A Lonely Road: part 9
Wednesday, April 5, 2006

The boys blow hot and cold, Kaylee gets all the good gossip, and the crew goes after River. (M/S slash).


A/N: Okay, as I have stated at the beginning of my first chapter, this story features Mal/Simon slash. Especially this chapter. No one's forcing you to read it. I ignore flames on the subject, so they would simply be a waste of energy. To everyone else: thanks for staying with me this far, this is the longest chapter thusfar and I really hope y'all like it :D! --------

After spending several hours chewing over possible options and getting absolutely nowhere, the crew slowly started to disperse, retiring for the night or returning to their jobs. Mal was already out of his chair and halfway to his bunk when he noticed Simon. The young doctor was still sitting at the table, staring at his hands.

A frown formed on Mal’s face. Simon had been quiet-like throughout the entire evening. “You okay?” he asked. Simon looked up and glanced at him with a dazed expression, and Mal felt certain that the Doc hadn’t even been aware that he was still in the room. “You ain’t spoke a word the whole time.”

“I’m just...” Simon began slowly, clearly searching for the right words. Dejection was written across his face, so clearly that it made Mal more than a mite uncomfortable. Then Simon suddenly interrupted himself. “What’s the point, Mal?” he asked, sounding agitated. “I mean, you have no idea how long it took me to gain access to River last time. I devoted two years of my life to it, and I barely pulled it off.”

Mal sighed and sat down next to Simon, putting a hand on his shoulder. He could feel the feverish warmth of his skin radiate through the fabric of the shirt. A brief image of what they could be doing flashed through his mind, but he quickly brushed it away. There were more pressing matters at hand. “That’s just your fever talkin’, Doc. I bet you’ll feel differently in the mornin’.”

Simon looked up. “Gee, thanks, doctor,” he said with a laconic little smile. He moved a hand to his shoulder and put it on top of Mal’s.

Mal felt a jolt of electricity flare in his abdomen and quickly closed his eyes before Simon would be able to spot the desire in his eyes. As he opened them again, the young doctor was looking at him, one eyebrow quirked in a questioning look. Go se, why’d he have to look so gorram good?

“Give me five minutes,” Simon said simply. Mal blinked and swallowed loudly. Then he nodded mutely, got up and walked back to his quarters.

Definitely not dumb, that one...


“Um, Kaylee, you got a minute to spare?”

Kaylee emerged from her spot underneath the engine to see Jayne standing in the engine room entrance, shifting his weight awkwardly from one foot to the other.

“Surely do, I was just fiddlin’ anyway. I put Cara to bed in my bunk just now. She was s’posed to be stayin’ in one of the passenger dorms, but the poor darlin’ was so scared of the dark that I figured she could just as easily stay in my bunk. There’s lights on and it don’t bother me none to sleep on the floor.” She flashed him a cheerful smile. “It’s still a bit early for me to go to bed though, so I decided to check the extenders. They been givin’ us a fair amount of grief lately,” she babbled.

“Anyway, whatcha got on your mind?” Kaylee asked, her curiosity getting the upper hand. If Jayne wanted to have a talk, it was a fair bet to say that things were probably pretty bad.

“Well, you an’ River are good friends an’ all that, right?” Jayne asked, leaning against the bulkhead and looking down at her with a frown.

Kaylee’s eyebrows soared instantly. That was an awful unexpected question. “Well, yeah. She’s a real sweetheart, ain’t she? I bet that if she was here, her and Cara would be as close as...” She paused, looking for a nice comparison. “Well, two very close things,” she finally said with a grin. “Why d’you ask?”

I hope I ain’t gonna be regrettin’ asking that, she thought. You never rightly knew what Jayne was thinking, but it usually wasn’t proper at all.

Jayne scratched the back of his head and stared at the rotating engine intently. “I was just interested in knowin’ if she’s been talkin’ about me lately is all,” he finally uttered.

Kaylee gawped at him for just a second. Did he mean...? Then her eyes widened and she clapped a hand over her mouth, barely managing to suppress a giggle fit. “You like River!” she exclaimed.

