Tall Ship - Part XII
Thursday, December 13, 2007

Maya. Post-BDM. Simon tries to save Freya, and Hannah learns about who Mal is. NEW CHAPTER


It was the longest two minutes of Jayne’s life. Sitting next to Freya, holding her hand, hearing her breathing getting slower, shallower. He couldn’t look at her, at the almost smile on her face.

At last Simon dropped through the hole and took his place. He felt her skin, checking her pulse. “Show me,” he said.

Jayne held out the vial.

“Damn it.” He put the hypo he’d brought with him against her neck and plunged it home.

“We in time?” Jayne asked, seeing the others come down the ladder after him, crowding into the small space.

“I don’t … No!” He shouted, tugging the pin from the shoulder of Freya’s dress and pulling the front down, exposing her breasts.

“Simon …” Kaylee protested quietly.

“Her heart’s stopped.” The young doctor swiftly opened the other pack he’d brought with him, thrusting the needle between her ribs and injecting it as he felt it puncture the pericardium.

Kaylee thrust her hand into her mouth to stop from screaming as he withdrew the needle and began CPR.

They waited. Waited with no sound but the hard air Simon was forcing into her lungs, urging her to breathe on her own, counting between each one. Waited for an eternity.

Then a ragged noise. The noise of someone drawing a breath unwillingly.

Her eyes fluttered open, and she tried to focus. A man. Sitting next to her, his hands on her flesh … but it wasn’t him. Not him.

“No!” she cried out, barely whispering as she realised they hadn’t let her leave, wouldn’t let her go to him. She rolled over, away from them, bringing her knees up to her naked chest as she sobbed with despair.

In the small house by the beach, the sleeping man reached out, trying to grasp something, pull it into the safety of his embrace, even as the woman next to him dried his tears.


Kaylee was shaking so hard she could hardly play the recording. They were all in the galley, all except Simon, who was sitting with Freya in the infirmary, checking no permanent damage had been done by the poison.

“Go ahead,” Zoe said softly.

With trembling fingers the young mechanic pressed play, and Freya’s voice filled the room. “I know this is distressing, but I want to be with Mal. I can’t go on without him, and I don’t want to. He’s my life, and without him I have nothing to live for. Kaylee, look after Ethan and Jesse. Tell them, when they’re older, why I had to do this, but let them know it wasn’t because I don’t love them. I do. But without their father I’m nothing. Tell Zoe the ship is hers. Be good to her. And don’t cry for me. I’m going to be with the man who loves me.” The recording cut off.

“Should we have done … what we did?” Kaylee asked, tears rolling down her face. “She … this wasn’t no cry for help. She meant to do this.”

“I know.” Zoe’s voice was low, inflectionless.

“How could she leave those kids?” Hank asked, staring at her. “Knowing what they’re gonna go through?”

Sam stirred. “I don’t think she was thinking about that.”

“How do we help her?” Kaylee wiped at her cheeks with her sleeve.

“We stay with her. Someone has to be with her at all times.” Sam assumed the mantle of therapist, pushing his own feelings of guilt at not being able to stop this under the surface.

“You think she’ll try again?” Jayne growled.

“Yes. I'm afraid she might.”

“I can make a rota,” Kaylee offered. “Won’t be hard.”

“And remove anything she could use to … anything sharp. Or poisonous.”

“We can do that,” Hank said, nodding at Zoe. “I figure Simon’s already got the bad stuff locked up by now.”

“What about Ethan?” At Zoe’s words everyone stopped moving, talking, almost breathing. “He knows.”

“So does Bethie,” Kaylee admitted. “They want to go to her.”

“I’ll talk to them,” Sam said. “Explain.”

“That their mother tried to kill herself 'cause their father’s dead?” Jayne couldn’t help the scathing note in his voice. “And how are you planning on doing that?” he asked. “I'm interested.”

“They understand.”

“Hell, I don’t.” Zoe stood up. “It’s getting light. Jayne, get the supplies we need. And you’d better cancel that reward. Kaylee, make up the rota to watch Frey. Hank, warm Serenity over. The sooner we’re off this damn rock the better.”


Hannah drove the small three-wheeler into town, her mind elsewhere. Ben was looking after the children, under protest since he considered he was well enough to accompany her, but she knew they were safe with him. When he’d woken that morning, she asked him what he’d been dreaming about.

“Dreaming?” He shook his head. “I didn’t think I was.”

“You … called out. During the night. Something seemed to be disturbing you.”

He tried to remember. “I … just a dream, I guess.”

“Yeah.” She was glad he didn’t remember – the look on his face while the dream had hold of him made her heart ache.

She parked outside the general store, picking up her basket and stepping into the mud. It looked like the thaw had truly set in, and all around there was the sound of dripping as the snow melted. She hurried inside, but found there was something of a queue.

“Hey, Hannah,” said the woman in front of her. “Not seen you in an age.”

“Hi, Trudy. Well, you know how it is. We get cut off every year.” She smiled at her friend. “Not that the kids mind.”

“How are they?”

