Bedlam: Part 5
Saturday, December 3, 2005

Mal/Inara. Zoe/Wash. River/? R-ish, I imagine. As promised: Mal and Inara check into the Beaumonde Inn. Need I say more? Okay, I could. But you’re gonna have to read it to find out. Leave some gorram comments!


Bedlam: Part 5

By Kaynara *** If she could just hide him away in here, stash him like the cargo, he’d be safe. They wouldn’t be able to find him, harm him. He was heavier than he looked. She grasped him under the armpits, tugging. The walk from the bridge felt endless. But she could save him. Sure it looked bad. She’d seen a lot worse in the war. Legs aching from the weight, arms stinging, Zoe laid Wash’s broken body out in one of Serenity’s many handy cargo holds. So close, baby, so close. She took out the last scaly bits of the Reaver harpoon, gleeful now--they were almost there. And suddenly he awoke, cursing a string of slurred Mandarin, choking for air. “...on the wind,” he finished, half-amazed. He sat up, rubbing at his chest as though the wound stung just slightly, an old scar mostly-forgotten. “You almost left me, Husband.” Zoe laid her head on his breast, feeling the warm skin against her lips, feeling his heart. “Aw, Zoe.” He smoothed the hair over her temple. “I know you’d never desert me, lamby-toes. Never leave me skewered on a stick, the main course at the big Reaver luncheon.” He laughed but his tone turned bitter at the end, wryly-ironic. She met his gaze, wide-eyed, but he just smiled, hugged her around the middle. She fell against him, wanting to weep for joy. His lips grazed over her ear lobe, and he took it in his mouth, sucking lightly. “That kid’s gonna have one sexy mama,” he said, sliding a hand under her shirt. “Strong too. Impenetrable as steel and twice as cold.” He stroked gently, and she felt the baby respond, kick against his hand as though yearning to get out. As though trying to escape. “Here’s hopin’ she don’t fall out of your knapsack whilst you and Mal are shootin the outlaws.” “Husband, don’t you know I’d never--” “Of course not, sweetiekins. Least not before....” Zoe woke retching and threw up in the sink.

*** Sometimes, when he first saw her mornings, ‘fore either of ‘em opened their mouths, he was transported back. The grasping, broken woman became the sweet girl, soft-eyed and dreamy and demanding. She’d expected the best from him, and sometimes he even gave it to her. “Captain Reynolds. Haven’t hardly seen you this past week.” “Well, thievin’ ain’t all fun and games, Cora. Work, work, work.” She smiled. “Back on Shadow, if anyone alleged Malcom Reynolds would turn out to be a common criminal, I’dve called him a gorram liar. But then, I’m guessing you didn’t envision me a whore.” “Cora, I--” “It’s alright, Malcom. You know I didn’t just stumble on to your ship by pure luck.” “Had an inkling,” he admitted. “I’ve been looking for awhile. Finally, someone turned me on to a man on Persephone, a funny little man in a bowler hat who said he might know the Malcom Reynolds I was seeking. He knew a man with an aging Firefly and a curious moral code. Said he’d send me a wave next time you were planetside.” “Fella called Badger?” “I think that was it. Yes.” “You ever see that fella again, run the other direction. Fast.” “I shouldn’t have come looking. Malcom and Cora have been gone a good long time.” “Dead and buried,” he admitted. He leaned over and kissed her cheek softly. “Still, don’t make what they were any less.” “They were lovely. Spunky and sexy and so stupidly, naively sanguine.” “Young and stupid, ain’t no crime in that.” “Sometimes I miss them both, Mal.” “Sometimes I do too,” he admitted. “I’ll be leaving when we get to Beaumonde.” She spread her fingers to cover her stomach. “He and I have a lengthy journey ahead of us.” “Figured you would be. But don’t go till I get back from this job. I wanna give you somethin’.” “You don’t owe me anything.” He cocked his head, thinking of a cool dreamy night in the woods that stuck with him through boot camp, through that first horrific battle. “Oh, I ‘spects I do.” *** Mal stepped into his common area to find his youngest crew mate seated in a most unlikely spot. Inara and Kaylee looked on, apparently, for once, at a loss for words. “Gorramit, now I’m gonna lose my breakfast, and all over my shiniest attire,” he muttered. Jayne held his hands up as though surrendering. “I didn’t touch her, Mal, I swear! Was sittin’ here all innocent-like, and the little moonbrain just dropped down in my lap.” “Jayne, you ain’t been innocent a day in your life.” “Do I have to get up, Captain Daddy?” River leaned back against Jayne’s chest, swinging her legs. “Might wanna consider it ‘fore your brother appears.” River rolled her eyes but climbed off Jayne and trotted away. “Little lunatic,” Jayne muttered, watching her go with a strange expression on his face. “Wonder what’s gotten into her lately,” Mal commented. “She’s at a delicate age,” Inara chided. “Awakening, discovering men.” “Yeah, so you might wanna try actin’ like one, Jayne,” Kaylee suggested. “Wouldn’t kill you to be a little sweeter to her.” Jayne looked baffled. “They sayin’ that I shoulda let her sit on me or that I shouldn’t o’?” Mal shook his head, studied the girls thoughtfully. “I don’t rightly know,” he admitted. Inara and Kaylee exchanged affectionate eye-rolls. “You about ready, Nara? We’re takin’ off in the second shuttle soon as we hit atmo.” Kaylee narrowed her eyes. “That what you’re wearin, Cap’n?” “What’s wrong with it?” “Well, nothing if we were attending a barn-raising,” Inara said, lips twitching. “Hey...I’d be offended, if I actually cared ‘bout such things.” “We’re meeting a dignitary, Mal. No suspenders.” “That’s it.” Kaylee stood, grinned. “You get his clothes, Nara. I’ll get him naked.” ***

