Sunday, November 19, 2006

Following BIRTHDAY, this is more fluff than angst, but with plot thrown in. First of several parts. Feedback, good or bad, is needed!


Freya was cleaning her guns on the dining table. She had stripped one down and oiled its parts, and was now fitting it expertly back together. Sliding the final component home she cocked the weapon and pointed it, smoothly pulling the trigger so that it clicked.

“You expect us to eat around that?” Mal said from the doorway.

Freya looked up. “No, I'm going to clean it up.”

“Well, see that you do.” Mal stepped down into the dining area and went over to the kitchen.

“You okay?” Freya asked. “You seem a mite … tetchy this morning. After last night, too.”

“I ain’t tetchy.”

“Okay, preoccupied then. Ever since you got that message yesterday.”

“It’s just a job.” Mal filled a cup with coffee and looked at her, her back to him, over the counter, her tattoo just visible above the top of her shirt. “That’s all.”

“Am I missing something?” Freya turned in her seat.

Mal went to take a sip, then put the cup down so hard some of the hot liquid spilled onto his hand, but he ignored it. “This job …” he began. “The pick-up tomorrow … it’s on Shadow.”

Realisation dawned in Freya’s eyes. “Oh. You could have said no.”

“It’s just a planet.”

“It’s your home planet. Where you were born. Grew up. Joined the independents from.”

“I seem to recall that happening, yes.”

“Have you been back since the war?”

Mal shook his head. “Nope. Didn’t seem to be any point. Nothing left there for me.” He picked up his cup again, noticed the coffee on the back of his hand and licked it off. He joined her at the table, sitting opposite.

“You still could have said no.”

“We’ll be there for maybe a couple of hours – no more. I can stand it for that.”

“You shoulda said something before. People understand.”

“It’s in the past, Frey. It’s not me any more.”

“I know that feeling,” she agreed fervently. “But it’s making you –“


“Uncomfortable. Do you want me and Zoe to handle it?”

“Afraid I’ll break down the minute I touch soil? Somehow I find that difficult to imagine.” He drank a mouthful of coffee. “But you’re right. I am uncomfortable about it. Maybe I should have come back before now, set the ghosts to rest. But …”

Freya reached across and put her hand on his. “It’s okay,” she said. “And I'm not one to talk. My parents think I'm dead.”

“That ain’t something you’re likely to be doing anything about, though, is it?”

“Nope.” Freya laughed. “But if I did I’d expect you to be right there with me.”

“And I don’t expect anything less.”


She got up, turning to the counter and pouring a cup of coffee for herself, then stopping to rub her belly.

“Tender?” Mal asked, suddenly right behind her.

She turned to look up into his blue eyes. “It catches,” she admitted.

“Turn around.” At her surprised look, he repeated, “Turn around.”

She did as he said, and he pulled her towards him, so her back was resting against his chest, and he began to stroke her belly, very carefully, very gently at first, then with a little more pressure. “Oh, that’s good,” she murmured.

“You’ve been favouring that all day,” he pointed out.

“Our nocturnal activities last night obviously didn’t improve matters,” she said, closing her eyes to feel even more of his manipulations.

“Did for me.” She stepped back onto his foot. “Ow.”

“Sorry, did I tread on you?”

“You did. And while I’m being all friendly, too.”

“And you’re doing it so well.”

He pressed a little harder, working the scar tissue carefully, until she took a sharp breath. He stopped immediately. “Did I hurt you?”

“A little,” she admitted. “But you stop and I’ll show you what pain really is.”

He grinned into her hair and began again, this time with a little less pressure. She moaned in pleasure, and he felt his body begin to respond, despite his best efforts to think of something slightly less sensual.

“Do you have to do that here?” Simon asked from the doorway, looking just a little disgusted.

Mal looked across at him. “My boat.”

“Yes, but isn’t that what bunks are for?”

“That’s not what you and Kaylee said last week when I walked in on you two,” Freya pointed out, standing up straight. “And with Bethany just a few feet away too.”

Mal dropped his hands and turned to look at the young man. “Really? And what were they up to?”

