Bedlam Part 1: A Companion Piece to Strange Bedfellows
Sunday, November 20, 2005

The crew copes with the events of the BDM (*spoilers*). A continuation of the Strange Bedfellows stories. Mal/Inara, Simon/Kaylee, hints of River romance to come.


Bedlam Part 1 By Kaynara

He lifted his face from the black of her hair. Pressing his lips into the crook of her neck, he inhaled her scent, took her in until he thought he couldn’t take any more. He tugged her on top of him, felt her knees lock around his hips as her hair fell forward, heavy, fragrant, curtaining his face, cloaking them both. Secrecy. Safety. Serenity. He found himself reaching, pushing the thin gauze of her nightgown up over her hips. When his fingers skimmed the sides of her breasts, she raised her arms in the air, let him lift the material over her head. He felt paralyzed, halted by the beauty of her. Then she took his hands, placed them over her chest. “Mal. Ren ci de Fo zu.” He needed to feel her beneath him then, so he rolled them both, pressing her down into the mattress. He didn’t remember taking his clothes off but he must have because he was pushing down on her, pushing against her. He met her eyes, asking for permission none of the others sought. She gave it without moving her lips. And then, for the first time in what felt like forever, he was whole. Then he felt the rough texture of an army blanket against his cheek and a fierce achin’ in his nether-regions. He woke, like always, alone. Wincing, he hoisted himself up on one arm, looked down at the pillow he was clutchin’ under him like the teddy bear from porn land. He glanced around his bunk, taking in the bare walls, the empty space. “Every gorram’ night!” he muttered. Groaning, Mal rolled on to his back to stare at the ceiling for another six hours, ‘fore it was time to get up.


Kaylee was dreaming. The air pressed cool and dark against her skin but everything else was warm and light. Simon was warm. She stretched her arms up around his torso, glided her hands down his back. She arched her body up, feeling the hair on his legs brush the smooth insides of her thighs. She loved that he was shirtless, loved it more because she was the one wearing his shirt. “Doctor?” she murmured in her sleep. “I feel all hot and shivery. Think you can cure me?” “Kaylee. Oh, God. Kaylee, Kaylee.” She didn’t want to open her eyes. She liked it better this way, she and Simon, alone together in the dark. When she woke up, everything would change. She’d remember what had happened to them all. She couldn’t stop remembering. “Kaylee.” Spent, Simon sunk his head between the hollow of her breasts. She opened her eyes. He grinned at her. “Morning, pretty girl.” She reached out a hand, traced the outline of his lips with her finger tip. Wasn’t right, her bein’ this happy, her havin’ all this. Not with the Shepard and Wash gone. Not when Zoe was so alone.

*** Zoe lay her head back against the back of the pilot seat. It was the only place she could sleep now. Sometimes she thought she could feel him there, see him kneeling beside her, gazing up at her. Sometimes he seemed his usual self, seconds away from lightening the moment, laughing at his own jokes before he said them. Sometimes he looked different to her, older, sadder. Sometimes she wondered if she was going crazy. Mostly, she didn’t much care. “Good morning.” Zoe turned, surprised to find River standing on the bridge, barefoot, hair all rumpled and wearing naught but a man’s button-down shirt. Zoe widened her eyes slightly, wondered about the owner of that shirt and who would soon be killing the poor man. “River. What are you doing up, Sweetie? It’s barely four in the AM.” “Slept enough. Can I sit with you? Won’t be a bother.” “No offense, honey, but I’m not the best company.” “No,” River agreed. “I forget to tell you, though. Got distracted.” “You forget to tell me I’m lousy company?” River scrunched up her nose, laughed. She walked toward the window, lifted two of Wash’s dinosaurs and held them up for Zoe to see. “Fallacious. They never walked together on Earth-that-was. Different eras.” Zoe squeezed her hand into a fist, kept her voice gentle. “River, I—” “He’s sad for you. He doesn’t want you to go on like this. Wants you to be like you were, be happy. Wants you to be Zoe.” River returned the dinosaurs to their spots. “Also, he saw Kaylee and Simon doing it in the infirmary.” River hesitated at the doorway. She shook her head, bemused, crinkled her nose. “He laughed so hard….” Zoe watched her go, blinking. A thousand emotions whirled through her. And slowly, savoring, she glided a hand down her stomach, spread her fingers to cover what Wash never got to feel. She stayed that way a long time, eyes on the blackness in front of her.

