BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

KAYNARA

Bed and Wine: Part 15
Sunday, February 19, 2006

In which Mal’s life gets shinier by the minute....NC-17


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 4150    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

Bed and Wine: Part 15 By Kaynara

*** In which Mal’s life gets shinier by the minute.... *** AN: Many thanks to my fabulous consultant, Mr. Grimlock, whom I can always count on for killin’.

It’s Joss’s verse; I just borrow it. *** Inara woke with her face in the dirt. She pushed herself up with her hands, gravel filling her fingernails. She lifted her head and saw her father. “Easy,” he intoned. She blinked at him, struggling to draw breath in through her parched throat. For a wild moment, she thought she might laugh. Easy. She couldn’t recall the last time her life had been that. “Where’s Mal?” She struggled to stand. “Go easy, my little gypsy. You’re still feeling the effects of the drug.” He reached hesitantly for her shoulders, winced when she jerked away. “Don’t touch me.” She was a woman of elegance, mystery and allure. She wouldn’t abide this and commanded her eyes to say so. “I’m no longer a child, Father. You’ve no right kidnapping me like one.” “Inara.” He suddenly looked his age, a weary old man with too many regrets. “I only want to save you.” She felt her fingernails bite into the soft flesh of her thighs, forced her hands to lay still at her sides. “And the crew of Serenity? What of them?” What of Mal.... “Federal officers ambushed your ship. They took your captain, along with the girl. I imagine the others will be...dispatched.” “Dispatched?” “That firefly’s done the Alliance a world of trouble, my daughter.” She shook her head slowly. “No....they’re innocents! Oh, God, Kaylee....” she whispered. “Forgive me, child. I had to bargain. ” He squeezed her hands hard enough to bruise bone. “Their lives in exchange for yours. Elsewise, they’d have killed you too.” “Ren si de fo zu.” Her hand flew to her throat in a subconscious gesture, circled Mal’s pendant. “Inara. Don’t you see?--I had no choice.” “There’s always a choice.” “And now I’m giving you yours.” “Shah muh?” “We’ll wait here in the woods, you and I, until the last Alliance ship breaks atmo. Then I’ll give the decision over to you, my dear.” “No, we have to go now. They could be killed by then!” “And I won’t see my only child delivered into the hands of killers. We’ll wait here together, bao bei. I don’t relish the thought, but I’ll hit you if I must.” She met his eyes, her own lit with an amber fire. “Men who put hands on me against my will tend to suffer unpleasant fates.” He regarded her sadly. “I think I’m already resigned to such a fate.” *** Gorrammit, he was cold. He shivered violently, rubbed his hands over his arms in an ardent effort to get warm. What in the nine hells had Kaylee done to his boat? For that matter, where *was* his little mechanic? Where was everybody? Literally twitching from the chill, Mal wandered the empty halls in search of his crew. Not nobody in the kitchen, loitering by the table. The bridge was equally deserted. Finally, he made his way down to the infirmary. That’s where he found her, dark skin slick with sweat, breath puffing like spun cotton against the cold. Her chest was wide open. “Zoe!” Mal tore off his shirt, not bothering with the buttons. He pressed the fabric where the blood pumped. “Zoe, you stay with me, hear? Hold this tight while I find the doc.” “It’s too late, Mal.” He spared the blond man a glance before covering Zoe with a thick brown blanket. “Shut up, Wash.” He threw a desultory glance at the door. “Doctor!” “It’s okay, Mal.” Wash slid down from the counter top and approached the table, eyes reverent. “She’s home. They’re all home.” “You leave her, Wash! Ai ya, that’s an order, son!” But Zoe was rising, climbing out of her tattered body like a thing of grace. All toned flesh and long-limbs, she sprung into her husband’s outstretched arms. They made out like teenagers, impervious to the cold. Mal shook his head, draped Zoe’s bloodstained blanket around his shoulders. In the distance, he heard a baby cry. “Even dead you two are makin’ me sick.” “You gotta admit there’s a kinda humor in this, Mal. After all your lectures ‘bout shipboard romances and the like, all your warnings and grumblings and you’re the one raisin’ my kid. Howdya like them apples?” “I don’t...apples?” “Gonna be fine, Sir. You’re gonna be a good daddy.” “Gorrammit, Zoe. You promised to be the one teach her ‘bout the female stuff.” “I know it, Sir. I’m sorry.” “Hell, Zoe. I love you.” He was almost crying now, fighting to hold it inside. “Ai ya, I shoulda told you that before.” “Always been a little slow on the uptake, Mal.” Wash grinned. “You weren’t ‘sposed to up and die on me, gorrammit. I didn’t authorize that.” “I’m sorry ‘bout that, Sir.” “Never could follow orders worth a damn.” “I’m a rebel, Sir.” Zoe smiled. “You take care of my baby girl, Captain.” “You’re goin?” His voice was breaking again; he took a breath, reigned it in tight. “We’ll be around, Sir.” “But first...” Wash nibbled at Zoe’s ear. “Think there’s a naked beach calling our names, Captain.” “Lazy bunch o’ insolents.” River was watching from the doorway, head bent, eyes all-knowing. “You,” he murmured. Mal woke with a start, gasping for air. Was just his gorramn mind playin’ tricks. They weren’t all dead, couldn’t be. Surely Zoe and the doc arrived in time.... He tried to sit up, found himself restrained by metal bracelets cuffing his hands to the headboard. Shun-sheng duh gao-wahn, he was cold. He glanced down, realized the chill likely stemmed from his lack of pants. They’d taken his clothes, replaced them with a hospital smock that skimmed his knees. “Oh, but that don’t bode well,” he muttered. He glanced around the room, searching for a tool, a means of escape. It was all white walls and windowless, just the bed he found himself in and a strong steel door. There was only one course to take; he just hoped to hell she was listening. “River?” He cleared his throat, tasting the blood from his split lip. “River?” He closed his eyes and called out to her with his brain, soundless, wordless. Not nobody accused Malcom Reynolds of being eloquent, but he couldn’t figure for the life of him how to talk to a person without words. Drained, he threw his head back against the pillows, inhaled long and slow. He froze when he heard the door click. “Hello, Captain.” A woman, short red pixie cut, white uniform. “Dr. Heller didn’t expect you up so soon.” “Yeah, I’m full of surprises. Where am I?” “Sanctuary.” She slid up to his bed on a rolling chair, took his pulse with her fingertips. “Relax, Mr. Reynolds. No one intends you pain.” Mal glanced pointedly at the metal bracelets. The woman smiled. “Try not to dwell on those.” She dipped a swab of cotton in ointment, smoothed it gently over his blackened eye. “We want you to be comfortable.” “Do ya now? I always feel more comfy in my pants.” She just smiled, patted his knee. “I’m just going to give you a tiny injection.” She pushed up the hospital smock to reveal a stretch of thigh. “It won’t hurt a bit.” “That’s what they all say,” he muttered. He felt the drug kick in almost immediately. Within moments, he was basking in a gentle euphoria. The ginger-haired nurse lingered; he could hear her moving about. But he couldn’t quite bring himself to fret overmuch. Not when Inara smiled up at him, those bewitching brown eyes coy, those warm lips soft and peachy-gold, melding into his as they made love. How could he worry when everything was so very shiny? *** She was hollering when Jayne got there.  