“Let’s just say I’ll never look at the engine housing in quite the same way again,” Freya said, smiling.

Simon blushed, just a bit. “We weren’t doing anything,” he insisted, then came over all professional again. “Your scar hurting?”


“Let me see.” He stepped closer, waiting for Freya to lift her shirt, which she did with some reluctance. “Hmmn. Better let me take a closer look. It might be inflamed inside, so I’d like to make sure. “

“It’s fine, Simon,” Freya insisted, pushing her shirt back inside her pants. “It’ll be fine.”

“Since when did you have a medical degree?” Simon asked, standing with his hands on his hips.

“Better go with him, Frey,” Mal said, joking with a straight face. “He could get nasty.”

“Oh, shun sheng duh gao-wahn,” she muttered under her breath. “Fine. Let’s go do it now. Get it over with.” She strode out of the room, grumbling to herself as she went.

“You’re a brave man, doc,” Mal commented. “More’n I’d do with her in this mood.” Mal sat down again, picking up his coffee mug. “Did I ever tell you about the time she half-killed a man for insinuating she was a fool?” He looked at the young man, a calculating expression on his face. “He was the fool, more like, which she told him when she visited him in the hospital.” He sat forward. “See, what happened is –“ He seemed to check himself. “No, probably not the best of times to tell you this. Go on – don’t want to keep her waiting.”

Simon wasn’t sure, but he thought Mal was joking. Still, better to be safe and sorry: he hurried after Freya.

Mal smiled and picked up his coffee again then looked at the table. She hadn’t cleared her guns. ---

Mal stroked her hair as she lay next to him, her face in the crook of his shoulder, her usual spot after they’d made love.

“So, when’re we gonna get married?” he asked, his usual words, too, after they’d made love, as if having just coupled she might be more receptive.


“On what?” He lifted his head to look at her. This wasn't her usual answer.

“Where are we going to next?”

“Uh, well, there’s the pick-up of cargo on Shadow –“


“Then we deliver to Whitefall –“

“Not hanging around there. Patience might shoot you again.”

He grinned. “Well, we swing by Persephone to get paid for that other job –“

“Not having Badger at my wedding.”

“You know he likes you?” He laughed as he felt her shudder in disgust. “Keeps asking about you.”

“You mention his name again and we won’t be getting married at all.”

“Okay. Well, then we fly to Boros for a day or two while –“


“What?” He glanced down at her again, then looked closer as he saw the satisfied look on her face.

“Yes,” she repeated, smiling into his blue eyes. “Boros. That’s where we’ll get married.”

He half sat up, staring at her. “Are you joshing me? ‘Cause if you are, I ain't in that kinda mood. And it’s nothing to be making fun of.”

She lay back, her hair tousled, her smile sweet, her eyes laughing at him. No, with him. “Boros, Mal. Get Hank to call them, see if they can fit us in. And I’ll marry you there.”

A grin suffused his face, making him look ten years younger. He jumped to his feet.

“Wait,” she called, sitting up, the sheet falling from her breasts. “Where are you going?”

“Gotta tell Hank,” he explained, grabbing hold of the ladder. “Tell him to contact Boros.”

“Like that?” She nodded at him.

He looked down at his own nakedness. “Well, okay.” He picked up his pants. “Although I ain’t never been personally shy.”

“No, I worked that one out for myself,” she said dryly. “And you’re not going to go anywhere right now. I want to cuddle.”

“Woman, you’ve just set a date. You think I'm gonna let you change your mind?”

“Ain't gonna do that, Mal,” Freya said, holding out her hand, smiling at him. “No more mind changing.”

He dropped his pants on the floor and crossed back to her, sliding under the sheet she held up. As his chest touched her breast, he felt his body begin to respond again. “Don’t see how I'm not just a pale recollection of myself,” he said, lowering his lips. “The amount of sex that goes on here.”

“Love, Mal,” she gently corrected him, catching her breath as his tongue swirled around her nipple. “What we do is love.”

“Ain't that right.” -

Much later they were lying together, and she was resting her chin on his chest, studying him.

