Swinging (part 1)
Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Loose lips and a rim world layover leave Jayne hanging. Not nearly as dirty as that sounds. Collaborative with smithandwesson.



The kiss of a sweet breeze on her cheek beckoned Inara toward consciousness, the familiar comfort of a contented dream releasing its warm embrace.

"I don’t care what you have to do," a harsh, hushed voice was saying somewhere nearby. "Do you have any idea what kind of chance I’m taking using these kinds of drugs on a registered companion? No, I haven’t told anyone else, and I expect to be handsomely rewarded for that. Extracting information like that is not easy, especially when someone has been trained to resist..."

Inara’s eyes squinted and her head began to pound as awareness fully returned. The voice abruptly stopped. There was quick movement, and a man was standing over her.

"Ah, you’re awake." In the blink of an eye, the angry whispers had morphed into the smooth, refined charm of Mallory Stanton, the man on whose bed she now lay. Lacy white curtains fluttered in the afternoon sunlight over an open window. "I was beginning to think your indulgence at last night’s party would rob us of the entirety of our second day. Perhaps I’m too generous."

"Not at all," Inara cooed in the most convincing tone she could muster. She fought to bury any sign of fear while struggling to raise her very heavy head. "It’s only that I’m too easily tempted," she smiled. "I apologize."

"Not to worry," Mallory said, reaching a hand toward her cheek. With a great effort, she resisted shrinking from his touch as he continued. "I plan to engage you for another week."

"I’m afraid that’s not-" she began.

"And I simply won’t take no for an answer," he finished without blinking. His long fingers brushed her hair behind one shoulder. "Oh, you’re not going anywhere."

There was a long silence between them. A massive old clock ticked off the seconds.

"I see, Mallory."

"Call me Mal."


A bullet pinged away near Zoe’s shoulder as she ducked behind a crate to reload.

"We just want the girl," a voice called from just inside the cargo bay entrance. "No need for all this. Send ’er out and we’ll be on our way."

With her back to the crate, she saw River’s curious face peek from the hallway near the top of the stairs. "Stay back!" Zoe yelled as she finished loading her carbine. It hadn’t seemed like much of a risk to take a job on a rim rock like Braggadocio. They had no reason to expect trouble here, but word that River was onboard had somehow reached these mercenaries. She would make sure the news didn’t go any farther.

She grimly spun from behind the crate, and the cargo bay rang with the sound of gunfire.


A round exploded off the metal floor as Simon’s hand darted to his medical bag near the bridge entrance, where he and Wash were pinned down.

"Don’t worry," Simon said, pulling out a syringe. "I’ve got just the thing."

Wash grimaced. "Not to seem ungrateful – you know about my long and sordid love affair with enormous needles-" The whir of a bullet buzzing past his ear cut him off.

"It’s not for you," Simon replied, his eyes on the clear liquid he was drawing from a small bottle. "It’s for them." The shooting stopped as he finished preparing the dose. "Now all we have to do is deliver it."

"Oh, I see," Wash said in mock realization. "So I should just walk up and... ask politely?"

"It should be easy," Simon continued. "Tell them you give up. I’ll wait near the door, and when they walk in-"

"That sounds like a mighty fine plan," a man said.

Simon and Wash looked up to see a large figure standing at the doorway, his gun in the back of a cowering Kaylee. There was the click of a trigger being cocked.

Simon closed his eyes and waited for the gunshot. What he heard was a loud clang.

His eyes opened to see the man falling in a shower of food, revealing Book behind him with an outstretched frying pan. The four of them stood watching as the figure writhed on the floor and then fell still.

"Ai ya!" Wash yelped suddenly, causing the other three to jump. "Was that... lunch?"

Book raised his eyebrows. "You’d rather I let him shoot you?"

Wash wrestled with the question.

"Everything shiny up here?" Zoe asked, rounding the corner as River floated by over her shoulder.

"Looks like our meal was the only casualty," Simon said. "I find that I respect the shepherd’s cooking more with each passing day."

Book was watching Zoe with a somber look. "The other men?" he asked.

"Don’t know how they found out about River, but they won’t be tellin’ no tales," she answered quickly.

The preacher bowed his head and paused for a moment before continuing. "You’ll find another man tied up in the dining room. He will tell tales, including a captivating one about how fast word travels in a small town."

"Jayne and the captain," Kaylee gasped. "They didn’t know when they set out to get the job. Just walked right into town. We gotta do somethin’! Could be they’re halfway to dead already!"


Mal closed his eyes, leaned back, and sank lower into the tub, the hot water lapping at his earlobes. The peace of the steam-filled bathhouse was broken only by the occasional slosh of water.

"Sometimes I think I’m in the wrong line o’ work," the captain smiled, his eyes still closed, to Jayne in a nearby tub. "Ya know what we shoulda been? Gentlemen o’ leisure."

There was general muttering of agreement from other tubs around the room.

"What’s that mean?" Jayne muttered, soaking up the hot water with a wet cigar between his teeth.

Mal raised one eyebrow and tilted his head toward Jayne.

"Nah, I’m just jokin’," Jayne grinned. "I know what it means. It’s like when you’re sly or somethin’, right?"

The quiet peace settled in again for a few seconds.

