Now and Then - a Christmas story
Sunday, December 17, 2017

“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!]


Now …

“I’m cold.”

“So’m I.”

“I’m so cold I can’t feel my toes.”

“So? You only got one foot to not have any feeling in – I got two.”

Hank half-turned in the seat and stared at Jayne. “What?”

“Just saying. I got two feet to freeze and all my toes to fall off. What’re you complaining about?”

Hank opened his mouth to respond, but decided that, while killing his companion and using his body as an improvised shelter might be appealing, River would probably have something to say about it. Instead he hunkered deeper into his coat and wished he’d taken Freya up on the offer of her thermal underwear.

... ..

Then …

It had been fine when they started off, cold but clear, the sun having risen and thrown long shadows across the prairie.

“Closest town’s Fairmont,” Mal had said, his arms crossed to keep out the chill with the cargo bay doors open. “Can’t park any closer or they’ll pick us up, and from past experience they’ll demand Port fees, ground rental and my first born son, so I ain’t giving ‘em the chance.”

“Isn’t there anywhere else?” Hank asked, pushing his arms into his coat. “More hospitable?”

“You saw the maps. It’s Christmas Eve, there’s no planet or moon within a coupla days burn, so this is the only chance of snow tomorrow.” He shook his head. “I knew I was making a rod for my own back by starting this.”

Hank hid a smile. His captain might like pretending he was all Bah Humbug, but since Bethie was a babe in arms he’d managed to find somewhere for them to put down and have a proper Christmas.

“What about Cawston?” Jayne suggested as he settled the gunbelt around his waist. “It ain’t that much further in the opposite direction, and they’re a lot more hospitable.”

“There’s a quarantine on them,” Hank put in. “Some bug or other running riot through the town.”

“Bug?” The big man hated getting sick.

The pilot shuddered theatrically. “Horrible, from what I could find on the Cortex. Headache, fever, projectile vomiting … I think I read somewhere about pus …”

Jayne turned to Mal. “Can’t I take River? Or Frey? Simon, even.”

Mal’s lips twitched. “Nope. They’re all busy, and the two of you’ve been assigned getting provisions.”


“She’s still ain’t finished fixing the hover, seeing as someone decided it would be hilarious to get drunk, load it up all his guns and see how fast it could go.” Mal raised one eyebrow.

The ex-mercenary was unrepentant. “It was just a bit of fun.”

“And I wasn’t even involved in that!” Hank protested. “Look, Mal, I can help with the cooking …”

“Everyone else has got something to do, and we ain’t letting you anywhere near the stove, so you’re volunteered to ride with Jayne. Now go. Else you won’t be back before nightfall. ‘Sides, River’s predicting snow before the sun goes down, and I don’t think anyone feels in the mood to argue with her about it.”

Still grumbling the two men clambered aboard the old ATV, and they trundled out of the cargo bay.

“And no stopping for a drink!” Mal called after them, but the wind whipped his words away.

Everything had gone well, getting into Fairmont in good time, and the general store had everything on the list, even the chocolate chips for some of Kaylee’s famous cookies. Hank had dropped the box on his prosthetic foot, the state-of-the-art bioelectronics transmitting so accurately to his brain that he yelled and jumped around, clutching the affected replacement limb.

Jayne chuckled and picked up the box. “Anyone’d think it was real.” He strode through the door.

Hank glared, but limped after him outside into the cold air, just as a few flakes of snow whispered down.

... ..

Now …

“We shouldn’t have stopped,” Hank said, glaring at the blizzard all around them.

“Ain’t my fault.”

“You wanted to go to the saloon.”

“Didn’t hear you saying no.”

“It was only supposed to be for one. To keep out the cold.”

Jayne shrugged. “They had that special Christmas brew. We had to try it. See if it was worth bringing some back.” He patted the small barrel behind him.

“Only we kept trying it.”

“Had to. Might have been a fluke.”

“Was it a fluke to sit in for that hand of Tall Card? Sorry, eight hands of Tall Card.”

“I was being neighbourly.”

“You were taking their money.”

