New Blood - Chapter 7
Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Blue hands are disposed of, Maxine and Zoe come to an agreement and someone has a birthday. -- Make sure you read the authors note before reading the story.


Disclaimer: Joss, Fox, Universal Own em’. (Except for Maxine. She's mine) I’m just playing. No money being made.


A new story line to recharge my Muse. Set outside my “Allanverse.” Just to see what happens. Set about a year and a half post Serenity. Story line has the standard pairings of Mal/Inara, Simon/Kaylee. Also has River/Jayne. Zoë... well you'll have to read it. -

A/N: Warning This story line from here on out will include 'gasp' fem slash (Like you didn't see it coming). It won't be graphic but I know some are offended by any depiction of homosexuality. If you don't like this kind of thing... Stop reading right now.


New Blood


Chapter Seven


“Maxie girl, what in the gorram hell have you gotten me into?” Jessie asked as he assisted Jayne in pulling the body of one of the Blue Hands out of the mule.

“Well...” the woman replied.

Jayne wiped his hands and glanced around. They were in a deserted part of Long Port, near one of the many abandoned mine shafts. He fixed his gaze on Maxine, “You trust him?”

“With my life, Jayne.”

“Well... Since Riv trust's ya'...” Jayne paused as he stared hard at the slightly larger man. After a moment, he came to a decision, “Here's the deal. My girl, River. She's real smart. Genius. Her folks sent her off ta' some fancy school. Turns out it weren't no school but some kinda lab. Did all kinds o' experiment's on her. She was just fourteen when they's started it.”

“Whu-de-ma,” Jessie whispered.

“Couple a years later,” Jayne continued, “Her brother breaks her out. Fed's marked em' as fugies for a long while. Got the warrants dropped a bit ago but looks like the lab wants her back. These two freaks work fer' that lab.”

Jessie nodded once, “Let's get these two stiffs over to that shaft there. Mines all played out. Shaft goes down near three hundred meters. Ain't no one gonna find the bodies down there.”

“Much obliged, Jessie,” Jayne said as he held out his hand. Behind the two men, Maxine just smiled.


After dropping Jessie at his home, Maxine and Jayne headed back into town to pick up supplies for the ship. Thanks to Jayne's 'intimidating manner' they got a very nice discount.

Returning to the ship, they found Kaylee installing what looked like a cryo freezer in an unused corner of the cargo bay.

Mal stepped forward from where he was supervising Kaylee, “All taken care of, Jayne?”

“Sure thing, Cap'n. Jessie knew o' a nice deep mine shaft to dump em' in.”

Mal nodded, “We can trust him?”

“I do, Captain,” Maxine replied.

“And River trusts her... good enough fer me,” Jayne stated.

“Well enough. Cargo's all loaded fer' Lord Harrow. Soon as you get the supplies laid in and the mule stowed, we can get off this rock.”

“Aye, aye Captain,” Maxine replied as she grabbed the first arm load of groceries.


It had taken nearly two whole days for River to return to her normal self. The encounter with the blue hands had shaken the psychic's already tenuous hold on reality. River and Jayne spent considerable time alone. She had hardly even left her and Jayne's bunk since Serenity had departed Salisbury.

“Poor kid,” Maxine commented as she was peeling potatoes.

Zoë looked up from her coffee, “Shen-me?”

“River. I thought I had it hard. Compared to hers, My growing up was a picnic.”

“Mine too,” Zoë replied.

“Where did you grow up, Zoë?”

“On a ship. My folks crewed an old Trance class freighter. My daddy was the pilot and my momma had your job.”

“Cook or gun hand?” Maxine grinned.

“Cook. But she did teach me to shoot.”

“They... still around?”

“Nope,” Zoë replied sadly. “Got hit by pirates. I was off ship, in basic training when it happened...”

“I'm sorry.”

Zoë smiled sadly, “It's okay. Been gone a long while. Seems like... every time I love someone, they... they...”

Max rushed around the table and put her arm around Zoë. The first mate had stopped talking and just stared at the table top.

“Hey... you know it's okay to let go once in a while...”

