Paquin - Part II
Sunday, May 6, 2007

Maya. Post-BDM. The job continues, while Bethany plays. Mostly fluff, but there's more to come. Please, please leave feedback. My muse needs it. (And so do I!)


Crandall was a tall man, almost as big and broad as Jayne. He looked liked he’d been through just as many bar fights, too, judging from the somewhat broken nature of his nose. Which made his choice of clothes all the more surprising. He was dressed in slacks and a sweater that wouldn’t have looked out of place on the young doctor. His age, though, Mal would put at near his own, and the idle thought occurred to him that he’d probably fought in the war.

“Captain Reynolds.” Crandall smiled.

“That’s me.” Mal walked down the ramp, leaving Zoe and Jayne standing at the top. He didn’t hold out his hand. “Got your goods right here.” He looked past Crandall towards the two men waiting by the small hover. “Only it looks to me like you’re gonna have to come back for ‘em. They won’t fit into that little thing.”

Crandall’s smile didn’t waver. “Well, that’s what I’d like to talk to you about. Can we go inside?”

Mal didn’t move. “It’s a nice day.”

Crandall shrugged. “As you say.” He gestured over his shoulder to his hover. “This is my personal vehicle.”

“Nice.” Mal didn’t mind making small talk, as long as it didn’t go on too long. “So you’re getting something bigger to come?”

“There is a slight problem with that. These goods are destined for my storage facility in the mountains.” He glanced towards the smudge of dark blue on the horizon. “And there would normally be no problem with my men taking it there, except our mule is out of action at the moment.”


“We’re waiting for a part. So I was wondering if you could be presumed upon to deliver the goods direct.”

Mal nodded slowly. “Might be able to. If we land my boat close by –“

“Sorry,” Crandall interrupted. “My facility … well, it sits into the mountain itself. There’s nowhere to land a ship within a fair distance.”


Crandall shook his head. “Don’t you have a ground vehicle that could make it?”

Mal glanced over his shoulder at the hover mule hanging in Serenity’s cargo hold. “We do, but …” He considered. The amount of goods to be delivered meant that he could only take one other person with him.

“I’ll pay extra.”

“It ain't a matter of payment.” Mal shrugged. “Well, not entirely a matter of that.”

“Captain Reynolds, I’d be grateful.”

“Why don’t we just leave ‘em here?” Jayne suggested. “Hide ‘em somewhere ‘til you get your mule fixed.”

“Paquin isn’t exactly … we have troubles with bandits sometimes,” Crandall explained, almost apologetically. “That’s why I have my facility in the mountains. It’s more secure.”

“Then we could hover over your place and lower it down on a rope.” Zoe stepped down the ramp. “It should all fit on a pallet.”

Crandall shook his head. “Some of the items are … fragile.”

“That wasn’t told to us when we took them on board,” Mal pointed out. “Any damage done, well, that ain’t our responsibility.”

“I never said it was, Captain. And I wouldn’t hold you to it. But …” He reached into his pocket.

Mal felt Zoe tense beside him. “Just be real careful what you take out of there,” he advised.

Crandall jerked, then nodded, slowly removing his hand, a roll of notes in his palm. “I realise this is an inconvenience, Captain. But I am more than ready to recompense you for your trouble.”

Mal didn’t speak for a moment, then nodded. “Best give me the co-ordinates. We‘ll take Serenity as far as we can, then use the mule the rest of the way.”


“Sorry, Cap, but Serenity ain’t going anywhere for a day or so.”

Mal crossed his arms in annoyance. “Kaylee, got us a job we need to do. So unless you’ve got a mighty fine reason for saying that -”

“How about she’ll blow up if you try and take off?”

Mal swallowed then nodded slowly. “Well, that’s pretty good. How come?”

“The flux on the main intake was going, but I hoped it’d last ‘til we got back to Lazarus and I could spend some time taking -”

“Kaylee. Captain dummy talk?”

“That was.” She looked into his blue eyes. “It went. And if we take off now, the fuel cells’ll start leaking and we -”

“Go boom?”

“Yep. In a long and loudly fashion. Probably quite pretty too, if‘n you’re not inside at the time.”

He pushed the mental image of Serenity raining down in little pieces from his mind. “Okay.” He gazed at her. “How long?”

“Maybe thirty-six hours. If it’s just the flux I can replace that, ‘n’ it takes twenty -four to cure … course, can’t tell ‘til I get in there if it’s already caused any damage.”

Mal put his hand on her shoulder. “Best get on with it then.”

“Will do, Cap.” Kaylee grinned at him and scampered off back to the engine room.

“We ain’t flying Serenity in?” Jayne asked from the doorway to the dining area.

“Nope. Looks like we’re gonna have to use the mule the whole way, since we can’t get her in a shuttle.”

“Aw, Mal, that’s gonna take forever,” the big man whined.

