Humped - Part Two
Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Serenity meets up with Monty, but then so do the local lawmen. Another story featuring the Pye family and Serenity. 2nd fanfic set after BDM with no resurrected characters. Constructive criticism is always welcome. Part 2 of 2.


Several hours and course changes later, a calm had returned to the ship. Bane had introduced Corren to Kaylee and had left them discussing the merits of various engine parts, using language she had never heard before. Kaylee seemed to have the ability to converse with everyone on their own level. Now that they were safe, Bane needed to calm the shakes which had set in. As she made some tea in the galley, she realised she was still in her Companion clothing and it was covered in a mix of Reaver and Jacobsson’s blood. The teapot clattered against the cup so she set it down and took some deep breaths.

“Hope that blood’s not yours,” said Mal, coming in from the cockpit end of the galley. Bane opened her eyes and looked down at herself.

“No, part of it belongs to that Reaver and the rest to Jacobsson,” she replied. “Do you know how he’s doing?” Mal came behind the counter and took over the tea making without asking. If he saw Bane’s hands shaking he said nothing.

“He’s stable, but the Doc has a lot of sewin’ to do.” Mal handed her one of the steaming cups.

“Is he part of the crew?” she asked, recalling that she had turned Mal down on his offer of a job some nine months ago. Mal remembered too and shrugged in response.

“Since the last five months. He’s able too, if’n you can get him to stay put.” Bane sat down at the table. “Was that your first time with Reavers?” he continued. Bane gave a short laugh and showed him her trembling hands.

“It’s that obvious then?”

“Well, no. Most people fall to pieces in fear the moment they see one. You handled yourself impressively. Your cousin weren’t bad either for someone so young.”

“She’s very capable. Can put her hand to most things,” Bane answered absently, her mind on other things. “Listen Mal – do you think my brother and I are flagged?” Mal sipped his tea and thought about it.

“Seem’d likely that they would’ve had a world of proof, if you’d been pinched at the Bazaar, but Feds won’t go near the place now and like as not your contact friend –“

“The guy you knocked out.”

“Yeh, the guy I knocked out. Reavers probably got him. That fellow Sharp is probably in custody and singing his little heart out. Reckon you’ll both have to tread careful, or at least stay out of the munitions business for a while.” Bane sighed, it would certainly dent their income, but it was better than the alternative. At least Tony had never said directly that the munitions they supplied were made on board his own ship, only that he could supply them.

“I still can’t believe we got away.” Bane clasped her shaking hands around the cup, “I don’t suppose I can borrow some clothes or something?” she looked down at herself, not exactly presentable and more than likely to start attracting more than just Jayne soon. Mal considered her request with a smile.

“I don’t know, Jayne is awfully easy to manage with you dressed like that,” he grinned. “But you’re right, don’t want you attractin’ flies. I’d ask Zoe. Reckon your cousin’ll be more Kaylee’s size though.” The devil on Mal’s shoulder wanted to see what Inara would make of Bane impersonating a Companion. He knew she would throw one hell of a fit and had a mind to drop into the Companion House on Sihnon. Bane was doing her own thinking and chuckled herself when she recalled their dance in the Bazaar lounge.

“You’re quite a dancer, Mal. Who taught you?”

“My Ma. She said it would be something that women would always appreciate.” Bane could tell he remembered his mother warmly.

“Do you go to many shindigs then?”

“Some, but they always seem to end the same way.”

“What – knocking people out?”

Cap’n likes to fight duels,” stated Zoe, coming into the room. “Didn’t have chance to say it afore, Bane, but that’s some fancy get-up you’re wearin’.”

“Amazing what you can do with an old bed sheet and some gold trim. I was just about to come lookin’ for you. Can I borrow some clothes?” she looked back at Mal. “I kinda left without having a chance to pack.”

“No problem. You stayin’ for a while?” asked Zoe, and they both turned to the Captain for an answer.

“Depends on when we can meet up with your brother again.” Mal shrugged, “We were on our way to a drop ourselves. I have to make the deadline with Monty or we’ll lose a load of platinum,” he held up his hand to prevent Bane talking. “I’ve waved your brother and told him we’ll meet on Aberdeen in three days.”

~ * ~

Being on the Serenity again held mostly fond memories for Bane. Her shakes had stopped, but she still could not sleep without seeing that Reaver bearing down on her cousin. She finally gave up and went wandering around the ship as she had done last time she was on board. It was all very quiet and peaceful, just like on the Rosalyn at this time of night. Zoe had kindly loaned her some clothing, the trousers were a little long, so she had turned them up at the bottom. The red shirt she just wore loose and untucked. Although Zoe was taller than her, they were about the same size in the upper body. Fortunately, there had been enough space in the guest quarters for Corren and Bane to have separate rooms, and Corren had gone to bed early, making the most of having a room to herself.

A few things had changed since she had last been on the ship. The Companion, Inara Serra, had left for the Training House again barely two months ago. From what had not been said at dinner, she gathered it had been due to a disagreement between her and Mal. Reynolds was definitely not one to advertise his feelings, but it did seem there was some complicated history between them both.

She found herself at the Med Bay and was curious about how the newest crew member was doing. The Doc had worked on stitching him up for hours and she had passed him sleeping in one of the armchairs, exhausted, but needing to stay close to his patient. She padded silently barefoot past him and popped her head around the door to the Med Bay. Jacobsson was still unconscious, but with a much better colour to him, at least as much as she could tell under all the face hair. The man looked like a Viking from old Earth history complete with pillaging battle scars. She near screamed when he spoke.