“C’mon, Cap’n. Off with ‘em,” Kaylee said, pushing him behind the Chinese screen in Inara’s changing area. “Hands, girl, hands!” he protested, as she started in on his belt. She just giggled and went to sit on Inara’s sofa while he undressed. “So you think you’ll stay gone the whole night?” she asked, biting her lip gleefully. “Don’t rightly know. Depends how the job goes.” “Inara looks real pretty today, wouldn’t you say, Cap’n? I always loved that green dress o’ hers.” “You’re about as subtle as a steel blade, Kaylee,” Mal commented. Reluctantly, he unhooked his suspenders and let ‘em fall to the floor. “No point in pretendin’, Cap’n,” she said happily. “Already made her promise--whatever happens-- to tell me all the shiny bits.” “Why is it girls gotta make with the sharin’? Ain’t anythin’ sacred with you people?” “Alls I’m sayin’ is when and if it happens... well just know Simon and I both’ll be real happy for you, Cap’n. Real happy.” “Kaylee, when and if it happens...I hope to God I’m not thinkin’ ‘bout the doctor.” “Ain’t two folk deserve it more than you and Inara, Cap’n. Ain’t two folk deserve more to find some happines.” She turned at the sound of heeled footsteps and flashed Inara a big grin. “Hey, Nara. Let’s get to work dressin’ the beast.”