*** “Mornin’, Cap’n,” Kaylee said brightly as Mal appeared in the doorway. He took in the sight of them, Kaylee in Simon’s lap, cuddlin’ as though it weren’t 8 AM, as though they weren’t sittin’ smack down at his kitchen table for all to see. Well, him and Jayne at least. The others had yet to put in an appearance. “Uh huh,” Mal answered and reached for the coffee. “Know somethin’ funny?” Kaylee asked, addressing no one in particular. “Even though I been on Serenity all these months now, still feels strange eatin’ breakfast in the dark—when it’s dark out I mean. You guys know what I mean?” “I do,” Simon volunteered, nuzzling his lips into her neck. “Big surprise there,” Jayne muttered. He eyed Mal over his bowl. “Cap’n?” Mal glanced at his watch. “Yep, ‘been near two weeks.” Simon raised an eyebrow. “What’s that?” “Hmm?” Mal drained his coffee mug and reached for a refill. “Oh, I told the crew they couldn’t tease you merciless for at least two weeks. Figured you both deserved to enjoy the honeymoon phase in relative peace.” He raised his mug in mock-toast. “Merry Christmas.” Kaylee nodded, clearly not perturbed enough to get off Simon’s lap. “I knew you all was actin’ strange-like. Way too nice,” she said, narrowing her eyes across the table. “So now it’s a free for all?” Simon said dryly. He shifted a little in his seat but didn’t suggest that Kaylee move. “Pretty much,” Mal agreed. “Might help some if the both of you wear your own pants. At least for meal times, anyway.” “I like these pants,” Kaylee said, pinching Simon’s soft flannel pajama pants—hers now—between two fingers. “They’re snuggly.” “I am wearing my own pants,” Simon protested over his tea. “Yeah, but they ain’t zipped,” Jayne said helpfully, reaching for a roll as Simon glanced down. “Morning.” Inara appeared in the doorway, already dressed, hair pulled up in a half-knot. “Hey, ‘Nara,” Kaylee called. “Nice to have a civilized person at the table. The boys are embarrassin’ poor Simon.” “Are they now?” Amused, Inara took her seat beside Jayne. “What? No! I’m not embarrassed.” Simon took another sip of tea. “I love discussing my sex life over breakfast. Really revs me up to start the day.” Kaylee giggled, held up a piece of toast to his mouth. “Even in front of Jayne?” Simon nibbled at her fingers instead of the bread. “Especially in front of Jayne.” “You just watch yourself, Doctor,” Jayne said, shaking his spoon in Simon’s direction. Kaylee laughed. Inara smiled into her tea cup. Mal rolled his eyes at the ceiling and counted to ten or so. “Uh, folks? Fascinating as this conversation is, we do have some talkin’ to do ‘bout things not related to Kaylee and Simon’s sexcapades, thrillin’ though they might be. So can we get down to business?” “And by business he means crime,” Simon explained to Kaylee, who smiled and put her head on his shoulder. “Captain, shouldn’t we, uh, wait for Zoe?” “Zoe’ll be along in awhile, Kaylee. But I already been over the plan with her, so no harm in gettin’ started. Now, as the good doctor helpfully supplied, we are indeed talkin’ crime here. About time we do some again is my feelin’ on it. Any takers for crime?” The other four exchanged glances, raised their hands in accord. “Swell. So, first thing’s first: we need some funding. Repairs Serenity just had ain’t cheap ones. Quickest way I see is to bring on passengers at Persephone. I figure we’ll give the job of findin’ folk to Kaylee and ‘Nara, seein’ as theys the most pleasant to look at, no offense boys.” Jayne groaned. “Yeah, ‘cuz the whole passengers thing worked out mighty fine the last time you tried it. Good plan, Cap’n.” “You know, Jayne, one o’ the days I’m gonna ask for your opinion ‘bout somethin’.” “Uh, really?” “No.” “Alls I’m sayin’ is they’s been troublesome, Mal. The fatal kind if you know what I’m getting’ at. Why’s we’d be invitin’ more of that kinda trouble on board is beyond my senses.” Mal lowered his coffee mug, turned slowly to look at Jayne. “Don’t you ever be speakin’ that way again on my ship, Jayne.” His tone was deathly calm. “You do, and you’ll be spendin’ some quality time in the airlock, you hear me?” Jayne felt Simon’s eyes on him and dropped his gaze to his plate. “Uh, Captain?” Kaylee spoke up to cover the silence. “You know I think havin’ new people is shiny and all. But bringin’ on passengers won’t help near enough, kinda financial troubles we’re in.” “Well, you’re right about that, Lil’ Kaylee. We got a job lined up in Persephone, at least the beginnins’ o’ one, and the doc and I’ll see to that soon as we get planetside.” “Excuse me?” “You got a problem with that, Doctor?” “Well, it’s not that I don’t like, ah, crime, and maybe if you didn’t get shot or stabbed or tortured by madmen once a week I could devote more time to the family business, but as things stand just now—” “Kaylee? A little help?” Kaylee grinned and kissed Simon on the mouth, interrupting his tirade. “Lesser of two evils,” Mal explained to Inara. He reached for the last roll just as she did, and their fingers brushed. For a second, he flashed back to his dream. Her teeth were grazing his collar bone, one hand fisting in his hair while the other one slid down his body to….. He felt his face heat up and other parts twitch in remembrance. “I’m sorry,” she murmured, not quite meeting his eyes. “No, take