New Blood - Chapter 8
Thursday, April 30, 2009

Mal gets a new contact on Persephone and he and Zoe come to an understanding.


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... we'll 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 Eight


Maxine and Kaylee teamed up and made a real birthday cake for River. Knowing the pilot's birthday had been coming, Maxine had picked up the proper ingredients on Salisbury. Mal had even paid for them.

Of course, River had known she was having a cake. Even without being a reader. The smell emanating from the galley was making everyone's mouth water.

After a hearty dinner, the cake was trotted out. Chocolate with vanilla icing, twenty candles surround a small figurine of a ballerina. The smile on her face lit up the room.

After the cake had been consumed, out came the presents.

Jayne, true to course gifted River with weapons. A thin stiletto she could wear against her thigh. Even Mal was taken aback at the second gift. River squealed with delight and kissed Jayne after he had presented her with a very high quality reproduction Samurai sword. It even came with a harness so River could wear it across her back.

“Ain't you got a sword already, Albatross?” Mal asked.

“Appropriated Reaver weapon has too many bad memories,” the little reader replied. She shared a sad smile with Zoë.

“Open mine next, River,” Kaylee gushed.

Carefully pulling the paper from the box, River found a beautiful new summer dress.

“Thank you, Jia-mei.”

Simon's gift was next. He had found a pendant with the Chinese characters for Serenity. A silver chain completed the gift. River kissed her brother on the cheek.

Inara's gift consisted of new art supplies. River's one hobby was drawing. Maxine had picked up a few books that she thought River might like. Simon had helped in the selection.

The largest box was a gift from Mal and Zoë both. River had done her best to not 'peek' into their minds to learn what it was.

“Afore you open this, River,” Mal began, “I know you were just a little shaver durin the war... but I reckon, iffin we had you around and you'd been older, things might have run out a might different.”

Mal continued, “Seein as the 'Liance ain't done you no favors and you done fought em' as much as you have... me and Zoë thought that somethin like this would be appropriate...”

River opened the box. She gasped at what lay inside. A gift like this was to be truly treasured.

River slowly ran her hand across the slightly rough texture of the leather. With shaking hands she removed the the gift from the box.

Jayne cracked a smile and Kaylee grinned.

“Wear it with pride, Mei-mei. No one deserves one of those more than you, I reckon,” Zoë said sincerely.

Nodding once, River slipped the long brown coat on and then did a slow turn. There were tears in her eyes.

“Thank you,” River whispered.

Jayne took River's hand and and pulled her into his lap. River kissed him.

After half a minute, Mal rolled his eyes, “You two got a bunk... I suggest you use it.”

River grinned, “You heard the Captain, Bao-bei...”

River let out a girlish squeal, as Jayne swept River into his arms and tromped off toward their bunk.

Simon just sighed and stared at the table.

“Thought you were okay with them bein together, Doc.” Zoë asked.

“I am... It's just... seeing her like that. Happy, I mean. I just never thought that Jayne Cobb of all people would be the one.”

“I reckon most brothers have had your problem from time immortal, Doc.”

“Probably right, Captain.”

“I must say, River has had an effect on Jayne as well,” Inara observed.

“Not wrong there, 'Nara,” Zoë agreed.

“You mean, Jayne used to be worse?” Maxine asked.

Zoë chuckled and squeezed Maxine's hand, “You have no idea, Ai-ren...” Zoë cut herself off as the endearment slipped out.

Around the table, there were surprised looks from Simon and Inara. Kaylee just grinned and Mal looked like he had gas. It was also deathly quiet.

Inara broke the silence, “This is a bit of a surprise... the speed I mean.”

“Feeling our way, Inara,” Maxine replied.

“Long as there's no feelin outside o' your bunks,” Mal grumbled.

Inara smacked Mal on the arm.

“Even laid up, I can kick your ass, Sir,” Zoë said deadpan.

Mal's expression softened, “Reckon you're right on that, Zoë.”

Zoë smiled and decided to yank Mal's chain a little more. She leaned over and kissed Maxine.

From the dropped fork from Simon and the sputtering from the Captain, Zoë got the reaction she had planned on. Breaking the kiss, Zoë turned and smiled at her Captain.

“Did you say something, Sir?”

Sputtering, Mal stood up and looked around. Conceding defeat, he ran his thumbs under his braces, “Got... Captainy things to be doin... on... the bridge... that's it... the bridge.”

Mal nearly ran from the room.

“You are a bad girl, Zoë,” Inara teased.

“She is?” Maxine asked.

“You'll find out,” Zoë grinned.


After an hour or so, The captain wandered back to the galley. He didn't look very happy.

“Trouble, Sir?” Zoë asked. She knew that expression well. She and Inara were still at the table while Simon assisted Maxine with the after dinner cleanup. Kaylee had headed off to the engine room to tinker.

