Bedlam: Part 2
Saturday, November 26, 2005

Mal/Inara, Simon/Kaylee, River/? The crew members deal with passengers who aren’t quite what they seem and shiny new crime that doesn’t go quite right, all the while coping with the events of the BDM (*spoilers*). A continuation of the Strange Bedfellows stories.


Bedlam Part 2 By Kaynara

It’s Joss’s ‘verse—I just borrow it. Please comment!

*** A barefoot River slipped silently, stealthily into Jayne’s bunk. The room was empty, but then she’d known it would be. Without making a sound, she slipped out of her dress, folding it neatly on Jayne’s dust-covered chair: his one piece of furniture aside from the narrow bed. In a stack of laundry, she found one of his t-shirts, a soft gray with frayed sleeves. When she pulled it over her head, the hem fell nearly to her knees. Pleased, she wrapped her arms around herself and, lying back on the bed, let her eyes drift closed in contentment. Very comfortable. Cozy, River decided. She flopped on her side to count his guns like sheep until she fell into a restful sleep, curled like a ball on his bed. “Just get the gorram mule ready, Jayne.” At the sound of Mal’s voice in the hallway, River eyes sprung open. She rolled over in time to see Jayne enter the room, stumble back against the wall in fright. “Gorramit, girl. What the devil you doin’ in my bed?” “Scared you.” She sounded pleased. “Damn right, I’m scared. Scared Mal and that no-good doctor-brother of yours gonna find you in my gorram bed, little psycho.” River rose to her knees in the center of his bed. Jayne watched the fabric of her shirt—his shirt, gorramit!—rise as she stretched. He darted a quick glance toward the door, took a step away from her. “Not foolin’, girl. Get your ass outta my bunk…and my shirt. You tryin’ to get me dead, little witch?” “Just practicing. Good sleep, very deep. I like your bed, Jayne Cobb.” “Yeah…well, I like all my parts where’n they are so get outta my comfy bed ‘fore the cap’n cuts em’ off.” “Jayne’s got man parts.” River smiled. “Strangers coming today. Not so strange, though. One boy, one girl.” “Jayne?” Mal’s voice echoed from the hall. “I got no time and about as little patience for whatever you’re doin’ in there.” “Comin’, Mal.” Jayne turned to River, panic rising in his eyes. “Girl, quit that crazy babblin’ and get back in your dress!” he said, teeth narrowed. “Jayne!” He turned from Mal’s voice to the crazy girl, still grinning like a loon from the center of his bed. “You just better be outta here when I get back,” Jayne warned in a whisper and, muttering to himself about witches and crazies, went to join Mal in the cargo bay. *** Inara dreamed of a garden, sweet and secluded. She lay on the wet grass, staring up at a canopy of flowers, waiting for him. The air felt cool against her skin, fragrant with the scent of autumn flora. It wasn’t a functional garden like the one Book described from his abbey. This one existed, quite simply, to be beautiful. She waited for Mal in the rain, let it dot her hair, melt against her eyelashes. Somehow things would be right now. When he arrived—when he came to her—they could be together. She saw him from a great distance, and suddenly he was beside her. He was older but not old, lines running like tears from the corners of his eyes, wisps of gray staining the hair above his ears. She wasn’t old—somehow she’d escaped from time. And Mal had escaped from her. He’d gone on without her while she’d gone…nowhere. But now he was back. He spoke her name into her hair. “Inara. Nara.” She hurried to unbutton his jacket—still that awful, wonderful brown jacket—and spread her hands over his chest. He tilted her head back, exposing her neck to his lips. She heard the crunch of leaves beneath their backs, felt the warm rain soak her hair, his rough hands stroke under her shirt. She didn’t see the shooter until it was too late. And suddenly he was shot, dying in her arms. She cradled his head in her lap, felt his blood on her hands, sought out the bullet wound with her fingers. She put her lips to his face, pressing them into the curve of his neck. He wasn’t old enough to die. And yet, she was losing him all the same. She felt all of it—the garden, the years, Mal—ebb away from her until she was alone in the rain and the silence.