“Gonna introduce yourself or do you just like starrin’ at nekkid men?” his voice was quiet, but clear.

“I was trying to be quiet, thinking you were asleep – and you’re hardly naked,” she retorted, composing herself. His eyes had flickered open and she thought there was a smile under the beard. She stepped into the Med Bay and he used his uninjured arm to pull the sheet up a little further.

“Wouldn’t attend the church social like this. Still haven’t introduced yourself.”

“Bane Pye.”

“Pye … anything to do with Pye Eatings? Had me some amazing food with them before the War.”

“All Pyes have something to do with Pye Eatings. But yes, I’m part of the Rosalyn Pye. Why, you hungry?” She folded her arms.

“Starvin’.” He tried to prop himself up better, but gasped in pain at the movement. Bane came over and helped him sit up. He made no further noise but was breathing hard through his nose. He gradually settled again and she moved away.

“I think I better ask the Doc if I’m allowed to give you food, otherwise I might make you worse. Are you in a lot of pain?”

“Some, but I’m better feelin’ it than experiencing the alternative.” She could not disagree with him. She was torn between going to wake the exhausted Doc to get him administer some painkillers and trying to take the man’s mind off his pain, to let the Doc get a few more hours of sleep. She opted to stay, so she sat on the other couch. He adjusted the sheet again and continued talking, “How come you’re not in bed like everyone else?”

“I couldn’t sleep and it’s been a zao gao day,” she replied flippantly. Jacobsson snorted.

“Agree with you there. How’d you come to be on the ship?” Bane had assumed Mal had told all his crew what was going on, but apparently not.

“I was on A Deck doing a deal with a Fed, as it turned out, and Mal managed to prevent me from being humped. Then the Reavers picked that moment to attack the Bazaar.”

“Yeh, I remember that part.” Bane looked at the parts of his body she could see. Apart from his leg which she had viewed earlier, there had been another bad slash to his right arm, but the other cuts were fairly shallow and now covered in clean bandages.

“Jayne said he carried you back to the ship.”

“Yeh, I’m feelin’ kind of warm and fuzzy towards the guy now, an’ I never thought that day would come.” Karl still expected Mal to give him a mouthful for going off, when he had ordered them to stay with the ship. Well Jayne had been with him, and barely ten feet away chatting up a shop girl, when the Reavers started rushing the main mall.

“Don’t think Jayne did either. Makes him a big damn hero.”

“Guess you’re feeling better, Karl,” said a very bleary-eyed Simon. Bane guiltily got off the couch.

“Sorry, Doc, he was awake and we just got to chatting.”

“It’s fine,” he waved her concerns away, rubbed his eye and turned to his patient, “Are you in any pain?” Karl nodded, and Simon efficiently administered a further dose of painkiller.

“He said he was hungry, is it alright if I make him something?” Karl looked at Simon pleadingly and the doctor smiled wearily. Although Jacobsson spent most of his time with Jayne, he was certainly not as ornery or insane.

“Yes, I think so – nothing too substantial though.” Bane smiled, and then remembered that she was not on board the Rosalyn and did not know what food provisions Serenity had.

“I can’t guarantee Pye Eatings standard on account of not knowing what’s up there, but I’ll see what I can find.” Bane went away and returned barely fifteen minutes later with some noodles and fine-chopped stir fry canned vegetables. Jacobbson had fallen asleep again, so Bane left the food on the trolley beside him.

“Will he be alright, Doc?”

“Nothing a bit of rest and recuperation wouldn’t cure.” Simon gave a big yawn, but he was not going back to bed now. Bane indicate the bowl of noodles for him to eat as she could always make more. Simon shook his head, he was not hungry.

“How have you been? And River?” she had not seen much of River at all, except briefly at dinner.

“We’ve been fine. River gets better everyday, but it is slow progress. She was the one who knew the Reavers were coming before they arrived.”

“And how’s things with Kaylee?” Simon grinned, it was obviously still going well.

“I still make mistakes, but on the whole we’re very happy. Mal allowed us to merge two of the guest quarters into one.”

“Really? She must be serious about you,” Bane stated. From what she had seen of Simon, he had always been serious about Kaylee, but the last time she had been here, Kaylee had not seemed as committed as him. “Older and wiser then?” she gave him a grin.

“Older, but I wouldn’t say wiser. We’re still on the ship.”

“Not happy here then?” Simon sighed, it was obvious he was conflicted.

“I’ve given up so much and this is where I am. But if I had it to do over again I wouldn’t change a thing. When I got River out of the Academy, I had no plan. Mal maybe psychotic sometimes, but he’s given us a home. I never expected to find someone like Kaylee on the way. But I’m not sure I want to spend the rest of my life floating from place to place. I’m no spacer.” He shrugged and changed the subject. “Nice tattoos, by the way. Didn’t get the chance to say earlier. Can I have a closer look?” If it were anyone else she would have refused, but she knew his reason for asking was mostly medical, mixed in with a side order of curiosity. She turned around and lifted up her shirt. Simon came around the bed and took the edge of the shirt, lifting higher, and inspected the artwork.

“Got the idea after we did some Eatings on Salisbury and I saw this big guy with his whole back tattooed. It got me thinking, ‘bout bein’ more bold, like you said.” Simon was impressed, Bane had chosen her tattooist well. The work in a dark henna with blended black outlining, mirrored exactly the scarring, so much so that unless you ran your hand over her back it could not be seen. “Took several hours and a lot of brandy, but the result was definitely worth it. You can hardly see the scars now unless you are up real close.”

