Sunday, December 3, 2006

The crew still on Beltane. Various loving couples in the crew have differing conversations. Zoe finds out something about Cliff she didn't know. Jayne and Vera (and others) play dress-up for the 'Robin Hood' night at the hangi. The hangi ends with some people being snatched secretly.


PART TWO And we made truth together, where no one else would. I smiled through her fingers and ran the dust through her hands, the hour-glass of reason on the summerday sands.

We sat as the sea caught fire. Waited as the flames grew higher in her eyes, Summerday sands. - Jethro Tull

“Vera?” She slowly opened her eyes and checked the clock by the bed. They'd been asleep for about an hour. The town outside was beginning to wake up to the idea of early breakfast and the start of the day. She raised her head and looked into Jayne's eyes, “Yes, Jayne?” His gaze flicked away, slightly guilty, then flicked back, fingers stroking gently down her arm,“Did I hurt you *very much?” She smiled, “You've ravished me that hard before and I've enjoyed it. Can't say it didn't hurt, but I was very wet and ready for you and I *love it when you sometimes go wild inside me, plus you might have noticed I came pretty hard twice before you did.” He smiled smugly, “Yeah. Noticed that all right!” His fingers tenderly found the lumpier scars down her sides, caused by gaps in the Kevlar vest she'd been wearing just over a year ago, “Sexy warrior woman of mine.” Vera could hear the growing heat in his voice, plus there was the unmistakeable evidence of arousal unfurling next to her stomach, “You want some more sex before breakfast.” “Be slow and tender. Make it real good for you.” Vera trembled, knowing how good it was likely to be, “Yes.” His wide blue gaze met hers, “Just like that, you said 'yes'?” She smiled and cupped his face, “Yes. Very definitely 'yes'. We both know how good it can be between us. But getting some breakfast shortly afterwards would make my stomach a lot happier.” Jayne grinned and lifted the hotel phone, “No problem! Reception...erm..can you do room service? All right! 'Kay; pot of coffee, pot of tea and a pile of breakfast in about...hmm..two hours?” He put a hand over the speaker part of the phone, “Want anything special?” Vera grinned, “Apart from world class sex with you? Italian tomatoes on toast, a jug of orange juice and some mushrooms.” Jayne relayed this plus his own request for eggs and steak plus a stack of toast, then pounced, grinning widely, “World class sex, hmm?” Vera chuckled, “Oh, yes!” * “Mal?” “Yes, Inara?” “They're going to come after us, aren't they?” Mal sighed slightly, pulling Inara even closer, “Very likely. But I intend to stay hiding out here on the rim until they get bored and find new suckers to be President.” Inara kissed his jaw, “Trouble is, we were good at it. We were doing a pile of good for others, too.” “I know, but I've done enough paper pushing for *three lifetimes! The Browncoats are legit – well, as legit as they're gonna get – we raised the standard again and got a whole heap of recompense for Serenity valley and Unification day. That's enough to last me till the day I drop.” Inara smiled, “I know, Mal. You wouldn't be the man I fell in love with otherwise. I'm thinking of the rougher terraformed worlds that are going to be inspected and upgraded if that's possible. Of the Reaver Hunter squadrons out there mopping up *that menace. Of the many ordinary common decent folk whose lives will get improved because Malcolm Reynolds knows a fair bit about what the ordinary people are feeling.” “Hey,” Mal protested with a smile, “Don't forget the gracious and luminously beautiful Inara Reynolds, his right hand woman!” Inara giggled and gently batted him with the pillow under her head. Mal batted back. A teasing pillow fight ensued, with Mal 'winning' by finally pinning Inara down and giving her something a lot more sensual than pillows to be thinking about. * In the Tam family room, Lee and Sam were both teething. Kaylee paced up and down with Lee and Simon had Sam. Both kids were making enough racket for about three children each. Simon gently rubbed some more gel on Sam's gums, around the teeth he already had. “Come on, sweeting. Painkillers should have kicked in by now.” Sam looked at him, pale hazel eyes wide and suddenly stopped fretting. Lee stopped an instant later. Kaylee flopped onto the couch with her son and gave him a hard biscuit to chew on, “I love 'em to bits, but I'll be glad when this teething business is over.” Simon settled next to her, “Well, the teeth are nearly through. The worst is over this time around. When they're older, it'll be easier to help with teething pains. During this next year we might be thinking of potty training and they'll start walking soon, so there'll be more fun to come.” Simon gave Sam a biscuit as well, to stall any grabbing thoughts. The twins had markedly different colouring now; Sam with his pale hazel eyes and dark hair and Lee with dark blue eyes and paler curly brown hair. * The twins gazed at each other, then Sam moved determinedly towards his brother. One twin's pudgy hand batted the other's and there was significant non-verbal communication going on. Simon smiled, “They're talking to each other again.” Kaylee yawned a little, “They've done that ever since they were tiny; just looked at each other.” Simon shrugged, “They're twins; they shared your womb. They've known about each other from very early on.” Kaylee was thinking about something else, “Potty training Sam is going to be interesting.” Simon