Vows - Part VI
Monday, November 27, 2006

The conclusion. Can Saffron ever be trusted? Is that a really stupid question? Feedback, please, as it makes my day!


“Where the diyu did that come from?” Mal asked, somehow not that surprised.

“I put it here earlier,” she explained, looking at him. “You really are a gullible fool.”

“So I’ve been told.” He crossed his arms. “So now you’re going to shoot me?”

“I’m thinking about it.” She glared at him. “I spent months in jail because of you, Malcolm Reynolds, and that’s something I want to pay you back for.”

“So all this was –”

“Two birds with one stone.”

“Fine.” He looked at her. “And now?”

“I’m still deciding.”

“If’n you’re gonna shoot, just do it,” Jayne said, materialising out of the darkness and grabbing Saffron around the arms. “Don’t stand there talkin’ about it.”

Mal pulled the gun from her hand. “Just in the nick of time,” he said to the big man.

“I aim to please.”

Mal smiled. “So … and how have you been, Saffron?” he asked conversationally.

The redhead was fighting to get free. “Let go of me!”

“Stop struggling, girl,” Jayne said, both arms firm. “Only hurt yourself, you fight like that. And I ain’t above hitting a woman.”

“Oh, he’s not,” Mal confirmed. “Chivalry and Jayne ain’t exactly words that go in the same sentence too often.”

She stopped. “Now what?” she asked.

“Looks like the boot’s on the other foot.” He shook the rain from his head and picked up the bag at his feet. “So this is worth a lot?”

“Mal …”

“Probably not as much as the Lassiter.”

“That isn’t –”

“I don’t want it.”

Saffron stood still, her mouth open. “What?”

“What?” Jayne echoed.

“I don’t want this. All I want is for you to turn up tomorrow in that courtroom and tell them I ain’t your husband. And that‘s when you‘ll get this back.”

“That’s blackmail.”

“Sure is.” He grinned. “Feels good, too.” He put his head slightly on one side. “Although I’m beginning to think that maybe it ain’t a good idea to let you out of my sight until then. Perhaps Jayne should –”

Saffron slammed her head back into the big man’s nose, loosening his hold long enough for her to wriggle free and kick him in the groin. Jayne doubled over, a strange wheezing coming from his lips. Saffron glanced at Mal, murder in her eyes, then ran off into the night. Mal just watched, a slight smile on his face.

“Mal, she’s getting away,” Jayne panted, clutching his groin and his face, not knowing which to complain over first.

“It doesn’t matter. She’ll be there tomorrow.”

“You think?”

Mal held up the bag. “I know.”

“Yeah, but she might decide to turn you in instead.”

“We’ll see.”

Jayne poked at his nose. “Is it broken?” he asked.

Mal peered at it, turning the mercenary’s face so it caught the light. “I don’t think so. Would it matter?”

“She mighta ruined my good looks.” Jayne undid his belt and thrust a hand inside his pants.

“And I ain't checking there,” Mal said quickly.

Jayne gave him a disgusted look, but asked, “What now? Home?”

Mal shook his head regretfully. “Not for me. I've still got court to attend tomorrow, and I know they‘ll be watching the ship.”

“So where’re you gonna go?”

“Not sure.” Mal shrugged. “A bar, maybe.”

Jayne grinned, standing upright but wincing slightly. “Good idea. I think I’ll join you.”

“You got a com with you?”

The big man pulled one from his pocket. “You gonna let them know you’re okay?”

“Yeah.” Mal looked up into the rain, letting it wash over him. “Let Freya know I’m safe.”

“Good idea. She’s been wearing herself to a frazzle over this.”


“Yeah.” Jayne shook his head. “Ain’t entirely sure why.”

“Just give River a bit longer,” Mal said, patting the big mercenary on the shoulder. “You’ll find out.”

Jayne looked at him askance, then sighed. He really didn‘t know why people thought him and that moonbrain were anything more than friendly. “Oh, and Mal? The hair? Nah.”

“I know.” ---

“It isn’t real, sir,” the Federal officer said, staring straight ahead, the morning sunshine in his eyes, but he wasn’t about to take them off the picture of the President hanging on the wall.