“So maybe they didn’t feel the same way.”

... ..

Then …

Hank’s palms were sweating, and his heart rate was climbing. He’d chosen a seat at a table far enough away from the game that he couldn’t see the cards, or hear the bets, but it was still too close.

He’d asked Sam once whether it would ever get better.

“Probably not,” the counsellor admitted. “Addictions aren’t like a cold or a fever. There’s no pills or potions to make the feeling go away, take off the edge. And so there shouldn’t be. Take away the urge to play, to put money on the table, and soon a man might begin to think he was cured, and that it was okay to place just one bet.”

Hank had understood, all too clearly. “I know. It’s just, the places we have to go sometimes …”

“It takes willpower. A lot of it.”

“Nope. It takes knowing Zoe’d leave me if I did.”

Sam had smiled. “Somehow, I think that’s probably the same thing.”

Hank watched Jayne lean forwards, and almost felt his chuckle as he collected the pot. He quickly took a mouthful of beer, swallowing it past the lump in his throat.

“You okay?”

The pilot looked up in surprise. He hadn’t seen anyone enter the saloon, but a man stood next to him, bigger than Jayne by at least a head, and wider across the shoulders. “What?”

“I asked if you were okay.” The man stamped his feet, causing his own personal snow flurry as it fell from his coat.

“Oh. Yeah, I’m fine.”

“Only you looked a little … I don’t know, maybe lost.”

Hank managed a smile. “No, no. Not lost. I’m just … waiting for my friend.” He gestured with his chin towards the game.

“Oh, I know how that happens.” The man grinned. “Mind if I take seat?”

“Sure, yeah.”

The man pulled out a chair and lowered himself into it. “Name’s Grissom, by the way.”


“Nice to meetcha.” He held out a hand double the size of Hank’s.

They shook, Hank getting the impression that his new companion could have crushed his fingers if he’d wanted to.

“I take it it’s snowing out there?” he asked for something to say.

“Sure is. Coming down hard.” Grissom fixed a sharp blue eye on him. “You ain’t from around here, are you?”

“Just visiting.”

“Where are you parked?”

Hank paused for a moment. “You’re not with Port Control, are you?”

Grissom laughed, making more melting snow scatter from his red hair. “Me? Nah. I run the local smithy.”

“The what?”

“Blacksmith. You know, shoeing horses, making metalwork, that kind of thing. Around here there’s more horses than engines, so they need looking after, although I fix the odd tractor too. Pretty much Jack of all trades.”

“You’d get on well with Kaylee.”

“Who’s that?”

“Oh, just someone I know.” Hank glanced at the game again.

Grissom noticed. “You don’t play?”

“I do. Oh, I do. Only …” He licked his lips. “I can’t. I … I have this problem.”

“You keep losing?”

Hank shook his head. “No. I usually win. Except I …”

“I understand.” Grissom looked like he did, too. “Same here.”

“You have a gambling addiction?”

“Addiction, yeah. Gambling, not so much. Mine’s alcohol. If I had even a sip of that beer of yours …”

A wave of compassion washed over the pilot. “And yet you come in here.”

“Every day,” Grissom admitted. “It’s a test. If I can walk out again without taking a drink, I know I can beat it for the next twenty-four hours.”

Hank looked at his companion with a new respect. “I couldn’t do that. It’s hard enough just being this close.”

“Yes, you could. You do already. I can see that.” Grissom nodded towards the gamblers. “You didn’t join in, did you?”

“I wanted to.”

“But you didn’t. Like I don’t go up and ask the barman for a drink.”

A laugh forced its way up from Hank’s throat. “I guess you’re right.”

“Sure I am.” Grissom grinned, white teeth bright in his tanned face. “But you didn’t tell me where you were parked.”

“East of here. About thirty klicks.”

His new friend frowned. “And that’s your vehicle out front?”

“It is.”

“Then you don’t want to be hanging around. It’s getting bad out there, and from my experience it’s gonna get a lot worse. You don’t know our winters; sometimes these blizzards last for days.”

Hank sat up straighter. “The Cortex didn’t say anything about a blizzard.”