“Shiny. Growing.” She looked in front of them to the hold-up at the counter. “What’s going on?” She could see a big man standing there, seeming to fill the store all by himself.

“Something to do with a reward,” Trudy said. “I was trying to listen but they were keeping it down.”

The woman in front of her half-turned. “Something about a man being lost, and he put up a reward for any sighting of him. Went into the river, ‘parrently.”

“Our river?” Trudy shook her head. “Nothing comes out of there alive.”

“Not when it’s been shot, no.”

“Shot?” Now it was Hannah’s turn to ask.

“So I gather.” The woman leaned in, obviously having heard a lot more than she could keep to herself. “He says the woman, this man’s wife, tried to kill herself last night.”

“Did she manage it?”

“Nah. They got to her in time.”

“Why’d she do that?” Trudy scoffed. “Plenty more men out there.”

“Ain’t you never been in love?”

“Not like that, I guess not.”

“Not likely to find you hanging from the rafters, then?”

“Nope. Him, maybe, but not me.” They laughed, but Hannah didn’t join in.

In front of them the big man handed over a slip of paper, and the store owner shouted, “Grange! Get this together!” A young boy darted out and took it, heading for the other side of the shop.

The woman who had imparted all the information turned again. “They’re leaving soon as they get their stuff,” she informed the other two.

“Leaving?” Hannah repeated.

“That’s what he said.”

She stared at the big man’s back as he moved away from the counter. Leaving. Maybe not coming back. And that meant that Ben … no. He wasn’t staying anyway. He’d said. She turned on her heel and hurried out, hearing Trudy call to her.

“Hannah? Don’t you need some things?”

She didn’t answer, the door swinging to behind her.


“She okay?” Kaylee asked as Simon stepped out of the infirmary to join her.

“Well, the poison’s out of her system, but I don’t think okay is a word I’d use to describe her right now.”

“But she’s going to live.”

“Yes.” He rubbed his hand over his face. “But we can’t let her be on her own.”

“I won’t,” Kaylee said firmly, looking in at the woman lying so still on the medbed. “Sam made it clear. But I still can’t believe –“

“Kaylee, if you died, I’d be hard-pressed to even consider going on without you.”

She looked at him, saw the total truth in his statement, and had to smile a little. “I feel the same way, ya know that, don’t you?”

“I do.” He sighed and put his head back, rolling his neck.


“If I fall asleep standing up, just leave me, okay?”

“Okay.” Kaylee put her arms around him, holding him tightly and feeling him return the embrace. “We gotta make sure she gets better,” she said softly, not needing to explain who she was talking about.

“I'm trying.”

“I know that. And Sam’s gonna talk to her.” She looked up into his face. “Maybe if we can stay on Lazarus for a while, it might help.”

“I'm not sure anything will, bao bei. Except time.”

“It’s just I can’t bear seeing her hurting like this.”

“I know.” He sighed in her ear. “I wish I could do something.”

“You are. We all are. Just being here.”

“I wish I could do more.” He sounded so unhappy, and the pain and frustration showed in his face.

“Oh, Simon …”


Jayne heard the voices behind him, but wasn’t really listening. He stood studying the various gifts on display, his brow furrowed slightly. Maybe he should get something for River, something for her to wear, or just to keep. Something pretty, perhaps, to go with her eyes. Or another gun, maybe. Or something for the baby.

He exhaled. How the hell was a man expected to make up his mind about something like this? Maybe he should just go with his first thought. Some pretty slippers, perhaps. But then she preferred to go barefoot. ‘Sides, being pregnant made women’s ankles swell, didn’t it? He was sure he could remember his Ma complaining about just that very thing when she was heavy with Matty. So maybe …

Nope. Better to wait and ask her. Get some kind of idea, anyway.

“Sir?” The boy named Grange was standing next to him, a large, full box at his feet.

“All there?” Jayne asked, pulling his mind together.

“Yes sir.”

“Good.” He fished some notes from his pocket and handed them over. “Nice doing business with you.”

“Thank you, sir.” The boy nodded and hurried back behind the counter.

Picking up the box, and not able to resist giving the ladies waiting to be served a fair sight of his muscles flexing, he walked out into the daylight.

Hannah watched from across the street, her bottom lip caught between her teeth. She hadn’t planned on staying, but her conscience was pricking at her like a thousand tiny needles against her skin. This was Ben’s friend, or at least maybe it was. And she owed it to him to find out for sure.

Following the big man easily through the streets to the docks, she watched him striding towards a ship that sat snugly on the cold soil, seeming to barely feel the weight of the box in his arms. He didn’t even break rhythm as he went inside.

For a long moment she stood, considering all the possibilities, then she shook herself. No matter that she was wishing she could just run, go home, say nothing, keep him in her bed, in her arms, in her life, she’d never forgive herself if she didn’t find out if this was where he was supposed to be.

She walked up the ramp into the seemingly empty cargo bay.

The big man stepped out behind her. “What do you want?” Jayne asked, his voice gruff, hard.

