World Without End - Part II
Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Maya. Post-BDM. River explains a little more about her decision, and Freya sees. NEW CHAPTER


“River, what are you talking about?” Freya sat down next to the young woman. “Jayne’s upstairs in the shuttle with Ethan and Jesse. He’s fine.”

“Won’t be.”

Freya glanced at Mal, who went down onto his heels in front of her. “Albatross, you seen something?”

River nodded slowly. “If I stay, he’ll die.”

“Not sure that won’t happen if you leave anyway,” Mal pointed out, not looking at Freya.

“What did you see, River?” his wife asked, knowing exactly what he was referring to, but deciding, this time, not to pursue it.

“Does it matter?”

“Of course it does.” She pointed out of the door. “That man loves you so much and now thinks he’s done something wrong.”

“He hasn’t!”

“Then you need to tell him.”

“I … I’m scared.”

“Of Jayne?”

“No. That he’ll die.”

Mal stood up, his knees complaining. “This don’t make sense, River. And if you don’t tell us some more, it never will.”

“Can you show me?” Freya asked, taking River’s hand.

The young woman shook her head. “Too much static.”

“We could try.”

“Might hurt you.”

“Then tell us.”

River screwed her eyes closed for a moment, her face taking on an agonised expression. “I can’t. It’ll make it come true.”

“That doesn’t happen,” Mal said softly. “Point of fact, if you talk about a bad dream –“

“It wasn't a dream!”

“No, okay, so it wasn’t a dream,” he backpedalled a little, the anger on her face making him pause. “But if you don’t tell us, we can’t help.”

“Won’t be able to help,” she whispered. “Can’t stop it.”

Mal and Freya looked at each other. Can you see? He let the words coalesce in his mind.

No. Too much static to get through. Freya pinched the bridge of her nose, feeling the ache already behind her eyes. “Sweetheart, you have to be clearer.” She took River’s hand. “I … we don’t understand.”

“I can’t. The words won’t come.”

“River?” Simon came out of the infirmary. “Are you okay?”

“Your sister wants to leave us,” Mal said, crossing his arms.

“Leave?” The young doctor hurried out, taking Mal‘s place on his knees. “Mei-mei, why?”

“To save Jayne.”

“Why? Are you going to kill him?”

River stared at him. “Yes.”

Simon glanced up at Mal, who shrugged slightly. “How?”

“Taken. Coming. Steps in front …” She looked down at her belly, her hands clasped tightly across it, then back at her brother. “Best to leave. So it won’t.”

“River, you saying someone’s coming for you?” Mal asked quickly.

She lifted her face, and he was shocked to see she was crying. “I’m not important. They are.”

Mei-mei …” Simon gathered her into his arms. “Was all this in a dream?”

“Wasn’t sleeping. Couldn’t sleep.” Her voice was muffled against his shoulder.

Simon glanced at Freya, who nodded. She stood up and hurried into the infirmary. He turned back to his sister. “River, I’m just going to give you something to relax you, okay?”

She pulled back. “No. Hurt the baby.”

“No, it won’t. Besides, all this tension isn’t good for him anyway.”

“You told.” The look on her face was the same as she’d used when she was five, and he’d informed their mother she’d taken his diary, leaving pages around the house for everyone to read.

“You’re having a little boy?” Mal lifted his eyebrows at her.

River nodded, cradling the mound at her waist. “Baby of the male persuasion.” She looked up at him. “You said there were too many females on board.”

He smiled. “That I did.”

Freya rejoined them. “Prolaxin. 10 cc’s,” she murmured.

Simon looked up gratefully, taking the hypo from her. “Thanks.”

“Don’t want it,” River said, eyeing the gadget warily.

“This is just mild. Just to take the edge off things, okay?”

River gazed at him, then held out her arm, sighing. “Okay.” There was a hiss of gas, and she winced, rubbing the area hard. “Ow.”

“It wasn’t that bad.”

“Pincushion,” she complained.

“Why don’t you lay down for a while?” Simon suggested, smiling just a little.

“Need to pack.”

“Well, not right this minute, little one,” Mal pointed out. “We ain’t making any kind of planetfall for nigh on two days, and that’s only to pick up some stores at Xeno’s. No way I’d abandon you on Lancaster. It’s about as far out of the way as you can get without coming back the other side.”

“No, have to pack,” she insisted, getting to her feet. She swayed.

Instantly both men were at her side, holding her up.

“You rest,” Mal ordered. “You’re still on my boat, I’m still captain, so you’re gonna do what you’re told for a change.”

“I resign.”

He laughed unexpectedly. “That’s as may be, but ‘til you physically leave, you’re still crew. Still family, River.”

She yawned. “Maybe I will sit, just for a while.” She let them lead her to the sofa and she laid down, gracefully drawing her feet up, her head resting on her hand.

Simon tenderly covered her with one of the blankets, stroking the hair from her forehead. She drifted quickly into sleep.

“She okay?” Mal asked.

“She’ll sleep for a few hours,” Simon said softly, keeping an eye her. “Then we’ll see.”

“I’ll let Jayne know she’s resting,” Freya said. “So he doesn’t worry quite too much.” She held Mal’s gaze for a moment before slipping out into the cargo bay.

Mal watched her go then pulled Simon away from his sister, going to the entrance of the infirmary. “Is this ‘cause of her hormones?” he asked, glancing back at the sleeping girl.

