Waiting - Part V
Thursday, May 17, 2007

Maya. Post-BDM. Serenity lands on Greenleaf, and the crew shows just how much they care about Ethan ... I am begging for comments, with my bowl held out high.


“My name’s Simon Mara. I'm medic on board the Firefly transport ship Serenity. We have a medical emergency.” Simon leaned over the Cortex screen, staring at the woman whose image glared back.

“What is the nature of your emergency?” She was the epitome of efficiency, and no-one was going to come into her hospital without her say so.

“We have an eight and a half month old baby boy in severe cardio distress. His SA-node is failing.”

The look on her face softened a little. “Are you sure?”

He nodded. “He’s already had one seizure, and I'm afraid there will be more.”

“Do you know the cause?”


The woman nodded. “When will you be here?”

“Less than an hour.”

“Do you require an ambulance?”


“Your docking port?”

“Havers Dock, no. 15.” Hank had already arranged it.

“A vehicle will be waiting. I’ll have our emergency team standing by.” She glanced down at another screen. “Do you have payment? This is, I'm afraid, beyond the normal level of statutory care.”

“As much as it costs.”

She nodded. “In an hour.”

The screen went to static.

“They gonna be able to do this?” Hank asked, retaking his seat.

“Greenleaf has an excellent medical facility, the best in the area. I'm sure Ethan will have the finest of care.” Simon went to leave the bridge.

“Doc, this is me you’re talking to. There ain't a one of us needs to hear that medical-type speech coming from you. Just answer the question.”

Simon sighed inwardly. “You know when I said I didn’t know about whether it was a good idea for Zoe to come out of the shuttle?”

Hank nodded slowly. “Right. I see.” His lips lifted in a humourless smile. “So the finest of care.”

“They’ll look after him.”

“They’d better.” Hank stared back out into the stars. “And the fee?”

“Jayne’s got an idea about that.”


“I can’t ask you,” Mal insisted.

“It’s for Ethan,” Jayne said, holding out the wadge of cash. “I ain't spent hardly any of it, and I … Mal, just take the damn money.”

Kaylee was nodding. “Gotta take it, Cap’n.” She had more notes in her hand. “Please.”

Mal shook his head.

Simon put his arm around his wife. “Mal, this isn’t going to be cheap. And you don’t have insurance of any kind.”

“I ain't taking your money.”

“This is the best hospital on Greenleaf, the best in this sector. If we went to the free clinic, they might not be able to …”

Mal glared at him. “I know what’s at stake here, doc. I got coin. Every penny I got’s ready.”

“And it might not be enough. Let us help.”

Wo de mah,” he muttered, sitting down hard on his chair. “You’re all feng kuang.”

“We’re family,” River said softly, padding up to him and placing her money on the table in front of him. “I wish I hadn’t bought those lights, otherwise there’d be more.”

“Thanks, albatross,” he said, smiling at her, just the corners of his mouth lifting.

“You take this,” Kaylee whispered, putting hers on top of River’s. “’N’ don’t you even think about saying no.” She briefly squeezed Simon’s hand then hurried back to her engine room.

“She’s right,” Hank put in, adding his share. “Zoe’d kill me if she thought I’d let you be all noble and stupid.”


“Her words,” Hank said quickly. “’Sides, can’t think of a better thing to spend my ill-gotten gains on.” He walked away towards the bridge, hoping everyone’d think he just had something in his eyes.

“I’d better get back to the infirmary,” Simon added. “Get Ethan ready to travel.” He hurried out, leaving Mal with River and Jayne.

The psychic nodded at Jayne, who put his money on the table with the rest.

“Family, Mal. All comes down to that. Always does in the end.” He strode out.

“I don’t understand,” Mal muttered.

“They care,” River said, putting her hand on his shoulder. “About you. About Freya. About Ethan.”

She melted away, leaving the captain alone. After a long moment staring at the money, he put his head down on his arms and cried.


“Havers Control, this is the Firefly Serenity, requesting emergency landing clearance.” Hank released the switch on the hand com.