shrugged, “Let them both run around planetside without diapers, then let them both sit down to do their business. Sam'll work it out, same as Lee. Doing it sitting down is probably safer in space anyway.” Kaylee stifled another yawn, smiling, “Shiny. Everything's gonna be shiny.” Simon gently eased Lee off Kaylee's lap as she fell asleep and took both twins over to their travelling playpen. Once they were both sitting there, fairly happily daubing biscuit over each other, he made a call for room service. He went back to Kaylee and lifted her legs tenderly on to the couch. He flopped out on the bed close to the playpen and kept an eye on the children. * Zoe was out with Sarah some time later, after breakfast. Sarah was in a small foldable buggy and chattering away about nothing in particular. Zoe was enjoying the exercise and the sunshine. She got to the sheriff's house and office, the place where Vera had once lived. Cliff was on the porch, drinking coffee. “Kia'ora.” “Morning, Cliff.” There was a new stiltedness somewhere in their exchange and Zoe wasn't sure what it meant. He smiled at Sarah, “She's a beauty, like her mother.” He came over and squatted next to the pushchair, smiling and talking to Sarah. Zoe suddenly felt left out of the conversation. “Cliff?” He looked up. The hunger and the attraction he'd shown before had gone as if they'd never been there. He was looking at her as if she was only just another person he knew. “Yes, Zoe?” “Did I do or say something?” He smiled, “My last piece of hoping on you went yesterday and went for good. I've moved on, I won't be mooning over you any more. In fact, there's a Maori lady who I was seeing in a lighthearted way before I met you. Sheena's coming over soon and I'm going to pick up where we left off. Thinking that settling down with her is the best thing I can do.” Zoe nodded, “Yes, of course.” So, why was it hurting so much, deep inside? Cliff read something in her words and posture, “I *did love you. I knew you were grieving, but I took one look and fell deep and hard,” he shrugged, “It was fate; kismet. Your response was totally understandable, eh. I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time with the woman of my dreams in front of me and I didn't stand a chance. As soon as I saw Sarah and realised you must have been pregnant when I approached you, your response made even more sense. You had a child to consider, the child of a deeply loving relationship. No wonder you didn't want anyone else, not even as daddy material.” Zoe pushed all the hurt and pain down under a polite mask, “No-one else could be her daddy. If I'd been free and single and not met Wash... But those weren't the cards we were dealt.” “I know. I'll be your friend, just like you wanted, eh. Anytime you're visiting Beltane, my house is your house. Maybe I'll have one or two of my own next time to play with Sarah.” “You'll be a good father.” That was something she couldn't offer Cliff any more; children of his own. Zoe held onto that thought and wrapped her iron will around it. “Are you dressing up later?” Zoe smiled slightly, “Don't usually do dresses. Saw the suggested Robin Hood theme and decided to dress as Will Scarlet. Prefer pants most of the time.” Cliff smiled back, “I'm being Alan a'Dale.” “See you later, then.” Zoe waited until she was well out of sight and earshot and round several corners somewhere secluded before she let the tears come. She hugged Sarah to her, “Mummy's being silly, bao bei. Realised too late that Cliff got under her skin. Didn't think I'd love even once; that it's happened twice has taken the wind out of my sails.” * Jayne came out of the en-suite, fastening his waistcoat, “'Kay; one Little John ready to rumble... Holy Buddha! You ain't goin' out in public like that, are you?” Vera had her back to him, but the soft, stretchy figure hugging green shorts she was wearing dipped low at the top and covered barely half of her bottom, leaving the lower half of her buttocks exposed above thigh high boots. Jayne's gaze reluctantly tore itself away from the spectacle and went higher to a matching top which had short sleeves and a decent back part at least. She turned around, grinning, “No; I got this to wear some days ago, not realising that we'd have gone two delicious rounds this morning. This is just for you.” Jayne's gaze dropped to Vera's breasts, which were barely kept in place by the front of the green top, with a long strand of green ribbon in a bow tying the minimal covering together. He growled, soft and low, “Good...cleavage.” He managed that, voice and pants getting suddenly tight, and skimmed his sights lower. Damned if the short shorts didn't also lace up and also only just conceal the contents. “Nice Robin Hood costume, huh?” A grin played around his mouth, “Yeah. Hell, yeah! Reloadin' my big gun like crazy.” Vera laughed softly and warmly, “Now or later, tiger?” His gaze finally met hers, hot and full of lusty promise, “Later. Wanna reload completely first, then give you a long, lusty ride with a full payload. Mebbe even wait till tomorrow.” Vera glowed with anticipated pleasure. She knew how intense it could be when Jayne was, in delicate terms, fully loaded, “Yes, please! But I seem to remember Little John and Robin had some kind of fight with long quarterstaffs which made them friends and colleagues.” Jayne caught the cue, “You can show me how well you handle a *very long staff later!” Vera chuckled loudly, “Jayne, sexy wan nao; I think the real ones were at least as tall as you are!” He grinned back, “Mebbe