Choices - Part 11D
Friday, March 3, 2006

Zoe and Jayne search for Lawman Williams's son, while the others prepare back on Serenity. And Mal asks Inara for a promise.


A/N: At long last… another part of a part (grin)… I must apologize for the delay. I reached a point in the story, and even though I know what’s coming next, I couldn’t seem to make things move on. Took me far too long to get this part done, but now that it is, hopefully, the next parts will come faster again. This one is longer than the others, nearly 4500 words, so hopefully that will appease. Usual disclaimers apply. And also, thanks to all of you who have continued to encourage and support this story! As you already know, but I don’t mind saying again, you guys rock.

Go back and read the Other Parts: 1 2 3A 3B 4 5 6 7 8A 8B 8C 9 10 11A 11B 11C

Choices – Part 11D

Zoë, Book and Jayne sat around the table in Serenity’s kitchen, the soft lamplight casting warm shadows over them as the mercenary reported on what he’d found.

“They was five riders,” Jayne said between forkfuls of protein. “Couldn’t tell which of ‘em had ‘Nara, though. I tracked ‘em three miles or so outside a’ town before they split up, goin’ five different ways. Smart. I coulda picked one to follow, but ain’t no guarentee it’d be the one that lead to either of ‘em.” He shook his head. “’They was smart enough to split up, prob’ly smart enough not to meet up again too soon, neither.”

Zoë nodded in agreement. “’Already too dark n’ the trails’ll likely be too cold by morning. We go for the Lawman’s boy, find out where they took the Captain and Inara, and go get ‘em.”

Jayne shook his head around another mouthful. “Goin’ after a Lawman’s kid ‘s all kind a’ stupid,” he groused.

“That’s why we do it real quiet like,” Zoë stated. “Snatch him quick and careful, then bring him back here.”

“An’ how’re we supposed t’ find ‘im?”

“That’s your job. Ain’t nobody better qualified,” she added, mollifying his protest and forcing him to grudgingly agree. “Shepherd,” she said, turning to the man who’d been conspicuously silent during the exchange. “I’d like you to keep an eye on Serenity. No tellin’ if someone might still be after Gabr’elle, or even River an’ Simon. Think it best if you keep yourself armed till we get back.”

Book nodded solemnly. “Can I ask, what do you plan to do with the boy when you get him here?” he asked.

Zoë met his stare. “Get answers,” she said grimly, leaving little doubt to her meaning. The Shepherd nodded.

“I’ll prepare one of the other passenger quarters,” he said, surprising the first mate. He quirked an eyebrow at her and then gave her a wry smile. “Oft times, the imagination can make the anticipation of what could happen more effective than actual, physical torture. I think I can put on a convincing enough show that it needn’t come to that.”

“You know an awful lot about things like torturin’ for a man of the cloth, Preacher,” said Zoë, giving him a shrewd look.

“I read,” he replied, his face a mask of composed sincerity. Jayne snorted and Zoë had to agree. The man who called himself Shepherd Book knew an awful lot about an awful lot of things a Shepherd had no business knowin’ about. But now was not the time to delve into that mystery, nor was she going to look a gift horse in the mouth.

“Let’s get to it,” she said.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“Kaylee, can you hand me the grav-spanner?” came Wash’s disembodied voice from beneath the mule. “Kaylee?” When she still didn’t answer, the pilot dragged himself out from under the damaged hovercraft and stood beside her as she stared, unseeing at the vehicle. He reached out a hand to her shoulder and she jumped, giving a little gasp that made him jump in turn. He flashed her a self-deprecating grin that quickly turned to quizzical concern. “You okay?” he asked as she turned back to the mule. She nodded toward the driver’s seat and console, fidgeting with her fingers.

“There’s so much blood,” she said quietly, trembling as she frowned in frightened concern. “‘Nara’s blood,” she added, her voice full of worry. Wash swallowed queasily, grimacing at the reddish brown stickiness on the console and steering column. “I think she’s hurt real bad,” said Kaylee, tears choking her words. “Wash, what if she’s—” she stared at him, imploringly, unable to finish the thought.

“Hey, now, don’t go thinking like that,” said Wash in as light-hearted a tone he could manage as he laid his arm across her shoulders. “It’s probably nothing more than a gash on her forehead,” he said, stumbling to reassure her as she stared up at him doubtfully. “They, uh, they bleed, like… a lot. Looks way, way worse than it is, really,” he stammered, smiling weakly.

