Reavers Return - Epilogue
Thursday, February 7, 2008

Serenity returns to Gang Kou two and a half months after the Reaver attack. Grateful thanks to BlueEyedBrigadier for the beta. Having feedback is like charging my battery, please comment.


Mal never imagined he would’ve been so glad to return to Gang Kou, but they’d been away a long time and the Alliance had finally gone, taking their typical sweet time in sorting out the slave ship mess. They’d been waved two weeks ago by Jayne to say the coast was clear, and it couldn’t have come soon enough. River still piloted but always under the watchful eye of someone else, barely speaking a word to anyone and Mal was more than concerned she might flip out again. His collar bone was healing very slowly and still pained him some, one of the other reasons he was happy to be back. Some rest, just like the doctor kept ordering. Things were still very tense on ship or rather he was tense, and worried about River. The only time he’d been able to relax lately was when Serenity was grounded. Now it was winter, business was always slow and they had a place to wait it out. As soon as the ramp went down Simon jumped off, keen to see how his other patient was doing. Glad for a change to be away from his sister, who was not the same since the Reaver attack. Mal had grounded her for a week after the event, and after that she had continued to pilot with no problems, but that was all she did. The rest of the time was spent in her bunk, ignoring everyone, including him. It had kept him awake on many nights. Simon hurried towards Jayne and Esper’s house. Waves on Esper’s condition were not good enough for him, especially as she was having twins. It was only his second delivery – having missed out on most of Marcus’ birth. He was not entirely sure he was ready to deliver twins, but he’d done enough research in the last few months to cover pretty much every eventuality. Although Simon knew Esper would be large, even he was not quite prepared for how huge she looked at seven months. “I know!” she exclaimed, at his shocked expression. “I don’t think I’ll be able to keep this from Jayne any longer – he makes any more comments on how large I’m gettin’, he ain’t gonna see the day they’re born.” Simon hid a smile. “Well that’s up to you, but now you’ve told me, I’ll know where to send the law man.” Esper chuckled softly and levered herself into a chair, while Simon got out his instruments. “Is Jayne not here?” “No, he’s out with Hans somewhere. They left early this morning. It’s nice to have you all back again.” “It’s good to be back. Things have been difficult with River since the Reaver attack. It’s like she’s gone back to how she was when I first broke her out of the Academy.” Esper hadn’t known River then, but she put her hand over Simon’s in comfort, as she had experienced first hand what grief could do to a person. “If she’s lost her man, then she’s like to be grievin’ a while yet. It’s how I’d be if I lost Jayne. How you’d be if you lost Kaylee.” Simon didn’t answer, but a chill of fear ran up his spine at the thought of losing Kaylee, and losing River. Simon finished his examination and stood upright again. “Well everything seems in order. You’re as healthy as a horse, if you’ll excuse the turn of phrase. Are you going to tell Jayne about the twins?” “Depends on whether he makes another crack or not.” Simon packed his instruments away. “How’s Bane? She’s not here?” Esper held out her hand for Simon to help her up, which he did, his back muscles straining as she was pulled to her feet. “She’s well. More than well, but she hasn’t spent a lot of time here. She only came back to Gang Kou once the Alliance left. You want me to call her?” “Where is she?” Esper waddled into the kitchen so she could show him where Bane was. “Down by the river. We strung some rope so she could find her way there without help, but that’ll have to change when the cattle get here.” Simon looked out the back of the house and saw a small figure by the river, and Karl walking towards her. There would be plenty of time to talk to her, he thought, so he would let them have their reunion. Karl had spotted Bane quickly and was now hurrying towards her. He couldn’t wait to hold her in his arms again. Being separated for two and a half months had been torture, especially since they had almost been killed. Bane still had her back to him, her hair loose and she was wearing a long skirt, dangling her feet in the river. She turned her head at the sound of footsteps, having heard the ship landing and hoped it was either Serenity or Monty, but especially Serenity. “Is that you, Karl?” “You waitin’ on some other big hairy man?” he chuckled. Bane got to her feet and moved towards his voice, happy that he was finally back. As they stood close together, Bane reached up and touched his face. The moustache was still in place, the hair a little more unkempt. Karl did the same to her face, re-memorising his own images of her. “You look good in a skirt.” Bane put her arms around his neck and pulled Karl down for a kiss. Home, sweet home, thought Karl. * * * * With the snow falling heavily outside, River packed her bag carefully, choosing items for their practicality instead of sentimentality. Tonight she would go, having planned it meticulously for months. There was a ship leaving München docks for a year long mining trip and she knew how to make herself useful. More than anything she had hated using the skills the Academy had taught her to plan this, but it was necessary. Like she had overheard Mal thinking, it was time for her to grow up, become independent. And then maybe she wouldn’t be responsible for almost getting people killed. Next time it could be one of their deaths, instead of just Stan. Nearly all of them had all forgiven her, accepted her behaviour as grief and a reaction to loss. She couldn’t forgive herself though. Good gorram, she’d broken Mal’s collar bone and she couldn’t even remember doing it. Serenity had offered her succor and protection, a job – and she’d repaid them by almost getting them all eaten. Zoe was the only one who hadn’t forgiven her, and the only one with the courage to take action when River could have killed them all. River knew that Zoe wouldn’t have hesitated to kill her, if it came down to it, her life for