BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - ROMANCE

KAYNARA

Bedlam Part 3: Part of the Strange Bedfellows Series
Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Mal/Inara, Simon/Kaylee, Zoe/Wash, River/? The new passengers aren’t quite what they seem, and the BDM continues to haunt Serenity’s crew (*spoilers*). Wacky fun (I hope!). Love you all and all your shiny comments! -Kaynara


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 4736    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

Bedlam: Part 3 By Kaynara

*** Mal leaned back in his seat, pleased to see his baby leaving atmo, ascending into the darkness. Man might like the feel of good, artifical earth beneath his boots every so often, but this, the black, was his only true home. He turned to his co-pilot, who’d just saved all their asses by showing up at that warehouse. He opened his mouth, prepared to lecture. “Mal, you’re shot!” Simon’s hands went to the side of Mal’s leg, peeling apart the shredded fabric of his pants. “Are you just immune to it now? Do you not even feel the bullets?” “Why’s your big brother feelin’ me up?” Mal asked River, who smiled. He liked when she got his jokes. It felt…progressive. “Alright, lil albatross. Looks like you’re off the hook for now—don’t you go leavin’ the ship without permission an’ savin’ us all again, though.” Mal stood, wincing as the adrenaline faded and his leg started to throb. “Comin’, Doc. Let’s see what top three percent can do with a weave.”

*** “This is very kind of you.” Cora sipped Inara’s tea from one of her china cups. “I do appreciate the hospitality—and the ride.” “Please. It’s not every day I meet another registered companion…especially out here.” Inara looked away for a second, as though recalling something long absent. She touched Cora’s hand. “I don’t miss the Guild House very often, but I do miss the company of the women.” “But I’m not a companion anymore, Inara. I told you, I gave it up.” “You retired from a job. It’s still a part of who you are.” She smiled but it was sad, wistful. “A part that never completely fades.” “And yet you’re here…you stay with them, on this ship,” Cora said. “Serenity has become home.” Inara sipped her tea. “It’s…complicated.” “There are always complications. But thanks to you, my journey home will be considerably simpler,” Cora said, neatly changing the subject. “Of all the people on Persephone, I must be very lucky to have found you.” “We’re delighted to have you.” “And the boy? Where has he…?” “Kaylee assures me he’s settled in the passenger dorms. I can take you to your room now if you’d like,” Inara offered, finishing her tea. “I’d appreciate it. Is it possible to meet the captain first?” “Mal? Yes, of course. I can’t guarantee his mood, as things exactly run as scheduled on Persephone. A business deal gone wrong,” she added quickly at Cora’s look of confusion.

*** Simon flipped on the light and gestured for Mal to precede him into the infirmary. “Alright, let’s have a look.” Simon grinned. “Hop up on the table.” “You’re enjoyin’ this a little too much, Doctor.” But Mal lay back on the exam table, folding his arms behind his head. “This doesn’t look too bad. The bullet doesn’t appear to be lodged in the leg. I’d say it just grazed you.” “Shiny. So sew me up, what you waitin’ for?” “Mainly, for you to take off your pants,” Simon said, rummaging through a drawer. “Normally, you’d have to buy me dinner first,” Mal said, but reached for his belt buckle. “What’re you guys doin’ in here?” Kaylee entered the room, munching on an apple. “Oh, no, you hurt, Cap’n?” “I ‘spect I’ll live.” Mal winced, watching Simon thread a needle. “Metal tearing through flesh. Unpleasant.” Simon and Mal looked up as River stepped inside, took a seat on the spare bed beside Kaylee. “Deng yi miao, does the whole crew need to be here for this?” Mal protested. “Not like its anything we ain’t seen before, Cap’n.” Kaylee gestured to his pantsless lower body and took a bite of her apple. “I haven’t,” River said sweetly. “Nice underwear.” Simon looked disgusted. “Kaylee, maybe you could….” He motioned for her to take River out of the infirmary. “I’m very cozy here,” River said, slumping her shoulders back against the wall. “Glad to hear it,” Mal said dryly. “Ooh, that looks all kinds o’ ouch.” Kaylee made a face. “Want me to hold your hand, Cap’n?” “I don’t need anyone to hold my—ouch! Ai ya, what the hell you doin’ to me, Doc?” “Sorry,” Simon said, spraying more of the stinging substance on Mal’s thigh. “You seem to have some dirt in the wound.” “I like the dirt, the dirt felt good—ow!” “Don’t be a baby, Cap’n.” Kaylee came over to rub his shoulder. River giggled. “I’m not bein’ a—” “Mal?” Inara’s voice sounded from the hallway, a short distance away. “In here, Nara!” Kaylee called cheerily. Mal turned to glare at her, gestured to his lack of pants. “Kaylee,” he said, half incredulous. “Don’t you think I got enough of an audience here?” “Just tryin’ to help, Cap’n.” She exchanged glances with Simon, who grinned at her adoringly. “Keep helpin’ me, and I’m gonna—ow!” “Hello, Mal.” Inara took in the situation, Mal half-dressed on the exam table, Simon bent over him with a needle, Kaylee and River watching on with various degrees of amusement and revulsion. “Oh, I didn’t realize you were…indisposed.” “That’s one way lookin’ at it.” Mal glared at Simon. “Another’s to say I’m bein’ poked at with a big damn needle.” “It’s actually fairly small,” Simon said, holding it up for Inara to see. “I-I’m sorry, I just thought you’d like to meet the new faces.” Inara met his eyes. “We’ll come back later….” “Inara, is it alright if I get some water from the kitchen…?” The girl appeared in the doorway so quickly Inara almost backed into her. “Oh, I’m sorry. This is a bad time. I—” And then she froze, her eyes on Mal. “I’m sorry,” Inara said, misunderstanding. “Cora, this is Captain Reynolds. Mal, this is our new recruit, C—” “Cora.” He forgot the needle in his thigh, forgot that he was in his underwear. She was all he could see. “Malcom.”