“Really?” she sniffed, wanting to believe him.

“Oh yeah,” he said with mock bravado, running a hand over his chin. His eyebrows shot up and he pointed at her, nodding. “Ask Simon, he’ll tell you, head wounds always bleed all over. Don’t worry,” he said, pulling her against him with a squeeze. “Zoë and Jayne are gonna find ‘em.”

Kaylee sniffed and nodded, giving Wash a watery smile before wiping her nose on the sleeve of her coveralls.

“Kaylee!? Wash!? How’s that mule comin’?” asked Zoë suddenly as she and Jayne came down the stairs into the cargo hold.

Kaylee looked up guiltily, but Wash patted her shoulder in support. “Almost done, baby. Just need to finish re-wiring the left servo relay. Kaylee ‘n I’ll have it done in no time, won’t we Kaylee?”

“Right,” said the mechanic, nodding enthusiastically.

Zoë nodded back. “Good. We’re gonna need it soon after we get back.” She threw a look at Jayne. “Won’t be long,” she added.

“We’ll… be ready,” said Kaylee, giving Zoë a thumbs-up as she and the mercenary headed off the ship.

“Be careful!” added Wash, and Zoë lifted a hand in acknowledgment.

They turned back to the mule, Kaylee’s eyes still drawn inexorably to the blood, but she shook herself and pulled her gaze to Wash with a feeble smile.

“Okay?” he asked and she nodded rapidly, wiping her hands on her thighs.

“Let’s get this girl floatin’.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Gabr’elle woke slowly, feeling the deep ache in her chest more and more acutely as she came fully back to consciousness. Opening her eyes, she blinked against the harsh lights and momentarily wondered where she was before remembering the events of the past two days.

“And we’re awake again,” said the young doctor, suddenly standing over her and peering into her eyes with a small bright light that she less than enjoyed.

“So, Doc, how bad is it?” she asked in a scratchy voice as he stood back and smiled.

“You’re going to be fine,” Simon assured her. “You were lucky,” he admitted after a pause.

“Don’t feel that lucky from where I’m sitting,” she said lightly, but not without grimacing. Simon shook his head wryly.

“A gunshot wound from that close a range…” he trailed off, no need to elaborate. “Feels pretty lucky to me. The arm-- Your arm,” he corrected, “will take some time. But we can worry about that later.”

“Hmm,” she hummed in agreement. “’Figure the lucky part was where you came in, Doc. Don’t imagine we’d be havin’ this conversation weren’t for you.”

“Well,” he said and shrugged, feeling, somehow, slightly embarrassed. “I’m just glad I was able to help.”

“Well,” she answered, “I owe you my thanks.”

“You’re welcome,” Simon answered as he checked her blood pressure. She was silent a moment.

“You think your friend’ll be able to find Inara an’ your Captain?” she asked finally.

“If anyone can, Zoë will,” he answered briskly, his attention still on the pressure gauge. Gabr’elle shook her head, angry at herself.

“Wish I’d put a belly-full of lead into that Whelt,” she cursed, and winced as the action caused her pain. Simon noticed and frowned.

“I think it’s about time for another dose of painkiller,” he said. “I’m going to give you a smoother, if that’s okay. Rest is your best medicine right now,” he explained.

“Best medicine’ll be seein’ that hun dan swing for this,” Gabr’elle said vehemently. Simon gave her a wan smile as he injected the drug into her IV.

“Well, maybe if you’re lucky, there’ll be some news for you when you wake up,” he said. Gabr’elle nodded as the blanket of sleep claimed her once more. She hoped he was right.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Mal’s eyes closed and he sighed as Inara’s gentle fingers drew his shirt down off his shoulders, taking extra care as she pulled the fabric over his torn wrists. She dipped her cloth into the basin of fresh, hot water, running the square of fabric over his neck and shoulders as he groaned.

Inara was grateful for the darkness; she didn’t think she wanted to see the full technicolour version of how bruised and battered his body was. What she could see, and what she had seen by the torchlight in the courtyard outside, was enough to haunt her nightmares as it was. She ran the cloth down his arm, wincing at his hiss as she trickled water over his wounded wrist, and then across his bleeding knuckles, cut when he’d slammed his fist against the wall after she’d told him about Niska.

