Saturday, February 10, 2007

Zoe and Cliff come to an arrangement. Mal & Inara still on Ariel. Jayne & Vera at the beach on Euridice. Serenity & co get to Beltane, then Euridice. Warning for adult material and angst.


PART SEVEN * Me and you and a dog named Boo Travelin' and a livin' off the land Me and you and a dog named Boo How I love being a free man * Me & you and a dog named Boo - Kent Lavoie * Living on a lighted stage Approaches the unreal For those who think and feel In touch with some reality Beyond the gilded cage

All the worlds indeed a stage And we are merely players Performers and portrayers Each anothers audience Outside the gilded cage * Limelight – Rush * [A certain scene in this was inspired by discussions on another Firefly forum. The one which ended with contemplating Jayne, naked, under a tropical waterfall. Those who like that sort of thing, get your popcorn ready [G]]. * Zoe woke up with a start. This wasn't space and it certainly wasn't Serenity. Heat, dust; and a warm, dark male body tucked against hers which wasn't Wash. She turned and recognised Cliff, then remembered riding him most of last night. She'd been unrelenting, demanding, in receiving her pleasure and Cliff had loved every minute of it. Given as good as he'd got and proved an excellent lover. It had been hot, sweaty, passionate and all kinds of wrong. Cliff was lying there mostly naked apart from the sheet and she had to admit she had good taste in men. Tall, charming, nicely muscled, typical Polynesian chunkiness, small smattering of ebony curls on his chest. A woman could count herself fortunate to have such a sweet, hunky guy in her bed and in love with her. Zoe edged away, fast. She couldn't stay; there was a ship out there and Mal and the others, *that was her home. She threw on her clothes. Cliff's eyes opened. “You got your memory back.” He knew. “Yes; sorry.” “You're leaving me.” There was pain in those chocolate eyes. Zoe sat on the bed, trying to be matter-of-fact, “Look; it, are great, but...” Cliff sighed, “It's pretty hard, being beaten by a ghost and a life out there in the stars, eh.” “It's where I belong.” He covered her hand with his, “Just say the word and I'll belong there too. I'll follow you in a heartbeat. You *know I love you.” The ice around Zoe's heart melted slightly, “Won't be easy.” Cliff smiled, “Wouldn't have fallen in love with 'easy'.” Zoe wasn't a fool. She managed a small smile, “Well, we're down a pilot. Can't promise anything, Cliff. Might be a long time till we have another time like last night.” He smiled seductively, “Oh, it'll happen. I have my ways, Zoe.” Sarah came into the room and frowned, “We going, Mummy?” “Yes and Uncle Cliff is coming too.” Maybe she could care for another pilot; just a little bit. Sarah grinned, “Like Unkie Cliff. Like riding horsie with him.” Zoe gave Cliff a look, “You ain't the only one. Won't be many real horses in space, honeybunch. Time for breakfast?” Cliff gave Zoe a lazy grin, “Reckon I'll pack my bags, huh?” Sarah went out of the room, looking for food. “Cocky bastard!” But Zoe was teasing. Cliff got up, giving Zoe a full reminder of what she'd had most of the previous night, “I'll send a Wave,” he said nonchalantly, “See if Serenity's out there, eh.” “You do that. And *please put on some pants.” “Don't want you to forget what's on offer, my love.” “Ain't likely to forget, Cliff.” * Mal and Inara had finished finding out how gorgeous love-making was on real silk sheets and had had a slow sensual rematch in the shower. It had been beautiful; light, sensual and full of love. Everything it should have been between Mal and Inara, once they'd let *all their defences down and healed all the wounds between them. Once they'd finally dressed, they wandered out onto the huge, secluded roof garden. “Been here before.” Inara gently linked her arm with his, “Well, of course.” Mal frowned. A memory was teasing at the corners of his mind, “Yes; but I was running; running away from all this with you.” “There's something better than this?” “Not better than the love we're sharing; different. Guns; a ship; living on the raggedy edge...” “The ship was here, on the roof...” They turned to each other, memories hitting hard and fast. “Serenity!” “Oh God, Mal... Kaylee, Simon, the twins, River, Zoe, Sarah, Vera, Jayne...” He was running his hands through his hair again, “I...we forgot..*everything.” Inara smiled, “Seemed to remember we love each other.” “And the lovemaking; wuh de mah, if it wasn't about the best it's ever been between us.” Inara gently laid a hand on his shirt, “There was nothing but the love, Mal.” “I know,” he said warmly, “But all we've been through; Reavers, Alliance, Miranda, the Operative, Wash and Book dying. It had all gone.” “I reckon we were drugged. Some kind of gas, at a guess.” “Yeah, sounds about right.” Mal started pacing up and down, “We lose our memories, thanks to Niska, more 'n likely, and the new powers that be take the opportunity to pick us up and put us back here, in charge. Oh, there's more to it than that. I'm bettin' he had help; help that steered us and our particular lifepods right into this silken trap. I'll stake a large amount of coin that there was something extra hidden in his cell that evaded detection. Something covert and nasty.” “Then we have to try to find Serenity and the others.” “I know; the ship was on its way here, but I'm betting some or all of the rest of the crew were affected. Niska probably used the gas to make an escape, though goodness knows how far he would get in his chains. I did search