The Bequest - Part X
Friday, June 22, 2007

Maya. Post-BDM. Things in the treasure hunt have gone from bad to worse, and most everyone's in trouble ... I hope you enjoy, and let me know!


Hank lifted his hands slowly. “Look, fellers, I don’t know what you think this is, but –“

“Shut up,” said the leader, coming into the daylight from the deep shadows, four men behind him. “I want the box.”

“It’s just papers.” Zoe held it against her chest. “No money.”

“Well, that’s a pity. But my boss ain't gonna be reassured when I have to report back I took your word for it.” He motioned with his gun. “Put it down on the ground and back up.”

Zoe didn’t move. “Or what?”

“I shoot you and take it anyway. Your choice.” His voice hardened. “Put it down.”


River ran out of the office into the yard.

“River, wait. What is it?” Kaylee demanded, at her heels.

“No time.” She scanned the area and saw a small hover unattended.

“Where? Oh, River …”

“They’re closer,” the girl said, running for the vehicle and jumping on board. “Coming?”


“Auntie Frey?” Bethany hurried around the table. “Daddy? Uncle Jayne?”

“It’s okay,” Freya whispered, desperately angry at herself for not being able to go and help. She picked the little girl up and settled her in her lap, ignoring the stab of pain from her hip. ”It’s okay.”


Zoe straightened up, stepping back from the box. “So, now you’ve got it and we ain’t,” she said softly. “You can just go on about your business.”

“You think?”

“I know.”

The man relaxed, just a little. “Now, you see, that’s something of a hitch.”

“No hitch far as I can see. You won. We lost.”

Hank wanted to tell Zoe to shut up, not to antagonise this man any further, but his mouth wouldn’t work. He backed up until he was against the hoarding.

The man in front of them was grinning. “Only losers have to pay up.”

“You don’t say,” Zoe commented, her hand slapping her gun from its holster.


“No!” Bethany squealed, hiding her face in Freya’s shoulder.

She held the little girl tight.


“No time,” River muttered, throwing the hover around a corner as Kaylee hung on for dear life.


“No time!” she shouted into the wind.


It was all over surprisingly quickly. Once the dust had settled and the smell of firearms had drifted away, bodies lay on the dirt, the earth soaking up their life blood.

Zoe holstered her gun and looked at the two men with her. “You okay?”

“Oh, peachy,” Hank said, leaning back on the fence.

“I'm fine,” Simon said, staring at the man he’d killed.

“Good.” She pulled the comm from her pocket. “Captain. Captain, can you hear me?”

“They’re in a mine,” Hank pointed out. “Ain't likely to have any reception down there.”

“Then we go now. Get Serenity and head out there.”

“Why?” Simon asked, then berated himself as the answer came to him.

“Because if they were here waiting for us, then they know about the mine too.”

“You think –“ Hank began.


“What about them?” Simon eyed the bodies, his face carefully expressionless.

“Gunfire ain't that unusual in this town, as I'm sure you’re aware.” Zoe picked up the box, then looked at Simon. “They were going to kill us,” she said softly. “They weren't planning on leaving any witnesses.”

“I know.” It’s just that I'm a doctor, he wanted to say. I save lives, I don’t take them. Except that wasn't quite the case any more.

“Someone will find them eventually.”

“Maybe even Fong Lau,” Hank added, just happy he hadn’t gotten dead. That bullet whistling past his ear to bury itself in the hoarding was as close as he ever wanted to get. “It’ll take us a while to get back to Serenity, so we’d –“

“Zoe!” River had slipped through the fencing.

“What is it?” Serenity’s first mate asked, then straightened as she saw the look on the young woman’s face.

“Mal and Jayne. They need us!” She pulled the fencing back. “Come on!”

The three crew members hurried out.

“What …” Simon stared at the two-seater hover, Kaylee standing next to it. “Where did you –“

“Stole it.” River climbed into the driver’s seat.

“Doc, get your wife and Hank back to Serenity. Get her ready to fly in case we need you. We’ll get to the mine quicker in this.” She handed the box to him. “And keep that safe.”


