Wedding Blues - Part Three
Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Serenity arrives at Persephone to celebrate the wedding and there’s a whole lot of loving going around. It’s a happy time but can Mal and Zoe really relax knowing there is still something possibly on their trail? 6th fanfic featuring the usual post BDM characters and a few of my own creation. Constructive criticism and feedback is always welcome. Part 3 of 3.


Serenity broke atmo at Persephone the night before the wedding. The last month or so had been tough on them all, as they had tried not to stay in the same place for more than two nights, flitting from one piece meal job to another. They had unexpectedly bumped into Monty again which saved Mal sending him an unsecured wave in warning. Having not been able to stop at any core or semi-core planets, Bane had been unable to pick up any supplies to start making munitions again. Now they were on Persephone she planned to do an extremely quick shopping trip the day after the wedding, provided that Mal would let her. “Hold still, Kaylee,” said Bane for the thousandth time. With the ship constantly on the move River, Kaylee and Bane had only been informed at the last minute that they were going to the wedding. They had decided to convert some of their clothing into a suitable dress to wear at the wedding, as Bane had insisted that all the women at a Pye wedding had to wear long dresses. Zoe had declined the suggestion, preferring a more comfortable pair of trousers. River already had a nice red and white flowered dress, which Bane and Kaylee agreed would suit her best, especially with the small crocheted cardigan. Kaylee wanted something nice too – that was not stained with grease or oil – so Bane gave her the rose coloured Companion dress she had made. It had needed a little altering, which is why Kaylee was standing on a chair outside the Med Bay while Bane pinned the bottom. “I can’t, it’s too exciting. I haven’t been to a wedding since Zoe and Wash got married.” River was twirling around them both making Bane dizzy. It was like trying to hold on to jelly, and she had not even decided what she would wear yet, but it was good to see River in a good mood again. The nightmares had gradually stopped and her good-natured spirit had returned. It had the effect of making all the crew relax again, which is why Mal deemed it safe for them to come to Persephone. Bane finished the last bit of the hem and stood up. “There you go,” and Kaylee jumped down and started twirling like River. “Looks like this moonbrain thing is catching,” said Jayne. He and Karl stood in the doorway from the gym, admiring the view. Bane walked over to them. “Weddings seem to have that effect on people,” she replied. “You best watch yourselves tomorrow – there’s likely to be a few ladies looking to catch ‘emselves a good lookin’ man.” “Puts Jayne outta the running then,” said Karl laughing. Jayne shoved him good-naturedly. “I’ll just be glad to get me some trim, ain’t looking to get hitched.” “Lovely image, Jayne,” replied Kaylee, coming to a stop. She wanted to show Simon her new dress and ran off to their quarters. “I better finish sewing my dress,” said Bane, and she disappeared up the stairs. River came to a stop as well and flopped herself down onto one of the chairs. She would be glad to see Stan tomorrow and was more than a little excited. She had to look perfect and try not get too drunk. Jayne and Karl left the Med Bay area and went up to the galley to get a snack. “So what’s your plan of attack tomorrow?” asked Karl. Jayne cut some bread and spread it thickly with honey. “Takin’ me guitar,” he nodded towards the guitar he had propped up against the table. “Gonna knock ‘em senseless with it then?” Karl suggested. Jayne, whose mouth was full of bread, gave him a glare. He wiped his hands on his trousers and sat down. After a quick tuning, he started to play. It was a simple tune but a well known one. Karl was surprised to see that Jayne could actually play well. He joined him at the table. “That was really good. Do you know The Spacer’s Daughter?” It was a well known folk song. Jayne thought about which key and then started to play. It was his own turn to be surprised when Karl started to sing the words. Jayne knew that he was not much of a singer, except during choruses. Hell, they would be some double act at the wedding, have all those horny girls lining up. The song ran to about six verses and was mostly bawdy. After they had finished Karl got up to get a drink. “You can come out now, Bane,” said Jayne, who had recognised her boots sticking out. Bane popped her head around the door leading to the crew quarters. She blushed