Wednesday, December 20, 2006

A/N This is my first fic so please be kind. This is the first of two Christmas fics that were once one LONG story but they work much better separately. This one is young Mal fluff inspired by the “Dear Buddha” line in the BDM. Many thanks go to Girlaskew for the Beta. And no you were not nitpicking. You made me look critically at what I had written and it ended up much better. Thanks again. Disclaimer: Joss has more talent in his pinkie than I'll ever have.



Mal stood on the bridge looking out into the Black. He was in the middle of his usual rounds of the Serenity but this was a special night, it was Christmas Eve.

The crew was sound asleep, full of real food for a change and plenty of inter engine wine courtesy of Kaylee. Mal had thrown back a couple of glasses himself and now that he was alone memories of Christmas’ past he kept only to himself bubbled to the surface.

Some were good memories of childhood Christmases on Shadow. Christmas days filled with a big tree in the parlor that Mal would watch his Ma decorate, longing to be tall enough to help. Finally on those last few Christmases on Shadow, he went with one of the hands to find a suitable tree to bring home and set up in the antique holder.

On Christmas Eve, Mal’s Ma made sure Mal and the hands attended midnight service at the local church. one period too many The Shepherd would elaborate on the phrase “peace in the ‘verse, good will towards men” in his short homily. There would Christmas greetings to friends and neighbors after the service outside the church, but no matter how warm the wishes the cold night air made Mal long for his warm bed.

Christmas dinner was the biggest meal of the year on the Reynolds ranch. His Ma ,along with Sophia, the foreman’s wife, would cook for days in preparation for that great day. Roasts, casseroles, vegetables and other good things to eat came out of the oven and made the house a torture of heavenly smells.

Pies and cakes would also add to that symphony of smells, including Mal's favorite apple pie .He'd never admit to the weakness now, but he would do anything for a piece of his Ma's apple pie. Even now Mal’s mouth watered at the thought of the exquisite blend of apples, cinnamon and sugar that his mother baked to perfection.

There were, of course presents on Christmas Day. Mostly practical ones, because Mal outgrew or wore down clothes and boots at an amazing rate. There were also hats, gloves and the like.

Every once and while he got a surprise. Mal had been up on a horse even before he learned to walk. But at eleven, he still rode whatever horse that was available in the corral. He had particular horses that he liked, but not one to call his very own.

“Mal, you can skip your chores for a little while. There's something that I want to show you.” his Ma said right after breakfast. ”Are you sure?” Mal asked cautiously because Ma insisted that chores be done before any thought of anything else. “Yes, just come to the corral with me and you'll see.” As Mal came around the barn, there she was.

When he first saw her she had her head down picking at some hay on the ground in the corral. She was a black and white pinto, with a fine head, intelligent eyes that showed a lot of spirit.

When she saw the boy she raised her head in his direction and pricked her ears. Mal approached her slowly with his hand out and ran it along her muscled shoulder, checking her out.

“Ma, she’s sure a shiny horse. Whose is she?”

“She’s yours son. It’s about time you start pulling your weight around here and you need a proper horse.”

“Really, she’s mine?”

“Yes, she’s yours. Of course you’re responsible for her, grooming, feeding and all. She's your complete responsibility now”

“It’s the best Christmas present ever!” Mal said excitedly as he turned around and threw his arms around his Ma.

“Whoa there, you just about knocked me down.” she said as Mal slammed into her. She smiled and returned the hug just as exuberantly as he had hugged her.

“Do you have a name for her?”

“Haven’t had a chance yet, but some how I know her name is Lucy.”

“How’s that?”

“I don’t know. She just looks like a Lucy.”

“It’s time for you to do your chores. Christmas morning is no excuse for gettin’ nothin’ done.. Animals got to eat every day, just like us.”

“Okay ma, just a few minutes more?.”

“Five minutes, then it’s chore time. You don’t eat breakfast ‘til the works done.”

“Yes ma'am.”

Later that afternoon under the Shadow winter sky, Mal slipped down to the corral with a carrot swiped from the kitchen in his pocket.

“Hi there, girl. You remember me from this morning?” He approached cautiously and held out the carrot.

She moved toward him slowly, took the carrot into her lips and crunched it thoughtfully. Mal ran his hands over her and examined her just like Chi Linn, the ranch foreman,had taught him, murmuring soothing words as he felt each strong leg and looked at each hoof.