“Gorram it, girl! Don’t shout it so the whole ruttin’ ship can hear ya!” Jayne snapped. He shot a panicky look at the corridor as if he was expecting the entire crew to come storming their way and riddle him with holes.

Kaylee was still trying very hard not to giggle. “Aw, you like River. That’s so cute!” she went on. She was way too excited to lower her voice – this was huge news! Her hand went to her mouth again as she suddenly thought of something. “Oh Jayne, the Cap’n is so gonna whup you when he finds out,” she added, in spite of her excitement.

Jayne grunted. “Don’t I know it. But he ain’t gonna find out, you hear me?” he added with an attempt at an intimidating glare.

Kaylee barely registered it however, since she was still unable to stop squealing. “Aw! I mean, I knew River had a real crush on ya, but I didn’t know that you did, too! Ain’t that just... aww!”

“She does? And hey!” Jayne barked, “I don’t got no ruttin’ crush. I just wanted to know is all,” he said, crossing his arms defensively.

“Sure, Jayne,” Kaylee giggled. “And don’t you worry none, we’ll have River back before you can spit. I’m sure that everything’ll turn out shiny.” Off Jayne’s doubtful look, she added, “I mean to say, the Cap’n let Wash and Zoe stay on board the ship, didn’t he? Even though he ain’t keen on shipboard romances.”


Simon had a bit of trouble getting his feet to support him, and nearly tripped over them in his hurry to get down the ladder that led to Mal’s bunk. When he finally felt his left foot touch the floor, he barely had time to turn around and utter a surprised gasp before Mal pushed him against the metal ladder and pounced on him.

Simon closed his eyes for just a moment, feeling pretty sure that he could do this forever. He tried desperately not to lose control as Mal assaulted him with his tongue, his teeth grazing Simon’s lips, but there was no way he could suppress the warm glow that was spreading in his abdomen.

Finally, Simon pulled back slightly and chuckled. “Ow. You do know that you don’t have to keep pressing me up against sharp edges, don’t you? There’s a bed right behind you.” Mal blinked, and Simon couldn’t help but feel a bit gleeful that Mal was taken aback by his obvious self-assuredness.

Mal quickly regained his composure, however. He nodded, and without wasting any more time he grabbed Simon by the arm and dragged him to the bed, their eyes never unlocking. They sank onto the bed unceremoniously, and Simon immediately pushed Mal onto his back. He leaned over him and began to work his neck, placing hot wet kisses along his neckline until he heard Mal mutter a soft curse in the back of his throat.

Planting his hands on Simon’s cheeks, Mal lifted his face and looked at him, his brow furrowing when he noticed the sheen of sweat forming on Simon’s skin. “Looks like the fever ain’t gone yet. Sure you feel all right?”

Mal’s worried frown made Simon come completely unglued. “I’ll be fine,” he said with a soft smile. To prove his point, he began to kiss every inch of Mal’s skin he could reach – his ears, cheeks, nose... – while he fumbled impatiently with Mal’s shirt buttons.

“Whoa, take it slow, son,” Mal whispered hoarsely.

“Don’t think I can,” Simon panted, breaths of hot air brushing against the skin of Mal’s throat. He didn’t care if this were simply the events of the last week that were finally taking their toll on him, or the exhaustion and the stress that had finally caught up with him. Truth be told, he was tired of thinking.

He finally managed to undo all of Mal’s buttons and let his hands explore Mal’s bare chest. He could feel the muscles right below Mal’s skin twitch with every touch. His fingers softly brushed over all of the scars on Mal’s skin, and Simon made a mental note to subject all of them to a thorough examination at a later time. Later. Not now.

Mal sighed in mock exasperation, making Simon rest his chin on Mal’s chest and look up at him. He threaded a hand in Simon’s hair and pulled him up for a passionate kiss. “Then I guess I’ll have to make ya,” he declared with a crooked grin. He placed his hands firmly on Simon’s shoulders and flipped him around, so Simon suddenly found himself lying flat on his back with Mal straddling him. Not that he minded at all.

Mal began to undo Simon’s buttons excruciatingly slow, until he finally managed to remove his shirt entirely and let it fall to the floor. “Hey,” he said suddenly, looking Simon in the eyes as he realized something. “No layers.”

