The Reunion - 1 of 9
Saturday, February 7, 2009

Post-BDM (8 years post, actually); all the characters belong to Joss, and the idea for the story was handed to me by my Dadoo, who said he didn't have time to write it, so would i do it for him. i said yes. we hope you enjoy.


Simon woke that morning to a sudden revelation: it had been eight years since Wash had died. Eight years since they had sent out the Miranda 'wave. Eight years since Zoë had discovered she was carrying Wash's child. Eight years since everything had changed. Mal had done everything he could to convince Zoë to stay. She had gone along with it, too...for a while. Where else would she find a doctor on hand 24 hours a day for every question she might have, every concern she might think up - and who else would know what questions not to ask? As the months passed, though, it became clear to everyone she wouldn't stay. It wasn't just that her growing belly was getting in the way of committing crimes, it was the way she looked after her cut had been handed to her...the look that said she was trying to justify crime to her unborn babe. She gave birth to a baby girl, stayed on the ship a few weeks and then left. Mal didn't try to stop her anymore. In a way, they all knew that was the end of their crew. They dropped Zoë off at a quiet little plot of land she had bought. It was a small, one bedroom house and a tiny square yard, but it was hers. Hers to raise Wash's daughter in; hers to live in; hers to grow old in. They had only left her a month or so before Simon approached Mal about leaving the ship. By then, Mal didn't have any argument left in him. He left newlyweds Simon and Kaylee to their own plans on the Rim planet of their choosing without a backward glance. It had been Inara who had hugged them both close and tried to let them know how much they meant to everyone... It was Inara who sent updates later on; Inara who told them of Jayne's departure and later of his arrests and narrow escapes. It wasn't until Inara's death that the updates stopped coming. River had sent that 'wave, asking for Simon and Kaylee to come to the burial. It was short and to the point: Inara had succumbed to her disease, she was at peace; Nandi's Girls - now led by Pedaline - would host them for the week. When they had arrived, Pedaline explained how Inara had made the request to rest beside Nandi. This was partly due to her close friendship with Nandi, and partly so Mal wouldn't have to set foot on Sihnon, where she knew he'd be more uncomfortable than he already would be. As it was, most of the Training House had arrived for the burial of Inara Serra and Mal spent most of the time being uncomfortable, but at least he could walk to town and leave them all behind him. By the time Kaylee and Simon had arrived, Mal was just used to walking away from people. Zoë was there, with Kya, and leaving her child to play with Jonah under River's watch, had walked with Mal for hours and hours. No one ever saw them speak; Mal would just leave the room and Zoë would follow. Kaylee confided later, when they had left, that she wasn't sure Mal even knew any of his crew were there. She had tried talking to him and he had nodded numbly. Simon admitted that he, too, had noticed that about their former Captain. River had been the one thanking them for coming. Mal had simply stared, unseeing, at a point beyond their faces. No one was surprised when he said he would have nothing more to do with Companions - ex, current or future. Seeing Inara's grave marker next to Nandi's only brought to mind how his experience with them registered in his heart. The biggest blow was when River had told them Mal had sold Serenity. The ship was too large for a two-man crew, and now with Inara gone, Mal couldn't stand the emptiness anymore. So he had sold the ship - their home - and bought a smaller ship River had selected; she also named it Anathema. They were still thieving, still smuggling, but on a smaller scale. When Simon asked River if she wanted to give up that life and move in with him and Kaylee, River had given him a smile and shook her head. "I need to be there," she had said. "The silence listens to me and I listen to it." Simon had let it go. Inara's death was almost six years ago, now, Simon mused. He had barely heard from his sister since then. Oh, there were birthday 'waves that always seemed to arrive precisely three days late, and the mysterious packages that arrived unbidden, filled with toys, clothes and various souvenirs for the children, but overall...lives had continued. Kaylee was raising the loud and boisterous boys and running a quiet mechanical repair shop as Simon ran the outpost's clinic with an efficiency that brought people from up to three worlds away to be treated by the quiet, unassuming doctor. They led a quiet life that no longer included escape plans or clandestine activities of any sort. While it was true he did not question the origin of some of the injuries he treated, he was not exactly known as the crim's doc, either. Life was quiet and they worked hard to keep it that way. Kaylee liked to say it was a peaceful, languorous ride. Well, with the occasional broken arm as one son convinced the other he could fly as long as he didn't look at the ground. So, peaceful and languorous with just a few small bumps in the road. Nothing gave away what their life had been before; they were quiet, reliable members of the quiet, reliable community.

He didn't say anything to Kaylee when he kissed her cheek on his way to the clinic. If she hadn't remembered the anniversary, he didn't want to be the one to remind her. Life was quiet now. It promised to remain so. He let the promise surround him as the morning fog lifted from the path before him. He walked slowly, allowing the quiet swallow his steps. The world was quiet. The 'verse was quiet.

