Ich Liebe Dich - Part Two
Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The language barrier causes all sorts of problems for Mal. Zoe finds her own unique way of communicating. 9th fanfic featuring the usual post BDM characters and a few of my own creation. Grateful thanks to BluedEyedBrigadier for the beta. I need feedback like Serenity needs fuel. Part 2 of 2.


Bane came awake slowly, noticing immediately that her limbs felt like lead. She realised that she must have finally succumbed to sleep and was glad that she had no nightmares. She yawned and tried to open her eyes, but they seemed sealed shut. “Die maulwurf ist wach. Ha ha.” Bane froze briefly at the sound of the woman’s voice and then realised that they must have arrived on Deutschland. Why were they calling her a mole? They bathed her face in warm water so she could open her eyes. “Hallo,” she said, finding herself in a room of women. “Wo sind meine freunde?” One of the women told her, but she spoke too fast. “Langsamer, bitte.” “Sie sind im gefängnis, mein kind.” Bane pulled back the covers stood up. Her legs held her weight for all of two seconds before she dropped to the floor and she cursed her own stupidity. Two women, laughing, helped her back into bed. Bane looked at the eldest woman there. “Erklären sie dem Bürgermeister, den sie nicht Deutsches sprechen. Mein name ist Pye.” “Pye?” said the woman, and then recognition, “Pye! Mit essen?” “Ja,” said Bane, relieved. “Mit essen.” The older woman turned to someone else to indicate they should fetch someone and she left the room. “Mein name ist Berta Kifelder,” she announced, and proceeded to massage Bane’s legs vigorously. Bane remembered falling asleep after dinner, or possibly before. Unfortunately she did not know what day that had been. She was still a bit groggy when a man came into the room in full regalia, causing Berta to quickly throw the covers back over Bane. He asked her why her ship had not followed the proper procedure and answered the hail. Bane explained that she was the only one who had been to Deutschland before and that she had been asleep. When the Mayor indicated that he did not believe her, she had to go on to explain how she was an insomniac – forgetting that word, but explaining it in a very roundabout way – and they had probably be unable to wake her. She told them that Captain Reynolds had come to pick up some goods for Badger on Persephone. His attitude completely changed after that. He insisted that she get dressed and accompany him immediately to the jail so she could explain the misunderstanding. He removed himself from the room quickly so she could do so. Bane’s attempts to keep up with the Mayor on their way to the local jail were painful, owing to the fact that the circulation had not fully returned yet. She was glad she remembered most of her German, but there were some words she had just had to explain around. They reached the cells where the rest of the crew looked very annoyed. “Hey, Cap’n,” Bane said sheepishly. Before Mal could respond the Mayor launched into full welcome mode, so she had to translate. “This is Mayor Kifelder. He apologises for the misunderstanding, but when you didn’t respond to the hail, he was forced to arrest you under their laws.” She cut out some of the unnecessary posturing and continued. “I told him that you have been sent by Badger and he has come to let you out.” Mal’s face went through several emotive changes. At last he looked at the Mayor and offered him his hand through the bars. The Mayor took is enthusiastically and waved at one of his officers to open the doors. “Speak German as well, do we?” he asked sternly, eyebrow raised. “Some,” Bane replied, trying not to smile. “We tried to wake you, Bane,” explained Kaylee. “But we could have sounded the proximity alarm an’ you wouldn’t have budged.” “You fell asleep in the middle of eating,” added Simon, smiling. The Mayor started talking again and Mal looked to Bane for the translation. “He says that you’re welcome to the hospitality of Hannover. Please follow him and he will see to it that you are all taken care of.” “I like the sound of that,” said Jayne enthusiastically. ~ * ~ With the misunderstanding behind them the crew of Serenity were treated like royalty. Bane had the hard task of being translator between Mal and Mayor Kifelder, allowing the others a lot of free time. Karl and Jayne had already produced some playing cards and were playing poker, which they found out had pretty universal rules. Zoe had decided on taking a long walk, coming to realise that she was quite taken with the settlement. Hannover was civilised, but they had not got an overabundance of technology on display like Core planets tended to. There was lots of green fields and houses made of kiln-fired brick, a sight added on to by the avenues of cherry trees in full bloom. To someone more familiar with planets and moons where terra-forming left mostly desert-like environments, this one seemed positively heavenly. Zoe came to the conclusion that, if she ever lived long enough to retire from the Black, then this would be somewhere she would like to come. She could see why the Deutschlanders would have fought for Independence. She shook a branch gently and laughed as the petals fell around her. The smell was all around so she sat down against one of the trees and fell easily asleep. After some time, she came awake with a start and saw that someone was sitting against the tree opposite her. She stiffened and drew her hand instinctively to her holster, only to find it was empty. What the hell was she thinking coming out here unarmed? The man was huge with light brown hair and he was smiling broadly at her. “Browncoat?” he said in a thick accent. Zoe nodded warily, she was wearing her brown