slightly. “I dint wanna disturb you. It sounded real shiny.” She came fully into the room and sat on the comfy chairs to carry on sewing. “Will you play some more?” Karl, who had never sung for an audience before, was a bit more reluctant. Jayne got up and went and sat in the comfy area too. “Got anythin’ in particular you wanna hear?” asked Jayne. Bane thought, and a few tunes from her childhood popped into her head. “Do you both know Hiding in the Green Green Grass?” They both nodded, it was one of her favourites, something her mother had sang to them all as children. Jayne started to strum the notes and Karl sang the words. His singing voice was good, it was untrained and wavered in places, but it was strong. Her sewing was forgotten as she listened to the familiar tune. If she closed her eyes, she could almost picture the first time she heard the song. On an unknown planet and a family picnic, they had all eaten until they were bursting and were drowsily sleeping it off. She opened her eyes again and saw that Karl was looking right at her, it was a strange feeling of awakening that shivered through her and she could not look away. The song finished and the spell broke. Bane clapped and so did River who had slipped into the room unnoticed. “How about you, River?” said Jayne, now in full flow, “Any requests, or do ya jus’ wanna read my brain an’ chose one?” River stuck out her tongue. “Bane can read brains too, ask her,” she replied. Both Karl and Jayne looked in her direction and she was just as surprised. “Don’t be silly, River, it’s just luck.” “What do you mean, just luck?” queried Jayne. “When I cook for people I try to guess their favourite food, or the way they like things cooked. I guessed that River’s favourite food was peaches and tomatoes,” she shrugged. “It’s what I do whenever I cook, River, don’t mean I’m a reader. I don’t always get it right - I got Karl’s favourite wrong.” “Karl lied,” said River. Karl opened his mouth, not quite knowing what to say. Bane looked at him, puzzled. “Why did you lie?” she said, a little hurt. Karl looked guilty, but not totally repentant. “Cuz you always seem to know everything an’ it was annoying. It was the best gorram mushroom chicken I ever did taste though,” he added with a reassuring smile. He wanted to change the subject, as Bane did not look pleased. “I thought I was losin’ my touch. It’s not reading though, River, it’s jus’ what I’ve been taught by my family through the Eatings.” River shrugged, leaving the topic alone. “One moonbrain’s enough for me,” stated Jayne firmly, and he started to strum a livelier tune, one that did not have words. Karl looked across at River, who he believed had spoiled the moment. Ever since that argument with Kaylee and Jayne in the galley last month, he had found himself thinking about Bane more and more. Shipboard romances did not usually work out, but unfortunately on Serenity there were several examples to dispute this, which is why he could never quite get it out of his head. He watched Bane’s chunky boot tapping in time to Jayne’s playing and lay back in his seat. May be it would be best if he just left well enough alone, or maybe he was just in need of some sexing himself. ~ * ~ Margaret Pye had arranged for her daughter to be married on the outskirts of the Takoma district, away from the slum of the docks. It was barren land and therefore common land. A circle of posts with long red banners now adorned the patch of earth they had chosen. Three ships and assorted transports encircled the ground like guard dogs. This would be a day she remembered for a long while, it was a wedding like the old ways in the days of the Pye Fleet. Where the word would go out, and the ships would congregate in the wilderness on some planet to celebrate weddings and come together for funerals. She had sent the word out, the Pyes from Haven had arrived a week ago transported by the Rosalyn. The Pyes from Whittier had only arrived last night. If she had not been so busy organising everything, then she would have shed a tear or two at the sight. “Auntie Marge!” said Bane and Margaret embraced her in a tight hug. Her niece looked well, better than well, Serenity obviously agreed with her. She let Bane go and inspected her, for once she was wearing her hair loose and she had her mother’s threadbare shawl on. “Let me guess,” she fingered the light blue dress Bane wore. “Another bed sheet?” Bane laughed. “I’m kinda running a bit low now,” she agreed, and then stepped aside. “Can I introduce Captain Reynolds and Zoe Washburne?” Margaret now focussed on the people she had around her. She was a small woman and Mal had to lean down to greet her. Margaret had never been one