Birthday - Part II
Monday, November 6, 2006

Second in a multi-parter. Simon and River have been kidnapped, and Kaylee is in pain ... My muse thanks you for your feedback! Oh, and it might help to read EBB & FLOW ...


Kaylee groaned. “Oh, Cap’n,” she whimpered, grabbing his hand and squeezing tight as a wave of pain shot through her.

“Kaylee?” Mal watched her fight it, then looked up. “We need a doctor!” he said, scanning the crowd.

“We ain’t got one,” the man who had spoken before said apologetically. “Ours got took by sickness last winter, and there ain’t been anyone around since then.”

Mal glared at him then gathered Kaylee into his arms, managing to get awkwardly to his feet. “Don’t worry, mei-mei,” he said to her as she held him tightly. “I’ll get him back.”

He carried her to Serenity, ignoring the looks from all the people they passed. As the Firefly came into view Freya ran ahead.

“What’s going on?” Hank asked, looking out of the cargo bay doors, then saw what Mal was carrying. “Tzao gao.”

“Go get Zoe and Jayne, now,” Freya said firmly.

Hank nodded and ran off, passing Mal carrying Kaylee, and pausing only a moment to look at her face before running even faster.

“Freya?” Inara looked down from the catwalk.

“I’m going to need your help.”

“What is it?” Inara asked, then her face turned white as Mal stepped up the ramp. “Kaylee!” She ran down the stairs as Mal carried the mechanic through into the infirmary.

“I think she’s in labour,” he said as he laid her tenderly onto the medbed. “We need a doctor.”

“Soon as they get back we’ll be gone,” Freya said, starting to undo Kaylee’s clothes.

Mal stopped her with a hand on her arm. “Let Inara do that,” he said, pulling her gently out of the door. “Frey, you ever birthed a baby?”

She shook her head. “Nope. You?”

“Foals, calves, yeah, back on the ranch,” he admitted. “But generally that was just a case of watching and waiting. I never helped deliver a baby before.”

“Inara helped with Petaline’s baby,” Freya pointed out.

“She told you about that?” Mal asked, distracted for a moment.

“And about Nandi.” She put her hand on his arm. “But that’s a conversation for another time, don’t you think?”

“Yeah, reckon you’re right. But Inara did help Simon.” Kaylee groaned and Mal looked over. “And she’s almost full term.”

Freya nodded. “But you’re right – we need a doctor.”

“We’ll find one.” ---

Hank got Serenity into the air as soon as the others were on board, Mal staring at the system map.

“How about Verbena?” the pilot said.

“Too far. Take over a day to get there, and I don’t know we got that long.” He tapped the map. “New Hall’s closer.”

“They got that quarantine on them right now,” Hank pointed out.

“Right. That’s out, then.”

“Mal, I think it’s gonna have to be Beaumonde. Twenty hours if we burn it.”

“Twenty …” Mal looked at him, then nodded. “Lay it in. Kaylee can complain about her engine later.”

“Yes sir,” Hank said as Mal left the bridge. ---

“Freya, it hurts,” Kaylee moaned, rolling on the medbed.

“I know, mei-mei, but I don’t know what to give you that won’t hurt the baby.”

Kaylee groaned again, clasping tight to Inara’s hand. Freya looked at the other woman, something like desolation in her eyes. Inara glanced towards the door and Freya followed her gaze. Mal had appeared in the doorway.

She went outside.

“Mal,” she said quietly, “we need Simon.”

“Well we ain’t got him.”

“Then we need another doctor.”

“Ain’t got one of them neither.” He looked inside. “We’re going to Beaumonde, closest place with decent medical facilities.”

“Beaumonde?” Freya was shocked. “Mal, do you know how long that will take?”

“You want a quack rummaging around anywhere near Kaylee?” he asked in turn.

“Mal,” Freya said, stepping closer, dropping her voice lower. “She’s breech. Feet first. And I can’t turn her.”

“You’ll just have to cope until we get to Beaumonde.”

Freya almost laughed. “I don’t know what I’m doing!”

