Secrets - Part X
Monday, November 25, 2013

He went to check the coffee pot, and decided that, while it might do for degreasing the welding that needed doing in the aft storage locker, as a beverage it left a lot to be desired, and poured it down the sink. “We might as well go sit with the rest, considering River couldn’t keep her mouth shut and everyone’s waiting for Simon to come up with something.” [Maya. Post-BDM. Mal/Freya-centric chapter, and longer to make up for not posting in a while!]


Mal stepped angrily down into the kitchen. “Frey, answer me. What’s going on?”

“Nothing.” Freya swiped at her cheeks, sitting more upright.

Looking down at the table he could see the red stone almost glowing in the low light, the gold cage around it barely able to contain the malevolence. “You did it, didn’t you? You touched that thing.”

“My decision.”

Her face was pale, drawn, even as he pulled her roughly to her feet. “Gorramit, Frey, when the hell are you gonna do what you’re told?” He wanted to shake some sense into her but stopped short, just holding her shoulders tightly.

“I knew what I was doing.”

She was trembling but he ignored it in his anger. “I don’t give a gou-shi if you’d got the approval of the king of Londinium! I told you no, yet you go behind my back and do it anyway!”

His fury burned hot, scalding her, all the worse because she knew it was based much more on his concern for her rather than her disobeying him. Her understanding didn’t mean it wasn’t like acid, though.

She felt anger of her own bubbling up, but it hit the wave of distress and pain she’d picked up from the Culver diamond, and it was too much. She pulled free from his hands, feeling one of the seams of the shirt rip, and ran out of the kitchen, half-falling down the stairs.

Mal leaned on the table, his hands in fists, eyes closed as he tried to control himself. That woman … she … how … He couldn’t even finish the thought.

Then a spike of anger drove through him and he swept the necklace to the floor, hearing it clatter away but not caring where it ended up. He let loose a long, low stream of invective, the words dancing around the pipes and exiting through the ventilation system.

For more than a minute he didn’t move, his head down, trying to control himself. Finally he stood straight. “She could try the patience of a saint,” he muttered. “Oh, diyu.”

Letting the sigh roll out of his lips, he strode out of the kitchen and hurried down the stairs to the cargo bay, but the exterior door was open and there was no sign of his wife.

A very slight noise above him had him looking up to where River stood on the catwalk outside the shuttle, her long nightdress moving gently in the breeze coming in from outside, looking like a wraith haunting his Firefly.

“She at the house?” he asked, needing no preamble.

River shook her head, her long hair twisting. “No. She hurts.”

“Then where –”

“The lake.” She pressed at her temple as if her head ached. “Mu qin hurts,” she said again, the emphasis strong.

“She’ll catch a cold.”

“She doesn’t care.”

“I will never understand women.”

“The feeling is mutual, and I can read Jayne’s mind.” She glared at him pointedly. “And yours.”

“Yeah, I know I’m an ass,” he murmured, heading out into the dark.


She was standing on the end of the dock, the low moonlight catching at her naked form. She’d shed the few clothes she was wearing, and as he watched she wiped both hands across her cheeks before diving smoothly into the water.

He winced, knowing how cold it tended to be right there, even in the summer, and equally certain it was tears she’d dashed away before she jumped in. With another sigh he went to collect her clothes and wait for her.

She swam a hard fast crawl out towards the centre of the lake, willing the anger, the fear, the despair to drain away, but it was stuck, like a bitter pill in her throat that refused to be swallowed. It would be better if she could talk about it, but he’d been so … so unreasonable. Couldn’t he see she was a grown woman? She’d taken care of herself for years before he came along, and after. She didn’t need him to tell her what she could and couldn’t do. He didn’t own her. Except he did, just as much as she owned him, and they had the rings to prove it. Damn. Her stroke faltered and she took in a mouthful of water, coming to a halt and spluttering.

This was stupid. At this time of night, with nobody else around, if she got cramp or worse she’d be on her own, and people drowned in situations like these.

“You had enough?”

She span in the water, Mal’s voice echoing through the dark. She rolled her eyes and began to stroke back to the shore, standing up in the shallows and wading towards where he stood on the small beach.