“And you believe everything you read on there?” Grissom reached out and put his hand on Hank’s arm, his body heat almost unbearable even through clothing. “And there’s something else.”


“If you’re heading east you’re gonna come to what looks like a shortcut through the foothills. Don’t take it. Stick to the flat ground. It’s longer, but a lot safer.”

“What do you mean?”

“There’s odd things happen out there. Something in the rocks can sometimes interfere with electrics, so you’re much better off going back the way you came.”

“Thanks.” Hank stood up. “I’m glad I met you.”

Grissom nodded. “You just remember.”

“I will.” Hank picked up his coat and hurried across the saloon.

Jayne had just won again, and was pulling the pot towards him. “Must be my lucky day.”

“Well, it sure ain’t ours,” muttered one of the other players.


The big man didn’t bother looking up, even though someone sniggered at hearing his name. “What?”

“We have to go.”

“I’m winning.” He was putting the coins into piles according to denomination.

“I can see that.” Hank swallowed. “We still have to go. Otherwise we’re going to get snowed in. He told me.” He glanced towards where he’d been sitting, but Grissom had gone.


“Never mind. We still have to –” The comm link in his coat pocket buzzed like an angry swarm.

... ..

Now …

“What are you doing?” Hank asked incredulously.

Jayne checked down the barrel of Betsey once more, making sure she wasn’t plugged with snow. “They know we’re on our way back. They know we’re late. Someone’s gonna be looking for us.” He aimed the gun towards the white-out behind them. “I’m just gonna let them know where we are.”

“Are you insane?” Hank grabbed for the big man’s arm, showing his own hold on rationality might be beginning to slip. “Do you want us to be buried under an avalanche?”

“Look, I can’t reach River, the comm ain’t working, and neither is this hunk of junk.” Jayne kicked at the ATV. “Unless you feel like walking out of here, I can’t see another way.”

“But we both saw that overhang.” Hank pointed up gingerly, as if even his finger might bring the tonnes of snow crashing down onto them. “You fire that thing and it’ll be spring before they find us.” He shuddered. “And I’m too young to end up a frozen popsicle.”

“Then you come up with a bright idea. Come on, what should we do?”

... ..

Then …


“Where in the sphincter of hell are you?”

Mal’s voice filtered tinnily into the saloon, his irritation hanging clearly in the air as if the words were purple smoke.

“Uh, we’re … we’re on our way,” Hank said quickly.

“You should’ve been back by now.”

“It took a bit longer than we anticipated. To get everything. Those chocolate chips were –”

“You’re lying, considering?”

Considering there were three psychics on board, that’s what Mal meant, although he’d never say it across an open wave.

“We’re leaving right now,” Hank assured him, watching as Jayne scooped his winnings into his hat and jammed it firmly onto his head.

“You’d better be, ‘cause the septic vat ain’t been done in a month of Sundays …”

The two men ran out of the saloon, the laughter of the other players ringing in their ears.

Grissom had been right. The snow was already several inches deep, and getting deeper by the minute. Once away from the bright lights of the town it was only Hank’s constant monitoring of his miniature Cortex pad that kept them on the right track. All around them was swirling white in a padded silence, broken only by the increasingly strained note of the ATV’s engine.

“She’s not happy,” Hank said after what seemed like hours. “If it gets much worse we’re going to get stuck.”

“So they come to us.” Jayne wiped the snow from his goggles for the hundredth time. “Might be best in the long … hold it, what’s that?” Something had loomed out in front of them, a darkness that soon resolved itself into standing rocks, the faintest suggestion of larger outcroppings behind. Jayne turned down the accelerator and the old vehicle ground to a halt, catching its breath as it idled. He lifted his goggles and grabbed the Cortex pad. “Let me see that.”

“Wait, that’s …” Hank gave up, as most people did when faced with Jayne Cobb in aggressive mode.

The big man was studying the tiny screen. “There.” He stabbed a finger down. “Looks like there’s a short-cut through these hills. And from the direction the snow’s blowing it could even be clearer, make for a faster ride.”

