Monday, January 29, 2007

Maya. Post-BDM. After all the tension of ARRIVALS, just another little bit of fluff, maybe a little bitter-sweet with hints of things to come ... Enjoy, and let me know what you think!


Kaylee knocked on the sliding door and a voice from inside called, “Who is it?”

“Only me, Frey. Just wanted to see how you was.”

“Come on in.”

The young mechanic pushed the door open. “Oh, sorry, didn’t know you were in the middle of something here.”

Freya was sitting up in bed, her wrap open and Ethan held to one breast. “Just close the door behind you,” she said. “I could do with someone to talk to, take my mind off this.”

Kaylee did as she was asked, then sat down on the end of the bed. “Take your mind off it?”

The new mother blushed, a colour that rose up from a long way down. “I … it just seems so odd.”

“It’s natural.” Kaylee hitched a leg up. “I did it with Bethany.”

“I know.” Freya bit her lip, looking down at her son suckling. “It’s just … up ‘til now … this isn’t exactly what I’ve used them for.”

“Oh.” Kaylee understood. “You mean it’s been Mal getting the benefit.”

Freya blushed again. “Something like that,” she mumbled.

“Simon’s right,” Kaylee said wonderingly. “You get all embarrassed over the strangest things. Here you are, letting me see you like this, a baby at your breast, and you go all uncomfortable talking about what you and the Cap do in bed.”

“Just because you don’t have a problem talking about things like that doesn’t mean normal people don’t.”

Kaylee didn’t take offence. “I ain’t never laid claim to being normal. Got four brothers - can’t be normal with that kind of brood around you. I‘ve been hearing their conversations about their male parts and what they like to do with them for most of my life.” She grinned. “So, what makes it feel odd? You afraid you won’t be able to enjoy Mal’s ministrations no more?”

Freya squirmed a little. “Something like that,” she admitted.

“Oh, honey.” Kaylee shook her head. “Simon is right.” She moved a little closer. “Frey, I thought the same. Simon’s always loved putting his …” She stopped, changing what she was going to say. “Anyways, he’s liked mine as much as Mal does yours. It’s natural. Probably something to do with when they were babies themselves.”

“Kaylee, that isn’t helping,” Freya pointed out.

“Well that ain’t gonna change for them. And it didn’t change for me neither. I still love it when he … well, there are things Simon does that … you won’t …” She stumbled to a halt, and exhaled noisily. “Let’s just say that, given the right encouragement, you ain’t gonna have to worry.”

Freya smiled. “Seems to me you’re the one coming over all embarrassed.”

“I ain’t embarrassed!” Kaylee insisted. “Just … mindful of your sensibilities.”

“So Mal and I aren’t gonna have any problems with sex?”

Kaylee laughed. “Not a one. ‘Course, you might not feel like it for a while -”

“Ah.” Freya glanced down at her son.

“I guess I got that one wrong,” Kaylee said, smiling.

Mei-mei, I don’t think a day’s gone by without me feeling like taking Mal to bed.” She looked up guiltily. “Does that make me a bad person?”

“No. Not normal, maybe, but not bad.”

“So I’m not normal now?”

“Nope,” Kaylee said happily. “Kinda makes you fit in with the rest of us.”

“I suppose it does,” Freya agreed.

“Just take it slow,” the girl advised.

“I’m not taking it anywhere at the moment,” Freya said. “Your husband was adamant we can’t do anything until he says.”

“He wants you to heal well. Not sure how the Cap’d take to making love to you then finding you bleeding all over the bed.”

Freya winced. “Very … graphic.”

“Nope, just sensible.” Kaylee leaned forward and patted Freya on the leg. “Few days time, Simon’ll say you can go back to your bunk, Ethan’ll be in his nursery, and you and Mal … be worth the wait.”

“You always see the good side of everything.”

Kaylee grinned. “Have to. No point in looking to the black all the time. If bad things happen, you deal with ‘em, and there’s always a good thing just around the corner.” She nodded towards Ethan. “Like this little’un.”

Freya nodded, holding her son just a bit closer. “Mal told me about what Bethany said. Wanting Ethan for her baby brother.”