“Just got a wave from Lord Harrow. Seems he heard a rumor floatin around Eavesdown that a certain rodent's been slippin tips to a certain mega-corporation about our itinerary.”

“Badger, Sir?”

“Got it in one.”

Mal plopped down into a chair. Inara reached out and squeezed his hand, “What are we going to do, Mal?”

“The job, 'Nara... the job. Lord Harrow got me new landin coordinates. Little town on the far side o' Persephone called Putnamville.”

A dish clattered noisily in the sink. All eyes turned to Maxine.

“Did... did you say, Putnamville, Captain?”

“I did. You know the place?”

“I better. It's my gorram home town.”

“From that tone of voice, you ain't lookin to be happy, goin back I reckon,” Mal stated.

“My father disowned me... what do you think?” Maxine growled as she wiped the water from her hands and stepped towards the table. “You have a contact there?”

“Fella name o' Shamus Kinsella... know him?” Mal asked.

Maxine took a seat next to Zoë and smiled, “Oh, I know him all right.”

“Well?” Inara asked.

“Shamus Kinsella is a low down conniving thief,” Maxine replied.

Mal's face fell.

Maxine continued, still smiling, “And the best gorram uncle a girl could hope for. Uncle Shamus is the only one of my relatives who will talk to me.”

Mal still looked dubious, “We trust him?”

“If he's workin for Lord Harrow, that means he's stopped smugglin. Used to do some running. Got his own little boat. One o' them war surplus, Alliance dropships. Hauls all over the planet. No deep space stuff... yeah, you can trust him, Captain. Wore brown and flew Angels if that tells you anything.”

Mal smiled slightly, “Reckon that's more assurance than we usually get on a contact.”

“We'll be on Persephone in three days,” Zoë mused, “Plenty of time for Badger to get wind of where we're headed.”

“That side o' the planet's pretty clean,” Maxine replied, “Ain't like Eavesdown and and Bath are. Hard workin folks for the most part. Putnamville's only got about fifteen thousand folks in the whole city. Port's nothing but a paved over field. Any outsiders poking around will get noticed right quick.”

Mal grinned, “Thanks for the information, Max.”

“Anytime, Captain”


Maxine was in her room, sorting her laundry. Traveling light meant she didn't have much in the way of clothing. Whatever she could stuff into her one big duffel bag. That duffel also held her rifle and gun cleaning gear so that made even less room for clothes.

With a sigh, she continued her work. A knock on the door interrupted her, “Cheeng-jeen.”

Inara slid back the door, “I'm sorry, Maxine... is this a bad time?”

Max shook her head, “Not at all Inara. Just sorting my laundry.”

“Is that all you have?”

“I'm afraid so,” Maxine sighed, “I travel light. Just the one bag.”

Inara set her hands on her hips, “First chance we get, I'm taking you shopping.”

“I don't want to be a bother...”

“You aren't. We'll make it a girls day out. You, Kaylee, River, Zoë and me.”

“Can't rightly see Zoë shopping...”

“She might surprise you,” Inara grinned.

“I would like to get something nice to wear for her.”

“I think she would like that too. Despite her stoic shell, Zoë can be very... girly when she wants to be.”

Maxine grinned, “So can I... just haven't had the opportunity as of late.”

“Well, we'll have to make sure that happens sometime soon then.”

“That would be nice.”

“Forgive me if I'm being a bit too forward... are you and Zoë... intimate yet?”

Maxine grinned, “Not yet. We're taking it slow.”

“But you want to,” Inara said with a knowing grin.

Max giggled, “Are you kidding? I wanted to jump her bones when I first saw her on the street.”

Inara giggled as well, “Well, when you do... jump her bones. I have some items I no longer use from my companion days that you two are more than welcome to.”

“Do some of these items require batteries?” Maxine asked with a sly grin.

“They do indeed,” Inara replied.


Zoë limped onto the bridge, leaning on her cane.

“Bout the only time I can hear you coming is when you're banged up,” Mal muttered as he gazed out at the stars.

“Not my usual stealthy self, Sir,” Zoë replied as she sat in the co-pilots chair.

“Something on your mind?”

“A few things...”


“That's one of em', Sir.”

“She treatin you okay?”

“First steps. Haven't...”

“No details, please...” Mal held up his hands.

“Don't kiss and tell, Sir,” Zoë replied with a slight smile

“I noticed the kissin part tonight,” Mal grumbled.

“Did that to wind you up,” The smile got wider.

“That's what I figured,” Mal grinned. A moment later his face grew serious. “You sure about this Zoë?”

Zoë sighed and looked out at the stars, “I still miss him something powerful. Figured that we were forever. Kinda naive I know with the life we lead. Thing is... I know I need to move along. Been eighteen months and a bit. Not sure if I could love another man. Wash an me wanted kids. Took a while to convince him o' that though.”

