Interludes: Talking
Thursday, May 13, 2010

Maya. Post-BDM. A series of short fics under a main heading, just glimpses of life after MASKS. First up, Kaylee talks to Simon while River interrupts.


“They’re fighting.”




“I said they’re fighting.”

He looked up from his study of the slide. “Who?”

“Mal and Frey.” Kaylee was sitting on the edge of the medbed, swinging her legs.

“I'm sure it’s nothing.” He smiled briefly and went back to his work.

“She doesn’t like it when they fight.”

“Who? Jesse?”

“Well, no, she don’t either, but I meant Serenity.”

“Serenity?” There, just on the edge of the specimen …

“She gets all … cranky.”


“Are you just gonna repeat everything I say until I go away and make you sleep on the couch tonight?”

Okay, that slightly petulant tone of voice got his attention. He knew he wasn’t going to get any more work done, at least not until Kaylee had had her say. He internalised the sigh and turned back to his wife. “Bao bei, Serenity’s metal. She can’t get cranky.”

“Course she can. S’why she’s thrown a G-clamp.”

He smiled slightly. “Then shouldn’t you be fixing her?”

“I did. Least, as far as I can. Needs a new one.” She swung her legs a bit more, looking very like her eldest daughter.

“And you don’t have a spare?” Simon’s smile grew. “With all the stuff you bought from Leo on Jericho, and I know you brought bits and pieces back from the Empress … you don’t have a … what was it, a G-ring?”

“G-clamp. And no. They don’t exactly break too often, so it ain’t worth keeping one. I can only figure the EMP put a strain on it, and what Hank was doing was the last straw.”

“Does Mal know?”


“That’s not why he and Frey are arguing, is it?”

“No. That’s kinda more general.”


“Ah … what?”

“Nothing. Just … ah.”

“If you’re suggesting it’s her time of the month, I think maybe she’d disagree. You know we all … you know.”

Simon tried to hide the tilt to his lips. Kaylee was one of the most open, honest people he’d ever met, but talking about women’s things still sometimes made her come over shy. “It’s natural,” he explained. “Women in a close community often synchronise.”

“Mmn.” She lifted her feet so she could study her toes, poking out of the sandals she was wearing. She wriggled them, making a mental note to reapply the pink polish. “But it ain’t that. I think it’s just …” She stopped.

“Just what?”

“You know. Mal being Mal, Frey being Frey.”

“You mean he left his socks on the table again?”

“Maybe. Or she’s anxious about something or other and it’s coming out that way.”

“Anxious? What about?”

“No idea. I ain’t a mind reader.”

Simon glanced involuntarily out of the infirmary doorway towards the room they called Eden across the way, where River was weeding her garden and Caleb was making mud pies. “Does River …”

“I ain’t asked. But then, she’s not said either.”

“Then I don’t think it’s anything to worry about.”

“Oh, I ain’t worried.”

“Then … what?”

Kaylee shrugged. “Not sure. But I know she gets like this sometimes, more so after seeing Inara.”

Simon was confused. “But they’re friends.”

“More than friends, according to River. Sisters, she says. But …” Her voice trailed away.

“It’s probably just her subconscious,” Simon suggested. “Remembering how it used to be.”

She reached out and took his hand, pulling him closer. “Good job they got over it then,” Kaylee said, smiling up at him. “’Sides, people argue. Over nothing.”

Simon found himself nodding. He well remembered the last time he and Kaylee had done exactly that, and for the life of him he still couldn’t tell how it had started, what he’d done to make her so pissed off, or even if there was anything at all. “It’s proximity.”

“I guess.”

“You know they’re going to make up, don’t you?” Simon asked, looking closely into Kaylee’s eyes.

“Oh, course I do. It ain’t like either of ‘em to hold onto it, not now.”

“Are you saying it used to be?”

“With the Cap, for sure. Before Miranda. You musta noticed.”

In all honesty he hadn’t. All his spare time had been spent trying to find a cure, or at least some form of medication that would enable his sister to lead a normal life. It had taken Reavers, blood and Jayne to get her even part of the way there. “Um …”

“Anyhow, now they fight, get it outta their systems. So I ain’t worried.”

She smiled at him, enough so that he dared to say, “Kaylee, as much as I love having company whilst I’m trying to work, why are you here?”

“Work? You’re staring at somethin’!”

“That is work.”

“If’n I stare at something, the Cap tells me to find something better to do.”

“And what do you tell him?”

“That he’s Captain, I’m the mechanic, and I know what I’m doing.”

“So do I.”

She wasn’t phased. “So what is it?”

He gave in. “I'm still trying to find out a way to cure that rash Jayne picked up on Lazarus when we took Inara home.”

“That?” she scoffed. “Aw, hell, I can do that.”

“You can? How?” A thought occurred to him. “It doesn’t involve liberal application of engine grease, does it?”

“Nope. And that was only the once.” She grinned. “It worked, though, didn’t it?”

“Kaylee, I smelled like … like Serenity! For days!”

“That ain’t a bad thing. And you shouldn’t’a burned your backside without making sure you’d got salve on board.”

“We’d run out. And that wasn't exactly my fault.”

Her grin widened, and her eyes danced. “Oh, I recall you having something to do with it.”

