Fixed - Part II
Thursday, February 28, 2008

Maya. Post-BDM. On Lazarus Inara meets the new baby, and everyone embarrasses Mal. NEW CHAPTER


“You sure you’re warm enough?” Jayne asked, watching as River wrapped Caleb in his blanket and picked him up.

“I'm fine.”

“Only there’s this here coat I think maybe you should be putting on.” He held out something that looked like one of Kaylee’s hand-me-downs.

“I don’t need a coat.”

He looked her up and down, wearing one of her floaty dresses that wouldn’t keep out a breeze. “Then how about a sweater? I figure your bro has enough to spare one.”

“Only because I gave birth before you could unravel them all.”

“I can go grab one and you –“

“Jayne. I am warm enough. I’ve got my boots and underwear on. I don’t need anything else to wear.” She shook her head. “Stop worrying.” Who knew this husband of hers would turn out to be so anxious?

“Ya had Caleb a week ago. Just don’t want you catchin’ cold,” he explained, the tips of his ears pink.

“I won’t. The weather isn’t going to infect me.” She looked down at the little bundle in her arms. “Is it?” she said, the tip of her little finger touching her son’s lips.

“Guess.” Jayne watched, his blue eyes softer than they’d ever been. He’d watched that morning, too, when she’d fed their son. Couldn’t take those eyes off the sight of that slip of a girl who could rip his private parts off with one hand if she chose, just holding their son, letting him take his fill from her. Made his blood run south, too, just a bit, but he knew he couldn’t do a thing about it. Wouldn’t anyway, not to hurt her. He loved her with such a passion, and now to have something made out of the pair of them, something so small, needing him –

“We both need you,” River said softly.

“Ya know I feel the same, don’t you?” he asked, wrapping them both in his arms. “If’n anything ever happened to you, to either of you … I’d as like to –“

“Shh.” She touched his lips with the same finger that had touched Caleb’s. “You keep me safe. As sane as I will ever be.”

“That ain't saying much,” he joked, trying to make light of expressing his feelings, something he still found hard sometimes.

“No, it isn’t. And I’ve had some bad days lately.” At his look she added, “Okay, weeks. Months.” A smile lit her face. “But my Jayne looks after me.”

“That I do.” He dipped his head enough to kiss her forehead. “Ain't nothing better I like to do.” He grinned. “Least now, anyway.”

“No more whores.”

“Never.” He moved her hair away from her face with one hand. “You know, we’d better get going. Or ‘Nara’s likely to be coming banging on our door.”

“She’s talking to Mal and Freya.” River didn’t want to leave the warmth and security of his embrace.

“We got our whole lives to snuggle in, if that’s what you want,” he said, tightening his grip a little. “But we came to Lazarus for a reason, and if we stay here much longer like this I ain't gonna be able to keep my hands off you.”

She laughed, and it made his heart sing. “Okay.” She wriggled against him, just to prove a point, then pulled away. “But not yet.”

“I know. Your prissy bro ain't gonna be able to keep us apart too long, though.”

“It’s not up to Simon. I know my body. I've had long conversations with parts of it before, and I will decide.”

He looked hopeful. “Soon?”

“Soon,” she promised.

“Okay.” He pulled his t-shirt back into place. “Come on, then.”


“But he’s pretty,” Ethan said, holding out the small puppy for inspection.

“Yes, that’s true,” Freya said. “But she’s also a girl, and that’s not a good idea with Fiddler around.”

“Why not?”

“It just isn’t.”

“Why? They won’t fight. And he’s … she’s all soft.” He held the small dog against his chest. “Pretty.” He looked back at his mother. “Why isn’t it a good idea?”

Freya looked at Mal, who shrugged. “Hey, ain't me he asked,” he said. “’Sides, talking about the birds and the bees … I figure that’s your part of the whole marriage and having kids thing.”

Her eyes narrowed just a little. “I’ll remember that tonight.”

He dropped his head to hide a smile.

Inara chuckled. “You still haven’t got over that, have you?”

“Over what?” Freya asked.

“Being a prude about sex.”