He watched her, exasperated and just a little proud of her as a memory assailed him of another night, Freya in this very same lake, while she was still recovering from what Wing did to her. Back then she had been silvered with fine scar lines like mermaid scales – now, though, she was whole and perfect, at least physically. He waited for her to comment, but she said nothing, just stepping onto the shingle in front of him.

“You’ll catch your death,” he said softly, draping the shirt she’d worn around her shoulders. As his fingers touched her skin she flinched. “You think I’m gonna hit you?” he asked in sudden shock, like ice water tipped over him.

Her eyes widened. “No, no! You would never do that. Diyu, did you think I thought …” She tugged the shirt closer around her.

“Not sure. Ain’t you reading me?”

“No. I didn’t think you’d want me to.” She started to roll her foot, like Bethie did when caught out in a misdemeanour, then stopped herself.

“Frey, how old are you?” he admonished, but with no heat in the words.

“Old enough to know my own mind,” she snapped back.

“Do you mind if we argue about that back on board?” He’d noticed her trembling. “Before the doc has to nurse you through pneumonia?”

She lifted an eyebrow at him, but walked past him, back towards the ship.


While she dried off and dressed, Mal made fresh tea, surmising that coffee would only keep them awake but needing something to do.

When she came back into the kitchen, in yet another of his flannel shirts but little else beyond a towel around her neck, he pointed to his chair. “Sit.”

“Yes sir.” She lowered herself slowly to the seat.

“You wearing underwear?”

“No.” Her chin rose defiantly. “Do you want me to go and put some on?”

“No. Long as you’re not cold.” His imagination tossed him a picture of her bare buttocks on the wooden chair, but he pushed it to one side for later. A lack of reaction suggested she was still holding herself from him mentally.

Putting a cup of tea in front of her he went behind and pulled the towel from her neck, beginning to massage the wetness from her hair.

Her eyes closed as she luxuriated in the feeling, and her shoulders relaxed.

Wu de tyen ah, Frey. You’re making me go grey,” he murmured in exasperation.


“’Cept you’re not. You’re as bad as River. You apologise, but I know you’re gonna go ahead and do it again. You’re like to give me another heart attack.”

The tension was back in her muscles. “Don’t say that. Even in jest. Please.”

“Then why’d you do it?”

“To stop you getting hurt.” The words seemed to escape from her and she sounded surprised, as if she had been trying to bite them back.

“And how’s that supposed to work, exactly?”

“I don’t know,” she admitted. “But you were willing for River to try again.”

He had to stop his lips twitching at the fire starting to creep back into her voice. “You know, I am captain. Tends to mean people do what I say.”

“I know.” She sighed, her shoulders dropping again. “We’re not going to agree on this.”

“I conjure we won’t.” He squeezed a little harder. “Seeing as you’ve already done it.”

“I don’t know what you want me to say.”

“How about you won’t do it again? Although, like I said, that’s pretty much a piecrust promise.”

Her head dropped lower. “Please don’t be disappointed in me. I couldn’t bear it.” Her flame tattoo, peeking over the shirt collar, seemed dull and lifeless.

“Angry, yes. Disappointed, no. Not sure you could do that.” He resisted the temptation to place a kiss on her neck. Instead he sat down next to her. “Wanna tell me what you saw?”

“I’m not sure I can.”

“Show me?”

Shaking her head vehemently, she reminded him strongly of their daughter. “No. No, Mal.”

“Worse than I saw already?”

She swallowed. “You … you saw?”

“It was a dream, a nightmare really,” he admitted, “but I conjure you were projecting.” Taking a breath he went on, “A farmhouse. A man and a woman, and a –”

“Bedroom,” she finished hoarsely. She clasped her hands tightly on the old wood, her knuckles showing white.


“Blood. Death. More than just that …place.” Her brow creased as she tried to put the pieces together. “Somewhere in a city, a townhouse, on a lake, somewhere in the sky, Bellerophon, I think, in space … so many images, I can’t …”

He put his hand on top of hers. “It’s okay.”

“No, it isn’t!” The pain in her eyes was palpable. “It’s so confusing. I … it’s like … I …”

“Frey. Take a breath.”

This time, at least, she did as she was told, and was able to say, “I don’t know how much of it was true. The farmhouse is real. So are the people. But they’re alive, I can feel them.”

