The Hunt - Part II
Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Maya. Post-BDM. Simon's shared a secret with Mal, and Inara's heard from an old 'friend' ... lots more to come! Feedback would be brilliant.


“So, any idea what this is all about?” Mal asked, sipping from his mug of coffee. Breakfast was over, but Inara had caught him before he could leave the galley.

“She wouldn’t say. Just that it was important to me.”

“About the Guild?”

“I imagine so. I doubt we’ve got anything else in common other than that.”

“Thought she was one of your best friends.”

“We are.” Inara bit her lip. “It’s just … sometimes Sheydra worries me.”


“She’s so ambitious. She always wanted the best clothes, the highest ranking clients … I'm surprised she didn't go back.”

“Simon said it was a good House.”

“Wealthy, yes. Persephone is almost Core, without all the rules and regulations.” Inara still looked perturbed. “I just wish she hadn’t made it out to be such a mystery.”

“Well, we’ll be there tomorrow, and you can find out for yourself. You want someone to come with you? I'm sure Jayne –“ He stopped, realising what he’d just said.

“I know,” Inara said softly. “I keep thinking the big ape is going to waltz in here any second.”

“Frey says he’s working for Badger, though I can’t quite figure out how she knows that.”


The look on Inara’s face made Mal smile. “Yeah, does kinda freeze the blood. Imagine what that pair could do if they put a mind to it.”

“Surely not even Jayne would stoop so low.”

“Certainly makes me wonder.”

Inara shook her head. “And anyway I don’t think that would have been a good idea. I can’t imagine what he might do in a Guild House. They wouldn’t know what hit them.”

“Could be fun to see.”

“It might at that. But I’ll be fine - probably just give her a piece of my mind.”

Mal hid a smile. “You do that, ‘Nara. You do that.”


“Is there anything we can do to help?” Mal asked, watching next morning as Simon packed a small bag. “I don’t like the idea of you going in alone.”

“I won’t be. River’s coming with me.”


“I think it might be a good idea for her to get away from Jethro for a few hours,” the young doctor said.

“You worried about her?”

“Concerned,” Simon corrected. “She’s not sleeping at night at the moment, worrying about Jayne, then fidgeting all day because she wants to be with Jethro.”

“Sounds like she might need some more of that medication you used to use.”

Simon closed the bag. “I suggested it and she threw a book at me.”

Mal smiled. “Sounds like our River. Okay, doc. But take a com with you. And if it looks like there’s anything amiss at the hospital, don’t even think about going in.”

“This isn’t like Ariel, Mal.” Simon slid into his jacket. “Their security is nowhere near as tight. I should just be able to get in, do the tests and leave. River will make sure no-one interrupts us.”

“Whatever you say, doc. Although I’m surprised Kaylee ain’t insisted on coming with you.”

“I told her she couldn’t. It wouldn’t do any good, and … I think it’s better if I do this by myself.”

“And she’s taking notice?”

“She’s my wife.”

“Personally I ain’t never found that to be the case.” Mal went to leave then stopped. “One other thing. Frey says Jayne’s around somewhere. Might want to keep an eye out for him.”

Simon was surprised. “Thanks.” He paused. “To say hello or to avoid?” he asked.

“Kinda thought I’d leave that up to you.” Mal strode away.


“They’ll be fine,” Hank said, glancing around at Bethany sitting at the table, a colouring book open in front of her. Zoe had Ethan on her lap. “You go and have a nice time.”

Kaylee bit her lip. “It ain’t like I’m gonna be long. Just want to see if Joxer has that part, then I’ll be right back.”

“Take your time,” Hank said reassuringly. “We’ve got this. And it’ll be good practice for when we have some of our own.”

“Hank!” Mal’s voice resonated through the ship.

“I think someone wants me.” Hank grinned and headed towards the cargo bay.

Kaylee looked at Zoe. “He really wants kids?”

“He does.” Zoe let Ethan suck on her little finger.

“And how about you?”

Zoe didn’t answer for a moment. “I’m getting used to the idea,” she admitted.

“You’ll make a great mom.”

“Thanks. I just wish …” She stopped.


Zoe nodded. “All that time, him saying he didn’t want to bring children into a world like this, and here’s Hank, almost chompin’ at the bit to get me pregnant … not sure I know how to deal with it.”

“He loves you.”

“So did Wash.”

“And Hank ain’t Wash, Zoe. If he wants kids, and you want kids … I say go for it.”

Serenity’s first-mate looked thoughtful. “Can you imagine it? If we were all pregnant at the same time?”

Kaylee considered. “Cap’d have a fit!”

“Be worth it just to see his face.” Zoe nodded towards the girl. “And it won’t be long before you’re getting big again.”

A shadow crossed Kaylee’s face. “I … yeah, I’m sure you’re right.”

Hank stepped back into the galley. “Mal says anyone who ain’t off the ship in two minutes ain’t going.”

“Then I’m gone,” Kaylee said, putting her cheerful voice back. “Anything you want me to get while I’m out?”