Simon shook his head. “No layers,” he replied with a triumphant grin that almost matched Mal’s.

That was also the last coherent thought that filtered through his brain, because the next moment Mal was placing wet kisses up and down his chest and stomach, circling his tongue around Simon’s bellybutton before moving back up and biting down gently on one of his nipples. Simon gasped and closed his eyes. He almost wished that this wouldn’t feel so rutting great. Almost.

Slowly but surely, Mal was driving him completely insane, and Simon wasn’t altogether sure how much more he could take. He could barely form a thought – but unlike at any other time, his brain didn’t seem to be a major concern right now. Right now, he felt as if he was about to explode. He’d been hard for much too long already, and the feeling of Mal’s erection pressing firmly against his hip didn’t make things any easier on him.

“Tianna, Mal. Are you trying to kill me?” Simon groaned in frustration when Mal showed no sign of being in a hurry. He pressed his hips hard against Mal’s while his hands continued to explore every inch of the man’s skin. Placing his hand over Mal’s heart, Simon couldn’t help but smile when he felt it thump. “Your heart’s racing,” he whispered against Mal’s lips.

Mal just grinned and rolled his eyes. “Yeah, thanks doctor. Mayhap you can hazard a guess as to what’s makin’ that happen, huh?”

Simon grinned back. “Don’t be a smartass,” he said, tapping Mal lightly on the chest before attacking his left earlobe with his teeth once more.

Mal responded by grinding his hips against Simon’s, eliciting a moan from both of them. Since the throbbing in his nether regions had completely erased Simon’s ability to think, he instinctively let his hands travel down to the bulge in Mal’s pants. Mal immediately followed suit by letting his hand slide down Simon’s stomach and unbuttoning his pants. Overcome with lust, Simon writhed and moaned, and let his hand slide further down to cup Mal firmly.

Mal gasped, bucking his hips and pressing himself into Simon’s hand. Seconds later, his fingers had found the waistband of Simon’s boxers and began drawing slow circles right above his hipbone. Simon squirmed, aching to be touched. Sadist, he thought.

“Please, Mal...” he heard himself whisper in between pants, before Mal took his breath away and silenced him by capturing his opened mouth in a searing kiss. Finally, Mal’s hand slipped under the waistband of Simon’s boxers and grasped him firmly. That alone was enough to drive him over the edge, and his world went black as he climaxed with a shudder.

When Simon opened his eyes again after what seemed like an eternity, he saw Mal’s eyes boring into him, dark with lust. Simon smiled and kissed him passionately while slowly tipping him over so he was lying on his back. He let his hand travel languidly up and down Mal’s thigh, until he was certain that Mal was about ready to explode his own self. Then, he quickly lowered Mal’s boxers and started to kiss a trail down his stomach, before gently licking the tip of Mal’s erection.

Mal gasped loudly, and Simon quickly took advantage of that to wrap a hand around Mal’s length as he continued to kiss and lick the tip of it. Seconds later, Mal too fell over the edge with a loud moan.

As soon as they had both found their breath again, Simon crawled against Mal and rested his head on his chest. When he looked up at Mal however, he was frowning.

“What’s wrong?” Simon asked tentatively, afraid of what the answer might be.

“You’re drenched,” Mal said, sounding slightly worried.

Simon couldn’t help but let out a relieved chuckle. “Oh. Yes, I can imagine that this didn’t do wonders for my fever.”

“Yeah well, I didn’t hear no complainin’,” Mal replied gruffly. His voice hummed softly in Simon’s ear, making him feel pleasantly dazed. “Did hear lotsa moaning and begging though,” he added with a smug grin.

“Shut up,” Simon said with a big smile, placing soft butterfly kisses on Mal’s collarbone. It was mere minutes before Mal dozed off, and Simon felt sleep begin to overpower him as well. But even now, as he drifted off into the most peaceful sleep he’d had in days, he couldn’t shake the nagging feeling that had been with him for weeks.


When Mal woke up, the first thing he saw was a head of thick dark hair against his shoulder. Mal closed his eyes momentarily and suppressed a laugh so as not to wake Simon – never in all his days had he thought he’d ever see the Doc with his hair all mussed.