“It’s real nice work, Bane. I won’t ask you how much it hurt. Thought you looked more at ease with yourself.” Bane stole a quick glance at Jacobsson who she saw was still asleep. She pulled down her shirt again.

“Does make me feel better about the whole thing, but it’ll be a long time until I’ll be totally at ease with myself. I’ll leave you to it then, Doc. If you do need someone to take over watch, just knock on my door, I’ll be happy to do it.”

“Thanks,” he replied. Bane left and went to her bunk opposite Simon and Kaylee’s. She lay on the bed and starred at the ceiling until breakfast. Sometimes being an insomniac was a real pain in the ass.

* * * * * * * *

Serenity landed smoothly on the Dust Planet that evening. Mal was dealing with his cousin, Monty, who had only a very short time to swap goods and money and be away. Monty was a hard man and not to be messed with, but jolly and generous in the company of Mal. They talked incessantly while supervising the move of crates from one ship to another, and occasionally references to Saffron or Bridget came up. Fortunately, they could laugh about her now.

Bane pitched in with the others and helped to off load and re-load onto Monty’s ship. She was just lifting another crate with one of Monty’s men, called Eric, when they heard shooting. Both of them dropped the crate and rushed down the ramp of Monty’s ship. They dived for cover as bullets started to ricochet off the remaining crates. It was the planet’s lawmen. They had driven up without lights and were firing from inside their armoured vehicle. She could see Mal and Monty in front of her, crouched down and furiously discussing the situation. A shot whistled over their heads. Bane looked around for Corren but failed to see her and hoped she was on the Serenity and staying put. She wished she had one of her EMP grenades, as the vehicle was over fifteen foot away and they could disable their weapons and still keep theirs. Eric nudged her with his elbow and she saw that Mal was waving to her. She did not understand so she crawled past the crates on her belly towards him and Monty.

“Got any tricks on you?” he shouted over the noise. Bane shook her head, she had not even put her special belt on, not expecting trouble.

“I might be able to conjure something up. Do either of you have a com on you?” she shouted back. Monty produced one from his pocket. “I’ll need to make it short range and we’ll need to get in close to throw it, otherwise I might take out the ‘lectrics on our ships as well.

“Don’t fancy walkin’ home, little lady,” put in Monty. “What else you need?” Bane explained and Monty told her where to find the stuff. His ship was closer and able to be reached without exposing herself to gun fire too much. Bane ran back to the crate and passed on Monty’s comments to Eric. Both Mal and Monty knew that things would go real bad if they ended up killing any lawmen. The planet was not developed enough to provide land locks, so they just had to disable them in order to get away cleanly.

Bane had got on board Monty’s ship and was feverishly stripping the com to pieces and shouting to Eric to get the wires and chip parts she needed. There was still a lot of firing going on outside, and a couple of bullets kept finding their way inside Monty’s cargo bay. Eric returned with the goods, including part of a grill they had in their galley. She snapped and screwed the parts into place and wrapped tape around it to hold it together. It was finally done and they both ran back out to the crates. Mal was ready and she quickly stood up to toss the makeshift EMP grenade to him, which he caught cleanly. She turned to crouch back down then could not believe her eyes, she saw Jayne and Corren running back towards them from over the rocky bluffs. They were desperately trying to fasten up their clothes and it was very obvious they had not been helping off load the goods, but each other instead.

Tah mah de, I’ll ruttin’ kill –“ and then it all went black.

~ * ~

“Easy now, Bane. You’re okay,” Simon’s voice was reassuring her as she came to. Bane gathered her thoughts about what she remembered. She opened her eyes, wincing at the brightness of the Med Bay. Her head throbbed and she tried to move her hand up. “You’ve been shot in the head,” Simon explained bluntly, pressing down on her hand to keep it by her side. “We’re back in the Black on our way to Aberdeen to meet up with your brother.” She finally managed to focus on his face, but had to squint to stop the light hurting.

“Corren and Jayne?” She heard a chuckle from someone else in the room.

“Cap’n’s bin shouting at them since we took off,” said Jacobsson. “Surprised it didn’t wake you.” Bane looked over and saw that he had been moved to the side couch and she was now on the main couch.

“She’s only eighteen, for Buddha’s sake,” she murmured. The throbbing in her head was getting worse. Why was it she always got injured in the head when she was on Serenity?

“By all accounts the instigator,” explained Simon. Bane groaned as he touched her head, it felt like her head was about to burst.

“And I bet Jayne’s sayin’ he had no choice,” laughed Jacobsson, echoing Bane’s thoughts, even though the last thing she wanted was to picture Jayne and her cousin going at it in the dunes.

“What happened, Doc?”

“You got a grazing shot to the head – right before the Captain took out the lawmen with that homemade EMP grenade of yours.” Simon did not go into the full story. There had been so much blood – head wounds have that effect – but it also scares most others into believing you are dead. Only Eric had seen her shot at first and as one used to dealing with bullets, he did basic first aid, or spacer first aid. He wrapped her head in a shirt sleeve and checked she was still breathing. In the meantime Monty, Mal, Zoe and the others had tied up the lawmen and ensured they would not be going anywhere until they were all safely in the Black. When Eric had run up to tell them that Bane had been shot, Zoe had run to Serenity to call for him.

“Did Mal’s cousin get away as well?” she asked, glad that the makeshift device had worked.

“Yep, but he probably won’t be able to use that planet to exchange goods anymore. They’ll have both the ships flagged.” Bane relaxed a little and closed her eyes again, the throbbing was a little less that way.

“How’s the leg, Jacobbson?” she asked, keeping her eyes closed.