*** In the end, Mal wore a coat and tie, though he didn’t like it much. “Zoe, she’s yours,” he muttered over the ‘com when he and Inara were settled. “Behave, kids.” “Momma and Daddy will be watching us,” River said from the bridge just before they launched. Mal mulled that one over, more than a little perturbed, as Inara flew them down to the landing pad just outside Beaumonde City. She handled the shuttle with grace and more n’ a little skill, better ‘n him, not that he’d ever admit it. “It’s very lovely here,” Inara said as they waited by the reception area. “Once, as a little girl, I stayed here with my father.” Her eyes seemed fixed on a point far away. “I guess,” Mal said, taking in the old-world, far east decor. Chinese lanterns and oriental rugs, alll of it done in rose and red and gold. The aroma of incensce wafted through the air, making him a little dizzy. “They built the Inn not long after terra-forming here. It’s one of the oldest structures in Beaumonde City. During the war, those loyal to the Alliance dug up the original plans, identified all the crawl spaces and secret compartments. They used them for hiding their valuables when the Independents ransacked the city.” “Yeah?” Mal looked intrigued. “Think any of that stuff’s left now?” “I rather doubt it,” Inara said, hiding a smile. Their suite resembled the main lobby in miniature. A small sitting area led into the bedroom, a bright lush space complete with a deep, marble bath tub done in greens and golds. Palm fronds and tall white candles. Wo de ma. “Hope you’re feelin’ all sorts of lucky tonight, darlin’. Things don’t go well, I doubt our dignitary friend will foot the bill for this place.” “We’re meeting him at dinner, I take it. What are we calling ourselves?” “Oh, thought we’d go with Mal and Nara. Think you can remember it?” She rolled her eyes, a bit disappointed by the lack of aliases. It wasn’t often Mal included her in his clandestine dealings. In truth she was a bit excited...not that she’d ever admit it to him. As Mal sat down on the bed, bounced a couple times, Inara went to the dressing table. She took a small tube of lip paint from a compartment in her purse, a tiny gold thing with beads. How, Mal wondered, did she keep a whole artist’s workshop in there? Wiles, he thought. Had to all come back to those damned feminine wiles. “What time is dinner?” she asked, fluffing her hair. “The fine gentleman sent a wave requesting my lady friend and I meet him in the main dining hall at nine sharp. They like to eat late in these parts, I’m supposin’. Is that what the classy folk do?” Inara glanced at the slim silver band on her left wrist. “It’s only six now.” “Yep.” He met her eyes in the mirror and she turned, slowly. “Wonder hows we’re gonna pass the time till then.” They weren’t ready. She knew that to be true, felt it deep inside her. A great many matters remained unresolved, disordered puzzle pieces, not the least of which was her job. He wouldn’t be able to bear that in the long run, and ultimately it would tear them apart. And yet they were here, alive and breathing, which seemed like a great deal after the events of the past couple months. This, the two of them, there in that room, was precious, fragile. And so she went to him. His legs stretched off the edge of the bed. She stepped between them, close enough to feel his breath in the hollow between her breasts. “This ain’t quite the way I pictured it,” he said. “You...pictured it?” “No,” he said quickly. She smiled though her lips trembled and she had to fight to steady them. “Just that, figured, when the time came, I’d swing for a couple daisies or somethin’.” “I--that would have been sweet.” “I can be sweet. Had to have happened once in thirty-some-odd years.” “This is fine, Mal.” “Shoulda been better ‘n fine. Special.” “I’ve had special. Perfume and strawberries and whole bouquets of--” “Daisies?” She laughed. “Calla lillies, white roses. Daisies would have been a first. But I don’t want special. I want--you. That didn’t come out exactly right.” “Ain’t you supposed to be good at this kinda thing--talkin’ pretty? “I used to be,” she admitted. “Maybe my wiles wandered off.” “Must be my disarming good looks that’s throwin’ you.” “Must be.” She took a step closer, ready for him to kiss her, but he took her hand, pressed his thumb in the center of her palm. “Listen, I want you to know something. It’s ‘bout, Cora.” “Really, Mal, we don’t have to--” “Don’t know exactly what River told you happened that night. Girl don’t always get alls her facts straight.” Inara raised a brow delicately. “I wasn’t that fast,” he