Measure of a Man--Part II--The Cabin
Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Mal/River. Mal and Simon talk, and the happy couple settles in for the night. This part rated R.


Mal and Simon stood, arms folded, side by side, watching River twirling happily in the arms of one of Kaylee's more enthusiastic cousins.

"She's really a gift, you know," Simon said.

"I'm well aware of that, Simon," Mal answered truthfully. After a moment, he added, "Didn't mean to steal your thunder back at the house. Intended to take River to town to stand before a magistrate, quiet-like. But, Mrs. Frye ain't one to be denied once she decides a thing."

"I'm noticing that," Simon said, smiling. "I expect I'll deal with plenty of thunder in the next three weeks."

Mal smiled at the thought. "Ya' want me to leave ya' with a comm in case you need rescuin'?"

"Thank you, but no. I'll try to muddle through."

Mal shrugged his shoulders. "Your choice, doc. But I can't say I envy ya' none."

Kaylee came up, rosy-cheeked and glowing in the light of the bonfire. She hugged Mal tightly. "You did good today, Cap'n. That's one happy woman dancin' out there."

"No more happy than me, mei mei," Mal replied, kissing her forehead. "So, you think the Frye family's ready for three weeks of the good doctor here?"

"I 'spect they're ready if he is." She winked at Simon. "What'da ya' say we show 'em your smooth dance moves, Doctor Tam?" And she pulled him out into the chaos of the dancing couples.

Kaylee's father moved to take Simon's place at Mal's side. "My baby girl looks to be mighty happy with your young medic, Cap'n."

Mal nodded. "He's a good man. Loves Kaylee something fierce, I'm thinkin'."

Mr. Frye sighed. "Seems like yesterday I was teachin' her the first little thing 'bout engines, and now she's all growed up and bringin' home a beau. 'Spect next thing'll be plannin' a weddin'."

Mal laughed. "I conjure Mrs. Frye will know just what to do if'n that comes up. She's a right wonder at it."

Mr. Frye smiled. "That reminds me of what I came ta' say to ya'. The missus thinks it's gettin' a little late in the evenin' to be startin' on yer journey. Zoe and Jayne are welcome to stay at the house tonight. You and Mrs. Reynolds can stay in the cabin at the edge of the property. It's a little ways into the woods, but Mrs. Frye thought ya' might like the privacy. She went down there directly after supper to get it presentable for ya'."

"I'm obliged to you for your kindness and hospitality, Mr. Frye," Mal said, the words 'Mrs. Reynolds' echoing pleasantly in his head.

"Weren't a trouble in the 'verse, Cap'n. You've brung my baby girl back to me safe, and I'm beholden to you for it. Glad to be able to give somethin' in return." He shook Mal's hand firmly. "I hope you and yer missus will be as happy as myself and Mrs. Frye have always been. A good woman is a gift, sure enough. But," Mr. Frye hesitated for just a moment, "would ya' mind a little advice from one married man to another?"

Mal cocked an eyebrow. "What's that, sir?"

"Well, seein' as how you're leavin' come mornin', ya' might want to think on takin' yer wife on home for the evenin'. Ya' know, it's sorta special-like to the womenfolk on their weddin' night."

"That's advice I'll gladly take," Mal said with a smile. *************************** After several more dances with Kaylee's assorted kinfolk, two dances with a surprisingly graceful Jayne, and one last dance with Simon, River found Mal standing under the boughs of a sycamore tree on the edge of the clearing.

"What are you doing over here, ai ren?" she asked, wrapping her arms around his midsection.

"Just watchin' and waitin' for my wife," Mal said, his arms encircling her waist. "Mrs. Frye thought we might like a little privacy in a cabin 'bout a mile that way," he said, indicating a small path beside a little running stream. "Said to follow the stream, and we couldn't miss it."

River giggled. "Mrs. Frye is just full of all sorts of advice this evening."

"That so," Mal said, intrigued. "Anything you'd care to share?"

"She said alot about sharing, as a matter of fact. Quite specific about things we can share, now that we're legally married and all." River's eyes sparkled in the light of the full moon.

Mal held her closer still. "You gonna tell me, or do I have to guess?" he whispered against her neck, biting down gently.

"Neither," River answered, a little breathless in his embrace. "Much rather show you when we get there."

"Sounds like a plan," Mal answered, releasing her reluctantly. "Think you can walk it after all that dancin'?"

River rolled her eyes. "Think you could stop me from getting to that cabin now, ai ren?"

His only answer was a low chuckle as he took her hand and started into the woods. ****************** Kaylee bit her lower lip, trying to find a way to break the news to Simon. He sat happily leaning against the trunk of a tree with her head resting on his chest.