“Improving by the day, thank you,” she heard him say. “Specially after those noodles you cooked. Bin a while since I tasted anything that good.” She smiled, not really understanding how anyone could eat protein bars on a daily basis.

“Guess it’s your turn to keep me company now.”

“Seems to be – Doc won’t let me leave yet either. You must have one hell of a headache.” Bane laughed softly, as that description just did not seem adequate. She felt like her head was the size of a watermelon and like to wobble off her shoulders if she moved too much. She had visions of it splattering on the floor in a red gooey mess.

“Does it look bad?” she asked tentatively.

“Might be you can make a fashion from having a bald patch on one side of your head,” chuckled Karl.

“What!” She opened her eyes again and tried to sit up. The room swam and she almost pitched off the side of the couch. She gripped the sides like her life depended on it.

Tzao gao, sorry! Bad joke. Doc?” called Karl. Bane was already throwing up on the floor. She coughed, finished, and looked across at him with an ugly squinty stare. Karl looked very repentant but still smirked before pointing behind her towards the mirror. Bane kept her grip on the edges of the couch and slowly turned around. He had been joking, there was a bandage around her head but no discernable hair loss. Simon came hurriedly into the room and saw the mess. He picked up the medical dish that he had left beside the couch in case she did feel nauseous and waved it in front of Bane.

“Next time you clean it up,” he said sternly.

“It was my fault, Doc. I told her you had shaved her head.” Simon mumbled that he would not do anything so barbaric without good cause.

“I only cut a bit of the hair around the immediate wound. It’s likely to hardly show once the wound has healed.”

“I didn’t figure she’d be so easy to wind up,” said Karl, who also like to wind up Jayne regularly.

“I’m still here, you know,” she said, having calmed down again. “And after I put up with you bleedin’ all over me too – that’s the thanks I get.”

“Huh?” Karl looked at Simon and he nodded.

“Bane lay on your legs when you came to, before I could stitch you up,” explained Simon. He was not worried about either of them now. They would both live, they had the same survival resilience as Mal and Zoe. He left them discussing apologies and ‘thank yous’ and stepped out of the Med Bay. He then bumped into a very nervous Jayne and Corren on his way to the cockpit to report Bane’s condition to Mal.

“Is she alright?” asked Corren nervously, genuine concern in her face.

“Apart from wanting to take one of my scalpels to start slicing Jayne up?” Simon was enjoying himself watching Jayne cringe.

“I better go and see her to explain,” said Corren, visibly gulping.

“Leave her to rest for now,” said Simon blocking her way, “There’ll be plenty of time to say you’re sorry later.” He could tell that Corren was not in the least bit sorry, but he gave stern orders for them not to disturb her.

“She alright, Doc?” said Zoe, passing him on the stairs.

“Yes. She’ll make a full recovery – I was just coming to tell Mal.”

~ * ~

Jacobsson lay on the couch and practised moving his leg again, like the Doc had showed him. It was hard going, as the Reaver blade had cut right through his thigh muscle, amongst other things. He still chilled him to the bone to think how close he had come to appearing on their menu, or worse. When he closed his eyes he kept getting flashes of the Reaver coming upon him, completely deranged. To take his mind off it, he had tried to keep Bane entertained until she finally dozed off from all the doses the Doc had fed her. He tried to feel guilty for making her sick earlier but could not, it just made him laugh remembering her horrified face. Karl liked to play pranks on people. Except Mal, well maybe if it was a really good one and there was no chance of Mal killing him straight afterwards. He had already got Kaylee a good one a couple of months ago, by putting green protein food dye in her shower soap.

He cooked one up for Jayne on their last visit to Persephone, Mal had amazingly allowed them two days shore leave. While Jayne was occupied with a girl he had met – first time in a while he had used his charm rather than his coin to get a girl – Karl paid a guy to dress up and pretend he was her husband. Karl had been right behind him and seen Jayne actually jump out of the window, only discovering afterwards that he was three stories up after the fact. For a brief moment Karl thought his prank had gone horribly wrong, but when he stuck his head out of the window, Jayne was hanging all naked to the ‘Verse from the ledge. Well worth the black eye he gave him later and he even contributed enthusiastically to the telling of the story at dinner time. Karl stopped exercising when his leg started to get painful and was taking a breather when Mal came into the Med Bay.

“How you feelin’, Karl?” he asked in a whisper, looking over at Bane’s sleeping form to make sure he had not disturbed her.

“Gettin’ better every day, thanks Cap’n,” he whispered back. “Faster now you’ve got me some shiny company. Was what Simon said true – did she make an EMP grenade from an old com and a toaster?”

“Think it was part of a grill, but yep, she did,” he smirked. Karl shook his head in disbelief.

“Very useful person to have, that,” he replied. Mal nodded.

“I agree. Before I hired you I offered her a job, but she turned me down. It wasn’t a final no, though - maybe you can sweet-talk her for me.” Before they had parted, Monty had asked him if he could get Bane to make him up some tricks and he would pay well. She had very profitable skills, but her brother did not know who and how to deal with to get the most platinum, without attracting unwanted attention.

“I’ll have a go, Captain, but I’ve already made her sick.” Mal laughed quietly, as he told him in whispers about the earlier episode. He was on guard himself against Karl steering one of his pranks in his direction. “I tell you,” Karl continued, “I wanna be a spectator when she finally gets to talk to Jayne and her cousin.” Mal had already given them both an earful about dereliction of duty, but Corren was not a member of his crew, so it had not ended well. He felt like some kind of wicked uncle and that was all kinds of nasty.

“Might be we all suddenly have jobs in the vicinity when that time comes,” he agreed.