to shake hands, and it was the prerogative of an old married woman to kiss any man younger than her. She put her hands on either side of his face and kissed him. Mal was completely taken aback and the rest of them hid smiles, although Jayne managed a snigger, until it was his turn. Margaret turned to Zoe and knowing by instinct or wisdom that the woman had suffered loss. Although Zoe tried to take a step back, Margaret engulfed her in on of her maternal hugs and mentally added her to her list of matchmaking subjects. The crew of Serenity became part of the Pye family that day, in Margaret’s eyes at least. As soon as the introductions were finished, she rushed off to greet others and make sure everything was in place. Lo Pye’s greetings were more formal but no less warm. Bane’s uncle was a quiet man, but it was never easy to forget his presence. Her attention was diverted again by some more relatives, as she had not seen the Whittier Pyes for a couple of years. It included Tsung and Antonia Pye, their family and Tsung’s brother Yang and his wife, Po and their family. All fifteen of them had come, leaving their farms in the hands of Antonia’s family in their absence. Bane heard Jayne comment that the Pyes seemed to breed like rabbits, but she would not let anything spoil this day. Simon found it difficult to restrain Kaylee’s excitement. Nor did he want to, she looked radiant and beautiful. When it had been his turn to hug Margaret, she had whispered in his ear that he had better ask her soon before he lost the courage. He had found it difficult to hide his shock, the woman should work for the Feds. Despite that, he was looking forward to the entertainment later. Now if he could only catch sight of River, his mind could be completely at peace. River hung back from the greetings trying to catch the eye of Rosalyn’s pilot. He was dressed up in a fine dark green shirt and was missing the usual baseball cap. Instead, his hair kept flopping in his face due to the swift breeze. He was talking to Ragen and Angel Pye, when he finally looked up and saw her. He smiled broadly and excused himself from their company, there were many people swarming around waiting for the ceremony to start, and two people in a crowd did not draw attention. Stan tried to act nonchalant, but could not quite pull it off. River giggled. “You been thinkin’ about me,” she said a little shyly. Stan leaned on one of the poles, towering over her. She was a real pretty scrap. “May have,” he said. River touched one of the buttons on his shirt and looked up at him. “Save a dance for me later?” she said. He really wanted to kiss her again. He touched the edge of her jaw, tentatively, and a little afraid. It had been a parcel of months since they had met on Aberdeen and many things could have happened since then. “Ain’t plannin’ to dance with anyone else,” Stan replied and watched her run off. A hush fell over the crowd as the couple emerged from the Rosalyn and headed towards the circle of pillars, towards the Shepherd who was standing at it’s centre. “I ain’t never seen a wedding like this,” whispered Jayne rather loudly to Angel Pye. Karl leaned in to listen closer, never having seen it before either. Angel whispered back. “Not many people do. Pye weddings are only usually attended by Pyes and close friends, or shipmates. Stay behind the pillars, Jayne,” Angel urged. They watched as the couple walked hand in hand through the crowd and into the circle. The Shepherd from the Abbey was waiting for them at the centre. The bride wore a clinging red dress down to her ankles, the small mound of her pregnant stomach was only visible when the wind blew a certain way. Tony Pye wore a tunic of dark blue with dark grey pants. Both of them were barefoot. There was complete silence except for the noise of nature. “What happens now?” said Jayne. He had never been to any wedding as an adult, just as a child, and even then it had usually involved guns. Angel leaned across again. “Now they are given away by their parents, or nearest family member.” As if on cue Bane stepped out from beside Karl and walked into the circle. On the other side opposite them, Margaret and Lo Pye, stepped into the circle. Karl watched Bane walk towards her brother, the dress she had made was simple, but shaped well to her hips before flowing down to her shins. “Bane and Tony are the only ones left of their family, which is why she’s the one going up there,” explained Angel. The words being said by the Shepherd were the same the ‘verse over, but it was the look of love and pride on all their faces that everyone took to their hearts. Karl could feel himself getting quite emotional and glanced over to his sister-in-law. If