Good Myth - Part III
Friday, November 30, 2007

Maya. Post-BDM. River finishes telling her story to Simon, and discovers something interesting. Part III of III. CONCLUDING AND NEW CHAPTER


“So Freya’s attracted to Mal?”

River nodded. “Very much.”

Simon looked thoughtful. “And Jayne’s offering … does this end with her having a conversation with him through the airlock?”


“Pity.” He winced as she poked him with her pen. Rubbing at the spot on his arm, he said, “Come on. You can’t stop there. Not now.”

Freya waited until she heard the hatch slam closed, then her shoulders sagged. Gorram nosy, opinionated crew. Maybe she needed to be more forceful, perhaps threaten them with the old airlock just a bit –

“You okay?”

“What is this, Osiris Central Port?” she asked, throwing her hands into the air and turning around.

Mal Reynolds gazed at her. “Sorry. You just looked … sad.”

“Not sad. Just … bemused. This room‘s getting more traffic tonight than it does during the day!”

“I just came for a drink.”

She took a deep breath. “No, I’m sorry. And there’s some tea brewed if you’d like some.”

“Shiny.” He walked behind the counter, but didn’t take his eyes off her. “Maddy is … she likes men.”

Freya froze. “Really.”

“I heard. I wasn’t eavesdropping, not really, just happened to … Truth is, she’s never been faithful to me, not in all the years we’ve been wed. It’s not been serious, and I don’t think she’d ever leave me, but she … your man isn’t the first, and likely not to be the last.”

She looked at him, at the melancholy air he was projecting. “Then why do you stay with her?”

He shrugged. “She’s my wife.”

“Do you love her?”

“I did. Once. But Shadow ain’t really into divorce. And she’s a good wife in all other aspects.”

“So do you … stray?”

“Not a single time. Never wanted to. Not ‘til now.”

“Mr Reynolds –”

“Please. Call me Mal. I’d like to hear you say it. Even if it‘s just the once.”

There was a pause. Then … “Mal.”

He smiled, his face lighting up. “See? Was that so bad?”

“This isn’t right.”

“Never said it was.”

Their eyes locked, then she turned away. “No. Not happening,” she said, almost to herself. “Goodnight.” She strode out of the dining area, but he was at her heels, catching her by the crew quarters.

“Freya, stop, please.” His breath was coming shorter, his voice deepening.

“Just who do you think I am?” she asked, trying one last time to end this before it started, before it was too late. Then suddenly it was too late.

He pressed her back against the wall, taking possession of her mouth. Startled, but feeling his arousal pushing against her hips, she opened her lips, his tongue reaching hers.

“I’m seeing a woman,” he whispered into her. “A damn fine looking woman …”

“Do you always take what you want?” she asked, her voice becoming husky between the kisses he was placing on her face, her neck …

“No. But do you want me to stop?”


He stood back, surprised. “You do?”

“If we’re going to do anything else other than walk away right now, there’s a few things we need sorting out first.”

“You likely to not walk away?”

“I … I don’t know yet.”

“Least that’s an honest answer.” He crossed his arms. “So what do you want to know?” he asked, smiling gently. “My annual income? Which end of the bath I sit? Whether I prefer my steak well done or rare?”


“Only that kind of thing should be pillow talk, far as I’m concerned.”

“I'm still not sure we’re going to get that far.” She took a deep breath. “This, if it happens … there won’t be anything more. There can’t be. You’re married and I have a boat to look after. That’s not likely to change.”

“Conjure it’s not.”

“One night. That’s it.”

“One night.” He seemed to find that arousing, at least from the fullness at the front of his pants. He put his arms down and stepped closer to her, close enough that she could smell his maleness, for it to make her knees almost give way. “I want you.” His voice was rougher now, throaty. “I don’t even know you, but I want to make love to you. And you ain’t exactly shot me yet, so I’m guessing you’re feeling some of the same.”

Her chin came up. “Even if I was, even if I wanted to tear your clothes off you right now, you think I’m going to do that?”


She stared at him, then grabbed the front of his jacket and pulled him up the steps to the empty bridge, slamming the door closed behind them, locking it. Turning back to him, she ran her hands through his thick brown hair, and felt his lips fasten on her neck, his fingers busy with the buttons on her shirt …

River turned over three pages.