Whoa. Stop. What the hell are you doin’? Mal’s hand, which was about to stroke Simon’s hair, froze in mid-air. This is bad. A whole lotta bad. This is the worst idea you’ve ever had, and then some.

Not caring anymore whether it would wake up Simon or not, Mal sat upright and practically bolted out of the bed. He had to get out of his room before he could do any more damage, he thought as he started scrambling around for his clothes. Ta ma de, how could he have been so ruttin’ stupid, letting his hormones get the better of him at a time such as this? He could do without complications right now, and Simon even more so.

“You’re going?” Simon’s sleepy voice came from the bed. His bed. Simon Tam, his medic, was in his bed. There were not enough swear words in English and Chinese combined to express the mess he’d gotten himself into. Simon rolled over to face him and yawned. So darn cute. Stop it.

“Yeah,” Mal replied, mustering a smile as he strapped his left boot. “Got captainy things need attendin’.”

Simon propped himself up on his elbows and nodded slowly. “Good thinking. I have doctory things to do as well.”

Mal momentarily forgot the speech he’d been preparing in his head, crossed his arms in front of him and glared at the doctor. Simon grimaced and put up his hands in a mock surrendering gesture. “Or get some rest. Fine,” he said, before giving him a smile. It was the first genuine smile Mal had seen from him since this whole mess had started, and it made what he was gonna say even more difficult. The fact that Simon wasn’t acting all flustered and awkward like Mal had half expected him to, only added to that.

“But I really feel much better. Besides, who’s the doctor here?” Simon went on, falling back onto the pillows and looking up at Mal with eyes that were so much more alive than they’d been in weeks. Mal wished like hell that Simon’d stop looking at him like that. Like he was a good man.

In the moment of silence that followed, Mal gathered the nerve to speak his piece, but in the end it was Simon who talked first.

“I meant what I said before, you know. If they moved River someplace else, someplace more secure...” He stared up at Mal. “I don’t think it can be done.”

Mal frowned. He should’ve known that Simon was never really carefree, not even when he looked the part. “I don’t hold to that. Someone says ‘it can’t be done’, I get a powerful urge to do it anyway,” Mal said, a cynical smile tugging at his lips. “I don’t give up, never will. I ain’t a quitter, and I honestly never saw you as one either.”

Simon frowned. “That’s not even...”

“She’s your sister, Simon,” Mal interrupted him.

Simon couldn’t suppress an exasperated sigh. “I know that! There is nothing I wouldn’t do for River. Trust me,” he said softly.

Mal shrugged. “So, lend us a hand. Ain’t no way we can do this without your help. You know the Core better than all of us, helped us get into that fancy Alliance hospital an’ all. This’ll be just like that.”

“No, it really won’t be,” Simon said darkly. “But I’ve been thinking about it, and there’s something that might be worth a try... I’m going to need Inara’s help though.” Mal nodded mutely. Silence filled the room again, and Mal looked at Simon with a frown. Right. Now or never.

“This isn’t gonna end well, is it?” he said suddenly.

Simon shook his head in understanding. “No, I don’t think it will. But if we plan it well --”

“Wasn’t talking about that,” Mal said quickly.

Simon locked eyes with Mal, comprehension dawning on his features. “Oh,” was all he said. Then he nodded quietly. “Yes, I agree. We should keep our distance and concentrate on helping River right now.”

“And after that, too.” There, he’d said it.

Simon didn’t say anything, he just stared at Mal as if he’d been holding a gun to the Doc’s head. Anger and disbelief were battling on Simon’s face, and it made Mal want to take it back. He couldn’t, though, so he went on.

“Seriously, no good is ever gonna come of this, ain’t that obvious?” It wasn’t an easy thing to say, but it needed to be said. He couldn’t back down from it now, not even when the look he saw in Simon’s eyes made his heart plummet into his stomach. “Best we forgot anything ever happened.”

Before he could change his mind, Mal grabbed his holster and climbed up the ladder and out of the room. He could be a downright son of a bitch if he wanted to – and sometimes when he didn’t particularly want to, too.


