Jericho Wells - Part XIII
Monday, June 15, 2009

Maya. Post-BDM. Mercy and Zoe have a heart to heart, Kaylee buys far too much stuff from Leo, and there's a little Mal/Freya fluff too. NEW CHAPTER


Mercy had sat and talked for a long time, a conversation that the others had more or less left them to have, instead preferring to go and sit with the children under the observation dome playing Snap and other card games. Freya, after assuring herself that the kids and grownups alike weren’t going to hurt themselves, at least nothing beyond paper cuts, had headed into the engine room to put her homework to the practical test, and every so often they’d hear a Chinese swear word drift down the corridor.

It made Bethie giggle and Ethan roll his eyes, looking very like his father.

Much of the conversation at the table revolved around equality, how it worked, why it worked, although one of Mercy’s questions gave Zoe pause.

“I … I need to know why you’re here.” Mercy looked around the kitchen, at the three men sitting in the rest area with the children on their laps, the flowers painted along the pipes. “You’re not even from this planet, and you won’t be staying, will you?”

“Do you want me to be honest?”

“Yes. I think it would make a nice change on Jericho.”

Zoe’s lips twitched. “I suppose it would.” She took a deep breath, knowing the conversation had stalled under the dome, as if they were waiting for her answer. “Then in honesty, you’re right, Mercy. We landed here because we needed a part, and got caught up by accident.”

“Then why did you set yourself up as a candidate?”

“Can’t it be because I see a need?”

“There is that, but it’s not an answer.”

Zoe knew she couldn’t say. Any hint of illegal activities would bring the Alliance down on them, and at the moment they were like sitting, landlocked ducks. But to lie outright, no matter the provocation … better to skirt around it. “Maybe I was being frivolous, least at first. Giving myself something to do while we waited. But that was before I saw the way things are done here on Jericho.” She suppressed a shudder at using the phrase herself. “I don’t expect to win, but maybe I can shake things up a little.”

Mercy smothered a laugh. “Oh, you’ve done that already. More than just a little.”

“So how did it happen?” Zoe wanted to know in turn. “Jericho being the way it is.”

Mercy shrugged. “Religion. Mostly. Our founding fathers were a bit more … fundamentalist than was strictly necessary, and as we’ve got water, it meant we got more business than the other moons, made us more wealthy …” She thought for a moment. “There were more men than women, they got their pick of the bunch, and just didn’t change.”

“It’s going to now, though, isn’t it?”

“You think?”

“I do.”

“I hope you’re right.”

Now Mal and Zoe were watching her leave, walking away from the Firefly.

“You okay?” he asked, seeing Mercy turning at the corner to wave before disappearing.


“This is me, Zo. Not Hank.”

“You think I don’t tell him the truth when he asks?”

“I think you do. But you need to tell me too.”

“I feel guilty.”

His mouth curved. “Don’t be. At least you’ve got a fight on your hands now.”


“Mmn. I think you’ll be surprised.” He looked into his oldest friend’s face. “Wait and see.”

She half-smiled. “That I will, sir.”

“So, how did it go?” Mal asked, deftly changing the subject. “At the offices.”

“River thinks she knows how to get in,” Zoe said, her hands tucked into her pants pockets.

“You know, I really ain’t happy about this. I know she’s more’n capable of wiping out a roomful of Reavers, but letting her do this? You sure there isn’t another way? Maybe one of us can get in, do what needs to be done.”

“As much as I wish we could, I don’t think that’s going to be practical.”

Cromwell had been abrupt, taking Zoe up to the top floor of the Election building, River and Kaylee tagging along behind.

“They’ll have to stay outside,” he said, his body language screaming outrage.

Kaylee made a great show of looking around the sparse corridor. “But there ain’t even a place to sit down.” She clasped her hands as much as she could around the mound at her waist. “And I can’t stand, not if you don’t want me to …” She started to pant, leaning against the wall.

“Now look –” Cromwell began, but didn’t manage to get more than those two words out before River turned on him.

“Don’t be ridiculous,” she said, in her best upper-class Osiris voice. “My sister-in-law can’t possibly be allowed to be in any kind of distress, not in her condition.” She put her shoulder under Kaylee’s arm, and they pushed past Cromwell into the long, narrow room.

“No, wait, you can’t –”

Zoe took hold of his arm, holding him back. “Do you really want me to tell everyone that you left a pregnant woman to fend for herself? Possibly to go into labour while you argued?”

The look on Cromwell’s face as he considered the likely repercussions was likely enough to warm her in the middle of the night for years to come, and he waved his hands in front of her. “Fine, fine,” he said, backing off. “When you’re ready to leave –”

“I remember the way.” She had walked past him, into the computer room, closing the door in his face.

