Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Follows on directly after Two Lists. The Alliance vessel turns Brown.


Hooray! - I managed to get through this one without adding 'hover' to the front of a noun to make it seem futuristic!


Wanting to avoid the shuttle – whether because, being part of Serenity and all that was now left of her or, being part of Inara and all that was left of her, it was just too precious to use, too painful even to look at – Mal set out with Jayne and Kaylee on foot for the Alliance vessel.

Yan had told him that it was a couple of miles away, maybe a mile north of where Pity had been, which didn’t seem like a long way to walk. After less than a mile, though, Kaylee started to hang back some, claiming that her boots were hurting her. It saddened and worried Mal to see how she was struggling: not with the walk, which he knew to be nothing to her, but with their present shared hardship which, he understood, was turning the two miles into a marathon.

He remembered Inara’s words, uttered not so far from here, about his charisma, his power of leadership, and, trying to shrug off the response that shamed him so profoundly now, he tried to reassure himself that it wasn’t such a bad thing, to be able to lead, was it? Could be useful, at times, times such as this, when a member of your crew was down at heart and somehow, somewhere you had it in you to buck them up a little, even if you weren’t feeling it yourself. And, he had to concede, nothing that Inara had said denied that his leadership had good aspects to it. She’d only been saying he should be more careful: with himself, with his crew, with his ship; with her. He was almost bowed down with the knowledge that he had lost so much of these things; yet the power of the accompanying remorse, which had him almost physically, persuaded him somehow that he would, he would have to, do better.

He stopped and reached out a hand to Kaylee. She stopped too, stared at him, her deep sadness hard to see.

“Come on,” he said. “I’ll hold your hand.”

She walked up to him listlessly, dragging her feet a little, but couldn’t fail to respond to the feeling she was so much needing, of a strong, warm hand grasping hers and pulling her gently to go forward.

“S’all it takes, ain’t it,” she said after a short while, “to make you feel a mite better.”

She smiled at Mal – almost a full-on Kaylee dazzler – and Mal had to smile back.

“You want to try it?” she called to Jayne, who was trudging a little behind her and Mal holding Vera across his shoulders.

Jayne grunted and muttered something somewhat indignantly, giving Mal and Kaylee cause to exchange another almost fond smile.


The darkened carrier, even though inactive, was forbidding, seeming to have the ability to be reawakened and directed by their enemies’ malignant intentions.

“Cute,” said Kaylee, gazing around the bridge, and Mal glanced at her, uncertain whether the word was inspired by a sarcastic or a genuine admiration.

“Seem damaged?” he asked.

“Can’t rightly tell. Lot of hull damage, saw that already. But for the rest, got to have a look at the engine.”

Mal and Jayne followed Kaylee as she led the way unerringly to the heart of the ship. They were nearing a half-open hatch when Kaylee stopped. Jayne lifted Vera to the ready at the same time. There was a noise coming through the hatch, a rhythmic clanging. With a glance at Mal Jayne shot forward, kicked the hatch wide open and aimed Vera in the direction of the noise. There was a cry, a clatter as something was dropped to the metal floor.

“Looks like we missed one,” said Jayne with a triumphant sneer as Mal and Kaylee came through the hatch.

“You!” cried Kaylee with sudden fury, rushing forward to the figure cowering against a part of the engine casing. “It’s him, Cap’n,” she declared fiercely, “the tec what put the tracker into Serenity!”

“’s that right?” Mal asked coolly, almost amused.

“Well, don’t just – let me – I ain’t strong enough to - you do it” – Kaylee ordered Mal and Jayne, breaking off to pick up the tool that the engineer had dropped.

“Waste him?” Jayne asked.

“Hit him!” Kaylee burst out.

“Would be a shame,” Mal commented. “Real brave fellow. Going to fix this thing, take off on your own, rid the Verse of Reavers or some such?”

The engineer stared back, wordless.

“Name’s Trudo,” Kaylee spat, squeezing her hand around the wrench.

“Your friends are back in town,” Mal began.