Wash was calmly looking out into the black. The screens didn’t show a single ship or planet that was near enough to spot them or collide with them, but they were nearing the Core, and it never hurt to keep an eye open. ‘Sides, he liked looking at the stars.

As he was readjusting his dinosaurs – placing the stegosaurus underneath a palm tree and the T-Rex at the far end of the console, just to be safe – he heard someone come up behind him.

“Hi there, Simon,” he said, slightly surprised at the Doc’s company at this early hour. “Anything wrong, or is this merely a social call? I’m sure I can round up some tea and biscuits,” he said with a grin.

Simon smiled back, but Wash noticed how his eyes remained as sad and distant as they had been since Zoe and Mal had sprung him. “As nice as that sounds, I actually need your help with something,” Simon explained.

“Well, helping is what I do best,” Wash replied cheerfully. “How can I be of assistance?”

“I just thought of something that might help me to get River out, but I’m going to need to get in touch with a couple of people. People that are hard to get a hold of. Do you think you can rustle up some secure feeds so we won’t get traced?”

Instead of saying ‘yes’, Wash just punched in some numbers and began pressing several buttons. “Consider it done,” he said, biting his lip as he racked his brain trying to remember the right codes. “Just give me five minutes.”

“Thanks. Mind if I keep you company until you get the connection to work?” Without waiting for an answer, Simon sat down in the seat next to Wash’s, looking at him through tired eyes as he set up the connection.

“Wash, can I ask you a question?”

“Um, sure. Fire away,” Wash said distractedly, sliding out of his seat and under the control panel so he could rewire the cables.

“How did you know you were in love with Zoe?”

“Ow!” Wash yelped loudly as he jolted upright and bumped his head into the control panel. Rubbing the sore spot, he crawled from underneath it and stared at Simon in surprise. Wow, that was the most personal question I’ve heard him ask in... well, ever.

“Well,” he said as he sat back and composed himself, “I’m not sure. I guess I’ve always been in love with Zoe. Don’t think I would’ve taken this job if it hadn’t been for her. Don’t know if you noticed, but this ain’t exactly the most attractive ship in the ‘Verse. Zoe made up for that, though – amply, I might add,” he said, raising his eyebrows suggestively.

Pressing the last couple of buttons, Wash smiled to himself as he remembered his first months on board of Serenity. “But I guess I didn’t know until she asked me to shave off my mustache.” Off the confused look on Simon’s face, he went on, “I loved that lip ferret more than anything, but when she asked me, I got rid of it without complaining. Well, okay, maybe there was some complaining. Bottom line is, I think it was the fact that I was willin’ to make sacrifices for her.” He shrugged. Then, he suddenly narrowed his eyes and stared at Simon suspiciously. “Wait. This isn’t gonna be like the talk I never had with my dad, is it?”

Simon’s shook his head, a hint of a smile tugging at his lips. “No, it’s – I just wanted to – Forget I said anything. That was actually very helpful, thank you.”

“Any time.” Wash said, unable to hide the fact that he was getting slightly confused now. Simon was acting decidedly strange... “There you go. One secure feed, coming right up.” He punched in the last number with a dramatic gesture.

“Now, I’m gonna leave you to your brilliant scheming and go get some coffee. Or coffee-flavoured water anyway. Just yell if we’re about to crash into something,” he said with a grin, before relinquishing his seat so Simon could sit in it.


It hadn’t taken more than a few hours for Simon to get in touch with the right people. He’d pressed the ‘com button and asked everyone politely to gather in the mess, and by the time he entered the room, everyone was already sitting around the table. Well, except for Wash and Cara. The little girl was sitting on his foot, clinging to his right leg and giggling happily as Wash stepped, hopped and skipped through the room.

“What d’you get us all out here for? We finally got a plan or some such?” Jayne asked, sounding grumpy as ever.

“Actually, yes,” Simon replied, deciding not to ignore Jayne for once. Ignoring Mal sounded like a much better plan at the moment. He was pretty sure he’d lose it if he was forced to talk to the captain. He couldn’t afford to fall apart, he had to stay calm and not let anyone rattle his chains.

“About ruttin’ time,” Jayne grunted under his breath.

