Not There Yet - Part IV
Thursday, June 7, 2007

Maya. Post-BDM. The party continues, but Mal and Simon take a slight detour ... It only takes a moment to comment, and it can make a humble writer feel so very happy!


“Zoe, you seen Simon?” Kaylee was out of breath from dancing, each of the male Frye’s demanding she take at least one turn around the floor.

“Simon?” Zoe swallowed the mouthful of chicken leg she was munching on.

“Yeah, you know. My husband. Bethany’s daddy. The man I make yell my name when I –“

“He’s around somewhere.”

“Only I ain’t seen him for a while, and I kinda wanted to snuggle a little.”

Zoe smiled. “Getting tired?”

“Hell, no!” Kaylee grabbed a thing on a stick from the table and bit into it. “Oh, this is heaven. Can’t believe they got real meat.”

“I know. I ain't eaten this well for a long time.”

“Well, not since Lazarus, anyway. And as nice as that Mrs Boden’s cooking is, it ain't a patch on my Ma’s.” Kaylee giggled. “And if you see my husband anywhere around, tell him I'm looking for him.”

“Will do.”

Kaylee snagged a handful more of the skewers and wandered back into the family gathering.

“How long’re they gonna be?” Zoe murmured.

River, like a ghost next to her, picked up a strawberry and licked the tip. “They’ve only just arrived.”


The shuttle settled next to a variety of other vehicles, most of them even more beat up than theirs.

“What is this?” Mal asked. “Some kind of convention?”

“It’s the only hospital on the planet,” Simon explained. “Even if most of the locals won’t come here, it’s bound to pull in any number of off-worlders.”

“So you’re figuring we might get lost in the crowd?”

“I'm hoping to.” He had brought up the schematics of the building on the Cortex. “There’s several entrances, but I think our best bet is through this one, right here.” He tapped the screen.

“Seems like a plan. Well done, doc.” Mal tugged the waistcoat of his EMT outfit into place, then saw Freya gazing at him. “What?”

“I’d forgotten how good you look in a uniform,” she said, smiling.

“Hey, what about us?” Hank asked, throwing out his arms and barely managing to miss punching Jayne in the face. “Don’t we look pretty?”

“Adorable. I’m not surprised Zoe can’t keep her hands off you.”

Hank grinned.

“Can we not get into this right now?” Simon asked. His doctor’s livery felt scratchy, and it occurred to him just how long it had been since he’d been in a hospital on legitimate business. Not counting Ethan, of course. Then he was just a bystander, his hands itching because he couldn’t be the one saving him.

“You’re just jealous,” Hank said jovially. “You wish you had a nice navy jumpsuit to wear that rides up your –“

Mal clapped his hands, reasserting his authority. “Okay, people, we know what we’re doing. Right?”

“Sure,” Hank nodded.

Jayne pulled his cap onto his head, looking more than a little uncomfortable. “Let’s just get this done, okay?”

Mal didn’t need to be told why Jayne was feeling awkward. Last time he had this outfit on he’d sold out River and Simon to the Feds. It must be almost traumatic to remember the events of that night, now he was bedding the young psychic. Instead he just glared at the mercenary. “Not sure what Simon’s got you doing, but whatever it is, don’t get pinched.”

“Don’t intend on it.”

“Okay.” He opened the hatch. “Everyone remember where we parked.”


Bethany was sitting on the earth, Fiddler in her lap, and she was picking at the edge of the cast around her wrist.

“Honey, are you okay?” Zoe managed to lower herself to sit next to her.

“Daddy’s busy,” the little girl said, not looking up.

Zoe sighed. It hadn’t occurred to her that Bethany would know something was up, but of course she would. “Yes, your Daddy’s busy. He’s helping Auntie Freya.”

“So she doesn’t hurt anymore.”

“Does she?” Zoe’s eyebrows rose. Freya never mentioned being in pain.


“You’ve been peeking?”

“Sometimes,” the little girl admitted. “So does Auntie River.”

Zoe glanced across to where River was dancing with Eddie Frye. “Well, Bethie –“

“It’s bad, I know.” Her shoulders slumped even further.

“Well, yes, it can be. But why didn’t you tell anyone Freya was hurting?”

“Not my …” She shrugged. “Mustn’t tell.”

“Bethany, come here.” Zoe held out her arms, and the little girl scuttled into her lap. “There’s degrees of badness. If you see something bad happening to anyone, you have to say. Like you did with Ethan. Like you should have with Freya.”

“She didn’t want me to.”