“I'm not!”

“Then I'm also interested in how you’re going to deal with this.” She sat back, folding her hands in her lap.

Freya closed her eyes and bit back the cursing behind her lips. Taking a deep breath, she straightened her spine, firming her resolve and …

“See, Ethan,” she heard Mal say, “boy dogs and girl dogs can get too friendly, and if that happens, well, there can be puppies. More puppies.”

Her eyes flew open to see her husband holding their son on his lap, the little dog sniffing the ground down by Jesse.

“Puppies is nice,” Ethan said quietly.

“I know. And I have to admit these ones seem kinda cute, but a ship’s not a place for a lot of dogs. Even small ones. Fiddler knows where he can go now, and where he can’t, and he still gets into trouble, doesn’t he?”

Ethan nodded. “Uncle Jayne’s bunk.”

“Yeah, that’s one of the places.” Mal nodded, knowing what the boy was referring to. “And if we hadn’t heard him keening and scrabbling to get out, who knows what might’ve happened? And that was just ‘cause he got someplace he shouldn’t.”

“Fiddler got into Jayne’s old bunk?” Inara asked.

“That he did. Never did manage to figure out how,” Mal said. “But he must’ve been down there some time, from what he’d done.” He suppressed the shudder, just glad he was captain and could make Hank go and clean it up.

Inara hid her grin behind one perfectly manicured hand. “Ah.”

“So boy dogs and girl dogs mean puppies?” Ethan wanted to clarify.

“Pretty much,” Mal agreed. He could almost see the thoughts going through his son’s head. “So I don’t think we can have another one on board. Least, not yet.”

“’Kay.” The little boy heaved a sigh that seemed to come from his very boots. “’Kay, Daddy.”

“That’s a big feller.”

Inara had watched the little scene with interest, and now said, “Ethan, I was going to keep one of the puppies anyway. Shall I keep this one?” She reached down and picked up the bundle of orange fluff.

Ethan nodded quickly. “That would be nice.”

“You can decide what we call her, if you like. Only I think she needs to go back to her mother now. She’s still very young.”

Ethan scrambled down from Mal’s lap. “I’ll take her.”

“Thank you, Ethan.” Inara handed the puppy back to him, and he walked carefully towards the house.

Mal turned to Freya. “See?” he said, a wide grin on his face. “Easy.”

She wasn't amused. “Easy. Right. So when he asks about where babies come from, and the actual mechanics of the whole sex thing, I’ll just send him to you, shall I?”

He hitched his thumbs into his suspenders. “No problem.”

“Mal, you’re digging yourself an awfully big hole here,” Inara advised. “I’d climb out right now, if I were you.”

Mal laughed. “Frey, that was easy. He’s young enough to accept what I say right now, but I know it’ll be a thousand times worse when it comes up again. And it will. I know damn well it’s gonna come back to bite me in the ass one day, so you can say I told you so then.”

“Oh, I will,” his wife promised.

“Is there likely to be fighting?” Jayne asked, coming up on the small group, River at his side. “Only if there is I wanna lay money on Frey.”

Inara was immediately on her feet, peering into the bundle in River’s arms. “And this is …”

“Caleb,” the new mother said. “Caleb Francis Cobb.”

“Can I …”

“Of course.” River handed her first born son to Inara, who sat down carefully, supporting the baby’s head with one hand and his body along her arm.

“He is handsome,” Inara said softly. “Break hearts when he’s older.”

“Kinda like his Pa,” Jayne joked.

“Very like,” River agreed. “He keeps belching too.”

Freya laughed, and Inara looked up in surprise as Mal tried to hide his amusement.

“Hey …” the big man complained.

River leaned against him. “I love you,” she said simply, looking up into his blue eyes.

“That don’t … hell, that’s just …” He floundered a moment, then sighed. “Love you too, moonbrain.”

Inara looked down at the baby again. “Is this the famous blanket I've been hearing about?”

“It is.” River reached out to touch it. “My first ever knitting.”