“Serenity, you are cleared for emergency landing. An ambulance is waiting at the dock.”

“Thank you, Havers Control. Serenity out.” He hung up the com and brought the Firefly to the correct angle of descent, dropping through the layer of cloud.

Below them sat several dozen ships, all different shapes and sizes, some glinting like newly minted coin in the sun, others so dirty they absorbed all the light. Not that Hank saw. All he could do was concentrate on getting them down in one piece.

The ground came up fast, but he was too good a pilot. Without even a jar Serenity touched down, her support struts extending to keep her steady. He killed the engines, and the sharp, high note that had been putting everyone’s teeth on edge for some hours disappeared.

He grabbed the com. “We’re down, people. And they’re waiting.”

In the cargo bay River was already pressing her hand onto the button, and the cargo bay doors were opening.

“Captain Reynolds?” asked a man in a dark jumpsuit and a peaked hat, standing next to a white ambulance.

“Yes,” Mal said. He looked over his shoulder, seeing Freya carrying Ethan out of the common area. “You know where we’re going?”

“Yes sir.”

Mal nodded. He turned to Freya. “Ready?”

She shook her head, and he put his arm around her as they carried Ethan out of Serenity to the waiting vehicle, Simon at their side, his bag in his hand.

Bethany wrapped her arms around her mother’s legs. “My fault,” she whispered, watching her father be whisked away, River staring after them.

“What, sweetie?” Kaylee asked, not really listening, her mind on the anguish radiating from that small family.

“My fault.”

Kaylee looked down at her daughter. “How can it be your fault, Beth?” she asked.

“I painted him.” Sobs wracked her little body.

Immediately Kaylee was on the deck, holding her, rocking her gently. “It wasn’t that, Bethany. It wasn’t ‘cause you painted him.”

“But Daddy told me not to play. And I wanted to. My fault.” She closed her eyes and held onto her mother.

“No.” Kaylee shook her head vehemently. “Ethan’s sick, yes. But it ain’t ‘cause of you. I’m just glad you didn’t catch it too.”

Bethany looked up, her cheeks tear-stained. “Am I sick?”

“No, Bethie.” Kaylee hugged her back to her chest. “You might have caught it, that’s all. That was why we didn’t want you playing with Ethan.”

“Not because I gave him anything bad?”

“We were worried about you, honey.”

Bethany sniffed. “Ethan going to be okay?” she asked, wiping her nose on the back of her hand.

“I'm sure he is, sweetie,” Kaylee said, pulling a smile from somewhere. “His daddy and mommy ain't gonna let anything happen to him. Neither’s your daddy.”

“Kaylee, move outta the way,” Jayne called as he started to lower the hover mule, the chains clanking through the pulleys.

“What are you doing?” the young mechanic asked, scrabbling to her feet, Bethany in her arms.

“Ya think we’re gonna stay here and wait for news?”

“No way,” Hank said, coming out of the doorway and heading for the shuttle. “No rutting way.” He called out. “Zoe. Come on, it’s time to go.”

Immediately it slid open. “The hospital?” she asked, stepping out.

“Can’t stay here,” he said, his voice thick with emotion.


Jayne had the vehicle to the deck. “She’ll only take five.”

“I’ll stay,” Kaylee said. “I've gotta see to my girl. And it means I can look after Bethany.” She hugged her daughter a little tighter. “But you keep me informed.”

Zoe nodded. “Don’t worry,” she said, following Hank to the hover.

“Every ten minutes or so,” Kaylee added firmly.

“We will.”


The admitting clerk watched as the ambulance landed, the door opening almost immediately. A man stepped out, followed by a woman holding a baby in her arms. They were both pale, holding on by little more than a thread, it was obvious. For once her heart beat a little faster for them, then she was all business.

“Captain Reynolds?” she asked.

The man nodded. “This is my son, Ethan.” He indicated the baby.

“Please, give him to the nurse.” She nodded towards one of the medtechs.