“Wait, what was that?” Simon asked, putting his hand on the paper and trying to see what she’d written.


“Then why won’t you read it to me?”

“You want to hear about them having sex?”

He blushed a little, just turning his ears pink. “Well, maybe not. But three pages?”

“Mal and Freya …” she said, as if it was all the explanation that was needed.

“Oh. Right. Yes.”

“Then let me get on with the story.”

One night became two, then three, then nine, extending until the curve of Shadow filled the bridge window. Wash angled the Firefly to enter the atmo, and Freya watched from behind him as the sky turned from black to red.

“Seems a lot smoother,” she commented.

“That matrix stabiliser did the trick,” her pilot said, his hands gentle on the controls. “And … how are you?” he asked, glancing over his shoulder at her.

“Shiny. Why shouldn’t I be?”

“Because they’re getting off today.”

“Well, it’ll be a jolt to lose the Preacher. At least there’s been someone civilised to talk to for a change, and I’d kinda hoped he’d stay until we hit Boros at least, but he’s determined that Shadow could use him for a while.”

“I wasn’t talking about the Shepherd. I meant Mal Reynolds.” His moustache quivered in friendly understanding.

“He’s just going home, Wash.”

“You think we don’t know what’s been going on, Frey? Most mornings the past two weeks this bridge has smelled of sex, and it ain’t been me. Cupcake, you’ve been getting some, and it’s done you the world of good.”

“Wash, just land my gorram boat.”

“We worry about you.” Even his damned shirt seemed to be sympathetic today.

“Better you worry about still having a job tomorrow.” She strode off the bridge.

The Firefly touched down, and after a moment the doors opened and the ramp descended. Waiting to meet them was a group of men on horses, and a fancy buckboard.

“Jayne, get their luggage outside and loaded up,” Freya called from the catwalk.


She walked down the steps. “You sure I can’t persuade you to stay on with us, Shepherd?” she said to Book.

“I feel my place is here for a spell. But if you’re back this way, let me know. I might decide to take my feet off the ground again.”

“You never know.” They shook hands warmly, and the older man walked out of the bay, striding through the landscape towards the town.

“Thank you for your hospitality,” Maddy Reynolds said, something of a false politeness on her face. “It was … interesting.”

“Glad you enjoyed your visit.”

“Yes.” Her eyes wandered over the rest of the crew, stayed for a moment on Jayne, then snapped away. “Until another day, perhaps.”

“Perhaps.” She watched Mrs Reynolds walk outside to her ranch hands, and climb daintily into the buckboard, smiling sweetly at the young man who assisted her.

“He won’t last long,” Mal said softly. “She’ll get tired of him too.”

Freya looked into his blue eyes. “Sorry you’re going.”

“Me too.”

“But like I said before …”


There was an awkward silence, then Mal spoke again. “Look, Frey, there’s something I have to tell you –”

River’s voice faded away.

Mei-mei?” Simon sat up. “You can’t stop it there. Not now. I want to know what happens. Does Mal tell her he loves her? That he wants to stay with her? You can’t just stop.”

“It’s only a story, Simon.”

“Yes, but it’s your story. You decide how it ends.”

She looked at him, all youthful in his eagerness. “And you want it to be happy?”

“Of course.”

Her eyes were huge and dark, seeming to read every thought in his head, then she nodded. Leaning forward again, she wrote a few more lines. “There,” she said at last.

“Can I read it?”

“No. But I’ll tell you. He says he loves her, and she says the same. And they fly off into the sunset together.”

“So they all live happily ever after?”

“Isn’t that how all good stories end?”

Simon smiled, relaxing. “It is.” He stroked her arm. “Do you feel better now? Now the story has ended the way you wanted it to? With happy ever after?”

“Of course.”

“Good.” He got to his feet, somewhat stiffly. “I must be getting old,” he said, rubbing his back.

“Get Kaylee to rub you with some embrocation.”

“Embro …” He laughed. “I haven’t had that since I was a child.”

“And you fell off your bicycle. And Mother insisted that Bridget rub you down with it, and you smelled horrible for days.”

“How can you remember that? You must have been all of one.”

“Of course I remember. Boob.”

“Brat.” He ruffled her hair gently, then walked down the stairs. “Embrocation,” he muttered to himself. “Still, a massage sounds good …”

She waited until he was out of sight, then looked back down at her pad of paper, and the lines leaping off the page at her, and she read the ending out loud.