protested, sulkily. “More to the point, you should know that I...that it wasn’t....Ai ya, Nara. I figure we’ve spent enough time hurtin’ one another.” “Shh.” She touched his lips lightly with her own. “No more pain.” His hands reached around the back of her dress, found the zipper that began halfway down her back. He wondered how long he could go slow, keep this torturous pace. He reached the end and the dress fell at her feet in a pool of green silk. She wore something soft under it, a smooth swatch of ivory silk that clung to her breasts, hugged her waist and fluted out in a smooth skirt that skimmed her knees. He took her hands and brought her closer, settling her between his thighs. Then he put his lips to the bodice of her slip. She gasped in a breath and he felt the lust shoot straight through him, so hard it hurt. He worked his mouth over her breasts, first one then the other. She leaned forward, her hair curtaining his face, surrounding him in its heavy, fragrant black. “Bao bei. Lao tian. Dong ma?” She nodded, finding it harder to breathe, let alone speak. “Lie down with me,” he murmured, lifting his head from her stomach, where he’d been touching cool, light kisses to her skin through the fabric. She did, feeling the whole of his hard, hurting body pressed against her. She kissed down the side of her face, feeling the smooth fresh-shaved skin against her cheek. Wanting to soothe, anoint, she pressed kisses to his eyelids, his adam’s apple, the underside of his jaw. They were going to be naked, she and Mal. She had to bite her lip to keep from giggling with schoolgirlish nerves she hadn’t felt in many years. “Something funny?” he asked. He looked almost offended. Or, maybe not. He slid his hand under her skirt, began to toy with the string on one side of her bikini underwear. “Nothing,” she said, using all her efforts to keep the smile at bay. “I’m just thinking we should get you out of these clothes.” “And after you wasted all that time gettin’ me into ‘em earlier,” he chided but let her roll on top of him, sit astride his hips. “Guess it is gettin’ a little warm in here.” She started with the buttons, wanting to feel his skin beneath her fingers, then went back for the neck tie, letting it fall to the floor. She lowered her mouth to his chest and felt all that warm male flesh, hard against her lips, shuddering to take in her air. She trailed warm, just slightly wet kisses down his stomach, felt him shake, shiver. Her hands settled on his buckle. Ren ci de Fo zu, she was going to take off Mal’s pants. She would have giggled again, except things suddenly seemed less funny. He was watching her, waiting. Were those nerves glimmering in his eyes, hidden just behind his carefully constructed barricades? She felt his body respond to the brush of her fingers over his waistband. He murmured something Mandarin and inaudible. Moving at the same time, they fought his pants down his legs. Stripped down to their underthings, he rolled on top of her. He needed to feel her there, pressed below him. Soft and warm, shaking every time he kissed her neck. “My too heavy?” he asked, bracing himself on his arms above her. She shook her head, afraid he’d move. Wo de ma, she didn’t want him to move. He wanted to feel skin, smooth and dusky gold beneath his touch. He lowered one of the straps of her slip, hesitated so she’d open her eyes. “You ever think this would happen? That first day, when you came to see the shuttle. You ever think we’d end up here?” “Yes,” she said after a pause. “Yeah, me too,” he admitted, lowering his head to her chest again. He kissed until the fabric was wet and cold in his mouth, till her breast strained against it. Then he started to move lower, pushing silky fabric up as he went. His tongue slid over her belly-button jewelry, his mouth inching toward the waistband of her underwear. “Mal. Before we...this--did you bring any...?” She raised an eyebrow at his baffled expression “Ohhh. That. Deng yi miao, God, I hope so. Ain’t exactly needed much of that past couple years.” He went for his bag, began rifling through the contents. Inara sat up, pushing the strap of her slip back over her shoulder. She sneaked a glance in the mirror, hurriedly smoothing her hair where he’d mussed it. She hid a smile, watching him dig through the bag, swearing occasionally. “Look at all this stuff. I think these are mangoes,” she said, crouching down to examine the fruit basket. “What-os?” he asked, distracted. “There’s even a book shelf?” She scanned her eyes along the row of titles. “Have you ever heard of a writer called Shan Yu?” ***