“You don’t mind, do you?”

“Not at all. On board a ship like this, we’re all one family, blood or not.”

“And I’m tryin’ my hardest to get pregnant again,” Kaylee explained. “Even been taking my temperature every morning, see if I’m ovulatin’.” She grinned. “There’s been a couple of times I’ve surprised Simon and we’ve … well, let’s just say I’m kinda glad the infirmary door locks.”


“You knew?” Now it was Kaylee’s turn to be surprised and a little mortified.

“Kaylee, sweetheart, you can lock the doors all you like, but unless you plan on wearing a gag, or knocking out the rest of the crew …”

The girl coloured. “Oh. You heard.”

“I think the whole ship heard.”

“Never was one for being quiet.” Kaylee admitted. “Not in my nature.”

“I think we’ve all realised that.” Freya chuckled. “Probably not a good idea to go apologising to Mal, though.”

“Oh, I’m pretty sure he’d forgive me. Right now he’d forgive me blowing up his boat, the smile he’s had on his face since this one was born.”

“That he has, but don’t push your luck.” Freya eased Ethan a little. “But still no joy for you?”

“Nope.” Kaylee’s face fell. “No joy is right.”

“It’ll happen,” Freya promised. “Look at me. Us.” She looked down again. “I never thought I‘d be sitting here, a baby at my … I believed Simon, when he said it couldn’t happen, but Mal didn’t. And he was right. We’ve got us a beautiful son.” Tears began to slip down her cheeks.

“Hey, no need for that,” Kaylee said, pulling a cleanish hankie from her coverall pocket. “Here.”

“Thanks.” Freya took it, wiped her face quickly and handed it back. “Sorry. Just can’t seem to control myself at the moment.”

“You’re a new momma,” Kaylee pointed out, stuffing the damp linen back where it came from. “Kinda happens. First coupla weeks, I was crying all the time. But then I had cause to.”

“He came back to you,” Freya said softly, knowing the young mechanic was thinking of Mitchell Lon and what he did to Simon and River.

“Yeah.” Kaylee brightened. “Yeah, he did. And I’m gonna have me another one of those, even if I have to tie Simon to the bed until he impregnates me.”

Freya grimaced. “A little too much information there, mei-mei.”

“Oh, I don’t know. Could be fun.” She laughed. “Well, better be getting back. Got some of Serenity’s innards on my workbench, and she’s calling to be fixed.”

“Nothing too drastic I hope.”

“Nope,” Kaylee said, then amended, “Not if I get them back in before the engine seizes up and we’re dead in the water.”

“Not a good idea.”

“No,” Kaylee agreed. “Despite what I just said I don’t think the Cap’d take too kindly to that.” She grinned and stood up. “I’ll pop back in later. You wanna eat together?”

Freya smiled. “Sounds good.”

“See you then.” Kaylee leaned over and kissed Ethan on the top of his head. “Later, pumpkin,” she murmured, then dashed out.

“How are they?” Zoe asked, glancing towards the Captain’s temporary home.

“Kinda busy,” Kaylee said, holding her arms up as if she had a baby in them, and rocking them backwards and forwards.

“Oh. Okay.” The first mate nodded. “Only we’ve got a gift for Ethan.”

“A present?” Kaylee’s face lifted. “Ooh, what is it?”

“One of those toys we got for Bethany’s birthday.”

“A rabbit?”

“I’m not sure,” Zoe admitted. “If it is it ain’t like any rabbit I’ve ever seen. Not unless it got crossed with a camel. Kinda got a hump to it.”

“I’m sure Ethan’ll love it. Just give ‘em a while.” She grinned. “Gotta go. Stop Serenity blowin’ up.” She scampered off up the stairs leaving the older woman watching after her.

Zoe smiled and headed into the cargo bay. Hank was sitting on the weights bench, his head in his hands.

“Still hung over?” she asked.

“I didn’t drink last night,” the pilot said, not looking up. “That I can recall.”

“No, I don’t think you did. Just sat most of the evening in here with Jayne, smoking cigars and talking.”

“He’s okay, once you get past the whole ‘shoot you down just for looking’ thing.”