“You’re doing fine. Women drop babies all the time –”

“Not like this.” She gazed into his blue eyes just inches from her own. “We need a doctor. And a hell of a lot quicker than Beaumonde. Proper medical facilities.”

The blue turned to sapphire. “No. No. I ain’t even going to consider –”

“It’s not your decision, Mal.” Freya’s voice was harder. “I’m not telling Simon we lost them both because of your pig-headedness.”

Mal glared at her, then looked back into the infirmary as Kaylee screamed. “Hank,” he said over his shoulder to where the pilot had just joined them. “Check where the nearest Alliance cruiser is.”

Hank was shocked. “Mal you can’t –”

“Just do it.”

“Yes sir.” Hank almost ran for the bridge.

Mal looked at Freya. “You know they probably won’t let us dock, don’t you?”

“Yes they will.” She went to go back inside. “I’ll tell them who I am.”

He grabbed her arm. “No!” he said loudly, causing Inara to lift her head to stare at them. “You can’t!”

“If it means they help Kaylee, I will.”

“Frey, please,” Mal begged, torment in his eyes.

“I won’t lose them, Mal,” she said, shaking her head. “Not this time.” ---

“There’s two,” Hank said, looking up from the display as Mal stepped onto the bridge. “The Alaric and the Concord.”

“Which one’s closer?”

“The Alaric, but she’s back the other way. About six hours.”

“And the Concord?”

“Nearer thirteen. But she’s more or less on the same heading.”

Mal stared out of the window at the stars hanging in his black. “So if we turn back, head for the Alaric and they won’t help, we’ve got even longer before…” He shook his head. “Lay in for the Concord.”

“Aye sir.” Hank made a slight course correction then looked up. “Mal, who took Simon and River?”

“I don’t know.”

“We gonna go get them back?”

“Oh yes,” Mal promised. “Somehow we’ll bring them home.” ---

A siren pulsed through the ship. “Proximity alert,” Hank said.

“Alliance already?” Mal asked following Hank as he ran towards the bridge.

“Not for a few hours,” Hank replied. “Shouldn’t be anything out here but us and …” He pointed out of the window. “Them.”

It was a small craft, very new, keeping pace with them.

“See if they’ll –” Mal began, but the com beeped.

“They’re calling us,” Hank said, surprised.


Hank shook his head. “Voice only.”

“Okay. Answer ‘em.”

Hank flicked a couple of switches and lifted down the handlink. “This is Serenity. Identify yourself,” he said into the com.

“Serenity, prepare for docking.” A man’s voice, almost expressionless.

“Well, that depends on who you are.”

“If you hold your ship steady we will attach.”

“Not until –” Hank stopped. “They’ve gone,” he said to Mal.

“They seem to have something of an overwhelming need to come on board,” Mal observed. He reached up to the internal com. “Zoe, Jayne, Freya … cargo bay, now.”

“We letting them in?”

“That’s a Herald class ship out there, Hank.” Mal pointed. “They’ve got enough firepower to take us out if they wanted to kill us. So we’ll talk.” ---

The Firefly shuddered as the two ships locked together, and Mal glanced around at his crew. Jayne was up on the catwalk, enough weapons about his person to start a small war. Zoe and Freya were either side, ready to take cover if need be, but their guns aimed on the airlock.

“Well, let’s just see who our uninvited guests are,” Mal said, and signalled to Hank, who pushed the button to open the inner doors.

“Captain,” said Jeremiah Smith, his chestnut skin glowing, crossed Serenity‘s threshold. “How nice to see you again.”

“What the tyen shiao duh are you doing here?” Mal asked, trying to keep his amazement under control.

“I came to warn you. It has been brought to my attention that there are certain persons who are interested in acquiring –”

“They want the Tams?” Mal finished.

“How did you know that?”

“You’re too late,” Mal said bitterly. “They took them a few hours ago.”

“I’m sorry to hear that.” Smith sighed. “For many reasons, not least of which is that I still appear to owe you for saving my life. And believe me, that rankles.”

“So you’re more worried about a debt than a pair of innocent young people?” Hank put in. “You’re insane.”