everyone else’s, including her own child’s. For Zoe it was likely worse, considering that was the same way she had lost Wash – she could feel her sympathy in the fact that she had lost Stan the same way. That was why River had decided to leave. She had to grow up, become independent and, most importantly, responsible for her own actions – even if it meant falling into Alliance hands again, though that wouldn’t be her first choice. River found she was fingering Stan’s hat in her hand. She thought about him every minute, and how she would never see him again. But she quashed it, deep inside, as to bring him to the surface would just make her lose control again and she couldn’t let that happen, never again. River sighed and placed the hat in her bag, logically deciding that she could take one sentimental thing. Tonight was the right time to go, people were arriving that would distract them from seeing that she was gone and by the time they realized, it would be too late. The first to arrive was Matthew Cobb, fresh in from a transport in München, driven to Gang Kou by Hans. Matt Cobb was as tall as his older brother, but due to the ravages of the damp lung, he’d none of the robustness. Excitement filled his body as they drove through the dark brush and towards a small settlement, dimly lit between snowflakes, but getting brighter as they drew nearer. He’d met Esper last year, last December in fact – a year to the month, but it had been many years since he had clapped eyes on his brother. He still couldn’t believe he had made the trip, his first time on any transport and his first time in the Black. It had been terrifying and it was only now, in the last hour or so since he had sought out Mayor Hans Kifelder, as instructed in Jayne’s letter, that he was less nauseous and much better for being on firm ground. Hans drove him in the freezing night into Gang Kou, there was a small party on at Mal’s place – an impromptu bachelor party, as the men had been quite offended to learn that the women were having a small gathering of their own to celebrate Inara final accepting Mal’s proposal. Hans didn’t care, he didn’t need an excuse to drink and it was about time they had a little celebration. He shut off the engine in front of Mal and Inara’s house and climbed out of the mule. “You coom viz me now.” Matt climbed out as well, heaving his bag out of the back. They both walked onto the porch of the house and Hans hammered on the door, over the noises they heard inside. Mal opened it, balancing a cigar and brimming mug in one hand. “Hans! ‘Bout time you arrived. Who’s this?” “Jayne’z brozzer.” Matt stepped forward into the light streaming outwards. “Matthew Cobb, Sir. Pleased to meet you.” Matt held out his hand and Mal’s mouth dropped open. He didn’t speak for several seconds and then burst out laughing. “You can’t be – you’re far too polite. Jayne! Jayne, get out here! Someone’s claimin’ ta be your brother.” Mal stepped aside so both men could come in the house. They had heavy snowfall all day and the fires were going in several of the houses. Jayne swayed into the corridor, more than a little inebriated already. He blinked a few seconds, recognition filtering through slowly. The only reason he recognized his brother was due to the capture that Esper had shown him after her visit to Muir. If the man had walked up to him in the street, he would never have guessed. Matt Cobb grinned and then they all saw the facial resemblance. Jayne grinned identically and stumbled over to hug his brother. Across the track, in his house, the women were hysterical with laughter. Bane and Kaylee had rigged up a large capture screen so they could play all the captures they had. River, who had slipped in about thirty minutes ago, was giggling at the images of Mal, Jayne and the others pole dancing at Simon’s bachelor party. Bane had seen the captures before she went blind, but it was still as funny listening to it. Esper was trying not to laugh so hard, but it was increasingly difficult. And then she gasped, more in shock than pain, as her waters broke. Everyone leapt into action, except River, who shrunk into the background. Inara and Bane helped Esper to her room and Zoe went out into the cold to get Simon. Kaylee had already gone in front of Esper to get the bed ready. River, left behind in the empty front room, went immediately to the security consol and unwired the proximity alarm. She took a last look around, knowing they would be busy for hours either with Matt Cobb or the arrival of twin Cobbs. River gave a smirk as she wrapped her scarf around her neck, more Cobbs, that’s all Mal needed. She left Jayne’s house via the back door and then walked to the barn where she had stowed her gear. Once in the barn, she looked out of the small window and watched as the men, Simon ahead of them, hurried over to Jayne’s house and went in. “Goodbye, Simon,” she said out loud, I hope you can forgive me, she thought. The horse was ready and River hitched herself up onto the saddle and rode quietly out of the barn into the darkness. Once clear of the lights and well out of sound range, she kicked the horse into a canter, heading out of Gang Kou and towards the München gate.


Thursday, February 7, 2008 12:26 AM


Those of you who've been kind enough to follow my whole series, I would also appreciate anything you might want to add in your comments covering it as a whole.

Don't worry, you won't have to wait long for the next series!

Thursday, February 7, 2008 11:53 AM


I'd be really interested if you've got a favourite in the series. My personal favourite is One Careful Owner, which was SO much fun to write. Although, it's difficult cuz there's lots of bits in each one that I loved writing - like Zoe's scenes in Ich Liebe Dich, the first part of Ships in the Night, the heist in Firstborn...I could go on, but I'd probably bore you all!

Saturday, February 9, 2008 12:12 PM


It's a small change, but having Zoe feel something besides fury at River's actions does make things - at least for me - stay grounded. Everyone had/has a right to be cheesed at River...but having Zoe be the only one not forgiving her and acting completely aloof? Just didn't see to sit well, so the addition of more background was totally awesome:D



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