***

She stepped forward, clearly as entranced as he. “Malcom Reynolds.” She said it as though she didn’t quite believe it. With his eyes, he traced her features: those unnaturally green eyes, wide and bottomless, her hair, still as blonde as he remembered, but shorter now, choppy and to her shoulders. He reached out a hand, wanting fiercely to touch her, see if she was really real. So far away, so long gone. Then he remembered where he was, who was watching, and let his hand fall to his side. “Cora McAllister. What in the great green ‘verse you doin’ on my boat?” “I can’t believe its really you. The last time I saw you was the night we…the night before….” She trailed off, noticing the several sets of interested eyes drilling into her back. “It’s been a long time, Malcom.” Malcom, Simon mouthed to Kaylee who grinned. “So how do you two know each other,” she piped up, never one for subtlety. “Well, we, um….” Cora started. Mal spoke at the same time. “See, we, uh—” “Mal, I’m hungry,” Jayne’s voice whined from the hallway. “Where the new recruits hidin’? Any of ‘em big busty—hell-o.” He stopped short in the doorway, seeing Cora in the center of the floor. “Hi.” Cora smiled faintly, clearly a bit flustered by all the attention. “And just who might you be?” Jayne asked. “Cap’n was just about to tell us that,” Kaylee said, grinning. “So…?” Mal caught Inara’s gaze for a second. She looked away quickly. He found himself stumbling over the words. “Cora an’ I, uh, back on Shadow, wheres I’m from, ‘fore the war, we were, guess you could say....” “Sweeties,” Cora finished, shrugged her shoulders. “I guess you could say.” “You and Mal?” Jayne looked torn between amusement and disappointment. “This Malcom Reynolds?” Simon couldn’t resist. “It was a long while ago,” Mal said, eyes on Inara. Her face was expressionless. “A different time,” Cora added, studying the man before her, a man she didn’t quite recognize as the boy she’d known. “We were very young….” “She was his first,” River said matter-of-factly. “Deflowered him.” For a moment, everyone was uncharacteristically silent. Mal closed his eyes, wishing the exam table would swallow him up, pull him down into the floorboards. Then he remembered he was still in his undershorts. It was Cora who broke the silence, laughing a little. “Well, he was my first too,” she said, not quite believing she was discussing this, her first day on board, discussing it with Malcom’s crew. Malcom—a captain? Incredible. “As I said, we were very young.” “How was he?” Jayne asked, and Kaylee swatted his shoulder. “Nervous,” River said, smiling. Her eyes drifted shut, her body swaying slightly on the bed. “Fast.” Jayne edged away from her, an unsettled look on his face, but the others laughed. “River’s sort of our resident psychic,” Mal explained, hoping fervently that he wasn’t turning red. “She, uh, reads people sometimes, not always when they want her to—gonna have to work on that, lil albatross.” River stuck out her tongue. “Now, glad as I am to have you aboard, Cora, I’d be mighty appreciative if you could give me a few minutes to get cleaned up here. Had a sorta mishap back on Persephone. Inara, maybe you could show Cora to her room, let the doctor earn his keep here?” Inara seemed to snap back to reality. “Y-yes, of course.” She turned to Cora, not quite believing the reality of the situation yet. “Why don’t you come with me, dear?” “Alright.” Cora took a step forward, touched Mal’s hand on the table. “It’s good to see you, Malcom. I look forward to catching up.” “Right. Catchin’ up. Soon as I get stitched here, we’ll be sure to do that.” After I put on some gorram pants. And kill a few members o’ my crew. “Goodbye, Malcom.” “Goodbye, Malcom,” Jayne echoed as soon as Inara and Cora were out of earshot. “Gorammit, Mal, why’s it you always get hot womanfolk on this ship, followin’ you about with the cow eyes? First Saffron, and now this little thing.” He made a sound like a growl, and River rolled her eyes. “Saffron? Yosafbridge? You forgettin’ the part where she drugged me unconscious in my bunk and let us all for dead?” “Least you got to see her unmentionables first,” Jayne muttered, still annoyed. “I thought we were gonna let the doctor work in peace,” Simon said, but no one was paying attention. “How old were ya then?” Kaylee was asking, eyes curious. “How old was I when?” Mal asked, still glaring at Jayne. “When Cora deflowered you,” she explained, rolling her eyes as though he should have known. Mal groaned and lay back on the table. “Pardon me, but I am trying to sew here,” Simon interjected. “Tends to go better if the patient moves less.” “The patient’s ‘bout to jump out the airlock,” Mal said snappily. “Naw, Cap’n, I think it’s sweet,” Kaylee protested. “Yeah, Mal, it’s sweet,” Jayne offered, then turned to River. “You did say he was fast, right?” “Didn’t take long,” River confirmed, and Jayne laughed. “I’ll thank you not to discuss sex with my little sister,” Simon said, not lifting his head from his needlework. “I didn’t do nothin’!” Jayne said loudly. He took a step away from River and folded his arms. “She’s the one fishin’ in people’s brains, I didn’t do nothin’.” River suddenly laughed, swatted the air beside her. “Wash! He’s so funny,” she explained to the others, giggling. “Says he always knew Mal let some farm girl make him a man in a big stack of hay. That’s not right though. They hid in the woods, hid from her daddy.” Her eyes held that far-away look she got sometimes. “It was raining that day. Her shirt stuck to her skin.” River glanced up to find everyone looking at her. “What?” she asked innocently.