Now she shook her head at Mal. “From what we could see, security’s too tight to get in the front door, but River’s sure she can get in over the roof, and Kaylee thinks she got enough on her passive scanner to dodge the rest.”

“That’s eight floors up, Zoe.”


“She ain’t a spider. How’s she gonna get up there?”

“I didn’t ask. She seemed pretty certain she could do it, though, sir.”


“You could always try asking her yourself.”

“You think she’d give me a straight answer?”

“Can but try, sir.” She nodded back outside.

“Hiya, Cap!” Kaylee waddled up to Serenity, her face beaming, even as River and Jayne struggled with armfuls of stuff behind her.

Mal quickly took something that looked liked the innards to one of the sensor arrays out of River’s arms before she dropped it.

“Thank you,” she said fervently. “I need another 2.58 arms to carry this comfortably.”

“What is all this?” Mal asked, turning his cobalt gaze on his mechanic. “The space monkeys about to take over my ship again? ‘Cause if they are I ain’t above putting a pregnant woman out in the snow.”

“It’s not snowing,” River felt it necessary to point out.

“That ain't the point, albatross. I wanna know whether I’m about to be penniless ‘cause my mechanic can’t say no.”

Kaylee shook her head at him, an indulgent look on her face. “Course not.” She pointed to a metal box Jayne had perched precariously between his left hand and his chest. “That’s a speaker system. Just needs a tweak and everyone in Jericho Wells is gonna hear Zoe’s speechifying.”

“And the rest?”

She crossed her arms as much as she could over her belly. “Things we need.”

“Kaylee …”

“For our other activities,” River put in.

He turned on his surrogate daughter. “Talking about that –”

“Tomorrow, Captain,” the young woman said, something slipping in her grip and having to grab at it.

“Not good enough, xiao nu.”

“Tomorrow.” She smiled at him, and he felt a mental warmth spread through him.

“And that’ll be enough of that,” Mal warned, making her laugh lightly. “How come it’s taken you so long, anyway?” he said, blustering only a little, carrying … whatever it was into Serenity’s interior and placing it carefully on the floor before turning back.

“Leo insisted we stay, have a drink, something to eat,” Kaylee said. She grinned. “I like him. He knows some of the same stories that my Pa tells, and one or two that maybe he shouldn’t have, of when they were young …”

“You didn’t say anything you shouldn’t, did you?”

Kaylee shook her head. “Course not. But I think we can trust him.”

“Even if we can, he has to live here after we’ve gone,” Zoe pointed out. “If he gets even an idea of what we’re planning, it might not be safe for him.”

“We didn’t mention anything,” River confirmed. “Kaylee was very … circumspect.”

“But he’s gonna tell everyone about the campaigning,” the young mechanic said. “We thought that was okay.”

“I guess,” Mal said, glancing at his first mate. “As long as you’re still up for it.”

“More than ever,” Zoe said, looking out in the direction Mercy had taken.

“You really think she’s gonna …” He stopped, not needing to say another word.

“Maybe.” They’d known each other so long, sometimes they didn’t even have to speak.

“She’s awful … meek.”

“And the meek shall inherit the earth,” River said. “It says so in the Shepherd’s book.”

“Well, I ain't seen too much of that going around,” Mal admitted, relieving her of some more of the stuff in her arms. “But I’ll take your word for it.”


He didn’t often come up on her unawares, but she was still trying to clear the last of the grease from under her nails, and concentrating on her task. He slid his arms around her, making her jump and give out a yelp.

Freya looked down at the water liberally besprinkling her shirt. “Did you have to do that?” she asked, somewhat peevishly, trying to wriggle free.

“Should you be doing that at the kitchen sink?” Mal countered, holding her tighter and pulling her against him.

“I would’ve thought you’d prefer dinner not to taste of the engine.”

“Preferably not, but I meant why ain’t you doing this in our bunk?”

“Because I’d leave grease all over the ladder.”

“Good point.” He eased her around so she was facing him, her hands raised to keep the suds from them both. “But it’s a long time ‘til supper.”

“And my stew always tastes better if it can cook slowly.”

“Some, I’ll admit.”

She lowered her hand to hit or pinch, but stared at the grease still in patches on her skin. “Gorramit,” she muttered.

He grinned. “Hey, I quite like this. You can’t retaliate.”

She placed her boot on top of his. “No?”

“You wouldn’t. Not when I’m being friendly.” He moved one hand up to where he knew the central sigil sat in her tattoo, pressing gently with his fingertips.

“I don’t mind you being friendly,” she responded, her eyes half-closing. “But I have to cook.”

“Tell you what. I’ll find some reason to be pissed at Simon, and I’ll make him do it.”

