Capacity Chapter 9
Friday, July 4, 2008

It’s a long story… Mal and Ruby bond some more, Xiaofan gets her new face and… then she leaves. Wash and Zoe have a chat and Jayne gets over his issues with Simon and Xiaofan.


Capacity Chapter 9

By: Joly

Rated: R for strong sexual content

Summary: It’s a long story… Mal and Ruby bond some more, Xiaofan gets her new face and… then she leaves. Wash and Zoe have a chat and Jayne gets over his issues with Simon and Xiaofan.

Disclaimer: I no own. No sue. Thank you.


“Here for my next bed time story?” Ruby said, opening the door to her quarters.

Mal smiled at her and entered as she moved away from the door and settle on her bed.

“You don’t like coming out to the commons…” he remarked.

“Like to keep to myself.”

“Didn’t used to.”

She shrugged. “We all changed.”

“That we have,” Mal replied.

Ruby lay on her side on the bed, watching Mal settle in the chair opposite her.

“You don’t have to sit across the room,” she said.

“Room ain’t that big, not that far away.”

She raised an eyebrow and he scooted the chair closer to her bed.

“What’s the tale tonight?” she asked, pulling the light sheet to her waist.

“I believe it’s your turn to regale me with the stories of your adventures.”

She sighed and rolled onto her back.

“No adventures. Just working, living, breathing, eating.”

“Turning a harmless little tool into a high voltage device…”

She smiled.

“Hey, I’m a woman on my own, gotta take care of my business.”

Mal’s smile faded.

“I’m sorry about your folks,” he said.

She turned to face the bulkhead, hoping she wouldn’t burst into tears.

“Your Ma, too.”

“We’re gettin’ off track. There are adventures that need to be told,” Mal said, trying to lighten the mood.

Ruby rubbed her eyes and turned back to Mal.

“For instance?” she asked.

“Why you decided you needed a high voltage screwdriver?”

“Abaddon station was the lowest point in my life. At first I had to fight every day. But an old Tech took me under his wing and taught me a few things. First few who wanted to try me out after I got my toy modified got their asses handed to them.”

“Why did you stay?” Mal asked, incredulous.

“And go where?” she asked, “No family anywhere else. And I decided after Shadow I wasn’t going to be anybody’s bitch. I was going to learn to take care of myself in a way that’d make Mommy and Daddy proud.”

“Yeah, I can see your Pa laughing his ass off at your little toy. Telling you to teach them idiots a lesson.”

Ruby fought the continuing urge to cry.

“Back to you, Mal,” she said, “A story of daring and danger if you please.”

He sighed.

“I suppose. You recall the returned train job?”

She nodded.

“Well, the fella we did the job for was less than pleased with our handling of the situation. Plus, I mighta kicked one of his guys into the intake of Serenity’s engines.”

Ruby made a face and shook her head. “Mal.”

He shrugged.

“You had to be there.”

“I suppose.”

“Out on a run, his guys picked us up and took us back to him. Zoe had to come get us out.” He stopped, looking at her.

“And that’s all?”

Mal paused, trying to decide what to say next.

“There mighta been some torturin‘, yeah.”

Ruby sat up.

“Just ‘some torturing’?”

Mal shrugged again.

“Been through some bad spots before, Ruby. Can’t get all overwrought ‘bout it.”

She swung her legs over the side of the bed, her night shirt sliding slightly up her thighs.

“I lost my home and family and had some thugs try to take advantage of me, but I ain’t never been tortured Mal. You went through the war, the camps, the Alliance crack downs, and… And… Mal, for Buddha’s sake.”

“What, Ruby?”

“You talk about it like it was just any old thing that happened. Like growing up and old days… Like rattling off a laundry list.”

“That’s all they are…”

She put a hand on the side of his face.

“I thought I turned off my feelings… Mal…”

He turned his head to the side, looking away from her.


She brought her hand down to his chest.

“Tell me a story that doesn’t involve you being tortured or beat up.”

Mal eased back in the chair and Ruby settled back onto the bed, making herself comfortable.

“Well, my ‘not wife’ set me up again, left me naked in the middle of nowhere.”

Ruby let the sadness go and smiled at him.

“Yes, I want to hear that one.”



“Mal,” Simon said.

“Captain,” Xiaofan added.

“You want us to risk the Feds so Doctor Lo can have pretty new face?”

‘Doctor again…’ Xiaofan thought.

“My face is pretty enough as it is. That’s not the issue and you bloody well know it. Blue Sun sent MY BROTHER after me. Blue Sun knows this face. It’ll help my chances for a longer life to have it slightly altered.”

“What kinda alterations are you talkin’ about?” Jayne asked.

She shot him a look, mostly because she was still irritated by his comments from the other night.

“Change the shape of my eyes, my cheekbones, widen my lips… Make me look a little more… Make the blond and blue look like it belongs.”