Despite himself, Simon rolled his eyes. “Yes, Jayne, thank you. After all the hard work you’ve been doing in coming up with a plan, I’m sure –”

“Can we maybe get to a point in the direct future?” Mal interrupted, leaning against the wall and tapping his fingers impatiently against the woodgrain. Simon just gave him his most vile glare before continuing.

“Right. As expected, there is absolutely no chance that we can get into the facility where River is being detained.”

Kaylee frowned. “But... then how is it we got a plan? I mean, we do have a plan, right?”

Shooting her a reassuring smile, Simon nodded. “I think so, yes. I still have a few contacts among the people who helped me rescue River last year, and with a little help from Wash I was able to contact them just now.”

“What’d they say?” Mal’s eyebrow soared, no doubt offended at not being in the loop on things, Simon thought with a certain amount of glee.

“Apparently, River is going to be transported from the Alliance facility to a new holding centre that was recently built for former Academy students. It seems that the original Academy was deemed lacking in security,” Simon informed them with a wry smile. It was sad to think that he had indirectly been responsible for the construction of an even more advanced Academy...

Book nodded understandingly. “And you believe that we might be able to save River when she’s being transported from one facility to the other?” Simon nodded.

“You know, that ain’t half dumb. Findin’ the weakest spot in their trajectory an’ all that, kill whoever’s guardin’ her. Might work.” Jayne took a huge swig from the cup in front of him and grinned.

Simon was unable to suppress a smile. “Glad I have your approval, Jayne.” He took a deep breath. “Now, we’ll be hitting Londinium atmo in a couple of hours. I talked to Inara and she’s going to get us clearance to land in the restricted flying zone. I also arranged for a contact of mine to pick us up there. He’ll supply us with false ident cards, just in case we need them, and drive us to the spot where we’ll hijack the transport,” he finished.

Zoe nodded slowly. “Sounds solid enough, assuming your contract is trustworthy.”

“As trustworthy as is possible under the circumstances. Look, I know that there are about a million things that can go wrong in this plan, but it’s the only one we have. I suggest that Wash, Kaylee, Cara, and the Shepherd stay on board and make sure we’re ready to leave in a hurry. Mal, Zoe and Jayne help me do the job.”

Raising an eyebrow, Zoe leaned forward in her chair. “You sure you’re up for that, doctor? You ain’t exactly the picture o’health right now.”

“I’m the only one who knows our contact, remember? Besides, it’s best if I go. There’s no telling what state River will be in, if we do manage to find her.” Simon willed himself not to think about that quite yet. He looked at everyone in the room in turn – except Mal – and said, “What do you guys think?”

“Sounds like a plan. Any chance I might get a say in any o’this?” Mal asked, giving Simon a glare that chilled him to the bone. Sadness and anger battled inside of him for a minute, but anger won by a landslide.

“No,” he said coolly.

Wash choked on his drink, spluttering and coughing. Everyone else just blinked and shifted their gaze from Simon to Mal, waiting for the captain to erupt.

Before Mal could say or punch anything – or anyone – however, Jayne pushed his chair back loudly. Simon had to admit that he was slightly thankful for the interruption. He shouldn’t let Mal rile him so much. Right now was really not a good time to start a spat about what had clearly been a one-time thing.

“Jayne? You goin’ someplace?” Mal asked as Jayne got up and began walking out of the room.

Jayne looked over his shoulder but didn’t break his stride. “I’monna go get Vera.”


“Permission for docking. Processing,” the metallic voice sounded through the speakers. Zoe involuntarily held her breath. “Granted.” She squeezed her husband’s shoulder in relief. First hurdle.

Inara hadn’t been joking when she’d said that she would get them clearance to land, Zoe thought as the landing grids on the monitor turned from red to green. She looked out at the low buildings and neat avenues that led from the landing area to the city, which was shimmering in the distance, the suns reflecting on the glass and chrome. Sure looked pretty, but it was still the last place she wanted to be in the whole gorram ‘Verse... Don’t think about that.

“Right,” she said slowly as Wash put Serenity on the ground with the utmost precision and gentleness. “Time to go be heroes.”