Inara woke on a scream.

*** Mal lingered in the hallway outside Inara’s shuttle, mentally compiling a list of reasons why entering would qualify as a bad idea. So far, he and Inara tended to obey an unspoken rule—The Law of Public Places. The bridge, the kitchen: these areas had a kind of safety to them. A keep-your-clothes-on-and-the-lights-out sort of safety. The security of darkness and no privacy whatsoever. At any moment, Jayne could show up, seeking a late-night snack. River might wander in, rambling about cows or Christianity or whatever else that girl had on her mind. Kaylee and Simon could appear, looking for…well, the pair of them were only looking for one thing of late. Still, Inara’s shuttle would be different…dangerous. For one thing, she had a bed. A big soft bed, designed to placate, to soothe. Designed to entice. Beds, Mal knew, were troublesome. And further to the point, she had a door, which he was gettin’ to know up close and person, as he’d been starin’ at it goin’ on five minutes. Doors meant barriers, roadblocks to those grateful interruptions that pursued him and Inara all over Serenity. Doors—her door in particular—meant there’d be nothing to stop him from dragging her zipper down the back of her dress, nothing to prevent him from slipping the rich material off her perfect shoulders, tugging it down to her waist and baring the flawless skin beneath it. If he ever saw what was under her dress, Mal knew he’d lose it. Yep, definitely right ‘bout this bein’ a bad idea. He turned to leave. And then he heard her scream.