“She knew?”

“Found me in there.”

Zoe couldn’t stop the smile. “Told you off, did she?”

Bethany nodded. “’Es. Said she was going to teach me about control if it was the last thing she ever did.”

Now Zoe chuckled, a deep sound that resonated through her chest. She could imagine Freya’s voice saying exactly that. “Well, she’s right. And you shouldn’t be looking just for the sake of it. But – and this is a big but, and you need to remember this, young lady – if’n you come across anything that worries you, you come tell me, dong mah?”

“I understand, Auntie Zoe.” The little girl laid her head onto the woman’s chest, and stroked her dog. “Auntie Zoe …”

“Yes, hon?”

“Nothing.” She shook her head. “Just wanted to say I love you. Nothing else.”

“I love you too, sweetie.”


They’d got into the hospital fine. The entrance they’d used led into one of the supply corridors, and it was only a matter of a few minutes walk up the stairs to be on the right level for the holoimager. Hank and Jayne had been sniping at each other most of the way, but Freya hadn’t said a word.

Simon stopped, his hand on the door. “You know what you’re going to do?” he asked the two men.

“Got it.” Jayne nodded.

“Hey, I'm just along for the ride,” Hank added.

“We don’t have long. The sooner we’re out of here, the better,” Mal said quickly. “Do … whatever … and meet us outside the imager room.”

“Ready?” Simon asked.


The young doctor opened the door and glanced out. There were a couple of nurses a little way along, their backs to him, but no-one else seemed to be taking the slightest bit of notice of them. He stepped out, the others following.

“Go,” Mal said softly.

“See you soon,” Hank whispered and followed Jayne.

“What are they doing, Simon?” Mal asked, watching his two crew members walk off with a sense of purpose in their steps.

“Contigency plans,” the young man said succinctly.

“You know, I’m none too keen on being left out of these plans, doc. Being the captain and all.”

“I told you. It’s just supplies. Making sure we don’t run out on Serenity.”

“It’s okay, Mal,” Freya said, putting her hand on his arm. “Can we just get this over with?”

He noted the tightness around her eyes, and nodded. “Sure thing, ai ren.”

Simon led the way along the corridor, looking like he belonged, and Mal considered he’d come a long way in his time on Serenity. Higgin’s Moon sprang to mind, with his first foray into pretending to be what he wasn’t. Mal smiled. Now he could lie with the rest of them. Except this wasn’t a lie. He truly was a brilliant doctor, and that’s what they were all counting on. What he was counting on.

The young man opened the imaging suite door, checking quickly to make sure it was empty, then hurried to the control panel.

Freya felt a tug of something very like fear flash through her.

“Frey?” Mal said softly, standing close. “Memories?”

“Oh, yes.”

He put his arm around her waist, concerned to feel her trembling. “Bad?”

She nodded. “Very.” Her voice was little more than a whisper. This looked so familiar, and she couldn’t stop the screams.

He squeezed her gently. “You can do this.”

“You sure about that?” She was staring at the chair in the centre of the floor, so like the one they used to strap her into …

“You’re Freya Reynolds. That other person, that Elena Rostov, she doesn’t exist no more. Today, this minute, this second, you’re my wife. And my wife can do anything.”

She looked into his eyes, gaining strength from him. “You think?”

“I know. For me, Freya.”

She took a deep breath. “For you.” She entered the room, Mal at her side, and heard the swish of the door closing behind her. Her heart was beating like a jackhammer as she tried to silence the cries in her head.

Simon initiated the start up sequence, and the slightly aged machinery began to warm. A deep hum filled the room. “Ready?” he asked, understanding her need to take a moment to centre herself. The look on her face was all too similar to the one River had had, back on Ariel.

This time, though, Freya seemed to draw herself together, and she strode to the chair. “Let’s do this.”


“We’re getting some looks,” Hank commented.

“Yeah. Figure it’s ‘cause we ain't got any IDs.” Jayne continued to head purposefully down the corridor.

“We should’ve worn the ones you had before.”

“That’d be worse. Like this least ways we can say we forgot ‘em. But carryin’ ‘em from St Lucy’s? Asking for trouble.”

Hank was impressed but not about to show it. “And if they don’t believe we both forgot our IDs?”

“Just keep your panties on, little man,” Jayne suddenly grinned over his shoulder. “Got that covered.” He nodded towards two EMTs in front of him. “You just keep up.”

Barely even needing to use his tracking skills, the big mercenary kept a clear line of sight to the two people in front, while all the time not appearing to be interested in them one little bit. He chuckled a little as he saw them turn off into a rest area.