~ * ~

Corren came into the Med Bay later, unable to stay away any longer, despite the Doc’s instructions. Her cousin was awake and talking to Karl. Corren’s eyes widened as she saw the bandage around her head and then all the dried blood stains on her clothing. Now her face was cleaned up it did not look as bad as when they had brought her in, she had looked dead then. They both stopped talking when she came in and Bane stared at her, folded her arms, saying nothing. Corren felt like she was seven years old and caught stealing food from the kitchen. She decided on the bold stance, even lifting her chin in defiance.

“I’m grown enough to make my own choices,” her voice trailed off at the end, when she saw the anger in her cousin’s face.

“So you think it was the right choice to be sexing it up with Jayne in the middle of a drop?” Corren bit her lip, but remained resolute.

“We dint know it was all gonna go to hell. We came back as soon as we could.”

And what if we’d had to get outta there quick-like, an’ you both were still behind some rock like rabbits?” Corren flushed and looked across at Karl. His expression was closed, this was a family business and he would not get in the middle of it.

“I ain’t the only one to blame,” she said mutinously, and Bane now knew why her father had been so keen to get rid of her.

“Believe me, I plan to talk to Jayne – but the fact that you still think you’ve done nothing wrong means you ain’t ready for some of the responsibility, and faith, my brother had you down for. For Buddha’s sake, Corren, you were on duty.” Corren looked visibly upset by those words and then turned to anger.

“Bin on the Rosalyn for near nine month with everyone treatin’ me like their kid sister. You may be able to last that long – or longer - without a man, but I ain’t anything like you. Jayne wasn’t exactly pushin’ me away.” Bane swung her legs down off the couch and Corren took an instinctive step back.

“Well, we’ll soon be at Aberdeen, so we’d be happy to drop you back on Haven, and you can wreak all the mischief you want then.” Corren opened her mouth to make another angry retort, but could not prevent the tears appearing so she ran away. Bane steadied herself on her feet.

“Where you going?” asked Karl, who still could not walk himself and so could not stop her, “Doc said you gotta stay put.”

“Gonna find Jayne,” was all Bane said in a grim voice, and she walked out the Med Bay. She found him in the gym. She watched him lift weights, totally concentrated on the task in hand, and she padded silently over. Jayne seemed to be going for some kind of record, so she waited for the right moment and then stood so her face came into his vision while he lay on the bench. The weight he had momentarily rested on his chest was up in mid air. “Tell me, shee-niou, is it your way to take advantage of young girls?” She had covered the weight rests with her hands, so he was unable to push the weights further up and rest them. He began to feel the strain and breathed harshly through his teeth before speaking.

“She weren’t unwillin’, Bane – an’ I certainly weren’t her first. Why, she did this thing with her– ai ya!“ Bane pushed down firmly on the weights so Jayne was forced to bring them to rest on his chest. He found he was having trouble breathing.

“You could have both been killed, or arrested, not to mention left behind on the planet.” Jayne was going red in the face and giving her daggers for looks, because he was helpless to retaliate. “Slice and dice, Jayne, remember that.” Jayne’s eyes widened and he managed to gasp.

“She – came – on – to – me.”

Nee boo goo gah, nee hwang chian,” retorted Bane, and loosed her grip on the weights. She walked away and went to her quarters rather than the Med Bay, collapsing on the bed. When she awoke she found that someone had moved her back into the Med Bay. She took a deep frustrating breath and then looked over to see Karl trying out walking with crutches with Simon hovering nearby.

“That’s it,” Simon was encouraging. “Use your other leg to bear the weight for now.” Karl was gritting his teeth as he was finding it difficult to distribute his weight.

“How’s he doing, Doc?” asked Bane drowsily. They both turned around, Karl more slowly than Simon.

“Very well. Least he does what he’s told, which is more than you. Had to get Mal to carry you back in here – Jayne wouldn’t come near you.” Simon tried to look stern, but it just did not convince.

“Sorry, Doc,” she apologised, although without meaning it. “I had to get it out the way before we got to Aberdeen. If I gotta stay here until you say though, I’m gonna need something to eat afore I starve to death.”

“A definite sign that you’re getting better. I’ll go and get you both something.” Karl hobbled back to sit on his bed again. Simon had told him it would be a while before he would be allowed to use his quarters again, on account of trying to get up and down the ladder. Hopefully he could have one of the guest quarters for a bit, once the Pyes had gone.

“We should get to Aberdeen tomorrow morning. Probl’y start getting’ dull around here again,” he said after Simon had left.

“I doubt that. From previous experience things are never peaceful or dull on Serenity – she does not live up to her name in that way.” Karl found his opportunity to fulfil Mal’s request to him earlier.

“Cap’n said he offered you a job before. Why’d you not take it?” Bane was surprised that he knew about that, but then he had been on Serenity for some months now.

“Wasn’t ready to leave my family then. Now he’s got you though, an’ Mal doesn’t hire people likely, so you must be good.” Karl shrugged at Bane’s last comment. The truth was Mal had picked him up in a bar, after he had helped prevent him and Zoe getting completely trounced in a U-Day brawl.

“What if the job offer was still open?” he pursued. It had not even crossed Bane’s mind that it would be, but the only reason Karl would be asking was if Mal had requested him to. She pushed the question back at him.

“Is the job offer still open?” Karl smiled and scratched at his beard.

“I asked first,” he said. Bane laughed at the childish retort and lay her head back on the pillow.