*** He found her in bed, shaking. Her cheeks were wet. “Inara.” He sat beside her and felt her curl into him, press trustingly against his chest in a way she never did during her more mindful hours. His stomach dropped. “I-I’m fine, Mal,” she managed after a moment, her breath catching after a last hiccupped sob. “Really. The lamp—can you get it?” She tried to keep her voice level. She had to see his face, touch the smooth skin to know he was real, here and hers, not the Mal in the garden: the one she’d already lost. Lights and lingerie? Definitely a bad idea. “Let’s leave it off, kinda peaceful-like in the dark,” he said, smoothing the silken fabric across her back as he rubbed small circles over her skin. “Just take some deep breaths, now.” His hands disarmed, warm on her back, big and protective as a lover’s. Except he wasn’t her lover. “I’m not having a baby, Mal. I don’t need to breathe deep.” He dropped the hand that was doing the rubbing, leaned over and flicked on her bedside lamp. She blinked in the brightness. When she could see, she studied his face, relieved to view the familiar lines, nothing new. Her panic subsiding, she noted the annoyance—also nothing new—and something else, pain perhaps, flicker in his eyes. And at once, she realized how she must look: open, vulnerable, her face more exposed than her body was in the dipping nightgown she’d worn to bed. Quickly, she dropped her gaze to the bedspread. “Mal.” She used her thumb to dab under her eyes, pushed her hair out of her face. “I’m sorry. It was just a dream. Really, I’m fine now.” For a moment she thought he’d protest. Then he stood, slapped his hands on his thighs. “Glad to hear it,” he said, not quite meeting her eyes. He moved toward the door without turning. “You get some rest then. Be landin’ in a few hours, and you and Kaylee gotta pick us up some shiny new passengers. Do me a favor and avoid uppity-lookin’ doctors with big boxes.” *** “You scare her again?” Outside the entrance to Inara’s shuttle, Mal started at the sound of Kaylee’s voice, close behind him. “Shen sheng….Anyone ever tell you not to sneak up on folk that way?” “You and Nara…you’re kinda like Belle and the Beast,” she mused, skipping past him on her way to the engine room. For a moment he was silent. Then, “I’m the Beast?!” “You gotta ease her into bein’ comfy ‘round you…you gotta be gentle with her.” “You know, Kaylee, I don’t remember askin’ your advice on the whole Inara situation…not that there is a situation, mind you. Further to the point, I don’t much care…if she’s comfy…” Oh, ta me de…. Hell, she probably knew. His whole gorram crew likely knew. When was he ever the first one to know anything that happened ‘round here—and on his own boat, gorramit! Sneakin’ around like a gorram teenager on his own ship. Last week had been close, too close. Kaylee was probably right ‘bout Inara bein’ a little on the skittish side around him now. Hell, that night shook him up plenty too…. “Mal. Mal!” Inara giggled in the dark, her body shaking against his. She didn’t laugh like that often. She didn’t laugh for him often. She’d gasped in a quick breath when he first pulled her into the cockpit, then tugged her down, spontaneously, a little hesitant-like, on his lap in the captain’s seat. She sat there now, her hair falling forward to tickle his face. But she’d recovered quickly, and they were now appreciating the empty space, the dark quiet of Serenity in sleep. He reached up a hand to cup her face, tracing her cheekbones. He moved his fingers down her throat, and she stopped laughing. “Mal—” And then he was kissing her, his hands sliding possessively up her body, her nails raking his back beneath his shirt. Which one of them, he wondered as her mouth went around his earlobe and he groaned into her neck, would break the second-base rule first? And then he heard footsteps, followed quickly by a high-pitched giggle. Inara went limp against his chest. She let Mal pull her down behind the seat till they were lying on the ground, hidden from sight. “Simon!” Kaylee hooted a laugh as she entered the cockpit. “If you do that, then I’m gonna do this!” They heard Simon hiss in a quick breath. “And if I do that, this is gonna be over ‘fore it starts.” “Oh, tian sha de somebody shoot me,” Mal muttered. “Shh,” Inara chided, biting her lip in an effort not to laugh. “Captain would skin me if he knew what we was doin’ in here,” Kaylee said, giggling. “Is it just me or does Mal have some kind of sexual phobia?” Simon asked. “Oh, I am so gonna kill that—” Mal felt Inara’s hand press against his mouth. “Nah, Cap’n likes sex well enough. Just sorta particular about people doin’ it—and talkin’ ‘bout it—on his boat. Always says shipboard relations is nothin’ but trouble.” “ ‘Cuz they are!” Mal muttered. He glanced at Inara who raised her eyebrows. For a moment they held eye contact, dangerously close to self-awareness. “Well, if you ask me, the Captain needs to get—” “Simon!” Kaylee laughed again, and Mal heard the distinctive sound of a zipper lowering, another quick intake of breath. He grabbed Inara’s hands, using them to cover his ears. “Your ma know you use that kinda language?” “Perhaps we should stop talking about Mal, and my mother for that matter, and focus on more…pressing concerns.” “Ohh.” Kaylee made a soft sound. For several moments they heard nothing but the sound of lips brushing in the darkness. Then there was a crash. Mal had stuck his head up in time to see his mechanic and his medic pressed against the control pad, making God-only-knows-what changes to their navigational track….

“I know!” Kaylee said, jetting Mal out of his reverie and back to the present. “You should get her a gift when you’re on Persephone!” “…don’t know where you got the idea ‘bout my carin’ if she’s comfy or not…a gift?” “Don’t worry, Captain. We’ll think up somethin’ real nice for you to get her.” “Mm, I’ll just bet we will.” Mal cleared his throat, pulled her to a stop outside the engine room. “Hey, uh, how’s things goin’ with Lover Boy?” Kaylee opened her mouth. He held up his hands in protest. “I don’t want none of the gory details now.” She smiled, softly. “Things goin’ just fine.” “Well, you just tell me if the doc steps outta line.” “Simon wouldn’t ever do nothin’ to hurt me, Cap’n.” “No. No, I don’t ‘spect the boy would.” Kaylee leaned forward and kissed Mal’s cheek. “You’re a big sweetie, Captain.” Mal snorted a laugh. “Yeah.” He cleared his throat: this was getting habitual. “You’re a big girl now, Lil’ Kaylee. Don’t need to call me ‘Captain,’ ya know. I just make Jayne ‘cuz it’s funny.” He grinned. “And you don’t gotta call me ‘Lil’ Kaylee.’ But I ‘spect we both likes it that a’way.” “Well, I ‘spose you best get to work in there,” Mal said after a beat. “Be landin’ pretty soon. Where’s that no good beau of yours?” “Simon? Dunno, Cap’n. Haven’t seen him since breakfast.” “Really, now? Thought the pair of you was joined at the hip of late. Kaylee grinned, flushed a little. “Not the hip, exactly,” she said, stifling a giggle. “I don’t wanna hear this!” Mal said quickly, backing away. “You know, think Zoe was lookin’ for Simon earlier,” Kaylee called after Mal’s retreating form. “Said she wanted to see him ‘bout somethin’.” “Zoe, huh.”