“It’s … very you.” Inara tried to admire the multi-coloured squares of wool, little holes showing where stitches had been dropped, and puckering where it was obvious River hadn’t managed to get the tension right.

“Broken,” River agreed, but she didn’t sound unhappy.

“Unique,” Inara amended.

River beamed.

“You hear from Domina at all?” Mal asked, moving his ankle away quickly before Freya could kick him.

Inara nodded, willing herself not to overreact at the mention of the woman bringing up her own child. “She sent me a capture a little while ago. It was Colm’s birthday party.” She looked up. “He seemed very happy.”

“And that’s the most important thing,” Freya put in, glaring at Mal.

“Of course it is.” Inara smiled a little.

“And now you got Sam here, I'm sure it won’t be long ‘fore we hear the sound of little Companiony feet,” Mal went on, then yelped as Freya’s foot connected. “What?” he demanded of his wife.

“Mal, you don’t say things like that,” she hissed.

“I do.”

“Yes, I know you do. But you shouldn’t.”

“Why not?”

“Because it’s … tactless.” Freya leaned over. “Inara might not be wanting children. More children,” she quickly corrected herself.

Mal looked at the ex-Companion holding the baby. “Yeah?” he said softly. “You take a look at that and tell me she don’t.”

Freya glanced over, and had to admit her friend looked … motherly.

Inara felt her gaze and looked up. “It’s all right, Freya. I know Mal’s just being his usual self. And children are something Sam and I have talked about.”

“You’ve only been together six months!” Mal said, entirely forgetting it was he who had brought the subject up. “Ain't it a bit soon to be thinking about procreating?”

“I just said we’ve talked about it. We’ve talked about a lot of things, including which sexual positions we prefer.” She had to smile as she saw Mal wriggle a little. “You know, me on top, whether we should be using some of the toys I still have, bondage …”

“Inara, stop it,” Freya said, knowing her husband was blushing under his shirt. “He’ll be needing a cold shower if you go on like that.”

“I could stand to hear some more,” Jayne said, then grunted as River’s elbow connected with his ribs. “Just saying …”

“Stop saying it,” she warned.

“Saying what?” Kaylee asked, strolling towards them, her good arm linked in Simon’s.

“Oh, just how –“ Inara began, looking at Mal.

“No. I have to live with him.” Freya didn’t need to say anything else as her friend smiled sweetly.

“Did we miss something?” Simon asked, looking from one to the other.

“Thought you’d be wanting to spend all your time on board,” Mal said. “Seeing as I gather you were otherwise engaged when we landed.”

“Not ‘til after,” Kaylee said, smiling widely. “Only just after, I admit …”

“And I thought you weren't able to do that … kind of thing with your arm all bound up,” Mal went on, pointing to the strapping still holding her shoulder immobile.

“There are ways,” Simon said. “I’m a doctor, after all. I have intimate knowledge of how the body works, particularly Kaylee’s, and the positions for a fulfilling –“

“Enough!” Mal’s voice rebounded off the trees, as he jumped to his feet. “Dammit, this crew don’t talk of nothing else,” he complained.

“And I thought I was the prude,” Freya murmured.

“Cap, did we say something wrong?” Kaylee asked, all innocent, her brown eyes sparking with amusement.

He just glared at her and said, “I'm going to take my daughter to see the puppies.” He picked Jesse up, settling her onto his hip before heading for the house, and ignored the laughter following him.

to be continued


Thursday, February 28, 2008 4:01 AM


A very tender moment between Jayne and River. And Mal the prude, ROFL.

Great chapter, Jane. Just great. Fun to read, and read again. Good work, as always.

And Simon needling Mal the Prude was just a bonus. LOL.

Thursday, February 28, 2008 4:32 AM


All I could think of is Wash's line from OMR "Everyone not talking about sex in here,,,everyone else, elsewhere." LOL

Thursday, February 28, 2008 12:39 PM


Poor Mal. I think he may be with the wrong crowd if he wants to hold onto his prudish ways! LOL

Thursday, February 28, 2008 4:14 PM


Glad to see more of this story, and glad that Mal didn't put his foot too far into his mouth.


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