He tried to bury the memory of accidentally sitting on a very hot part of the engine at exactly the wrong moment, then having to deal with the rest of the crew hurrying to his aid after he screamed and woke them all up, including the children. He’d almost considered leaving the Firefly from sheer embarrassment. “Anyway,” he said quickly. “About Jayne’s rash …”

“I’ll wave my Ma. She’s sure to have something in her recipe book that’d do.” She laughed. “You shoulda seen it when Pete got into that patch of poisonous lava leaves. She had him plastered in some kinda green goo for days.”

“Lava leaves?”

“’Cause they burn like hell. He screamed louder’n you did.”

“Then … I’d be grateful if you could talk to your mother.”

“Sure. I’ll do it soon as I’m through annoying you.”

“Is that it? You’re bored?”

“The kids are in lessons. David Gabriel’s taking a nap, Mal’s talking to Zoe about the next job while Hank flies … and there ain’t much I need to do ‘til we get to Wayborn and I can go get that part.” She swung her legs again. “So I thought I’d come see my favourite husband.”

“Your only husband, I hope.” He moved closer still, leaning on the medbed with one hand, his thighs between hers.

“Apart from Roger on Ibis. And then there’s Clayton on Jiangyin. And –” She couldn’t say anything more on account of Simon having wrapped his arm around her and pressed his lips to hers. Instead she hummed happily.

“What are you doing?” River’s voice from the doorway, a mixture of curiosity and mischief.

“What does it look like?” Simon asked, barely disengaging his mouth. “We’re talking.”

“Jayne and I talk like that. When he’s not scratching.”

Simon turned his head enough to look at his sister. “You need to stop him doing that. It might scar.”

“I tried tying him up last night. But he seemed to enjoy it.”

He rolled his eyes. “River …”

“Or I could cut off his hands, but I don’t think –”


She looked innocent. “What?”

“Go away.”


“Because we’re busy.”

“Busy … talking.”

He sighed. “Did you want something?”


“Then don’t you have something else to do?” Simon wasn’t going to give up on enjoying some time with his wife, not now he’d got used to the idea.

“I’ve weeded the containers. There are more strawberries ripening.”

“Mmmn.” Kaylee was buzzing, her vibrations transferring to Simon through her legs, and he almost moaned, particularly as she licked her lips as she said, “Strawberries.”

“What about Caleb? Shouldn’t you be watching him?” Simon asked, trying to exercise some sort of control over certain areas of his body.

River tapped her temple. “I am.”

Simon closed his eyes, hoping that, when he opened them again, his sister might have disappeared. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be. “Oh.”

“Still here,” she added. “And she’s forgiven him.” She dusted tiny grains of earth from her hands.

“Who, honey?” Kaylee asked. “Frey?”

The young psychic nodded. “They’re … talking.”

“Is she okay? Or was it something Mal did?”

River shook her head. “Not Mal. Her psyche itches.”

Simon glanced at Kaylee, who looked none the wiser. “Sorry?”

“Why, have you done something?”


“It’s okay, Simon,” Kaylee said, squeezing him around the waist. “She’s teasing.”

“I know,” he sighed.

His sister smiled. “Sometimes Freya’s mind itches – stray thoughts scratch it and it has to heal.”

“I know I'm going to be sorry I asked, but thoughts of what?”

“From outside.” She indicated the hull. “People. Events. Past , present and future …” She focussed on the two people in front of her again. “And Mal left his socks on the table.”

Kaylee giggled. “Told you.”

“No, I said …” He stopped. Faced with two women like his sister and wife, he just knew he wasn’t going to win. “But Frey’s okay now?”

“Mmn. Mal is helping. He’s licking her –”

“Just stop. Right there.” In an effort to regain some kind of mastery, he added, “And tell Jayne to come and see me. If he’s scratching I can give him another shot of antihistamine.”

River nodded. “I’ll … talk … to him.” She smiled knowingly, the look in her eyes all woman, not child.

Mei-mei, please.”

She laughed. “Boob.”


“I know.” Suddenly she lifted her head. “I have to go. Caleb is eating one of his mud pies.” She ran across the common area into her garden, her feet barely touching the deck.

“My sister …” Simon said quietly, then his breath hitched as he realised Kaylee had grabbed his ass in one hand and was gently squeezing. “Um …”

“You know, I’m still bored,” she said conversationally, her cheeks beginning to flush.

“Really?” He looked down into her eyes, soft and full of love.

“Mmn. Want to try … talking … me out of it?”

He held up a hand. “Stay right there.” Hurrying to the door he slid the two halves closed, locking it securely. Turning, he leaned on it for a moment, watching his wife as she slid back on the medbed, bringing one leg over so she could straddle it. He smiled. “Now, where were we?” he asked.

She grinned as he crossed the short distance back to her, more than ready to continue their conversation.


Thursday, May 13, 2010 9:19 AM


I always say but that is because it's true. I love this. I can not wait to hear from the rest of the crew. :0)

Thursday, May 13, 2010 1:00 PM


I loved it too.

Thursday, May 13, 2010 4:02 PM


LOL!! This was cute. I liked the TMI moment where River tries to tell Simon what Mal is licking on Freya. :) Great story!

Friday, May 14, 2010 6:02 AM


What fun - glad Simon had the patience to deal with so many distractions.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010 6:15 AM


Kaylee AND River bored? Ooops, recipe for nobody getting any peace on that boat until they get it out of their systems. Ali D :~)
"You can't take the sky from me!"


You must log in to post comments.



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!]