"You seem a little tense, ai ren," he observed, running expert hands across the muscles of her back and shoulders.

She looked up at him, the worry in her eyes causing him to lose his tranquil mood. "Oh, sweetie," she said, willing him to understand, "I gotta tell ya' somethin', and you're not gonna like it one little bit."

Simon pulled away, so he could see her face more clearly. "What is it Kaylee? Are you okay?"

The whole story came tumbling out of Kaylee in one breath. "Well, since Jayne and Zoe's stayin' at the house tonight, Daddy said you gotta bunk with Jayne. Then Ma said that when they leave tomorrow, you gotta bunk with Tommy and Pete, and I gotta bunk with Liza Jane. And when I told 'em I didn't like the way of it..."Kaylee paused, gathering a deep breath. "Ma said that long's we're under their roof, we'll be sleepin' separate less'n we got weddin' papers they don't know 'bout." Looking up at Simon, her eyes were round as saucers.

Simon's brain had slowed to a crawl at the mention of bunking with Jayne, so it took a moment for him to catch up. Finally, he said, "You mean to say we can' together...for three weeks?"

"I'm so sorry, sweetie, but it's Daddy's rules. And he's a real stickler for 'bidin' by 'em too."

"I don't doubt it," Simon said, glumly re-thinking his whole want-to-meet-the-parents idea. Sweet Ye Su, he thought, three whole, long, miserable weeks! ****************************** Arriving at the cabin, Mal swung River up into his arms to cross the threshold. Setting her down gently on the other side, he captured her mouth, bending her backward in his arms.

She responded eagerly, allowing his tongue entrance. The stood locked together, lips and tongues losing their separate boundaries until, starved for air, they pulled apart.

"I'm thinkin' we're way overdressed for this here shindig," Mal said, breathing heavily. He reached to find the fastenings on River's dress, but she batted his hands away.

"Let me do it, ai ren," she said. "Mrs. Frye would kill you if you tore it." She quickly undid the small buttons running down the length of her back, and carefully laid the dress aside. Turning to Mal, she was pleased to see he'd used the time wisely, removing his own clothes as well. She stood for a moment, drinking in the sight of him, lean and muscular in the lamplight. She licked her lips in anticipation.

Fixated on those lips, Mal closed the distance between them, pulling her up and over his groin. He began to nip at her mouth and neck, gently licking and sucking the marks he knew he was leaving. He wanted to mark her as his, possess her, as she possessed him. Feeling her slick wetness pooling against his own arousal, he pulled her down onto him, allowing her to sink slowly onto his length. She arched against him, letting out a mewl of pleasure. Desperate to be more deeply inside her, he braced her against him, and moved them to the bed. Angling her ankles over his shoulders, he kissed his way to her thighs and then sank blessedly into her welcoming folds. Holding still for a moment, he looked into her smoldering eyes.

"Who are you, bao bei, that you've done this to me?" he whispered hoarsely.

Contracting her inner muscles around him, willing him to move inside her, she answered, "I'm Mrs. Reynolds."

Mal's blue eyes held an intensity she'd never seen there, even in their most intimate moments. "Bao bei, I want you to read me now," he whispered, beginning to move his hips in a rhythm designed to drive them both to the edge.

As he thrust into her deeper and deeper, River read him, seeing in his mind the strength of his love and the depth of his desire. Matching his need with her own, she danced through doors he opened to her, giving herself to his wants and needs and fantasies, and offering up her own in return. And through the long night, they learned, each from the other, what it was to be truly known, to be made whole in the act of sharing body and soul. Finally, satiated and spent, they lay entwined, sleeping the dreamless sleep of the reborn. ************************* "When you figure they'll get here?" Jayne asked Zoe for the third time, spearing yet another of Mrs. Frye's hotcakes onto his fork. "It's almost eight o'clock, and here we sit with a job needs doin' waitin' on 'em."

Zoe looked at him impassively. "If you ask me that again, I'm liable to have to kill you."

"No need to get all ornery with me," Jayne grumbled. "I ain't the one holdin' us up."

"Jayne," Kaylee said, "ain't you got any feelin's at all? Cap'n and River need some time to celebrate."

"Seems to me they been 'celebratin' pretty much regular for the past year," Jayne said.

Simon groaned. "Could we not talk about this anymore, please?"

"Aw, hell, you're just ticked 'cause you ain't gonna be doin' any 'celebratin' with Kaylee while you're on this rock."

"Jayne," Zoe warned, before Simon could reply.

Just then, Mal and River walked in hand-in-hand.

"Morning, Sir," Zoe said. "We're just finishing breakfast, but if you'd like some..."