him, he was unarmed and hadn't got anything which might act as a lock pick.” “Well, not so long ago, before you helped free us, some Companions had poison and other substances hidden inside teeth in case of emergency.” Mal was completely distracted, focussing on getting his crew, his real life and his ship back, otherwise he would never have let his mouth run on autopilot, not after the exquisite lovemaking he'd just experienced, “And that's another thing, I even forgot you were a whore.” Inara turned on her heel and withdrew in icy silence and Mal's horrified brain caught up with what he'd just said. He'd blown it big time and he knew it. He raced after her to apologise, but she'd locked herself in one of the bedrooms and wasn't coming out, not even to his pleas. * Jayne and Vera's boat followed the river down to the beach. They steered up a small tributary and moored the craft in wet sand under some mixed pines and palm trees on a bluff above the white sand and azure waters below. Above the sound of rolling waves, there was also the sound of runing water. They went with Ares to investigate. On the other side of the bluff, the tributary ran over the edge, making a fair sized waterfall which fell into a pool. Ares barrellled ahead and began drinking, before plunging in to the pool. Jayne and Vera helped themselves to the clean, clear water and saw how the stream ran over and across the sand and into the sea nearby. “Fresh fish tonight?” Vera nodded, “Might be some samphire or sea kale as well.” Ares ran off down the beach like a bullet. He came back and then stopped about half way, pointing and growling at something in the rocks at the landward side of the beach. As they got closer, they could see him trembling menacingly as he growled. “What is it, you ruttin' marshmallow?!” In the rocks was an absolutely enormous brown crab, about three feet across. Ares was keeping a safe distance, but guarding it very carefully. Jayne grinned, “Fancy crab instead?” “Mind those huge pincers!” Jayne chuckled and edged carefully around to the rear of the crab, “Ares? Left, boy!” * Ares moved to the left. Jayne jumped onto the top of the crab from behind, Binky in hand. He stabbed the crab deeply, into the soft area mouth and eyes. The crab twitched violently and finally sank to the sand. Jayne had jumped off to a safe distance. Both he and Vera waited until the crab had finished moving before tying up the pincers and carrying it back up the beach. Vera collected some edible seaweed and samphire grass along the way. They dug a pit, made a fire and set some smooth rocks to heat in the heart of the fire. Whilst the crab and greens cooked in the pit, they carried on making camp, using one of the parachutes to make a hammock. Ares sniffed around in the undergrowth and eventually flushed himself out a rabbit. He brought it back to Jayne and Vera as a trophy. Vera handed the rabbit back “You earned it, boy. Not sure your stomach will like cooked crab.” Having been given permission, Ares tucked in. * Serenity touched down near Hine Moa. Zoe, Sarah and Cliff were waiting, bags packed. Lawrence, one of the other Maori was there to see them off, along with a team to help reset the life pod. Once they had taken off, Simon checked both Sarah and Zoe. “Well, I can't detect any lingering after effects. It was one of the small family of sleep inducing and memory loss gases which Niska set off before jumping ship.” “Hmm,” Zoe commented, “Can't see how he could have packed enough of a punch to get Mal, Jayne, Inara, Vera and myself as well as Sarah. I'm aware of the use of gas like that as a weapon. Could the stuff be enhanced somehow?” “Couldn't find anything in the cell, Zoe. Even River couldn't 'see' anything.” “And Mal and Inara apparently heading off towards Ariel...doesn't make sense. We were only heading that way under duress to bring Niska in. I'm just wondering if he had help, that's all.” “I suppose it's possible. We simply haven't had the leisure to take the room apart and look behind the metal walls.” “We ought to look into that, first chance we get. Sabotage of the ship is something I really don't like. Thanks for taking Cliff on board. I hope he won't be too much of a stretch for Mal to accommodate when we find him.” Simon smiled slightly, “Well, we've gotten used to having a Maori on board. Cliff seems like a good man and he did help us out before.” “Thanks,” Zoe shifted slightly, showing uncharacteristic embarrassment, “I did have intricate plans to stay celibate, but it seems my subconscious knew what I really wanted.” Simon nodded, “We're heading to pick up Jayne and Vera next. There's a distant hailing call coming from Euridice. Seems the moon's terraforming finally took a hundred odd years back and it's flourishing, complete with wildlife and a small pack of dogs.” “There was a pretty basic and rough mining operation and obsrvation dome there back when the moon had only a thin atmo and water to boast of. Basic diet; protein bars, vitamin supplements and potatoes. That sort of thing. I seem to recall they got a month on Risa every year thrown in for free; both for proper food and...relaxation. The miners all died in a freak accident and their remains helped the plants get started.” “Plenty more harsh moons like that out there, where there's gold or copper.” “Indeed. Let's pick up Vera and Jayne and then go get Mal.” * It was early morning on Euridice. The first lemon streaks of dawn were appearing over the horizon. Jayne and Vera had feasted on pit roast crab and greens until late the previous evening, watching