“Sorry,” she said softly and he shook his head, fingers curling around her hand.

“’S okay. ’Not your fault,” he said, eyes opening to look at her sadly. She lifted his knuckles to her lips and kissed them softly.

“It’s not yours either,” she said and sighed as he looked away. “Mal—”

“You said Whelt told you we’d be taken someplace other than here,” he said, cutting her off. His eyes came back up to hers before skitting away again, unable to maintain her gaze.

She looked down and nodded, incapable of speech as she wrapped his knuckles in the makeshift bandages Whelt had given her. He caught her fingers and squeezed them, halting her ministrations.

“I want you to promise me something,” he said, soft and serious. She stared at his hand holding hers for a long moment.

“What?” she said at last, barely above a whisper, knowing she was not going to like what he was about to say. He tilted her chin up with his other hand until she was looking at him again, her eyes welling with sudden inexplicable tears.

“When they take us,” he said softly, fingers wiping at her tears, “If the chance arises, I want you to run,” he said, taking her by the shoulders as she began shaking her head. “Listen to me. I’ll do whatever I can to make that chance happen—”

“Mal, no…”

“—and I want you to take it. The chance comes, you run,” he said sternly, emotion making his voice rough. She opened her mouth to argue but the protest died on her lips as she met his eyes, full of pleading anguish. She let her lids close, swallowing the lump in her throat, tears clinging to her lashes like bitter jewels.

“Promise me,” he said in a fierce whisper. She turned away, refusing to meet his eyes, took his hand in hers instead, winding a bandage around his wrist distractedly. “Inara,” he pressed, trying to still her hands. With a curse, she pulled herself from his grasp, throwing the bandages to the floor as she stood furiously and lurched away from him, clutching her side as angry pains stabbed her in protest to her careless movements.

Mal stared after her, stunned. “Wha--?” he demanded with confused irritation.

She shook her head sharply, pressing a hand to her mouth before letting it drop with an incensed breath. “I can’t believe you’re giving up!” she said angrily, her back turned to him.

Shen me?!” said Mal indignantly, thinking that sounded awful close to her callin’ him a coward. He forced himself to his feet with a grimace, following her. “Who said I was givin’ up?” he demanded.

“You did!” she accused, whirling to face him. “’You’ll give me a chance to get away’ - while you stay behind and let that bastard kill you!? That’s not a choice, Mal!”

“So, what, you want us to die together?” he spat back sarcastically.

“I want us to live!” she yelled, motioning between them. “Us!”

“Well it ain’t gonna happen!” he roared, his fear for her safety intensifying his anger and Inara stared at him in disbelief. He dragged his fingers through his hair roughly, chest heaving with barely contained fury. “What d’you expect me to do, Inara?” he asked through clenched teeth. He pointed over at the slaver’s yoke. “They put me in that thing again, what d’you expect me to do? There’s more’n a dozen men on the other side of that door, an’ all of ‘em armed. Just what do you expect me to do?!”

Inara looked away, breath hitching. “I don’t know, but…” she whispered and he shook his head, stepping closer.

“My best hope is givin’ you some sorta opportunity to get away, to live—”

“Live for what?” she said desperately, trying to make him understand. “To spend the rest of my life living with the fact that I left you to die?”

“Better that than the alternative!” he countered.

“For who? Me or you?!” she hissed and he gave her a look full of incredulous fury.

“Gorramit, Inara, this is all kinds of stupid! Stop bein’ so gorram stubborn—”

“Why should—” she started hotly, and he lurched forward, grasping her by her arms angrily.

“Because I can’t watch him hurt you!” he yelled, his voice breaking, shocking her with its intensity. “Call me selfish, or a coward, but I can’t! And he will, Inara… The fact that he’s had you taken too means he already knows….” Mal trailed off, imploring her to recognize the truth of what he was saying. She stared back at him, speechless, her eyes a swirl of emotions that he couldn’t decipher. Trembling, he let her go and closed his eyes, running his hands over his face wearily and grunting in frustration at the pain it caused. A moment later, he felt her take his hands in hers gently, cradling them between them as she tenderly pressed her forehead against his, closing her eyes too.