Ai ren, they were slaughtered.” There wasn’t another word to use – even in the dream the inside of that house resembled an abattoir.

“Will be.”

They both turned to see River in the doorway.

“You saw it too?” Mal asked.

The young woman nodded and stepped over the threshold. “And I remember. From before.”

He glanced at Freya, who said, “River’s right. That … that bloodshed is for the future.”

“Is that even possible?”

“I didn’t think so.” Freya bit her lip. “But I know those people, that family are still alive. So are the others.”

“Others?” Mal’s voice was sharp.

“More,” River said, staring beyond them into the shadows, but seeing a lot further. “All dead but not.”

“Okay, ‘less we’re talking zombies here – and I ain’t Hank so let’s say they’re not – you’re considering this is gonna happen? How? I mean, is that niou se necklace going to be there? At each massacre?”

“No.” Freya spoke, her brow furrowed. “No, it’s not that. There was a … a taste of anticipation, of … pleasure at the killings. I think it’s what someone wants to be done.” She grabbed her mug and took a mouthful of tea to try and wash it away.


“No. I can’t be sure, but I don’t think so.” She looked into his blue eyes. “I’m sorry it’s all negatives.”

“That’s okay. But I still don’t see why that stone in particular.” He glanced towards where it still lay against the bulkhead.

River stirred. “Perhaps if I …”

“Don’t even begin to finish that suggestion,” Mal said darkly. “You try it and you think you’ve seen me angry? Because you haven’t.”

“I understand.”

“Riv?” Jayne stood in the doorway, dressed only in a pair of cargo pants that were buttoned enough for decency but nothing else. “Come on. Bed’s cold without you.”

“Yes, zhang fu.” River nodded. “Goodnight mother, father.”

“Ain’t your father,” Mal said, but it was automatic as he watched her join her husband and pad back to their shuttle.

“She’s not wrong,” Freya said quietly.

“I don’t care.” He turned back to her. “Nobody touches that thing if they can manage it.”

“Mal, if I was projecting, what about the children? Bethie, Ethan …” Her face was pale.

“Frey, if they’d picked anything up, don’t you think we’d have had Kaylee or Simon over here double quick? They’d be shouting at me right now.”

“But River did.”

“She’s a lot closer.”

“It doesn’t work like that.”

“Then maybe …” He considered for a moment. “She touched it before. Maybe it made her … I don’t know … sensitive.”

Freya nodded slowly, then shrugged. “It’s possible.”

“And that just makes me more determined to get rid of that thing.” He stood up and crossed the kitchen, going down onto his heels next to the necklace. “Ain’t nobody to touch it,” he said, this time his tone brooking no objections. “I’d give it to Kaylee to destroy if we weren’t so sure it’s why Philo Cobb was sent after Molly.”


He looked around at her, but she was staring off into the distance. “Frey?”

She refocused. “We need to know more about it.”

He straightened slowly. “Frey, I just got finished telling you nobody’s gonna touch it and you …”

“No. I didn’t mean that,” she said quickly. “But it might be able to tell us something useful anyway …”

“Is it me or are you not making sense?”

“We need to give it … that stone … to Simon.” She glanced at the diamond, almost glowing in the low light, then immediately averted her gaze.

“The doc? Why?”

“A feeling I have.”

Anyone else might have made fun of her, but he knew these feelings of old. There had been more than one occasion when it had saved his life, and one or two others where he wished he’d listened. “Shiny. First thing tomorrow.” He headed for the cupboards to find something to put the necklace in. “Right now I need to get this somewhere safe, then get you back to bed to warm up. And remonstrate with you some more.”

She got to her feet, moving silently until she was standing very close to him. “You keep promising that …”


Later that night, or more probably early morning, Freya watching him in the dim light. From this angle, his head on the pillow next to hers, she could see the outline of his strong nose, his chin and lips. His mouth was slightly open and he breathed easily, but she could tell he wasn’t in deep sleep.

Still, he wasn’t acknowledging her wakefulness, so she took the opportunity to study him.

She had never taken his love for granted – so much had been taken away from her that every moment with him was precious. It was also one of the reasons for the occasional bouts of jealousy she suffered.