the sun set and staying up next to the camp fire in the velvet darkness. Vera woke up to the sound of Ares munching on remains of crab. She was glad of their foresight to have thrown the dead men's fingers into the fire before anyone could eat them by mistake. She was alone in the hammock. Hers and Jayne's clothes had received a much needed wash yesterday and were draped to dry on various branches. “Hey, Ares.” He looked up and made a gruff greeting noise, tail wagging, then went back to eating, “Hope that doesn't make you sick. Now, where's that husband of mine?” Vera emerged naked from the hammock and stretched. Sounds of fairly enthusiastic male singing mixed with waterfall noises came from her left. “Ah, shower. Sounds like a plan. Guard the stuff, Ares; just in case.” He wagged his tail again and kept on munching. No-one else here apart from rabbits and more giant crabs. No other humans within nose range. * Vera wandered idly down the bluff, picking exotic flowers as she went and making them into a daisy-chain type necklace. She got to the shady pool. Jayne was right under the waterfall, his back to her, singing something enthusiastically and apparently oblivious to outside noises. He'd caught a fair bit of sun over the last few days, especially since the warmer climate here had led to being able to wander around naked. His paler behind would probably soon catch up with the tanned skin on the rest of his body. Jayne had one of those skins which tanned quickly and easily and stayed like it for a long time, even in the black. Vera looked down. Maybe she was a shade darker, but with a whole forest of new freckles. She was glad she'd thought to grab the sunscreen from the life pod, otherwise she'd look like a lobster by now. Jayne turned to one side and away from her. He had his eye closed. Water was running down his chest and clinging droplets to the hair there and lower down. Vera remembered all to well that it had been several days since the hot springs on the terraces. They'd been too busy steering the boat and finding food and water to have the leisure for anything else. Seems Jayne was remembering that fact, because a very vital part of his body was perking up. Vera carefully tiptoed up behind Jayne, letting the waterfall mask any noise she made. She reached out and pinched one of those tempting cheeks of his, then, as he whirled, she was making a run for it. About half way back he caught up and grabbed her, hoisting her quickly into fireman lift. “Hey!” Vera wasn't really protesting that hard. Jayne chuckled, “You know what you get fer bein' a tease, darlin'!” Vera couldn't help moaning, “Ohh, I hope so!” Jayne upended her into the hammock, “You are a naughty, delectable woman an' I know you tease me on purpose, mi mei gui.” Vera grinned, “I like what I get when I tease you!” Jayne climbed up into the hammock, “Ain't never sexed up a woman in a hammock, but I reckon there's a way! Plannin' on kissin' every one of those new freckles.” Ares came padding over after a while and briefly investigated the rhythmic pleasure noises and undulations coming from the hammock. The pheromones hit his nose and he filed the activity under 'mating humans'. * Serenity picked up the two abandoned life pods from the snow on Euridice with grappler hooks. Simon put what remained of Niska in the infirmary for later examination. The ship took an hour or two in the air before touching down on the long beach to the east of the bluff where the location signal was. Everyone got off, because it was so pleasant and began walking. Zoe let Sarah walk in the soft white sand, “Pretty nice here. Sub-tropical, by the plants.” Simon nodded, “Those basic terra forming starter kits come with a little bit of most of the main plant groups, to give life a chance of starting.” He was preaching to the choir, but Zoe nodded, “I know.” Sam and Lee dragged Kaylee to the water where she let them paddle. Simon hovered nearby, herding the two excited toddlers up the beach towards the site of the beacon. There was a large hammock constructed from a life pod parachute slung between two trees. It was moving in a very familiar rhythmic fashion and everyone stopped as gasps of pleasure came to them over the breeze. They all exchanged a selection of very significant or rather horrified glances and went back a short way down the beach. Zoe gestured at the sea and dead-panned, “Shall we catch some fish for later?”


Saturday, February 10, 2007 1:24 PM


Yes, I know. I'm a bad puppy; but look at 'Angel' in particular for relationships which go way past pear shaped. It would be wrong to have all the couples on Serenity happy all at once. I get Zoe and Cliff together [and I debated that one long and hard with my muse], then some other relationship has got to give. Don't like it? I'm merely following Joss' lead [G].


Saturday, February 10, 2007 1:42 PM


Even after getting chemically-induced amnesia and getting freaky with Inara - repeatedly! - he still has to let the W-word slip? Oh...there had better be some mighty entertaining grovelling to come to get that little faux pas sorted out!


And I am glad you got Zoe and Cliff togethere. Zoe could do with someone who can be beside her as a SO and father figure for Sarah;)


Saturday, February 10, 2007 11:42 PM


Strictly speaking, Mal & Inara only managed getting freaky twice <G>. And yes, there are going to be consequences.

Might be a while till the next one - got an essay thing and a spiritual service to write. But there will be more!



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