I'm the 'longstaff' you have to handle, huh?” “That's a very good thought. Of course, you'll have to 'prove' yourself to be accepted as one of my merry men.” Vera picked up another green garment, similar to a jacket. She slipped her arms into the sleeves and fastened the metal clasps which went right down the front. The garment covered most of her cleavage and swirled low enough to skim the tops of the boots she was wearing. Jayne's grin widened, “Don't you fret; I've got plans for 'proving' myself to your Robin Hood at some point later. Nice jacket, by the way. Likin' the fact that I've seen what's under it.” Vera hooked her arm through his, “Hangi?” “Yeah, food an' beer first. Mebbe even dancing.” * The hangi was in full swing, several hours later. Mal was also dressed as Robin Hood, no surprise there, with Inara as one of the merry men, in pants for once. Zoe looked amazing in red as Will Scarlett, with Sarah in a cut-down version of the same outfit. River was a petite Maid Marian and Zhang had joined the general rush to be Robin. Kaylee and Simon were in general medieval garb with the twins toddling uncertainly about nearby. Cliff sang songs, Jayne and Vera joined in. Everyone ate, drank and danced. When people were tired, they just slept under the stars, under blankets near the big hangi pit. The next morning saw some folk going off to get fresh supplies of food and drink for breakfast. During the second evening, people started to tell stories. A lot of old Maori tales were told and Vera told an old folk tale about a fighting warrior maiden who rode a unicorn. Jayne and Mal described some of the stranger outer planets and moons, including the one where they juggled geese. Jayne took Vera off at some point to enjoy playing Robin and Little John a lot more intensively. He was shaken awake by Simon some time later. Simon was managing to hold both toddlers as well. “Jayne, Vera; wake up! Kaylee's missing!” The two of them rearranged their clothes and followed Simon. * Mal was in the central space with various of the Maori elders, including Lawrence. They were getting everyone together and doing a head count. Lawrence scanned the crowd carefully. Most people were a bit bleary-eyed from having been woken up, “Yes, your crew-mate Kaylee seems to be missing. I've got some folk double-checking, but it's not just Kaylee. Cliff's gone and so has Sheena.” One of the other Maori guys came back, “They...whoever they were...snatched people from over by the sweetmeats.” Mal looked, “Bold, daring. Probably not many folk there in the middle of the night.” Mal went and looked at the spot, carrrying a torch in his hand “There was a ship landed hereabouts.” Lawrence nodded, “Something on the small side, sleek, fast and quiet. Thinking it was a Raptor or something like it, eh.” Mal nodded, “Room for a pilot, a couple of thugs and maybe six others at a pinch. Sneaky.” Jayne was thinking about when he and Vera had been snatched, “Triad?” Lawrence shook his head, “Never seen 'em round here before. More likely someone with a grudge who knew the hangi was happening.” Simon was looking really flustered, “But they could be anywhere by now!” Mal put a steadying hand on his shoulder, “No, not anywhere. A Raptor would be still in this system, refuelling or having to make landfall or intercept with something bigger with the payload. No big ships around when we came in, apart from us.” “Nothing big on the planet radar either, but I'll do a sweep in any case.” “So, how many are missing?” Lawrence checked with the other Maori, “Looks like Kaylee, Cliff, Sheena and three others, all Maori apart from your wife.” “Looks like Kaylee got picked up by accident, mayhap.” “Could be.” Lawrence found something tucked under one of the huge bowls of trifle, “Ah. Ransom note; of a sort.” He swore fluently and violently in Maori, “It's that evil, dirty, son of a bitch, getting payback for us not letting him take over our home twenty years ago!” Vera gasped, then her shoulders went back, battle mode fully engaged, “I am going to rip that bastard's balls right off his body!” Jayne grinned evilly, knowing that the guy was going to pay, “Help yourself; just leave some for me!” Mal turned to Vera, “Let me take an educated guess. Adele Niska.” ***


Sunday, December 3, 2006 1:48 PM


Niska? If he spends all his time and resources just getting back at the people he never managed to best he will soon be without his little evil empire. Ali D
You can't take the sky from me

Sunday, December 3, 2006 8:05 PM


Oh boy...doesn't that mutant troll wannabe ever learn not to mess with the BDHs and their amigos? Cuz this dink needs to be put down ASAP!


And I gotta go slackjawed at Simon's idea for dealing with Sam's potty training. Seemed rather blunt and simplistic coming out of Simon's mouth...but maybe time has really changed him;)


Sunday, December 3, 2006 11:09 PM


Re: Simon - he's talking to Kaylee who I reckon is maybe a bit of a secret fretter about her precious babies. Probably feels differently in private. As a doctor, he'll have a really good idea of how interesting and challenging it's going to be raising a kid who's hermaphroditic.

Re: Niska. He doesn't know at the moment that he's trodden on the toes of the BDHs. He was after a bunch of Maori to have 'fun' with. He's probably going to think Kaylee is a nice bonus. Maybe not for long, though <G>. Can you imagine Simon riled up and deadly, with his medical knowledge about pain centres and the like?

Vera [More in due course]


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