"Have to admit, this rock has a kind o’ likeability to it," Jayne said. "Wasn’t lookin’ to find that in a rusticated little spit pot like Braggadocio." Silence returned as Jayne’s brow knotted. "Makes a fella think real hard about things, ya know? About the future. Maybe settlin’ down with the right girl..."

Mal sat up and looked at Jayne. "Exactly how long has it been since you had a bath?"

A boy walked between their tubs, pouring in more hot water. As he bent over Mal there was a short exchange, and the boy turned and left.

"Looks like our business here is done, pleasant though it may be," the captain said to Jayne. "We got a job to do in Kowloon." Mal leaned forward and put his hands on the sides of the tub, then froze. All of the other tubs were now empty. They were alone in the room. "Somethin’ ain’t right here."

A long black coat walked between them, one hand holding a revolver. The figure turned at the foot of the tubs and faced them, the wide brim of a black hat rising to reveal pale skin and ice blue eyes.

"You got something that belongs to me," the man said quietly.

The captain sarcastically looked around the tub. "Don’t see nowhere to hide it," he smiled, trying to conceal a quick glance at Jayne, who was still leaning back in his tub with the cigar dangling from his lips and may very well have been asleep.

"It’s a girl," the man continued. "You’re gonna take me to her. Else I’ll just have to kill you here and find ’er myself. I gotta take her alive, but the bounty on you ain’t too specific."

Mal raised his voice in an attempt to rouse Jayne. "How much am I goin’ for these days, just outta curiosity?"

"A hundred credits."

The captain’s head jerked in disbelief. "A hundred... Hell, I’d turn myself in for that."

The bounty hunter’s mouth tightened, and he cocked the gun. "Are you gonna take me to River Tam? Or do you wanna die here like a dog?"

"As appealin’ as both o’ those sound-" the captain started.

"Sounds like you already made your choice," the man cut him off.

Mal swallowed. "Guess I have at that."

The captain watched as the bounty hunter’s finger tightened on the trigger. An instant later the stillness of the bathhouse was shattered by the crack of a gunshot. The man’s hat flew away in a spray of blood, and he fell lifeless to the wet floor.

Smoke rose from the barrel of the gun Jayne had produced from the water of his bathtub.

"Took ya long enough," Mal said.

Jayne grimaced apologetically, moving the cigar to the corner of his mouth. "Knew once I shot ’im the bath was over."

The two of them rose from their tubs and were starting toward the door when a crowd of townsfolk burst in. Anxious voices blended into a cacophony of chaos. Mal tried to make himself heard over the din, but no one seemed to be listening.

A woman was crying. People kept saying the name "Billy."

"I saw it," a boy said. "It was him. The big one." He pointed at Jayne.

Several people were staring at Jayne’s nether region. Mal was struck by exactly how much Jayne had enjoyed the bath.

A short, stern-faced old man stepped forward. His portly build and thick mustache gave him the look of an angry walrus. "He’ll swing at dawn."

Jayne misunderstood, looking to his own crotch.

"That? It don’t mean..." he stammered. "I mean, it’s nothin’ personal. I ain’t a gentleman o’ leisure or nothin’."


Click here for part 2



Tuesday, November 29, 2005 12:06 PM


Tee hee hee Jayne.

And poor Inara. I'm worried about her.

Yay to the crew! They bein' all crew like and winning that round.

You're going to continue this, yes?

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 12:51 PM


Bwaha! The bath house scene... so priceless! I kept stopping to highlight and copy lines for quoting here, but... it just kept getting better and better! Utterly hilarious!

The fight scene was witty and lovely, as well, but oooh, the creepiest ever? "Call me Mal." Yup... EEEK!

You have my full attention. How long until the next part??

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 2:26 PM


""Jayne grimaced apologetically, moving the cigar to the corner of his mouth. "Knew once I shot ’im the bath was over." ""

Oh! That is prime Jayne! Loved this. Give us MORE!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 3:05 PM


Realllllly likin' this, but like Jacqui, i'm also quite worried about Inara... I hope she refuses to call that huan dan 'Mal' and shoves 'Mallory' right in his face...

More soon, please!!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 3:44 PM


Lmao! JAYNE!

I love that bath house scene. Reminds me of Maverick (the Mel Gibson version). And the action on Serenity, that was perfectly vivid. I love the rapport between Simon and Wash, and just how well everyone worked together.

Can't wait for more!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005 2:07 AM


Good writing it got me right in. I too love the bath house, and want to know what's happening to Inara.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005 2:44 AM


It's like you just walked smack dab in the middle of an episode...
Shiny as that is, what happens next?

Wednesday, November 30, 2005 6:51 AM


"i ain't a gentleman o' leisure or nothin'..."
ah, jayne...


Wednesday, November 30, 2005 8:48 AM


I loved Jayne to pieces in this one and Jayne's comment about the bath being over made me laugh but boy is Inara in deep trouble and it looks as if the *tamada hundan* had a back up plan in case they didn't get what they wanted out of Mal and Jayne. Shiny! Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Wednesday, November 30, 2005 1:48 PM


Glad everyone's enjoying it! This story is all smithandwesson's concept. I just wrote part 1 for her.

She should be posting part two in the next few days, and it'll be her first Firefly fic.


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