“Mmn. You two have been getting close.” She pushed him along so she could sit down. “Anything I need to worry about?”

“Nope,” Hank said firmly, looking up at her. “I am all man.” He managed a pained grin. “And I can prove that to you, given a couple of years to recover. So since I ain’t been having rough sex with Jayne, I guess it must be cigar poisoning.” He groaned a little and closed his eyes dramatically.

“Seems like it,” she agreed. “So what were you talking about?”

“Kids.” Hank leaned his head on her shoulder. “Zoe, what do you think about having children?”

She stiffened a little. “In what way?”

He realised he’d overstepped some boundary or other. “Just wondered,” he said quickly, sitting upright again. “Risa and I wanted kids, but we just never seemed to manage it.”

“You’ve said before.”

Hank shrugged. “Guess I have. And you and Wash never got round to it.”

“He didn’t …” Zoe stopped. “We’d have made one beautiful baby,” she said quietly. “But it wasn’t meant.” She looked across the bay, seeing back a while, to the day she handed the stasis tube to Simon.

“I want you to destroy it.”

“What?” Simon was shocked.

“It’s been two years. And I haven’t moved on. And bringing a child onto Serenity … well, Wash wouldn’t approve.”

“And you?” Simon shook his head. “Zoe, this isn’t something you can make a decision on lightly.”

“Doctor, I have three choices. Do nothing, leave that thing in my drawer, and having it remind me every day of Wash. I can use it, and maybe have a child, but … I don’t want a child without Wash to be its father. Or I can get rid of it.” She moved away so he couldn’t see her face, seeming to study a probe on the counter intently. “And that’s what I'm asking you to do.”

She still couldn’t see herself with a kid running around her feet without Wash there, but … “I guess I’d like kids one day,” she admitted. “When the time’s right.”

“When it’s right …” Hank echoed, then reached into his pocket and pulled something out. “Guess maybe you outta have this back, then.” He put it into the palm of her hand.

“Where the hell did you get this?” Zoe asked quietly, staring at the stasis tube.

Hank looked at her. “I was helping Simon a few weeks ago. We were repairing one of his scanners, but the wires went down inside the counter, and I pulled out this drawer to get to them … only I pulled too hard and everything fell on the floor.”

“Including this.”

“Including that.” Hank nodded. “I know what it is, Zoe. I ain’t stupid. And from the way Simon was acting over it, saying I wasn’t to tell you he still had it … I know it’s yours.”

“No, you’re not stupid. Not particularly bright sometimes, but …” She took a deep breath and looked up at him. “What do you think’s in it?”

“I’d say it’s a sperm sample. Wash’s.” His voice was gentle.

She nodded, her mind distracted. “I thought Simon had destroyed it.”

“Did you ask him to?”


“Well, he must’ve had his reasons not to.” Hank tried a smile. “Probably thought you’d be asking for it back one day. Just in case.”

“Does he know you’ve got it?”

A trace of shame filtered across his features. “Ah, no. I kinda went back for it.”

“I really thought he’d …” Zoe looked down at the little silver tube, her face mellow at the memories of her husband.

“If you wanna use it, I’ll be there for you,” Hank said softly. “If you want a child, want it to be Wash’s, I’ll stand by you.” He lifted her chin so he could look into her eyes. “There’s two kids on this boat already, Zo. Another ain’t gonna make any difference, and it could be just what you need.”

“What I need?”

“Or what you want.”

She stared into his grey eyes, so honest, so loving, and saw something she’d thought she’d never see again. “You are a strange man, Hank,” she said. “Very strange.”

“It’s been said.”

“You really mean you’d be happy if I told Simon to use this to get me pregnant? If I carried a baby for nine months, gave birth and brought up a child, all the while knowing it wasn’t yours, you’d still want me?”

“I love you.” It was so simple to him, so obvious. “If that’s what you want, then so do I. Wash sounds like the kinda man I’d’ve liked, gotten along with. If you want his child, then … I say go for it.”

She was amazed, mainly that this man in front of her had the capacity to astound her like this. “You’d be happy?” she asked again, wanting to be sure.