Her mama had hid her away in a basket beneath the seat.  Hadn’t seen no choice when her and Simon landed, saw the ambush.   Was ruttin’ lucky, them bein’ off ship, takin’ the boy to some fancy head shrink.  A lack of book-learnin’ didn’t make Jayne nobody’s fool.  If’n the doc and Zoe hadn’t shown when they did, Jayne knew he’d have a hole in his brain ‘bouts now.  Else he’d be broken to bits like the little witch.  Kaylee couldn’t stop cryin’.  Didn’t matter how much the doc held her; just kept right on sobbin’.  Jayne tried givin’ her a gentle hand put, but that just made her sob harder. Zoe was gettin' her leg sewn up where a bullet skimmed her thigh. “Jayne?  Go get my baby.” He left the others in the infirmary, wandered out to the shuttle. Gideon slept like the dead, or mostly dead anyways, not the least bothered by Raven’s hollerin’.  When he picked her up, she stopped shriekin’.  Her dusky skin glowed red with fury at being left, her round brown eyes squeezed tight with rage.  When he took her to his chest, she hiccuped and gasped out a few more sobs, settled at last with her face in his neck.  He carried her inside, offered the wriggly bundle to Zoe, who seemed scarcely to notice. “That’ll do, Doctor,” she announced, standing to test her balance.  “You and Jayne go dock the shuttle; Kaylee’ll help me prep for upthrust.  ‘Liance could well send backup, seein’ as we killed some of theirs, and I want off this rock ‘fore they do.” “Wait.”  Kaylee wiped at her tear-streaked cheeks.  “What ‘bout Nara?” Zoe and Simon exchanged glances. “Her daddy could have her three worlds away by now, honey.” “Not Nara.  She’d never go.” “Ain’t sayin’ the girl’s weak, Kaylee.” Zoe shrugged.  “Odds are he drugged her, took her unwilling.”  “She’d fight, though!  Simon?  Tell ‘em.  Nara’s never let herself get…lost…oh!” She slapped a hand on Zoe’s chest, squeezing her fingers around the ever-present circular pendant.  Misty eyed, she stroked the worn strap of leather from which it dangled. “Sometimes there’s a reason the captain’s the captain.” “Uh huh.”  Zoe watched the younger girl suspiciously.  “Kaylee, there a reason you’re feelin’ me up?” *** They found Inara at dusk, glassy eyed from the drug but otherwise calm and collected.  She said her father was gone and seemed unwilling to elaborate.  Simon diagnosed dehydration and exhaustion, explained that the headache stemmed from the chloroform and prescribed a mild pain reliever.  Kaylee lingered in the hallway while Simon examined her, burst in as soon as he finished and flung herself in Inara’s arms. “It’s okay, mei mei,” Inara murmured, clinging gratefully. “You found me.” “No, it ain’t,” Kaylee whispered.  “Everybody keeps leavin’.  First the Shepherd, and then Wash.  Now the cap’n and River’s gone too.  Not like we got much out here, not like we’re rich or fancy or spoiled.  Why’s they gotta go and take more?” Having no response to that, Inara just stroked her hair. ***    Her body screamed in pain; River herself was silent. The doctors murmured soothingly while they worked, cleansing her bruised face, wrapping her cracked ribs in layers of tape. She ignored their gentle words and wished for a pistol. *Bullet in the brain pan--squish.* And afterwards--divine numbness. Simon would tell her not to say such things. But Simon wasn’t here, didn’t see. The medicine crept through her body now, bending around elbows, spreading to touch her toes. She didn’t even feel them cast her broken forearm, set the bone in her left leg with an external fixatorw. After, dazed and destroyed, she hoped they’d leave her, let her slip into shivery, anesthetized sleep. But, no, they hadn’t yet consumed her. They demanded more, wouldn’t be sated till the River ran dry, nothing remaining. Broken, she let them take and take. Parts of a whole. Half a soul. Giver of life, reaper of death. Something pressed at the edges of her consciousness. Captain. She closed her eyes instead of answering. *** His absence was tangible, something missed with all five senses and maybe a couple new ones.  Though it guilted her to admit it, she felt River’s loss less.  The girl had been gone more than not this past year, and in her silent, stoic way, Zoe knew they’d never stop comin’ for her.  Still, she had no intention of makin’ it easy for the ta ma de hwoon dan.  They might get her in the end, but Zoe planned on them bleeding plenty for their efforts.    The others lounged around the dining common in varying degrees of inertia.  Inara sat motionless on the sofa, face pale save the glowing-yellow bruise on her cheek.  A gift from her no-good father, Zoe figured.  If the captain saw it, he’d find Vern Serra and rip him limb from limb.  But the captain weren’t here.  Kaylee lay with her head in Nara’s lap, knees dangling idly over the sofa arm.  Zoe assumed the women were minding her baby girl, was surprised to find the child in Jayne’s care.  She napped snuggled against his broad chest, her tiny bottom resting on his muscular forearm, her face crinkled in sleep.  With his free hand, Jayne patted her back, making Zoe wonder just who was comforting whom. “Ahem.”  Zoe cleared her throat.  “I’m sorry, we havin’ a wake, here?” “Zoe.”  Inara lifted her face; she wasn’t wearing make up and looked about eighteen.  “Is there any word?” “Ain’t heard back from Badger yet; was a long shot anyway.  Gonna send out a few more feelers, maybe contact Monty.”  She shifted sideways to allow Simon entrance.  “Seems they’re already gathered, Doctor.” “What’s goin’ on?” Kaylee asked, sitting up. “Doc’s called a crew meetin’.” “Oh, hold up now.  I know Mal’s gone, but we ain’t so low as to put the doc in charge.” “Shut up, Jayne.  Speak your piece, Doctor.” “Right.”  Simon flashed Zoe a look of gratitude, stepped into the circle.  His mind traveled back to the first time he addressed this crew, explained about his sister.  “I have a plan.  It’s dangerous.  It’s risky.  It may not work.” “That sounds like a plan of ours,” Inara murmured.  She met Simon’s gaze, and they exchanged wan smiles. “Before the ambush on Crighton, Zoe and I took Gideon to a friend on Picadilly Moon for a few tests.  The results confirmed my hunch.” “What hunch, honey?” Kaylee asked. “Gideon’s coma lacks a medical basis.  