“Can't... gotta be...”

“You ain't gotta be miss stoic first mate all the time.”

“Gotta be strong...” Zoë whispered.

“Damn it, Zoë. You're one of the strongest women I know. Probably why I'm so gorram attracted to you.”

Zoë snorted in amusement and looked up at Maxine, “That why you felt me up in the cargo bay the other day when we were puttin on our little act for the Blue Hands?”

Maxine leaned back and dropped into the chair next to Zoë. Her face as red as her hair, “Sorry about that...”

“I wasn't,” Zoë replied honestly.

“You weren't?” Max squeaked.

“Nope... Ain't been touched like that in a long while. Felt pretty good, I gotta admit.”

Maxine swallowed thickly, “Well... you... you know... kiss pretty good...”

“So do you...”

Maxine looked into Zoë's eyes and felt the connection. Suddenly those eyes switched from desire to amusement. Zoë chuckled, “Look at us. We're actin like a pair o' horny teenagers.”

Maxine grinned as well, “Gorramit... You're right.”

“I gotta ask you one question,” Zoë said seriously.

“What's that?”

“You getting off the boat at Persephone?”

“I don't think so,” Maxine replied.

“Good answer,” Zoë smiled as she leaned forward and kissed Maxine. Both women felt a jolt and Maxine's eyes shot open as Zoë broke the kiss.

“Damn,” breathed Maxine.

Zoë smiled a genuinely warm smile, “That's the first step. We take this slow and see what happens... dong-ma?”

“Dang-ran,” Maxine nodded.

“Best you get back to them potatoes.”

“What potato... oh... yeah, I better get right on those.”

Zoë nodded and squeezed Maxine's hand as the younger woman stood up and made her way back around the table. As soon as Max sat down and picked up the peeler, her eyes met Zoë's and they both broke out in laughter.


Mal was sitting in the co-pilots seat and glanced over at his pilot. River was smiling.

“Now, there's somethin I ain't seen on your face for a few days,” Mal grinned.

River smiled wider, “Seven have become eight.”


“Maxine isn't getting off at Persephone.”

“She ain't, huh?”

“Nope,” River replied with a slight giggle. Mal smiled at that. River had been so down the last few days since Salisbury.

“What's brought that on?”

“You know that rule you have about shipboard romances, that no one, including yourself, abides by?”

“Yeah,” Mal replied. Suddenly his eyes shot open wide, “Oh, no, no, no...”

“Be happy for her, Mal. Just baby steps right now. Zoë is finally healing.”

Mal shook his head. Paused and then sighed, “Reckon you're right. Be nice to have the old Zoë back...”

“Not the old Zoë... new and improved Zoë.”

The Captain stared at his pilot for a moment, “I can take that I suppose...”


At dinner that night, Even the rather unobservant Simon noticed the change in Zoë's demeanor. The slight grin on her face, the occasional glance at Maxine when she didn't think anyone else was looking.

“That was a mighty fine meal, Maxine,” Mal stated as he leaned back in his chair, “I gotta say, I don't think we've ever eaten this good.”

“Thank you Captain. It's not fancy...”

“Good hearty grub,” Jayne mumbled through a full mouth. River smacked his arm for the atrocious table manners.

“I must admit. Having a some variety to our diet has been a pleasant change,” Inara commented.

“Be better once we can stock up on some frozen stuff now that Kaylee got the new cryo unit working,” Maxine said.

“Just needed a little persuadin,” the mechanic replied, “With a hammer.”

A chuckle flowed around the table.

“You certainly look chipper this evening, Zoë,” Inara remarked.

Zoë looked up from her plate, “What was that?”

“I said,” Inara grinned, “That you seem much more happy this evening.”

Everyone caught the quick glance in Maxine's direction, “Leg's feelin better. Only need a cane to get about now.”

“That must be it,” Inara grinned. River rolled her eyes.

“Got somethin to say, Mei-mei?” Zoë asked.

“Nothing, Zoë,” River grinned.

Simon spoke up, “Zoë, do you think you can negotiate the ladder to your quarters?”

“I reckon I can now, Doc.”

