Paquin - Part V
Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Maya. Post-BDM. Mal's hurt and Jayne's the only one around ... Please comment. If the site's down please try again!


“No,” Hank said firmly. “No way. You ain’t going.”

Zoe strapped her gun to her hip, finding it still did up, just. Grabbing her coat she headed for the ladder. “Freya’s waiting.”

“Zoe, did you hear me?”

She looked at him. “I’m going, Hank.”

“But you’re pregnant!”

“And he’s my captain.” She hurried up the ladder, Hank following literally at her heels.

“Please, Zoe.” He was pleading now.

“Hank, we have to get him back.”

“Frey’s not even sure!”

She looked at him. “Do you want to tell her that?”

“Zoe …” He put his hand on her arm. “I just checked the sensors. There’s one hell of a storm front coming through, right where you’re headed. The shuttle’s not safe, not in that.”

She didn’t shout at him, didn’t tell him where to go. Instead she kissed his lips softly. “I understand, Hank. But he’s my friend. And if Freya says he’s hurt, then I believe her.”

“But –“

“No buts. Even if I don’t go, Freya will, and so will Simon.”

“Zoe!” Freya shouted from the cargo bay.

“Coming.” She looked at Hank and touched his cheek. “It’s decided.” She dragged her coat on over the silky top, knowing it wasn’t going to meet in front, and this time not caring. She hurried towards shuttle two.

He glared after her, then stomped towards the bridge.

“She’ll be okay,” Kaylee said as he passed her.

“Is this what she did before? With Wash?” he asked, turning a pained look on the young mechanic.

“He’s the captain. If I thought I could do any good, I’d be going too.”

“But she’s pregnant.”

“Hank, Simon’s there too. You think he’s gonna let her do anything stupid?”

He closed his eyes and sighed. “It’s just –”

Kaylee put her arms around him and hugged him tightly. “I know. So does she. You just gotta talk about these things when she gets back, dong mah?”

“I do try.”

“Try harder.”


River darted into the shuttle behind her brother, closing the door as she did so.

“What do you think you’re doing?” Simon asked, staring at her.

“I’m going to help.”

“River –”

“Up front with me,” Freya called from the small bridge.

"She needs me," River said softly, sliding past him.

Simon stared at Zoe, sitting against the bulkhead, who shrugged.

“Can you feel them?” River asked Freya as the shuttle disconnected, lifting up and away from the Firefly and heading towards the mountains.

“Some. Just …”

“He’ll be all right,” River said softly. “Jayne’s with him.”


Inside the cave Jayne lifted Mal down from the hover, hearing the other man groan. “That’s it,” he muttered. “You stay alive.”

He laid him carefully onto the floor of the cave, far enough away from the mouth so he couldn’t be seen clearly, but close enough so there was enough light. He pulled Mal’s brown coat away, then his shirt. A single gunshot wound low down on Mal’s right side, probably not fatal, except maybe for blood loss or infection. And the whistling sound every time Mal breathed in.

He covered the wound with his hand, pressing down, earning another low cry from the man on the floor, but the whistling stopped. Except he couldn’t stay like this, and if the bullet had caught the lung, he’d be pushing air into his chest that way too. He had to think of something else.


They made it to the mountains in quick time, getting to the co-ordinates Crandall had given them for his storage facility. He was right – there was nowhere to land anything even as small as the shuttle, and there was no sign of the hover either.

“Backtrack,” River said, pointing to the trail on the topographical map on the screen.

Freya nodded.


Jayne could smell alcohol, and investigated. One of the wooden crates on the hover had been hit, and something expensive was dripping from it. He dipped his fingers into the pool and tasted. Whisky, and damn good quality. Better than the rotgut he usually bought. He grinned sombrely. Looked like Crandall had a taste for the good things in life. Luckily, he had a better use for it.


A short distance from the facility they came across several wounded men, being helped along by others who fired up at the shuttle before the downdraft had them hiding their faces, pulling the falling snow into a maelstrom. Blood was staining the ground around a couple of the bodies.

“I’d say they were here,” Freya commented softly.

“Ambush,“ River agreed.

“No hover.”

“Keep going.”