“Mal, can’t we …” The woman held back, her arms close around the little boy.

“It’s okay, Frey,” the man, Mal, said. “Let them do their work.” He held out his hands.

Very reluctantly she placed the baby in his arms, then wrapped her own around herself. Captain Reynolds let the nurse take him, placing him onto a small gurney and connecting him up to various monitors.

Another man had climbed from the ambulance, the medical bag in his hand indicating he was a doctor of some sort.

“I'm Simon Mara,” he said, walking towards her. “I made the arrangements.”

“Yes, of course.” She ticked his name off on her pad. “I need some further details …”

“I’ll do that.” The young man turned to his friends. “You go with Ethan. I’ll be along directly.”

The couple nodded and followed the nurse.

“They’re very devoted,” the clerk couldn’t help saying.

“They are.”

“And it was Minuet’s?”

“Yes.” The clerk was amazed at the anguish that flittered across the young man’s face. “There was nothing I could do.”

“Are you a doctor?”

He seemed to consider his answer. “I … I've had some medical training.”

“Then there was nothing. Even one of our specialists would be hard-pressed to identify that infection without tests.”

“Yes.” He didn’t seem soothed by her words. “Look, can I scrub in? I only want to observe, nothing else.”

She was surprised. “Oh, well, I don’t know. I’d have to check with the …” His dark eyes were almost pleading with her. “I’ll find out.”

“Thank you.”

She glanced down at his hands, at the wedding band on his finger. Why are all the caring ones married? she asked herself.


Bethany watched as her mother tweaked and prodded, making notes on a small pad of paper as she tutted her way around the engine.

“Can I help?” she asked quietly, hugging her Ethan doll to her chest.

“You are helping, Bethie,” Kaylee said, looking over her shoulder and pulling a smile out. “You’re keeping me company.”

“I mean with Serenity.”

“It ain't safe, sweetie. Too many sharp bits, and moving parts. I don’t want you ta get hurt.”

“Is Serenity okay?”

“She’s fine, honey.” Kaylee leaned back under the housing, feeling the unnatural heat coming from the grav couplings.

“She hurts.”

Kaylee paused, her hand on the regulator. “You can feel that?”

Bethany looked down. “Is that peeking?” She twisted her finger around in her doll’s hair.

Her mother slid out and looked up. “You mean hearing Serenity?”

Bethany nodded. ‘’Es.”

“No, Bethie. That ain't peeking. I hear her too. And I know she hurts. But we’re gonna put her right.”

The little girl looked up. “We gonna operate?”

Kaylee smiled. “That’s right. Gonna make sure she gets well, so we can go home.”

“To the black?”

“That’s home, right enough.”

“Want to help.”

Kaylee gazed at her daughter. “Okay,” she said finally. “You tell me when I'm getting to a bit that hurts, and then I’ll fix it.”

Bethany nodded so hard it looked like her head might come off. “’Kay.”

“Kaylee.” A tinny voice called from the com.

She jumped to her feet and hurried over. “Hank?”

“They’re taking him into surgery now.”

Kaylee swallowed. “How is he?”

“The same. Still ain’t woken up.”

“But that’s good. He needs to be asleep for this.”


“Where’s Simon?”

“He’s managed to make them let him watch. He’s going in with Ethan.”

“Thank God.” She knew he couldn’t do anything, not to help, but just knowing he was there, close by … “Everything’ll be okay. You see.”

“Your words to God’s ear,” Hank said and signed off.


Kaylee looked down at her daughter. “He’ll be okay. You wait. He’ll be home and you can play with him again.”


“Soon, honey.” Kaylee swept little Bethany up into her arms, not caring about the grease and dirt. “Soon.”

to be continued


Thursday, May 17, 2007 2:52 AM


Excellent chapter here, Jane0904! I loved the practicality of the crew helping pay for the surgery and the outsider's view of the crew from the admitting nurse - wonderful. Too much angst at that point to write it from the crew's point of view but just enough from the nurse. Fabulous bit of writing once again!

