World Without End - Part VIII
Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Maya. Post-BDM. Kaylee is trying to find out the secret, but no-one's talking. NEW CHAPTER


“Need a new dress, Momma,” Bethany announced.

“What?” Kaylee looked up from where she was tying her daughter’s shoe laces. “Why?”

“Just do.” Bethie grinned. “You know. For parties. And things.”

Kaylee pushed her hair behind her ears. “Parties. And what parties might you be thinking of going to, young lady?”

“Just parties.” The little girl tried to look ingenuous.

“What’s going on?” her mother asked shrewdly. “What do you see?”

“Nothing.” Bethie turned and picked up Fiddler from where he was lying on the bed. “Time for lessons.”

“No, you don’t,” Kaylee said quickly. “You don’t ever hurry to lessons.” She stood up and put her hands on Bethie’s shoulders. “I want you to tell me what’s going on, right now.”

“Not been peeking.” The dog licked her nose and she sneezed.

“I ain't said you …” Kaylee stopped. “Is it something that goes with peeking?”


“Bethie …”

The little girl squirmed out of her mother’s grasp and ran out of the room. “Lessons!” she shouted over her shoulder.

Kaylee watched her go, her brows drawn together in thought.

“You down there, Kaylee?” Hank called from the stairs.

“Mmn? What? Oh, sure.” She stepped out so she could see him. “What is it?”

“Port injection’s gone again.”

Kaylee sighed, her mind diverted as always by her other baby. “The flow regulator keeps getting jammed. I’ll go bash it with a wrench. Again. Needs that special grease I told the Cap about, though.”

“Well, you should be able to pick some up on Persephone in a few days,” the pilot said, smiling.

“Should.” She stared at him until he started to feel uncomfortable. “Do you know why we’re going to Persephone? We got a job or something?”

Hank shrugged. “Probably.”

“Only the Cap usually tells us ‘fore this.”

“Maybe he’s trying something new.”

She walked up the stairs towards him. “What do you mean?”

“Being captain. You know how he’s always complaining that no-one lets him. Maybe he’s decided to make the decisions and tell us when we need to know.”

“You mean like when things go wrong and we have to pull his ass out of the fire again?”

He grinned. “Kaylee!” he scolded good-naturedly. “Didn’t know you knew words like that.”

“Know a lot more’n that.” She passed him and planted a kiss on his cheek.

“Hey, what was that for?”

“Not knowing any more about what’s going on, though, than me. But I intend to find out.” She swung out of sight around the corner of the stairs.


The drop went better than expected, and within an hour of landing Serenity was back in the black and on her way to Persephone.

“We got enough fuel?” Mal asked, standing behind his pilot, his arms crossed.

“Long as we take it easy, should be fine.” Hank made a minor correction.

“Well, don’t want to take too long about it.”

Hank turned in his seat. “There something going on I don’t know about?”

Mal glared at him, his blue eyes dark. “You think there should be?”

“Well, I don’t know. Kaylee thinks something’s up, that’s for sure. And this heading off for Persephone without any explanation –“

“I'm captain. That’s explanation enough.”

“See, I told her that, and she didn’t believe me either. Mal, what’s going on?”

His mouth set in a stubborn line, Mal shook his head. “Nothing.”

“Freya pregnant?”


“Just wondered. ‘Cause it ain't like you to keep secrets.”

“I'm not …” Mal closed his eyes for a moment. “Just get us to Serenity as soon as you can, taking into account fuel and the fact that I could find me a new pilot just as good as you like that.” He clicked his fingers.

“You think?” Hank grinned.

“Just do it.” Mal strode off the bridge, dropping down into his bunk and closing the hatch.

“So?” Kaylee asked, having been keeping watch from the engine room and now hurrying to join her friend.

Hank shrugged. “He’s being tight lipped, all right.”

“See. I told you.” She leaned on the back of the co-pilot’s chair, all her weight on one leg. “This is real annoying.”

“You could just wait and see what happens.”

“I’d have to hand back my life membership of being a Frye if I did. It runs in the family, needing to understand things.”

“You mean being nosey.”

“I didn’t say that! And I ain’t nosey. Just … interested.”

“I'm sure it’s nothing bad,” Hank insisted.

“No, I know that.” She swung the chair round and dropped into it. “I just get the feeling that it’s … oh, I don’t know. Like it’s the night ‘fore Christmas and all the presents are under the tree in shiny paper. It’s that feelin’ of … of …”


“Yeah.” She nodded, looking at him. “Makes me all tingly.”

“Maybe he’s just setting something up nice for him and Frey. You know, a real meal out, or a hotel for the night. Get away from us.”