“I’m so afraid, Mal; Tian a, I’m so afraid for you,” she whispered honestly, voice thick with emotion.

“So ‘m I,” he said, enfolding her hands with his own. He opened his eyes and lifted his head from hers, waiting until she looked up at him. “But I’m more afraid for you,” he said, full of heartache and pulled her into his embrace. He pressed his face into her hair, holding her against him. “I’d go through any kind of torture Niska could think up if it meant I could keep you safe,” he whispered into her curls. “Inara, I-- …” His mouth worked, trying to say words that wouldn’t come. He shook his head. “I ain’t givin’ up. I promise you that. I’m gonna kill that wang ba dan or die tryin’. I ain’t lettin’ him come after you nor nobody on my crew again.” He pulled back to meet her eyes again. “But I can’t do that if I don’t know you’re safe,” he implored.

Inara stared up at him, then laid her cheek against the hard warmth of his shoulder to hide her tears, squeezing her eyes shut as she nodded in defeat, surrendering to his plea.

“All right,” she whispered, tears and breath hot on his skin. “If the chance comes… I’ll run.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Jayne drained the last of his beer and wiped his sleeve across his mouth, nodding his thanks to the man across from him before standing and heading outside to find Zoë.

She was lounging on the bench swing out front, seemingly unconcerned with what went on around her, though Jayne knew she had a careful eye out for every person that walked by or came near, and would be ready to spring into action in an instant. It was one of the things he liked about Zoë, respected. Sometimes, when he found himself contemplating a different life, he liked to imagine someone like Zoë at his side – not actually Zoë, of course; the woman weren’t never likely to leave Mal’s side, ‘sides which, she was already married, crazy as it was, to Wash, little hun dan – someone strong and competent, but who needed him at the same time. Jayne didn’t mind the contradiction of that idea; he knew that if he was meant for someone and someone was meant for him, she’d be out there and he’d find her. Wasn’t nothin’ he had to worry on yet.

Chasing those thoughts from his mind, he slumped down onto the bench beside Serenity’s first mate heavily, resulting in ‘the eyebrow’, which he answered with a smirk.

“Little man’s got hisself a reputation ‘round town,” said Jayne quietly. “His Pa done pulled ‘im outta a couple of close scrapes with the law, an’ now he walks ‘round town like he got a pair. From what I could tell, seems he started gettin' into some nastier business goin’ on about four months ago, right about the time, coincidentally, this feller Whelt showed up in town.”

“Don’t believe in coincidence,” said Zoë.

“Yeah. Me neither,” Jayne agreed, spitting in the dirt. “Dumb ass kid’s only about fifteen,” he added, shaking his head.

“Old enough to shoot an unarmed woman point blank,” Zoë pointed out.

“I ain’t gonna be soft on ‘im,” Jayne bristled, straightening up on the bench with a roll of his shoulders. The mercenary knew the type, though. Enough to know that the kid was mostly all bluster, and had probably only shot the woman to prove his self to his new buddies. The type what would act all tough-like on the outside to hide how scared he was on the inside.

Yeah, Jayne knew the type.

“So, you find out where we’re gonna find this cock-of-the-walk then?” Zoë asked, interrupting Jayne’s introspection. He snorted.

“Oh yeah,” he said, voice laced with contempt. “’Chasin’ the Dragon at a place called Wo’s.”

“Opium den?” said Zoë, surprised. There had been a time when the Alliance had promoted and ‘legalized’ the sale and production of opiates for casual entertainment use on rim worlds in the hopes of pacifying and controlling an increasingly hostile population. Thousands had fallen under its influence, particularly the indentured labourers and other lower class citizens who used the supposedly non-addictive opium derivative as a means of escape from their daily lives, only problem being that it wasn’t so non-addictive after all. The Independents had worked hard to shut down the opium dens and minimize the crippling effects it had on the outer rim inhabitants which, ultimately, had lost them a great deal of support. Then, after the Alliance had won the war, most of the dragon houses left were officially closed, leaving only a very few number of licensed parlors remaining today.

“Kid’s too young to be gettin' in legally…” she thought out loud and Jayne snorted.

“Don’t need to. Jus’ threatens to tell his Pa on ‘em fer lettin’ ‘im in in the first place… Ain’t no choice but ta do what he says if’n they wanna stay operatin’.”