Simon smiled, “Good. I think you can move back from the dorms now.”

“Most appreciated, Simon.”

“Glad to see you're on the mend, Zoë,” Mal remarked.

“More ways than one, Sir.”


After dinner, Maxine and Kaylee helped Zoë move her things back to the first mate's bunk. Kaylee went in first and Zoë followed, carefully climbing down. After hesitating in the corridor above Maxine climbed down herself.

Zoë was sitting on the bed while Kaylee fussed about putting things away for Zoë. Maxine took a moment to look around.

The bed was large and looked very comfortable. Maxine forced back the thought of what it would be like to lay in it with Zoë. Way too early for that yet. Still might not work out.

As her eyes wandered around the room, she noticed several toy dinosaurs on a few shelves, a large capture of a Sandy haired man in a loud shirt, hugging Zoë. Without thinking, she walked forward and looked at it. Max felt a presence next to her.

“That's Wash,” Zoë said sadly.

“Good looking man,” Max said quietly.

Zoë smiled, “Didn't think so at first. That gorram mustache...”

“All put away, Zoë,” Kaylee said as she turned around. She noticed Zoë and Maxine standing side by side looking at a capture.

“What was that, Kaylee?” Zoë asked as she turned to face the mechanic.

Kaylee stood , hands on hips and a happy grin on her face, “I reckon 'Nara and me ain't gotta do no more matchmakin...”

“Probably not,” Maxine replied, “Well, at least I...”

“We're feelin our way, Mei-mei.”

Kaylee's smile lit up the room, “I had a feelin,” She gushed.

“Try to keep it under wraps... least for the moment,” Zoë asked, a slight tone of pleading in her voice.

“Don't worry none. I won't tell Cap'n grumpy. Now... I'll just leave you two alone.”

Before Zoë could say anything more, Kaylee climbed out of the bunk and closed the door.

Maxine turned, “I guess I'll just....”

“You ain't gotta go.”

Maxine stood dumbfounded for a minute.

“Not gonna do nothin... leastwise... not tonight. Just figured that maybe we could spend some time just...”

“Being around each other...”


“I think I can handle that.”


A little after midnight, Maxine left Zoë bunk. They had spent time talking, drinking a few glasses of some very fine scotch and a little making out. After quietly closing the hatch to Zoë's bunk, Maxine turned and nearly collided with the Captain.

“Evenin, Miss Sharpe.”

“Captain Reynolds...”

Mal's blue eyes bored into Maxine's hazel ones, “Gonna say this just the once. I don't need you cloudin up Zoë's judgment none. Never was a fan o' shipboard romances. But... I don't even follow my own rule in that regard so I figure it's a moot point. Thing is, I ain't seen Zoë this... content in a long time. So I reckon this is a good thing. Mark my words though. You break her heart, I break you... Dong-le-ma?”

“Yes, Sir.” Maxine replied formally.

Mal stared at Max for a moment and then cracked a grin, “Come on... got a bottle o' Kaylee's finest inter-engine brew.”

Maxine smiled slightly, “Can I get a raincheck, Captain? I need to get up early in the morning. And I already had a couple of glasses of scotch.”

Mal looked a little taken aback, “Zoë shared her scotch with you? Damn woman. She won't even let me have a snort o' that stuff.”

With a girlish giggle, Maxine just looked at her Captain.

“Scoot on to bed, then.”

“Good night, Captain.”

“Night, Maxine.”


Zoë had heard Mal and Maxine talking in the corridor. Mal gave Maxine nearly the same speech he had given Wash when he found out they were sleeping together. Zoë chuckled a bit. When Mal gave his reluctant approval, Zoë almost began to cry.

Now laying in her large and mostly empty bed, Zoë absently fiddled with the plastic stegosaurus in her hands. As she stared at the inanimate lump of polymer, she wondered what Wash would think. Zoë hoped that Wash would understand her loneliness.

She smiled at the recollection of Wash's reaction the night that she had told him that she had been in a relationship with a woman once. At first he had been surprised, then intrigued then Wash was almost suggesting they try out a threesome.