“Maybe.” She looked into the distance at the stars outside the window. “Just can’t help thinking that ain't it.”


Mal found his quarry in the common area, stretching. “Back aching?” he asked, remembering Freya’s own troubles with that portion of her anatomy while pregnant.

“A little.”

“Want me to … you want I should get Jayne to rub it for you?” he suggested, swiftly changing what he was going to say.

She smiled. “He will. Later.” She sat down on the sofa, air escaping her like a punctured balloon. “So how is it going?”

“It’s going. Got the wires done, and we’re lucky. There was a ship stopping by Ezra today, so they should be on their way by now.”

“And Inara?”

“Yep. Already on the liner.” He joined her on the seat. “So, just a few more days and all your scheming will come together.”

She sighed happily. “Yes.”

They sat in companionable silence for a minute or two, until Mal felt compelled to say, “River, people’re getting suspicious.”

“It’s got to be a surprise.”

Mal tsked. “See, I know that, and I can appreciate why, but you need to give ‘em something. Maybe just a hint? Or … or a bone?”

River turned her dark eyes on him. “You really think they can’t wait?”

“I think there’s some of ‘em liable to self-combust if you don’t.”


“Kaylee. She’s already got Hank doing her dirty work for her, and I don’t think Bethie’s gonna be able to hold out much longer if she brings in the big guns.”

“Big guns?”

“Cookies. With pink icing.”

“Oh. Yes, I can see that would be a problem.”

“So I think you need to consider tellin’ them.”

She shook her head. “A day or two more.”

“You think if it ain’t a fait accompli it’ll all come crashing down on your head?” He held up a hand. “And, yeah, I know how to use words like that.”

“I never suggested you didn’t.” She put her hand on his arm. “It isn’t that I'm worried. I know he’ll be happy. It’s just … I want this all to be a surprise.”

“So you keep saying. What if –“

“It will be shiny.” She squeezed gently. “Just shiny.”

He looked at her, not at all convinced.


“… and he said he was happy to do it.” Freya’s voice filtered up from the cargo bay where she was sitting on the floor with Jesse.

“That’s good,” Mal responded, leaning next to her. “That’ll make it all official.”

Freya laughed. “You could still have done it,” she pointed out, jiggling her baby on her knee.

“I know. But this way’s better. For once I agree with …”

Jayne didn’t hear anything else as he sauntered through the door at the end of the top catwalk, intent on finding something to eat. Dinner wasn't for an hour yet, and his stomach thought his throat had been cut.

Kaylee pounced on him. “Jayne. What’s going on?”

“What?” He recoiled a little.

“You must know. Whatever it is, River must be able to read it, and she’d tell you, so I’m asking you … what’s going on?”

“Don’t know what you’re talking about, girl,” the big man said, trying to get past her to the kitchen.

She wouldn’t let him by. “But you know something is.”

Jayne shrugged expressively. “Always something going on on this boat, and I’m usually the last to hear. Kinda gotten used to it.”

She stared at him, almost as if she was attempting to get into his mind, then she smiled. “Hungry?”

“Uh … yeah.” He looked at her suspiciously. “Why?”

“What about a cookie?”

His eyebrows threatened to disappear into his hair. “You’re offering me one of your cookies. Of your own accord. Without threatening or violence.”

“It’s just a cookie, Jayne.” She ran her finger along the wall. “They got pink icing.”

He could feel his mouth salivating. “If you’re offering.”

“Come on.”

He followed her into the galley, watching intently as she pulled several items out of one of the high cupboards before taking out a tin. It had little dogs all over it. “So that’s where …” he began, then jammed his mouth shut.

“And don’t go thinking I won’t find a new hiding place for ‘em,” Kaylee warned, lifting off the lid.

“How many can I have?” he asked, staring inside.

“One. Okay, two.”

He grinned and reached in, lifting out a couple of the biscuits. Carefully biting into one, he let the taste fill his mouth before chewing happily. “’S good,” he said indistinctly.

“Glad of that.” She smiled. “So …”

“You know, you ain't a bad cook,” he said, a few crumbs falling from his lips. “And thanks. But I still don’t know what’s going on.” He grinned at her and walked out.

With a petulant sigh, Kaylee rammed the lid back on the cookie tin, just as Simon stepped in the other door. “Gos se.”

“Didn’t work, huh?” he asked, smiling at his wife.

“I'm losing my touch,” Kaylee complained.

“No, you’re not. It is possible there isn’t anything to know.”

“Oh, there’s something. I can feel it.”

“Well, how about coming over here so I can feel you instead?”

She raised her eyebrows at him, her lips twitching despite herself. “No. You come here.”