“Ain't nothing much to see,” he complained, feeling her gaze even through his closed eyelids.

“You have the most beautiful lashes,” she said softly. “I am so jealous of them.”

He looked at her. “What?”

“Your eyelashes. They’re long and thick. Every woman you’ve ever met probably felt the same.”

He coloured, just a little, a smooth pink tide travelling up his chest to his neck before receding, and she realised that was why most people never knew he blushed. Kept it well hidden.

“Never thought about it,” he said gruffly, pulling her closer.

“And I love your eyes. So blue. Such a contrast to your hair. Which is so -””

“You gonna spend the night admirin’ me? ‘Cause I’m gonna get in on the act if that’s the case.”

She smiled. “Really? What do you like about me?”

“Well, the fact that you’ll let me have my way with you any time I like is one helluva turn-on.”

“Why, thank you for that romance from deep in your soul,” she laughed.

“Okay, so you want me to get personal?”

She licked his skin, just a flick of her tongue. “That’d be nice.”

He sighed, twisting a little so he could look directly into her face. “Well, for a foremost, you got nice eyes.”


“Look, I'm trying my best here,” he complained. “I'm a man, and men ain’t designed to give compliments like this.”

“I bet Simon does to Kaylee.”

“Yeah, well he’s been educated in one of them fancy schools. Probably knows all the right knives and forks to use too.”

“And he never gets a chance to show us!” Freya laughed. “Poor Simon.” She bit his skin a little. “And don’t pretend you’ve never had an education.”

“Not like that. But I’ll admit to having read a book or two.”

“’The Campaigns of General De Levasquez’ is not what I mean.”

He smiled at her, touching the tip of her nose with one finger. “Guess not. Now, where was I?”

“My eyes.”

“Oh, yeah. Well, they’re deep, so deep I feel like I might lose myself in them some night, specially when you look at me that special way, when we’re … you know.”

“Are you coming over embarrassed?” she asked delightedly.

“When I’m inside you,” he clarified. “Better?”


“They kinda remind me of autumn leaves. Not brown and crinkly, you understand,” he added quickly. “But full of the promise of spring.”

“You’ve been practising to become a poet,” she accused good-humouredly.

“Since I’ve been in your bed, I've kinda been drawn that way, yeah.” He stroked her arm. “And I love your lips, always ready for me, even when you’re shouting at me ‘cause I've done something plain stupid again.”

“That often?”

“That often. And your breasts … well, I kinda feel myself getting a little hot under the collar when I think about them.”

She grinned. “You ain’t wearing a collar, Mal.”

“No, but it takes me elsewhere, too. Just how soft they are, how they fill my hands, just the right size … and I've got big hands.”

“I've noticed. This is really sweet.”

“Hey, I ain't finished yet. I love your toes too.”

“Wait a minute, you’ve left out the best bits!”

“No I haven’t,” he said, snuggling down to place a kiss on her belly, then lower.

“Oh,” she sighed. “Maybe not.” -

She was dozing on her front, the sheet wrapped across her hips, showing her tattoo to perfection in the half-light.

“’N’ I love this,” Mal added softly, dipping a finger into the perspiration pooling above her buttocks, drawing it up and anointing the bottom sigil with it. “Lets me know when you’re angry with me, and then I do my best to make it right.”

“Mmn?” she murmured, turning her head towards him, still half-asleep, a smile playing on her lips, her eyes closed.

“But I guess the best part about you is … everything.” He moved down in the bed so he could put his face next to hers, breathing in her breath as she exhaled. “I love you.” ---

“Hank, got a job for you,” Mal said, stepping onto the bridge.

“Ain't that where we’re going?” his pilot asked, turning in his chair. Ever since he’d been shot he’d been careful not to twist too much, even though Simon assured him he was fine now.

“Nothing to do with Shadow,” Mal assured him. “Want you to get on to Boros, see if they’ve got a Prefect available for when we get there.”

“For what?”

Mal couldn’t stop the grin spreading across his face. “She said yes, Hank. Said she’d marry me on Boros.”

