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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Monied Individual - Part I
Hank’s parents had died when he was young, and his grandmother had brought him up. Mal considered it was her fault he was the way he was, but that was unfair – Hank was who he was always destined to be. Or possibly he was meant to be someone else entirely.

[Maya. Post-BDM. A new story for your delectation and delight. Persephone, Badger and lawyers ... what could possibly go wrong?]

Secrets - Part XXVIII - Conclusion
River shook herself, turning from the rabbit hole. She didn’t feel like being Alice, and while Jayne’s grin sometimes made her think of the Cheshire Cat, the dormouse was asleep and likely to remain so. Of much more interest were the secrets. So many, some old, some new, some borrowed and some blue. And for once she didn’t care if she was referencing the Earth-that-was marriage ceremony. That wasn’t the point. Inara, the Bodens, Harper Lecomb and the Culver diamond, Randall Lecomb and his homicidal tendencies … all secrets, overlaid with the flavour of the Alliance and their need to control.
[Maya. Post-BDM. Secrets comes to a conclusion, but some are still waiting to see the light of day.]

Secrets- Part XXVII
“I don’t always trust him when he’s operating on Jayne. A slip of the scalpel, too many drugs, too little oxygen, and I would be a free woman. My worries. Not his thoughts. But he is my brother. For better or worse. For richer or poorer. In sickness and in health. And we have experienced them all.”
[Maya. Post-BDM. Home stretch now on Secrets, with the crisis passed for now and decisions made. Thanks so much for those of you who have stuck with this!]

Secrets - Part XXVI
"Have you never done that? In all those times you were treating someone in the hospital, when you were the great Doctor Tam, didn’t you once tell less than the truth to someone if it made them feel less desperate?”
[Maya. Post-BDM. Inara's fate, and what follows. My apologies for the wait!]

"Jayne, she’s psychic.” “So?”
[Maya-ish. Post-BDM. One of my occasional forays into standalone dialogue only, and to make up for the fact Secrets is still waiting an update. Mal and Jayne, and two cameos. Enjoy!]

Secrets - Part XXV
River sighed unhappily, and suddenly all the emotions were too much. She turned and ran back towards the lake, not stopping as she reached the water’s edge but continuing on, diving as she got deep enough, letting the cold fill her ears and eyes as if it might wash all feelings from her.
Breathing out and seeing air bubbles rise to the surface, she allowed herself to sink to the bottom. She ignored the pressure in her lungs, only considering how easy it would be to just breathe in, and she could float forever.

[Maya. Post-BDM. River sees everyone and everything. Things are about to happen.]

Secrets- Part XXIV
“My love, you must wake up,” Sam said so quietly it was doubtful anyone outside in the common area would have heard. “You must. If only to laugh at me and tell me how ridiculous I am. To touch my cheek and tell me I have to have faith. Please, Inara. Please.” A tear fell onto their hands, but he didn’t wipe it away, not caring if anyone saw.

[Maya. Post-BDM. Mal and River discuss life, and there are more visitors. This will all soon be coming to a head.]

Secrets - Part XXIII
Jayne materialised from the darkness and wrapped his strong arms around the young doctor, pinning him. “Not a good idea. Mal’s as like to give you one last chance then shoot you. If you’d tried that on me, now, you’d be bleeding into the dirt, but then Mal always was a soft touch.” “Let me go!” “Nope. Less you’d like me to hand you over to Frey, and don’t go thinking that’s the easy option.”

[Maya. Post-BDM. Couples talk, Simon's anger bubbles over, and Inara's time is running out.]

Secrets - Part XXII
Simon’s lips thinned. “The D17 might be the original problem, affecting a tiny number of those exposed, perhaps only one or two people of the same family, but the Anti-Pax wasn’t designed for it. Besides, that would be like using a hammer when I need a scalpel.”

[Maya. Post-BDM. Is there light at the end of the tunnel, or is it an oncoming Alliance cruiser?]

Secrets - Part XXI
“I don’t want to be pitied!” The words were out before she could stop them. “Pity? You think that’s what’s going to go through their heads? Inara, I knew you were stubborn, but since when did you catch stupid?”

[Maya. Post-BDM. A little more of the fall-out from Inara's revelation, and a message from Monty. And yes, another chapter in just a few days!]