“Oh, you feel like being in charge, do you?” he said, his mouth curving, his eyes dancing.

“Maybe,” she conceded.

He advanced on her until he had her pinned against the counter. “You know, the infirmary’s empty right now …” Lowering his mouth to hers, he kissed her softly.

“Really?” she murmured indistinctly.

River bounced into the room, as much as she could bounce in her condition. “Oh, please,” she said, extravagantly averting her eyes. “Do you have to do that here?”

“Yes,” her brother said, still running his lips down Kaylee’s neck.

“I have to finish cooking, you know.”

“Jayne gonna be helping?” Kaylee asked, slightly breathlessly.

“Of course. But he doesn’t know it yet.”

“Then get him to tell you what’s going on.”

“Perhaps he isn’t aware of anything,” River pointed out, passing them by and busying herself with checking the stew in the oven.

“But you are?” Kaylee pulled away enough so that she could turn and look at her sister-in-law.

“Only that if you don’t go and find a room then dinner will be late, and the captain wouldn’t like that.”

“Very true,” Simon said, tugging at Kaylee’s waist. “Come on. Bethie and Hope are in with Ben, we’ve got a whole hour all to ourselves.”

River grimaced. “Lovely. Now go.”

Kaylee gave in. “Fine. But if I find out you’ve been keeping things from me …”


Next morning Kaylee tried again, with a different member of the crew.

Zoe was humming to herself. Which was enough to make anyone jumpy. Zoe didn’t hum. She could barely carry a tune, unless she was drunk, but she was actually humming as she checked the EVA suits over.

“You okay?” Kaylee asked, leaning in the doorway of the common area and wiping her hands on a greasy rag.

“Why shouldn’t I be?”

“Oh, no reason.”

Zoe looked up at her, noting her all-too-casual stance. “You busy?”

“Just fixed the water filter in the infirmary. Got a mite clogged.”

“Okay now?”

“Shiny.” She watched her friend tick off something on the clipboard she was carrying, then stand back up. “You pregnant?” she asked suddenly.

“What?” Zoe stared at her.

“I just wondered. With you being so happy ‘n’all.”

Zoe laughed. “No, Kaylee. I'm not pregnant. And you’d be one of the first to know if I was.”

“No likelihood at all?”


“Oh.” She paused. “Then why’re you humming?”

“Was I?”


“I didn’t realise I was.”

“Yeah. Humming out loud.” She stepped down into the cargo bay, crossing to sit on one of the crates, her feet dangling a few inches from the decking. “You and River both. If’n I was of a suspicious turn of mind, I’d say something was going on.”


“Mmn. Only of course I ain’t. Not even a little bit curious.”

“That’s good.” Zoe counted the number of ticks on her sheet, aware of the mechanic staring at her.

In the end it was too much. “Oh, Zoe, this is killin’ me!” Kaylee burst out. “I know somethin’s goin’ on, and I'm just gonna burst if I don’t find out what it is!”

Zoe looked at the young woman. “Burst?”

“Yep. And it won’t be pretty. Blood and entrails all over.”

“And who’d clear it up?”

“Wouldn’t be me,” Kaylee asserted. “Seeing as how it would be my blood and entrails.”

“Maybe Simon. He’s used to it.”

“Zoe …” There was a whole world of wheedling, exasperation and pleading in that one word.

Serenity’s first mate smiled. “You have to keep it a secret.”

Kaylee leaned forward, almost bouncing on the crate, looking like a slightly bigger version of her daughter. “Ooh, what?”

Up in the shuttle River heard Kaylee’s squeal of delight, and sighed. Well, she supposed that Zoe had to tell someone. As long as Kaylee didn’t tell Jayne, that was the main thing. If that was possible. Only now the young mechanic was on her way up the stairs to share a piece of her mind. Oh dear.

to be continued


Thursday, January 10, 2008 5:17 AM


Geez, Kaylee's relentless as a bloodhound, isn't she? LOL

Thursday, January 10, 2008 7:25 AM


Just can't keep a secret from Kaylee, lol. This is really cute. I'm enjoying this story more and more.

Thursday, January 10, 2008 12:42 PM


Oh Kaylee is a pain. You would think that she could at least hold her horses and let people have a secret if they want without almost spoiling everything by grilling all the crew until she managed to make one weaken. Never thought it would be Zoe though. Ali D
You can't take the sky from me

Thursday, January 10, 2008 7:13 PM


So cute. And I hope that Zoe didn't actually tell Kaylee what was going on. I don't believe that she would.


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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!]

Monied Individual - Epilogue
"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!]

Monied Individual - Part XVII
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!]