Judge Udall sat back in his chair. “It isn’t … are you saying it’s a fake?”

“Yes sir.”

“And you know this … how?”

“We tested it, sir. As you suggested. It isn’t even gold, and the gemstones are glass.” He was almost squirming in his uncomfortableness.

“So this is not the chalice stolen from the Museum,” the judge clarified.

“Ah, no, sir. And it appears there may not have been a theft at all.”

“No theft.” Judge Udall took a deep breath. “So I have a man about to appear before me who hasn’t been transporting stolen goods because the goods haven’t been, in fact, stolen?”

“Yes sir.”

“Where did the information come from?” He had a headache. Again.

“A normally reliable source on Persephone, sir.”


“Usually one hundred percent, sir.”

“Well, I suppose we can forgive this one time. Still, I hate to have to look stupid in court.” Perhaps he should think about retiring. His wife was always going on about it, taking their daughter and moving somewhere away. Far, far away. It might even keep her out of trouble, although somehow he doubted it. There were people who could find trouble in the dark with both hands tied behind their back, and his daughter was one of them.

“Sir, there’s still the bigamy charge.”

Judge Udall brightened up. “That there is.” He rubbed his hands together. “And Captain Reynolds has already admitted that he married the redhead before the brunette.” He shook his head. “Somehow, I can’t help feeling he got it right second time. Redheads are always so much more trouble than they’re worth.”

“But so much fun getting into it, sir,” the man in front of him agreed.

They both laughed, then realised who they were. The judge coughed. “Yes, well, that’s … Is he here?”

“Yes sir. Waiting in the holding area. He looks … odd, sir.”

“Odd? How?”

“I think I’ll let you see for yourself, sir. It’s worth the wait.”

The judge stared at the Federal officer but he was no more forthcoming. “Very well,” he said finally. “Better get the court bailiff to call everyone to order. I’ve got me some sentencing to do.” ---

The courtroom was crowded, with barely enough room for most of the crew of Serenity to squeeze into the back.

“I told you we should have gotten here earlier,” Hank complained. “Could have got seats at the front. Now we won‘t be able to see a thing.”

“It isn’t a theatre,” Zoe said.

“No, but it is entertaining. Do they have warm-up men? You know, telling jokes, that kind of thing?”

Zoe glared at him until he subsided.

“Where’s Jayne?” Simon asked, his arm protectively around Kaylee. River had offered to look after Bethany back on board. “And Freya, for that matter.”

“She was talking to Inara outside,” Kaylee offered. “Something about a message from Sihnon?”

Before Zoe could comment the door behind them opened and Jayne pushed inside. “Where have you been?” the first mate asked.

“Giving Freya a message from Mal,” the big man said, settling himself down next to her.

“Have you been drinking?”

“Maybe a couple,” Jayne said defensively. “Keeping Mal company. After all, last night might have been his last of freedom.”

“I just hope the judge doesn’t notice the perfume.” She waved her hand in front of her face. “You smell like a distillery.”

“Yeah, well, maybe we got a little boisterous.”

“As long as you didn’t get pinched.”

“Nah, course not.”

Zoe gave him one of her looks, and he half grinned.

Behind them the door opened again, Serenity’s missing women sliding inside.

Freya looked around, seeing Mal waiting at the front, and gripped the bag in her hand more tightly. Then she did a double take. “Inara, why is Mal blond?”

“Oh, didn’t I mention that?” the Companion asked innocently.

“No. You didn’t.” Freya glared at her, then transferred her gaze to Simon.

“She told me not to,” the young doctor said.

Freya exhaled noisily, attempting to maintain a little calm. She looked around. “Why’re there so many people?”

“Mal’s pretty well known,” Zoe put in. “He has friends – and more than a few enemies – interested in the proceedings here.”

“Business associates?”


Freya scanned the crowd, then sat up as she saw Saffron ahead, standing talking to another man. “Save my seat, will you?” she asked, moving forward.

The redhead was holding onto the man’s arm, laughing over something, when Freya stepped close to her. “Saffron.” She spoke quietly into the other woman’s ear so no-one else could hear. “I know who you are. Or more accurately, who you were.” She paused. “Erin.”