*** River found Zoe waiting in the infirmary. “Hi, Zoe. You’re looking for Simon.” Zoe raised a brow. “That a psychic observation, honey?” “No.” River smiled. “Ran into Kaylee.” Zoe laughed. “Any idea where that brother of yours is hidin’?” “He’ll be here soon. Don’t need him though.” River smiled generously. “Baby girl’s healthy. Ten fingers, ten toes.” Zoe widened her eyes, surprised. She hadn’t told anyone about the baby, cradling the knowledge inside her, clinging to it like a lifeline. The final secret: hers and Wash’s. Mal was right; the girl, Zoe admitted, was a reader. “River—” “She’ll look like you. Don’t be sad though. Wash wants it that way. She’ll have his smile, and his laugh. Make people smile like he did.” River laughed to herself, as though watching something play, exclusively for her pleasure, inside her head. “He tells you all this, River?” Zoe asked when she could speak again. “He tells me lots of things. Tells me ‘bout Simon and Kaylee. They make him laugh. Glad they’re enjoying each other—way it should be, he says, way it used to be with him and you. Love, sex. Good things. Tells me ‘bout Mal and Inara. Wants to fix ‘em but doesn’t know how. And Zoe. Always talks about his Zoe.” “Why don’t he talk to me, tell me these things? He’s my husband! Dammit, Wash, why won’t you talk to me?” River frowned, puzzled. “Says he talks to you all the time. Says you never answer.” River reached out a hand to cover Zoe’s still-flat stomach. “It’s too early, honey,” Zoe said. The outburst over, her voice sounded flat again, dead even to her own ears. “Can’t feel it kickin’ yet.” Feel her, she corrected herself with amusement, only half-believing River’s psychic sex test. “No. She’s sleeping.” River bent her head to listen to the baby. “He’s excited to see her. Can’t wait hardly. Makes him sad too, though. Once she comes….” “What?” Zoe touched the girl’s hand, still covering her abdomen. “What happens when it…when she comes?” “He can’t stay around after the baby’s born. Gotta go home.” River smiled, rose to her feet. “In the end, everybody goes home.” “River—” “Places to be.” River danced gracefully down the hall, leaving Zoe alone in the infirmary.