Mal was finding it harder to breathe, and every time he expanded his lungs it hurt to the point of wishing he could just pass out. Only he knew if he did, he probably wouldn’t wake up. Jayne had been as gentle as he could, but just being moved from the hover to the ground was almost too much. He’d cried out, he knew that, his scream echoing through the cave, but he didn’t care. Now he just felt cold, and he started to shiver.

Jayne walked back towards him.

“You planning on having a party?” Mal ground out, watching the big man approach with a bottle of something in his hand.

“It’s for you.” Jayne squatted down, opening the bottle and pouring it over his thinnest knife, the smell of whisky filling the cave. “You got air leaking into your chest, Mal. If I don’t relieve it, you’re gonna die. Soon.”

“What’re you going to use?” Mal wasn’t arguing. He knew as well as Jayne, from the tightness growing worse in his chest, there was no option.

Jayne nodded to the piece of tubing he’d pulled from the hover. “Just hope it ain’t anything important, or else Kaylee’ll kill me.” He moved forward, lifting Mal’s head just a little so he could hold the bottle to his lips. “Take a good swig,” he said. “’Cause this is gonna hurt.”


Freya felt a stabbing in her chest, and her eyes widened. She stared at River. “What’s he doing?”

“Saving Mal’s life,” River said quietly.

“Can you tell where they are?” Zoe asked, leaning in the small bridge.

“The hover doesn’t have a beacon,” Freya said, turning back to look out of the windows at the snow whirling around outside. This reminded her too much of the storm they’d flown through – or rather, crashed out of – when she was giving birth to Ethan. Now she was trying to find a needle in it while feeling everything that was going on. “Have to rectify that,” she said grimly, holding her side.

“But you can feel them, right?”

“No. Well, yes, but it’s just … I know they’re down there somewhere.” Freya pointed outside. “I just can’t tell …” She began to pant.

“What is it?”


“Pull back a little,” River advised. “Otherwise I’ll take over.”

Freya wiped the sudden sweat from her forehead. “No. I’m shiny.” She glanced at the young woman. “Can you get a fix on Jayne?”

River nodded slowly, unfocusing.


Outside snow was still falling heavily, and as Jayne looked up into the sky his heart sank. There was a hell of a lot more in those clouds, he realised, and maybe a lot worse, and if they didn’t move soon, they could get trapped. Trouble was, moving Mal was not going to be easy, but staying put wasn’t really an option either.

“Mal, we gotta go. Otherwise we don’t have a prospect of making it.”

Mal nodded. “I know. You just get me up on the hover. I’ll take my chances.”

“You trust me?”

“I let you dig into my chest, didn’t I?” He’d almost passed out from the pain, and he was sure he screamed at one point, but at least his breathing was easier.

Jayne grinned. “Maybe I was feeling generous. ‘Sides, don’t think River’d be too pleased if I let anything happen to you, let alone Freya.”

“Which one are you more afraid of, Jayne?”

“Oh, Frey for sure. Ain’t no contest.”

Mal smiled. “That’s my girl.” He moved slightly and groaned. “Best get me up, then.”

“Mal …” Jayne began but stopped.

“It’s okay. I know.”

“’Kay.” Jayne reached down, about to pick up his captain as gently as he could, when he heard a roaring sound above them. “What the hell …”

Mal grinned. “Sounds like the cavalry,” he said, trying to sit up without thinking and gasping with the agony that shot through his chest.


“One of Serenity’s shuttles.” Mal struggled for breath.

Jayne stared at him, then ran outside. Sure enough, above them was a familiar sight, and it made his heart leap to see it. “You’re right, Mal,” he whooped, not caring that snow was coating his goatee and hair, making him look like an old man. “It’s the shuttle!”

“Frey,” Mal whispered, about to fall into the darkness of unconsciousness when Jayne’s voice pulled him back.

“Oh, Mal. You should be seeing this. Hell, I'm seeing it and I don’t believe it.”

“What?” Mal murmured.

Jayne was staring up at the shuttle, and the man being slowly winched down towards him. “If that don’t beat all,” he muttered.

Simon had his eyes tightly closed, feeling the wind of the storm competing with the shuttle’s downdraft to batter him into submission. His mouth was active, though.

“How the diyu did she manage to get me to agree to this?” he was saying, interspersing it with a prayer or two. “If she got into my mind and played me … well, just wait until she’s in my infirmary again.”

Jayne grinned as he reached up and grabbed the young man’s leg, eliciting a yelp of fright.

