Arrivals - Epilogue
Sunday, January 28, 2007

Maya. Post-BDM. Mal has a conversation with someone ... Just some more fluff. Proper angst on its way, but not yet. Let me know what you think!


Malcolm Reynolds, hero of Serenity Valley and captain of this particular Firefly’s crew, watched his wife sleeping. She was lying on her side a little, turned towards the crib that Kaylee had insisted they use until Simon said it was okay for her to go back to their bunk and the nursery that Jayne had finally finished. Ethan was spark out, his little fist jammed into his mouth … well, it had been a busy day for him too.

Mal couldn’t help but smile. Seemed like things never went smooth, but at least they’d got a beautiful, healthy baby boy out of it. And he was grateful to Jayne for what he’d done, even if he was going to have problems getting the images of the big mercenary seeing Freya … like that … out of his brain for a few months. Or years. Or more likely never.

He glanced over his shoulder towards Book’s old room, and wished with all his heart that he and Wash were here to see. Just to be able to prove that he wasn’t the empty old man he’d been afraid he’d become. Before Freya moved in. Just to be able to say to them, with more than a hint of pride in his voice, ‘this is my son’.

“He’s a beautiful baby,” said Book, standing behind him.

“Is my boat haunted?” Mal asked, not moving, and somehow not exactly surprised.

“Not quite. But, you know … there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

“You can stop quoting Shakespeare at me, Shepherd,” Mal said, finally turning to face his old friend. “I ain’t as badly read to assume you made that up your own self.”

“You continue to surprise me, captain. And perhaps I shouldn‘t be.” The older man smiled, steepling his hands together in just the way Mal remembered. “Besides, you looked like you needed some advice.”

“Did I? Don’t recall that being the case.”

Book just looked at him, in the serene manner he had, his thick grey hair caught back in its leather tie, like he used to have it before he took to the corn rows and the beard. “Really?” he asked softly.

“Been a long time since I asked for any from you,” Mal admitted.

“Being dead kind of does that to a person, son.” Book turned and walked towards the common area.

“I ain’t your son,” Mal said, following.

“I always thought you were close enough.” He sat down.

“So, what do you figure I want advice over?” Mal asked, dropping into the large yellow chair next to him.

“I’m not really here, boy.” Book smiled. “At least, that’s what you’re thinking.”

“No wonder you and River seemed to get along,” Mal said, just a little grumpiness in his voice.

“Not … always,” Book said, shaking his head. “I seem to recall an incident over my Bible …”

Mal had to grin. “Never did see that book back to its original condition.”

“It didn’t have to be. That wasn’t its purpose.” He sighed, remembering. “And River always was a handful.”

“Still is.”

“And what’s this I hear about her and Jayne?”

Mal’s jaw dropped. “How … what … who talks to you?” he finally managed to get out.

“Kaylee,” the older man conceded. “She talks to me while she fixes Serenity. Never expects an answer, of course.”

“And I did?” Mal asked, one eyebrow raised.

“You weren’t speaking to me. At least, not out loud.”

“So I was thinking a question.”

“Seemed to be.”

Mal sat back. “You always did go interfering in my affairs, Preacher.”

“You were my flock.” Book smiled kindly. “And my family. I took an interest. Being dead doesn’t stop that.”

“More’n just an interest, if I recall.” Mal gazed at him for a moment, then let the words fall from his lips. “How do I keep them safe, Shepherd? My wife, my son …” He glanced towards the room where they slept. “How do I stop the bad happening to them? Like it did to Wash. Like it did to you.”

Book leaned forward and patted Mal on the knee. “It wasn’t your fault.”

“Sure it was.” Mal was too tired to sound bitter, but it was there all the same, the guilt sitting in his heart. “It was ‘cause of me you and Wash died. My pig-headedness.”

“Perhaps. But with all the will in the world you can’t go back and change it now.” Book paused for a moment. “And you’ve been paying for it ever since, haven’t you?”

“Not exactly.”


Mal shook his head. “You let me have that guilt, Shepherd. And in exchange you tell me how I keep my family from going the same way.”

“You do what you have to,” Book said carefully. “And you have faith.”

“Ain’t we had this conversation before?” Mal asked, ever so slightly amused.

“Faith in yourself, Mal,” Book explained, as if he were teaching a lesson. “She’s made you believe again, something I could never get you to do. And that belief will shelter your family.”

“You’re gonna promise me that, are you?”

Book shook his head. “That’s the thing about faith, captain. It fixes you, but it doesn’t have to make sense.”

“Yeah, I’m conjuring you’re the real deal,” Mal said conversationally. “Only you’d be able to make something crazy sound almost reasonable.”

The other man smiled. “Mal, you have a beautiful wife and son. Freya’s very strong, and between you your boy is going to grow up a credit to you.”

“Ain’t grown up myself yet, Preacher,” Mal pointed out. “Kinda did all that during the war - never much enjoyed it.”

“Well, that’s the thing about being an adult, Mal. You don’t have to behave like one if you don’t want to.”

Mal laughed, leaning his head back on the chair. “Seems to me you got me pegged.”

Book smiled wider, then sniffed the air. “Do I smell one of Jayne’s cigars?”

“I think he’s in the cargo bay with Hank.” Mal yawned hugely. “Not sure if they’re actually working out or just smoking.”

The Shepherd breathed in appreciatively. “I have missed those,” he said quietly. “There’s nothing quite like them in the afterlife.”

“Thought you were just a figment of my imagination,” Mal mumbled, his eyes closing.

“Probably,” Book admitted. “But that doesn’t mean that I’m not really here.”

Mal started to say something, but fell asleep instead.

A little while later Simon, on his way to check in once more on Freya and her son before joining Kaylee in bed, passed the captain, dead to the world, in the yellow chair. Smiling, he picked up one of the blankets and laid it carefully across him.

“Thanks, Preacher,” Mal muttered, still asleep.

Simon smiled and walked on.



Sunday, January 28, 2007 1:50 AM


Oh, that was just so sweet.

But the end was - oh.

Sunday, January 28, 2007 10:21 AM


That was a beautiful coda to all the hell of Freya's labor. It's good to see Mal open to the idea that he can have faith again - no matter what it's in.

Sunday, January 28, 2007 12:15 PM


I loved this, you really made me smile and fill with joy having Book back for this lovely little addendum. And it amused me that when Simon put the blanket over the sleeping Captain he automatically thanked the Preacher. Hmm, how will he explain that in the morning? Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Sunday, January 28, 2007 2:23 PM


Oh...the beauty and brilliance of this is completely unfathomable. At least for me, anyway;D

Spot-on riffing between Mal and Book, brilliantly phrased weakness from Mal and friendly crypticism from Book...yep. This was some amazing work and I can't wait for the next storyline:D


Monday, May 28, 2012 10:32 AM


Just found this via the random quote display. I LOVE your depiction of Mal and Book (or Book in Mal's head) having a conversation...seems like just the kind of conversation they'd have. Nice characterization.


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“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!]

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"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 ...]

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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?”
[Maya. Post-BDM. Simon has no choice, and Luke comes around.]

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“His name’s Jayne?”

“What’s wrong with that?” the ex-mercenary demanded from the doorway.

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“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!]

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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.
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[Maya. Post-BDM. A seasonal one-off - enjoy!]

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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.

[Maya. Post-BDM. A little with each Serenity couple, but something goes bang. Read, enjoy, review!]