*** “Doctor? You in here? I seem to have a psychic growin’ outta my—oh, hey, Zoe.” Mal came up short at the entrance to the infirmary. Zoe sat on the exam table, brow bent toward Simon’s as the two talked quietly. “Captain,” Zoe nodded at him, her expression turning quizzical as she peered behind him. Mal cleared his throat. “As you can see, we got something of a situation here.” He gestured down to River, arms locked around his waist, head poking out from behind his back. “River.” Simon came around, trying to unwind her arms. “Mei-mei, stop that. Really, you’re making me ill.” River rolled her eyes and released Mal, hopped up on the table beside Zoe, who casually slid down to the floor. “You’re too young for crushes, little girl,” Mal said, tapping her nose. “Also: far…too…cute. Gonna have trouble with this one, Doc.” “Now I’m really going to be sick,” Simon commented. “I’m not in love with the captain, Simon,” River said patiently. She rolled her eyes at Zoe, as though she were in on the joke. Silly boys, she mouthed. “Thank God,” Simon said, rummaging through some drawers. “Yeah, thank the Lord,” Mal repeated. Then, deciding he was offended, “Hey, why ain’t she in love with me? I’m pretty cute, wouldn’t ya say?” He directed the question to Kaylee, who’d just entered the room. “As a shiny new puppy,” she said, putting her arm around River’s shoulders. “C’mon, honey. Let’s get you dressed—gonna be hot and sticky on Persephone. Gotta get you outta—honey, what’s that you’re wearin’?” River glanced down at the t-shirt grazing her knees. “Irrelevant,” she murmured. “Seriously, River. Whose shirt is that?” Simon asked. He slipped a pill bottle into Zoe’s hand when no one was watching. Subtly, she pocketed the medication. “You should go with Kaylee,” he advised, shooting Mal a dirty look for good measure. “Can’t go with Kaylee. Comin’ with you and the Captain.” “On the job? Oh, no, I’m fairly sure she ain’t,” Mal said, addressing the remark to Simon. Then, turning to River, “You gotta stay an’ babysit my boat, lil’ albatross. Help Kaylee and Inara find some passengers. Lord knows what sorta freaks they’d pick up on their owns.” He grinned at Simon. “You’ll need me.” River’s voice rose. “I have to go!” “River—” Simon started. And suddenly she was calm again. “Time to get River dressed.” She grabbed Kaylee’s wrist. “Gotta look shiny for the sun.” Don’t worry, Kaylee mouthed to Simon, and let River lead her out of the room. “Well, that was rousing.” Mal folded his arms. “Still, she seems better. I’m no doctor, but she didn’t throw nothin’, seems better to me.” “Yeah.” Simon stared after the spot where Kaylee and River had disappeared around the corner. “Better.” “Well, best be getin’ dressed, Doc. Try not to look too…spiffy. Zoe, think Jayne, the doctor and I can handle this one on our own. You mind keepin’ an eye on my ship…and the little witch?” “Fine, Captain,” she said, eyes expressionless, and made for the door. “Zoe.” Mal lowered his voice, moved closer to her in the entryway. “Everything shiny with you…medically speaking?” “Fine, Captain.” Her eyes drifted to Simon, her palm cupping the bottle of vitamins she’d slid in her pocket. “Just fine.”

*** They arrived on Persephone in time for summer. Feeling silly, Kaylee had traded her jumpsuit for a sweet little sundress. She sat in front of Serenity, letting her pale legs drink up the sun, while Inara braided her hair in pigtails. “Ladies.” Mal nodded at them as he loaded up the mule. “Try not to look too cute over there. Don’t want the local boys thinkin’ my boat’s a floating bordello.” “And Captain Reynolds, our very own Madame with a heart of gold.” Simon appeared behind him. Mal eyed the doctor suspiciously while the girls giggled. In place of his usual fancy dress, Simon had found some sensible pants and—oh, God—was that a t-shirt? Pleased with the boy, Mal slapped his shoulder. “C’mon, Doctor, you’ve got patients awaitin’. Ladies—if you get a spare second ‘tween all the sun-bathin’ and hair-curlin’, try to pick us up a couple o’ tourists. ‘Void the medical men—no offense, son, don’t think you could use the competition. A cook’d be mighty fine though, mighty fine indeed.” He strode toward the mule, where Jayne was already seated. “Don’t burn, sweetheart,” Simon said, brushing a quick kiss over Kaylee’s temple before hurrying after the captain. A bit reluctantly, he climbed on to the mule next to Jayne, who shifted uncomfortably to his right. Inara looked at Kaylee, who was blushing a little. The two made ‘aw’ faces. “Sweetheart,” they mouthed together. “Aw.”