“We’ll be ready in case you need us, honey. Be careful, okay?” he told her, worry obvious on his face. She nodded, gave him a kiss and headed down into the cargo bay. It was empty, except for Simon, who was pacing around and was clearly a nervous wreck.

As Mal entered the cargo hold and stepped up to the doctor, Zoe immediately halted her stride and waited in the doorway discreetly, her brow furrowed. The captain looked troubled and distracted, she could tell.


Simon looked over his shoulder. “I don’t much feel like talking, Captain.” There was a flicker of something in his eyes, but his voice was cold.

Zoe let out a breath. Had there been some sort of fight between Mal and the doctor? About River, perhaps? Zoe had always prided herself in knowing the Captain better than anyone, but she didn’t have the faintest idea what was going on here. They’d better get it sorted before the mission, though. Can’t have any distractions if we wanna make it out alive.

“Got no need to talk,” Mal replied briskly. “Just checkin’ that this ain’t some kinda suicide mission on your part.”

“Why? Because you assume I’m falling apart? I can handle myself fine, Captain. As a matter of fact...” He sucked in a breath, as if he was gathering his strength. “If we do manage to rescue River, the Academy will probably be even more adamant about getting her back. There’s no reason to put your crew at risk, any more than we already have. So, assuming we make it out alive, me and River will be getting off on Persephone.”

Mal snorted. “With the whole gorram Alliance hot on your tail? An’ here I was thinkin’ you were lookin’ to get yourself killed. Boy was I wrong,” he said sarcastically.

“Only one way to find out, I guess,” Simon told him as he grabbed one of the guns Mal was holding and cocked it.

“Hoe tze,” Zoe swore under her breath. If that boy was planning to get reckless, he was gonna get them all killed. She stepped quickly into the cargo bay, fixing to say something, when Jayne and Kaylee came down from the catwalk.

Kaylee just looked at all of them in turn, chewing on her lip. “You be awful careful, alright?” she said, hugging Simon. “Me and the Shepherd’ll be prayin’ that you can get River back. With her an’ Nara gone, I ain’t hardly got anyone to talk to,” she said. She forced a small smile, but her eyes looked sad and worried.

Zoe noticed that Mal’s eyes were still fixed on the doctor. “Sir,” she said in a low voice so no-one would overhear. “Everything in order? ‘Cause if there’s something on your mind that’ll stop you from keeping your mind on the mission, we’re gonna get shot,” she said matter-of-factly, giving her captain a stern look.

Mal blinked and turned to her. “Nah, we’re shiny,” he said, his mind clearly back on the matter at hand, Zoe noticed with relief. “Let’s do the thing.”


“Jensen?” Simon asked carefully, lowering his head so he could peer into the vehicle that was waiting at the end of the landing strip. A cheerful face surrounded by red hair and a bright red shirt grinned back at him

“Simon Tam! Good to see you again!” he said loudly as he swung the door open. “It’s been too long.”

Simon smiled as he got in the front seat of the car and motioned for the others to get in the back. “It has. I just wish we’d stop meeting under these circumstances,” he said wryly.

Jensen nodded and looked over his shoulder. “Everyone strapped in?” he asked, and took off without waiting for an answer. “I tell ya, you guys have some serious cojones, strolling in here to get your baby sister out like it’s the regular thing to do.”

“Thanks,” Zoe said dryly, “but we ain’t hardly strolling.”

“Don’t I know it. You guys’ll be lucky to survive. You do seem to have Lady Luck on your side, though. Don’t know who your contacts are, but I was practically greeted like royalty when I entered the docks and said I was your cab driver,” Jensen rambled as they entered the outskirts of the city. The road stretched out before them, an avenue that led straight along miles and miles of identical houses, all the way to the skyscrapers in the distance.

“Yeah, well, let’s hope it stays that way,” Mal said darkly from right behind him. Simon felt the hairs on the nape of his neck stand on end. He hated the way his body still responded to Mal, how it wanted to be close to him. He screwed his eyes shut for a moment and told himself to think about the mission.

“Oh wo bu shin wo dah yan jing!” Jensen suddenly yelled, making Simon’s heart skip a beat.

“What is it?”

Jensen pointed at the transport vehicle that had appeared in the distance, speeding their way. “That’s them! Trust me, I know what those vehicles look like!”