*** “Kids.” Mal entered the dining area, nodding at Kaylee, Simon, River and Jayne, who were already seated around the table. They turned curiously silent at his entrance, giving him the distinct and uncomfortable impression they were talking ‘bout him. Again. “We’re all gonna keep a civil tongue at the dinner table this evenin’, ya hear? Not gonna have any more talk ‘bout my speediness or nervyness or how gorram cute I was gettin’ deflowered back on Shadow,” he said, looking at Kaylee for the last. He shook his head. “Where’s the other new recruit? Said there was a boy, didn’t ya? Be nice to talk to the one person on this boat ain’t seen me with my trousers down.” “Captain.” Inara stepped into the room, her skirts sweeping across the floor, her hair swept up on top of her head. “I’d like you to meet one of your passengers. Mal, this is Gideon. He’ll be joining us for the journey to Beaumonde.” Mal appraised the smartly-dressed blond-haired man whom Inara was fawin’ over a little more than he’d like. Still, kid looked harmless enough. No giant pressurized box in his luggage. That was a plus. “Welcome aboard, son. Have a seat. I advice you to eat fast and watch out for the bread thief,” he said, nodding at River. “How soon will we be arriving on Beaumonde, Captain Reynolds?” Gideon asked, taking a seat beside River, who casually moved her chair closer. “Oh, week or so, depends on the course. I apologize ‘bout the hasty departure from Persephone. Still, should be smooth flyin’ here on out.” “That’s good to hear.” “Hello, everyone.” Mal looked up to see Cora standing in the doorway, glancing around the room a little nervous-like. “I hope I’m not late.” “Not at all, honey. Have a seat,” Kaylee invited. “Please,” Inara said, gesturing to the seat beside her. Mal raised his eyebrows, but she seemed to be ignoring him. “Should we wait for Zoe?” “She’s got things to do, gonna eat later,” Kaylee explained. “Oh.” Inara took a sip of water. “So, Cora. You gonna tell us all ‘bout bein’ a companion? Nara never tells us any o’ the good stuff,” Kaylee complained, nudging her friend teasingly. Mal’s head snapped up, his mug halfway to his lips. “You …you’re a companion?” “Well, actually, I—” “You’re lucky,” River spoke up. “He likes that in a woman. What?” she whined, when Simon poked her. “Wash said it, not me!” “I—I’m sorry. I thought Nara woulda told you,” Kaylee murmured, looking to Simon as though for an answer. “Actually, Kaylee spoke a bit out of turn,” Inara said, feeling somehow responsible. From the corner of her eye she saw Gideon, watching with a combination of surprise and discomfort. “Cora’s no longer registered with the Guild. She’s retired.” “When’d all this happen?” Mal asked, ignoring both the exchange with River and Kaylee’s wide-eyed expression. “About a year after you left Shadow. Daddy and Uncle Ray never made it home from the War. When my young brother was old enough to enroll, I was on my own, all alone in that big, creaky farm house. And then one day a woman came to the village. She was so glamorous, so stately—almost as lovely as Inara, here.” Inara blushed, murmured what sounded like, “You’re too kind.” Mal tried to catch her eyes but she turned away. “She offered me an opportunity,” Cora continued. “And I took it. I was just a child, really. This, what the woman described, seemed…easier. Easier than the life I was leading on Shadow.” Not so lonely. She’d thought she wouldn’t be lonely. “I guess you grew up pretty quick after that.” Mal’s eyes were on his plate. He took a bite, noticed none of the others were eating. “I guess both of us did,” Cora said softly. “Uh huh. Excuse me.” He dropped his napkin in his plate and strode from the room. He felt Inara’s eyes burning into his back on his way out the door.