overcoat, so it was a valid assumption. He thumped his chest. “Browncoat. Du-Khang. Paris. Serenity,” naming the battles he had been in. Zoe remembered the Deutschlanders and might even have met this man before, but she did not recall it at the moment. “Wieviele kamen nach hause?” he said. Zoe shook her head, not understanding, and he looked frustrated. He reached into his pocket and Zoe launched herself at him. Despite his size she caught him off guard and pinned him, one hand on his throat. He kept repeating the word ‘browncoat’ to her. She reached inside the same pocket and pulled out what he had been reaching for. Paper. There was no weapon, he was unarmed. She then realised that she was in a rather compromising position sitting astride him. The Deutschlander realised it too and started smirking rather disconcertingly. Zoe got off him and sat down, still keeping her distance, but not as far away as before. She thought she better introduce herself considering she had almost just killed him. She placed her hand on her chest. “Zoe.” He got it straight away and reciprocated. “Hans,” he said. Figures, thought Zoe, they had called all the Deutschlander Browncoats serving with them in the war ‘Hans’. He licked the pencil he carried and drew on the piece of paper before handing it to her. She looked at it and she knew what he had asked, he wanted to know how many of her unit had survived. There was his regimental badge and the number two hundred and fifty. Next was the date of U-Day then the number five. Zoe held out her hand for the pencil. She drew the unit badge of the 57th Overlanders and the number they had started with, then the number two. She handed it back. Hans looked at it and shook his head sadly. “Zu viele,” he said and she guessed what he meant. Too many were dead. “Hannover?” she pointed towards the settlement, but he shook his head. “München,” he replied, pointing in the opposite direction. He smiled again, “Pye Essen. Keine Pye Essen.” He looked down in horror as his stomach growled in response. Zoe could not help bursting out laughing, realising that he had come for the Pye Eatings and been disappointed. He laughed with her and said something else, but she did not understand. He was not inclined to try and translate, but she could have sworn it was a compliment. Zoe felt at ease with him, sometimes language was a barrier that created all sorts of problems. Other times, like this one, it led her to react to a situation completely differently. Hans turned over the piece of paper and drew a crude drawing of the ship. Zoe added the Chinese characters and then the word Serenity. “Das schiff wird Serenity genannt?” “Ja,” replied Zoe, understanding his gist, using one of the five German phrases she knew. Hans grinned at her use of German. He tried out one of the phrases he knew. “Gun-ho-zee-bee-do-se,” he said, using really bad pronunciation. “Gun-hoe-tze-bee-dio-se?” Zoe queried, and Hans nodded enthusiastically. She shook her head in amusement. Engage in a faeces hurling contest with a monkey. Nice. She tried out her only derogatory phrase, “Ich schiß brauner als du,” which she hoped was ‘I shit browner than you’. She had learnt it a long time ago after a heavy drinking session with the Deutschlanders. All of them liked to prove they were better than the other regiments, more faithful to the Cause and all that. It obviously went down well with Hans, because he could not stop laughing. When he eventually stopped he stood up and held out his hand. “Kommen. Ich habe hunger,” and she was in no doubt what he meant. She was not sure she wanted to return with him and be under the scrutiny of her crew mates. Until that moment she had not thought of Wash. He had been dead now for two years. Hans obviously did not know he was living dangerously and he walked beside her with his arm about her shoulders. Despite Zoe’s own tallness Hans was at least near a foot taller and now he walked next to her she wondered how she had knocked him down so easily. Suddenly she did not want to go back and she stopped, picking up on one of the words he had used earlier. “Essen – here,” she pointed around her. He frowned in concentration. He then pointed towards the centre of the settlement. “Essen – dort,” he said. Zoe nodded. “Ja, essen dort.” She pointed to them both and then around them. “Essen here.” “Ah. Picknick.” Zoe smiled, relieved – and grateful that they had the same word in English. “Ja, picnic.” She sat down amongst the blossom and Hans rushed off. It was then that she started to feel like a girl on her first date. She hoped that he would not take so long that she would have talked herself out of whatever she was not sure she was talking herself into. ~ * ~ River, being the genius she was, had picked up some of the language by the time the meat started to roast on the fire. It enabled her to kindly tell the women to leave her alone, in the nicest possible way. They thought she was severely underfed and, when they found out who her brother was, started to berate him on her starved condition. Simon did not know what they were saying and just nodded happily, accepting the prodding they kept giving him. When Mal and the Mayor decided to use the universal language of ‘I can drink more than you,’ Bane felt her translating duties were done for the night. She was starving and sat down next to Kaylee and started to fill her plate. “I’m sorry about the other day,” Kaylee said tentatively. Bane had not realised she still felt so bad. “Don’t worry about it. It’s really fine,” and she meant it. “But Karl and Jayne both heard me,” she argued. Bane shrugged. “I told them about it later – over cards. Jayne said if he went that long without sex his pecker would drop off.” Kaylee giggled and held up her mug of beer. “To peckers – may they never drop off!” Bane was not nearly so drunk as Kaylee apparently was, but she raised her mug all the same and drank to the toast. At that moment Simon knew that Kaylee would not be receptive to a marriage proposal. He knew what she usually liked to do when she drank too much and he did not think he was getting the bad end of the deal. Kaylee gave Simon a kiss that was as much wet as greasy with food juices, and he did not mind a bit. Bane looked over to Karl and Jayne who were probably losing any savings they had, but having fun doing it. Language was apparently not a problem for them either. She kind of wished Karl would notice and come over to sit with her, then she realised that she had just spent the last two days asleep, ignoring everyone. She had found out why Berta had called her a mole. When they had inspected the ship she had been found buried in blankets on the couch, still covered in grease and oil. Bane had only been to Hannover once or twice with the Pye Eatings, because they mostly landed at München, the other main settlement. It was a little more industrial and the population was more condensed. She looked around for Zoe as she had not seen her for most of the day. Her attention was then drawn by Berta beckoning her over to chat and she took her plate with her. ~ * ~ It had almost occurred to Zoe that Hans may not come back. Sunset had come and gone quickly and beautifully, but at the point she started to worry, she saw a lamp jauntily swinging from side to side towards her. Hans had his arms filled with food, drink and, thoughtfully, a blanket to sit on. She helped him unload. He sat down and uncorked a clay bottle, passing it to Zoe before he drank. It was a warm sweet wine and it went down very well. She handed it back after drinking. His ‘pleez’ and ‘sank you’ matched her ‘bitte’ and ‘danke’ phrases. They were both relaxed and replete. She almost thought she was hearing things when he began to sing. It was a war ballad and one that she knew as well. He did not understand the words he was singing – several of them merged into one – but it conjured up some powerful memories. Zoe was no singer, but she joined in the chorus with him. He had a good voice and his face took on something like angelic when he sang. Mal was right, the pretty ones did not die. Hans had been too pretty to die, but two hundred and forty five of his buddies had. Just like their brigade. She had never been serenaded before and it was an odd choice of song, but somehow it fitted with the odd situation she was in. After the singing Hans started talking, he knew she did not understand but it did not matter. His voice was strong with emotion as he conjured up his memories. When he had finished she reciprocated by telling him about her life on Serenity, about Wash and how he died. Hans looked at her like he understood every word. After she had finished talking he took her hand and kissed the palm. Zoe shook away her memories for one night and kissed him. He responded quickly and rolled her over on the blanket. His weight was solid and reassuring and she let her body take over. ~ * ~ Zoe woke in the morning wrapped up in Hans’ comfortable warmth and the blanket. She was not naked and at some point had put on her pants and shirt. Hans woke as well and kissed her tenderly in welcome. She responded warmly, it was still early but others would be rising soon and wondering where she was. She sat up and tucked in her shirt before donning her waistcoat. Hans buttoned up his own shirt and then laughed as he found blossom plastered to himself. He reached over to Zoe and lightly removed a blossom petal from her cheek. She felt a load lifted from herself this morning, not the kind of weight you had from needing some sexing, she could cope with that easily, more the kind that proved she was open to love again. She may not love Hans, but spending the night with him had proved that she could do it, and she wanted to love again. It would never be the same, she knew that, but she knew she wanted to feel like that again. ~ * ~ Mal had one stinker of a hangover. He could not remember getting to bed, but he had woken in his quarters still fully clothed. He heard obscenely loud boots clunking overhead and then coming down the ladder. He guessed he had forgotten to shut his hatch the night before as well. Bane juggled a cup of coffee and a bacon sandwich down the ladder with the minimum of spillage. “Reckon you need this, Cap’n. Badger’s transferred the money an’ the Mayor is ready to start loading up the goods.” Mal groaned. The coffee did smell good. Bane sat in the chair and waited for him to get up or at least open his eyes. “The last thing I wanna be doin’ is eatin’ right now, Bane. Take that gorram bacon away.” “But it’s sent with the compliments of the Mayor.” “Then you eat the ruttin’ thing.” Bane sighed, and placed the cup on the floor by the bed. “Fine,” she said and stomped up the ladder loud enough to vibrate between Mal’s eardrums and make him swear at her profusely. “He awake then?” said Karl, hovering at the top of the hatch. “Couldn’t exactly call it that. More like barely alive. You want this bacon sandwich?” Karl snatched it out of her hands. “Not had me one of these for years.” They walked back to the galley and back out to the cargo bay where the loading was already taking place. Bane had put on her new sunglasses and found her eyes were a lot less painful. “Did you win much last night?” she asked him once he had finished. “Just about broke even. Jayne lost a load though. These Deutschlanders are wicked poker players.” “And wicked drinkers.” “You seemed to stay pretty sober,” said Karl. “You noticed did you?” laughed Bane. “I guess I dint want to get too far gone in case you lot landed in jail again.” “I came