“What d’you mean, that’s them?” Mal said with a frown. “What’re they doin’ on this road, 45 minutes ahead o’ the schedule we got?”

“I have no rutting clue, they must have changed their route,” Jensen said agitatedly. The car was coming their way at breakneck speed.

“Stop the car.” The words were out of Simon’s mouth before he knew it.

“What?” Jensen squealed. “Simon, we can’t hijack an Alliance vehicle in the Londinium suburbs in broad daylight! Look, we can follow them; they might still take the scheduled route. It’s a lot calmer there. You do it here, you’re signing your death warrant.”

“Doc said stop the car,” Jayne growled suddenly in a low voice, his face dangerously close to Jensen’s. Simon didn’t even have time to be confused or grateful, because Jensen immediately slammed down on the brakes.

Even before the vehicle had come to a complete standstill, Jayne had thrown the door open and was out of the car. Simon quickly followed his example and joined him on the side of the road. Behind him, he could hear Mal and Zoe mutter a string of curses as they cocked their guns and joined them.

The transport was now very close, soaring ten inches above the road at breakneck speed. Jayne quickly lifted Vera, aimed at the driver’s forehead and fired a single shot without blinking. It didn’t even crack the windshield.

“Bullet proof glass,” Simon said, trying his best to keep the panic out of his voice. “We’ve got to aim at the power source.”

The four of them raised their guns simultaneously and aimed at the spot right below the Academy logo. Simon swallowed nervously. He steadied his shaking hand, narrowed his eyes and squeezed the trigger.

Four shots rang, there was a soft buzzing sound and the vehicle came to a complete standstill right away. Simon sucked in a breath when the doors flew open and the driver and passenger stepped out. They were immaculately dressed and had a small device in their gloved hands. It almost looked like a wand.

Simon felt his breath hitch and glanced at Jayne, who looked just as skittish as Simon was feeling. He remembered these men, and he had a pretty good feeling what those things did to a man. He quickly cocked his gun, raised it and fired. The bullet hit one of the men in the shoulder, but he hardly seemed to feel it. On the contrary, he smiled eerily and pressed a button on the device.



Tianna: God Ta ma de: Fuck Hoe tze: Get out Wo bu shin wo dah yan jing: I don’t believe my eyes!


Wednesday, April 5, 2006 5:02 AM


I've been following this story at, but haven't previously commented. *hangs head in shame*

I like the whole story--the tension you built when Simon & River were kidnapped, when Simon was rescued, and now with trying to rescue River.

Mal's second thoughts in this chapter are so spot on! I just want to smack him! Can I do that? *smacks* *g*

And Jayne wondering about River, if she ever talks about him. Just so darn cute. *g*

Looking forward to the next chapter!

"I love my captain."


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Tumbling -- Act Three
Inara flirts with a stranger in a bar, and then things start to get weird. M/I and some S/K. Act three of three.

Tumbling -- Act Two
Inara flirts with a stranger in a bar, and then things start to get weird. M/I and some S/K. Act two of three.

Tumbling -- Act One
Inara flirts with a stranger in a bar, and then things start to get weird. M/I and some S/K. Act one of three.

A Lonely Road: part 9
The boys blow hot and cold, Kaylee gets all the good gossip, and the crew goes after River.
(M/S slash).

A Lonely Road: part eight
Things heat up, Kaylee hits Jayne, Badger gets a mite tetchy, and the crew prepares for their hardest job ever.

A Lonely Road: part seven
The Companion does what she does best, escape and rescue ops are set in motion, and hiding in a cave during a snow storm is a Great Plan.

A Lonely Road: part six
The crew has trust issues regarding Jayne, Simon and River get into a peck of trouble, and Mal has to get help from the last person he wants to see...

A Lonely Road: part five
Part five: in which River and Jayne face the inevitable, the cargo is, well... different and Simon makes a very stupid decision. Again.

A Lonely Road: part four
After the wave Mal has received, the long journey through the black makes everyone go a little bit stir-crazy, Simon not in the least...

A Lonely Road: part three
Part three: where Inara leaves, the crewmembers drown their sorrows and things somehow get even worse…