Soapy water was running down her arms towards her elbows, soaking her sleeves. “You can’t. He does it all too often as it is.”

“I’m Captain.”

“And he’s the Doctor, not the cook. And you should be resting.”

“Told you. Can’t without you.” He leaned forward and kissed her lightly, his tongue pressing against her mouth until it gained entrance.

“Mal …” she murmured, her voice making his lips tremble.


She gave up. Lowering her arms, she wrapped them around him, heedless of the fact that he was getting damp now too. For a long time there was no talk, just the sound of two people in love taking pleasure from each other. Then …

“Don’t mind me, Cap,” Kaylee said, waddling through, tools clanking in her pockets. “Ain't lookin’.”

Mal pulled back a little, gazing into his wife’s eyes, even as he said, “You like being a bucket of cold water, do you, mei-mei?”

“Take more’n that,” Kaylee avowed, carefully climbing the steps and heading for the stairs to the cargo bay.

“Why ain't she taking the back way?” he asked, settling his arms back around his wife into a more comfortable position.

“I think she’s finding the steps up from the infirmary to be getting too much for her, at least when she can avoid them.”

“Anything we can do to help?”

“Not really. Short of locking her in her room.”

“Think Simon’ll go for that?”


“Me neither.” He kissed her again, detecting the faintest tang of engine grease.

She hummed in satisfaction, then leaned back a little. “He asked me again today.” She spoke as if he would know exactly what she was talking about.

He did. “What did you say?”

“The same as always. That I’d talk to you.”

“Now, is that a good example you wanna set your son? Having to come to me for my permission?” He grinned at her, but realised she was quite serious.

“Ethan sees Bethie with her own room, Hope too, and as much as he wants to be like his father and be a gentleman, he gets jealous.”

“Frey, there ain't really that much space. As it is if we get passengers –”

“And how long’s it been since we did that?”

“Well, okay, a while,” he admitted. “But the time might come when we need to take some on, and if that’s the case then what do we do?”

“The kids double up.”

He looked down at her. “You’ve been thinking about this, haven’t you?”

“He’s a growing boy. He wants his own space, not one he shares with his sister.”

“Did you? I mean with Alex?”

She shrugged, and he felt the movement against his chest. “Not really. I think we shared a nursery for a while, but most of my memories are of my own room.”

“All pink and pretty, I’m guessing.”

“Now who’s being sexist?”

“You mean it wasn’t?”

She squirmed slightly, making him even more aware of her body sliding against his. “Maybe a little pink. But that was because my mother insisted, not me.”

“And what did you want?”

“I …” She stopped. “I don’t actually know.”

He was surprised. “Didn’t they ever ask you?”

“Not really.” She shrugged. “Mal, I might have been a Rostov, but I was a girl. Girls have pink bedrooms and do … girlie things. They’re not supposed to go climbing trees and jumping in puddles.”

“Bet you did, though.”

“No wonder my mother despaired of me.” She sighed dramatically.

Mal grinned. “Well, you made it up with her. And I know she’s proud of you now.”

“I wouldn’t go that far.”

“I would. And I’m just wondering how far else we can go before –

There was a screeching sound that made them both wince, then Kaylee’s voice boomed, “Testing. Testing. One, two, three, three, two, one. There once was a young man from Sturges, who had these incredible urges –”

“You really want to be finishing that limerick?” Zoe’s voice bounded around the Firefly. “Considering how it ends?”

A giggle made the cups rattle. “Oh, yeah.”

“Kaylee, turn the gorram sound down!” Mal yelled into the comm., feedback almost blasting his eardrums.

There was another squeal, then a much quieter and slightly subdued mechanic said, over the internal system this time, “Sorry, Cap’n.”

He glanced at Freya, who was hiding her laughter behind one hand. “I take it the loudspeakers you were setting up work?”

“That they do. The bits I got off Leo do the job just fine.”

“Then put ‘em away and tell your husband he’s cooking tonight.”

“But it ain’t his turn.”

“Kaylee, what did I say about who owns this ship?”

There was a huge sigh that had Freya stifling a laugh. “You’re captain. What you say goes.”

“Right. And I need a rest ‘fore supper, so I’m taking one.”

“But I thought it was Frey’s … oh.”


“Is that all you think about?” This, from Kaylee, was tantamount to mutiny.

Mal had to smile. “This from the woman who made me blush sometimes going past her bunk?”

Kaylee giggled again, back to her normal self. “Okay, I’ll tell him. But Frey does the cleaning up after.”

“Deal.” He switched the comm. off. “See?” he said, turning back to his wife. “That’s how you deal with equality of the sexes.”