Mal dropped the bag on the floor. In seconds he was across the room, pinning her on the ground. “Someone’s a little anxious. Would five minutes of romance actually kill you?” The teasing smile faded when she saw his expression. He scanned the walls, releived not to see the red dot, preparing to use their heads for target practice. “You believe in coincidence, Inara?” he asked, sitting up off of her. “Not especially.” “Yeah, me either.” He pulled her to her feet. “Get dressed, quickly. Ta ma de, there’s no time.” He grabbed his coat off of the chair, shoved her arms roughly inside it. “Find your shoes.” “Not until you tell me what’s going on,” she said, but started hunting for her heels. “Not rightly sure yet. ‘Haps nothing at all.” Except never once in all his years had he been that lucky. He nearly tripped, trying to tug on his pants, button his shirt back up. “We’re going, and it’s gotta be better ‘n slow. If you can’t run in those things, leave ‘em,” he said, nodding at her strappy and, in his eyes, completely unfunctional shoes. “Are you gonna stop barking orders and tell me what’s happening?” “Don’t seem likely.” “Ai ya, Mal. Will you just--?” “You’re gonna do whatever I gorram say, dong ma? I’m the Captain o’this boat, you hear?” “We’re not on the damned ship, Mal.” “That...that is neither here nor there. You ready?” Then he heard the knocks, three solid smacks like a cane. Xi niu bastard probably got a cane. He pushed her back into the bedroom, closing and locking the door separating them from the sitting area. “Help me move the bureau,” he said quietly. Stricken, she obeyed, helping him push the heavy wooden piece in front of the door, blocking them in. He looked around the room wildly, his eyes settling on the closet. He flung open the double doors, sifted through the padded dress hangers, complimentary Beaumonde Inn terry-cloth robes. “This where the crawl space is? The secret compartment?” They heard a sound like a shoulder shattering wood. They were almost through the outside door. “Inara!” he whispered. “Yes. The top of the closet. It’s a false bottom. Mal, tell me--” He pushed at the slim wood paneling of the top of the closet, nudged it out of the way. “Get in,” he ordered. “What? Mal, I’m not gonna leave you--” “Yes, you are. That’s exactly what you’re gonna do. You’re gonna get in the gorram closet, and you’re gonna live.” He grabbed her shoulders, shook hard enough to have her head jerking back. “Ai ya, say it, Inara!” “I’m gonna live,” she whispered. He kissed her gently, let his eyes drift closed against her skin. “You’re gone, understand me? You’re not here, and so there’s no reason for any part of your mind to be here. Go somplace far away, and stay there. Retreat into your head, ‘cuz you’re not in this room, not in this gorram Inn.” “Who is it, Mal?” she asked, quietly. He boosted her up into the crawl space, remembered her bag and her dress and threw them up after her. “It’s Niska,” he said only then. The last thing he saw was her eyes widening before he slid the panel back in place and closed the double doors. He sat on the bed in the empty room and waited. And prayed. *** The inner door shattered. Mal sat, gun posed. He fired off a couple rounds before they grabbed him. A fist slammed into his face and he struggled not to go to sleep. Another one hit him in the stomach, cutting off his air supply. He fell forward, eating the rug. A boot slammed into the side of his head, making his brain go fuzzy. He saw freshly-shined shoes approach along with a slim, black cane. He felt some satisfaction in knowing he’d given the bastard a limp before another kick to the head had him losing consciousness. “Mr. Reynolds? Oh, Mr. Reynolds?” He knew he was tied to the bed before he opened his eyes, could feel the rough grain of the rope biting into his wrists. He felt the cold press of a knife blade against his chest, remembered when it was Inara’s lips. He let his eyes drift open. “There you are.” “There you are! Hey, where’ve you been? Wanted to invite you to my Christmas party. Though I guess you’re gonna have some trouble doin’ the limbo. Somebody break your leg?” Niska backhanded him across the face, and Mal struggled not to groan. She had to stay in that closet, had to stay hidden. “I’ve been waiting a long time for this, Mr. Reynolds.” “About that Mr. Reynolds thing. Why don’t you call me Mal, and I’ll call you a tian sha de e mo--” The fist slammed into his gut before he could finish that statement. “Is it true what they say?” he asked when he caught his breath. “Does absence really make the heart grow--ahhhh!” The blood from the knife wound dripped down his side, over the sheets he and Inara had been rolling on just moments before. At the top of the closet, curled in a ball in the crawl space, Inara covered her ears. She laid her head down against her knees and wept silently into his coat. “Never was no dignitary, was there?” he asked when his side started to go numb. “I think of myself as very dignified, Mr. Reynolds. But, alas, no, there was no buyer.” “Well, then, looks like you just screwed yourself into paying for my room.” “For you and a lady, I’m told.” Mal employed every ounce of his talent for lying, cheating and misleading. “You just missed her. Don’t worry, she was a might tall for you, anyway.” Niska let out a high, death-rattle of a laugh. “Still, the boy at the desk said she was very lovely. Very...exotic.” Mal snorted a laugh, shrugged. “If you like that type.” “You prefer blondes?” “I prefer the ones don’t flap their mouths so much.” “Ah. So she is nothing to you?” “Wouldn’t say that.” Careful, he warned himself. “Can do some pretty tricky things with her mouth when she ain’t flappin’ it.” “And where did she go, your talented whore?” “Guess she had other whorin’.” “How unfortuante. Still, we’ve enough to keep us occupied here, no?” “I ‘spect we do,” Mal said, watching as the knife inched closer. *** Inara closed her eyes, rocked. Shepard Book. Be with me now, she thought silently. But she couldn’t summon the preacher’s comforting face, the shock of salt-and-pepper hair, those thoughtful, forgiving brown eyes. And so, like Mal ordered, she went away. She was a girl again, crouching in a closet not unlike this one, listening to her father’s business conversation while she was supposed to be playing by the poolside. It had been too bright outside; the light stung her eyes. She’d left her mother, baking, half-asleep by the water, and crept upstairs to find her dad. Someone waved him on the cortex. He crouched over the screen, not seeing as she wandered past, hid in the bottom of the closet. She was still there when the woman arrived, the most beautiful, glamorous women Inara had ever seen. The pair began to converse in low voices.