“I want you to be happy.” He smiled a little. “Course, I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t say I’d rather it was my child growing in your belly, but … I’d treat him or her like mine. Be there. Be a daddy.”

Zoe gazed at him, then lifted the tube, taking hold of the base. She twisted and there was a slight click, followed by the sound of something powering down, something they hadn’t even really noticed. “No,” she said, holding it tightly.

“What did you do?” he asked.

“Turned off the power source.”

“But that -”

“I thought it was gone, Hank. That Simon’d taken the responsibility for me. Only I realise now that I shouldn’t have asked him. It was something I had to do.” She felt the slight vibration stop. “Wash is dead. I can’t bring him back. And I can’t ask anyone else to take on his child. Not even when they’re as crazy as you.”

“Zoe -”

She put the tube carefully on the bench next to her. “I should have said goodbye a long time ago,” she admitted quietly.

“He was your husband.”

“And Risa was your wife.”

He shrugged. “I’m never gonna forget her. Or be sorry that we met.”

“Neither will I. I thought Wash and me was forever.”


They were silent for a moment, then Zoe took a deep breath. “But this is a new day. There’s a new life in that room down there, and we have a future to look forward to.”

“Please, no philosophy,” he begged. “Not with the kinda headache I have right now.”

“I know what’s good for that,” she said, smiling, turning enough so that she could kiss him deeply.

“Hey, that works,” he said, surprised. “Although I might need more than one dose.” He pulled her closer, their mouths meshing. “Mmn, d’you think I can patent this?” he asked eventually.

Zoe laughed, vibrating against him. “You could try.”

“So are we gonna have kids?” he asked, enjoying feeling her in his arms.

“No kids. Not yet.” She stroked his hair, pressing it flatter. “But that don’t mean we can’t practise.”

“What, the baby-sitting part, or the getting you pregnant part?”

“Both.” She smiled at him. “Whichever’s more fun.”

“Oh, I think the latter. Definitely the latter.” He grinned. “But maybe we can do the real thing some day?”


“Just so long as we don’t call our first-born Wash.”

“How about Hoban?”

“Hoban?” Hank thought for a moment. “I quite like that. Why that name?”

“Oh, just seems appropriate,” Zoe said airily, kissing him again. “Maybe as a middle name or something.”

“Ryan Hoban Mills.” Hank rolled it around his mouth. “Has kinda a ring to it.”


“Always liked the name.”


“You don’t like it?”


“Then what name would you fancy?”

She smiled at him. “We got a long time before we get to that point, Hank,” she said. “Let’s just enjoy what we’ve got.”

“Okay,” he said, touching her lips with his tongue. “Can we go practise now?”



Monday, January 29, 2007 12:49 AM


I loved the story where Zoe handed the tube over to Simon - read it along time ago, before I had a login.

It's great to see it back again. The whole thing rang true - so sad, and strong, and beautifully told.

(If you ever get the notion to write the alternative, where Zoe and Hank decide to have Wash's kid - I'd love to see that too.)

Monday, January 29, 2007 1:53 AM


I really think Zoe did the right thing here though it was such a hard decision for her, she is right. It wasn't for Simon to have to make that decision but for her and having the strength to do that is all Zoe needs to finally move on. Losing someone doesn't mean you stop loving them, stop remembering, it's a blessing not a curse and the future is a shining moment waiting to be born. So happy Zoe and Hank are going to have moments like that. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Monday, January 29, 2007 6:46 AM


That was terrific - I absolutely adored Hank and Zoe's conversation and was immensely grateful that Zoe decided to get ride of Wash's sperm.

Still, with your note about bittersweet and the hint of foreshadowing, I'm a mite worried - you hinted at quite a few things that could go wrong ... Kaylee won't be able to get pregnant again, the ship's going to crash, Freya will no longer enjoy sex with Mal, Hank gets sick (why do I get the feeling the headache isn't from the cigar?) and/or Zoe ends up pregnant, while Hank ends up dead ... Did I miss any?

So now I'm just all petrified waiting for the next bit ... hurry up, 'kay?

Monday, January 29, 2007 3:07 PM


>So now I'm just all petrified waiting for the next bit

Ok, now I'm petrified too.


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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!]