) ;D

And like TamSibling, I wouldn't be amiss if Jayne decided to explore taking his closeness with River to another level. Much as they might differ in age, education and social beahviours...I really think there's a unity in spirit :)



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Secrets - Part XVII
“Bored now,” River said and span on her heel. Her body moved out of the way of the bullet even as she lifted her leg, her foot connecting solidly with Linc’s jaw. [Maya. Post-BDM. While Inara's illness is no longer a secret, Mal and his crew go out to find Molly.]

Secrets - Part XVI
“Then do it again.” Mal was aware he’d used his sergeant’s voice from the slightly wounded expression on his old friend’s face, and made himself take a step back. “It’s like you said, Monty – in the dark there’s no knowing where that girl’s got to. Like as not she took it into her mind to go visiting, got lost and mistook the time. She could be huddled up in someone’s barn right now, fast asleep.” [Maya. Post-BDM. Serenity heads back to Lazarus and Inara finds her sickness finally getting the better of her.]

Secrets - Part XV
Monty stroked his beard. “Maybe they’re afraid of us for when the war’s begun, of what we’d be capable of. Considering we held the Alliance nearly to a draw last time.” [Maya. Post-BDM. Mal and Monty talk, Serenity takes a trip, but there's trouble on the horizon.]

Secrets - Part XIV
Jayne looked almost abashed, his usual expression when anyone mentioned his home planet. “Even took some work on a fishing boat on Melbourne once.”
“That must’ve been hell. For a man who hates fish guts with a vengeance.”
“Didn’t help.”
[Maya. Post-BDM. Just a little fluff before getting back to the nitty gritty ...]

Secrets - Part XIII
"Perhaps you want to think on this. Lecomb sent a bounty hunter – several, in fact – to find some jewellery and kill a girl on the quiet, so nobody knows he lost them in the first place. Perhaps you should consider whether he might not employ someone else to kill you, just so you can’t tell anyone either.” [Maya. Post-BDM. Simon finishes the job, and Mal talks to Philo again.]

Secrets - Part XII
Her face looked back at her, make-up only a little smudged and appearing almost normal. Almost. Hard to see that she was dying. [Maya. Post-BDM. Everyone's waiting for Simon to work his magic, but Inara has secrets of her own.]

Secrets - Part XI
Freya gazed at him for a long moment, and he felt her stepping through his mind. It wasn’t to find anything, and he wasn’t even sure she knew she was doing it – it seemed more as if it was some kind of displacement activity while she thought. At last she said, “Corrupt it.” [Maya. Post-BDM. Simon explains what he's found, and Mal makes a plan.]

Secrets - Part X
He went to check the coffee pot, and decided that, while it might do for degreasing the welding that needed doing in the aft storage locker, as a beverage it left a lot to be desired, and poured it down the sink. “We might as well go sit with the rest, considering River couldn’t keep her mouth shut and everyone’s waiting for Simon to come up with something.”
[Maya. Post-BDM. Mal/Freya-centric chapter, and longer to make up for not posting in a while!]

Secrets - Part IX
“Everything a good forger needs to create some first rate IDs. Think he is? A good forger, I mean?” “Well, Monty has better contacts in the shady side of life than even me.” “No. Really?” Hank’s eyes were wide with feigned disbelief. [Maya. Post-BDM. Moving towards the nitty-gritty ...]

Secrets - Part VIII
Mal looked at the man, seeing years put on him that hadn’t been there that morning, the lines around his eyes and the sallowness of his complexion. “I can’t say I blame you, not for any of it. People do bad things when they’re in a corner, and although a Shepherd might say a sin of omission is still a sin, I’m not like to hold it against you.”
Maya. Post-BDM.