Hank shook his head. “Grissom said not to take it, to stick to the longer route. He said it was dangerous, that things happen –”

Jayne thrust the pad back at the pilot. “I’m driving. And I say we go that way.” He gunned the engine, which squealed in resentment. “Get out and push.”

“Jayne …”

“And hurry up.”

Hank took a deep breath but slid from the ATV, heading around the back and adding his weight to the rear. It was enough for the old vehicle to gain enough traction and start moving forwards again, making him run to catch up and jump back aboard. “This is a bad idea.”

Jayne grinned. “Home in time for tea and dumplings.”

Only it wasn’t a good idea, and they weren’t.

At first Jayne had been right, and the going was much easier out of the driving wind. Only an inch or so of snow lay on ground, and the ATV trundled happily along, until even Hank began to think he’d been worrying for nothing.

Then the wind changed, and a wall of white slammed down the narrow canyon, just as the ATV died.

... ..

Now …

“I can’t see a thing wrong.” Hank climbed back onto the ATV, but with no shelter he might as well have stayed on the ground. “The engine looks fine, there’s fuel … just nothing works.”

“Still ain't getting anything on the comm either,” Jayne confirmed. “Not even a twitch. What about your pad?”

Hank shook his head. “I should be getting a good signal, but there’s nothing. Not even a declined logon. It’s like there’s no power at all.”

“And River still ain’t answering.” Jayne’s forehead crinkled. “It ain't like her. She’s always listening, ‘specially when I’m gone, but now …”

“Grissom was right.”

“You know, if you don’t stop saying that I’m gonna stuff your mouth full of snow and use you as a marker post.”

“Well, he was. He told us not to come this way.”

“He told you. I didn’t even see him.”

“He was hard to miss. He was bigger than you.”

“Still didn’t see ‘im.”

“We should have listened.”

Jayne’s hands flexed. “Well, we didn’t. And we’re stuck. And you whining about it ain’t gonna make things better.” His mouth tightened. “We’re gonna have to walk out.”



“No. Jayne, I don’t know about you, but I can’t remember which way we came, not with all those side canyons. Do you?”

“Well …”

“And if we went on, do you recall which path to take?”

“No, but –”

“But nothing. We stay put. We’ve got food, drink … and when the snow stops we might be able to climb high enough to see Serenity.” He rubbed his hands together. “Besides, the higher we go the more chance there’ll be of the comm working.”

Jayne’s hands were now fists. “Who put you in charge?”

“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?”

For a long moment there was the distinct possibility of the white snow being highlighted with splashes of red – probably Hank’s – but instead the silence was broken by someone else.

“Hey there! You need a tow?”

Both men whipped around, astonished to see looming out of the blankness a pair of huge horses, their nostrils blowing steam, pulling what looked like a sleigh.

“Grissom?” Hank asked, having recognised the voice.

A figure jumped down from the sledge and strode towards them, resolving into the man from town. “I thought I told you not to come this way.”

“You did. But …” Hank glanced at Jayne, who was glaring at the newcomer, his hand on his gun. “We didn’t realise it would be this bad.”

“Up and died on you, did it?” Grissom patted the ATV. “You ain’t the first, and I doubt you’ll be the last. And I’m betting you can’t get a signal to save your life, can you?”

Hank laughed and held up the comm link. “Not even a peep.”

“There’s something in the rocks,” Grissom said, heading back to his sleigh. “Plays merry hell with anything like that.” He reached inside and pulled out a heavy rope. “Come on, I think I can get by you. You fix this to the front and I’ll pull you on through.”

“You know the way out?”

“Hank, I’ve been running this route for what seems like a hundred years. I know every back stop and blind alley. I could find my way blindfold.”

“I’d rather you weren’t.”

Grissom chuckled. “Have it your own way.” He tossed Hank the rope. “Tie her up.”

As Grissom’s horses pulled both sleigh and ATV with apparently no effort, even Jayne had to admit that he would never have been able to find his way out of the maze cut by ancient water through the rocks. At one point the big man was convinced they would be stuck like a cork in a bottle, but with barely an inch clearance either side they made it through, until the canyon walls suddenly opened out onto the prairie.