“Sounds like a real gou cao de little bastard,” remarked Zoë humourlessly. Jayne shrugged and nodded.

“Anyways, ain’t far. Jus’ a few blocks,” he said and they left the bar-front, making their way through the narrow back alleys into the slummier part of town until they emerged at last before the opium den.

Wo’s was a low, squat building with two red pillars out front and a large, ornate dragon that coiled around them, making an archway over two black, windowless doors. A sign read ‘opium’ in several colloquial phrases, advertising the house’s purpose

“We know what this kid looks like?” asked Zoë. Jayne shook his head and shrugged.

“How many fifteen year olds can there be in there?” he asked. “If it comes to it, I can be real persuasive like,” he grinned and pulled the door open for her, waving her in all gentleman-like.

“Right,” she said, and entered the dragon house.

The room was hazy with low hanging smoke, decorated in deep red and black velvets with several settees and day beds tucked away in the corners and behind pillars supporting the low ceiling. There were a number of black lattice doors along the back wall, separating private rooms from the main area.

Zoë stared around the den, memories of the War playing through her mind from when she’d last been in such a place. There’d been a kid in their platoon, Turtle, had—She cut off that thought. She had no time for thinkin’ about things long past, not if she was going to get Inara and the Captain back. She turned her thoughts back to the here and now, scanning the room for anyone that looked likely to be their boy.

“Welcome to Wo’s Huǒ Long House,” said a tall, effeminate man, as he approached them. Presumably Mr. Woe, he was dressed in traditional Chinese finery and sported a pencil thin mustache that Zoë took an instant dislike to. “We have many fine entertaining booths free, or a private room if that is more agreeable,” he suggested in an insipid voice, indicating the expanse of the room with a gesture from a lame wrist. “Ain’t interested in noyā piàn fei wu,” said Jayne contemptuously. The tall man quirked an eyebrow and gave a condescending smile, less than intimidated by the mercenary’s manner.

“Perhaps you?” he turned his smile on Zoë, clasping his hands before him. The woman shook her head.

“Lookin’ for a boy,” she stated. There was a brief flicker in the man’s eye before his smile crooked again.

“We have no boys here, I’m afraid. Perhaps one of the less reputable establishments down the road?”

Zoë gave Jayne a subtle look and the big mercenary walked to the man’s side, slinging his arm over the thin shoulders in a comradely fashion and directing him toward the shadowed corner of the entranceway.

“’Like you to meet a friend of mine,” Jayne said, drawing a large, menacing-looking automatic pistol from his belt. “She gots some questions need answerin’, elsewise she gets all tetchy-like and tends to go off ‘fore I can stop ‘er. Dong ma?”

“You threaten me with guns, in my own establishment?” said Wo scornfully. “I will have you Bound by Law, sha gua!”

“’Don’t think so,” said Zoë matter-of-factly. “Seein’ as how it’s the Lawman’s boy we’re here to find, an’ him bein’ in your establishment under age an’ all, I highly doubt you’ll be wantin’ to call him in on this one.”

Wo’s eyes narrowed shrewdly. “I know of no boy here,” he maintained and Jayne gave him a quick and sudden smack under the chin. His teeth clacked together sharply, catching his lip and he gasped as his mouth filled with the taste of iron.

Ben tian sheng de fei fei de pi yan!” Wo cursed, holding his hand to his mouth. Jayne’s hand clamped around the other man’s neck and Wo suddenly found himself slammed against the wall, the mercenary’s pistol pressed alarmingly to his nethers.

“I’ll shove this up your pi yan, you mei yong de yǐn jūn zǐ!” Jayne growled into Wo’s pale face.

“’Conjure you might want to think of another answer,” said Zoë pointedly.

Wěi, wěi dāng rán,” he said urgently, eyes wide, the realization that he was in genuine danger of bodily harm finally sinking in.

“Jayne,” said Zoë, but the mercenary merely continued to stare into the smaller man’s cowed face, sneering, his gun never wavering from it’s intimidating position. “Jayne,” Zoë said again, more firmly this time, and finally he let Wo go, purposefully knocking the barrel of his pistol into the man’s genitals painfully as he stepped away.