it.” “No, really. I have things. In my shuttle, I mean. To do,” she finished awkwardly. “Right. Of course. Best be gettin’ to that.” The other three exchanged pointed glances. “Why they actin’ so polite? Not natural,” Jayne muttered across the table. “ ‘Cuz they’re in love,” Kaylee whispered back. “And they’re too darn stubborn to do nothin’ bout it.” She smiled, watching. “So I’ll be in my shuttle then,” Inara said, backing toward the door. “If you should need me for anything.” “Right. So if I need to find you then … you’ll be there.” Mal took a gulp of coffee so he’d have to close his mouth. “What’s for breakfast?” Mal glanced up at River’s entrance, a grateful diversion, and then kinda gaped when he caught sight of her. She stood in the doorway clad only in a blue button-down shirt, ridiculously oversized, clearly not her own. The fabric dipped down to about mid-thigh, leavin’ little to the imagination. Mal quickly averted his gaze. “Gorrammit, does everybody on this boat need help gettin’ themselves dressed mornings?” Mal demanded. “Uh, River…?” Simon hesitated as though not quite sure where he was going. “What’s that you’re wearin’, honey,” Kaylee supplied helpfully. River sat down beside Simon and reached over to nick his tea cup. “The Captain’s shirt,” she said, sipping up the last dredges calmly. For a moment, there was absolute silence. Everyone turned to Mal. Kaylee flicked a glance at Inara, still standing statue-like in the doorway. Her face looked frozen between horror and amusement. Also, Kaylee noticed, she was holdin’ her breath. “Whoa, now,” Mal said after a beat. “Let’s all just take a moment here, and—” “River, did he touch you?” Simon interrupted, already imagining the satisfaction of hitting Mal square in the chin. “Not overact or nothin’,” Mal finished dryly. “River?” Simon demanded. River rolled her eyes. “Doctor, I know you and I ain’t always seen eye to eye ‘bout, well most everythin’ I imagine,” Mal started, shooting River a thanks-a-bundle-for-the-help look from the corner of his eye. “But I can assure you with pretty certain certainty I ain’t beddin’ your little sister.” “Captain Reynolds and I are not having sexual intercourse, Simon,” River said patiently, as though her brother were a little on the slow side. Simon wished desperately to be out of this room, safe in his bed, anywhere else in fact. His sister—his sweet, barely-legal little sister—was sitting before him in nothing but a man’s shirt. And she’d just used the word “intercourse.” “Much as I appreciate the name-clearin’, sweetheart, maybe you could ask me in the future ‘fore you take my clothes and parade ‘em around to breakfast. That work for you?” “Your shirt.” River glanced down at her chest, as though she’d forgotten. “Want it back?” she asked, fingers reaching for the first button. “No!” Mal and Simon spoke in unison. “You just keep that ‘til later, darlin’,” Mal suggested. “Wait.” Simon held up a finger. “River, I’m still not sure why you’re wearing Mal’s shirt instead of your pretty nightgown…?” “I’m practicing,” she explained. “Be time soon.” Her tone sounded slow and deliberate, as though they were all boring her greatly. Which they likely were, Simon thought. While everyone else struggled through page one, River was finishing the book. Inara took the opportunity to depart while the others were still puzzling out River’s last statement. “Uh, Doc?” Jayne offered. “I think your sister’s gone to that crazy place again.” “River disagrees with that diagnosis,” River commented. “But River, on the other hand, is in accord. Stark raving lunatic.” She giggled at her own joke and examined the sleeves of her shirt. “Well.” Mal shook his head. “Now that we’ve cleared that up, can we get back to the crime? Now, first thing’s first. I’m gonna need a smooth-talker to pull this one off. Seein’ as we don’t have one of them, I guess the job’ll fall to Jayne.” “Oh, that’ll go well,” Simon muttered, still frowning at River across the table. “Hey, why don’t ya ask the good doctor?” Jayne smirked. “Judgin’ by Kaylee, I’d say he’s pretty good with his mouth.” “Jayne!” Kaylee threw the last roll at him. “Ah, can they hear us?” Simon whispered in her ear. “That’s one, Jayne,” Mal warned. “Three a day, tops, we don’t wanna be cruel now.” “Aw c’mon Mal, I been holdin’ back for two weeks. Didn’t say nothing whens I’s seen ‘em in the cockpit—” Mal held his hands up to cover his ears. “Hey, now. No details, please.” “No details ‘bout what?” They looked up to see Zoe enter the room. She’d taken pains to clean up some, but Kaylee could see the red in her eyes and figured the others did as well. “Hey, Zoe, feel like some coffee, honey?” “Wouldn’t turn down a cup. So what you all talkin’ bout?” “Kaylee and Simon gettin’ sexed,” Jayne answered. “Uh, no, we surely weren’t,” Mal said, rolling his eyes for what felt like the tenth time that morning. Kaylee dropped her gaze guiltily to her lap. Realizing her positioning, she started to slide off Simon into the empty chair beside him. “No!” Kaylee froze, bottom halfway to the seat, at River’s shouted protest. “What is it, honey?” “That’s Wash’s chair.” River giggled, shrugged her shoulders helplessly. “He hates when you all sit on him.” She laughed again, took the last roll from Jayne’s plate, and flounced out of the room.

