The Bequest - Part IX
Thursday, June 21, 2007

Maya. Post-BDM. On the trail of the treasure, things are turning decidely hairy ... turning up the tension here! And keep your comments coming - I love them!


The hoarding advertised, in bright pink and green neon, OPENING SOON: FONG LAU’s HOUSE OF IMPERIAL DELIGHTS. This segued into a recording of a buxom blonde with an equally well-endowed brunette beckoning the watcher enticingly towards a pair of Oriental gates, which opened onto a scene reminiscent of the Arabian Nights – all soft mattresses and cushions, satin hangings, silk wafting in the breeze from fans waved by underclad boys …

“Well, I’ll be there when it’s built,” Simon deadpanned.

“Not your cup of tea?” Zoe asked.

“Not even if I was in the middle of the desert dying of thirst.”

The picture changed again, and Hank put his head on one side. “Is that even physically possible?”

Zoe ignored him and pointed to a broken area of fencing. “We need to get inside and take a look.”

“And if they’re building already?” Simon asked.

“Then we’re going to have problems.”

Hank pulled the fencing further open, and they squeezed through.

“When did they say this was going up?” Hank looked around. “Only I think they’re late.”

In front of them was an empty space, bordered on all sides by high fencing and more hoardings. The ground was clear, apart from general detritus piled high in the corners where the wind had blown it in from the street.

“Good news for us,” Zoe said, looking at him. “Got the scanner?”

Hank tugged the small instrument from his pocket. “Got it.”

“What are we actually looking for?” Simon asked. “Gold? Paper currency?”

“Whatever’s here.” Zoe shrugged. “Mal ain't even sure there’s anything to find, and it’s entirely possible it’s been dug up already if there is. But we look.”

Simon studied the plan they’d printed. “I think this is going to more or less useless,” he said. “Without the house to orientate it, we’re not going to have much luck.”

“I don’t know,“ Hank added unexpectedly. “Looks like the main doors opened onto the street we came in on, and the X is in the back half, so I’d say we’ve saved ourselves a third of the area.”

“We still have to check it all,” Zoe said firmly.

“What’s the range of that thing?” Simon asked.

“Couple of metres.”

“This could take a while.”


Jayne’s mind was elsewhere. Even as Mal brought the hover to a halt outside the old mine, he just stared into the distance, a dark look on his face.

“Are you with me?” Mal asked finally, waiting for him to climb down.


Mal shook his head. “She ain't doing anything bad with that boy. You know that. She’s just trying to make you jealous.”

Jayne glared at him. “Well, it’s working.” He jumped down from the mule.

“What did you do?” Mal picked up the two lamps from out of the back, handing one to the big man.

For a moment it didn’t look as if Jayne was going to answer, then he mumbled, “That Honoria. She tried to use her wiles on me.”

“Honoria?” Mal’s eyebrows raised. “What did she do?”

“Came over all half-naked in the galley. River walked in and –“

Mal felt a surge of anger. “What were you doing with Honor?”

“Nothing! Honest, Mal, I weren't doing a thing! Just standing there.”

“So why’s River –“

“I was staring!” Jayne admitted, his voice loud. “At her. At Honoria. Mal, she was half-naked …”

Mal found himself nodding, a picture entering his mind unbidden of a certain other redhead who had displayed her charms to him once. A’course, he’d ended up unconscious on the floor …

“It happens,” he agreed. “So River walked in while you were doing the staring thing?”

“Standing there in the doorway. Told Honoria where to go, and …” Jayne stopped.


“Look, we gonna stand around talking about how I made a fool of myself or are we gonna find this treasure?” the big man blustered.

The corner of Mal’s mouth twitched up. “I think that’s a reasonable request,” he said, twisting the base of the lamp to light it. “Come on then.”


River stared at the forms. “You need to know all this?” she asked, looking up at the steward.

Mr York smiled, and River felt her fingers itch. “It’s the rules, my dear. You won’t be able to ride unless you’ve completed every single question.”

“I see.”

“And don’t forget to give a sample of your DNA.”

“A sample?”

“In case we need to test it. Sometimes we do, sometimes we don’t. Usually we just file it.” York looked at his watch. “I have things to attend to,” he said, making it appear he was far to busy to supervise a simple form. “If you need anything, just call out and Howell will help.”

The stable lad grinned. “Anything at all,” he agreed. “I’ll only be outside.”