“No.” She stopped him speaking. “Nothing to say. Nothing to tell. We knew there wasn’t going to be.”

“But I don’t want to leave it like this.” His blue eyes were pleading with her.

“We have to. This was fun. And now it’s over.” She pushed him lightly in the chest, knowing it would be the last time she touched him. “Your wife’s waiting.”

He wanted to speak, to say more, but she wasn’t going to let him. Finally he nodded. “I won’t forget you. And when you come back to Shadow –”

“Maybe not for a good long while. If ever. We go where the work is.”

“Of course.” He held out his hand. “Goodbye, Captain Nordstrom.”

She couldn’t, not feel him holding onto her. Instead she hooked her thumbs into her gunbelt. “Goodbye, Mr Reynolds.”

He smiled sadly at her, then turned and walked out into the sunlight. She watched him climb up next to his wife, pick up the reins and flick them. The horses jumped a little, then started trotting, pulling the buckboard away from Serenity.

“Cap?” Kaylee stood next to her, her normal champagne personality depressed and flat. “You really cared about him?”

“He was just a passenger, Kaylee. That’s all.”

“Guess it wasn’t the right time,” the mechanic whispered, tucking her arm through Freya’s. “Not the right place.”

“No. Guess not.” Only a small cloud of dust showed where their passengers were now, and she turned away. “Get us into the air, Wash,” she ordered. “If you need me, I’ll be in my bunk.”

“Aye aye, Sir, Captain, Ma’am,” the pilot said, heading back towards the bridge, exchanging only the briefest of looks with Kaylee. “Time to get off this

River stopped. There was one word missing, just one word and a full stop and a closing quotation mark, to make the story complete, and she picked up the pen, but paused. She understood the power of stories, how they could make things happen, things that shouldn’t, just by completing them. Suddenly she threw the pen away from her, hearing it clatter to the floor somewhere, and ripped the pages in half, and again, then again and again, tearing each fragment into smaller and smaller pieces until they fluttered through the air like confetti.

“River! What the gorram hell’re you doing messing up my boat?” Mal demanded from below her as he came out of the common area into what looked like a snowstorm.

“I’ll clear it up, Captain,” she promised, smiling broadly at him.

“See that you do. Making a spectacle like this. What if we’d had passengers?”


He walked up the stairs. “Hormones acting up, albatross?“ he asked, gentler now.


“Then I‘ll let you off this time, xiao nu.” He passed her on the way, patting her on the shoulder. “You seen Frey?”

“She’s in your bunk,” River said. “Washing her hair.”

“Really? So she’s alone?”

“Ethan and Jesse are with Bethany in her room.”

He smiled in anticipation. “Shiny. If anyone needs me, tell them –”

“Not unless it’s Reavers?”

He laughed, his warm toffee voice following. “Right. Not unless it’s Reavers.” He disappeared through the top doorway.

River smiled. “Happy ever after is right here,” she murmured. “Right here.” And she went to collect every single scrap of paper.


Friday, November 30, 2007 7:01 AM


Well, maybe not. But three pages?”

“Mal and Freya …” she said,
That made me laugh. Good story

Friday, November 30, 2007 5:32 PM


What a great little story! I know I haven't been commenting on all your posts like I often do, but I've read all of them, rest assured. Like the way Like Woman ended, even though I still don't like Sammy Boy, lol. I'm sure I'll come around though, lol.
Great work, but then I always expect that from you. Keep at it!

Friday, November 30, 2007 7:31 PM


River smiled. “Happy ever after is right here,”

I guess that about sums things up.

Saturday, December 1, 2007 3:34 AM


This was a strange little diversion through hormone surges, lust and the art of storytelling, but I liked the little glimpse you gave into the creative side of storytelling and the power of the story. It made me remember the words and intentions of Joseph Campbell to explain the power of the myth.

But my favorite part was River realizing at the end that the best world was the one she already had.

Wonderfully written, as always!

Sunday, December 2, 2007 6:19 PM


Was out of town, so I didn't see this until today! Lovely, as always! Glad River's story was just a story, and glad she didn't quite finish it! I, too, believe in the power of words! :D


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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?”

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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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“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.”

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

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

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“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!]