Saffron went still, and the colour leached from her naturally pale face. “I don’t –“

Freya looked into her eyes and smiled, but there was little humour. “And if you don’t relinquish all claims on Mal, everyone else is going to know too. And that could make life terribly interesting for you.” She watched the realisation hit Saffron. “Oh, and Saffron?”

“Wh … what?” the redhead stammered.

Freya held up the bag then walked away, returning to the back row of seats. Saffron stood stock still, glaring after her.

“Are you all right?” the man asked.

Judge Udall called the court to order, banging his gavel down hard. “Well, things have certainly changed,” he said, looking around the crowded room before his eyes settled on the prisoner in the dock. “Not least of all you. Captain Reynolds, why do you appear to have changed your hair colour?”

Mal ran a hand through his blond thatch. “An experiment, sir.”

“Not planning on attempting to escape, then?”

“Looking like this?”

Judge Udall suppressed a grin. The officer had been right – this was worth seeing. “Not a good look for you, I think I can say.” He took a deep breath. “Well, be that as it may, we’re here to continue yesterday’s proceedings. I’m sure you’ll be delighted to know that the main charge has been summarily dismissed, on account of new evidence being presented.” He saw several people towards the back of the court grinning widely, slapping each other on the back. “However …” he went on. “That still leaves the little matter of bigamy, which on this planet is still illegal.” He fixed Mal with a stern eye. “Captain Malcolm Reynolds, how do you plead?” he demanded.

Mal was about to speak when Saffron, in the row directly behind him, stood up. “Sir,” she said.

“Yes?” The judge looked at her. “Look, little lady, you can’t just interrupt proceedings –“

“He’s not my husband.”

Freya breathed a sigh of relief.

“Not your –“ The judge was dumbfounded. “Explain yourself.”

“It was a mistake,” Saffron said, turning her charm onto full. “I didn’t realise, only just now got the news, but I was never … the divorce from Durran never came through. So you see I couldn’t marry Mal – Captain Reynolds, sir, because I was still legally married. I have no claim on him, sir. None at all.” She smiled sadly, glancing at Mal as if she was so sorry.

Judge Udall sat back on his seat, pulling a large red handkerchief from his pocket and wiping his astonished face with it. “Well,” he said quietly. “If that don’t beat all.” He took a deep breath and banged his gavel on the desk, silencing the voices of the crowd all talking at once. “Very well. But I have to warn you, young lady, this opens a whole new kettle of fish for you.” Saffron nodded. “Well, it does seem that there is no case to answer. Captain Reynolds, you are free to go. And bailiff, order the landlock on their ship released.”

Freya closed her eyes as the courtroom erupted, noise and voices filling the air, people milling about, congratulating Mal and shaking his hand.

“Bailiff, also take the sometime Mrs Reynolds into custody,” the judge added over the noise.

Freya looked up, and just for a moment saw Saffron in the crowd, saw the look on her face, and then she was gone. Freya shook her head, a half-smile on her lips. She’d bet a month’s pay they wouldn’t get her. Still, there was something to be done first. She slipped out of the courtroom, catching up with the other woman.


The redhead turned, about to fight if necessary, then saw Freya. “What?”

“Don’t you want this?” She held out the bag.

Saffron grabbed it, checking inside, then looked up, surprised. “I didn’t think –”

“That we’d stick to our side of the bargain?” Freya shook her head. “You have a very low opinion of folks, don’t you?”

“It’s just last time –”

“Mal made a deal with you. I’m just keeping it.”

The other woman stared at her, then just said, “Thanks.”

“Oh, Saffron? I just wanted to tell you something.” Freya stepped closer. “Just one thing more.”


Suddenly Freya had hold of the other woman, pushing her against the wall, her feet barely touching the ground. “If you come after me and mine ever again, for whatever reason, they won’t find enough of you to put in a box. Maybe a small box. Or an envelope. Dong mah?”

“You can’t just –“

“I can.” She leaned harder. “And I will. If I even hear your name.”

Saffron opened her mouth to respond, then saw the look in Freya’s eyes. She swallowed – there was something there she really didn’t want to know about. “Fine,” she said, pushing back. “Fine.”