Took a while to explain to him that he was all she needed. And that had been the end of it.

Zoë hadn't even considered looking at a woman as a bed partner since Sera had been killed. She had figured that it had been a fling. Two young women, thrown together and stuff happened.

Sera had told Zoë that she loved her and Zoë was quite sure she felt the same. She never said the words though. That was the problem. She hadn't had the chance to say the words.

That's why Zoë had told Wash that she loved him all the time. She never wanted to not have that said.

Not that she loved, Maxine.. Hell, they hadn't known each other more than a few weeks so far, but Maxine did kinda grow on a person... In a good way.

Wasn't a bad kisser either.


If not for the booze, Maxine wouldn't have been able to sleep. Just as she had gotten ready for bed. It hit her...

Zoë wanted to try to have a relationship.

They had spoken for hours. Stories of their growing up. Comparing their military service, even their first times. Maxine just felt... comfortable around Zoë. Didn't have to prove who she was. Zoë just seemed to know.

Maxine was glad she was alone at that moment. She felt like her smile was lighting up her small dorm room. That smile still on her face, Maxine faded off to sleep...

And woke up groaning as her alarm went off, way too early.

Groaning, Maxine rolled out of bed, grabbed her towel and robe and headed for the shower.

Fifteen minutes later, she emerged more alert and somewhat coherent. That scotch sure packed a punch.

After quickly dressing, Maxine made her way to the galley where she started the coffee first.

River bounced into the galley, “Good morning Maxine.”

“Ugh. Easy there River. My head is still a little tender.”

River smiled knowingly, “Dehydrated from the alcohol.”

“Yep, on my second glass of water as we speak,” Maxine replied. “You're up awfully early.”

“Course change,” River replied.

Maxine smiled, “What would the birthday girl like for breakfast?”

“Do not put yourself out on my account, Maxine.”

“Nonsense. There are several birthdays in a woman's life that are milestones. Most are bad things, like turning forty. However two are good. Sweet sixteen and turning twenty. You're no longer a teenager, River.”

“My sixteen was far from sweet and I haven't been a teenager in a long time...” River replied sadly.

Maxine stepped from behind the cooking area and hugged the young pilot, “I reckon you haven't. Still you deserve a happy day.”

River smiled, “Thank you.”

“You're welcome. Now... breakfast?”

“Omelet... whatever you can make.”

“Got some ham left and a big block of cheese in the cooler. Will that work? Eggs are still powdered though.”

“Sounds delicious.”

“Take a seat, River. I'll have this ready for you in a jiffy.”

Outside in the corridor, Zoë smiled. When Maxine had hugged River, she had felt a sudden pang of jealousy. Zoë had almost laughed out loud when she realized that. Maxine had gotten in under her armor.

And Zoë liked that feeling.

Taking a deep breath, Zoë strode into the galley, “Morning.”

“Good morning,” River said from her perch on the tabletop.

“Mornin,” Maxine replied with a wide smile. Zoë walked directly up to the redhead and kissed her... hard.

Breaking the kiss, Zoë stood back and smiled.

“Wow,” Maxine whispered.

River rolled her eyes, “Impressionable young woman no longer a teenager, sitting here.”

Zoë glared at the pilot, “Don't play innocent with me young lady. Remember, my bunk is on the other side of the wall from you and Jayne...”

River giggled.

“Happy Birthday, little one,” Zoë said as she gave River a hug.

“Thank you. And I am very happy for you as well.”

Zoë glanced to where Maxine was beating the powdered egg mixture into some resemblance of eggs.

“You know... I think I'm happy too.”




Wednesday, April 29, 2009 6:53 AM


I am so glad that Zoe is finally happy. And I love Mal giving Maxine the same speech he gave Wash, even though he breaks the rules himself too. I know Wash would understand ... perhaps Zoe could have a dream where she talks to him, explains, and he tells her he needs her to be happy, and if she is, he is. But well done, anyway.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009 11:00 AM


Very good. Though I am usually not one for slash, i will continue reading because I truly love how you write. And I like Zoe in this as well as Max. Nicely done.


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