She smiled slightly, a rueful tilt of her lips. Mal didn’t get that. To him, he’d promised he’d be faithful, and that was the end of the matter. And for him it was – it was other women she was afraid of, Inara in particular, with her grace, her poise … even at five months pregnant, she was still stunning. And her abilities and training let her be everything to every man – or woman, for that matter – and it was like an ever-present threat, rumbling in the background. Totally irrational, of course, but knowing it here and feeling it here … two different things.

Most of the time it wasn’t a problem, but once in a while it crept up on her. Freya sighed, barely a breath.

Love was such an odd emotion. River had tried to explain it, talking of pheromones and receptors, and the ridiculousness of monogamy when it was part of the human state to want to spread their genes as far as possible … At this point Jayne usually put her over his shoulder and took him to their shuttle. Freya thought she did it on purpose.

Mal moved slightly, the sheet slipping from his shoulder and exposing one of his very many scars. The most recent one, from Ithaca, was still hidden, but she knew it was there, waiting to jump out at her.

She shook her head, as far as she could. Bullet magnet, Hank had called him, totally ignoring his own brush with death. Too close to the truth, for both of them. It hadn’t helped, of course, that Mal had fallen and torn the wound open again, meaning the fresh pink skin was more puckered and pronounced than it should have been.

It hurt her that he had so many scars, even if a lot of them occurred before they became a couple. Still, whatever she could do to stop any more, even if it did go against his wishes, was justified.

She reached up and traced the shape of his face as if to set it into her memory.

“What’re you doing?” he murmured.

“I knew you weren’t asleep.”

“I was. And dreaming of Philo Cobb dressed like a wolf.”


He opened one eye and glared at her. “You talkin’ back to your captain?”


“You could be court-martialled for that. Made to walk the plank.”

“We don’t have a plank.”

“I’m sure I could find one. Maybe Mr Boden has something I could use.”

“Liar,” she said again, laying her hand on his chest.

He grunted a half-laugh.

She smiled, and the connection between them blossomed through her again, and she couldn’t help the tear that rolled down into her hair. “I love you, Mal.”

“You know that don’t fix everything,” he said gruffly.

“I didn’t mean it to.”

He was silent, unmoving for what seemed like forever, then he pulled her into him, tucking her head into his shoulder. “I love you too, Frey. No matter what.”


Mal was persuaded not to tackle Simon until after breakfast, although he fudged it somewhat by asking the young man to meet him in the infirmary as they were finishing.

“I don’t know what you expect me to find,” the doctor said doubtfully as they stood in the cool blue room. “Hank’s already told us it’s a Culver: what more is there?”

Mal glanced out to the common area where Freya was sitting on the old sofa, Ethan and Jesse either side of her as she read them a story and reassuring herself that none of the children had picked up anything from her actions of the night before. “Humour me.”

“What do you want me to look for?”

“Anything that might tell us where it’s been.” Or going to be, he added mentally, the image of the farmhouse intruding into his mind before he pushed it ruthlessly away.

“You mean dust, hairs, that sort of thing?”

“Whatever that top-three-percent brain of yours can devise.”

“You do realise it’s been in pockets, with those other pieces of jewellery, handled … It’s doubtful there’s anything at all.”

“I got the greatest faith in you, doc.” Mal half-turned to go, but paused. “One other thing. You let Frey or River anywhere near it, and I don’t care what Kaylee says, you’ll be making closer acquaintance with an airlock without a suit.”

Simon raised an eyebrow, just a millimetre. “Are you threatening me again, Mal?”

“I surely am. Seems like old times, don’t it?” He gave a grim half-smile and went to join his family.

“He doesn’t mean it,” River said softly, looking into the infirmary but not crossing the threshold.

“Yes, I do,” Mal said, having heard her comment as he lifted Jesse into his lap.

“But you know what would happen if you tried,” River pointed out. “I’d be forced to kill you, Freya would try to kill me, Jayne would get involved, there’d be bloodshed and funerals and –”

“River.” Freya shook her head, but it was too late.

“Is anyone going to die, Daddy?” Jesse asked, looking up into his face with huge brown eyes.

“Nope, pumpkin. ‘Cept maybe I’m gonna put your Auntie River over my knee for scaring you.”