“How do you know it’ll help?” Zoe asked.

“I don’t honestly. Blue Sun sending my brother was a complete fluke… I like my face the way it is, I don’t want to change it. Well, I do… But I don’t want to have to.”

Simon sat stewing, silently chewing the side of a finger. Everyone noticed.

“You have a thought, Doc?” Mal asked.

“Too many…” River said, kneeling by his chair. “All the risk…”

“There’s risk in almost everything we do, everyday,” Mal said, “Shoot, you were the one who masterminded the Ariel job. What? You gone all pansy on me?”

Simon’s face froze and then he reacted.

“The risk is for all of us,” he said, emphatically.

Xiaofan couldn’t help feeling the ‘us’ did not include her.

“I’m a wanted criminal myself, but even if we change your face…”

“If ZhangZi told them I’m alive…” Xiaofan said sadly.

“Yes,” Simon replied, “They’d continue to hunt you, us. Serenity.”

There was silence for a long moment until Xiaofan spoke.

“Then, Simon, after you give me my new face, you’ll have to take me some where else, far off the beaten path.”

“Leave the ship?” Kaylee asked.

“I can’t put you in any more danger. Especially with all you’ve done for me.”

“She’s right, sir,” Zoe put in, making a face at Wash’s expression. In her time on the ship, he’d grown fond of the woman. “Nothin’ against you. But we got the deck stacked against us enough…”

Kaylee made a tactical change of subject.

“Why do you have to change your face? Why not make your hair and eyes darker?”

Simon chose to answer that question.

“There’s no easy answer. We could go a half dozen different routes, but Xiaofan has decided that is the best course of action.”

“Yes,” she said pointedly, looking at Simon, “It is the best course of action. I’m not going to spend the rest of my life dyeing my hair and either damaging my eyes with retinal surgery or inserting lenses. That’s it, I have spoken.”

More silence.

“I’m assumin’ you have a plan?” Mal asked.

“We do,” Xiaofan replied, nodding to Simon.

Mal took a deep breath.

“Well, let’s hear it.”


“You have two hours,” Mal said, joining Zoe and Jayne on the mule.

“Aware,” River said, heading up the stairs to shuttle 2, which she would be piloting for Xiaofan and Simon.

Simon and Xiaofan had already stowed their gear and were entering the bay.

Jayne hopped from the mule and walked over to her.

“Hey!” Mal shouted.

Jayne just ignored him.

“I know you didn’t do nothin’ with the doc.”

She looked at him a second.

“Is this your way of not apologizing for behaving like an asshole?”

“I’m just sayin’…” he continued.

“I’m giving you this one,” she said, gently fisting him in the gut. Jayne didn’t even flinch, he just smirked at her.

“He couldn’t do it for you anyway,” he called as he walked away and jumped back on the mule.

It was Simon’s turn to be indignant.

“I could-” he stopped, “Man ape,” he whispered to himself as he headed for the shuttle.

Xiaofan just let out her breath and followed Simon.

Jayne settled into the mule.

“You havin’ relations with Xiaofan?” Mal asked tersely.

Jayne laughed. Zoe grinned.

“I’ll take that as a ‘I don’t want to know’,” he paused and then shouted across the bay, “Two hours! We gotta pick up Barton’s goods and get gone.”

River just waved off handedly and Simon nodded.

“Such a quiet, understated man,” Simon muttered to himself, entering the shuttle and locking it down.


“I’m looking for lot 26,” Mal said approaching the counter in the office of the warehouse.

“You here for the mountain man’s stuff, too?” a young woman asked quietly.

“What do you mean ‘too’?”

“Fellas just got here, started loaded the stuff up.”

“Shit!” Mal swore under his breath, “Where’s the lot?”

She ran her finger down a list and pointed him in the right direction.

The three came across three men loading items onto a skiff.

“Gentlemen!” Mal called, weapon already drawn, flanked by Zoe and Jayne, equally armed.

“We ain’t got no quarrel with you,” one of them called, “Just doing our job.”

“Ain’t that what we’re usually sayin’?” Jayne asked Zoe, who just shrugged and smiled.

“Barton sent us after his stuff, not you boys. So, kindly take yourselves back to your ship and tell whoever sent you the job has a new handler.”

One turned to the other.

“Badger’s gonna be pissed.”

Mal smiled.

“You tell him Atherton Wing took care of this himself, so he should just watch himself.”

Zoe shot him a look, which Mal returned with a devil may care lift of the eyebrow.

The three men started returning the items to the storage area.

“What?” Jayne asked, “We ain’t getting’ shot?”

Zoe shushed him.

“Like we don’t have enough trouble.”

The men loaded the goods while Zoe supervised.

“Atherton Wing, sir?”