“They are hardly innocent,” Smith said. “The Tams are –”

A piercing scream filled the cargo bay.

“Kaylee,” Zoe murmured.

Freya stepped forward quickly. “Is he still with you?”

Smith looked at her, his dark eyes almost calm. “You have need of a doctor?”

“We do.”

Smith nodded. “Lee,” he called, and the small man appeared from inside their vessel, guns in both hands. “Help them.”

“Sir.” He holstered his weapons inside his jacket and followed Freya.

“Captain, I think we need to talk,” Smith said.

“Later,” Mal replied, following the others.

“I don’t think –”

Mal turned a furious glare on him. “What part of later didn’t you understand?”

“In here,” Freya said.

“I think I remember the way,” Lee said, smiling slightly as he stepped down into the common area and crossed to the infirmary. Kaylee lay on the medbed, her legs drawn up, her face red, her hair wet with perspiration. Inara was standing next to her, radiating concern. “And this is …?” he asked.

“Kaylee,” Inara said, gratefully. “And you’re the doctor who saved Mal’s life.”

“That I am,” Lee smiled. “Is the young lady full term?”

“All but a week,” Freya said.

Kaylee moaned.

“Well, let’s see what we can do about the pain first, shall we?” Lee crossed to the cupboards, opening them. “Ah. Good. Abaxomin.” He filled a hypo.

“What’s that?” Mal asked, stepping over the sill into the infirmary.

“A painkiller. 10cc will dull the pain but not interfere with the child’s respiration when it’s born.”

“She,” Kaylee ground out. “It’s a girl.”

Lee smiled kindly at her. “Of course. Now lie still.” He injected the liquid into Kaylee’s wrist. After only a moment the young mechanic seemed to relax a little. “Good, good,” he said, patting her hand. “Just let it take effect.”

He put on a pair of gloves and carefully rolled down the sheet from Kaylee’s torso, then looked up at Mal. “I suggest you leave for a few moments,” he said.

“Ain’t going nowhere,” Mal said shortly.

“Cap’n? Please?” Kaylee asked, still whimpering but in a lot less pain.

“You sure?”

“Please.” She pulled the gown she was wearing as low as it would go.

“Okay. I’ll just be outside, okay?”

“Thanks, Cap’n.”

Mal backed out of the infirmary into the common area then turned to see the rest of his crew waiting, Smith standing to one side, his hands locked behind his back.

“She gonna be okay?” Jayne asked, trying to see past Mal.

“I’m sure she will,” Mal said with a confidence he didn’t feel.

“Can we trust him, sir?” Zoe asked.

“He saved your life,” Hank put in. “That must count for something.”

“Well, he’s all we got,” Mal said, shaking his head. “We’d better hope so.”

Lee finished examining Kaylee as she lay whimpering. “You’ll be fine,” he said to the young woman, then stepped back to the doorway next to Freya, and Mal stepped back inside to hear.

“You’re right,” he said softly. “Breech. And not in any position to be born.”


“I don’t think we have a choice.” He nodded towards the scans on the wall. “There’s foetal distress, and the mother is in danger too.”

“Have you done any before?”

Lee shrugged. “Not since medical school. But it’s a simple procedure.” He went to return to the medbed, but Freya grabbed his arm.

“If you let either of them die, they will never find the pieces of your body,” she said quietly.

”I don’t intend to,” he promised. “And you will be helping just to make sure.” He pulled free and went back to Kaylee.

“You okay with this?” Mal asked quietly, looking into Freya’s eyes.

“No. But he’s right. We don’t do this and they both could die.”

“Okay. But keep an eye on him.”

“Always, Mal.” ---

The shutters were down on the windows, and the doors closed. Mal stood just inside the infirmary, told in no uncertain terms that if he has staying, he had to keep out of the way.

“Are you going to put her out?” Freya asked, tying the apron strings behind her and pulling on surgical gloves.

“No. Local only. A full anaesthetic could kill them both.” Lee prepared four syringes. “If I ask for them, give them to me in this order,” he said, indicating them on the tray.