“And they’re all dead!” Jayne added.

Pausing for the smallest sigh, Mal corrected: “Uh, no they ain’t. Because we – didn’t harm them – at all.”

“Even though we shoulda! And it ain’t too late neither!”

“Jayne!” Mal admonished, exasperated. “The man’s an engineer. We’re here to salvage this ship. We could – use an engineer?”

“Yeah,” Jayne conceded, after a moment’s reflection. He lowered Vera a little.

“We can fill – Trudo? – in on everything he’s missed, but in the meantime – how about we get to work.”

“Yeah,” said Kaylee, echoing Jayne. “Let’s get to” – and she hurled the wrench as hard as she could against the hull, glaring menacingly at Trudo all the time – “work.”

“We’ll be needing that,” Trudo ventured carefully.

“Well, I daresay you’ll be needing your balls, but if you don’t shut up, I’ll - you’ll - you know what I mean!” she snarled, stomping past Trudo.

Suppressing a laugh, Mal wished with all his heart that Inara was there to share the moment. ‘I daresay’, was, after all, pure Inara. The rest of it, however?

“’s your influence,” he said to Jayne, who shrugged.


But of course, she couldn’t help herself. She wanted to know about the ship and was soon plying Trudo with questions. Mal listened to their conversation, amplified by the acoustics of the engine room, and it seemed to him, on the basis of how quickly Kaylee’s manner edged away from murderous as she excitedly exchanged ideas, and of how, to use a Kaylee word, cute the kid was, that he might be looking at something more enduring than a jealousy-fuelled fling.


Tuesday, March 9, 2010 1:25 PM


Hmmm. I can see it too. Strong connection, not so superficial puppy love... Complicated. What does it say about this group of people that screwed up relationships seem the most real, AND the most right?

Though it depends on how much Trudo was truthful in his initial interest in Kaylee. I'm curious where the name might've come from...

Aw @ the hand holding.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010 3:12 PM


uh oh, I smell trouble brewin!

I liked your Mal/Kaylee moment too

Tuesday, March 9, 2010 7:08 PM


nicely done! actually made me believe mal would hold somebody's hand, and kaylee would threaten someone's balls. there is no graver threat.

good to see mal demonstrate leadership without drawing a gun on his crew.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010 8:34 PM


I daresay, did you write a new boyfriend for Kaylee? A cute one too, no one ever does that, and that’s why I love this story.

Mal does take hold of River’s hand to get her in the mule on Lilac, and he does reach for Inara, a few times, when they are escaping the Operative, so I can see him doing the hand holding thing with Kaylee.

Post more.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010 11:38 AM


This is great! I love the parallel moments Mal and Inara had in the last few chapters, each having an experience and wanting more than anything to be able to share it with the other. That rings very, very true. I also liked Mal's reflection on leadership. And of course, who can help but adore furious Kaylee? Jayne, too, still as thick as ever.

Great! Post more :)

Friday, March 12, 2010 7:22 AM


maybe mal is a situational hand-holder. reaching for people, and a pat on the back, is not the same as...holding hangs, which is the ickiest of activities.

it was quite a feat for aliasse to take us from sergeant reynolds (one of the ugliest portrayals of mal ive read) to a mal that holds hands with insufferable mechanics, and have both be believable.

Saturday, March 13, 2010 11:27 AM


*quakes at Platonist's inside-out knowledge of canon*

'one of the ugliest portrayals of mal ive read' - I take that as quite a compliment :)

thanks all!


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Inara's and Mal's paths converge.

Mal recovers.

Further apart, still together
Mal's journey begins.

Farewell Part II
The 'Verse turns, Serenity's people move off on different paths.

Farewell Part I

No ship to fuel, no crew to feed, no job to chase
Mal gets ready to move on.

Previously on Aliasse's Firefly Fan Fic Series.....
Self-important, moi?

Fight. Flight.
Next in this Mal/Inara saga. Inara breaks away. Follows 'Connection'.

Mal re-enters the human race. Short update.

Mal and Inara talk. Next in series.