The swelling in his brain’s gone down, there’s no evidence of damage to the individual lobes. Physically, he should be capable of waking up on his own.  My neurology background is scant at best, but I have no choice but to conclude his condition is psychological.  To put it simply, he doesn’t want to wake up.” “Well, who on this ruttin’ boat does?” Jayne demanded.  “Hell, there’s days I’d just as soon stay in bed.” “Jayne,” Kaylee murmured. “What?  Mal don’t pay me to talk delicate.  Not like things ever been easy-like, but we can all see plain they’re gettin’ worse.  This is gonna end bloody, and anyone won’t admit it’s a gorramn fool.” “He’s right,” Simon said, his usually subdued voice stretching to fill the space.  “This may very well end badly.  I won’t…bullshit anyone,” he said, stumbling a little over the words.   The others watched him, eyes intent, expressions hopeful.  They wanted him to propose a miracle.  Hell, Mal’s plans seemed downright prudent next to this deranged scheme. He was supposed to be a doctor, a man of science, logic, learning. Well, he supposed he’d learned a few things these past years. He learned that his baby sister was a psychic, that she could communicate messages to the living and converse with the dead, see future danger months before it transpired, and slip unhindered into Mal’s head to deliver her warnings. Then: the strangest part. He learned that every person on this boat--well, mostly everyone--cared enough to risk life and limb for this girl, his baby sister. And for him. One another. Where was the science in that? Simon took a breath, began his speech. “If in fact Mal and my sister are still alive, the young man lying in the infirmary knows where to find them.   He’s closer to the center of this than anyone.  More trusted than Agent Gray, better informed than the Operative.  BSB and the Alliance likely believe him an unwilling hostage; they’ve no call to doubt his loyalty.  Gideon could fly a ship right into Blue Sun Central.  He’d know landing coordinates, clearance codes.” “They’d scan us before giving the OK to land,” Zoe murmured.  “Extra bodies in the smuggling holds are sure to arouse suspicion.” “That’s why Gideon waves them ahead of time, announces he’s returning with three prisoners.  We walk onto that compound as easy as…as….” “--a one-armed whore,” Jayne finished with a grin.  “Only got one problem with this plan, Doc.  What’s to keep coma boy from sellin’ us down the ruttin’ river whence he’s back among friends?” “Nothing.  We’ve no real notion of where his loyalties lie, and neither does BSB.  That’s both our greatest asset and our greatest weakness in this. That’s why they’ll allow him to land.” “But you believe we can trust him, Simon.”  Inara met his eyes, her own flat. “My sister tends to inspire a certain loyalty.  I suppose I needn’t tell all of you that.” “One other issue, Doctor.”  Zoe raised a single brow.  “Boy’s still in the deep sleep, last I checked.” “I know....This is where it gets dicey.” “Wait.”  Inara held up a finger.  “Presenting ourselves to BSB as prisoners isn’t the dicey part?” “I think I can reach Gideon.  But for this to work, I have to be dead.” Kaylee’s eyes went wide. “Simon.” “It’s okay, bao bei.  It’s just like Ariel. I’m going to suspend cerebral, cardiac and pulmonary activity in order to induce a proto-comatose state. While I’m out, I’m…gonna try to reach Gideon.” Two years in the Black and it was finally happening; he was losing his mind. Zoe shook her head. “Ain’t goin’ down that way, Doctor.” “Shah muh?” “Simon, be reasonable.  You’re the doctor.  What would we do if something went wrong?”  Inara stood up.  “Anyway, it should be me.” “Aw, hell, Nara.   Mal’d throw me out the airlock if I let you get yourself corpsified.” Jayne shrugged.  “Give me the knockout juice, could use a decent nap.” “Let me?  You’ve no call to *let* me do anything, Jayne.” “No, but I do.”  Zoe motioned for her to sit.  “Ship’s mine till Mal gets back, Nara.  I’m captain in his leave, and I say no.” “Think about this logically.  Without intending offense, I’m more intuitive than the rest of you.  I may have a better chance of reaching Gideon.” “Inara—“ “I’m not quite finished, Zoe.  If anything happens…if something were to go wrong…Zoe, Mal will need you and Jayne at full strength.  Kaylee needs to look to Serenity.  It’s not as thought I’d be much use with any of that.” For a moment no one spoke. “Can everybody stop talkin’ like we’re all gonna die?” Kaylee burst out.  “Ain’t exactly good for morale, if you know what I mean.” Everyone began speaking at once, voices rising and falling, interrupting one another in their rush to be heard. Zoe slammed her fist into the wall hard enough to draw blood. “Anyone gonna talk to Gideon, should be me.” “Zoe—” Simon began. “I’m sorry, any o’ you screw him?”  She smiled at the silence.  “Didn’t think so.  Lead the way, Doctor.” *** Inara took the squirming baby from Zoe’s arms, bounced her against her hips.  She hadn’t exactly call to hold many babies during her time at the Guild.  It amazed her how well this one fit her body, conforming to her curves with the ease of her favorite silk gown.  “Zoe.”  Inara met the elder woman’s eyes, her own solemn.  “With all due respect for your authority in Mal’s leave, I’m begging you to reconsider.” “Objection noted.”  Zoe lay back on the table, her dark curls spilling over her shoulders.  “Feel free to lodge a formal complaint with the appeals’ committee.” In spite of herself, Inara found her eyes twinkling. “There is no appeals’ committee.” “Convenient, ain’t it?”  Reaching up, she pressed a finger against Raven’s hand, felt the tight fist close around it.  “One o’ these days, we oughta make you godmother in a more official capacity.” “Shah muh?” “Honey, look at the other options.  You got a better notion?” “I—Kaylee and Simon—” “—are kids.  Babies themselves--not ready to care for one.” *You think I am?* “Are we ready?” Simon asked. “Let’s do this,” Zoe confirmed. “You understand the dangers?  Medically speaking, you’ll be dead.  And psychologically….” “Psychologically, I’m taking a little trip.” “You might not come back,” he said softly. “I’ll come back.”  She pushed up her sleeve.  “He’ll make sure of it.” “Gideon?” Simon asked. “Not Gideon.”  Zoe closed her eyes, the smile curving her lush lips, setting her entire face at ease.  “I’m coming, Baby.” *** “Time to wake up, Baby.” Zoe slithered down the mattress, pulling the sheet up over her head. “Mmm,” she murmured noncommittally, sinking deeper into the pillows. “Do I have to come down there and get you?” “Mm-hmm.”  “Okay, but I warned you.”  “Uh-huh.”  She shrieked when cold hands caught hold of her bare torso, tickled furiously. “Husband, do you have a mind to lose those fingers?” He sucked on hers by way of response.  Burrowed under the covers, he smelled of cinnamon toothpaste and Core-planet aftershave, the latter being his one indulgence.  “Let’s stay in bed all day,” she murmured, drowsy and content to stay so.  She trailed lazy hands over his chest and belly, dipped dangerously lower. “Oh, wuh de ma, do I wish you didn’t have somewhere to be.”  He kissed her lips, and she was infused with cinnamon, warmth, Wash. “You’re wrong, Husband.”  She laid her head on his chest, felt downy tufts of hair tickle her ear.  “I’m right where I should be.” “Angel. Devil. Angel. Devil.  Gorramn angel.”  He tilted her chin up to meet his steady blue gaze.  “Sweetie, what about Mal?” She didn’t blink. “Screw ‘em.” “Ah, yes, I’ve had that thought myself a time or two.  And Ye Su knows someone should screw the man.” “Someone is,” she said, yawning. “Right.  Inara.” “Left our little girl with her.  Not the first time.” “You did good, Baby.  Now I’m gonna help you get where you’re going.” “Or…could just stay here.  Stay with you.”  She traced his features with her fingers: eyes, nose, lips.  She drew her knuckles over his cheek, reveled in the rough scraping sensation.  She could stroke him till her skin wore away, till she bled.  It would never be enough. “We’ll have our beach, Baby.  I’ll wait.” “You won’t love me.  I’ll be wrinkly.” “Well, once the good doc kicks, we’ll have him fix you up.” She laughed, slapping him with her palm. “Few minutes won’t hurt no one.”  Her tone sobered.  “God knows we deserve this.” “Ah, my glorious Zoe.”  He slid on top of her, settling in the hollow between her thighs. “Think you can be quick, Husband?” Wash raised a brow. “Sweetie, speed’s my middle name.  Wait, that sounded bad.” *** Inara sat back in the pilot’s seat, soothed by the silence of Serenity at night. Hugging her knees against her chest, she lowered her face to their hollow. She never said the words. Would he have smiled and said them back? She liked his smile, a crooked smirk, precious for its dearth. She wanted to kiss that lopsided grin, suck gently at the full lower lip, feel his stubble sting her face. She ached to feel his hands on her, firm and frantic against the sensitive skin of her lower back. In a subconscious gesture, her fist closed around the ruby at her throat. In his own, infuriating way, he’d kept her safe. “Dammit, Mal. Why couldn’t you save yourself?” Guilt. Rage. She preferred both to the alternative: grief. Weary, she rolled her forehead against her kneecaps, wishing she could rub out the pain. She wanted to sleep but was afraid she’d dream of him. Mal hurting. Mal dying. “I love you, damn you,” she whispered into the Black. The cortex hissed and crackled, and for a moment she half-expected his face to appear: battered and bruised but still Mal. The man always did like to make an entrance. Instead a woman’s visage filled the screen. Heavy golden hair bundled back in a knot. Peaches-and-cream skin and tired gray eyes. “Malcom? Are you there, Mal?” Inara cleared her throat before speaking. “He’s...unavailable. Can I help you?” “I need to speak to Captain Reynolds personal.” Inara squinted at the grainy image. “I--do I know you?” “Listen, honey, our cortex is in bad shape. Town got hit...reavers...satellite damage...Mayella....tell Malcom.” “Mayella from Bellerophon? But she was staring at a blank screen. *** Her flesh still flushed from the heat of his, Zoe found herself in her own bed.  She swung her legs over the edge, noting for the first time her dress.  Tortoise-shell green and slinky as hell.  *Very funny, Husband.*  She stood, hearing her heels click against the floorboards.  When Wash was alive, she never wore heels.  Fancy footwear hadn’t much place in her line of work, and furthermore her mister had height issues.  Clearly, he was feeling whimsical. Shaking her head, she climbed the ladder.  A deadly stillness settled like fog over Serenity’s catwalks, haunted her abandoned halls.  Zoe wandered the ship, searching for some sign of the boy.  Hell of an irony, if he were here this whole time…. She scoured the cargo bay, rooting through the smuggling holds, the secret compartments.  Nothing.  When it finally dawned on her, she felt silly, sure that Simon, Inara, even the captain would have realized before her.  Well, maybe not the captain.  These mind puzzles really weren’t her strong suit.  She was a fighter, preferred war plots and weapons to brainteasers. Still, she knew he’d be there, felt it deep in her gut.  She opened the door, stepped inside. “Gideon.” *** Was a doctor still a doctor in the Black? Was he still a doctor when he’d done this thing, disregarded all his medical training in some desperate attempt to save his sister? She was his to protect; in a very real sense he was all she had. And now she was hurt, bleeding. She was broken, but to fix her he had to find her. “Simon.” Inara touched a hesitant hand to his shoulder, smiled her apology when he jumped. “Inara. Is Kaylee...?” “Sleeping. Finally.” “That’s...that’s good. She needed it.” “Yes.” Her lashes swept over Zoe’s prone form. “She’s been out awhile.” “Three hours.” Inara lifted the woman’s still hand between hers. “She looks so peaceful.” “Inara, do you think Zoe...volunteered for this...because a part of her still wishes...still wants to...?” “Yes.” She met his eyes. “I think a part of her still wants to....” “Do you think Mal knows?” “He knows,” Inara murmured. “Those two share an incredible bond.” One forged in blood and war and survival. One forged in love. “I shouldn’t have let her do it.” “Simon.” Her smile was gentle. “In a way, she’s stubborn as Mal, as your sister. She knows her own mind.” “I put this in her mind.” “Mal trusted her to lead in his leave. We should do the same.” “Fifteen more minutes. Then I’m pulling her out....Inara, I’m sorry.” “For what have you to be sorry, Doctor?” “My sister...she’s an innocent in this. I gave her no choice when I took passage on Serenity. It’s because of me that Book and Wash...all this suffering. And now the captain--” “Simon.” Inara brought a finger to his lips. “Hush. Wash and Shepherd Book cared deeply for your sister.” “Enough to give their lives for her? Somehow, I doubt anyone asked their consent.” “And surely they gave none. But your guilt adds nothing to their sacrifices, Simon. Neither does it soothe the souls of those left living.” “I only wanted to keep her safe. That’s all I ever wanted.” “You’re a good brother. A good husband. A good friend. We’ll get through this, Simon. Somehow, we all will.” “Hey, you two.” Kaylee wandered into the room, one hand over her lips to muffle the yawn. “What’s the news? We got any yet?” “They’re still out, sweetie,” Inara answered. “I wonder where they are....” Kaylee leaned over Gideon’s prone form, reached out to touch his cheek. “Looks so peaceful-like, just like he’s asleep--ahhhh!” Gideon bolted upright, and Kaylee sprang back, bumping the wall hard enough to bruise. Simon rushed forward to check the young man’s vitals while Inara comforted Kaylee. “Zoe,” Gideon whispered through cracked