“Truth is, I would take it if it was offered again. Number of reasons though, I prob’ly need to separate myself from Pye Eatings, so Tony can still do legitimate business without fear of bein’ tagged. The very last thing I want to be is motherin’ my young cousin through her sex life – I’d love to leave my brother to that one. Most of all, I am itchin’ for a change an’ this lot on Serenity are the first people in many years who I felt I could trust outside of family. ‘Sides, like I said, it ain’t dull around here.” Karl was pleased with himself that it had been so easy. They heard someone coming down the stairs outside the Med Bay, it wasn’t Simon who returned with food, but Mal.

“Simon said you was feelin’ better,” he said to her, handing Karl one of the bowls. Bane took the other bowl, filled with noodles and fried protein bits. It tasted vile, but she was very hungry so she ate it.

“Much better, only two hammers in my head now. How’s Jayne?”

“Avoidin’ your cousin like she was poxed,” said Mal, pleased that she had been able to make him see reason and wishing he had been there to see it. Bane laughed.

“Not long till we get to Aberdeen anyways,” she added. “So he won’t have to avoid her for much longer.” Karl sucked up his mouthful of noodles quickly to say something.

“Bane says she might reconsider your offer of a job, Cap’n.” Bane looked at both of them and saw that they had planned it from the off. She should have known.

“Might be I need to lie low for a while from the Rosalyn,” she responded with humour. “But looks like you both managed to get the answer from me. If you’ll still have me, Cap’n Reynolds, I will be honoured to join your crew.” Mal pretended to consider her request and Bane thought for a horrible moment that Karl had got it wrong, giving him an angry look. Zoe spoiled it all by coming in and asking if Bane had agreed this time. It was Mal’s turn to give Zoe an angry look for spoiling his ‘Captain-considering’ look.

“You’re hired. You can have the quarters opposite mine. Would you still be willin’ to freelance your munitions? Might be I could find some better and more reputable contacts than your brother – no offence,” he added at the end.

“None taken – I worried ‘bout the same thing myself. Tony’s never been cut out for the criminal lifestyle,” she smirked, as it was obvious she meant that Mal was. She thought quickly, as this was her bargaining opportunity if ever there was one. “Any freelance jobs you arrange, I want twenty five per cent of the take.” She saw both Zoe and Mal’s eyebrows raise in unison. There was what seemed like a seriously long pause and Bane wondered if she had gone too far. Mal folded his arms with one of those glances at Zoe that talked a thousand words and he answered.

“Figure that you’re the one doing all the building, so it’s a fair statement. Make it twenty per cent, you buy the raw materials, and you’ve got yourself a deal.” Mal held out his hand in confirmation. Bane shook it warmly, relieved that she had not taken it too far. As Mal and Zoe turned to go, she spoke again.

“Just one other thing, Captain,” said Bane very seriously, handing back the half finished bowl of noodles. Mal looked a little astonished that he was the one doing all the hiring and she was doing all the bargaining, but he let her speak.

“What is it?”

“I don’t want to be the only one cookin’, but I select the food stores from now on, dong ma?” Both Zoe and Karl verbally agreed and then remembered that Mal was the Captain. They looked at him at the same time. He laughed and held up his hands, that was one deal he would not bargain over, it was most certainly agreed. It was usually Kaylee’s chore and he was sure she would not mind giving it up.

“Ship’s gonna be quite full of people now,” said Karl, after Mal and Zoe had left. Bane allowed herself to feel a little excited, but also apprehensive.

“The hard part will be telling my brother.”

* * * * * * * * *

“I’m glad you got away, Tony. I was so worried.” Bane was sitting on the bed in his quarters. The Rosalyn was waiting for them as the Serenity had touched down barely thirty minutes ago. She had not seen the others yet, and presumed they were down in the cargo bay. Mal had kindly said she could take all the time she needed to tell her brother, provided it did not exceed a week. She reckoned it was not his only reason, he wanted Karl to be fully fit before taking on another job again. Tony was looking at her and he was very serious. “What is it?” she asked, definitely worried.

“There ain’t an easy way to tell you this, sis, but Lee Shoo is dead. He was in the main mall an’ couldn’t get back to the ship in time. The Reavers got him.” She was shocked to the core, but had no words. They were both silent and imagining the horrible fate Lee Shoo had been dealt. Bane went over and hugged her brother and shed a few tears for her cousin, the family was getting fewer by the year. She remembered that Lee Shoo had made her a birthday cake a few months ago and had cheekily put the full twenty nine candles on, so it had caught fire. Tony had done his own private grieving since it happened, they all had.

Lee Shoo had been too young to serve in the war and his presence on the ship reminded them all what it had been like before. For Bane, she realised it was barely three days ago that she had danced with him around the room of their bunk. She firmly refused then to remember Lee Shoo as he died, but as he had lived and as they had known him. She sniffed and wiped her eyes and they talked a little of their memories of him, before composing a wave to his parents on Persephone.

Afterwards they went for a walk, away from both of the ships. Aberdeen had one large industrial city, but the rest of the planet was fairly sparsely populated with farms, and there were plenty of places for two ships to land without attracting attention. All there was up here in the mountains was a small village about an hour’s mule ride away. Bane still had the bandage on her head, but was now wearing her mother’s shawl, a rather threadbare formerly light blue cloth – one of the few items she had managed to keep with her after the war.

“Reynolds reckons that we may not be flagged but we should keep our heads down for a while,” she said, finally feeling the time was right to broach the subject of her job offer. It was a clear and sunny day although there was an autumn chill in the air, a nice fresh wind that blew away the cobwebs.