“Jayne …” Hank began.

“Ssh. Wait here.” He sauntered after them, seeing a door marked ‘Employees Only’ close slowly. He grinned again. Sometimes plans came together. Somehow making it look like he belonged, he gave it a minute then opened the door.

Oh, this was good. The sound of the showers running didn’t hide the laughter bubbling from inside the steam, and it looked like they were gonna be busy for a while. Jayne crossed the floor silently and grabbed their IDs from the piles of clothing.

Back outside, Hank was waiting nervously.

“Here.” Jayne handed over one of the plastic tags.

“Gabriel Rodriguez?” Hank asked, his eyes wide. “You think I look like a Gabriel Rodriguez?”

“Hope not. She’s a girl.”

“Jayne –“

“Just put it on. We need to get going.”

Hank sighed heavily. “Okay, okay …” He peered at Jayne’s stolen ID. “… Felix Deveraux. At least he looks like you.”

“Yeah, handsome feller, ain't he?”

Hank bit back on the retort he really wanted so badly to make, and instead just nodded. “So, how far is this place?”

“According to the doc’s directions, it’s barely step from here.”

“Good. Because anyone who thinks I'm a girl named Gabriel is going to be in for rude awakening.”


The image appeared, hanging in mid air above Freya, coloured mist unmoved by any breeze. As Simon manipulated the display, first the skin then muscles were stripped away, then the internal organs and central nervous system, leaving only the skeletal structure.

“It’s amazing,” Simon said softly, his eyes fixed on the representation in front of him. “All that Wing did, all those broken bones, and there’s such little evidence of it.”

“Simon, as much as I’m ecstatic you like looking at my wife’s insides, we ain’t got that much time,” Mal said pointedly.

“Yes, you’re right.” He went back to the controls, inserting the memory wafer and starting the information download.

Despite what he’d said, Mal found himself fascinated by the spectre floating above Freya. Simon was right. Wing had tortured Freya almost to the point of death, his men breaking her mind as well as her body. He himself’d been able to save who she was, to bring her back from the darkness into the light. Without Simon, however, using his considerable skills to repair the physical damage, it would all have been for nothing.

And yet … all the evidence for the horrendous violations visited on her were merely fine lines in the bones, echoing the ghostly tracery on her skin.

Simon had drifted back, lifting his hands and manipulating the image of Freya’s pelvis.

“See something, doc?” Mal asked, his voice low as if he was in a church.

“Not sure. I've downloaded everything, so I should be able to –“

Jayne and Hank burst into the room.

“Mal, we got trouble!” the big man said as he slammed the door closed.

to be continued


Thursday, June 7, 2007 3:25 AM


I liked the banter between Hank and Jayne in this one - and the cliffhanger. Keep going :)

Thursday, June 7, 2007 4:45 AM


Yikes, and double yikes! Jayne's last comment does not bode well, but what scared me the most was Bethie beginning a statement to Zoe, and then stopping herself. That sounds all manner of ominous to me! Great job!

Thursday, June 7, 2007 5:59 AM


I too am worried about Bethany starting a statement to Zoe and stopping. You'd think though that if it was bad, she would have said something after Zoe told her she could talk to her. You know, it's gotta be really hard on a little kid - there are so many shades of gray in the "no peeking" rule, how can she hope to keep them all straight? Although Freya yelling at her to get out of her head was pretty much priceless.

I'm really hoping that if something awful we're going to happen, River would know by now. But then again, she's not omnipotent.

Thursday, June 7, 2007 12:52 PM


Uh oh, what did Jayne and Hank do? Everything was going far too smooth, wasn't it? There was me thinking little Bethie would blurt it out and then she didn't though that doesn't mean what she saw was necessarily bad but given the crew's propensity for attracting trouble I won't hold my breath. Just hope our boys get away with the information Simon needs to heal Freya. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Friday, June 8, 2007 6:16 AM


Personally? I really think Bethie is more powerful than River or Freya, in that her abilities are not latent but basically active from the time she was born onward. Both older women had years to develop as individuals before getting their abilities, so they have a better idea what's ok to announce to the world and what's not (though River and Bethie have the quirk of being a bit wacky with their freaky mind powers;D). So I can imagine Bethie's a bit...swamped with what she seems to know about what's gonna happen in the near future:(

And what in the name of Buddha's left testicle did Jayne and Hank do?! Everything seemed fine till the came barging in like they were on fire:(



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