“Less if you get her ready now.”

The mercenary looked about to argue some more, but saw the look on Mal’s face and headed back towards the cargo bay, muttering Chinese under his breath.

Mal grinned and headed in the other direction, looking for Freya to let her know they were staying put a while longer.


Simon was examining Ethan in the infirmary, the little boy lying on the medbed, Freya standing close by.

“Frey?” Mal asked, stepping inside. “What happened?” He crossed the room quickly to stand next to his wife.

Ethan looked up and him and waved his hands, laughing at his father, apparently none the worse for wear.

“He knocked his head.” Freya was looking worried. “He was trying to stand up, and … I don’t know. Next thing I knew he was on the floor.”

“He’s fine, Mal,” Simon said, looking up. “Just a little knock.” He smiled. “Bethany used to do it all the time.”

“Yeah, I remember.” Mal let Ethan take hold of his fingers. “You sure he’s okay?”

“He’s going to have a bruise, and maybe a bit of a lump, but otherwise he’s fine.”

“Only the job ain't quite finished yet, and we need to …” He glanced at Freya. “You gonna be okay here for a day or two? I gotta take Jayne with me, but …”

“We’ll be fine.” Freya had relaxed as Simon spoke, and now smiled at her husband. “I’ll just spend the time padding every piece of furniture we’ve got.”

“Besides, I’d like to keep an eye on Ethan for a while,” Simon said, still looking at his readouts.

“What? Why?” Mal asked, exchanging a newly worried glance with his wife.

“He has a slight temperature.” Simon looked up, then realised what his words had suggested. “No, it’s nothing much, just half a degree.”

“Halvie’s kid,” Mal breathed.

“What?” Simon asked.

“Halvorsen’s little boy was sick,” Freya explained. “That’s why we came home sooner than expected.” She ran her hand across Ethan’s forehead. “Could he have picked it up that quickly?”

Simon smiled a little. “Frey, children get temperatures. Mostly it doesn’t do them any harm, so I’m just saying we need to watch him. Nothing else.”

“Can you give him something?”

“I’d rather not. As I said, it’s just half a degree, and he’ll probably be back to normal in the morning.”

Mal shook his head. “Ain’t the time for me to be going anywhere,” he muttered.

“You’ve got a job to do,” Freya said, holding her concern back. “And we’ve got the best doctor this side of the Core. Ethan’ll be fine.”

“Can you find out what that child has? If they know?” Simon asked.

“Sure.” She looked back at her son. “Can I take him back to the nursery?”

“That’ll be fine. Just don’t let him play with Bethany for a day or two. Until I say it’s okay.”

“Whatever you say.” Mal picked his son up, sitting him on his hip. “Only I’m not sure Bethie’s gonna be too pleased about that.”


Zoe watched the mule head off towards the mountains. From the co-ordinates Crandall had given them, it was going to be a day there and a day back. She smiled. All in Jayne’s company. For once she didn’t mind that she wasn’t going.

Maybe they could do some of the male bonding she’d heard so much about.

She laughed a little and headed back into the cargo bay, pausing on the threshold at the scene in front of her. Her - for want of a better phrase - other half was fighting, stabbing with a stick at something quite invisible, and talking to himself.

“Have at ye, ye varlet,” he said, thrusting his stick forward, then pulling back, watching the air as it seemed to fall to the ground. Then he turned. “Sneak up on me, would you? Ha!” He thrashed, one leg bouncing off the deck as he parried before delivering the killing blow. Without a pause he turned again, this time facing Bethany. “To the death!” he shouted, advancing on her.

“To the death!” she echoed, running towards him, under the stick, colliding with his legs and sending them both to the ground.

“Oh, oh,” he cried. “Mortally wounded!”

“Don’t you think you’d be better off helping Kaylee?” Zoe asked.

Hank sat up, his face burning. “I was.”

“Oh? How?”

“I offered,” the pilot said. “Only she told me to …” He glanced down at the little girl in his lap. “That my assistance wasn’t wanted.”

Bethany giggled.

“What did everyone say about peeking?” Zoe asked, looking at her sternly.

“Wasn’t peeking. I heard.” She tapped her ears.

“And there was Kaylee telling everyone to be careful what they said around her,” Hank muttered, pulling a patch down over his eye. “And she’s as bad as the rest of us.”

“What’s that for?”

“Uncle Hank’s playing pirates.” Bethany picked up the small cardboard sword Hank had made her and waved it around.


“That’s how I’m helping. Kaylee told me to keep Bethie occupied,” Hank explained. “Since she can’t play with Ethan at the moment.”

“So it had to be pirates.”

“Bethie insisted. Only she won’t let me be Blackbeard,” Hank complained. “Says that’s Jayne.”

“So who are you?”

Hank grinned, letting his chest swell with pride. “I’m the good guys. Out to capture the dread buccaneers and put them to the rope.”