looking for you later, but you’d disappeared,” he smiled. “I was hijacked by Berta. She took me to her kitchen to show me some recipes.” Karl was mystified and shook his head. “At one in the morning?” he asked. Bane shrugged. “She was very insistent.” They helped the Deutschlanders carry in the crates of goods into the cargo bay. Seemed the main export of Hannover was goose liver pate and goose down quilts. “Hey Zoe!” said Karl, “Wonder’d where you got to.” “Found me a Browncoat,” she said as if it explained everything. She was carried a crate with him. “This is Hans.” “Hallo, Hans,” said Bane, “Sein name ist Karl Jacobsson. Mein name ist Bane Pye.” “Pye. Ja. Pye Essen,” replied Hans, and reeled off a load of German that Bane struggled to keep up with. She answered him briefly and then explained to the other two. “His father told him the Pyes had come, so he came over from München to sample the food.” “Who’s his father?” asked Zoe. Bane asked him and when he said the name Kifelder, they all understood that he was the Mayor’s son. The four of them continued to carry crates into the hold. There was still no sign of the others coming to help, but there were a lot of locals helping too. Badger had ordered vast quantities of the goose liver which were packed in little tins. Bane asked Hans a question which he answered. Zoe looked to her for translation, a little worried that her night’s activities were going to be revealed. “I asked him why he lived in München and not here. He said he doesn’t like living under his father’s nose and anyway he’s Mayor of München.” “He’s Mayor!” said Zoe, surprised. Berta Kifelder came up to them and started talking to Hans. The three of them smirked. Only one of them could just about understand what she was saying, but it was a typical mother and son confrontation. She was berating him and he was trying to answer, but not getting very far, instead getting more and more embarrassed. Zoe smiled and wished she understood what was going on. She nudged Bane for an answer and she was already laughing. “Seems Hans is in trouble for not bringing her grandson to see her. Apparently since his wife died, Berta keeps trying to get him to give up bein’ Mayor so she can look after the boy.” Zoe was relieved. She had not expected anything to come of their encounter last night, but it made her feel more comfortable knowing that neither of them had been cheating on anyone, other than their respective ghosts. Hans finally gave a few curt sentences to his mother and she flounced off in a huff. He returned very embarrassed and red-faced. “Tell him we understand why he lives in München,” said Karl to Bane. Bane spoke to him and Hans laughed loudly and slapped Karl hard on the back. With all the goods loaded they went outside again. A growing noise assaulted their ears and they looked around to view a sea of geese being herded through the town. “They sure like their geese here,” said Karl to Zoe. “You should have seen what they were doing with them last night. I was only just sober enough to believe my own eyes.” “What were they doing?” asked Zoe, imagining all kinds of disembowelment or strange rituals. “They were juggling baby geese.” “Fay-fay d’pian!” said Zoe. “I ain’t lying,” said Karl, and he turned to Bane for corroboration. “It’s true. It’s one of the main pastimes here. They have competitions and everything,” she confirmed and spoke to Hans, nodding towards Zoe. His face lit up and, laughing, he dashed away. “Tell me he ain’t going off to juggle some geese,” said Zoe. “I said you didn’t believe it,” said Bane. “Come on.” They walked in the direction he had gone. Zoe was feeling kind of strange that two of her worlds, the past and the present, were merging. The feeling was not uncomfortable but more ... it was settling. She confessed something to Bane. “You know Wash told me once that he spent six weeks on a planet where the principle form of recreation was juggling geese. I dint believe him.” “This is the only planet I’ve seen them do it,” said Bane. They reached an open yard where Hans now stood waiting for them, leaning on the fence. He had taken off his coat and rolled up his sleeves, looking every inch a farmer rather than a mayor. Zoe took that look into her treasured memories. Hans may be dealing with his own ghosts, but the image of him standing there – a giant of a man with a face full of kindness and humour – was one she would remember for a long while. That, and the look on his face when his stomach had done the translating for him yesterday, as well as a few others from last night. Hans tenderly picked up three of the goslings and started to juggle. Zoe watched and still did not believe her eyes, but she could not stop laughing. ~ * ~ With Serenity loaded up there was nothing to delay their leaving. Zoe had introduced Mal to Hans, omitting the fact that she had spent the night with him. Mal was no fool and could see his First Mate was happier than he had seen her in two years, so whatever had happened between them was shiny by his reckoning. The two of them remained at the mouth of the cargo bay as the ramp lifted. Zoe waved. “Ich schiß brauner als du!” shouted Hans, to the horrified looks of the Hannover townsfolk. Mal blinked and leaned over to Zoe. “Uh ... Zo’? Did he just say what I think he said?” “Yes, sir,” she replied, laughing. “Ich schiß brauner als du!” they both shouted back in unison, before the ramp blocked their view. Zoe chuckled as she tried to imagine Hans explaining that one to his father. They would probably have him escorted back to his own settlement in disgrace. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Please note – most of the German was translated using Babelfish on the internet. Any errors in grammar are therefore mine and the website’s!!