“Man was more of a kid inside, himself,” Mal commented.

“That was one o' his arguments. Said he couldn't be a father since he still acted like a kid.”

“What did you say to that?”

“Said it made him more qualified for the job. Used River and Simon's folks for an example.”

Mal winced, “Ouch.”

“Did hit hard.”

“Wash would have made a great dad.”

Zoë wiped away a lingering tear, “Wasn't meant to be...”

“You're not so old you couldn't have a little one...”

“Case you haven't noticed, Sir. Maxine ain't exactly got the right equipment for that...”

Mal sputtered, “I meant...”

Zoë held up her hand, “I wanted Wash's baby, Mal. Not going to happen now. Need to move on.”

Mal considered his first mate and best friend carefully. “You two would've made one beautiful child.”

Zoë looked back out at the stars, “That we would have.”

Mal joined her in staring at the stars, “You happy, Zoë?”

“Getting there, Sir. I know I feel more alive than I have in a long while. It's a start.”

“I'm happy for you then, Zoë. Damn well know I nearly screwed up my own love life enough times...”

“Ain't seen you sleepin on the sofa lately so you ain't doin too bad,” Zoë replied, a slight grin showing on her face.

Mal grinned back. There was the old dry humor he missed so much, “Still got my own bunk... just can't seem to sleep in it.”

“That's a good thing, Sir.”

“That it is, Zoë. That it is.”

“We need to deal with Badger.”

“Been ponderin on that myself,” Mal replied.

“Weasel has eyes all over Eavestown docks. Would see us comin long time fore we got close. Shuttles too.”

“We'll figure something out.”

“That we will, Sir.”


Zoë winced as she limped down the stairs from the bridge. She'd overdone it today and her leg was protesting.

“You okay?”

Zoë looked up and saw Maxine standing in the corridor, a concerned look on her face.

“Overdid it today,” Zoë replied as she limped towards the ladder to her bunk. Maxine kicked the door open for her. With a grateful smile, Zoë hobbled down the ladder. Maxine turned to head back to her own bunk.

“You comin down?”

Not needing to be asked twice, Maxine climbed down. Zoë was leaning on the bulkhead, standing on her good leg. A concerned look on her face.

“Were you heading back to your bunk?”

“Yes,” Maxine replied.

“I say somethin wrong?” Zoë asked.

“What? Oh hell no... just I wasn't sure if you wanted any company...”

“You ain't gotta ask. I'll tell you if I want some space to myself.”

“You know,” Max said quietly, “I'm actually not all that good at all this relationship, go-se. Never really had a steady. Just girls and women I was with for a while. Was mostly about the sex.”

Zoë nodded once, “And me?”

“Wanted to sex you up the second I saw you... but...”

“But what?” Zoë asked, her voice a little firmer than it had been a moment ago.

“Can't describe it. I just want to be with you, Zoë. Ain't gotta be sex... not that I wouldn't be mindin takin a tumble with you right this very second. It's just... I want more than that with you for some reason.”

Zoë's eyes softened and she smiled slightly, “I'm thinkin I want the same as you.”

Maxine cracked a grin, “Really?”

Zoë nodded and leaned forward, pulling Maxine into an embrace. She felt the long forgotten flutter in her chest that being close to someone like that could bring her. The feel of Maxine's breasts pushed against her own. Zoë reached up and caressed Maxine's face.

“Stay with me tonight.”

Maxine thought she was going to melt into a puddle. Her legs felt watery with Zoë's tender caress.

“You sure?”

“Just need someone to lay with tonight. Not guaranteeing we'll get to anything. I just want to feel someone by my side...”

“Okay Zoë,” Maxine whispered before kissing the incredible woman in front of her. She knew that this was a big step for Zoë. Even if they didn't have sex. Just spending the night together would be a big step forward.

For both of them.

As Zoë led Maxine to the bed and sat on the edge. Maxine sat beside her. Suddenly the redhead giggled.

“What?” Zoë smiled.

“Left or right?”

“Left or right, what?”

Maxine grinned, “Side of the bed.”

Zoë grinned, “Right.”

“Works for me,” Maxine replied, still smiling, “Got a nightgown I can borrow?”

“Nightgown? If you ain't naked and under them covers in one minute, I'll break out my secret weapon.”

Maxine grinned and looked at Zoë, “What secret weapon?”

“River said you're ticklish...”




Friday, May 1, 2009 2:25 AM


Oh, Mal is so easy to wind up! But I love the present he and Zoe gave River - very appropriate. There's going to be trouble with Badger, isn't there?

Friday, May 1, 2009 7:32 PM


Handled well.....I like the present giving and the way Zoe and Max tease....nicely written


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