Hank got to his feet and hugged the other man, a manly hug that ended more or less as soon as it began. Then he held out his hand and they shook. “Congratulations!” he said. “Who else knows?”

“You’re it, and I’d take it as a kindness if you didn’t tell everyone yet. Want to get this job out of the way first, then we can break the good news.”

“You keep going around looking like the cat that ate the entire aviary and no-one’s gonna be in any doubt, Mal.”

“Well, guess I’ll try to be my normal obnoxious self, then.”

“So how come you’re telling me?”

“Because these things take time. It ain’t gonna be a quick word in front of a preacher, Hank. I'm gonna do this properly. Make Frey proud of me.”

“She already is.”

Mal couldn’t take the compliment, never had been able to. “So just wave them and see what you can find out, dong mah?”

“Sure thing, Captain Reynolds, sir,” Hank agreed, sketching a sharp salute.

“At ease,” Mal said and headed back off the bridge. ---

Freya smiled at the other woman on the Cortex. “I just had to tell someone,” she was saying.

Inara was grinning herself. “Thank heavens,” she said. “If you’d waited much longer I think Mal would have self combusted.”

“I … I needed to be sure.”

“That he really wanted to marry you?”

“Something like that.”

“You two really are suited,” Inara said, shaking her head. “Both as stupid and mule-headed as the other.”

Freya laughed. “He’d love to hear you say that.”

“So when does the happy event take place?”

“Well, near as I can figure it, in about ten days.” She hugged herself. “Ten days, Inara. Then I can call myself Mrs Reynolds.”

Inara nodded, ignoring the slight pain in the area of her heart. “Will you?” she asked instead. “Change your name?”

“Nordstrom isn’t so dear to me as I’d want to keep it. As has been pointed out to me, it isn’t even mine.” She grinned. “Freya Reynolds. Has kind of a ring to it, hasn’t it?”

“It sounds very fine.” Inara smiled. “And I’ll clear out my diary. You’re not going to get married without me being there.”

“I wouldn’t,” Freya assured her. “I want all my family around me.” She giggled. “I did wonder whether to get Jayne to bring Vera, just in case Mal changed his mind.”

“A shotgun wedding?” Inara laughed so hard she hiccupped in a very unlady-like way. “Oh, please, do that. I would love to see the look on Mal’s face.”

Freya bit down on her lip to stop herself from crying. “Do you think he’d shoot Jayne?”

“I wouldn’t be at all surprised.”

Freya shook her head. “No. I won’t. I wouldn’t want to be spending my wedding night in the infirmary.”

“With Jayne?”

“No, with Mal. Because I don’t think River would take it too well if Mal shot Jayne.”

“What is going on with those two?” Inara asked.

“I'm not sure,” Freya admitted. “But they do seem to spend an awful lot of time in each other’s company lately.” She shrugged. “Maybe they’re just friends.”

“Perhaps,” Inara agreed. “They do have a lot in common.”

“You mean both being psychotic?”

“There’s more to it than that.”

“I know.” Freya paused, then leaned forward. “‘Nara, part of the reason I called is … do you still have that wedding dress?”

“What?” Inara couldn’t stop the surprise on her face.

“The one Mal said you got me when … before Alice …” She swallowed, her good humour of a moment ago tempered by the memory of her lost child.

“I do,” Inara said softly. “Do you want to wear it?”

Freya nodded. “If you … if you don’t mind.”

“Freya, sweetie, it’s not mine. It was always yours, and I kept it hoping you’d ask for it one day.” Inara smiled gently.

“Thank you.”

“It’s here on my shuttle. I'm sorry you can’t see it before Persephone, but –“

“I’ll look forward to it,” Freya said quickly. “Got so much else to do, too.” She grinned. “Can’t believe I’m getting married.” She began to jiggle a little in her excitement.

Inara laughed. “About time, too.” ---

“Mal, we’re coming up on Shadow,” Hank said into the com.

“Thanks,” Mal said behind him.

“You keep doing that I'm gonna have a heart attack,” the pilot complained. “You picking it up from River?”