he was feeling moved by the ceremony as a hardened gun hand, then she must be reacting in a similar way. He spotted tears on her cheek and was about to move over to comfort her – willing to risk her wrath – when he saw Mal put his arm over her shoulders. Jayne’s mouth just hung open, he could not hear the words that were being said, but the imagery of all of them standing in the desert, red banners waving into the sky, would be something he would remember for a long time. He had temporarily forgotten about his mission to find a willing bed mate for the night. Kaylee was standing in front of Simon and felt the tears on her cheeks as well. She did not know these people, but they sure knew how to celebrate things right. She snuggled into Simon’s arms as the Shepherd carried on speaking. River found her hand and held it as well. Kaylee was happy that River looked contented again. The last weeks of being on the move had taken their toll and this was just what they all needed. She looked over at the others and giggled, and Simon asked her what it was. She hid her words behind her hand. “Karl looks like he’s bin felled by a tree,” and Simon looked across at him, Karl did seem to be paying more than a little attention to Bane. Over the last couple of weeks he had listened to Kaylee’s plans at match making, ever since she had told him of the argument between Jayne and Karl. “More like a Pye,” he answered, and River gasped. “That’s what I was going to say.” It seemed to Simon that the whole crew was trying to get those two together. But he knew from experience that people were not as predictable as that, neither was being in the Black. Mal felt a lump in his own throat, but it was not for the couple he was watching. He remembered Wash and Zoe’s wedding and while it did not carry any of the traditions he was seeing today, it had been no less poignant, especially considering Wash was no longer here. He had never seen Zoe cry except at his funeral and now she was crying again. “Wash would have loved this day,” she whispered, and Mal tightened his grip on her shoulders for a moment. “I know,” was all he could manage to say. He missed Wash and reckoned he always would, particularly on days like today. He also thought about Inara, he had asked her to marry him, but she had evaded answering him and he had settled for her terms, least that was the way he remembered it. She had not said no though. He looked up at Serenity standing sentry outside the circle, it was possible for families to make it in the black, the Pyes had been doing it for generations. Families, he thought with a chuckle, he guessed that was what he always wanted. His life was complicated, but his needs were simple. Mal wondered if he would ever persuade Inara to see it from his point of view. After the marriage ceremony there were Eatings enough for a brigade of infantry, served out of the belly of the Rosalyn. The bride and groom had not stopped smiling all day. Zoe found it infectious and had found herself smiling numerous times as well. She knew that occasions like this were few, which is why everyone seemed to be making the most of it. Bane also found the atmosphere infectious as she sat on the other side of her brother. She looked over at Serenity’s crew and smiled. They looked like they were enjoying themselves too. Karl was the only one looking back though and she felt the same feeling she had the night before when she heard him sing. Someone pinched her arm and she jumped. Anna Shoo Pye had leaned over. “Got yourself an admirer, mei mei,” she said. “Where?” said her brother, looking around. Anna gave him a nudge of impatience. “The blond one on Serenity – looks like a Viking,” she said. “What’s his name?” “Karl,” answered Tony, before Bane had a chance. Bane was blushing and trying not to look over to him again. But Tony was. “Tony! Stop it,” she said desperately. Anna came to her rescue and kissed her new husband to cheers from the guests. Jayne leaned across to Karl, he had found something else to look at. “What’s the bride’s sister’s name?” He had been getting some interesting looks from her since they sat down. “Something with Shoo in it like the rest of them,” answered Karl. He saw that Bane was looking embarrassed at something her new sister-in-law had said. He was also aware that he kept getting stern looks from her brother and he broke the gaze to talk to Zoe sitting next to him. “Laura Shoo Pye,” Kaylee said to Jayne, leaning across to make herself heard. Jayne repeated the name to himself and grinned encouragingly in her direction. She responded by giving him a little wave. “I’m getting me some of that, tonight. What about you, buddy?” He nudged Karl. Karl