*** Stolen, breathy kisses on the bridge. Frantic, fast touching in the darkness. An implied second-base limitation, never implicitly stated but followed faithfully. Inara felt like they were in secondary school. They never planned these meetings. They just…happened. The first was two weeks after the funeral, when Serenity was flying again. Mal found her in her shuttle. For awhile, they bantered, danced around each other. Conversations with Mal typically wavered between entertaining and infuriating. This time was no different, and yet…. He was hurting, mourning the Shepard, mourning poor Wash, but trying to hide it. “When did this become so gorram complicated? All I wanted was to fly my boat. Make a decent living, stay out of the Alliance’s grips. Never wanted to be a gorram—” “Hero,” Inara finished softly. “Oh, I’m surely no hero, Inara. Would think you’d be first to back me up there.” “No one wants to be a hero, Mal. It’s not about want, it’s about…right.” He laughed shortly. “Wash mighta enjoyed it though, the whole hero business. Never liked the crime much as the rest of us. He was here now, bet he’d be askin’ for a statue. Ever since Canton, he wanted a gorram statue….” He let his voice trail off. Wanting to soothe him, soothe them both really, she kissed his forehead, one cheek then the other. He found her lips. That was the first time. The last was three days ago. It always began innocently enough. They talked about the ship, the crew. They laughed about Simon and Kaylee’s none-too-subtle forays to various parts of the ship—what was wrong with their bunks, anyway?—remarked on River’s continuing improvement, wondered how Zoe, so deeply stoical, was coping. And somehow, inevitably, he’d touch her cheek, draw a single finger down her throat. And she was lost. She knew it was wrong, ill-fated, hopeless. She knew she couldn’t stop. They’d make out like teenagers, straining against each other, never letting it go far enough to satisfy, never able to quit completely. It was exhausting, all this…secrecy. Hiding in the black, hiding from the others. And yet, what choice did they have? They were—both of them—who they were. Sighing, Inara sunk back on the sofa, waiting to hear River—always River, now—announce their descent into Persephone. Mal planned to take on passengers there. That, at least, should make for an interesting couple of weeks. She hadn’t slept a great deal the night before; maybe she’d take a quick nap before landing. She closed her eyes and hoped not to dream.