“Just tossin’ a name out there. See if they headed that direction.”

“And if they don’t?”

Mal just grinned.

“We’ll burn that bridge when we get to it.”


Simon eased Xiaofan onto her bed, having returned moments before Mal and the others.

“Just rest,” he said, “The sedatives should wear off soon and the amp of painkiller is on the table by the bed.”

Xiaofan just mumbled.

“Lay on your back… Your face is going to hurt like a… Well, it’s going to hurt a lot.”

Simon noticed that Xiaofan seemed to have slipped into sleep, so he turned to leave.

Jayne was standing at her door.

“She okay?”

“She’ll be fine.”

“I mean, is she recoverin’ okay?”

Simon looked at the man warily.

“What could she possibly see in you?”

Jayne was immediately angry, but not surprised.

“You wanna have this conversation right here?”

Simon turned and looked at Xiaofan, resting quietly in the bed.


“Well, shoutin’ is best done in the bay,” Jayne said and headed in that direction.

Once there, Simon asked the question again.

Jayne wanted to punch the prissy doctor in the face, but held that feeling back.

“I don’t know what in the gorram hell she sees in me. But she sees something she likes.”

“She’s a Core trained physician with multiple degrees…”

“And a criminal who helped us move stolen meds. She ain’t no angel. Maybe she’s looking for someone who won’t treat her like she’s some kinda fragile thing, just for lookin’ at.”

Simon tried to wrap his head around it.

“Whatever you think, Doc. Xiao’s been on her own a while, she wants somebody who wants her.”

“Insight from the trained man ape.”

Jayne just sighed.

“Now, you’re tryin’ to rile me, so I’ll let it go. Like it or not, you got your woman. And Xiaofan ain’t pinin’ for you no more.”

Simon looked at Jayne, like he was assessing a triage situation.

“She had no problem with the anesthesia, the surgery went quickly and uneventfully. River watched our exit and we gurneyed her out with no problem. She’s coming out of the anesthesia and I’ll need to check on her pretty frequently the net few hours to make sure no complications develop. I left her a one dose amp of painkiller, but she shouldn’t be in too much pain.”

Jayne nodded.

“What does she look like?”

“There’s too much swelling to see clearly right now. But I did what she asked. Her eyes, nose, mouth, cheekbones.”

“Thanks, Doc,” Jayne said and left the cargo bay, “Hey,” he called over his shoulder, “no shouting.”

“No shooting,” Simon replied to himself.


“Everything’s stowed, husband,” Zoe said, “We’re ready to go.”

Wash set the course and then turned to his wife.

She saw the look on his face and headed him off.

“I don’t want a fight.”

“Then we won’t fight, we’ll discuss.”

“I really doubt that, husband.”

“I just want you to think about it.”

“I have, and I’m not going to stop doing my job.”

“You’re pregnant!”

“I am well aware, Wash.”

“What if something had gone bad and you ended up in a gun fight? You want to put the baby at risk?”

“Wasn’t supposed to be anybody there. It was just supposed to be an easy pick up.”

“Mal says that a lot.”


“It’s true! We get jobs that are supposed to be milk runs that turn into us fighting for our lives. It happens.”

“So, I should never go out on another job, ever?”

Wash shrugged.

“I really don’t have an answer for that. We live a pretty dangerous life…”

Zoe sank into the co-pilot’s chair.

“What’ll I do?”

“You could bake,” Wash said brightly, “Or learn to knit.”

She gave him a hard look.

“Or not,” he said quickly.


Xiaofan recovered fairly quickly, just a couple of days. Simon was a handy surgeon and the equipment they’d ‘borrowed’ was top of the line.

No scarring, no lines. She looked at herself in the mirror. The crease in her eyelid was gone, her eye looked open wide. She thought she looked surprised. Her face was rounder, her chin less pointed. Her lips were full and a little wider. Her cheek bones were less defined adding to that round effect.

She had a picture of herself in her mind, and looking in the mirror, she was seeing a stranger. A pretty one, but a stranger nonetheless. She settled on a border world in an out of the way town that needed a practitioner. Her recompense was a little house with enough room for her and an exam room. Mal’d spoken to the governor over the cortex, set it up for her. Captain Harbatkin of the Philistine would be dropping her, Lucille Magnus, off in a matter of hours.

The governor was hardly as thorough as the congenitally wealthy of Bellerophon. He heard ‘medical practitioner’ and ‘will bring supplies and equipment’ and hired her on the spot.

She had a final arrangement to see to.

She kicked the entrance to his bunk and heard a gruff response. No doubt he assumed it was anyone but her. An assumption confirmed when his eyes widened at the sight of her.

“Come on, this isn’t the first time you’ve seen the new me.”

“First time I’ve seen you in my bunk.”

She stood there silent a minute.

“We have unfinished business.”

He looked confused.

