New People - Part III
Thursday, February 1, 2007

Maya. Post-BDM. Mal wants a little chat ... Short but sweet(ish). Let me know if you like or not.


Mal stopped in the cargo bay, his thumbs hitched in his pants pockets. He looked around, seemingly at nothing in particular, then spoke, his warm toffee voice normal conversation level.

“River, we need to have that talk.”

“She’s not here,” came a voice from the top of a stack of crates. “She left.”

“Pretty cold outside,” Mal said. “Wouldn’t’ve thought she’d have gone without saying goodbye. At least to Bethany.”

There was a pause. “What talk?”

“’Bout Jethro. And you knew it was coming, albatross.”

There was no movement for a moment or two, then she sighed and climbed down. She looked at him through her hair. “Hello,” she said. “Did you miss me?”

“I guess we’d have noticed eventually.” He nodded towards a box. “Better sit down.”

“I'm fine.”

“Well, I ain't standing.” He sat down, perched on the edge. “Be obliged if you’d join me.”

She gazed at him then glided across to him, sitting down and slipping her legs under her. “How’s Freya?” she asked.

“She’s shiny, thanks for asking. And no changing the subject.”

“I just –“

“River.” He contemplated her, the hair she still used like a shield, the soft dress and bare feet, looking for all the ‘verse like a girl, not the young woman he knew her to be. “So.”

“So,” she echoed.

“So he’s here. I'm lettin’ him stay a while.” He lifted his eyebrow at her. “Why am I doing that?”

“He’s my friend.”

“Oh, I know that, on account of you telling everyone. But I’ll say it even if no-one else will. You were at Bathgate for a total of three days. You met the man … how often?”

River stared at her hands, twisted together in her lap. “It doesn’t matter how long –“

“I think it does.” He spoke kindly but firmly. “You’re making like you’ve got your whole life together planned out. He ain't a toy, River. Or a puppy, or any other kind of lost creature. He’s a grown man. So I'm asking what you’re planning on doing with him.”

“I couldn’t leave him to be hurt –“

“No, that’s plainly the case. And it was a piece of kindness. But that kindness stopped when you made Jayne bring him on board. So now I want to know your intentions.” He turned to her.

“Mal …” She looked at him, her eyes dark and wide, limpid and tearful.

“Don’t go tryin’ that on me,” he instructed. “You know those eyes of yours only work on your brother, and he’s getting more immune.” He sighed. “Okay, so if you don’t want to answer out loud, how about I ask questions and you just nod?”

She gazed into his fatherly blue eyes. “’Kay.”

“Good.” Mal crossed his arms. “Did you expect me to make him a member of the crew?”

“I didn’t –“

“Only I ain't got enough put by to feed the ones I got, let alone another stray.”

“We’ve got the job on Persephone –“

“You know that ain’t the issue here. Don’t go trying to cloud it.” He leaned forward. “What am I supposed to do with him? He ain't a passenger – according to Jayne he ain’t got the wherewithal to buy one of those sugar sticks, let alone a berth.”

“He could be useful,” she suggested in a small voice.

“How, exactly?” He shook his head. “Unless I'm likely to go insane and ask for him to hold a service – and he ain't even a full Shepherd, I’d like to point out at this juncture – just what do you figure he could do the rest of us can’t?”

“I don’t know.” She dropped her eyes. Now her fingers were so tangled together she didn’t think she’d ever get them free.

“Not sure that’s good enough, mei-mei.” He let a moment go by. “And what about Jayne? He’s madder’n a dog with fleas at the moment. You think he’s gonna learn to love Jethro?”

“Captain …” Two big tears slid off her nose and splashed onto her knees. “I don’t know what’s going to happen. I just feel that he’s important. To all of us.” She looked up at last. “To me.”

“Are you in love, little one?” Mal asked, now very gently, hating to see her cry.

“I think I have to find out.” She rubbed her nose on the back of her hand.

“Ain't you got a hankie on you?” he asked.

“No,” she sniffed.

“My ma told me to always keep one on me,” he said softly, reaching into his pocket and pulling out a linen square. “Just in case I came across a lady in distress.” He handed it over.

“I'm not a lady.” She wiped her face.

“Not far off,” he contradicted. “In about a month you’ll be twenty-one, and on most planets that makes you an adult. Some of ‘em would expect you to be married with a parcel of kids by now, but we’ll let that one slide on account of you being crazy.” He smiled at the surprised look on her face. “Yeah, I been keeping track. But … River, this is just another reason not to be playing with men’s affections. Jethro or Jayne. You ain't a little girl no more. You gotta behave like a grown woman.”

She blew her nose. “I’ll try.” She held out the hankie.

“No, you keep it.” Mal smiled. “Frey makes sure I’m well supplied.”

“She cares.”

“That she does.” He stood up. “And she’s waiting for me.” He looked down into her face. “But you think on what I've said. Don’t go trying to make something out of this there ain’t, or you’ll hurt other people. And maybe get hurt yourself. Wouldn’t want that.”

“You care too.”

“That’s as maybe,” he said, heading towards the stairs. “But with this crew it’s easier when everyone’s happy.” He paused. “Well, not quite so miserable.”

“I’ll try,” she repeated, folding the hankie and placing it carefully inside her dress. She watched him walk up to the top of the gangway, disappearing through the hatch.

She didn’t know what was going to happen, only that Jethro needed to be here. For everyone’s sake.


Thursday, February 1, 2007 1:28 AM


I absolutely adored the dialogue between River and Mal, those two have a deep instinctual connection and knowing of each other that gives them the kind of intuitive understanding the others don't have and you have portrayed that here with a lovely deft hand. Great work! And yes, while I believe River is using Jethro as a love interest I do think he has another purpose, perhaps to help the crew in some way none of them have yet suspected. This is a very fine, keep writing! And can we please have more Freya and Mal goodness? Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Thursday, February 1, 2007 2:38 AM


Oh, good talk.

Thursday, February 1, 2007 8:52 AM


Oh you have nailed River and Mal and their relationship. I absolutely love it!

Mal and River as father/daughter, captain/crew is one of my most favorite interactions and it's beautiful when done right - just like now. Shiny!

Thursday, February 1, 2007 1:41 PM


Ohhh...this was some brilliant platonic Mal/River dynamic, Jane0904! Definitely could see this as a situation that Mal would have had to address had the show been given enough time to explore River's improvement and development as a person post-Miranda Wave; River's situation of knowing that Jethro's an important part of the crew's future but not knowing why, along with her decision to make him a love interest so he can stay aboard and she can start delving deeper, is completely awesome:D



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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!]