lips. He seemed surprised to see the others, to awaken in this room of all places. “I’m pulling her out,” Simon decided, reaching for a syringe. A second later she was back, coughing and gasping, shoulders heaving as she tried to catch her breath. Simon held a trough beneath her chin while Inara pressed a cool cloth to her forehead. “Zoe?” Kaylee patted her thigh. “You feel okay, honey?” Zoe finished retching, rubbed her mouth with the back of her hand. When she met Kaylee’s eyes, she was beaming. “Feel just fine, Little Kaylee.” She slid off the table. “Now I believe we got some crew need rescuin’.” *** Inara brewed tea. Kaylee whipped up a little dinner, though nobody felt much like eating. “How’s the boy?” Zoe asked as Simon joined the others at the table. “Stable. Sleeping. A good doctor would recommend bed rest and relaxation rather than violence and treason. On the other hand, after today I should be more open to alternative therapies.” “Aw, sweetie you’re a good doctor,” Kaylee assured, rubbing his shoulder. “Best one on the boat,” Jayne snickered. “Will he be strong enough to walk even?” Inara asked. “Hump that, will he sell us out to his pals is the real question.” “Simon and I explained the situation, Jayne. Tomorrow, assuming he’s still breathing, Gideon waves BSB, announces he’s regained consciousness and taken control of the ship. We park Serenity in a secure location, and Gideon flies Jayne, Simon and me in on Shuttle 2 as prisoners. Meanwhile, Kaylee has Shuttle 1 ready and waitin’.” “And me?” Inara asked. “What’s my role in this?” Zoe met the younger woman’s eyes. “I’m hopin’ you’ll look to my baby, Honey. Take care o’ the captain’s.” She slid her gaze over the ceiling, the familiar walls. Inara nodded slowly. “Anythin’ happens and we don’t make it out, you meet up with Kaylee in Shuttle 1. Then you take Serenity and get the gui outta this quadrant.” “And Gideon’s sure they’ve got Mal and River at the facility on Ezra?” Inara asked. “How’s he know that if’n he’s been mostly dead all month?” Jayne said, suspicious. “But he seemed...sure?” Simon asked. “He was sure,” was all she said. The rest would remain unsaid. Dear God, she didn’t wanna be the one had to say it. “And they’re just holdin’ em?” Kaylee pressed. “They’re okay?” “They’re alive,” Zoe confirmed, averting her eyes. “Gonna stay that way too. Once we’re on the inside, Gideon slips away and kills the power. We break outta the holding cell and locate the captain.” Jayne raised a brow. “Guns?” “Gonna need some,” Zoe agreed. “Gideon says there’s an arms locker on Floor 3.” “Gideon says, Gideon says. Ain’t he just all sorts of helpful these days?” “He’s all we have, Jayne,” Inara said quietly. “This is gonna go great,” Jayne muttered. Kaylee bit her lip. “Do you think so?” “Oh, yeah.” Zoe sipped her tea. “Great.” *** The hand restraints musta been tied in to the main security feed. They released when the power tripped. Mal pulled his wrists free, jumped out of the bed before the manacles could reactivate. He tried the door, found it unlocked and slipped silently into the hall. He didn’t know where to find her.  Cursing in ripe Mandarin, he flung open one door after another, scanning the rooms just long enough to conclude the sleeping bodies weren’t the one he sought.  Ta ma de, why wasn’t she helpin’ him?  Most times he was chasin’ the girl outta his head; felt all manner of strange coaxin’ her back in.  *River.  Ai ya, I ain’t no psychic.  You gotta gimme a clue, darlin’.  Wuh de ma, gimme a gorramn clue.* She picked a hell of a time to go all shy-like. He heard footsteps down the hall, ducked into a doorway.  Pressed against the wall, he watched six fine Alliance Federals shuffle past, hokey stun guns held at their hips.  He waited for them to pass, noticing for the first time the blue light blinking overhead.  Security breach, it screamed silently.  He had a sneaking sensation of who was doing the breachin’.  Well, he didn’t pay ‘em to be subtle. He followed the Feds down the corridor, creeping along the wall. Like Han Solo on the Goddamned Death Star.  If Han switched his pants for a cotton gown. Ai ya, this was not his best day ever.  The guards outside the door gave away the show.  Hell, it mighta been her name in big ruttin’ type.  Mal groped for his holster, came up with a fistful of white hospital smock and groaned.  Definitely not his shiniest day.    He peered around the corner, appraised the two young purple-bellies with disdain. Two guards?  *Two?* And they was guardin’ the door more ‘n the hall outside. Hell, maybehaps he’d gave these Blue Sun fellas too much credit.   He crept closer, feet soundless on the linoleum flooring. Damn if Blue Sun issue tube socks weren’t quiet as a newborn kitten. Convenient, really. He took another step, slipped and had to grab the wall to stay upright. Okay, clearly traction wasn’t his strong point here. Grace neither. Hoping he wasn’t ‘bout to fall on his face, Mal darted around the corner and grabbed the closer of the two. He snaked one arm ‘round the boy’s throat, used the other to lift the stunner pistol from his holster. The second guard, clearly a mite nervy, turned his own pistol on the struggling men and fired. Guard One groaned as Guard Two hit him square in the chest. “Nice one, they teach you that in Fed school?” Mal shook his head, threw the dazed man into his trigger-happy partner and watched both guards stumble to the floor. “Gorrammit, if everything the Alliance does ain’t half-rate.” He hit them with a couple more stun blasts, threw a quick glance over his shoulder before dragging them into an empty room. Mal started for the door, found his eyes wandering back to the prone forms on the floor. “This really ain’t personal,” he muttered before pulling off the taller one’s trousers. ** She lay in the center of the bed, small and shivery as a nightmare-plagued child.  Wide-eyed, she stared at the ceiling, her gaze hard enough to gouge holes.  They hadn’t bothered to restrain her, and she kept both arms stiff at her sides. She looked like a corpse. *Ye su.* He didn’t know where to touch her, bruised and battered everywhere his eyes fell.  Finally, he settled on her left hand, slid his fingers through hers. “River.”  Then, more roughly, “Are you here?” She turned then, her eyes guilt-stricken. “I’m sorry, Captain.” “Whadda you got to be sorry for?”  To be truthsome, he was just relieved to hear her voice. “Tried to find you.  Couldn’t see over the screaming.” “Well, it’s okay, see, ‘cuz I found you.”  He scrutinized her small figure, trying to divine a way of carrying her with minimal pain.  “Try and sit up now.” “I was dreaming. Tried to show them to you.”   A single tear slid down her cheek. He sighed, suddenly exhausted.  “We gotta go, Lil’ Albatross.” “Just leave me here.”  She closed her eyes.  “Let me die.” “Hey.”  He squeezed her hand.  “None o’ that talk now. Need you to be brave, dong ma?” She reached up to touch his face, stroked a hand over the Blue Sun logo on his borrowed tunic. “This is gonna hurt, bao bei.  I don’t know how to hold you without it hurtin’.” She didn’t answer.  She was crying with her eyes closed. *** Mal lowered the BSB cap over his eyes, pushed River down the hall on the stretcher. “Gonna be back on Serenity in no time, Darlin’.” He wheeled her out into the hallway, tried his ruttin’ best to look official. “Just hang in there awhile longer, I’ll have you back to your brother in no time.” “Less,” she whispered. “Huh?” “Sir.” Mal actually jumped, turned to find most of his crew along with the Comatose Kid lookin’ all sorts of awake. “Oh, hey, now!” He exhaled long and slow. Simon’s eyes fell on the stretcher. Wordless, he went to River’s side. “You okay, Cap’n?” Jayne asked while brother and sister spoke in undertones. “ ‘Cept for the shavin’ three years off my life part, I’m gorramn shiny.” “We done come to rescue you, Cap’n.” Mal nodded, scratched the back of his head. “This the sorta rescue ends with us all in the lockdown?” “Or hanged,” Zoe offered. “Could be hanging.” “That there’s a comfort.” Mal nodded his head at Gideon, leaning bodily on Jayne. “I see Rip Van Useless’s up and about. Well, sorta.” “I woulda gone with Sleeping Beauty,” Zoe mused. “And boy ain’t a total dud, Sir. Did get us this far.” “Huh. Maybe I’ll just kick his ass the once then.” “What the hell’s going on here?” A man in a long white lab coat stood behind them, one hand hovering over his pocket. Mal could see the outline of a ‘com there. “Book Club?” Mal suggested. Without a word, Jayne raised his gun hand, shot the doctor in the chest. River’s eyes drifted closed; even Zoe winced. Mal didn’t say a word, just jerked his head toward the door. “Let’s move, people.” “Gideon?” Zoe met his eyes. “Which way?” “Right. There’s an exit past the cafeteria. The custodians use that exit to dispose of the refuse.” Mal and Zoe exchanged glances. *Do we trust him?* Mal’s asked. *Do we have a choice?* Zoe’s replied. Mal gave a slow nod, helped Simon maneuver River’s stretcher. Zoe slapped her ‘com in Jayne’s hand. “Wave Kaylee. Tell her to be ready with the shuttle.” *** While Jayne disparaged Kaylee’s flying technique and Kaylee instructed him on where he could shove those opinions, Mal watched Simon tend to his sister. Doc had brought his med kit of course. Weren’t much he could do on the shuttle, but he seemed determined to make her comfortable least. He pressed a couple pills to her lips, held a cup of water so she could swallow. Murmuring softly, he dabbed ointment on her bruised face, applied bandages to the fairly shallow cuts, wounds wouldn’t need a weave. “Sir.” Zoe slid down the wall beside him. “Mm,” Mal murmured, eyes on Gideon. The boy watched River as well, from behind slitted eyes. Kid looked exhausted, as though the day’s thrilling heroics had taken their toll. Probably this weren’t part o’ the typical post-coma recovery plan. “You wave Serenity? Tell her where on our way.” “I told Inara,” Zoe said evenly. “Good. That’s good.” “Shouldn’t o’ been that easy, Sir.” Her voice was a whisper, so as not to disturb the others. “Shoulda had more guards on her.” More ‘n a couple. “I know.” “This ain’t over, Sir.” “I know.” *** He found her in his bunk, curled in a ball with the baby beside her. He flipped on the desk lamp instead of the overhead flourescents, crouched by the bed to watch her sleep. A glowing yellow bruise spread over her cheek; an angry red scrape marred the perfection of her temple. Mal felt the heat sear his belly, wanted very much to feel that man’s throat between his fingers. He meant it when he said he’d kill for her. Now he knew he’d refrain from killing as well. He’d lay his head in her lap like a gorramn slave, submit to all her whims and wills. He couldn’t keep her safe. Hell, he didn’t even know that he could keep her. But he had her today, tonight. In a way, that was everything. She woke when he tried to lift the child, long, coal lashes blinking in confusion. “Gonna return the little chick to her mama.” She nodded, reached for his hand in a Kaylee-esque gesture. “Any new holes?” she murmured. “Inara.” He gave her his wounded look. “Criminal masterminds don’t get shot.” She smiled, peachy-gold lips inviting. “Of course, I withdraw the question.” “You, uh. You gonna be here when I get back?” She raised a brow. “Where would I go?” When he returned, she was gone, leaving the scent of jasmine in her wake. “Girl does keep a man on his toes,” Mal muttered. He sat on the edge of the bed, ran his hand over sheets still warm from the heat of her flesh. He unlaced his boots, Alliance issue and tight enough to have his toes cramping. He groaned a sigh of relief to be out of them, unbuttoned the pilfered gray tunic and tossed it over a chair. He was just reaching for his belt buckle when the knock sounded. Moments later her slender form descended the ladder, the skirts of her nightgown swirling about pretty little ankles. For a moment, she just studied him from across the room, one delicate hand lingering hesitant-like on the railing. Then she fairly flew across the room, hurled herself at him hard enough to knock the breath from him. “Little eager, darlin’?” he asked mildly. She pressed her face into the curve of his throat. “Bi zui. Just hold me.” “Won’t hear me complainin’. Though, to be truthsome, it ain’t worth the fuss.” He raised her chin, brushed away the wet with the pad of his thumb. “Look at me. All shiny, dong ma?” “And River?” Mal looked away. “Blue Sun docs patched her up some. Ta ma de hwoon dan hurt her bad, but bruise fade, breaks heal. Simon’ll take good care of her; boy always does.” “I only wanted to visit, see if there was anything I could....” Her voice trailed off at the end. “I could hear her screaming.” Mal lay a hand on her shoulder. “Inara...where’s your daddy got off to?” “Gone. He won’t bother us again.” “Inara....” “Please, Mal.” *Please, don’t ask.