looked around, there were a lot of women all dressed up nice and fancy, and he could pick any one of them, but he just did not feel like it now. He gave Jayne a non-committal grunt and turned back to Zoe. The shindig afterwards was raucous and lively. The Pyes had arranged for a band to play and dancing took place in the same circle that the ceremony had been performed in. River had been waiting for this part all evening and as soon as the music started she followed the others into the circle and started dancing on her own. The music invaded her mind and she could not stop, she felt so much happiness and joy from people today that it drowned out all the black feelings she kept having. She liked the traditions of these Pyes, even though it was a right messy mix of old Earth-That-Was customs. A hand grabbed hers and brought her to a stop. It was Stan. “You started without me.” He put his arm around her waist and held her briefly before taking her to dance across the ground. River knew Simon would not approve, Stan was about ten years older than her and as cocky a pilot as Wash had been. Well she had lived several lifetimes already and she was a cocky pilot too. Simon was dancing with Kaylee and barely registered that River was dancing with anyone in particular. The good thing with this type of music was that you did not have to know how to dance. You just needed to hold on to your partner and gallop around the ground making the occasional turn or swerve. He loved the feel of Kaylee in his arms and he knew he wanted to marry her, but things in the black were so changeable and he had other obligations to consider as well. He needed to speak to River first before doing anything. Bane was dancing with her brother as his wife was dancing with hers. After the quick discussion of profits and losses, Tony changed the subject. “So do you like this Karl?” he asked. Bane looked up at him, he looked so happy today. And he looked so much like their Pa. “Tony …” she warned. He shrugged a shoulder, but still kept hold of her hand. “Allow a big brother his prerogative.” Bane sighed. “I don’t know – it’s been a while. Not sure I want – I’m a bit out of practise, specially after the last time.” “Mal says he’s a good man – he’s got your back.” “Lao-tyen boo! You’ve been checking up on him?” she said horrified, and feeling like she was fifteen years old again. Tony grinned, he had missed her outbursts. “Anna told me to,” he explained innocently. Tony nodded to someone behind her. “So? Do you like him?” Bane pursed her lips, not really wanting to answer. “Yes,” she said, half expecting a bolt of lightening to strike her down now that she had said it out loud. Now she had said it, the old fears returned, but also the twinges of previously dormant anticipation. He was a good man, as well as being not half bad to look at. “Shiny,” said Tony. “You can dance with him then,” and he twirled her around into Karl’s arms while he sailed off with Auntie Marge who had arranged the whole thing. The music was still fast and it was easy to pick up speed again. Now that he had her Karl did not want to let her go, she looked very different today than normal, mind you all the girls at the wedding looked amazing. Bane was glad of the fading sun to hide her hot face. Karl had just been getting his own interrogation from Bane’s aunt. “Your aunt’s quite the little matchmaker,” he managed to say, after narrowly avoiding another couple. Bane was mortified and Karl realised with a jolt that she might actually like him too. It was a comforting thought and made him smile. “Don’t worry, she didn’t say anything too embarrassing.” Bane opened her mouth to say something, but nothing was there. She realised she could make any mark tell her what she wanted to know, but when it came to her own life she had the vocabulary of a space monkey. She changed the topic instead. “How are you enjoying your first Pye wedding?” Karl looked around at everyone dancing, and it really was everyone. Even Jayne was, and Zoe and Mal. He could see now why all the women wore a long skirt or dresses. The colours twirling around the circle made him feel drunk and dizzy, and so far no alcohol, other than for toasts, had been served. “I’ve never seen anything like it. You all really get married like this?” “There’s not been one like this since before the war. They used to be about three times the size an’ more than one couple gettin’ hitched. When I was fourteen, I went to a wedding that had twenty five ships standing sentry and twelve couples getting married. Was the first time I got sick drunk.” Karl laughed, he had seen Bane drunk before and could imagine it. “Are you enjoyin’ yourself?” he asked, trying to