Mal winced as the rope tightened around his chest, rubbing the graze along his ribs again. “So you’re planning on leaving us here to starve to death?”

The man in charge grinned. “Not particularly. We’ll call your ship once we’re off planet. Shouldn’t be more than a day, maybe two, then they’ll come find you.”

“Thanks,” Mal said, unable to keep the sarcasm out of his voice.

“Just sit tight.” He laughed. “We ain't getting paid to kill you.” He glanced at his men. “Done?”


“Shiny.” He looked back at Mal. “Sorry to leave a fellow Browncoat like this, but you can see how it is.”

“Sure. You’re a thief and a liar.”

The man laughed again. “Seems you’ve got me pegged. Still, my boss’ll be wanting to see this soon as I can get it back.” He picked up the box. “You take care, now.” His laughter rang back through the cave as he turned on his heel and strode out.

“Did I do something in a former life I know nothing about?” Mal asked as the men left.

“I always thought it was the stuff you did in this life that’d get us killed,” Jayne said, testing the ropes tying him to the mine support. “Frey know we’re here?”

Mal nodded, then grimaced as the graze along his ribs pulled. He could feel fresh blood trickling down his skin as it reopened. “She’s somewhat anxious.”

“She ain't the only one.” Jayne struggled a bit more, but only succeeded in tightening the ropes around his chest. “And they took Binky.”

“They took everything, Jayne,” Mal said, his patience being sorely tested.

“I mean otherwise I coulda got us out of here.”


“This ain’t good.”

“You think you could state something more blindingly obvious?”

“Just saying, Mal.”

“Well, don’t.”

“Figure the girls are out there?”

“Hope not.”

“Yeah, me too, but you think they are?”

“Probably. Or they’re on their way.” Mal squirmed, feeling blood dripping down his fingers. It would just put the icing on a perfect day if he managed to rub his skin open all the way to an artery or something.

“You’re cutting yourself to ribbons,” Jayne said.

“Yeah, well, don’t see you doing no better.”

“If’n I could get to ya, maybe we could do something.”

“Somehow I’ve a notion that’s unlikely.”

“Ya know, they could’ve been more considerate. Leaving that stuff so close.”

Mal looked at the barrels of gunpowder. “You think?”

“I mean, it ain't like we’re gonna –“




“Don’t hear … Shit.”

“Is that what I think it is?”

“Think so.”

From out in the darkness of the tunnel, sparking like a damn firework, the flame raced along the fuse, splitting as it headed for the barrels.



The hover had barely touched down when River was out, running, into the cave mouth. Barely pausing she snatched up Jayne’s knife and hurtled into the darkness.

“River!” Zoe shouted.

“Stay!” River called back over her shoulder, her voice echoing. “In case they come back …”

Zoe stood impotently, knowing she’d never be able to follow River in the dark, just praying she had it right.


“Mal …”

“I know.”

“I don’t want to end up splattered all over the walls.”

“You think I do?”

The men redoubled their efforts, but the ropes were too tight.

“It’s almost there, Mal,” Jayne grunted, struggling.

“Yeah.” His eyes on the fuse closest to him, Mal was suddenly still. There was so much he wanted to say but it got caught in his throat. How much he wanted to live. How he wanted to see his son grow to manhood, to see his wife … his Freya … to hold her again. To say he was so sorry for this. For being such a hwoon dahn, for not being there sooner, for not growing old with her …

“Giving up?” River asked, running into the cave mouth.

Jayne’s jaw dropped. “Get outta here!” he shouted. “The gunpowder –“

“I know.” She flashed him a brilliant smile and began. River danced. That was the only way of describing it. Her blade cutting through the air, coming down on the hissing fuses, she danced around the cave, spinning and twisting to get them all.

Mal watched the last heading towards him, to the barrel right next to him.

“River …” he muttered.

She somersaulted, the knife coming down an inch from his nose and severing the fuse.

“Yes, Captain?” she asked, her dark eyes gazing into his.