Wo grunted with the impact as a swell of nausea coiled low in his abdomen, and he hunched over slightly, cringing as Jayne shoved him forward none too gently.

Wo led them to one of the back rooms, clutching at his face and genitals all the while, but too frightened to do anything but comply.

He pushed the lattice screen aside, revealing a small, decadently decorated room with a low, round table and a deep red settee, upon which reclined a youth, eyes glazed, a euphoric smile on his face as dark smoke curled around him.

Suddenly enraged, Jayne turned on the owner, shoving him hard. “You like that, huh? Gittin’ little kids hopped up on that junk? Stealin’ their lives!?” Jayne yelled, grabbing the man by his shirt and shaking him ferociously.

“No! Shí zài! I don’t want to let him in, but he blackmails—aguh!” choked Wo, collapsing to the floor as Jayne’s fist was driven into his gut.

“Jayne! Dé le!” growled Zoë, grasping the mercenary’s arm and hauling him away from Wo. He glared at her but she stared him down, not batting an eye at the rage coming off the mercenary. “Just get the kid and let’s go,” she said finally, sensing when she’d won the contest of wills. Jayne grunted dangerously and picked up the young man who made no word of protest and flopped limply in the mercenary’s arms. Jayne threw one last look of contempt at Wo and then slung the boy over his shoulder, stomping out of the house.

Zoë stared expressionlessly at Wo who sat holding his gut, trying to catch his breath as he stammered a thank-you in Chinese. Wordlessly, she turned and walked out, leaving him on the floor surrounded by his blissfully oblivious patrons, without a backwards glance.

Outside, she caught up to Jayne in the alley and gave his chest an angry shove, pushing him against the wall. “Next time you got some issues to work out about a job, you leave ‘em outside the door,” said Zoë sternly, her finger raised and pointed at him accusingly.

Shen me?” he asked aggressively and Zoë gave him a look that told him she wasn’t born yesterday and she wasn’t going to tolerate anything like this again. Jayne frowned and looked away. “Whatever,” he mumbled tersely and shrugged his way past the first mate, readjusting his hold on the Lawman’s son in poorly concealed irritation.

Zoë watched him go, silently praying that the kid would offer some clue as to Mal’s whereabouts. Otherwise, she didn’t know how she was going to find him. Sighing, she followed Jayne into the darkness, sending a thought to Mal too, willing him to hold on, wherever he was.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Translations shí zài – honestly dé le – that’s enough mei yong de yǐn jūn zǐ – useless opium eater ben tian sheng de fei fei de pi yan – stupid inbred baboon’s ass crack sha gua - idiots dong ma – understand / are we clear? fei wu - garbage yā piàn – opium huǒ long – fiery dragon hun dan – bastard shen me – what? wang ba dan – son of a bitch Tian a – God gou cao de – dog humping

Go to Part 12 A


Friday, March 3, 2006 9:42 AM


Yay! Thank-you. I've been looking forward to this 'part' chapter. It's a great story and the plot just keeps getting thicker!

Friday, March 3, 2006 10:37 AM


Love the new chapter. The scene's between Mal and Inara brought tears to my eyes. This one especially:
“Because I can’t watch him hurt you!” he yelled, his voice breaking, shocking her with its intensity. “Call me selfish, or a coward, but I can’t! And he will, Inara… The fact that he’s had you taken too means he already knows….” Mal trailed off, imploring her to recognize the truth of what he was saying. She stared back at him, speechless, her eyes a swirl of emotions that he couldn’t decipher. Trembling, he let her go and closed his eyes, running his hands over his face wearily and grunting in frustration at the pain it caused. A moment later, he felt her take his hands in hers gently, cradling them between them as she tenderly pressed her forehead against his, closing her eyes too.

Let's hope the kid gives up the info, and Mal and Inara get rescued before more badness descends on them.

Looking forward to more. :)


Friday, March 3, 2006 11:18 AM


Glad you gave us a good sized section after the long wait!

I wonder if it is Niska behind all this. Hmmm... indeed the plot does thicken!

Talk, stupid kid, talk, help Mal out!

Friday, March 3, 2006 11:44 AM


Dang you kid, you'd better talk


Oh goodness, problems abound for our brave heroes...

tension is killin' me

Friday, March 3, 2006 12:55 PM


The above review was me, by the way. - Arcadia.