River smiled at him, warming him through. “Thank you.”

York nodded and walked out, Howell following.

“That boy likes you,” Kaylee said, grinning. “And that ain't fair, making up to him just to make Jayne jealous.”

“Don’t you do it to Simon?” River asked, picking up the pen.

“No.” Her sister-in-law looked at her, and she laughed. “Well, maybe occasionally. Just a little flirting. Keeps the spice in the relationship.” She shook her head. “But you and Jayne … you don’t need that. Not yet.”

“He’s never going to take me for granted,” River stated.

“Oh, honey, he ain't gonna do that anyway,” Kaylee said, then peered over her shoulder. “What are you … no, wait, that ain’t … River, what the hell are you doing?”

“I have to give a DNA sample,” River explained. “But it can’t be mine. And I don’t see anyone else around …” She finished the first line of the form, and against the request FULL NAME it now said Kaywinnet Lee Frye.

“You can’t really …”

“When Casmir wins tomorrow, you’ll be famous,” River assured. “Now, what’s your exact date of birth?”


The lamps provided a strong light, but the inky gloom inside the mine didn’t seem to be pushed back very far.

Jayne peered into the darkness. “Mal, I’m beginning to think your pal was as loco as you are.”

“Thanks for that vote of confidence, Jayne,” Mal said dryly.

“You’re welcome. So where is this treasure?”

“According to the map it’s down the next incline and to the right.” He led them forwards.

“This place feels all kinda wrong,” Jayne complained.

“You think?”

“I know.”

“Well, keep your eyes peeled.”

“It ain't just that.”

Mal grinned and looked round at him. “You claustrophobic?”

“Nah, I ain't got a problem with closed in spaces. If’n I had I’d’a asked for a bigger room.” He chuckled. “I ain't like Hank.”

“You know about him?” Mal was surprised.

“Figured it out. Things he’s said. And the look on his face when you told him he was coming with us …” The chuckle turned into a low laugh. “And if you’re wondering why I ain’t pulled him over on it, I'm kinda holding it in reserve. For when he’s truly pissed me off.”

“Don’t you go ragging him on it,” Mal warned. “He’s in a delicate condition.”

“It’s either that or give him a tattoo.”

“Nope. Not that either.”

Jayne sighed heavily. “You know, since you and Freya got together, you ain't no fun no more.”


“Zoe, there’s something there.” Hank gestured towards a piece of ground that looked like every other piece of ground.

“You sure?”

Hank shrugged. “Something’s registering, that’s all. Metal. Looks like maybe a box.”


“Not particularly.”

Zoe went down onto her heels, moving a flyer for a rival whorehouse out of the way. “Better take a look see. Here?” She pointed.

“Left, left, left … stop, too far. That’s it.”

Zoe made a mark on the dirt then looked up at Simon, who pulled a small folding shovel from under his coat. “X marks the spot, doc,” she said, standing up and moving out of the way.


Kaylee stared out of the window at the horses being exercised in the yard. “How much longer?” she asked.

“Not long,” River said, wondering if she could get away with stating that Kaylee had been an amateur rider for three years back on Greenleaf.


“How much further, Mal?” Jayne was grumpy. Something was tickling between his shoulder blades, but no matter how hard he tried, how much he tuned his senses to the surroundings, he couldn’t figure out what it was. Damn that girl, he thought. Turning me around like this.

Mal checked the map. “I think we’re here.” He looked around. “As much as here is.”

They were in a small cave, not more than twenty feet across and maybe double that long. It seemed to be a storage area, with barrels still stacked at one end.

Jayne walked over to them, lifting the lid. “Don’t recommend we hang around here too long.”

“How come?”

For answer the big man dipped a hand inside the barrel. Black particles sifted through his fingers. “This one’s full of gunpowder. Figure maybe the others are too.”

“Then we won’t tarry.” Mal nodded towards the left. “You take that side, I’ll take this.”


Hank took a turn as Simon stood back, rubbing the back of his hand across the sweat on his forehead. He left a streak of dirt across his skin.

“How much further?” he asked.

Zoe studied the small hand scanner. “Not far. Maybe another three feet?”

Hank lifted a bladeful of dirt up and slapped it down on the surface. “Just be glad it weren't in a cellar.” he grinned.



“Almost done.”


“Mal, got something.” Jayne reached into a dark crevice and pulled out a box. “Ain't heavy.”