Freya laughed, the sound drowned as his lips crashed onto hers.

to be continued


Monday, June 15, 2009 7:49 AM


Lol! Fluffy chapter .. I like those :)

Monday, June 15, 2009 9:10 AM


hee hee....Capt needs to rest...not sure how much resting that man got done and that all Mal thinks about...LOL!! Great fluffy!! ;)

Monday, June 15, 2009 9:43 AM


This chapter just made me smile. Much needed today! Thanks! :)

Monday, June 15, 2009 11:09 AM


Yay, at last some Maya fluff! Loved this and have to say I think that election is going to be a much bigger bash than anyone realises, especially the men of Jericho Wells! Ali D :~)
"You can't take the sky from me!"

Monday, June 15, 2009 4:45 PM


Great chapter here, jane. Loved the explanation from Zoe about why she wants to make a difference on Jericho. Loved the fluff between Kaylee and Mal. Hope Ethan gets his own room soon!

Monday, June 15, 2009 5:56 PM


Flluffy, fluff. Loved it.


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Now and Then - a Christmas story
“Then do you have a better suggestion? No, let me rephrase that. Do you have a more sensible suggestion that doesn’t involve us getting lost and freezing to death?”

[Maya. Post-BDM. A little standalone festive tale that kind of fits into where I am in the Maya timeline, but works outside too. Enjoy!]

Monied Individual - Epilogue
"I honestly don’t know if my pilot wants to go around with flowers and curlicues carved into his leg.”
[Maya. Post-BDM. The end of the story, and the beginning of the last ...]

Monied Individual - Part XX
Mal took a deep breath, allowing it out slowly through his nostrils, and now his next words were the honest truth. “Ain’t surprised. No matter how good you are, and I’m not complaining, I’ve seen enough battle wounds, had to help out at the odd amputation on occasion. And I don’t have to be a doc myself to tell his leg ain’t quite the colour it should be, even taking into account his usual pasty complexion. What you did … didn’t work, did it?”
[Maya. Post-BDM. Simon has no choice, and Luke comes around.]

Monied Individual - Part XIX
“His name’s Jayne?”

“What’s wrong with that?” the ex-mercenary demanded from the doorway.

“Nothing, nothing! I just … I don’t think I’ve ever met a man … anyone else by that name.”

“Yeah, he’s a mystery to all of us,” Mal said. “Even his wife.”

[Maya. Post-BDM. Hank's not out of the woods yet, and Mal has a conversation. Enjoy!]

Monied Individual - Part XVIII
Jayne had told him a story once, about being on the hunt for someone who owed him something or other. He’d waited for his target for three hours in four inches of slush as the temperature dropped, and had grinned when he’d admitted to Hank that he’d had to break his feet free from the ice when he’d finished.
[Maya. Post-BDM. The Fosters show their true colours, Jayne attempts a rescue, and the others may be too late.]

Snow at Christmas
She’d seen his memories of his Ma, the Christmases when he was a boy on Shadow, even a faint echo of one before his Pa died, all still there, not diminished by his burning, glowing celebrations of now with Freya.

[Maya. Post-BDM. A seasonal one-off - enjoy!]

Monied Individual - Part XVII
Jayne hadn’t waited, but planted a foot by the lock. The door was old, the wood solid, but little could stand against a determined Cobb boot with his full weight behind it. It burst open.

[Maya. Post-BDM. The search for Hank continues. Read, enjoy, review!]

Monied Individual - Part XVI
He slammed the door behind him, making the plates rattle on the sideboard. “It’s okay, girl, I ain't gonna hurt you.” The cook, as tradition dictated, plump and rosy cheeked with her arms covered to the elbows in flour, but with a gypsy voluptuousness, picked up a rolling pin.

[Maya. Post-BDM. Kaylee finds the problem with Serenity, and Jayne starts his quest. Read, enjoy, review!]

Monied Individual - Part XV
“Did we …” “We did.” “Why?” As she raised an eyebrow at him he went on quickly, “I mean, we got a comfy bunk, not that far away. Is there any particular reason we’re in here instead?” “You don’t remember?” He concentrated for a moment, and the activities of a few hours previously burst onto him like a sunbeam. “Oh, right,” he acknowledged happily.

[Maya. Post-BDM. A little with each Serenity couple, but something goes bang. Read, enjoy, review!]

“Did we …” “We did.” “Why?” As she raised an eyebrow at him he went on quickly, “I mean, we got a comfy bunk, not that far away. Is there any particular reason we’re in here instead?” “You don’t remember?” He concentrated for a moment, and the activities of a few hours previously burst onto him like a sunbeam. “Oh, right,” he acknowledged happily.

[Maya. Post-BDM. A little with each Serenity couple, but something goes bang. Read, enjoy, review!]