“What are they?”

“A second dose of local anaesthetic. The antidote. Adrenalin. Neurostimulator.”

Freya looked up at the last. “Neuro … why?”

“The baby’s in distress. Severe distress. The trauma may be too much.”

Freya nodded, the blood draining from her face. “Then we’d better do this.”

Mal watched the preparations, saw Lee inject Kaylee with something, counting down until he laid his hand on her swollen belly, asking if she felt anything. When she said no, he picked up a scalpel and made a small cut, again asking if Kaylee was aware of any pain. A little blood welled from the nick as she again said no. Lee nodded, paused then leaned forward.

Mal could just see around Lee to what he was doing, watching him make the incision. He swallowed. He’d seen so many battlefield operations, even seen Kaylee before when Simon operated on her, but this … Two lives depended on this going smooth, and he had never felt so helpless.

“He was supposed to be here,” Kaylee moaned, tears streaming into her hair. “He told me he’d be here.”

“He would have if he could, sweetie,” Inara said soothingly, not looking over the sheet suspended above Kaylee’s midriff. “And he’ll be here to see you both soon.”

“I need him now!”

“Freya, pull,” Lee said.

Freya, her face white, nodded. ---

Hank was pacing the deck. “This is awful,” he said, rubbing his hands together to try and feel some warmth.

“I know,” Zoe said. “But you won’t do anyone any good if you wear out the floor.”

He looked at her sharply, but dropped into one of the easy chairs.

“Can we trust him?” Jayne asked, sitting on the gangway that ran around the infirmary. He couldn’t see in, but that didn’t matter to him. He just needed to be close.

“He saved the Cap’s life,” Zoe pointed out. “And Freya’s keeping an eye on him.”

“Wouldn’t take much,” the big man mumbled.


Smith stepped out of the common area and headed for the galley. For once in his life he felt unnecessary, like an intruder. ---

“What’s going on?” Kaylee asked, trying to lift herself up enough to see over the sheet.

“Freya, the adrenalin,” Lee ordered.

“What’s happening?” Kaylee shouted. “Where’s my baby?”

“She’s having some problems breathing,” Lee said. “Just lie still.”

“No!” Kaylee wailed, Inara having to hold her down.

Mal moved forward, not caring as he watched Lee inject the small, still figure with a small amount of liquid. He could see the red wound of Kaylee’s abdomen just beyond, but all his attention was on the baby, lying so quiet and blue. Lee pressed with his fingertips on her ribcage.

“Freya?” Mal said quietly. She shook her head, not taking her eyes off Kaylee’s daughter.

Suddenly the baby jerked, and a moment later the infirmary was filled with the sound of a baby crying, the newborn wail of life.

Lee stood up, smiling, using the clamps to seal off the umbilical cord. “Cut here,” he ordered and Freya, with hands that trembled ever so slightly, did as she was told.

Inara stroked Kaylee’s forehead. “See?” she said, a grin on her face. “I told you everything would be all right.”

“Where is she?” Kaylee said. “I want to see her.”

“Here,” Freya said, stepping past the sheet. “Meet your daughter.” She laid the bundle on Kaylee’s chest.

The young mechanic moved the blanket to one side to look for the first time on her child. “Oh,” she said, crying even harder. “She’s beautiful.”

“That she is.” Freya swallowed the lump in her throat as she looked down at the new mother. “That she is.”

Mal, stepping forward so he could see better, watched Lee remove the placenta before expertly beginning to sew the incision in Kaylee’s abdomen back up, neat stitches that would virtually disappear. “Thank you,” he said.

“You’re welcome,” Lee said, not looking up.

“Cap’n?” Kaylee called. “Do you want to come and meet your newest crew member?”

Mal moved up the bed. “Hey,” he said, looking down at mother and child, not being able to stop tears in his eyes.

“Mal, this is Bethany.”

“Bethany?” Mal looked down at the little red face, all screwed up against the light. “That’s a real nice name.”

“We thought of it just a few days ago,” Kaylee said, holding tightly to her baby. “You’re gonna keep your promise, ain’t you, captain?”