“’S’only me, doc,” he shouted. “Just relax.”

Simon felt the big man’s hands steadying him, then the blessed solidity of the rocks beneath his feet. He opened his eyes warily. Jayne was chuckling at him as he unclipped the line from the harness.

“Freya?” he asked knowingly.

“Freya,” Simon nodded. “Mal?”

“In there.”

Jayne led the way inside, and as his eyes adjusted Simon could Mal lying on the ground and hurried over. “We need a fire,” he said, dropping to his knees and opening his medbag. Mal was shaking with the cold.

“Ain't got no wood to speak of.”

“Then use the crates. We have to get him warm.” Simon moved the blood-soaked shirt to one side, then saw Jayne’s handiwork. “You did this?” he asked, looking up in surprise.

Jayne paused in his dismantling. “Yeah. Had to. He was drowning. Used some of that fancy whisky to sterilise much as I could.”

“Good job.” He opened an emergency dressing pack and pressed it into place, and didn’t see the look on the big man’s face.

Jayne was astonished. He could count on the thumbs of a one-handed man just how many times Simon had complimented him. “Uh, thanks.” He went back to ripping the crates apart, shaking his head slightly.

“We need blankets,” Simon added, filling two hypos, one with broad spectrum antibiotics, the other with a pain killer. He injected them both into Mal’s neck. “Does River understand?”

Yes, came her voice in both their minds. Coming now.

Jayne ran out into the snow and grabbed the bundle being lowered. He grinned up at the shuttle, knowing no-one would be able to see, but sure River was watching.


Freya wiped her nose on the back of her hand, staring out into the white, hoping no-one had noticed.

“He’s going to be fine,” River whispered, standing behind her in the doorway.

“Yeah, sure. I knew that.”

The young psychic nodded, and gently withdrew her mind from the other woman’s.


As Simon finished his examination and tidied up Jayne’s incision, the big man had the fire going, and Mal’s shivering was starting to abate.

“I have to get him back to Serenity,” the young doctor said. “He’s stable for the moment, but that bullet has to come out.”

“What do you suggest?”

Simon sat back on his heels. “The shuttle?”

Jayne shook his head. “Honestly, doc, it’s a miracle and Frey’s flying that you got down in one piece without hitting the canyon walls. Going back up with an injured man …”

Simon swallowed. He had no idea it had been such a close thing. “I still need to operate. And I can’t do that here.”

“Then I’ll drive him out in the mule. Crandall weren't telling exactly the whole truth. There’s a place big enough for the shuttle to touch down back in the foothills.”

“How long?”

“An hour. Maybe.”

Simon pursed his lips. “An hour …”

“Doc, there really ain't any other choice in this.” Jayne looked back out into the storm. “And it ain't gonna be easy in this.”

“I have to stay with him.” He nodded towards the hover. “You’ll have to dump the goods here.”

“With those boys about? May not be here when we get back.”

“Tough shit.”

Jayne’s lips twitched. “You know, for once I think I gotta agree with you.”

“Does River know where to go?”

I do.

“Sometimes I wish she’d stop doing that,” Jayne complained. “Man’s mind ain't his own no more.”

“Now you know how I’ve felt for a very long time,” Simon said, his tone utterly resigned.

to be concluded


Wednesday, May 9, 2007 1:23 AM


Great job! Loved the Simon - Jayne interaction. If Hank was so worried about Zoe he should have piloted the shuttle himself.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007 1:36 AM


Beautiful chapter, wonderfully paced. You're in the zone with this one!

Wednesday, May 9, 2007 12:35 PM


Great job as usual! Just loved Simon giving Jayne a compliment. Didn't know he had it in him.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007 1:06 PM


Loved this. You have fleshed Jayne out and shown a side of him we seldom see which is great. Loved Simon's compliment momentarily flooring him too. Am doubly happy Jayne was with Mal, otherwise we would be short one Captain and in mourning. I also like that at the end of this one it felt as if the chasm between Simon and Jayne is gradually closing which is great. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Wednesday, May 9, 2007 4:05 PM


Some utterly fabulous work here, Jane0904! Good to see that Hank is taking up the banner from Wash in expressing discontent that Zoe keeps inserting herself into dangerous situations to save Mal's pigu, and the scenes with Jayne - especially when he's conversing with River in his head - really are fleshing out a mighty intriguing character;D



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Monied Individual - Part I
Hank’s parents had died when he was young, and his grandmother had brought him up. Mal considered it was her fault he was the way he was, but that was unfair – Hank was who he was always destined to be. Or possibly he was meant to be someone else entirely.