Zoe looked up to where Bethany was industriously colouring a cow pink. “Some more crayons’d probably be a good idea,”

“I was gonna look,” the young mother admitted.

“Kaylee!” Mal yelled. “Ten seconds!”

She grinned and ran out of the galley.

Bethany looked up. “I like babies,” she said, picking up an orange pencil and starting on the grass.

“You sure she ain’t colour blind?” Hank asked.


Inara waited in the atrium of the Guild House, listening to the small fountain as it sparkled in the soft light. So different from when she had been here last, somehow. Now she was just a person, no longer a Companion. In a way she felt sad, but there was also a sense of liberation. She had always thought she’d die a Companion, but now … there was a whole ‘verse of possibilities.

“Miss Serra? How can we help you today?”

She turned to see a serving man, polite but formal in a button down collar, bowing low in front of her. She inclined her head. “I’m looking for Sheydra Velez. She’s expecting me.”

“Miss Velez?”

“We spoke … she said she would be waiting for me.”

“Miss Serra, Miss Velez hasn’t been with us for quite some time.”

Inara was puzzled. “But you are expecting her to arrive?”

“Indeed not. I understand she has taken a long-term commission with a gentleman of high standing.”

“And who would that be?”

The servant shook his head. “Miss Serra, I am sure you must understand that is confidential information. And as you are no longer a member of the Guild, I cannot possibly help you in that regard.” He was smug.

“Miss Velez asked me to meet her here.”

“That’s as may be, but she is not available.” He smiled unctuously. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have matters to attend to.”

“Then perhaps if you do hear from her –”

“Of course.” He bowed low again and backed away from her.

Inara turned to stare into the fountain, feeling something itching between her shoulder blades. Zoe would have called it being in the cross-hairs, but … something was wrong.


"Mal, I want another baby.” Freya stopped in the middle of the street and stood her ground, daring him to contradict her. Which he did almost immediately.

“Honey, that’s not a good idea.” He turned to look at her. “I mean, I want more too, but until Simon says you’re –“

“Since when did you listen to Simon?”

“Since it became your health he was talking about.”

She put her hands on her hips. “Mal, I'm healed. I'm strong. And I want another baby.”

“There’s time,” Mal said, moving away from her towards a shop window. “Ethan’s barely three months old.”

“And in another nine he’ll be a year. Just right. And what it if takes a while? Like before?” She followed him. “You were an only child. Do you want Ethan to grow up like that?”

He looked at her. “You think I turned out so bad?”

She half-smiled. “Okay, I'm sorry. That didn’t come out quite the way I had intended.” She wasn't going to let this go, though. “But I don’t intend for it to happen to Ethan at all.”

“Frey, he’s got Bethany.”

“Stop being so reasonable.” She thumped him on the arm and walked past him, staring into the shop. “Kaylee’s not pregnant yet, and from what you were saying there’s a possibility little Beth’s the only one they may have. And what if Simon takes it into his head to go off-ship again and settle down dirtside? Hang a shingle on a white picket fence and announce he’s making house calls? Are you suggesting we kidnap her?”

“Maybe.” Mal rubbed his arm and stepped closer to her, letting his words fall into her ear. “Frey, I want hundreds of babies with you.” He turned her around to look at him. “But not at risk to your health.” He glanced over her shoulder. “Oh, look, that’s pretty.”

“Stop trying to change the subject.” She glared at him.

“Frey –“

She changed tack. “Please?”

“You gonna make those puppy-dog eyes at me?”

“You know I can’t do them.”

“You’re doing a damned good impression.” Although secretly he was thinking that this particular puppy-dog might just go for his jugular. “Oh, hell. But what if –”

“Simon will look after me.”

He sighed. “Okay,” he said, looking back into her hopeful face. “But I ain't saying yes until we speak to Simon, dong mah?”

“When?” she demanded.

“You can be the most infuriatin’ woman at times, and I wonder why I married you.”

“Because I said yes.”

“Eventually.” He dipped his head and kissed her lightly, feeling some of the tension leave her lips until they parted a little. “And we will have more kids. I promise. Like I promised you about Ethan, remember?”

“I know,” she admitted grudgingly, pushing her face towards him for more of the same.

He smiled and obliged. “’Sides, I’m curious as to how you seem to have forgotten the months of uncomfortableness you had with Ethan. I seem to recall back-ache, sickness, getting up in the night to pee … and you don’t seem to recall it at all.”

“Amnesia,” she said succinctly. “Brought on by breast-feeding.”

His smile grew to a grin. “Is that what does it?” he said, remembering the last time he’d seen Freya doing exactly that. And what had happened afterwards.

“Absolutely. Either that or –“ Her face suddenly stilled, her eyes unfocused.

“Frey?” he asked, tightening his grip on her. “What –“

“Ethan,” she whispered, then pulled out of his arms, turning to run back towards the dock. “Ethan!” she shouted.