* “C’mere.” He tugged her into the center of the room. “What are you...?” “Woman, you gotta fight me on every bitty thing? Let’s just pretend you’re the docile sort for once.” He led her by the hand, turned to flick on his audio device without releasing his hold on her wrist. She just stared as swells of music filled Mal’s narrow bunk. “Now’s the part where you put your hands on me,” he explained. When she didn’t move, he lifted her arms at the elbow, tucked her fingers behind his neck. He settled his hands on her waist. “Think that’s the way.” “We’re going to dance? In your bunk.” “Don’t do well at fancy shindigs, as you may recollect.” “Mm, I do recall that.” “Anyway, me and you ain’t ever danced proper.” “Yes, we have. We danced at the aforementioned Persephone party, and again briefly at the Councilman’s manor on Shadow.” “Well, see, those don’t count.” “And why, may I ask, is that?” she questioned, amused. “ ‘Cuz my fine sense o’ decorum prevented me from doing this.” He dragged her hard against him, rubbed her hips suggestively. “Think you can keep up with me, Cupcake?” “Mal...this is a fast number.” He raised a brow. “Believe it or not, Kitten, I got me a few moves.” “I can see that,” she said, a little breathless as he spun her, not unskillfully, around the narrow space. “Okay, give. Where did you learn this?” He just smirked, ran his hands down her torso. When he slid them up again, he had her nightgown clutched in his fists. He drew the silky fabric over her head. She shivered when his knuckles skimmed her breasts. In a hurry now, she pushed up his shirt, pressing kisses to his chest and belly. She shimmied down the length of him, bending her knees to unbuckle his trousers while he pulled the t-shirt over his head. “Someone must have taught you.” She breathed close to his ear as they moved. “Did you have lessons?” He snorted a laugh. “Oh, can’t you just see that. This...this is kinda like sex with your clothes on,” he mused. “Most of our clothes are on the floor,” she said dryly. “You do got a point.” He brushed his mouth over hers, not really kissing, just contact. “Zoe.” “Shah muh?” “Was Zoe taught me. Used to take our leaves at the local pubs, cantinas. After the first few trips, said she was ‘shamed to dance in sight of me, I was so bad. Guess she took pity after awhile, showed me a few moves.” “I’ll be sure to thank her.” “Do that and you’ll be dancin’ by your lonesome. We don’t mention this in the near ever, dong ma?” Hiding a smile, she pressed kisses to his collarbone, his cheek, the curve of his throat before he caught her mouth with his. He made love to her with his tongue while they removed their remaining garments, fell down on the bed. Naked, she slid herself wetly up the length of him, near tears dipped her head to kiss his lips. Groaning out his approval, he shifted his hips, employed one hand to guide himself inside her. “Mal.” She said his name, a whimper. Both were trembling by the time he was fully sheathed in her heat. For an instant, neither moved, dragging fulfillment from the sheer sweetness of their fit. Then he reached between her legs, teasing with two fingers. His eyes never left hers. Squeezing with her thighs, she rode, as greedy for his groans as her own pleasure. He ran his hand over the damp skin of her back, inched his fingers up her spine to tug at the curls dangling there. She threw back her head as her breath quickened. One long-nailed hand grasped the sheet for support. He took her smaller hand in his larger one, threaded their fingers. For long, silent seconds, there was solace. *** Simon emerged from the infirmary, dragging a weary hand through his hair. He closed the doors behind him. “How is she, Doctor?” Simon glanced at Mal, waiting with folded arms in the hall. “You should let me look at that eye,” he murmured before slanting his body against the wall. Kaylee slipped an arm around his waist, and he pulled her nearer, taking comfort in her closeness. “Don’t worry on me,” Mal responded. “How’s your sister?” “Bruised. Battered. She suffered some broken bones.” “Some?” Inara asked softly. “Gorramn purple-belly thugs,” Jayne muttered. Beside him, Gideon’s expression was unreadable. Kaylee closed her eyes against Simon’s shirt, unable to contemplate poor River in pain. “Can’t you make her more comfortable?” Mal asked impatiently. “I pumped her full of drugs, Captain.” “But...the screaming....” Kaylee whispered. “What else happened in that hospital room?” Mal demanded, his tone deathly still. “I don’t know what they did to her; she won’t tell me.” Simon met Mal’s eyes. “She’s been asking for you.” If Mal felt surprise, his face didn’t betray it. “She okay for visitors?” “As long as you don’t stay too long. I don’t want her agitated.” “That’s Serenity,” Jayne muttered. “Ruttin’ relaxation cruise.” “Ain’t she just,” Mal agreed. He slipped past the group assembled before the infirmary and stepped inside the bright, sterile space, closing the doors behind him. Moving quietly in case she’d drifted off, Mal wheeled the Doc’s chair up by her bed. He took a seat as he had so many times--too many times--when one of his crew was ill or injured. Carefully, he held her small hand between his bigger ones, wanting her to feel the comfort of human contact when she stirred. He didn’t have long to wait; her long lashes parted, revealing sleep-starved brown orbs. “Hey,” he said softly. “There’s my lazy, good-for-nothin’ pilot. Sleepin’ on the job, huh?” “Sorry, Captain.” Her lips curved in a pale smile. “Yeah, well, it’s comin’ out of your paycheck.” Mal stroked the back of her hand, careful not to think too hard on her shattered nose, the blue and yellow patches beneath her eyes. He surely didn’t want her readin’ those thoughts. “So I guess your brother’s gonna have to clear a space in here. Think Lil’ Kaylee’s already took up a collection for flowers.” “I never had flowers before,” she mused. Mal just nodded, leaned down to press a kiss to her forehead. “You just rest now, Little One.” “Little One,” she murmured. She squeezed his hand when he tried to stand, met his eyes, her own wild. “Can’t feel it, can you? You’re lucky.” “Honey.” His throat was rough, his voice strained. “’Haps you should talk to the doc ‘bout all this.” “You have to know.” She sounded sorry. “Okay,” Mal said slowly. He lowered himself to the chair, took her hand between both of his. “What is it I gotta know, River?” “They took things...parts. Men in white coats. And a nurse: red hair, smooth hands.” “I remember her,” he murmured, half to himself. “Shot me up full o’ somethin’. Made me dream....” “Inara.” River smiled sadly. “Okay, that’s a bit creepifying--” “Lying!” She was shrieking now, thrashing about on the exam table. “Sneaking, thieving! Greedy foxes: they got the eggs--” Mal leaned forward, tried to hold her still without hurting her. “River--” “--weren’t theirs to take!” She met Mal’s eyes, her own covered in a liquid sheen. “They weren’t,” she murmured, softer now. “Honey, I ain’t your brother. You gotta give me this in captain-dummy talk.” “If at first you don’t succeed, try again, try the hen. Oh, God!” She was crying now, the teardrops skating down her face in long streaks. “The...doctors....” Mal had to fight like hell to keep his voice level. “You tellin’ me they took your--?” “She was so close to perfect. Star pupil, except there’s a design flaw. Her mind’s still her own, and she disobeyed, saved her brother.” River giggled, half hysterical. “Flew the coop. Runtse de Shang-dee, ching dalwuhtzo.” Oh, sweet Jesus, it never stopped. They couldn’t seem to stop, couldn’t quit meddling like gorramn gods. No, God weren’t one for meddlin’. In point of fact, sumbitch didn’t do a ruttin’ thing. “They’ll hurt it,” River said miserably. She curled up fetal, or as best she could attempt with a broken leg. “Y-your baby?” “No.” River looked up, her beautiful, battered eyes mournful. “Ours.” *** TBC in Part 16. I need feedback!