Saturday, March 4, 2006 2:35 AM


I really enjoyed this installment. And Mal actually admitting feelings for Inara...Great!

Sunday, March 5, 2006 2:27 AM


I still don't think it's Niska. In the last chapter, mention was made that Inara was the one for whom Whelt had a fuller description, and that he only picked up that Mal was Mal because he was associated with her. So that implies that Inara was the focus and Mal the periphery, and I think that that doesn't suggest Niska, but... someone else. Right?

*ahem* Anyway... nice chapter; I actually thought it felt shorter than some of the rest despite being nearly 5K (don't know why; maybe because the sweet little Wash/Kaylee interaction and Jayne's odd introspective moment slowed it down). I could certainly stand to have longer installments... :)

Tuesday, March 21, 2006 5:04 PM


*Threatens* U kill them I swear *shakes fist in rage* Much much bodily pain... lol, sorry, your fic... hmmmm, NE1 getting the feeling that the person what wants them ~might~ be from a little episode of Firefly called Shindig?? NE1 NE?? lol, ah well may have just been me, but thought that from when u first introduced the *shadowed man* bit waaaaaay back when... lol, good gorram, I LOVE YOUR WORK!!! This is ranking up there with Kaynaras work, you and she are my two favorite writers, cause you write all the BDH so well, that and all the little interaction, and there voices, and the general FEEL of the characters you know?? Oh yeah, and Im a romantic NUT (yes yes I am a guy, so what?!) especially for Mal/Inara stuff!!! PLZ GIVE US MORE!!!! PLZ!!!! I LOVE this shiney shiney fic

Saturday, April 15, 2006 7:21 AM


oh my, if this plot gets any thicker, we'll need a friggin' cement mixer!!!


Thursday, June 21, 2007 10:24 PM


I love Jayne in this... I like the little revelations about his character.

Also, the opium den, "pacify the masses" thing is a great tie-in from history. Fits the Alliance profile nicely.


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History of an Object
There’s no reason to keep it, damaged as it is. Save one. Doesn’t matter that it’s finer than any other cup on the ship, even with the crack. Doesn’t matter that it would never hold liquid again without some of it seeping through. Burning your fingers. Was only one reason he still has the cup.

Five Years' War
The night was warm. Clouds, low on the horizon, blue black in the last light of the setting sun. Nothing but the breeze and the buzz of the cicadas breaking the stillness. A perfect evening.

The Close Shore, At the End, Untenable
“Dead ’re in my head tonight,” he said finally. “Can’t get ‘em out. Don’t got the booze or the bar to distract me. Don’t know why I’m here ‘cept I don’t think I can go through it alone.”

The Slower Path: All the Difference - Part 15 - Sequel to The One Less Traveled By
She let out a breath, saying nothing for a long moment before she raised her eyes again. “There are some things I want you to know,” she said softly. “Things I want you to understand.”

Much as he wished he could ignore it, he could see it was important to her that he know whatever it was she wanted to tell him. He knew he wouldn't have let himself see it in the past, but that weren't where they were anymore, or at least, not where they wanted to be, either of them. Their relationship had changed, was changing, and he weren’t so stupid he didn’t recognize that. He didn't know that he wanted to know it, much less understand it, but she was reluctant enough to talk about any aspect of her life as it was; could be he might ought not stop her when she wanted to.

Unlucky at Cards...
“I… You can’t be that lucky!” Mal moaned as Inara beat him again, laying out her cards with a flourish.

The Slower Path: The One Less Traveled By - Part 14 - Sequel to Regrets
They fell silent again, struggling to find the ease that they had found, before; before the argument that had almost ended things.

"I feel like-," she started.

"This is-," he said at the same time.

They looked at each other. "Awkward," they both said, laughing lightly.

Always Had Faith
Faith in a higher power? That was always Mal's thing, the Captain, back in the war.

Loved and Lost
Love’s the biggest kind of hurt there is.

And I wouldn't trade that love for nothin'.

The Mood That Passes Through
He felt the first trembling shudder go through her, heard her breath hitch and felt her fingers grip his skin; knew it was comin', the wave that was cresting the walls she'd built to hold it back, whatever it was. Knew they were about to come crashing down around her. The first sob still hurt though, still lanced through his heart like a searing hot blade to hear her make that sound.