*** “Malcom.” Cora held open her door. “Come in.” He stood, slightly awkward, against the wall. “Every time you call me that I feel ‘bout seventeen again.” “The last time I called you that, you were seventeen.” “Yeah, guess I was. Listen, I’m sorry ‘bout all that at dinner. The crew, they’re…well, they insist on bein’ themselves, no matter how hard I try to make ‘em otherwise. Big bunch o’ insolents.” “They’re not the dutiful Independent troops, I take it.” “Well, Zoe is, she’s been with me since the War. Not, with me, with me, just—” “I get it.” “So what happened? Why’s it you’re quitting the wonderful world of wh...companioning?” He wondered why he stopped himself from saying that word. He’d said it to Inara plenty. What was different? “Whore. You can say it. I’ve been called worse. Was called worse by the man who gave me him.” She spread her fingers over her stomach. Mal blinked, stared dumbly for a couple seconds. “You’re…you’re…?” “Going to be a mother. Took nearly all the money I had to get away from the place I was. I’d gotten myself into what you’d call a situation. But I’m free now.” Free of the man. Free from the Guild. “And you’re headin’ to Beaumonde to put in for early retirement?” “That’s not the ultimate destination. But it’s a start.” “So…how soon’s it gettin’ here, anyway?” He gestured to her middle but refrained from touching. “Technically, he’s already here.” She rested her hand on her stomach again. “But he’ll be on the outside in about seven months.” He tugged lightly at her hair, recalling when it was long and braided. “Always was a smart-mouthed little thing. Let’s see, one, two, three.” He mimed counting on his fingers. “Sixteen years…I’m gonna have to take a guess and say it ain’t mine.” She smiled. “No, Malcom.” “Well, that’s one lucky babe then. I’m fairly certain I’d be about as good a daddy as that kid you knew back on Shadow.” “Oh, he wasn’t so bad. He was just…young. Naïve, perhaps. Idealistic.” “Yeah, well, no one would accuse me o’ any of that now.” “The war must have been terrible,” she said quietly. “Must have.” He cleared his throat, sat down on her bed. “All a long way’s back.” “I suppose.” She sat beside him, laying a tentative hand on his knee. “You were angry at dinner. When you found out about me.” “None of my business, and lately I’m a firm believer in mindin’ my own.” “You feel I’ve betrayed her.” “Who her?” “Cora McAllister. The way she existed in your head all these years.” “She ain’t my proprety, not the girl or the memory.” “When we were together…I’d never have considered it, that way of life. But then, I thought you’d grow up and marry me.” “And when I up and joined the army, you joined up someplace else.” “Not at first. You promised you’d come back for me.” She smiled, shrugged. “But you never did. You didn’t come back, Malcom. Hardly anyone came back. Just kept right on leaving.” She said the last with a hint of her old accent, the one the Guild worked so hard to erase. *** Later in the evening, Kaylee found Mal on the bridge. He sat in Wash’s chair, eyes on the black. “Cap’n, can we talk a minute?” She twisted her hands in front of her. “Anybody dyin’?” “N-no.” “Then I’m fairly sure I don’t wanna hear whatever it is you’ve come to say.” Sucking in a breath, Kaylee pressed forward. “I’m worried ‘bout River, Cap’n. She ain’t actin’ right.” “When’s the little witch ever acted right?” Jayne asked, stepping on to the bridge. He settled back against the console to watch. “All that stuff ‘bout Wash,” Kaylee continued, shooting Jayne a dangerous glare. “Ain’t right her talkin’ that way…like he’s right here on Serenity…like he ain’t….” Against his will, Mal felt his eyes go to the dinosaurs. He squeezed his hand into a fist. “You ever think she could be right, Kaylee?” His tone rose involuntarily. “Hell, maybe she is talkin’ to him. How the hell do we know? Wash? You hear me, Wash?” “Sir?” Zoe appeared in the doorway, Inara close behind. Murmuring something inaudible beneath her breath, Kaylee brushed past them in her rush to leave the helm. Mal met Zoe’s eyes. Hers were steely, devoid of emotion. “Kaylee.” Mal cleared his throat. “Ta ma de, Kaylee, I didn’t….” He groaned, leaned back in his chair. “Sir.” “Hmm?” he