It was boring as hell. The morning shift nurse was staring at a scan's results when Simon arrived, his mug of tea waiting for him. "Good morning, Neysa," Simon greeted, putting his mug to his lips. He glanced at the scan as Neysa waved him over. "Doctor, take a look at this," she said warily. "New patient, says he has chest pains, you see that?" She pointed at a curvy white scar in the sternum. "It looks like chest pains could be the result of...I mean, I've never seen that type of scar before, have you?" Simon looked closer at the bone's scar. He blinked in disbelief. "Yes, but only once," he said, straightening. "Where is the patient?" "What could do that to that bone?" Neysa went on, still staring. "It doesn't reach the ends, so it wasn't broken was just..." "A very painful experience," Simon finished her sentence. "Where is he?" "Exam four," she answered, finally tearing her eyes away from the screen. "Sorry, Doctor, I was just...I've never seen that before." "Hopefully, you never will again," he smiled quickly. He was already making his way to the room. He opened the door to see...exactly what he expected to see. "Hey, Doc," Mal said, looking up from the drawer he had opened in an effort to amuse himself. "You keep some funny hours here." "Yes, the boys were up late last night," Simon replied, stepping into the room. "Nightmares." "They get into your medical texts?" "No, one of River's...birthday presents...what are you doing here?" It was always this way with Mal. Until a direct question, he would take his own time getting to the point. "Neysa said you had chest pains?" "Oh, that, no, I just needed to get to the front of the line," Mal shrugged. He closed the drawer behind him. "Actually, you can take care of those other fellas, if you need. Wouldn't want you to fall behind with your patients." "Is River here, too?" Simon asked, leaning against the door and glancing at the corners. "No, she said she'd go up to the house," Mal explained. "See the kids. Kaylee. That sort of...thing." Simon nodded, waiting. Mal would have to say something eventually. Or not. "Did you hear about Jayne?" Simon asked. Kaylee had heard about it from one of her clients some time back, but Simon wasn't sure how recently Mal had visited a news source. "Yeah, we heard," Mal said, moving to the exam table and leaning against it. "Went to his hearing, too. Thought he could use a lift if he kept his mouth shut again." The gang Jayne had put together turned on him during a particularly lucrative heist, leaving him to the Feds. He had managed to escape, but later caught in the after-effects of a bar fight. When the judge had asked him about the bar fight, Jayne had said he'd been in worse before and he'd be in worse again. The judge felt differently. With his full record laid out before the courts, Jayne had been handed a life sentence. "I'm certain that Canton's Magistrate showing up this time didn't help," Simon mused. Mal nodded. "The folks from Canton have a petition going," Mal pointed out. "Offering character references and the like. Don't think much will come of it, though." "I hadn't heard that," Simon replied. "I'm sure Kaylee will want to sign." Mal gave a half-smile at that. The sounds from the hallway were muffled, but Simon could hear Neysa leading a patient to another exam room and wondered how long it would be before Mal got to the point. Just as he was about to ask again, Mal stood up and faced him. "This ain't exactly a social call," he began. "Don't know if you've heard or not, but Zoë's been having her share of troubles and now...Kya's been taken. Now, I know you have a life here that's all settled and content, and that's all well and good. I mean, River's a help, but this job's gonna need more than just two of us working it. I'm here to ask you to rejoin the crew. One last job." "I cannot believe you," Simon gaped. Mal's face revealed nothing as Simon continued his rant. "We don't hear from you for...months...years...and when we're finally used to it, finally have a place where people rely on us to be here, finally have a quiet life that we, deserve, you swoop in and try to destroy everything! We have two boys - two children - and...what are we supposed to do with them, Mal? Hand them off to the local babysitter? What do I say, 'Oh, yes, well, we'll be back maybe?' Or were you planning on taking us all with you? Handle this job with a six year old and a four year old underfoot? How are we supposed to keep any semblance of normality in their lives after this?" Mal sighed, turning away from Simon to retrieve his brown duster from the hook. "I must admit," he said softly. "You surprise me, doc. I took you and your sister in when you needed it. Picked you up when you got lost more than a few times, kept you safe from those that go bump in the night...made you my crew. Zoë's little girl - Wash's little girl - gets kidnapped and despite everything you owe to Zoë and to hide your head in the sand. Wasn't exactly expecting that of you." "What is the plan for the job, exactly?" Simon's voice was hard behind him. Mal shrugged into his coat without turning. What could it harm, he thought bitterly. "We need to bust Jayne out," he said softly. "And with Jayne, we find Kya, bring her home to her Mama." He turned, expecting to find Simon's jaw still on the tiled floor. Simon, holding his medical bag in one hand with his hand on the doorknob, smiled. "When do we leave?" *** Back at the house, Kaylee was packing her sons' things while River explained - or, rather, didn't in her own way - the situation. "Did Zoë tell you bout Kya?" she asked. Outside, the boys were closing up shutters on Kaylee's Repair Shop. River watched them through the window. "Zoë doesn't know yet," River said softly. Kaylee stopped packing. She looked at her sister-in-law and waited as she re-assembled her thoughts. "Zoë doesn't know...what, exactly?" she finally decided on. "We're coming," River replied. She turned and smiled at Kaylee over her shoulder. "She thinks she's alone in this." "How d'you know that?" Kaylee asked. If either of her boys had gone missing, she would have expected River and Mal and Zoë and...well, the whole crew, really, to show up and bring back her baby. "She never asked us to come," River shrugged and looked back out the window. Hoban and Briel were racing back to the house. Briel was cheating so far. "What?" Kaylee demanded. "Then how did...why are we...what is going on?" "Zoë hasn't asked us," Mal's voice sounded from the doorway. "Because her communications are being watched. I'm sure she knows she ain't alone." Kaylee left her packing to envelope the Captain in a hug. To her relief, he hugged her back. He hadn't the last time she'd tried to hug him. "How do you know her communications are being watched?" Simon asked once Kaylee had relinquished her hold on Mal. "Sheydra indicated as much when she sent word bout Kya," Mal answered. He ignored the stunned looks on their faces. "Guess you didn't know some of Pedaline's Girls left the Heart of Gold and went to work with Zoë after the funeral. Another one of them went off with Sheydra. They all talk." "No, I - we - didn't know that," Simon blinked, trying to imagine one of the Girls a Companion. "She teaches massage," River supplied, still watching out the window. All images of the downfall of Companions' standard of quality faded into nothingness. "Boys are coming in." "River, you're not going to tell them any more stories, are you?" Kaylee begged. "Only, they found that...collection ya wrote out for them...and..." "Mama, we closed up shop," Briel called out, catching his breath. He caught sight of Mal, River and the suitcases and stopped short. His older brother tripped coming in the room. Simon caught him before he fell. Again. "What's going on?" Hoban asked, staring at the strangers in the small room. "We're takin' a trip," Kaylee said, pulling Briel into her arms. "Gabriel, Hoban, this is your Auntie River and...Cap." She had never tried to call him anything else. It seemed only fitting her children call him that, as well. "Auntriver?" Briel asked dubiously. River looked back, just as dubious. "You cheated," she said solemnly. "No," he insisted. "You told him there was a butterfly," she replied. "Oh," Briel acceded. He brightened. "There was." "Last week doesn't count," River pointed out. Briel stared at her. He had been convinced that all adults could read minds, but now...this might qualify as proof. "Let's get going," Mal suggested, watching River and the little boy carefully. He'd seen this play out a few more times than he would care to admit. Admittedly, it was never against a four year old, but there could really be only one outcome. He and River helped shoulder some of the bags the Tam family had packed and headed out to where River had left the ship. "Wei!" Kaylee cried out as they were nearly there. "I forgot, how are you gonna fit us all in the ship? There's no room on your ship for all of us!" "There isn't?" Mal asked, a smile playing on his lips. "I coulda sworn we all fit before." They rounded the last curve and saw her sitting in the canyon. The look on Kaylee's face was worth it. "Serenity?" she gasped. It was hard for Mal to suppress his smile. There was a pause as she took a closer look. "What did you do to my girl?!" she demanded.