*** “I’ve invented something, Mr. Reynolds. A seram or sorts. Would you like to hear about it?” “Not exactly in a position to argue.” “You handled my physical torment very admirably, Mr. Reynolds. A pity we were interrupted by those disagreeable friends of yours.” “Cryin’ shame,” Mal agreed. “I knew that when we would meet next, I’d have to offer you something new. Something...extraordinary.” He held up a syringe filled with shiny silvery liquid. “Couldn’t we just stick with the electrocution?” Mal asked. “Electrocution was good.” “You won’t find this physically painful. Just a quick needle prick.” Mal felt the substance sliding through his veins. “But then...ah. The most excruciating emotional torment imaginable. Beyond imagination.” Mal eyed Niska doubtfully. “I’m fairly certain you don’t know who you’re dealing with here.” *** Mal was back in the war, back in the valley. The stench, wo de ma, the stench. He felt the heat of the gun blasts on his cheek, saw red everywhere, rivers of it. He watched Zoe take a bullet in the arm, scream once, wince, and keep firing. “Won’t be much longer now, Sarge. Sarge?” He couldn’t answer because he knew. He knew the futility, the hopelessness, the angels that would never come down. And the death. Oh, he knew the death. Then heard the voice. “Captain.” Then, “Daddy?” He fought to answer.