keep his mind off the thinness of her dress beneath his hand. Bane looked up and it reminded her of the time in the bar on Beaumonde. Karl’s arms had been around her then and his lips had been on her neck. She stumbled in her distraction, but Karl held on to her. “I – Ah – Yes, it’s wonderful. Last time we were in this part of Persephone we were doing a heist. Was that River?” she said, aware she was babbling. “I don’t think I’ve seen her stop dancing.” “I’m starting to flag myself – I haven’t done this in a while. Reckon I won’t need to take a turn in the gym for a bit.” On the other side of the circle Mal was making the most of dancing while there was no possibility of it turning into a fight. He had already thanked his mother several times for teaching him to dance. He was surprised that Zoe had not yet bailed out and was enjoying herself. “Good shindig, don’t you think?” he asked. “Reckon the Pyes know how to throw ‘em. Whoah,” she added as Mal bent her over in a swooping move that he had seen others doing. “Might be the last chance we get for a while.” “You think the Alliance may still be on our tail, sir?” “Wish I didn’t, but we both know they don’t give up easily.” “Where we going next then, Cap’n?” “I’ll let Bane go shopping tomorrow, and then it’s back out to the Rim. It’ll be piecemeal stuff, but at least it won’t attract attention. Once Monty’s order is ready we’ll wave him. Like to bring in plenty of credit.” “Sounds like a good plan, sir.” “I think so. Now, I order you to have some more fun while it lasts.” He bowed politely to Angel Pye and handed Zoe over to him, laughing to himself as he watched her disappear into the throng. He was not left alone for long as a very forward woman pulled him back into the circle of dancing. After sunset there was the traditional marriage dance done by the Pye women and men, known as the Sunset Dance. Those who did not know how, stood outside the circle and watched. Anna stood in the centre and then weaved between the other women, including Bane, before returning to the centre. Bane had grabbed River to take part as well, figuring she would be able to pick up the moves no problem. Skirts twirled and there was a certain amount of acrobatics. Jayne was practically drooling and he was not alone. It was fast and furious but amazing to watch. The Pye men then somersaulted into the circle and threw their female partners high into the air. Only the bride remained untouched at the centre. Tony came to claim her and they twirled at the centre, each having one arm raised skywards. River could not stop laughing, she was having so much fun. Maloranty Pye was her partner, and despite seeming rather portly, he was as limber as the youngest man there. The final part of the dance involved them being passed around the circle and lifted up and then spun by each man, until they were returned to the person they started with. Zoe watched with the others from the sidelines, the music was primal and intoxicating, the fast drum beat vibrating down her body. Wash was not here, but she almost felt his tangible presence next to her. She could imagine what he would say and she closed her eyes to see him. He would be trying to persuade her to take part so he could watch. After watching he would drag her off to their bunk with that wicked leer he had and – “You look happy, Sis,” said Karl, shocking her out of her reverie. She took a deep breath and licked her dry lips. She did not mind him calling her ‘Sis’, fact was she had got rather used to it. “Just thinking how much Wash would have liked this.” Karl looked back over to the dancers and saw Bane being lifted in the air again before being twirled around to the next man. With all the spinning he could not help but notice that she had made some matching blue shorts to go with her dress. “It’s very invigorating, isn’t it?” he said in a low voice, his attention still on the dancers. Zoe agreed, it did make a person want to go right out and get sexed, but she would not say that out loud. “Want some sisterly advice?” Karl looked at her and groaned. “You with the matchmakin’ too? There seems to be a powerful lot of people trying to hook me and Bane up.” Zoe laughed reassuringly. “That was the Captain’s idea, not mine,” she held up her hand so that he would not interrupt her. “I’ll tell you that story another time. All I was going to say was that whatever you want to do, don’t let the unpredictability of the Black stop you. Life’s too short, an’ you an’ Bane have already lived a few lifetimes between you.” She started to walk away. “Ain’t you gonna stay for more dancing?” he said, moved by her words. “No, I’m off to my bunk for a little reunion of my own.” ~ * ~ Much