"No need, Zoe. Mrs. Frye was kind enough to send Liza Jane out to the cabin with some this morning. We came to say our good-byes to the Fryes. You know where they might be?"

Kaylee piped up. "They're always in the garden this time of day, before it gets too hot."

"Thanks, mei mei. We'll find 'em." Mal, turning at the door, called back, "Best be gettin' ready to leave. We're burning daylight here."

Jayne looked mournfully at his new stack of hotcakes. "Figures," he said. "Now he's in a hurry."

True to Kaylee's prediction, Mal found her parents busily working in their large vegetable garden. Expressing his thanks for everything they'd done, he said his good-byes.

"May as well stay while you're in good company," Mrs. Frye said, wiping the sweat off her brow.

"Wish we could, ma'am, but there's work waiting for us. We'll be back soon enough for Kaylee and the doc. Can't do without 'em for long at the time."

"Nest time, you plan to stay a spell, ya' hear?" Mr. Frye called out as Mal and River walked back to the house. Mal waved in answer, as River went inside to say good-bye to Simon.

"I'll miss you, Simon," she said, hugging him tightly. "Love you."

"Me too, mei mei," Simon said, finding it harder than he had imagined to smile. "Be careful and don't let Mal get you killed while I'm away."

River laughed. "You're the one likely to die when Mr. Frye realizes what you've been doing with his daughter."

"You are such a brat!" Simon said, as Mal came into the house to collect her. Shaking Simon's hand and embracing Kaylee tightly, Mal promised to return in three weeks.

Then together, Mal, River, Zoe, and Jayne made their way back to Serenity, unaware that an enemy had joined them.



Tuesday, May 1, 2007 7:32 AM


Oh sure, you had all that goodness and then the harbinger of doom on the last line ... yikes!

Really nice bit here, although Mal is such a stick in the mud - I wish River could have gotten him out there for one dance!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007 7:43 AM


Excellent chapter. Mal/River may be growing on me...

Enemy? No, how could it be? Everyone so loves our Big Damn Heroes...

Rob O.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007 2:46 PM


I can't believe I saw this over here before it was over on live journal, so here I am, your faithful and devoted Gwenfrewi72 leaving you feedback.

Another shiny chapter. Feel the M/R luv! Don't like the sound of that last line and Serenity will be without her mechanic and doc. This does not bode well.

*sits back to wait happily and patiently for the next thrilling chapter of our favorite big damn Heros!

Sunday, May 6, 2007 3:18 PM


Well now...this was certainly the opposite of Joss' matra: go light, go fluffy but for God's sake...drop a bomb!


Excellent work as always here, slumming. Kinda disappointed Simon wasn't a tad bit more pissed about the wedding...but I guess he's mellowed out;)


Wednesday, May 9, 2007 1:34 PM


Lovely work with Mal and River but who is the enemy in their midst? I can't believe it is one of the crew. And Simon, will he propose to Kaylee and have a swift little wedding his own self I wonder? Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me


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'Til Death Parts Us--Part VI
Co-written by Midnight Obsidian. For Marcus and Elizabeth, the moment has arrived, and Mal gives the ceremony his best shot.

'Til Death Parts Us--Part V
Co-written by Midnight Obsidian. The Hit or Miss crew’s plans for Marcus swing into effect.

'Til Death Parts Us--Part IV
Co-written by Midnight Obsidian. The search is on for Anya, and Adam faces the music.

'Til Death Parts Us--Part III
Co-written by Midnight Obsidian. Anya makes an inadvisable deal with Adam, and complications ensue.
Note: Thanks, ebfiddler, for suggesting that we include a small reminder note about the timeline of this story. At this point in this version of the ‘verse, we are about 10 to 11 years past the BDM, for those who keep track of such things. My, how time flies when you’re having fun! :)

'Til Death Parts Us--Part II
Co-written by Midnight Obsidian. Anya asks a favor of Mal, and Marcus plans a job.

'Til Death Parts Us--Part I
Co-written by the ever-talented Midnight Obsidian. Takes place shortly after the events of “Fractured” and “Aftermath” in a continuing Mal/River storyline that began a million years ago with “Voices”.
Summary: Life goes on for the crews of Serenity and the Hit or Miss, as everyone prepares for the long-awaited wedding.

Bad...In the Latin
Set within the timeline of the series. Stream of consciousness study. River contemplates her new environment. I'm kinda' rusty, so here's to hoping I have remembered a little something about writing!

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One-shot set anytime within scope of the Mal/River storyline.

Aftermath--Part IV--Mal
Conclusion. Mal deals with the aftereffects of his time spent with the madman.

Aftermath--Part III--Marcus
Follows the events of “Fractured” in a continuing Mal/River storyline. Marcus re-evaluates his choices.