*** “River?” he asked through his haze, sliding in and out of consciousness, time, awareness. He heard her scream and scream. “River?” he called again. “Baby, you gots to get ahold. You gotta tell Jayne. Tell Vera,” he said helplessly. Then all was silent. He was alone with the dark and the bodies and the quiet. He wanted to lie down, wanted to give up, give in. Then he heard the voice. “Stay with me, Captain.” “Wash?” He wondered what kind of crazy he’d descended into now. Talking to his dead pilot through the medium of his new one. “Been awhile, Mal.” Wash’s voice was warm, strong and full of life unlike the last time he’d seen him. “Seems like not a whole lot’s changed. You’re still humping up the job at every turn. And still not humpin’ poor Inara. So why haven’t you given it to her yet? Scared she’s had better?” “Drop dead!” Mal said half-heartedly. “Already did!” Wash retorted cheerfully.


TBC in Part 6. ~April (Kaynara)


Saturday, December 3, 2005 2:20 PM


Oh hell, this is GOOD!

I was going to just ignore the whole Cora business and enjoy the prettiness of Mal and Inara together and then you go and put in exciting plot and torture and flashbacks and NISKA and Inara hiding and more Wash!!! (Cora who?)

In other words: Squee! Absolutely excellent, I'm loving this!

Hooked again, I am. *g* Next part soon, please?

Saturday, December 3, 2005 2:31 PM


hey, sorry if there's *** confusion. i use them for change in scene, "commercial breaks," changes in Mal's consciousness...pretty much whenever I feel the need. hope you're all keeping up (and enjoying)

Saturday, December 3, 2005 4:29 PM


I love this story! I can't wait for more!!!

Saturday, December 3, 2005 4:41 PM


OH wow! Seriously, keep this up. I could read 40 chapters of this quality. I'm really invested in this story now. Can't Let Me Put Emphasis on CAN'T wait to see what happens next.

Saturday, December 3, 2005 4:57 PM


dang it all, i'm addicted to too many fanfics...

but is there such thing as too many?

I've send it before and I'll say it again...yu-oh for mal. *big big eyes*

nothing ever works for him it seems.

love the last wash lines..somewhat insightful, n'cest pas?

Saturday, December 3, 2005 5:17 PM


Wow. It didn't even occur to me that River would be able to reach him once he's feeling nuts himself, and now she's bringing Wash to help. Very nice.

Saturday, December 3, 2005 7:49 PM


More please! And hurry! (but thanks kindly for getting this one up so quick!)I love your writing style!

Saturday, December 3, 2005 9:27 PM


Ok. I don't often give 10's but even that's not adequate here. I'd give you a 15 if system'd let me.
Fave line:"“Had an inkling,” he admitted." simply for the spare Mal-appropriateism that it is. But every single voice in here is dead-on. And asterisks-schmasterisks. This piece followed finer'n frog's hair, no continuity problems.

Agreed about the excellent command of pace, the thank god Mal & 'Nara are finally gonna GET some and then from there to our quick-witted captain suffering coitus-non-us due to his wonderful nose smelling a trap, hiding 'Nara away and then SLAM. Into Niska at his awesomest horrible evilness. Mal cracking SO wise all the while, keeping screams from escaping lips that would surely bring 'Nara out. And god, what they'd do to her would hurt so much worse than what they're doing already, bad tho that is.

I wanted to quit reading when the torture got heavy but was already in too deep to stop. Was ready to be angry at you, 'cause I figured Mal was a dead man (& by SUCH torture--drugs taking him back to Serenity Valley. EVIL!) and then Tinkerbell came to him and he sent her for help and I grabbed hope with both hands. THANK YOU for that. Bless you.

How the heck long do we have to wait for more of this? GIVE. It's the holidays, after all.

Saturday, December 3, 2005 10:19 PM


I'm all pins and needles to see how this plays out! More please!

Sunday, December 4, 2005 4:12 AM


*screams* MAL!!!


Sunday, December 4, 2005 5:13 AM


This is fantastic... I'm on the edge of my seat waiting for more!!! Hurry, hurry, hurry! Love it!!

Sunday, December 4, 2005 3:13 PM


Oh Wow, I was so caught up in all the Inara and Mal goodness that when Inara quoted the book by Shan Yu on the shelf I about siezed up inside! *Wode ma*, excellent job ratcheting up the drama and tension and loved how quick Mal was in realising their peril and thinking only of how to keep Inara safe. Sigh, good gorram I love our brave Cappy. And so loved first River then Wash coming to him in his extremis. Hope they have a way to help him out of the hell Niska is taking him too. Superb story, stellar writing, can't wait for more! Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Monday, December 5, 2005 8:39 AM


that is amazing all i can say is wow!!!


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