“I wasn’t aware we had any business at all.”

She’d worn this particular dress for it’s ease of removal, and thusly she slid it down her shoulders and to the floor. Jayne gaped, but reacted.

He crossed the short space between them and grabbed her.

“You do this now?”

She kissed him, pulling at his t-shirt.

“I might not see you again.”

“So, you wanted a good bye rut?” He couldn’t manage to keep the hardness out of his voice.

She stopped, looking him in the eye.

“I want this right now because we should have the moment you put your hands on me. But my brain got in the way, what I thought I should want instead of what I really wanted. This is not a good bye ‘rut’, this is me showing you how I feel before I go away for what may be a very long time.”

He just looked at her, amazed.

“Now, Jayne,” she breathed, and he enveloped her.

At the end she laid panting in his arms, calling on her will not to cry.

If it had been less pleasurable, if his scent hadn’t driven her wild , if he hadn’t brought her to her peak so many times with such passion. If he’d been selfish or uncaring, if the fantasy had been shattered by the reality.

If she hadn’t let herself fall in love with him, it would have been just a night of lust, slaking a thirst she’d denied she had.

But he had pleased her, his arousal, the warmth and his scent making her tear the rest of his clothes off and run her hands over him. He made her cry out so many times, with his fingers, his lips, his body. He handled her as if it was his one purpose.

They laid pressed together tightly, her face in his chest, hiding the moisture leaking from her eyes. She wiped it away, like it was the sweat from their pleasure. She pulled away, grabbing her dress from the floor, smiling at him.

“Say good bye to me in the cargo bay with the rest.”

And she was up the ladder and in the corridor.

Mal was surprised to see where she was coming from.

“Planet fall, fifteen-” he got out as she pressed by him, wiping her eyes. He stopped her. “He hurt you?”

“God, no, Mal. I hurt myself,” she said and headed for her room.


“Bye, sweetie,” Kaylee said, giving Xiaofan a hug.

“Bye, Kaylee. I’m so glad I met you, and your inter-engine fermentation brew,” she replied, laughing.

Wash hugged her for both he and Zoe.

“It was exciting having you aboard, except for that time we almost got killed.”

Xiaofan’s smile widened.

“Yeah, sorry, I lost my focus.”

“You like your new face?” Zoe asked.

“I don’t hate it. I just don’t recognize it as me yet.”

River and Simon gifted her with a hap hazard blanket River knitted with yarn Simon procured on various stops. It was bright and pretty and warm, if a bit oblong.

Mal nodded at her, moving her crates to the end of the cargo bay.

“Seems like we’ve done this before. But I checked in advance. No crazy psychopaths waiting for you, that I’m aware of,” he said, having toted the last crate with Jayne.

The bay doors opened and blinding sun glared inside.

Xiaofan could see the governor and his staff waiting for her. Her things were quickly loaded onto carts to carry to her new home. She glanced back onto the ship waving at the crew, not seeing Jayne, not even out of the corner of her eye.

Which is why she was surprised when he came upon her, wrapped her in his arms and kissed her. They stayed in the embrace for as long as they dared, then he loosened his grip.

Xiaofan could see the looks on the face’s of various crew members who believed Jayne did not kiss on the lips. It was no doubt a revelation to them.

“Bye, Jayne,” she said.

“Be careful,” he replied.

“I will.”

(A/N: Please leave a review.)


Friday, July 4, 2008 12:57 PM


Soooo good. I like how she doesn't recognize herself yet with her new face. Great touch! You did good, Girl. (Like How Ruby is progressing too.)

Friday, July 4, 2008 12:57 PM


Soooo good. I like how she doesn't recognize herself yet with her new face. Great touch! You did good, Girl. (Like How Ruby is progressing too.)


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Capacity Chapter 15

Capacity Chapter 14
Just about to set foot on Markham and face the bad. One way or the other.

Capacity Chapter 13
Plot moves forward. People from the past poke there heads in. Serenity is quiet and mournful.

Capacity Chapter 12
Mal and the crew find out exactly how horribly they'd been used.

Capacity Chapter 11
The crew does not find what they expected on Kerry.

Capacity Chapter 10
It’s just not a normal day on Serenity unless somebody gets shot, threatened or beat up.

Capacity Chapter 9
It’s a long story… Mal and Ruby bond some more, Xiaofan gets her new face and… then she leaves. Wash and Zoe have a chat and Jayne gets over his issues with Simon and Xiaofan.

Capacity Chapter 8
Out in the black, heading to the next destination. Ruby gets on as a passenger and Xiaofan bullies Simon into getting her a new face.

Capacity Chapter 7
Still on Abaddon Station, Xiaofan confronts her brother, Mal confronts the mystery woman.

Capacity Chapter 6
A stopover at Abaddon Station, weirdness ensues.