Freya let her down. “Better run,” she advised. “They’ll be coming for you.”

Saffron glared at her then heard the door to the courtroom opening, and she hurried away out of sight.

“Hey, Frey,” said Hank, calling out to her from the open door. “Ain’t you gonna see Mal?”

“I will. I will,” she promised. “Just as soon as he changes his hair colour back.” ---

She was sitting in the nursery, holding Bethany on her lap, letting the little girl play with the silver Firefly around her neck. The baby was trying to take it into her mouth.

“Ooh, don’t do that, sweetie,” Kaylee said from the doorway, putting down the small bag she was carrying. She hurried in and picked up her daughter. “Don’t want to swallow that.”

“She was okay,” Freya said, feeling a little bit lost.

Kaylee smiled at her. “I know it. Just … I'm still a new mom, and I get a bit anxious once in a while.”

Freya sighed. “Yeah.” She looked down at the bag, then back up at Kaylee, realising she had her outdoor clothes on. “You leaving home?”

“Only for the night,” Kaylee said, twinkling somewhat.

“For the …” Freya looked puzzled. “Sorry, you’ve lost me.”

“Honey, are you ready?” Simon asked, coming up behind her.

“Just getting Bethany’s coat.” Kaylee handed the baby to Simon and picked up a small, blue, padded jacket. “Don’t want her to get cold.”

“That we don’t.” Simon grinned at Freya. “Looking forward to tonight?” he asked, then grimaced as Kaylee elbowed him in the ribs.


“Umm, having Mal home,” Kaylee said quickly.

“Oh. Yes.” She gazed at both of them. “Is something going on here I don’t know about?”

“Since when does anything happen on board Serenity that you don’t?” Kaylee countered, picking up Bethany’s changing bag. “Well, we’d better get going.”

“You ready?” Hank called from the stairs to the cargo bay.

“Okay,” Freya said, getting up. “What is going on?”

“Nothing, nothing,” Kaylee said. “Just … have a nice time.”

She collected Simon and Bethany, and hurried out into the bay. Hank grinned and waved, then disappeared.

Freya followed, just in time to see the crew of Serenity disappear into the dusk, all waving at her. She started down the ramp but stopped when Mal spoke behind her.

“And where do you think you’re going?” he asked.

She turned to look at him. “What the diyu are all your … crew … doing …” She paused. He was clean. Not only that, but he’d shaved, and was wearing a new shirt. Pretty much like one of the old ones, but this was crisp and … new. And his hair was … normal. Back to its glorious, thick, even brown colour. Everything started to spin a little.

“I paid ‘em to leave,” he said, smiling slightly, enjoying the look of confusion on her face. “Got ‘em all a hotel in town. Not as nice as the one we had, but they’ll be okay.”

“What for?” she asked, waiting for the world to settle down again.

“Come on.” When she didn’t move, he held out his hand and repeated, “Come on.”

“Mal, what’s going on?” She took his hand and allowed herself be led up the stairs. “You let Saffron walk away with that statue, and yet you all seem so calm about it.”

“It’s a fake,” Mal said.

“What?” Freya came to a stop on the top landing. “It’s a what?”

Her fake. I swopped it back with the real one while Saffron wasn’t looking.” He grinned. “I figured she was going to pull something, so I just got in there first.”

“So when she goes to sell it …”

“Maybe they won’t look that closely.”

Freya’s lips twitched. “She is so going to hate you.”

“’Nara says hate and love are so close it’s hard to tell ‘em apart sometimes.” He pulled her on towards the galley.

“Are you saying she loves you?”

“After today, somehow I doubt it.”

“Mal, what –“ They stepped into the dining area. “Oh.”

Inside there were candles burning, and the large table had been laid for a meal at one end. Just for the two of them. There were glasses and a bottle of champagne cooling in one of Kaylee’s home-made refrigeration units. A delicious smell assaulted her nostrils.