“Cutting that kinda close, weren't you, albatross?”

She glared at him. “Just for that I think I should leave you here.”

“Rather you didn’t.”

“I suppose not. Freya wouldn’t like it.” Still, she went to Jayne first, slicing through his bonds.


“Are they okay?” Bethany asked, seeing Freya’s face relax.

“That they are, sweetie.” She smiled. “That they are.”


“Hey,” Jayne said, grinning at River as he massaged his wrists, rubbing the blood on them away.

“Hello.” She leaned across and kissed him softly.

“You felt like making an entrance?”

“I had to wait outside for the longest time to do so,” she agreed, stepping behind Mal and cutting the ropes.

“We need to have a word about that,” Mal said, using the post to haul himself to his feet. “And isn’t that Jayne’s knife?”

“Binky!” Jayne hadn’t realised, and reached for her. River laid the steel in his hands with reverential care. “Where’d you find her?”

“They left all your weapons in the shaft. Probably to make sure everyone knew it was you who had died.”

“Then since I'm feeling a mite naked …” Mal indicated the exit. “Shall we?”

“I don’t mind if I do, Captain,” River said, curtseying.

“Where are the others?” Mal asked as they hurried into the shaft.

“Zoe’s outside. They had a slight … contretemps.”

“They okay?”

“Shiny. But I couldn’t bring the rest of them.” She pointed. “There.”

Two gunbelts lay on the hard-packed soil, along with various other knives and a pair of knuckle dusters that had been on Jayne’s person. The big man picked up the weapons, passing Mal his, but River intercepted. Taking Mal’s pistol, she cocked it, the sound loud in the confined space.

“Run,” she said conversationally, heading back the way they’d come.

“What?” Mal called after her. “River … what the hell are you doing?”

“Verisimilitude, Captain. Run.” She turned, her dress floating out around her and smiled at them, then disappeared around the corner.

“Mal …” Jayne began.

As the feeling of something bad about to happen prickled up his back, Mal heard a gunshot deep in the mine. He spoke softly. “Shit.” He ran, hard as he could, ignoring the pain in his side, knowing the others were hard on his heels.

As he reached the exit to the mine, the explosion rocked the ground, knocking him from his feet and sending dust and debris out of the entrance. Stones and small rocks bounced around him, smacking him in the back, catching the wound he’d already received. He felt hands under his arms, dragging him outside into the clear air. He lay still, waiting for the ringing in his ears to go away.

Jayne dropped next to him, rolling onto his back. “You still so pissed about that Honoria you’re trying to kill me?” he asked River as she stood over them.

“They need to think you’re dead. If they do, we can get the box back.”

to be continued


Friday, June 22, 2007 5:57 AM


I love warrior-woman River! Excellent chapter!

Friday, June 22, 2007 8:18 AM


Loved action-girl River in this, very very cool! Hope Freya won't be too mad at Mal seeing as he's injured and all. Can't wait to see what was in the two boxes, always supposing they get the second one back. I also want to know who those *hundan* were, we know they were Browncoats just would be handy to have a name to put on their headstones. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Friday, June 22, 2007 4:43 PM


Yay for River to the rescue - I love it! Just in the nick of time - damn, readers are handy!

Saturday, June 23, 2007 2:37 AM


Great that River got to shine in this episode. Glad to see the mystery coming to a resolution but will be even happier to see Mal put some sense into Honoria. I can see her looking out for her sisters but not to the point of getting her father's friends killed in the process.

“I always thought it was the stuff you did in this life that’d get us killed,” Loved this line of Jayne's - perfect for him!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007 7:00 PM


Definitely have to say that Jayne's line to Mal about how it's the stuff Mal does in THIS life that always puts their lives in danger was all kinds of brilliant, Jane0904! Totally smacked of something Joss & Co. would come up with for our favourite mercenary;D

Oh...and Warrior!River was in all kinds of fine form here, I must say! Definitely would have loved to have seen the "dance" River performed to neutralize the burning fuses;)



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