After twenty minutes getting to know Lucy and she him,he saddled and bridled her and climbed aboard.

The first thing Lucy did was catch him unaware and throw him in the dust of the main corral. Lucy turned around and just looked at him sprawled in the dust with her wise eyes as he lay there breathless for a second or two. Nothing was damaged except Mal’s pride.

No one saw his disgrace except for Chi Linn,who had been walking between the bunk house and the barn. Not wanting to show any fear of the animal with Chi Linn around Mal dusted off his pants and his pride then hauled himself back on board. From that moment on Mal knew who was the teacher and who was the student and the two became inseparable.

The pinto cow pony with Mal aboard soon became a common sight around the ranch and in the neighboring town. When you saw either the horse or the boy you could be sure the other was somewhere close.

The next spring his Ma let Mal go out with the hands part time and help with the cattle. Lucy had excellent cow sense and without fail she would put Mal in perfect position to separate a cow from the herd so Mal could drop a loop over the reluctant cows head for brandin' or doctorin'.

When Lucy got older Mal retired her to the pasture near the house. She became a mother 3 times over. Mal trained and rode each of Lucy’s colts and while each was exceptional in their own, none captured Mal’s heart like Lucy did. She died one winter of old age and even though Mal was just about grown he cried like he had lost his best friend.


Wednesday, December 20, 2006 6:27 PM


Hmm...guess Mal got his wish, since he got his "plastic rocket" in Serenity and Lucy fulfilled his desire for a mount;)

Gotta say...the ending brought a tear to this cynical old turd's eye, ncbrowncoat;D


Wednesday, December 20, 2006 11:04 PM


Really sweet. I can see the younger Mal in my mind's eye right now ...

Thursday, December 21, 2006 12:54 AM


Lovely first fic.

Very heartwarming, with a good look at farm/ranch life (Mal's Ma here reminds me a lot of my own grandfather - gentle, but hardworking and a lot of common sense).

Thursday, December 21, 2006 8:13 AM


This is lovely, I really like these snapshots of the past especially when they are so very heartwarming. it's a gift, glad we got to open it. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Thursday, December 21, 2006 9:43 AM


Nice to see a post from another Browncoat from the tarheel state!

Good first effort, NCBC. You love of horses comes through loud and clear, and you've given us a sweet glimpse of a possible past for our captain.


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Quick fic done at the request of a friend as a Christmas present. Enjoy!

Inara's Cold
Post-BDM Mal/Inara Ok, here it is. I did manage to put a little bit of snarkiness in it. You can't have Mal and Inara communicate without snarkiness.

The Crush
Mal/River Just a little fic I found on my laptop. I wrote it about 9-10 months ago and I don't think I posted it here. PG-13 for brief sexual thoughts on Mal's part.

All I want for Christmas is a Pony and a Plastic Rocket
I was getting a nostalgic as I reread some of my first fics and decided to repost the the first two since they concern the holiday season.

I also resisted the urge to rewrite them so here it is in all it's glory.

The Last Christmas Present
I was getting a nostalgic as I reread some of my first fics and decided to repost the the first two since they concern the holiday season.

I also had the inclination to go back and rewrite the fics but I resisted the temptation. So here it is, in all it's glory.

Veteran's Day
Just a scribble I quickly wrote down. Mal muses on Veteran's Day in the quiet of the night.

Well, here it is. An attempt at Mal and Inara post BDM, after Serenity has been fixed, but before their first job.

I've also wondered about Inara's background and I basically took Moreana's comment that being a Companion was a "family business" and let my mind construct a back story.

Many thanks to Phyrelight and Taimdala for the Beta workd

Apple Pie
I'm back! Many many thanks to Phyrelight who provided a quite a few suggestions and helped me take this little fic beyond just scribblings on a scrap of paper.

This takes place just after Heart of Gold but before Inara leaves the ship for the Training House.

Spring Fever
Another "Young Mal" story.This was just something that wouldn't get out of my head. It was warm and gorgeous today and this sort of wrote itself. As a result, it's unbetaed so all the mistakes are mine.

Dear Mal
This has been on my hard drive since Christmas but real life and my Mom's broken hip kept me from finishing it.

Thanks to MissWhatitis for the beta and a bit of inspiration when I thought I should trash this.