More to come soon. I love feedback—your comments help me know where to take our BDHs next!


Sunday, November 20, 2005 1:11 PM


I'm going to leavemore feedback when I've finished reading.

For now: teddy bear from porn land

You are going to hell for that line! LOL!

Sunday, November 20, 2005 1:30 PM


Hilarious, brilliant!

I'd quote my favorite lines, but then I'd have to quote the whole thing. You have a great way with banter and the crew conversations around the table. Plus, this is a great mix of funny, sweet and sad. Mostly funny, though, whee!

Jayne's two-week teasing ban! Simon and the "family business"! Dirty dreams!

Not to mention, the idea of Mal and Inara sneaking around Serenity and having hit-and-run makeout sessions is both incredibly adorable and incredibly typical for them.

More more more, please!

Sunday, November 20, 2005 3:31 PM


Ah! More please! This series, while started being a silly free-for all (cute!!), now is becoming a full-fledged great fanfic! Who will they pick up on Persephone? Mal/Inara...FINALLY! Great stuff, update ASAP!

Sunday, November 20, 2005 6:14 PM


Wow i love this!! The conversations are so true to the characters!!! Keep it up!!!

Monday, November 21, 2005 7:30 AM


Excellent! Love the Mal and Inara awkwardness and constant pull and push between wanting and trying not to want. Simon and Kaylee are lovely and River as ever throws everybody a curve ball. What the good gorram is going on inside her gifted head? And more grieving Zoe, my little heart goes out to her. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Monday, November 21, 2005 7:41 AM


'kay, now that's outta the system...GET WRITIN'!!!!!


Monday, November 21, 2005 8:41 AM


I am also loving the Mal/Inara plot line. Very tense...can't wait for the releasing of the tension ;)! Keep it up and give us more!

Monday, November 21, 2005 8:42 AM


So is Wash a ghost? Cause that would be cool because I MISS HIM SO MUCH!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005 4:08 PM


This was great. I loved it. It had me laughing at times. Mal almost got in a whole heap o' trouble because of River. Loved it.
Can't wait for more.

Saturday, November 26, 2005 1:19 PM


Definitely enjoying this--can hardly wait for more. Don't make us wait too long, please <g>.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 5:07 AM


If there's one line that makes this real it's...

“But I can assure you with pretty certain certainty I ain’t beddin’ your little sister.”

Brilliant stuff!


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