She span on her heel. “I …”

“Knew you were trailing me. What for?” He looked her up and down. “Come on. Spit it out. You looking for work? ‘Cause we ain’t got none.”

“No, not work.” She rubbed her hands together as if they were cold. “I heard you were looking for a man, went into the river a while back.”

Jayne took a step towards her, then stopped. She looked like she wanted to run, and if she had news of Mal, where he was buried … “That’s right,” he said, trying to ease his tone, be more gentle with her. “Our captain. Name of Mal Reynolds.”

“Mal …” She stood still, indecisive.

“So?” Jayne prompted. “You heard something about him?” He took another step forward. “You looking for the reward? ‘Cause it was for finding his body, not just –”

She backed up, afraid of him. “No. Nothing. Just … nothing.”

“What do you know?” asked a dark woman, standing on the catwalk above them, her hand on the gun at her hip.

“Nothing,” she repeated, insistent now.

“She does,” Jayne said, staring at the woman, reading the indecision in her face.

Zoe nodded slowly, walking down the stairs towards her. “Look, we ain’t gonna hurt you. This man, he was our captain. His wife is in here right now, grieving, and we can’t give her any sort of closure. If you know what happened to him, where his body is –”

“He ain’t dead.”

Jayne’s jaw dropped and he couldn’t help the grunt that came from his lips.

“Not …” Zoe tried to hold onto her composure. “What do you mean?”

“I found him. If it’s the same man. On the beach. Took him in. Patched his hurts.”

“He’s alive?”

“He was shot. Got a head wound too, and I guess that’s why he ain’t … look, how do I know it’s the same man?”

Jayne reached slowly into his jacket and pulled out a picture. It was one he’d left with the storeowner to show people in case a body turned up, taken from the recording Hank had made of Kaylee’s wedding. The real one. Always weddings, he thought idly. The Cap surely didn’t like having his picture took otherwise. He handed it over.

Hannah took it and stared, her heart sinking.

“Well?” Zoe asked. “Is it him?”

She wanted to say no, to say it was a different man, not the husband of the woman who couldn’t live without him. Not this man laughing and holding tight to a woman with short brown hair. Who was looking up at him with such love in her eyes.

“If it’s him how come he ain’t come back? Waved us?” Jayne wanted to know.

“He doesn’t know,” Hannah said softly.

“What?” Zoe glanced up at the big man. “What do you mean?”

“He doesn’t know who he is. We’ve … I called him Ben … my husband’s name. He doesn’t know who he … his name’s Mal?”

“Where is he?” Zoe asked, stepping forward and taking the other woman’s arm in a steely grip.

“My place. Down the river. Please, you’re hurting me.”

Zoe let go reluctantly. “Jayne, get the mule down.”

The big man nodded and hurried with the chains.

“Did she … did his wife really try to …” Hannah couldn’t finish.

“She did,” Zoe admitted.



“When my husband died, I never … I mean, I loved him, with all my heart, but I never thought to end it. Not with two small children.”

“They have two children as well,” Zoe said quietly. “A boy named Ethan, and a baby, Jesse. They both love them dearly. But what they have between them … goes beyond that.”

Hannah nodded. “I understand.”

“We gonna tell the others?” Jayne asked, manhandling the hovermule into position.

“No.” Zoe shook her head. “Not yet. Might not be him.”

“Be a hell of a coincidence if it ain’t.”

“Just get Simon. If Mal was hurt –”

Jayne nodded, then looked around. “Tzao gao,” he swore. “Where’d she go?” There was no sign of the woman.

“Find her,” Zoe ordered. “I’ll be right behind you.”

He didn’t even wait to acknowledge her, just slipped out of the cargo bay. It didn’t take much to find the woman’s footprints in the soft earth, and he was back in the centre of town in time to see her climb onboard a three-wheeled vehicle and pull away. He ran after her.

to be continued


Friday, December 14, 2007 12:00 AM


Just as I was cheering that Hannah was finally doing the right thing she tries to run off. I hope Jayne catches up with the silly woman but at least now that there is even the hope that Mal is still alive there is no way Serenity and her crew will leave until they find him. Hooray! I can't wait to see how everybody reacts when they find the Captain and I am hoping and praying that when Mal sees Frey it will be that final nudge his memory needs to slot back into place. Please post the next part SOON, *dong ma*? Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Friday, December 14, 2007 3:14 AM


I have to sympathize with Hannah at least a little. Would be a hard thng to let go of our favorite Captain. But, at least she got the nerve to do it for a minute there!

Friday, December 14, 2007 5:18 AM


Amazing the way you can capture so much emotion. Glad Freya was saved. I think there will be some repercussions from that in the future.

Friday, December 14, 2007 7:34 AM


I'm glad Freya was saved too. And that Hannah has a conscience... I can't wait to see how this plays out. Please post the next part SOON!

Saturday, December 15, 2007 5:31 AM


Great job in building up the tension!


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[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 ...]

Monied Individual - Part XX
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.]

Monied Individual - Part XIX
“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.”

“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!]

Monied Individual - Part XVIII
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.

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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!]