“He’s right,” agreed Tony. “It’ll be hard finding a contact as good as Sharp again.” He stooped down and removed a leaf that had got trapped in his flip flop.

“Reynolds has contacts,” she replied quietly. Tony looked at his sister and saw that there was something on her mind. He stopped walking and sat down on some rocks. Bane sat down beside him and they were silent for a few moments. Tony took a deep breath.

“He’s offered you a job again, hasn’t he?” he said. She did not answer or look at him but nodded her head. Tony was surprised at his own reaction, he had not expected his first emotion to be one of relief. He could never admit it to her, but the criminal dealing had never entirely sat well with him. However, neither did he want Bane to leave and go off to the unknown, away from him again. Reynolds did not exactly have the reputation for bringing her back to him unscathed as so far she had returned both times injured in the head. He looked across at her again and knew that it did not matter what he said. “You accepted this time, didn’t you?” Bane had the grace to look sheepish.

“Yes. I’m sorry, Tony. But I’ve made a deal with Reynolds that I get twenty per cent of the take for any munitions jobs,” she stated enthusiastically, before changing tack. “You know I’ve been gettin’ itchy. It’s not that I don’t want to be with family, but had it not been for Reynolds or the Reaver attack on the Bazaar, you and me’d be sittin’ in a Fed prison right now.” Tony could not argue with her logic because she was absolutely right. If they did stay together and continued the munitions sideline, there was a chance that they could be pinched sooner or later, but if they split up then it might be that they could get the best of both.

“We’d be alright if we were only legit with just the Eatings ... no more munitions,” he tried, knowing what her answer would be, but it was something he just wanted to hear her say.

“I can’t just give it up,” she explained earnestly. “It’s a part of who I am.”

“No, it’s what you did in the war. Just like I was an Infantry soldier,” he raised his scarred feet to emphasise the point. “You don’t see me ever wanting to go back to that.” Bane was quiet for a moment, and more than a little upset. She wrapped the shawl around her tighter.

“I can’t just give it up. Look, we didn’t see each other at all from the time you joined up after war was declared, until you appeared at Niska’s Skyplex nine years later. Not that I ain’t grateful, I’m all kinds of grateful that I’m not someone’s slave anymore.” She released her hand from holding the shawl and reached for Tony’s hand. “I can’t just do Eatings. I can’t just comply. I know it’s something I’m really good at and I can’t give it up.” Tony still did not understand, but accepted his sister and her reasoning.

“You can go if’n you let me in on a share of your profits from any munitions jobs you do.” Bane opened her mouth in surprise, but then realised that Tony was a business man first, criminal mastermind tenth.

“I’ll let you in on my take of the munitions, but I still want to keep a share in the Eatings as well,” said Bane, countering.

“Deal,” said Tony, and gave her a hug. They stayed talking for another hour or so and then started back to the ship.

“You need to keep a big eye on Corren while Serenity’s still here, she’s taken rather a shine to Jayne Cobb,” said Bane.

Fei hua! I sent her over to the Serenity with food supplies by way of a thank you for getting us out of the go se.” Bane rolled her eyes.

“Great, Tony. I told her she was confined to ship.” She threw up her hands and Tony had to admit that he was going to miss his sister more than he could ever express. He also felt a twinge of sympathy for Captain Reynolds, who he was sure, did not really have any idea what he was letting himself in for.

“When does the Serenity ship out again?”

“Mal says a few days. Think we can keep Corren and Jayne apart for that long?”

“I doubt it – there was a reason her father wanted us to take her, an’ it wasn’t cos she was all shy and biddable,” stated Tony. He shivered, it was getting quite cold dressed in a thin shirt and vest.

“I’d like to buy some food off the Rosalyn with some of my share of the platinum from the Fed.” She had handed the money over to Tony earlier.

“Have whatever you need, we’re due to re-stock soon anyway. You’ll take care, won’t you xiao mei mei?” he touched the bandage on her head. “I still want to see you in one piece next time.” Bane did not answer that question – like as not she would be injured again, and more than a few times.

“Come on, let’s go to the cargo bay. I’ve some goodbyes to say over the next few days.”

~ * ~

Bane started moving her belongings over to the Serenity the following day. All her cousins and Tony wanted to see where she would be sleeping, not believing she had her own quarters. Fortunately Mal and Serenity’s crew were very indulgent. That evening, after disposing of all Serenity’s protein supplements, the Pyes cooked a farewell meal in the galley of the Serenity. Mal was a little bemused at the site of all of them crammed in cooking, but the smells emanating were wonderful. It had been a long time since he had been part of an old time feasting, which is just what this felt like. He watched them as they moved around each other like dancers, in perfect harmony. River’s mouth hung open as she watched Bane duck under Maloranty’s arm, adding some herbs to Ragen’s dish. It was loud and noisy in the whole area and Bane would never forget it.

Later on, they cooked up a bit of a shindig and were dancing around the table, the veiled excuse, if one was needed, was a dance in memory of Lee Shoo Pye. Jayne and Stan had carried Karl up from the Med Bay and he sat in the small seating area, being fed by Bane on a mixture of Exmoor Pye, chased with Kaylee’s very strong home brew. Exmoor Pye’s most important ingredient being New Canaan brandy. Tony pulled Bane up for a dancing turn around the table and she noticed River gliding past her in the arms of Stan, the Rosalyn’s pilot. He was considerably taller than her and it looked like her feet hardly touched the ground. At one point Kaylee came up with the idea of playing a very evil prank on the passed out Karl, and Bane helped her to do it, certainly in no condition by now to refuse.