COMMENTS

Sunday, February 19, 2006 6:08 PM

GRIMLOCK


This is me

Sunday, February 19, 2006 6:44 PM

SIHNON


KDFGlmfghlsedofimserfpo,gfh346,.azsfd,gvbn.

There are actually no words in English to express...wha'...ngnk.

Jeez, that was one HELL of a roller coaster ride...an' River with the creepy and the heartbreak, an' Inara an' Mal with the sweetness, an' then the Wash heartbreak, an' the Gideon mysterymystery, and then with the HATE OF INARA'S FATHER (In capitals on account of it's mighty powerful), and Jayne being instructed on where he could place his opinions on Kaylee's flying (Very funny, by the way...)

...That was awesome.

Sunday, February 19, 2006 7:16 PM

PHOENIXRISING


You don't know just how impatient I've been for this chapter, and now I can't wait for the next. I knew what River was saying just about as soon as she started trying to tell Mal, but it still hit me when she said ours. I must beg you though, please don't turn into Joss. I don't think I could stand it if Mal and Inara broke up. I mean she can't really hold it against him, right? right? Anyway keep up the good work.

Sunday, February 19, 2006 7:49 PM

GOLDY


Oh. my. god. You're amazing. I don't know where you come up with this stuff. But it's so painful and exciting and all over the place.

With the Mal/Inara, and the creepy hospital scenes, and poor River, and Zoe/Wash!

The big reveal at the end - so PERFECT. It took me a moment to add everything up, but you worked it so it all made sense and fell into place. Awesome. Awesome. Awesome.

Sunday, February 19, 2006 10:59 PM

SHINYGEEKET


oh.my.god.

that's all i can say. my brain can't function past that level.

i can't wait for the next chapter. i'll seriously be suffering withdrawls until it's posted.

please keep up the great work. i'm addicted and i honestly don't know what i would do without this series!

Monday, February 20, 2006 12:38 AM

2X2


Ta.Ma.De.Hun.Dan!!
Horrible what they've done to River... there's got to be some retribution, somehow!!
I'm aweful curious as to what exactly happened to Inara's daddy... I've got my suspicions
Like seen' the lengths the crew'll go to, to get back theirs... but what are they gonna do about this new unsettlin' development??
Guess I'll find out in Part 16, woo! Can't wait!

Monday, February 20, 2006 2:04 AM

AMDOBELL


Wow, this was stupendous, awesome and a really roller coaster ride of competing emotions. So happy to see Mal and Inara back together though for a moment I thought the temptation for Zoe to stay dead so she could be with Wash might be too hard to resist. Trust Wash to put her back on track but lovingly. That end news about those *liumang* Alliance dogs stealing River's eggs and such was all kinds of creepifying but it does make sense of how they got away so easily with so few guards. After all, they have what they want from River, don't need her now. Also makes sense of grabbing the Captain to do tests on him to so they can make viable kids to raise loyal to the rutting Alliance. This is quite a convoluted and twisted game they're playing, can't wait for MORE! Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Monday, February 20, 2006 2:31 AM

BLACKBEANIE


I am speechless, except for this.

Monday, February 20, 2006 2:17 PM

TAYEATRA


Oh wow. Wow. Wow. Wow.... (having trouble forming other words!)

So very upset that I didn't get anywhere near first review on this... I love your stuff!

OK... so it's midnight here and I have to be up in 6 hours but I figured I'd just double check any new stuff in the BS room and wow, couldn't resist another chapter of 'thrilling heroics'. Oh yes... violence and treason are the best kinds of therapy!

Another fantastic chapter with creepily Joss like twists! Loving it, absolutely loving this. Gotta figure it's going to lead them back to evil plot with the genetically engineered babies! (Guess they figured Mal is suitable now!)

You've made my day/night!

Awesome

Monday, February 20, 2006 3:35 PM

WEREALLJUSTFLOATING


Oh my God!!!! This was a great chapter. And so long - what an unexpected treat. Loved it - couldn't believe it when I thought you'd killed off Zoe - then you go and pull the rug out from under us.

Loved the scenes between her and Wash when she's in that fake-death. And River and Mal having a baby - did I read that right? It's so wrong!! And why did they choose Mal, I thought they'd want to match River with another genius, Gideon for example.

I actually thought that River might already be pregnant with Gideon's baby because she's mentioned previously as feeling a little off - but this is sooo much worse!! Oh god don't leave us in suspense too long - I love this story it just keeps getting better and better, you are a great writer Kaynara. Keep it up.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006 3:36 AM

JOY


Holy cow! All the things i have to be doing now, and i could not tear myself away from reading the last two installments back to back at 5AM! damn, youre good.

Thursday, February 23, 2006 7:31 AM

BROWNCOATGAL


*dies*

Friday, February 24, 2006 7:36 PM

SHINYMULELOVER


OH
.
.
.
WOW
.
.
You sure do know how to leave a cliffhanger. Man is this gonna be all sorts of creepifiyin'.

Saturday, February 25, 2006 5:39 PM

RMMC


*meep*
That was certainly one hell of a ride. Great job. I'm off to the next part 'cause I still wondering why they were able to get away so easily. It's making me the nervous sort. ;-)

Friday, March 24, 2006 1:01 PM

BELLONA


*screeches blue bloody murder*
WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

oh, lord...

b


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