“I really think you have to stop reading those books.”

“Auntie Zoe play with us?” Bethany asked.

“I have things to do -”

“Please?” The little girl turned her big eyes onto full, including the trembling of the lower lip.

“I don’t have a sword,” Zoe said, knowing she was giving in.

“You know, if I recall correctly, people on this boat don’t have that much of a reputation with swords.” Hank reached over and picked up another stick. “Here.”

Bethany grinned and got to her feet, advancing on Zoe.

“Grr. Argh.” She tried to growl the same way Jayne had shown her. “Time to walk the plank.”

“I’m not walking any plank,” Zoe said firmly.

“But you’re the damsel in distress,” Hank explained. “I get to come and rescue you just in the nick of time from the fearsome pirate captain.”


“Since when have I ever been a damsel? In distress or otherwise?”

“Might have been. Once. You know. A long time ago.”



“Couldn’t you try?”



“Uncle Hank has to walk the plank?” Bethany asked, looking between them.

“You know, I think that’s a good idea,” Zoe agreed, smiling at her. “He can be the damsel in distress instead.”

“Honey, I ain’t a damsel even more than you.”

“Grr.” Bethany poked him with her sword. “Time to walk the plank.”

Hank glanced at Zoe then sighed. Might as well make the most of this, he decided. Striking a theatrical pose, his hands clasped in front of his chest, he lisped, “No, no, pleath. I am but a poor damthel in dithtreth. Who will thave me from thith beatht?”

“Fear not, sweet damsel,” came a voice from above. They all looked up. River was standing on the top catwalk railing, her hair flying in the breeze from the open door, a tricorn hat cunningly made out of paper on her head. In her left hand was another of the cardboard swords, while she held onto a rope with the other. “I will rescue you!” She put the sword between her teeth, and swung down, alighting on the decking and running in the same movement.

“Grr,” Bethany growled and advanced on her prey.

“Um, honey?” Hank began. “Should we be letting them do this?”

“Hank, if I were you, I’d just stay out of it and watch. Might learn something.”

“Oh. Okay.”


to be continued


Sunday, May 6, 2007 2:38 AM


Nice little fluffy bit, but you've got several fronts where I can see angst abrewing.. Hmm, which one is it going to be? Love your writing as always!

Sunday, May 6, 2007 2:46 AM


I'm not feeling good about Crandell. Somethings got to happen. Things never go smooth for the crew. especially when Mal and Jayne are together.

I also love Bethany playing pirate with Hank and River.

Sunday, May 6, 2007 9:43 AM


The pirate scene with Hank and Bethany was precious and was Zoe coming and being roped into playing. Of course, I also love River literally swinging in to save the day.

I'm a mite worried about little Ethan and about Mal and Jayne going off alone. I think maybe they should have negotiated a bit more to wait until Serenity could fly. Plus, now if they get in trouble, who's going to rescue them.

And just a detail, but I'm curious - is Zoe showing yet? She should be, right? This is great stuff ... can't wait for the angst though.

Monday, May 7, 2007 3:47 PM


All kinds of brilliant stuff here, Jane0904! Definitely lurved the Hank-Bethany-River playfighting scene;)

Gotta say though...I have me some serious concerns about this whole job situation. Mal and Jayne alone? Running cargo with the mule alone on a trip that will take a couple of days round-trip? Something smells off in the 'Verse:(


Wednesday, May 9, 2007 12:33 PM


Why do I get the sinking feeling that Mal and the crew are being set up? All those excuses for why Crandall can't pick up his goods makes me nervous. I don't like it one little bit. Also, I keep expecting Niska to materialise out of the ether which is silly, right, because you would be more original than that. Really wish Mal had just dumped Crandall's cargo at his feet and left the humping of it to his mountain fortress to the man himself. Ho hum, Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me


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Mal took a deep breath, allowing it out slowly through his nostrils, and now his next words were the honest truth. “Ain’t surprised. No matter how good you are, and I’m not complaining, I’ve seen enough battle wounds, had to help out at the odd amputation on occasion. And I don’t have to be a doc myself to tell his leg ain’t quite the colour it should be, even taking into account his usual pasty complexion. What you did … didn’t work, did it?”
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[Maya. Post-BDM. Hank's not out of the woods yet, and Mal has a conversation. Enjoy!]

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[Maya. Post-BDM. A little with each Serenity couple, but something goes bang. Read, enjoy, review!]

“Did we …” “We did.” “Why?” As she raised an eyebrow at him he went on quickly, “I mean, we got a comfy bunk, not that far away. Is there any particular reason we’re in here instead?” “You don’t remember?” He concentrated for a moment, and the activities of a few hours previously burst onto him like a sunbeam. “Oh, right,” he acknowledged happily.

[Maya. Post-BDM. A little with each Serenity couple, but something goes bang. Read, enjoy, review!]