“Doesn’t have to be heavy to be worth something,” Mal pointed out, crossing to him.

“You mean like jewels?” The big man shook the box. “Ain't rattling.”

“Let’s see what’s inside.”

Jayne set the box on a barrel and Mal opened the lid.

“Paper?” Jayne scoffed. “Ain't even notes.”

Mal lifted out the bundle of documents. “No. But almost as good as.”

“Huh? So it’s worth a lot?”

“You’re half right.”

“Mal, you don’t start making sense and I'm gonna get peeved.”

“Yes, let’s make sense.” Someone in the dark, stepping forward.

Mal and Jayne turned, drawing their weapons, but against men already aiming, they were far too slow. Mal felt a burning pain along his rib cage as a bullet scraped a layer of skin away, and someone with far too good an aim shot Jayne’s gun from his hand.

“Now, now,” the man said, other figures behind him. “Don’t want to kill you.”

“You get the feeling there’s a ‘yet’ hanging around there?” Jayne asked, trying to shake the ringing out of his hand.

Mal didn’t answer, just glared at the men in front of him. He knew that, if the opportunity arose, he was going to take it. Mind, there was also the thought that Freya was going to be mighty unhappy he’d ruined another shirt.


“Got it,” Hank grunted, lifting a tin box from the hole and handing it to Zoe. Simon helped him out of the hole and they crowded around.

“So?” Simon prompted. “What did we get?”

“Not sure,” Zoe admitted, rotting through the papers inside.

“Well, ain't that nice.” A voice, thick with amusement, drawling out from the darkness. “Looks like they did all the hard work for us.”

Zoe straightened, closing the box carefully and handing it back to Hank. “Do we know you?” she asked, her hand inching towards her gun.

“Now, don’t be doing that,” the voice warned. “There’s three on you right now, and you won’t even get the chance to try.”

“We ain't got anything worth stealing,” Zoe said calmly. “So why don’t you just go roll someone else?”

The voice laughed. “Oh, I think you do. And I’ll be taking that box before you take another step.”


On Serenity Freya looked up from her lesson with Bethany.

“Auntie Frey?” the little girl said, then caught it too. She gasped.


River signed the form with a flourish. “Finished!” she announced.

“About time,” Kaylee complained. “Hope you remember all the lies you put down.”

“I will.” River grinned. “I'm very good at …” She stopped, her face blank.

“What?” Kaylee sat up. “River, what is it?”

“Jayne. And Simon.” The young woman stood up, pushing her chair so violently backward that it screeched along the floor and hit the wall.

“Simon?” Kaylee’s hand flew to her mouth.

to be continued


Thursday, June 21, 2007 7:24 AM


(“You get the feeling there’s a ‘yet’ hanging around there?” Jayne asked, trying to shake the ringing out of his hand.) I must tell you, I adore that line!! And I'm loving the mounting tension. More, please!

Thursday, June 21, 2007 11:20 AM


Uh oh, what's the betting the lowdown scum who have the drop on our doughty crew are from Reilly's *wake* just hanging around to see what in the 'verse the old devil might have left Mal for the girls. I hope something truly nasty happens to them. Quick thinking on River's part substituting Kaylee's details for her own. Just wish one of the Readers had picked up on the danger BEFORE the bullets started flying though Jayne did *sense* something wasn't right but didn't know what. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Friday, June 22, 2007 4:34 PM


I like how everyone's scenes were intercut. It helped to build the tension - not that you really need to build it all that much - it's pretty high already.

Something tells me a whole lot of bad is going to result from River putting down Kaylee's name on that form ... yikes!

Monday, June 25, 2007 3:46 PM


Things never seem to go smooth for our BDHs, do they? River's probably just caused a minor kerfuffle by putting Kaylee's info down on the application sheet (some long forgotten brush with the law or something relating to a past story arc), Simon and Zoe are pinned at the whorehouse wreckage, and Mal and Jayne are gonna end up trapped in a mine that's about to be blown up...yep, fun times;)

Some utterly beautiful work here, Jane0904! Really can't wait to see what comes next, since I get the feeling the horse race will the be the most problematic situation of the three:D



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Now and Then - a Christmas story
“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.]

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“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.]

Snow at Christmas
She’d seen his memories of his Ma, the Christmases when he was a boy on Shadow, even a faint echo of one before his Pa died, all still there, not diminished by his burning, glowing celebrations of now with Freya.

[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!]