*** “Glad you’re helpin’ out this time, Nara.” Kaylee finished coating Inara’s toes with glistening gold polish. The two girls sat face to face in matching lawn chairs, feet spread over each other’s laps. “Bet you can use your companiony wiles to attract hordes of folk to Serenity. And now, I won’t be the only one hearin’ ‘bout it when Mal can’t stand whoever we pick.” “Oh, thanks!” Inara smiled, painting Kaylee’s toenails with Passion-pink. “Simon’s going to love this,” she assured Kaylee. “And as for my companiony wiles, I think they may be on the fritz. We haven’t had a prospect for nearly an hour. Perhaps we should try to recruit more actively.” Kaylee shrugged and sipped her drink. “Cap’n always says Serenity sells herself. Don’t need to convince no one of nothing, they can’t see it on their own.” “He says that, does he?” Inara glanced behind them at the large, somewhat-misshapen structure parked in the dirt. She met Kaylee’s eyes. “You know I love Serenity, Kaylee…but a little smooth-talking never hurts. And what Mal doesn’t know…well, that won’t hurt him either.” Shading her eyes with one hand, Kaylee scanned the crowd. "Ooh, how ‘bout him?” “The boy in the suit? He looks so young.” “He reminds me a little of Simon when he first came to us. Seems…sweet.” “Sweet, huh? Trying to make a certain doctor jealous?” “Naw, he just looks…lost. Like he could use us.” “I don’t know, sweetie. Notice the man speaking to him.” Through the unrelenting sun, Kaylee’s eyes narrowed in on a smallish man in a suit and hat, eating what looked to be a peeled apple. “Is that…?” “I don’t like him.” Surprised, Kaylee and Inara turned to see River lingering at the entrance of the ship. “Cheeky little man…liar..cheat. No good.” “That’s Badger alright, honey.” Kaylee patted the arm of her chair for River to sit. But River just shook her head, stared fixedly at Badger and the boy. “Don’t worry, dear,” Inara assured, stroking River’s arm. “I can’t see Mal taking that lunatic on as a passenger.” “Well, that settles it, Nara. We can’t let Badger hoodwink some innocent kid. I’m gonna go get us a new recruit.” Sliding her freshly-painted toes into her worn sandals, Kaylee strolled right over and stuck out her hand. “Hi,” Inara heard her say, face sunny as the bright Persephone sky. “I’m Kaylee.” River shook her head, rubbed her hands up and down her arms. “No good will come of this.” Inara smiled sympathetically, stood and put an arm around the girl. “That’s a bit dramatic.” River looked at her and laughed. “Places to be,” she said brightly and skipped back inside Serenity. Inara shook her head, settled back down in her lawn chair. She closed her eyes, let the long-absent sun warm her face and hair. What was she doing here? A favor to Mal, she told herself. Help Kaylee find passengers. Silly. Inane. Kaylee, sweet, delightful Kaylee, could tame a shark. Even without companion training, the girl had no trouble filling the passenger dorms. Still, it was easier to claim innocence, dub it a favor to Mal instead of admitting the truth. Sometime, in the midst of the Miranda, the alliance, Wash…somewhere, somehow, Inara had become totally and completely one of Mal’s crew. Why else was she sitting here in the sun, watching Kaylee chat up prospective passengers when she should be servicing clients? When had she made the choice to be crew instead of companion? She hadn’t made that choice; she’d let it be made for her. She let Mal hand her out an assignment, waved goodbye as he headed out to do crime with the boys, stayed behind with Kaylee, laughing, playing. She watched Kaylee throw back her head, slide a friendly arm through the boy’s and amble him back towards the ship. So easy to do this, be this. And yet, utterly impossible. Inara knew this wasn’t her. She was—had always been—wholly independent, reliant on know one save herself. She knew that would never—could never—change. Closing her eyes, she let herself enjoy the sun for a few more blissful moments. And then she felt the shadow cross her face. She opened her eyes to find