“Kaylee did the cooking,” he admitted. “We can eat whenever you like, but this evening is ours.” He smiled at her, his blue eyes catching the candlelight. “Just yours and mine. To make up for before.” He pulled her towards him, wrapping his arms around her. Without conscious thought hers came up and held him close. Dipping his head to kiss her lightly, he looked into her face. “Frey, I know it hurt you. All that happening, then us being interrupted like we were. And, God knows, I don’t want you hurt.” He lifted a hand and stroked her cheek. “I never want to see you cry, Frey. I wanna protect you from everything, all the ills of the ‘verse, and if I can’t, I wanna put them right for you.”

Despite his saying he didn’t want to see her cry, tears still prickled. “You did all this for me?”

“We all did, but … yeah.” He pulled her closer, and she could feel his body hot against hers. “You’re my wife, Frey. My wife. And we didn’t really get to celebrate that.”

“We started,” she pointed out.

“But not enough.” He smiled. “You were right. We don’t need no fancy hotel, or a big bed, or a bath that four people could get lost in –“

“That was nice, though,” she interrupted. “I would have liked to bathe there.”

“Then I’ll sponge you down after,” Mal offered. “But what I'm saying is … it don’t matter where we are. We’re married. And I wanna celebrate that fact.”

“Really?” She began to smile. “How?”

“We’ve got Serenity all to ourselves. No-one here but us. And I intend to make love to you in every room on board.” He pushed her back so her buttocks were against the table. “Here’s a pretty good starting place.”

“Every room?” she asked, feeling his growing arousal against her.

“Well, we’ve already done our bunk.”

“And the engine room.”

“Yeah. Good job no-one knows about that.” He grinned. “Not sure how Kaylee’d take to knowing we defiled her space.”

“It’s your ship, Captain.”

“That it is.” He pressed against her a little harder. “So there’s the cargo bay, the infirmary, the common area, Jayne’s bunk –“

“No,” she said, pinching him slightly. “I draw the line at Jayne’s bunk.”

“Then we’ll compromise and say the corridor outside. And each of the guest rooms, the bridge …”

“The bridge?”

“Do you have any idea the number of times I walked onto the bridge, my bridge as you so rightly pointed out, to find it smelling of sex?” He started to undo her top.

“Wash and Zoe?” She was pulling his shirt from inside his pants.

“I hope so.” He groaned a little. “So I really feel like I have to reclaim that spot.”

“What, this spot?” she asked, leaning forward and nipping him on the neck. “Or this one?” She ran her hands around the skin of his waist.

“All of them.”

“You sound like you’re marking your territory.”

He grinned at her. “Better believe it,” he said, his voice growing husky. “Got a lot of places to do it, too.” He kissed her, feeling her lips part and her tongue touch his own.

“When do they get back?” she whispered, undoing the buttons on his pants.

“Not ‘til tomorrow. Late tomorrow. Very late tomorrow.”

She sighed happily. “Better get to work then,” she said, and sat back on the table.

“Whatever you say, Mrs Reynolds. Whatever you say.”



Tuesday, November 28, 2006 2:21 AM


This was brilliant! I absolutely loved Mal pulling the switch on Saffron so when she gets the stolen statue it is the fake one - bwah ha, serves her right! But now I am curious about exactly what Freya knows about Saffron, or should I say Fin? And lovely lovely ending to this part, with Mal romancing his wife in style and let's not forget the christening over every inch of his boat (except Jayne's bunk!) as well. I just hope our noble Captain remembered to lock up the ship tight after the crew left. Shiny, Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Tuesday, November 28, 2006 3:48 AM


Great job should of let Jayne abuse her in the only way he knows how,but I guess its better to let her live to be i another chapter down the road

Tuesday, November 28, 2006 4:18 AM


I liked this wrap-up. I think it tied up all the loose ends very cleanly. Of course, I really wished that Saffron could have gotten nailed, but I suppose all in good time ... karma is a *itch!

And Mal clearing the ship so he and Freya could celebrate their marriage was unbelievably sweet. I love them together!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006 9:43 AM


Yep....Saffron just got double taught that one should not f--k with the crew of Serenity;)

And while it rarely seems like it...Mal's quite the romantic when he puts his mind to it;)

However...I wanted to find out what Freya and Inara got on "Saffron." Cuz you know it's gotta be juicy to get her off Mal's case that quick;)



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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?”
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“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.

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