murmured, only half-listening now. “Sir, can I have a word with you in private?” He’d been staring at the dinosaurs again. Ta ma de, did he expect the gorram things to move? He met Zoe’s eyes, embarrassed. “I think we’re a little past the days o’ you callin’ me sir.” He knew he was stepping over a line, going to a place he shouldn’t, but couldn’t quite stop. “Ai ya, gorram war’s been over a long while!” Zoe’s tone was icy-cool. “What would you like me to call you, sir?” She uttered the last word with enough deliberate emphasis to make Inara hold her breath and Jayne lean forward, intrigued. “What would I like? Oh, there’s an interesting question, Zoe. I think I’d like all y’all to shut the hell up and leave me alone for ten minutes? There a chance in the ‘verse o’ that happenin’?” “Don’t talk to her that way, Mal!” Inara snapped from the corner, where she’d been watching in silence. “I’m sorry, are you the captain o’ this ship now? Can’t think of another reason you’d be tryin’ to tell me what to—” “Enough.” Zoe folded her arms across her chest. “Anyone not the captain or I, move along. Plenty other parts of the ships you can congregate for gossip. Everyone else, stay put.” Mal sniffed out a breath, turned his chair around to face the sky. “So.” The others gone, she came around to face him, resting her back side against the console. “There a reason you’re acting like more of a hun qiu than’s typical?” “Just had a good day, I guess.” “Uh huh. Something we gotta talk about.” She stared off for a second, as though watching something far away. “Maybe it don’t concern you as ship’s captain, though I expect it will before much longer. More important, you were Wash’s friend, sir. And on your better days, I like to count you among mine.” She hadn’t spoke of Wash since the funeral, least not to him. He didn’t want to hear this. Whatever in the ‘verse was about to come out of her mouth, he was fairly sure he didn’t wanna hear it. “I’m gonna have a baby, sir. Goin’ on two months.” “Wo de ma. It’s a gorram epidemic.” “Sir?” He met her eyes, and for a second his were unguarded. She saw everything, the fear, the guilt, and something else: something new. Then, as though it hadn’t happened, he snapped back. “You think that’s a shiny idea, Zoe?” His voice was low, furious. “Life we lead, you think its wise to bring a helpless six-pound bundle of trouble on board?” “Don’t think they’re particularly troublesome at six pounds, sir. They’re a good bit heavier ‘fore the trouble starts.” “Oh, that’s good. That’s great. You know, I’m glad you think this is so gorram hilarious.” “Wasn’t laughin’, sir.” He put his hand to his head, rubbing at the temples. “Told ya to quit callin’ me that.” But his voice was broken, and the words lacked bite. Zoe leaned forward, touched his knee. “Mal.” His name sounded strange in her mouth, tasted funny on her lips. “Not just tellin’ you so you can get all huffy and disapproving. I’m gonna need you, Captain. Better if you get used to that idea ‘fore it…’fore she gets here.” She? Mal felt something inside him cracking. “Oh, wait just a gorram minute. You wantin’ me to help you raise this...this…Wash’s…? Zoe, you of all people must know I’m too broke to be anybody’s substitute daddy. You think Wash would want that? When I all but killed him?! Someday—” He gestured to her middle. “—Someday that kid in there’s gonna ask some fundamental questions ‘bout what happened to her daddy. Gonna tell her the truth, Zoe? Gonna tell her Uncle Mal all but murdered him?” He fixed his eyes on hers, enraged, aching. “Or were you gonna leave that little job for me? Do I get to tell her that? Do I—” And then she was kneeling beside him and his face was pressed into the crook of her neck. It took him a couple seconds longer than he’d have liked to cut off the tears. He choked, trying to catch his breath. Sensing he was embarrassed, that those few seconds were all the release he’d allow himself, Zoe pulled away, stood up. “You didn’t kill Wash, sir. I did that all on my own.” Without a word, Zoe turned, as stoic and dry-eyed as he’d ever seen her, and left the bridge. “Zoe.” Mal hastily wiped his face with the back of his hand, got to his feet. “Zoe!” But she was gone.