later Karl obligingly danced with the bride and several others, although the bride’s sister was conspicuously absent. He had seen her running out into the darkness with Jayne shortly after the marriage dance. There seemed to be a lot of that tonight, the atmosphere was like a drug and he was half way there himself. As the current dance came to an end, he looked around for Bane again, but she had disappeared. Gorram it, could the woman not stand still for a moment? He watched River disappear with the pilot of the Rosalyn and wondered if her brother knew what she was up to. Simon had left the circle of dancing with Kaylee as soon as it had got dark. The newly married couple were virtually the only ones left on the dance floor now that the music had slowed. Disappointed, Karl headed over to sit down at one of the campfires where he saw Mal, in deep business-like conversation with Yang Pye. Bane was holding back her young cousin’s hair and was listening to her throw up. Away from the lamps of the circle and the camp fires it was very dark, and it was a fitting reunion for her and Corren. Bane had worried that she might have some kind of jealous feelings for Jayne, especially since they had both virtually fallen over him and Laura in the dark. But Corren had barely registered him, having plenty of other choice, as well as plenty of brandy, it seemed. Bane looked over to where she had seen Karl dancing, but he had gone. It was probably for the best if he found someone else to keep him warm tonight, although she kind of hoped he did not. “Come on, Corren, I’ll get you to your bed.” “I’m perfectly fine,” she managed to splutter, and then threw up again. Shiny. When Bane finally got Corren back to the bunkroom on the Rosalyn, they were both surprised to turn on the lights and find Stan and River kissing in the dark. Bane rolled her eyes. Today she had gone from feeling fifteen to fifty. Pye weddings had the reputation for other things as well. Stan was sitting on one of the chairs and River was on his lap, fortunately they were both fully clothed. Bane was trying to block out where she had seen one of Stan’s hands roving. She got a bowl from the galley and placed it near Corren’s bunk. “You comin’ back with me, River, or shall I leave you in the capable hands of Stan?” River smirked at her words and knew she should not let it go to far with Stan. Not until they had some proper time to get to know each other better. She quickly kissed him goodbye and jumped up to join Bane. Stan was torn between whether to follow or to stay, but as his ship mate decided to throw up again at that moment and Bane and River were already out the door, his chivalry won over. Bane and River found the fire that the others were sitting around. Jayne had appeared with his guitar looking thoroughly sexed and Laura Shoo sat leaning against his leg, also looking mighty pleased with herself. River left Bane’s side and went to sit next to Mal. Bane stood for a while taking in the scene, a large part of her glad that Karl was sitting there too, and alone. It had been a long while since she had felt this contented about life. Jayne strummed purposefully and looked at Karl. They started off with the same bawdy song she had heard them sing in the galley. Jayne’s voice was not bad either, as long as he had someone else to help keep him in tune. Bane sat down so she could watch Karl sing. It was near dawn when she dozed off to the sounds of The Lively Loving Lass, her shawl wrapped around her to keep the chill off her arms. * * * * * * * * Serenity was packed to the seams with machine parts when she broke atmo the following day. Mal had galvanised them all early the following morning, and it was still full daylight when they lifted off from Eavesdown. More than a few of them were feeling jaded from the previous night’s indulgences. Bane had found herself still outside in the morning when Mal had woken her, she had apparently fallen asleep by the fire and no one wanted to be the one to wake her. She had just been covered in someone’s coat. She had not been alone though, two of the Whittier cousins had slept there as well. Like the others, Bane had been working at full tilt right up until supper, pretty much all of the smuggling panels were taken up with her machinery. There was a lot of work ahead, she had even found a couple of old guns on her rounds with Jayne. The beauty of the deal she had with Mal regarding the munition was that she bought the equipment with her credit, so she was not wasting anyone else’s if it did not work out. She stored the guns in the secret panel in her quarters, along with the raw ingredients for the putty. By dinner she was exhausted, but glad that