[Maya. Post-BDM. A new story for your delectation and delight. Persephone, Badger and lawyers ... what could possibly go wrong?]

Secrets - Part XXVIII - Conclusion
River shook herself, turning from the rabbit hole. She didn’t feel like being Alice, and while Jayne’s grin sometimes made her think of the Cheshire Cat, the dormouse was asleep and likely to remain so. Of much more interest were the secrets. So many, some old, some new, some borrowed and some blue. And for once she didn’t care if she was referencing the Earth-that-was marriage ceremony. That wasn’t the point. Inara, the Bodens, Harper Lecomb and the Culver diamond, Randall Lecomb and his homicidal tendencies … all secrets, overlaid with the flavour of the Alliance and their need to control.
[Maya. Post-BDM. Secrets comes to a conclusion, but some are still waiting to see the light of day.]

Secrets- Part XXVII
“I don’t always trust him when he’s operating on Jayne. A slip of the scalpel, too many drugs, too little oxygen, and I would be a free woman. My worries. Not his thoughts. But he is my brother. For better or worse. For richer or poorer. In sickness and in health. And we have experienced them all.”
[Maya. Post-BDM. Home stretch now on Secrets, with the crisis passed for now and decisions made. Thanks so much for those of you who have stuck with this!]

Secrets - Part XXVI
"Have you never done that? In all those times you were treating someone in the hospital, when you were the great Doctor Tam, didn’t you once tell less than the truth to someone if it made them feel less desperate?”
[Maya. Post-BDM. Inara's fate, and what follows. My apologies for the wait!]

"Jayne, she’s psychic.” “So?”
[Maya-ish. Post-BDM. One of my occasional forays into standalone dialogue only, and to make up for the fact Secrets is still waiting an update. Mal and Jayne, and two cameos. Enjoy!]

Secrets - Part XXV
River sighed unhappily, and suddenly all the emotions were too much. She turned and ran back towards the lake, not stopping as she reached the water’s edge but continuing on, diving as she got deep enough, letting the cold fill her ears and eyes as if it might wash all feelings from her.
Breathing out and seeing air bubbles rise to the surface, she allowed herself to sink to the bottom. She ignored the pressure in her lungs, only considering how easy it would be to just breathe in, and she could float forever.

[Maya. Post-BDM. River sees everyone and everything. Things are about to happen.]

Secrets- Part XXIV
“My love, you must wake up,” Sam said so quietly it was doubtful anyone outside in the common area would have heard. “You must. If only to laugh at me and tell me how ridiculous I am. To touch my cheek and tell me I have to have faith. Please, Inara. Please.” A tear fell onto their hands, but he didn’t wipe it away, not caring if anyone saw.

[Maya. Post-BDM. Mal and River discuss life, and there are more visitors. This will all soon be coming to a head.]

Secrets - Part XXIII
Jayne materialised from the darkness and wrapped his strong arms around the young doctor, pinning him. “Not a good idea. Mal’s as like to give you one last chance then shoot you. If you’d tried that on me, now, you’d be bleeding into the dirt, but then Mal always was a soft touch.” “Let me go!” “Nope. Less you’d like me to hand you over to Frey, and don’t go thinking that’s the easy option.”

[Maya. Post-BDM. Couples talk, Simon's anger bubbles over, and Inara's time is running out.]

Secrets - Part XXII
Simon’s lips thinned. “The D17 might be the original problem, affecting a tiny number of those exposed, perhaps only one or two people of the same family, but the Anti-Pax wasn’t designed for it. Besides, that would be like using a hammer when I need a scalpel.”

[Maya. Post-BDM. Is there light at the end of the tunnel, or is it an oncoming Alliance cruiser?]

Secrets - Part XXI
“I don’t want to be pitied!” The words were out before she could stop them. “Pity? You think that’s what’s going to go through their heads? Inara, I knew you were stubborn, but since when did you catch stupid?”

[Maya. Post-BDM. A little more of the fall-out from Inara's revelation, and a message from Monty. And yes, another chapter in just a few days!]