*** Zoe stepped out of her clothing, changed into the robe he bought her for their first anniversary. Cost nearly a whole job’s worth of wages, but he said it was worth it. Seein’ her in it was worth it. She slipped the apricot silk over her shoulders and lay down on their bed. When had it happened? she wondered, caressing her stomach. The last time, right before Miranda? Had he somehow known it was the last time, been deliberately careless? Normally, he was scrupulous. “Think about it, Zoe. You’ve already got me. You really want another baby?” And she always laughed, said, some day, and let him kiss her, love her, collapse on top of her. She stretched her arm over her head, recalling the way her did it, the way his hands felt pinning her arms at the top of the bed, ravishing her neck. She thought of his skin against hers, pale pink touching warm chocolate, limbs entwined, bodies wet with perspiration. If she closed her eyes she could feel his hair, the soft golden-yellow strands tickling her breasts as he kissed down her chest. “My Zoe. My glorioius warrior-women.” She sobbed silently in the dark room, remembering the way he’d hold her after, hold her until she fell into blissfully dream-free sleep. Tonight, she knew she’d dream.

*** “Malcom. Qing jin.” “Cora. I—” “I’m glad you came back.” She smiled, her expression simple, uncomplicated. It was a smile he’d remember, the youthful exuberance of a teenage girl from a little world called Shadow. She had to work a great deal harder to summon that smile now, all these years later. “I didn’t want to leave things the way we did.” “ ‘Bout what I said before. Cora, I got no right to tell you how to live your life. Didn’t have the right ‘fore I enlisted and sure as hell don’t have it now. You were right sayin’ what you did. And you got the right, same as anybody else, to earn a livin’ any way you see fit.” “Wow. That’s very enlightened, Malcom. And I almost believe you mean it.” “Well, guess we all change. Guess we all…grow up sometime….” And wanting to feel his youth once again, feel alive, feel all his lost innocence, Mal leaned in and kissed her. He grabbed the back of her neck, holding her there, feeling her warmth. It all returned to him, the woods, her small, sturdy body beneath his, the rain he could taste on her skin. He fisted his hands in her hair and inhaled her. But he didn’t feel his innocence. He felt like a bastard. “I should go.” He turned away so she couldn’t see the way his body was responding to her, but she pulled him back, forced him around to face her. “You don’t have to,” she said simply. “I don’t even think you want to.” When he didn’t deny it, she took two steps forward, pressed her body against him till their hips were rubbing. “You wanted me so badly when we were kids on Shadow.” “Pretty much every minute o’the day,” Mal admitted, eyes fixed on the wall somewhere over her head. “Mm, a part of you still does.” She slid her hands down his back side, held him there a moment, tight against her. Then she sighed and stepped back. “But you want something else more now. And I’m confusing things, aren’t I?” “Cora…it’s not that I don’t…what we were to each other….” “You were more articulate back when you were coaxing me out of my dress in your mama’s barn, Malcom Reynolds.” She stood on tiptoe to brush her lips lightly over his. “You still have good taste. She’s very lovely…Mal,” she added as though trying out the name. “She?” “It’s painfully clear,” she said quietly. “Everybody on this boat’s a mind reader,” he muttered. Everyone, Mal thought, except him. “Still, though.” Cora took his hand, dragged it down her breasts, over her rib cage and pressed it against her stomach, with its barely perceptible bump. “Still, I’m not really sure she can have you.” *** TBC in Part 4. Please comment!