The drinking lasted all night and there was no one left standing when the sun glared into the small windows in the morning. Surprisingly, it had been Jayne who remembered to lock the cargo door right before he pulled Corren into one of Serenity’s smuggling compartments, neither of them remembering in the morning whether they had managed to rise to the occasion. While most of Serenity’s crew had managed to make it to their bunks without breaking their necks, the Pyes were spread over the lounge, galley and Med Bay.

Bane came to and found she was face down and drooling on the chair, her hair matted to her face. One of her arms had fallen asleep so she lifted her head to get up, definitely too much of Kaylee’s home brew. Her mouth tasted like she had licked a gorram rat. She could not stifle a groan as she tried to raise herself, but there was a person’s weight on her back, so she gently rolled off the chair onto the floor and looked around. It was Karl, asleep and collapsed over the couch. Now that he was asleep, she couldn’t tell where his eyes were there was so much hair. He looked like a bear, and after what she and Kaylee did to him last night, a big pink bear.

She stood up and stretched – several bones cracked - and stepped over Maloranty who was snoring loudly on the floor. She got behind the counter of the galley, thinking that the best thing for everyone was a big fry up. Stan was asleep at the table, head resting on his arms and he woke with all the clattering pans and lent a hand, even though he was no cook himself.

“We’re all gonna miss you, Bane,” he said. “But last night was one hell of a send off.”

“From what I could remember of it, “Bane agreed. “I don’t think I’ve drunk that much for years, even counting Tony’s birthday.” The smells of bacon, mushrooms, fry bread and tomatoes started to wake the others up and they drifted in from all corners of the ship. No one said anything when they saw Corren turn up behind Jayne dressed only in his t-shirt. Bane managed to hold the relatives off eating, but not Jayne, until the rest of Serenity’s crew came in. All except Kaylee who, according to Simon, was throwing up. Not a medical emergency, just too much home brew. Simon had difficulty remembering some of the things he had done the night before too, but the hardest part had been carrying Kaylee down into their quarters. He had flashes of a brief moment of passion, largely instigated by Kaylee, and then waking up the next morning to the sound of her vomiting into the toilet. The table was filled with more food and Mal was not the only member of Serenity worried that they were using all the Pye rations in one go. It was very very good though and he leaned back in his chair after finishing, fully satisfied with the world.

“I have to say, Tony. You Pyes certainly know how to throw a party. Not sure I’ll forget this one in a while.”

“Sweet as Pye,” chimed in River, who had done enough dancing to last her a year. Her legs were actually aching. She smiled charmingly the Rosalyn’s pilot on whom she had formed her own little perfectly logical crush – they had spent a lot of the night drunkenly comparing piloting Serenity over the Rosalyn, despite being interrupted by her geeky brother every two minutes. She stuck her tongue out at Simon now, but he had his nose in strong coffee. Zoe scrapped another round of bacon and mushrooms onto her plate, earning herself a scowl from Jayne. She had a healthy appetite this morning, despite the hangover and she felt good. Last night had been the first time since Wash’s death that she had not thought about him every two minutes. She had made it back to her quarters, passed out and had a wonderful dream and not woken up crying. She knew Wash would have loved the party.

“I was planning to ship out today,” said Tony, also satisfied with the world. He looked around at his hung-over crew. “What do you say, Stan – are you in a condition to fly us to Regina?” Stan blinked blearily, feigning worse than he was.

“Not sure I’m sober, boss,” he burped. Stan was telling his Captain the truth, but he would not mind a few more hours with River. She was quick as a whip and it had been a long time since he had been fencing.

“Me neither, boss,” repeated River to Mal, while she kept eye contact with Stan – she liked fencing. Bane listened to the chatter at the table realising she would miss her cousins and she would not want to see any of them pinched by the Feds. She knew she was making the right move and was more than a little excited. She did not know whether it was the possibility of danger and uncertainty, or just the knowledge that she would likely be pissing off the Alliance again. She saw Corren gaze across at Jayne, at least that love affair would be short-lived, it already looked like she had been put off by his eating habits. Karl, who was eating his breakfast from the couch area, was the only one slightly annoyed, having been the butt of a vicious prank the night before, and nursing a giant hangover. When he found out who had done this to him, it would be payback, as soon as he could walk again.

Breakfast lasted longer than anyone intended. Although Mal was due to go to Boros, he did not seem inclined to turf people out and Tony and the Rosalyn crew were slow to leave. Both crews seemed to be making the most of the lull in their activities, as they all knew it never lasted long. It was close to evening and, after a rough game of kick-about, the two crews parted with handshakes and hugs. It was River who made sure that both ships left the ground at the same moment, liking the sense of symmetry.

* * * * * * * *

Author's Note: Reformatted Feb 2019

Author’s Note: Edited in September 2007 (Always looking to improve!).


Tuesday, March 27, 2007 11:20 AM


This was brilliant, the only bit that jars is every time to refer to our beloved Firefly as THE Serenity. The ship's name is Serenity, no 'the' in front of it. In the tv series Inara even corrects someone for putting a the in front of the ship's name. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Wednesday, March 28, 2007 12:29 PM


Some excellent work here, hermitsrest, though the odd bit of roughness from formatting and typographic quirks did put a slight damper on things.

Certainly predict interesting times for both the BDHs and Bane, since having someone who's a BA Baracus with explosives on board Serenity? Really will add to the usual mayhem;)


Wednesday, March 28, 2007 9:15 PM


Thanks for the great comments, both. I have Bane as more of a female MacGyver, rather than BA though. But I will say that 80s TV shows are definately an influence cos I love them! Amdobell - look out for a reference to your comments in the next one!!


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