Jesse gazed at him, then looked at her mother then Ethan, who shrugged. The action, though, soothed her and she laughed. “Silly Daddy,” she said, snuggling into his chest.

“Yeah, that’s me,” Mal said, wrapping his arm around his daughter and giving River a hard glare.

River smiled in her strange, not-quite-there way, and went to give Zoe a rest from guard duty.


Oddly enough, every other adult member of the crew managed to find something to do on board Serenity that morning, and even River announced, via Jayne, that she would be keeping an eye on them from her position on the roof of the house.

“How’d she get up there?” Mal asked, but Jayne just gave him a look that said more than words ever could.

“I’m sure she’s perfectly safe,” Inara said, sitting down on the old sofa in the common area and putting a small, mother-of-pearl inlaid box on the table in front of her.

“Fine. But she falls, someone else is gonna clean up the mess.” He stomped up the stairs.

Sam smiled. “He really is very protective, isn’t he?” He sat down next to Inara.

Zoe, leaning against the doorway into the cargo bay, said softly, “He’s captain. It’s his job.”

“Except it doesn’t work like that. And you know it.”

“Do I?” A faint trace of a smile lifted her lips.

“You all think, because I haven’t seen as much of the ‘verse as you have, that I don’t understand. But I do. That’s my job.” Sam shook his head. “People follow him, that’s been proved, but he also has an innate, and some might say overgrown, sense of family, and that’s quite rare. Most of us will fight for our blood, but if he takes you on board …”

Inara looked at him. “Do I have to worry about you two?” she asked, one perfectly plucked eyebrow arching.

“No, my dear. You don’t have to be concerned on that account.” He glanced towards the stairs. “But if that man decided to stand for Parliament, he could end up President.”

“Burn the place down, more likely,” Jayne said, closing his eyes and slumping back into the big armchair.

“That too.”

“Simon found anything yet?” Hank asked, squeezing by his wife and stepping down into the common area. As everyone’s attention turned to him, he lifted both hands and said, “What? That’s why we’re all hanging around here, isn’t it?”

Zoe laughed. “I think we’ve been caught out.”

“’Cept I don’t see the kids. Where are they?”

“Molly has them in the house. She’s playing hide and seek with them.” Inara smiled. “She’s very good with them.”

“Bethie thinks she’s great,” Kaylee put in, coming out of the lower crew quarters with her wrench. “Her new best friend.”

“Noni might have something to say about that,” Zoe said with a smile.

“Oh, I don’t think anything’s ever gonna break them up.” Kaylee grinned.

“Anyway, I wasn’t here just because of Simon,” Inara went on. “I thought you might be interested in something I have.” She took a tiny key from her pocket and unlocked the box. Lifting the lid it was as if the room had filled with glitter as light sparkled from the jewels inside.

“Oh, my,” Sam said, peering inside. “That’s …”

“Gaudy,” Inara finished. “I don’t wear these, far too over the top, even for me. But when the Guild released my accounts, they also returned these gifts.”

“Ooh, you got given ‘em?” Kaylee asked, moving closer to get a better look. “I mean, I knew some of the men used to give you dresses and the like, but …” She reached out to touch one of the hair ornaments then stopped.

“It’s okay, please try them on.”

Kaylee didn’t need any more urging. Wiping her hands down her coveralls she lifted the filigree from the box and slid it into her burnished copper hair. Its design meant it sat like a gold spider’s web, so fine it was only from some angles that it was there at all, the slightest movement of air making it tremble. “It’s so pretty,” the young woman breathed, looking at her reflection in the window.

“It doesn’t go with anything.” Inara sighed. “Besides, if clients sent any Companion jewellery through the Guild, it was put away for our retirement, and often we didn’t even get to see it. I have no idea who gave this to me.”

“I kinda like it,” Kaylee said, turning her head this way and that.

“Then you keep it.”

Kaylee’s mouth dropped open. “No. No, I can’t.” She eased it from her hair and put it on the table. “I can’t,” she repeated. “It’s too good for me.”

Mei-mei, that’s not true.” Inara smiled. “But I’ll keep it for you. Until you need it.”

“Thank you.” Kaylee went to perch on the stairs, still looking at the ornament.

“The rest of it I was going to let the children use for dressing up,” Inara continued. “And then I remembered this.” She reached into the box and lifted something out.