At the same moment the ATV burst back into life, and it was only Jayne’s quick thinking that slammed on the brakes and stopped them from running into the back of the sleigh.

Jumping down, Grissom quickly unhitched them, tossing the rope into the back.

“You’ll be fine now,” he said, walking around to stand next to Hank. “If you head in that direction I expect you’ll find your ship.”

A chirruping from Hank’s pocket indicated his Cortex pad was also coming back on line. “No problem now.” He reached out his hand. “But thanks. I don’t know what we’d have done if you hadn’t come along.”

They shook hands. “I just had this feeling, you know? Like you might need help.”

“Well, I’m glad. Aren’t we, Jayne?”

The big man glowered, but – as if mentally prodded – he added, “We’re grateful.”

“You’re more than welcome.”

“Look, do you want to come with us? Back to the ship?” Hank smiled. “I know the others would like to meet you, and you could join us for Christmas dinner. They’ll probably want to thank you too, considering they might have lost their pilot and … him.”

Jayne glared.

Grissom chuckled. “No, but thanks. I have to be getting back myself. But you take care, okay?”

“Okay. And thanks again.”

Grissom waved and climbed back aboard his sleigh. Turning the horses in a wide circle, they watched as he headed back into the canyons. In just a few moments he had disappeared, vanished into the white as if he had never existed.

Hank sighed happily, just as the comm buzzed.

--- --

Later …

It was the day after Christmas, and everyone had eaten and drunk to their hearts content. Presents given and received, carols sung, bad jokes made and dutifully laughed at, there was now the usual slight feeling of letdown, when all the anticipation and activity had gone, and it was all over.

Mal was eager to get going, but there was one thing he wanted to do before they left. Kaylee had finished putting the hover back together just that morning, so he, Zoe, Hank and Jayne rode in style into town, avoiding the foothills and going the long way around, just in case.

He’d asked Freya to join them, but she’d seemed curiously reluctant, as had River.

“We’ll talk after,” she said softly as she helped him on with his brown coat, leaving him standing unsatisfied by the cargo bay doors.

The blizzard had blown itself out halfway through Christmas day, although the hover created its own little snowstorm in its wake, and now the landscape glittered in the early afternoon sun.

The town was busy with people getting in fresh provisions, or just taking the air, but it wasn’t so large that they didn’t easily find the building with the name ‘Grissom’ above the door.

“You didn’t have to come,” Hank said, seeing Zoe pull her coat tighter about herself.

“I want to thank him for saving my husband. Even if it was his own fault he had to be saved.”

“Not all mine.”

“I’ve already had words with Jayne.”

The big man sighed. “Everyone’s had words with me,” he admitted. “Even Bethie.”

“No more’n you deserved.” Mal jumped down from the hover. “Come on.”

The two large doors, wide enough for a wagon to pass easily through, were closed tight, but a smaller one, set to the side, was open a little.

Inside it was as if they had stepped into a kind of hell, red lit and portentous, while the heat from the furnace in the far corner had them all opening their coats and unwrapping scarves.

“Can I help you?” A young man of maybe twenty-five or so stepped out of the gloom. Despite the time of year his muscular upper body was clad only in a singlet, his skin glistening with sweat, although the leather apron matched his pants and heavy workboots. A rod of glowing metal was in his gloved hand, which he extinguished in a trough of water, the steam obscuring him for a moment.

Hank stepped forward. “We’re looking for Grissom?”

“That’s me.”

Glancing at the other, Hank said, “No, I mean … perhaps your father?”

“He’s at home. He doesn’t get out much anymore, not since the stroke. Are you … do you know him?”

“When was this? The stroke?”

“Nearly four years ago. Why?”

“Well, it ain’t him,” Jayne put in. “There someone else goes by the name Grissom?”

“There’s my son, but since he’s only three I doubt it would be him.” The young man lifted his head. “What’s all this about?”

Hank and Jayne had exchanged glances, so Mal took over.