Ich Liebe Dich I love you

Willkommen nach Deutschland. Kennzeichnen Sie sich bitte. Andernfalls werden Sie festgehalten. Welcome to Deutschland. Identify yourselves please. Otherwise you will be arrested.

Sie sind unter anhalten You are under arrest

Die maulwurf ist wach. Ha ha. The mole is awake. Ha ha.

where are my friends? wo sind meine Freunde?

Lamgsamer slower

Sie sind im Gefängnis. They are in jail

erklären Sie dem Bürgermeister, den sie nicht Deutsches sprechen. tell the mayor they do not speak German.

my name is mein name ist

wieviele kamen nach hause? how many came home?

zu viele too many

Sie haben ein schönes lichen you have a beautiful laugh

Das schiff wird Serenity genannt? The ship is called Serenity?

Ich schiß brauner als sie I shit browner than you * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Author’s Note: Edited in September 2007 (Always looking to improve!).


Wednesday, May 30, 2007 12:41 AM


I laughed most all the way through this, loved it! I especially loved Zoe letting down her defences with Hans and discovering that she still does have a beating heart and the capacity for love. That was very shiny. I've been to Germany several times and you have captured the spirit of the people well in this chapter. But juggling geese? Really? Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Wednesday, May 30, 2007 8:08 AM


Absolutely fabulous stuff here, hermitsrest! Loved this tale as I was beta-ing it and I loved it as I was reading again:D


Friday, February 29, 2008 5:15 AM


this is one of my my faves HR. just because it's a very hard type of fiic to pull off! and you do:)


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