bottomless green ones gazing down at her. “Hello,” Inara said. “Hi,” the girl replied. Her smile was soft, almost embarrassed. “Maybe you can help me.” “Perhaps. What are you looking for?” The girl glanced up at Serenity, taking all of her in before returning her gaze to Inara. “A ride,” she said simply. *** “Excellent plan, Captain. How do you come up with these brilliant capers time and again? I’m so fortunate you’ve decided to take me under your wing and teach me the secrets to your stunning success.” “You know, Doc, I could use a little less of the ironical just now and a little more of the shut the hell up!” Mal eyed the walls of the room they’d locked themselves in when the shooting started. Yep, they were trapped all right. Shiny. “You know, coulda been a lot worse. We did get the cargo.” He gestured to the case Jayne was clutching. “True enough. Our friendly criminal contacts handed over the cargo without much of a fuss. Then the nice men they stole it from came by to shoot at us.” “Well, how was I ‘sposed to know they stole it from other folk?!” Mal was starting to get ticked. “Gee, I don’t know. Because they’re thieves? Because you’re a thief? Because everyone you associate with is a rutting—” “You know, I’ve had just about enough of your mouth, Doctor! So why don’t you—” “River!” “Wait, what?” Mal whirled around to see River, standing in one of Kaylee’s dresses, not a hair out of place, in the middle of the abandoned storage room. He looked at Jayne. “How in the shiny ‘verse did she…?” His eyes drifted down to the trapdoor, lying open at her feet. “Huh.” “River, what are you doing here? You were supposed to stay on the ship, mei mei.” “Gotta move fast,” River said. “Gotta get outside, back to the mule.” “Might good of you to come rescue us, little albatross, and later we’re gonna have a nice chat about obeying orders from your captain. But right now theres about eight armed men out there, and they don’t seem like the forgiving sort.” “It’s okay, Captain.” River smiled as though they were silly for fretting overmuch and mussed her brother’s hair. “Wash is going to help us.” *** “Take out the one by the tree,” River said, voice low. They’d snuck out through the trapdoor and were creeping around the side of the warehouse. “He’s blind in his right eye, won’t see you coming. Then we go for the mule. Wash will tell us when.” River smiled serenely. “You sure about this, darlin’?” Mal asked. “You sure that Wash is, uh, watchin’?” “You ask me, we shouldn’t be listenin’ to no second-hand advice from a ghost to a crazy,” Jayne hissed. Mal looked at Simon who shrugged, slipped his hand over River’s wrist, ready to move. “We move on River’s cue,” Mal decided. Wash, buddy, wherever you are, I surely hope you’re paying attention. “Now!” River whispered. Mal stood and fired. When they reached the front of the building, Mal heaved River up to Simon, climbed on the mule and told Jayne to go. He reached for the ‘com. “Wa—” Mal cut himself off before he finished saying the name. He closed his eyes for a second, swore under his breath. “Hello? Anybody there? Zoe? Kaylee? Serenity? Ai ya….” “Hi, Mal.” “Inara?” “Yes.” She sounded weary. Knowing Kaylee would be disappointed in him, he pushed her anyway. “I’m guessin’ everybody else jumped ship, they left you in charge.” “You’re hysterical, Mal.” He loved when she was sarcastic. “I know, but its nice hearin’ ya say it. Listen, we’re leavin’ the world soon as the mule gets back.” He glanced behind him. “Gotta be better than slow.” “Leaving a planet in a hurry. How unusual.” Mal raised his gun hand to fire at the men following them. “Well, you know how easy-like I make friends,” Mal said. He ducked as they fired back, shoving Simon and River down with him. “You’re quite the people-person,” Inara said. “Mal, wait. River. She’s missing. I think she wandered off when we were meeting the new—” “‘Sokay, little albatross is with us. Just make sure the tourists is settled in and have Kaylee fire her up. All the hell aboard.” He disconnected, and Inara ran to find Kaylee.