“Sir, my name’s Malcolm Reynolds, and these two here were helped a couple of days ago out of a tight spot by a man who said his name was Grissom, that he was the blacksmith of the town.”

“Well, I’m the smith, and I’ve been the only one since my Pa took ill, so … what did he look like?”

“Big,” Hank said quickly. “Very big. With red hair. And blue eyes.” He added, “He had a sort of sleigh, with two huge black horses.”

There was a muttering behind the blacksmith where two other men were half-hidden in the shadows. “Bill, you think that’s –”

Bizui.” Bill Grissom silenced them both with a wave and a word. He looked back at the Serenity crew. “You’d better leave.”

Mal’s eyes narrowed. “If there’s something we need to know …”

“No, there isn’t.”

“Whoever he was, he saved their lives. If he hadn’t come along when he did, hadn’t known those canyons like the back of his hand, they’d be dead.”

“So’s he.”

There was silence in the stifling room, with only the spitting of raw metal and the throaty moan of the furnace in the background.

Mal felt the hair on the back of his neck stand, and an inkling of what Freya had been getting at stole over him. She’d know, of course she would. Still … “What are you saying?”

For a long moment it looked as if the young man wasn’t going to speak, then he seemed to come to a decision. “William Grissom. I was named after him. My grandfather.”

“But he didn’t look old enough …” Hank’s voice died in a sort of groan.

Bill Grissom went on as if no-one had spoken. “He used to drink. A lot. Nearly lost everything before …” He moistened his lips. “Christmas Eve it was, and the folks on a ranch over near Cawston asked if he could come and fix their generator. It was snowing, a real blizzard, worse than the one just gone, and everyone told him to wait. The ranchers weren’t in any danger, they had fires and food, but he wouldn’t listen. He was drunk, like always, and he didn’t think anything would happen to him. He got out his sleigh, his horses, and set off. He never got there.”

There was a pause, then Mal asked, very quietly, “When did they find him?”

“Not ‘til spring. Some kids playing in the canyons found what was left of him and the horses, and the sleigh, of course. Looks like he decided he knew best, and took the shortcut, only something happened. Maybe he got thrown, or there was an avalanche … we’ll never know. They buried him out in the churchyard, and my Pa burnt the sleigh.” He looked up, his gaze suspiciously bright. “I just about remember him. Like you said, big, with red hair and blue eyes …”

“How long?”

“More’n twenty years now. Other people have said they’ve seen him in the canyons, although noboby I know of has ever spoken to him.”

Hank cleared his throat. “He saved our lives.”

“Then I’m glad.” Bill Grissom shook himself visibly. “I gotta get back to work. Ned Sheridan’s waiting for these iron gates, and if I don’t get them finished by tomorrow he’ll be mad as hell.”

“Yes. Thanks.” Mal held out his hand, and after a moment Grissom took off his glove and they shook.

Outside in the cold air, Zoe murmured to Mal, “You think that’s what Freya meant, sir?”

Mal nodded, rebuttoning against the chill. “Pretty sure of it.”

“Something River said makes sense now,” Jayne put in, his fingers on the butt of his gun, ready to shoot at ghosts.

“I don’t care,” Hank said firmly. “He saved our lives. And I’m grateful.” He strode off towards the hover.

Curious, Mal turned to Jayne. “What did the albatross say?”

“That he was at peace now. That he could rest.”

“I hope she’s right.”

“Ain’t she always?”

“Not when she keeps going on about me needing eyeglasses.”

“The way you squint sometimes when you’re reading, she’s right.”

“No, she’s not.”

“Yes, she is.”

“Jayne …”

The squabbling continued as they all climbed aboard the hover, Mal and Jayne in the front so they couldn’t see whatever it was Hank and Zoe were getting up to in the back seat, and they headed back home. The long way around, just in case.


Author’s Note: Just a little something to keep you all going while I try to get to grips with Bonemaker and this writer’s block I seem to be suffering from. Happy Holidays!


Friday, January 5, 2018 11:22 PM


Thanks I needed that

Sunday, August 26, 2018 7:45 PM




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!]