Saturday, February 7, 2009 10:48 AM


Glad to see more from you, and such an interesting start! Looks like the crew didn't do very well apart so hopefully things will improve for them now. A rescue mission with two little kids - how challenging. Looking forward to where you're going with this.

Saturday, February 7, 2009 11:20 AM


Inara dead already? Gosh, that was fast; hopefully we'll see some flashbacks.

Interesting start, I'll keep reading because I like your work, as long as it doesn't turn into a Mal/River romance... there's still something unsettling about that...and is she completely healed? She seems too normal.

Saturday, February 7, 2009 11:56 AM


Thanks for taking the time to clarify, Kacidilla:)

Saturday, February 7, 2009 3:08 PM


Oooh, good to see the crew coming back together. It felt all kinds of wrong with first Zoe leaving, then Simon and Kaylee and so on. Felt for sure you were going to break my gorram heart. Can't wait to see what happens next and what kind of *hundan* kidnaps children? Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me


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The Reunion - 9 of 9
Part 9. Post-BDM (8 years post, actually); all the characters belong to Joss, and the idea for the story was handed to me by my Dadoo. we hope you enjoyed.

The Reunion - 8 of 9
Part 8. Post-BDM (8 years post, actually); all the characters belong to Joss, and the idea for the story was handed to me by my Dadoo, who said he didn't have time to write it, so would i do it for him. i said yes. we still hope you enjoy.

The Reunion - 7th of 9
Part 7. Post-BDM (8 years post, actually); all the characters belong to Joss, and the idea for the story was handed to me by my Dadoo, who said he didn't have time to write it, so would i do it for him. i said yes. we still hope you enjoy.

The Reunion - 6 of 9
Part 6. Post-BDM (8 years post, actually); all the characters belong to Joss, and the idea for the story was handed to me by my Dadoo, who said he didn't have time to write it, so would i do it for him. i said yes. we still hope you enjoy.

The Reunion - 5 of 9
Part 5. Post-BDM (8 years post, actually); all the characters belong to Joss, and the idea for the story was handed to me by my Dadoo, who said he didn't have time to write it, so would i do it for him. i said yes. we still hope you enjoy.