Wuh da muh,” Hank muttered.


“You okay?” Mal asked, stepping down into the kitchen and watching his wife writing lesson plans.

Freya sighed, then shook her head. “It’s like waiting for the other boot to drop.”

He went to check the coffee pot, and decided that, while it might do for degreasing the welding that needed doing in the aft storage locker, as a beverage it left a lot to be desired, and poured it down the sink. “We might as well go sit with the rest, considering River couldn’t keep her mouth shut and everyone’s waiting for Simon to come up with something.”

“There might not be something for him to come up with.”

“That’s not what you said last night.”

“And in the cold light of day, maybe I was wrong.”

Mal smiled slightly. “I’ll wait to pass judgement on that.” He leaned on the counter and let his good leg take his weight. “You could always go spell our little albatross for a while.”

“No. She’s happy, talking to a family of blue jays. I think.”

“You think she’s happy, or you think they’re blue jays?”

“I think she thinks they’re real. They might not be.”

“Should I be worried?”

“No. If they’re not real then she’s playing with me. I think.”

“You know, I hate it when you’re not sure.”

“I’m sure.” She smiled and closed the notebook. “What’s the point in pretending?” she asked. “I won’t be able to concentrate until Simon’s finished. And I wasn’t going to run lessons anyway.”

“So our passel of kids is gonna be let loose on the ‘verse only half educated?” he teased gently.

“They already know more Chinese than is good for them. And they seem to be absorbing knowledge no matter how badly I teach.”

“You’re a good teacher, Frey.”

“You have to say that. You’re married to me.”

“I’d say it in front of Ms Gingrich if I could.”

“Oh, come on,” she said, standing up and pushing her chair back with a squeal. “Let’s go down. Before you make me blush.”

“Too late.”


“Is that what I think it is?” Sam asked, staring at the blood red stone sitting in Inara’s palm.

“A Culver diamond,” she confirmed.

He glanced into the infirmary where Simon was still working. “It looks almost identical.”

She shrugged delicately. “I think they tend to be. It’s the process.”

“What the hell …” Mal had come down the stairs, Freya behind him. “Where did that come from?”

“It’s mine,” Inara said, holding it up so the light hit it. “It was a gift from a grateful client.”

“What had you done for him?”

“What I always did, although in this case he needed counselling more than most.”

“And he gave you something that seems to be worth half my ship?”

All your ship, Mal. And a great deal more besides.” Inara put it on the table. “He was very grateful. And surprisingly talented.”

“I don’t think I wanna hear that,” Mal grumbled, leaning on the handrail as Freya sat down next to Kaylee.

“More gifted than me?” Sam asked, running the tips of his fingers down Inara’s cheek.

“No.” She smiled, twisting her head enough so she could place a kiss in his palm. “But he didn’t love me.”

“I’m sure he did.” Sam sighed theatrically, making Kaylee giggle. “I am absolutely positive most of your clients were head over heels for you.”

“Sweet talker,” she murmured.

“See?” Freya said, punching Mal in the thigh. “That’s how you do it.”

Everyone laughed, even Mal, although he stopped when he saw the colour leave Freya’s face. “Ai ren?”

“Mal.” It was Simon from the doorway to the infirmary. “I think I have something.”

to be continued


Monday, November 25, 2013 9:55 AM


Umm, foreboding much?

Very nice, just the pickmeup my Monday morning could use.

What o what did Simon find? The anticipation is killing me, the spring keeps winding tighter and tighter just cant wait til all Hell breaks loose.

President Mal? OMFG how much fun would that be?

Monday, November 25, 2013 12:56 PM


Wow! I like this!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013 11:21 AM


Now we're getting to the meat of the mystery - a crystal that remembers the future - very interesting!

Saturday, November 30, 2013 9:58 AM


Uh oh, what has Simon discovered? I like all the banter and Mal and Frey understanding each other so much yet still having those moments when they jar as they worry about one another. I am wondering about Inara having an identical stone, did her gift come from the same source as the one that has everybody worried? Shiny as ever, thank you. Ali D :~)
"You can't take the sky from me!"


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“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!]

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"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 ...]

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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.]

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“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.”

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

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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!]