Also by Kaynara: Strange Bedfellows Strange Bedfellows Part 2 Bedlam Part 1 Bedlam Part 2 ***

COMMENTS

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 7:50 PM

CAPNZOE


“Think about it, Zoe. You’ve already got me. You really want another baby?”

Please give us more. It's fantastic. I also like the fact that Mal insists on Zoe calling him by his first name. It softens their relationship in a good way, highlighting her request for Mal to help her with the baby.

Great job. I eagerly await more.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 9:20 PM

RIVERGODDESS


This is great! I need more! The voices are always just perfect. Really great writing here!
"Nice underwear"

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 10:09 PM

AGENTROUKA


Awww, all that adorable sweetness had to end...

Mal feels like a bastard? I'm feeling like he is one, too, methinks. Poor Inara. Funny that River doesn't pick up and broadcast any of her emotions. Something tells me Mal will be wishing this never happened before long.

The part with Zoe, though, very beautiful! You translate her intense emotions very well into her sparse language. The entire exchange with Mal was heartbreaking.


You know, any kind of delay until the next part would be pure cruelty!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005 12:51 AM

OLDSOUL1987


OH GOD! GOD OH GOD! WHY?! Things were going so great for them...then SHE had to show up... oh GOD MAL YOU STUPID BABOON! I so want to hit several people over the head with my laptop!.....
....
...Ok now that i am more...composed. i have to say poor Inara, darn it mal is being mean, and cora is icky and i hope she get tossed out an airlock. Poor simon having to deal with both his sister and kaylee talking about mal getting deflowerd! oh! OH! And dont even get me started on river! i love the whole reader thing and i enjoy the giggles it ensues but still i feel for mal ya know!? he is in his tighty-whiteys and she feels the suddent and tactless urge to talk about his deflowering! Infront of his ex-girl friend AND inara AND almost the rest of the crew! now that is mean ... heheh... am i evil for laughing with out end when ever i think of the tension that must have been in that med room! and how bout at dinner... wash you loveable ghost was it a a MUST for you to have river tell every one that he was in to companions. once again with his ex and inara in the room!?!? AGAIN?!?!? HAHAH.... all in all i loved it write more please! and please if you can make Inara vent her emotions or River vent them for her cause i swear i know she has lots to say and i think it would make lots of trouble and laughs for this reader if thees emosions were vented--- in powerful word, or maybe a slap or her flinging a particularly fancy pice of a tea set at a certain new passanger... or captain with tight pants. hehe ok once again thank you and please post more!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005 7:32 AM

BELLONA


“Yeah, Mal, it’s sweet,” Jayne offered, then turned to River. “You did say he was fast, right?”
hee!!!!

b

Wednesday, November 30, 2005 9:45 AM

AMDOBELL


This was brilliant and what a pile of complication? Just as things were going so great with Inara and Mal his past has to turn up and what revelations she brought with her! My heart so went out to Zoe and I loved the exchange between her and the Captain - it rang very true - and just loved River channeling Wash. Oh so much to love about this fic please continue the next part soon! Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Wednesday, November 30, 2005 10:11 AM

SYZG


I knew it was too good to be true ;)

Ah but complications are fun fun! Inara needs a bit of competition maybe but Mal damn well better feel like a bastard for that.

love the river 'deflowering' comments, too very funny. I too would like River to take an inopportune moment to vent Inara's feelings for her ;)

Thursday, December 1, 2005 2:29 PM

JOY


why oh why oh why do we have to bring new people on! grrrrr. ok, so i'm a girl and all, but I hate girls. They make me want to, as my beloved friend JennieO would say, pee all over my boys to mark my territory. . . . . .that sounds sicker than i meant it. Liking the writing, though :)


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