“I’ll bring him home, Kaylee.”

“Good.” She held out Bethany. “Hold her a minute, would you?”

“Kaylee, I don’t know -”

“Please? I ain’t comfortable.”

Mal tentatively leaned over, putting the crook of his left arm under the baby’s head and supporting her on his arm. His other hand he wrapped around her. “Kaylee, I ain’t too sure about this.”

“Only a minute.”

Mal stood up, looking down into the baby’s face. “Bethany,” he said, lifting a hand to run just the tip of his little finger down her cheek. “Welcome aboard.”

Bethany reached out and grabbed his finger in her little hand, and the look on his face changed from hesitancy to wonder.

Freya backed away until she leaned against the wall, then slid down, her arms wrapped around herself as she watched Mal holding the new life, and she couldn’t stop the pain of her own loss from welling up again.

Mal glanced over at her and immediately handed Bethany back to her mother. He crossed the infirmary in two strides and was down by Freya’s side. “It’s okay,” he whispered, taking her into his arms. “I know.”

Lee watched them as he finished applying the surgical dressing, wondering just what was going on.

“Aren’t you going to let us in?” Hank called, banging on the door. “We heard a baby crying!” ---

Simon awoke in the dark, or at least he presumed it was dark unless he’d gone blind. He lifted one hand in front of his face but couldn’t discern any difference. Only the blinding headache assured him he was actually awake.

He lay and listened for a while, unsure if his eyes were really open, but there was no sound beyond his own regular breathing. Then he remembered.

“Kaylee!” he shouted, sitting up, feeling around himself, all the while tormented by the last image he’d had of her, on the ground, knocked down by those men, in pain.

A light blazed above him, and he covered his eyes with his arm. A door opened somewhere, and hands grabbed him.

“Now, now, Dr Tam. No need to be getting all noisy,” said a voice. “No-one around here who can help you anyway.”

Hauled to his feet, Simon forced his eyes open. “Tah muh duh,” he whispered as Eric Lon smiled at him.

to be continued


Tuesday, November 7, 2006 12:44 AM


Ooops, now we see the face of his captor! Loved that both Kaylee and little Bethany are going to be okay. Wonder if Smith will help Mal track down those *tamade hundan*. Can't wait for the next part. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Tuesday, November 7, 2006 1:57 AM


Eric Lon? Well I'll be a son of a mother!

Way to go Smithy! Just in the nick of time too!

I loved the breaks in the surgery, it was really well edited, and the it was so well conceived, it made it that much more believeable.

Man, I can't wait to see what happens to Simon and River, but that little voice inside my head tells me it simply cannot be any kind of good. And dammit! Simon should have been there to birth his daughter...speaking of which, Bethany- perfect.

Tuesday, November 7, 2006 6:52 AM


Yeah for the baby and mother making it all right! I wonder if any of the fetal distress was caused by Kaylee's time on Tetris or just from the breech birth?

Anyway, not important ... but you have to get Simon and River back now or Kaylee's post-partum depression is going to sink the ship with all her tears!

Tuesday, November 7, 2006 7:08 AM


Aww, Simon wasn't there for the birth of his baby. So sad. I like all the angst, though!

Wednesday, November 8, 2006 4:29 PM


Wonder if this is part of larger trend, with Simon missing out on his first child's birth? Cuz this is at least the second tale where Simon gets kidnapped before the birth of his child and the crew's gotta rescue him:(

Still...all kinds of impressed right now, Jane0904! Especially over how deftly you handled the medical scenes, cuz they were realistic in their pacing and plot structure;D


Thursday, November 9, 2006 8:04 PM


Cool stuff eh. once again you capture the characters perfectly.

Great pacing and real tension while not sacrificing the plot of the story.


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Now and Then - a Christmas story
“Then do you have a better suggestion? No, let me rephrase that. Do you have a more sensible suggestion that doesn’t involve us getting lost and freezing to death?”

[Maya. Post-BDM. A little standalone festive tale that kind of fits into where I am in the Maya timeline, but works outside too. Enjoy!]

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!]

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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!]