Title: Red & Blue -- Chapter IX (Three Strikes for Mal)
Series Title: Red & Blue
Disclaimer: They all belong to Joss. Don't sue or kill.
Rating: PG-13 this chapter, probably R later.
Author's Notes: Three years after the BDM. Firefly marathon on TV today, so there MAY be another chapter today. Fair warning.
Previous: Prologue | I | II | III | IV | V | VI | VII | VIII
Mal was generally confident in his abilities. No one was sure quite where this confidence came from with the amount of times he ended up shot after trying his hand at diplomacy. Even Mal wasn't sure where it came from as he stood in front of the screen. However, he had no doubt in his abilities to negotiate.
Maybe he should have.
Twenty minutes later he had negotiated himself right into his ship giving transport to same fancy Core woman, more platinum and jewels than he had ever even fathomed on, and a trip to Capital City in Osiris.
All in all, things were looking pretty ruttin' bleak, but he wanted to get off this planet before whatever had spooked his albatross came back. He just hoped he wasn't digging them into another hole. He could have used River's guidance.
"I'm telling her next time she gets herself shot or shoots herself, she better dang well leave a note." He muttered to himself in the cockpit, and reached for the comm.
"Attention, all hands. We'll be taking on a passenger and some cargo within the hour, bound for Osiris. We took this boat into Reaver space, so I better hear no mutinous talk about setting 'er down on some fancy, overpriced rock. Any complaints can be lodged with the office of I'm the Captain an' I can dock your pay."
In the infirmary, Jayne rolled his eyes. "Cap'n's gone all soft." He told River again. "I told 'em to let me cut on 'im, but does he listen to Jayne? Nooo." He shook his head. "Y'know he's just all pansy-assed about torture 'cause o' Niska."
He reached over for a scalpel, and flipped it cautiously. "Dunno what yer brother's excuse is. I'd say he's afraid a getting blood on his prissy white shirts, but he niver seems to care about that when someone's hurt." He rolled his eyes and leaned in conspiratorially. "Don't tell the doc I said this, it stays just between us partners, dong ma? But I think 'e'd be a pretty good merc if he could learn to shoot straight. All that learning and skill with a scalpel can work both ways, y'know what I mean? An' e'en though he's still a priss, he ain't near as bad as when y'all came on board." he made a face. "Not sayin' I like 'im or nothin', but y'know, he's crew. Good people. Ma'd like 'im."
he lapsed into silence again, taking River's hand and running his bigger fingers over her slim ones, creepified by how pale and still she was. It reminded him of the way she had been on Ariel before she had come back from the almost dead, rather than when she fell asleep on him after her meds. The reminder made him do something he never thought he would. "Y'know well enough that I'd never sell ye out agan." He said slowly. "Since yer a Reader and all, but I never really apologised...so...I'm sorry." He puffed up slightly. "And I hope that that's rutttin' enough, 'cause I ain't ever gonna say it again, dong ma?"
Mal spent the hour running checks on his ship to make sure that any illegal bits and bobs were well-concealed and locked up tight in the tightest, most well-hidden nooks. He wasn't any more pleased with this excursion into Alliance territory than anyone else, and given the death glare Zoe kept giving him, he wasn't sure he'd make it back out.
"Where in the hell is Jayne?" He asked the cargo bay and crew at large in annoyance. "I pay him good semi-legal money to be the muscle, and when we've got heavy cargo arriving, where's the muscle? No where to be found!"
Zoe raised an eyebrow at him and the death glare was replaced with the 'You're-being-an-idiot-Sir' expression with which he was all too intimately familiar. "He's in the infirmary with River." She said with that note in her voice that she used when dumbing things down. "Same place he's been since you went in to 'handle' the lock situation."
"Well what the good gorram hell is he doing in there?" He asked, clomping back up the stairs from the bottom of the bay, and passing Simon on the catwalk. "Ain't you the one I pay to do the doctorin'?"
"Yes." Simon said, confused. "But I've done all I can. She's just sedated now."
"That's what I needed to know, Doc." Mal said, clamping him on the shoulder and continuing on as Zoe rolled her eyes heavenward and shook her head.
Mal clomped into the infirmary, taking in the picture. "You look like an idiot." He informed Jayne. "So unless you've something to tell me about your hand having some kind of magical resuscitatin' powers an' that we don't need the doc anymore, you get your ass down to the cargo bay before the fancy lady shows up. You'll be moving her stuff. You know, the job I actually pay you for." And then he headed off to make sure he could get Serenity out of atmo as soon as the locks were off.
Jayne sighed and let go of River's hand. If he was honest, he had forgotten he was holding it. "Cap'n says jump." He said with a sigh. "An' no dyin' 'fore I get back, Riv." He paused. "Though wakin' up wouldn't go amiss."
He straightened, his knees and back aching from the small chair, and headed out of the infirmary. "While we're on the fancy rock, we should get some bigger rolly chairs!" He complained loudly, hoping Mal would hear him. "Ain't no one with half an ass can sit in those teeny things the doc's got."
"You want a bigger chair, you buy it your ownself!" Mal replied. "Now git down to the cargo bay before I decide to pick up another merc in the blackout zone!" It was an empty threat, really. Jayne was crew, family, but it got his ass moving.