everything was now stored away. Karl had received several blunt interrogations from various members of the crew about whether anything had happened between him and Bane the night before. He was more than a little aggravated at people sticking their noses in to his business, however well meaning. After a quick session in the gym, he needed a bit of peace and quiet which is why he made his way to the seating area by the Med Bay. Apparently Bane had thought of the same idea and she was already there, scribbling in her little journal. She looked up before he could turn around and go somewhere else. “It’s been a long day, hasn’t it?” she smiled. Karl sat down next to her and stretch his legs out in front of him. “A long couple of days, but well worth it. Don’t think I’ve had a better time at a party before.” “What, even the party where we painted your hair pink?” she sniggered. “My memory’s a bit fuzzy on that one, but I’ll get my revenge.” Bane did not doubt him and knew that she had to keep her wits about her. She was really tired and she closed her journal and stood up. “Going already?” Karl enquired, a little disappointed. “Can’t even manage a quick game of cards?” Bane rubbed her eye and gave a stifled yawn, considering. “One game, then. Did you bring your cards?” “No, they’re in my bunk,” he held out his hand. “Help me up and I’ll get them.” Bane pulled him up and unintentionally into direct contact with herself. Karl did not waste the opportunity and kissed her. It was an old trick he had just played, and he was amazed it had worked, especially on Bane. Despite of all the matchmaking, the last two days all he could think about was what it might be like to kiss her, and he was not disappointed. All his other senses dulled, maybe it was need or maybe genuine attraction, he did not know yet. None of it mattered at the moment, especially now that she was not pulling away from him. Bane was could not think only feel Karl’s lips and tongue and the tickle of his facial hair. She wanted it to last and last. He pulled her onto his lap as he fell back onto the couch, his legs no longer able to support him. His arms came fully around her, crossing over and engulfing. What she had thought was dead in her, was now awakening. It sent shivers down her spine and she held on tighter, melting and lost. After time and a need for air other than their mingled breath, they came apart breathing heavily and afraid to look each other in the eyes. They kissed again and it was wonderful, the ability to recapture the blind exhilaration of that first moment. It did not last as long and this time when they came apart they dared to look up from each other’s lips and into each other’s eyes. There sat desire, friendship, familiarity and truth. Before either of them could speak, they heard footsteps on the rear staircase and they sprang apart instinctively, like guilty teenagers. “Here you are,” said Jayne, completely unaware of what had just happened and he showed them the pack of cards he was carrying. “Thought you might have finished in the gym by now, Karl. Everyone else seems to have gone to bed.” Bane and Karl looked at each other and then back at Jayne. Karl could not help chuckling at the absurdity and saw that Bane was trying her best to compose herself. He looked forward to the opportunity to carry on what they had just begun. Jayne pulled up the low table and sat down between them. Bane was speechless, every time she glanced over at Karl he was grinning like a bèn dàn. When she held up her cards, her hand went instinctively to her lips which felt swollen and battered. She could not deny it had not felt good. When she peeked at him again, he was still staring and Jayne was oblivious. It was on Jayne’s insistence that they were still playing cards an hour later. Then Serenity’s proximity alarms sounded at the same moment as they heard River screaming hysterically from her bunk. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Author’s Note: Edited in September 2007 (Always looking to improve!).


Wednesday, May 2, 2007 11:53 AM


Please please post your thoughts as (good or bad) it inspires me to keep writing.
For a quick synopsis of crew members Bane Pye and Karl Jacobsson, see my log.

Sunday, May 6, 2007 6:18 PM


Another reverse Joss plotline, eh hermitsrest?


Excellent work here, I must say! Between the beautiful description of the Pye family wedding tradition and the Bane/Karl smoochfest, I was feeling all kinds of warm and fuzzy:D


Monday, July 9, 2007 8:40 AM


For the Pye Wedding I had some musical inspiration to help me set the mood. I found The Corrs album Home very good for this.


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