“I don’t know. I don’t think there’s any kind of research been done on the effects of the later stages of pregnancy on a psychic who’s been tampered with by the Alliance,” Simon said dryly.

“You wanna adjust that tone?” Mal suggested. “Seeing as I'm captain. And Frey’s had two kids and not actually threatened anyone with one of Jayne’s guns.” He was talking about the painting River had done a couple of weeks previously.

“I seem to recall an occasion when –“

“That was a one off.”

“Right.” Simon shrugged. “I really don’t know, Mal. River’s seven months pregnant, and that’s an awkward time for anyone who isn’t even, well, crazy.”

Mal thought back to that point with Ethan and Jesse, to the mood swings, the tendency towards violence … and that was just him. “Okay, I understand that. But –”

Simon interrupted him, indicating the measure of concern he was feeling. “Freya didn’t have her amygdale stripped, Mal, even if the Academy did other things to her. And she’s older. And … well, with Ethan she didn’t have all her abilities back.”

“Yeah, but she did with Jesse.”

“I think the main difference is that Freya had her mentor.” Simon shook his head. “I wish I could have met him. Found out exactly what he did to help her.”

“You could always try asking.”

“I have. She’s told me, several times, and in no uncertain terms, where I could go. And what I could do when I got there. She even offered to draw me a diagram.”

Mal laughed. “Sounds like Frey, all right. But I wish I could’ve met the man who helped her, too. Just to shake his hand, thank him for giving her to me.”

Simon was almost embarrassed at the sheer honesty in Mal’s voice, except he happened to feel exactly the same way about Kaylee.

River twitched.

Up on the catwalk outside the shuttle, Freya paused. River was dreaming, she could feel it. She concentrated a little more, ignoring the pain that flashed through her mind as she pushed through the layers of static and barriers to see whether it was the nightmare that was plaguing her. Gripping the handrail tightly, she closed her eyes, holding her focus …

An alleyway. Dirty. Dark. And a smell that made her feel nauseous, that bit up through her nose into her brain. She held her breath as much as possible, but it still swirled around her ankles like a noxious breeze. She had goose-bumps all up her arms, but it didn’t feel cold. More … afraid. That was it. She was afraid. Very afraid.

There was light at the end of the alley, and she knew she had to reach it. Get there before they did. Before they caught her. But she wasn’t making any kind of headway. She looked down, past her swollen belly, to see her feet barely moving. Gripping onto the brick walls she dragged herself along, feeling her nails breaking on the rough surface.

Still, the light was getting closer, brighter, welcoming her into the warmth of … nothing. It was gone, blotted out by the figure of a man standing in front of her.

“Worth a small fortune,” he said, his teeth gleaming whitely, and the only thing she could see in the darkness.

“Enough to retire,” came a voice behind her, and she whipped around, her hair flying, her dress spinning out. Another silhouette, huge, man-shaped, desire dripping from every word.

“Gonna come with us,” the first said, moving forward, claws reaching out towards her.

“Make us money,” the second agreed.

She cowered against the wall, unable to move, terrified if she fought the baby would get hurt. She hunched over, trying to protect the innocent.

“Leave her alone.”

Heat flashed through her as she looked up, seeing him next to her, appearing like a ghost or demon from thin air.

“Ain't yours.” The first man shook his head. “Ours.”

“No way in hell.”

“Don’t think that’s the truth.”

A sound made her cover her ears, echoing from the walls, beating at her, and the smell changed to burned powder that drifted acridly upwards. The rolling noise died away, and she could feel something warm slither around her toes. She looked down, seeing dark liquid soaking into the ground under her feet, steaming as it oozed from the body lying among the detritus.

“Jayne!” she yelled, going down onto her knees, trying to stop the blood flowing from his chest.

“Run,” he whispered, then didn’t speak again.

“No!” She reached for his face, to force life back into him, but they had hold of her arms, dragging her backwards into the darkness, just a single beam of light on the body of the man she loved …

Freya opened her eyes and drew in a ragged breath, feeling her mind rebounding like on a rubber band. No wonder River was scared. That was so real, so not like a dream but more than a nightmare. She glanced over her shoulder towards the shuttle. Even taking into account River’s state of mind, her pregnancy, her Alliance-forged craziness, there was certainly some substance here for the young psychic’s fears.

And as River loved Jayne so very much, she was willing to risk being kidnapped to keep him safe.

to be continued


Wednesday, January 2, 2008 4:01 AM


Oh, what an awful situation for River! Here's to hoping that the crew can figure a way around what she sees! Good work!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008 4:28 AM


The problem with psychic visions and prophecies is that one never knows what one is supposed to do to stop it. Her running off may very well lead to her would-be kidnappers and to Jayne's ending.
Neat story looking forward to more.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008 9:35 AM


Wow. tension building nicely, and a mystery to boot. awesome story line so far, and I'm looking forward to more.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008 2:06 PM


That is exactly my fear, Stormwolfdawn. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. Maybe it isn't River that has or should do anything at all but the rest of the crew making sure there are always a couple of them around so that River and Jayne are never alone in such a situation. Pity Freya didn't get a good enough look at the *hundan* to recognise them. Would have been nice to have enough information to set THEM up instead. Ali D
You can't take the sky from me

Wednesday, January 2, 2008 6:51 PM


Ouch. Back to angst so soon - and another excellent storyline!


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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.]

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!]

Monied Individual - Part XVI
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!]