Mal didn’t answer, just stared out at the planet below. They were just coming up to the day side, passing out of the dark, the sun shining in through the bridge window.

“Always did love the dawn,” Hank said conversationally. “Used to get up real early when I was a kid just so’s I could go out and watch. Course, mostly I was thinking about getting to fly up there in it, but I still liked the colours and everything. Oh, and I got onto Boros – they’re getting back to me about the dates they got available.” He realised he was talking to himself. “You okay, Mal?”

“Yeah, fine.”

Hank followed his gaze. “Don’t look no different to lot of other planets,” he went on, trying to ignore the slightly odd tone in Mal’s voice. “Thought there was supposed to be a lot of damage from when the Alliance … oh.” He had seen what Mal was looking at.

Below them a great continent had come into view, only it wasn't the green of the better terraformed planets, or even the yellow of places like Whitefall or Verbena. Instead it was grey, like ash, and the ocean around it was almost black.

“Don’t look like there’s anything alive down there at all, does it?” Hank said softly.

“Doubt there is.”

The dark continent slid away, and Hank belatedly thought to bring Serenity’s nose down a little. “The co-ordinates are just down in the dark side,” he said, shaking himself. “Be dusk round about now.”

“Thanks, Hank,” Mal said, putting his hand on the pilot’s shoulder and squeezing a little. “Just get us down in one piece.” He strode off the bridge.

“When don’t I?” Hank called, but got no answer. ---

Serenity lowered herself carefully into the dirt and powered down.

“We here?” Freya asked, stepping down into the cargo bay.

“’Ppears so, unless Hank has totally lost his senses and put us down on a different planet entirely,” Mal said, attempting good humour.

“I doubt that, sir,” Zoe said, doing up her jacket. “He’s usually pretty reliable.”

“That he is,” Mal agreed, pressing the button to open the cargo bay.

Cool air filtered in as the ramp lowered, the lights inside illuminating a short distance.

“Think they’re here yet, sir?”

At that a woman stepped, rather tentatively, into the light. “Hello?” she called.

“Ma’am?” Mal answered, stepping down onto the dust of Shadow.

“Mal. I don’t believe it!” The woman ran to him, throwing her arms about him.

“What the …” He pushed her back a little to look into her face, then put his arms around her waist and swung her up. “Maddy!” Mal was grinning from ear to ear. “What the hell are you doing here?”


Sunday, November 19, 2006 10:53 AM


Ooops, who in the nine hells is Maddy? Please don't let it be a long lost love, I would hate anything to ruin Mal and Freya's Big Day. Loved all the fluffy goodness too. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Sunday, November 19, 2006 10:57 AM


Freya's comment on being Mrs. Reynolds made me think to myself, "Yeah, because the last one worked out so well."

She might want to wash that name before she goes wearing it around.

Sunday, November 19, 2006 2:50 PM


A date is finally set, and it's about damn time too! I love it how Frey rejected Persephone on the basis that Badger would be there...he is a mite creepy.

LOVED the scenes with Mal and Freya talking in his bunk, it was really light in tone, but completely serious at the same time. Really well done.

The image you painted (typed, whatever) of Shadow's scorched landscape was aweseome. I can totally imagine it looking like that, all dead and decaying.
Speaking of Shadow...who in the nine hell's is Maddie? Mal's little sister or cousin is my bet.

Great work!

Monday, November 20, 2006 10:53 AM


Ya me strange or unfocused, but I feel the most strongly for Inara right now. Oh sure...I am overjoyed Freya finally set a date and am joyful the rest of the crew is doing well at this jucture...but I really gotta wonder about how Inara will deal with this. Not easy watching the man you love (even if you gave him up) marrying someone who has become a good friend:(

Still...can't wait to see how this "Maddy" affects things between Mal and Freya and/or Mal and the crew;)


Tuesday, November 21, 2006 4:28 AM


I loved the interaction between Mal and Freya in their bunk. It was so sweet and deep at the same time.

And Maddy ... don't really like that new wrinkle ... Bring on the angst!


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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!]

Monied Individual - Part XVII
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!]