Thursday, May 17, 2007 3:29 AM


I'm breathing a little easier now, but just a little! Very interesting that Bethie has inherited the gifts of River and Kaylee! She's a wonder!

Thursday, May 17, 2007 3:32 AM


I don't know how you do it but you have outdone yourself here. All the angst about Ethan balanced nicely with the crew stepping up to pay for his care. The nurse's point of view provided the outsider's view.

BTW you were spot on with Mal's crying. He would hold it in until everyone left and do it privately. I cried with and for him.

Thursday, May 17, 2007 6:25 AM


Okay, I'm going to say it again - I LOVE BETHIE! She is just the cutest damn thing I ever did see.

I really love the fact that she can feel Serenity's pain as well. That is so perfect, especially considering she's Kaylee's daughter.

I am very, very worried for Ethan still, but also a bit worried about the fact that they left Kaylee and Bethany alone on the ship ... granted, it's Greenleaf, but still.

And I really hope no one identifies Simon ... or River.

Thursday, May 17, 2007 10:15 AM


I honestly have to say I am torn between saying the scene with the crew giving Mal and Freya their money to pay for Ethan's care - shades of "War Stories" and the ransom collection - and the final scene with Bethany and Kaylee bonding further in their mutual need to fix Serenity. Was honestly struggling with tears:D

Gotta say TamSibling, I worried about someone recognizing either Simon or River, or someone using this situation to get aboard Serenity. Don't want to imagine how the angst level would skyrocket:(


Thursday, May 17, 2007 1:03 PM


Gorramit, I was crying along with Mal so touched and proud of the crew for all chipping in to pay for what will likely be a huge medical bill - not that every credit won't be well spent if it helps to get little Ethan better. I loved Kaylee and Bethie both being able to hear Serenity. It figures that Kaylee's daughter would inherit some of her mama's talent. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me


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“Then do you have a better suggestion? No, let me rephrase that. Do you have a more sensible suggestion that doesn’t involve us getting lost and freezing to death?”

[Maya. Post-BDM. A little standalone festive tale that kind of fits into where I am in the Maya timeline, but works outside too. Enjoy!]

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"I honestly don’t know if my pilot wants to go around with flowers and curlicues carved into his leg.”
[Maya. Post-BDM. The end of the story, and the beginning of the last ...]

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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?”
[Maya. Post-BDM. Simon has no choice, and Luke comes around.]

Monied Individual - Part XIX
“His name’s Jayne?”

“What’s wrong with that?” the ex-mercenary demanded from the doorway.

“Nothing, nothing! I just … I don’t think I’ve ever met a man … anyone else by that name.”

“Yeah, he’s a mystery to all of us,” Mal said. “Even his wife.”

[Maya. Post-BDM. Hank's not out of the woods yet, and Mal has a conversation. Enjoy!]

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Jayne had told him a story once, about being on the hunt for someone who owed him something or other. He’d waited for his target for three hours in four inches of slush as the temperature dropped, and had grinned when he’d admitted to Hank that he’d had to break his feet free from the ice when he’d finished.
[Maya. Post-BDM. The Fosters show their true colours, Jayne attempts a rescue, and the others may be too late.]

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[Maya. Post-BDM. A seasonal one-off - enjoy!]

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Jayne hadn’t waited, but planted a foot by the lock. The door was old, the wood solid, but little could stand against a determined Cobb boot with his full weight behind it. It burst open.

[Maya. Post-BDM. The search for Hank continues. Read, enjoy, review!]

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He slammed the door behind him, making the plates rattle on the sideboard. “It’s okay, girl, I ain't gonna hurt you.” The cook, as tradition dictated, plump and rosy cheeked with her arms covered to the elbows in flour, but with a gypsy voluptuousness, picked up a rolling pin.

[Maya. Post-BDM. Kaylee finds the problem with Serenity, and Jayne starts his quest. Read, enjoy, review!]

Monied Individual - Part XV
“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!]

“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!]