Mal followed, dodging around and through the crowd, seeing a familiar figure up ahead look round.

“Mal?” Jayne asked, confounded at seeing his ex-captain here on Persephone at all, let alone haring through the crowd. “What’s –“

Mal didn’t answer, just carried on running. He’d picked up on something now, and it wasn't just Freya’s distress. Something bad was happening back at his ship. He heard running feet behind him, and glanced back over his shoulder to see Jayne keeping pace with him, then he concentrated all his efforts on getting back to Serenity.

They got back to the ship together, jumping into the cargo bay.

“Hank! Zoe!” Mal shouted as he and Freya ran up the stairs towards their bunk. Jayne sprinted towards the infirmary.

“He should be asleep …” Freya managed to say above the thudding of her heart as she dropped down the ladder. “Oh dear God …” The nursery was empty.

Mal only glanced inside and was up and out of the bunk again in a moment. “Ethan!”

“Mal …” Zoe’s voice was barely a whisper from the galley.

He jumped down, seeing his first mate on the floor, leaning against the bulkhead, her hand pressed to her shoulder. Blood was seeping between her fingers.

Mal went down on his knees next to her. “Where’s Ethan?”

“I don’t know.” She winced in pain. “Didn’t see them,” she said, her voice thready. “Shot me and … Hank went after them.”


“Cargo bay.”

“Mal!” Jayne shouted from the stairwell next to the engine room.

“Go,” Zoe said.

Mal ran out, rounding the corner to find the big mercenary on his heels down next to Hank. “He’s out cold. Looks like someone hit him,” Jayne said, moving the pilot’s head round so Mal could see the ugly wound still bleeding on his scalp. “Bethany up there?” he asked.

For a moment Mal felt guilt flood through him. He was so concerned about his son he hadn’t even thought of the little girl. “No.”

Jayne’s face darkened. “Qingwa cao de liumang,” he muttered as he got to his feet and hurried down the stairs into the common area, the other man at his heels.

“You check in here,” Mal ordered, heading on through to the cargo bay.

Jayne nodded, pulling the chairs out, checking all the little nooks and crannies … A noise from the infirmary caught at him, just on the edge of his hearing. He put his hand on his gun, ready, listening hard.

“Uncle Jayne?”

“Bethany?” He ran into the infirmary, not seeing anyone, then one of the cupboard doors moved. He fell to his knees in front of it, pulling it open. Inside he could see a frightened face. “It’s okay, short stub,” he said softly, reaching out to her. “Your Uncle Jayne’s here now.”

“Uncle Jayne,” she whispered, taking hold of his hands and letting him pull her into him. She was crying as she wrapped her arms tightly around his neck, burying her face into his shoulder. “Bad men, Uncle Jayne.”

“It’s okay,” he repeated, getting to his feet. “Ain’t no-one gonna hurt you now.” He carried her outside and up the steps into the cargo bay.

Mal was silhouetted against the daylight, his arms wrapped around himself. “Bethany?” he asked, not turning.

“She’s okay. Got her here.” Jayne crossed the deck to him. “Ethan?”

“He’s gone.” Mal was watching Freya standing outside, staring into the crowd. “Someone’s taken him.”

to be continued


Tuesday, February 13, 2007 11:08 PM


Oh, no!

An eye for an eye. A son for a son?

Tuesday, February 13, 2007 11:28 PM


Ditto girlfan's comments!

Holy crap!

That got intense, and fast!

Things just went to the Special Hell in a handwoven, highly decorated handbasket.

You can just tell that Mal's going to get a whole hell of a lot more violent than he ever has when he finds who took his son.

Also, awesome to see Jayne back in the picture for a bit! I missed the man ape gone wrong thing.

Like I said; Intense.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007 6:31 AM


The best bit is Jayne coming back and so naturally as if he had never been gone - hooray! But bad mojo having Ethan snatched, I can't help but think Sheydra helped set it up so that Inara would be off the ship when it happened - the dirty little piece of scum. I think Badger is involved somewhere along the line too. Hope Mal and the crew find the *wangba dans* responsible and show them a whole new intensity of Special Hell. Can't wait for the next part and don't you dare hurt Ethan, *dong ma*? Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Wednesday, February 14, 2007 12:27 PM


Thank god Bethany did not get taken - Kaylee would have been beside herself.

Now, you realize how badass these men must have been in order to take out Zoe like that ... holy crap!

Oh this does not bode well for our BDHs, but I too was happy to see Jayne come charging right back into the fray. And where the heck was Jethro?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007 3:03 PM


Ah...but if who I am thinking spearheaded the kidnapping, high-quality forces would be a given. However, I don't think the finest Alliance SpecOps troops would be able to stop Malcolm Reynolds from rescuing his son. And especially not Freya Nordstrom Reynolds:(

Still...I just hope Mal can get the gang back on board for a council of war ASAP. I get the feeling Simon and Inara's talents are gonna be needed badly;)



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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?”
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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.

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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!]