*** TBC in Part 3. I love your comments!


Saturday, November 26, 2005 6:14 PM


There were some great lines in this one. And some from Simon (?!?!) So I picked my favs,

1.) Lights and lingerie? Definitely a bad idea.
2.)“Excellent plan, Captain. How do you come up with these brilliant capers time and again? I’m so fortunate you’ve decided to take me under your wing and teach me the secrets to your stunning success.”

“You know, Doc, I could use a little less of the ironical just now and a little more of the shut the hell up!”

3.) Captain Reynolds, our very own Madame with a heart of gold

And a vision of Mal in drag once more just keeps showing up with that last one.

Just fantastic humour and very witty


Saturday, November 26, 2005 7:17 PM


LMAO, I loved how Mal and Inara was hiding when Simon and Kaylee decided to have fun up at the helm....

Saturday, November 26, 2005 7:19 PM


Sorry, that was me earlier. I'm always just too lazy to sign in!

Saturday, November 26, 2005 8:25 PM


Ah, this is great! Can't wait for more! Great dialog and banter between characters... love Man and Inara..

Sunday, November 27, 2005 12:59 AM


I loved this, so many magic moments especially Mal and Inara hiding while Kaylee and Simon are making out, that was so funny. And Simon's quips at the Captain's expense were so in character as was River's ability to confound and save the crew. And Mal almost saying Wash's name over the com made my breath catch. Shiny, Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Sunday, November 27, 2005 5:34 AM


Whee!! I love this! Sarcastic Simon is priceless as ever. But ooh, there is so much more! Mal/Inara adorableness, Kaylee&Inara girliness, new passengers, Bad dreams and uncertainty and... perfect character voices! Hilarious, sweet and angsty, each aplenty.

Cannot wait for more! Looking forward to the tourists and Inara's inner chaos!

Sunday, November 27, 2005 6:20 AM


i just love your inter-crew banter, and the bit with mal telling wash to pay attention made me smile


Sunday, November 27, 2005 11:29 PM


I love this. I love the flash back mal had of him and inara... it was real darling and i love simons sarcasm, you have made him not annoying to me, alot of people make kaylee and simon sound so annoying to me i just skip over anything to do with them but with simon sounding a bit less like a total boob i can read it and like it. and Kaylee sounds warm and maybe even a bit wise in her own luvy-dovey way. So thank you.

Wednesday, December 7, 2005 10:37 PM


Great stuff - I read "Bedfellows" and the first two parts, despite the fact that it's 3:30am. This story has it all - thrilling heroics, romance, mystery, danger...and everyone is in character, and you didn't get all cheesy with Pregnant!Zoe, and Mal and Inara are pitch-perfect and...and I'm sold. I can't wait to start the next part.

Sunday, October 29, 2006 5:56 AM


By the date I see that this has been around for awhile. But I just found it and it is awesome. I am really wishing I had someone to clean the house and run the kids around today so I could spend the day enjoying the whole thing. alas.... The writing is great. Your characters are right on and the story is shiny. Thanks


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Water, Water Everywhere
This is a sort of companion piece to the first section of Two Times They Were Wet and Cold. It's also sort of crack!fic. While Mal and Inara were having a pleasant dialogue in the cargo hold, Kaylee and Simon spent some time getting to know each other in a broom closet. Takes place during the series. PG-13.

Stumbling Along
Post-BDM. Mal makes a delivery on a familiar moon. Inara reflects. M/I. PG-13

Two Times They Were Wet and Cold
Two things that never happened to Mal and Inara. X-posted to LJ for the Truthsome Ficathon.

Shore Leave or That Youthful Feeling
Post-BDM. The crew visits a drinking establishment on Beaumonde—no, not that one. Shameless Mal/Inara fluff ensues.

One-shot set after OIS. Kaylee/Simon. Response to the prompt: “Simon bent Kaylee over....”

Past and Present
Fluff-angsty little standalone. Post-BDM. Mal/Inara. PG-13.

This is a standalone set preseries (no Simon, sorry, Leiasky). I have no idea what kind of introduction to slap on this thing, so I'll just say, enjoy! Special thanks to Ann for curtailing the worst of my rambles. NC-17. Comments are love!

Just Another Day
Just another day on Serenity. Preseries. PG-13. Happy September 30th.

Standalone. Prompt: Leather. Simon, Mal/Inara. PG-13.

Bed and Wine: The Epilogue
Huh. That went well....