The Whole Show

Mal walks into the room, one of the little ones at the back of Badger's place. It can't have much ventilation, because the smell of hooch and sex hits him in the face. Kind of like the slap of an angry woman's hand.

Inside Saffron and Badger are curled up in a corner like two devious, deceitful, pigs in a blanket. Keeping on eye on them, he turns a little, pulls out the capture he and Saffron had hidden earlier.

When he leaves the room, whistling under his breath, he's careful to close the door as quietly as possible.



Some days, Mal's sure the 'verse is playing a game with him. It can't be a coincidence (another coincidence) when he near to bumps into Saffron in the Eavesdown Docks. It just can't.

He doesn't ask how she wriggled her way out of being bound by law on Bellerophon. No use asking. Instead he just looks at her as she smiles up at him.

"Malcolm Reynolds." She moves her shoulders back a little, and he gets an eyeful of exactly what's down her shirt. But he doesn't bother speaking, just moves his hand to his gun.

"No need for that, Captain." Why's her voice got to be so gorram sweet? "In fact. I'm glad I ran into you."

Somehow, he ends up in a dive, drink in hand, before he knows it. She's smiling and winking at him and chattering up a storm, and he has half a mind to just knock her over the head with the nearest heavy object. Up to and including his fist. Or the glass. In fact, he's about to do that, when she says, "Badger has something I want."

Badger. Badger's always got something Mal wants. Mainly, Mal's money, or something else he's owed. It's stupid, but instead of bringing that glass to her temple, hard, he asks, "Yeah?"

He always lets himself get talked into these things.



Back on Serenity, he sets the capture up at his desk, sits down, and watches. Things go pretty much how he'd expect, at first.

Badger and Saffron, they walk into the room, and Saffron's talking a number on Badger. Her usual stuff, just winding him around her tiny, pretty, devil-woman finger.

Finally, they reach a deal, though Mal knows it's false as can be. Saffron pulls out a bottle from her dress – a bottle Mal had scrounged from Jayne – and manages to make the move sexy as hell too. Badger's eyes, they boggle out a little bit. Mal can't blame him.

Four drinks in, and Badger's near to resting his face in Saffron's cleavage. And she knows it. She hands him another drink, and gets him talking.

It's almost shameful how fast she gets Badger to give up the location of where he keeps his extra coin. She winks at the capture when she does it too. Girl has cheek, no one would dispute.

This is the point where Mal figured she'd just clock Badger good. Hell, he would. Maybe even sooner. Instead, things get weird. It's Saffron though, so he should've known.

"To partnership," Saffron says, and leans down to pour Badger yet another drink. He gazes up at her, eyes bleary, and mumbles something that might be 'yeah', or might be 'breasts'.

Or, 'yeah, breasts'. Who knows.

"I think it's going to work real good, you and I." She knocks back her drink. "No like some partnerships." She's got what she wants, and Mal can't see the use of continuing to talk. But she never seems to know when to shut her mouth.

Badger nods, says, "Partsnershp," and drinks a little more too.

"I figure, you're trustworthy. On the level. Know what to expect, from you. Not like some men I know."

He nods again, eyes really not anywhere near her face.

"Worked with this guy once, Mal Reynolds –"

"Reynoldssh!" Badger yells.

She looks over at him, eyes wide. Innocent as Mal's ass, but she puts on a good show. "You know him?"

"Thinksh he's ruttin' better'n us all." This time, Badger pours himself another drink.

"Does he ever."

"Alwaysh with morals and crap."

"He lectured me about finding decent work once!"

Badger starts to nod his head vigorously. "High n' mighty. Made fun of m'hat."

She makes a pouty face, says, "There's no call for that. He called me a whore."

Reaching out to pat her arm, Badger says, "Don't sheem like whore to me. I know whores. Lotsh." He hand stays on her arm.

Saffron looks at the hand, but she doesn't move it away. In fact, she moves a little closer. "Doesn't help that's he's so gorram fine."

"Tight pants."

"Seen what's in 'em."

"Yeah?" Badger looks interested. Too interested. Who would've known?

The grin on her face is just indecent. "Yeah. 's fine. He ain't stuffing those pants, that's for sure."



Badger starts – oh, god help him – starts to laugh. Giggle maybe. Little hiccups, and for a moment, it's enough to make Mal wonder if he's choking. "Sometimes wanna smack it. Just to shee'im jump."

And Saffron, she starts up too. "Your hand would linger, after."



There's more laughing for a space, followed by more drinking, and then Badger starts up an imitation of Mal. It's a bad imitation, but it leads to more laughing, enough to leave them both gasping, lying on the floor.

Then Saffron levers herself up, says, "He's got nice hair."

Badger nods, "Honest eyes." He sits up, slowly.

"Must've been a good leader, in the war."

"Folk probably died for him, feelin' good 'bout it."

Saffron gets the most indecent look on her face before she says, "Bet they had orgies. When the fighting slowed down. That whole 'be glad we're still alive' crap. Back before he got that stick shoved up his ass."

That is just wrong. Weren't ever orgies on his watch.

Not once.

Or twice.

But Badger, he's getting the same dirty look on his face, he's running his hand down his chest, slow-like,"Yep. Him'n Zoe'n idealistic soldier number one."

"And two."

"And four!" And they both collapse back down into laughter, Saffron lying flat on the floor. Somehow, Badger's face ends up pressed tight to Saffron's belly. She cranes her head up, looks down, wiggles a little, and says, "Hey. Sex?"

Badger doesn't have to be asked twice. Looks like he had more'n one thing that Saffron was after. Though Mal can't see for the life of him why she'd let Badger touch her. She's a deceitful bitch of a whore, but Badger? That's just low.

Mal half-watches the whole show, thinking about how he's going to have to ask Kaylee to figure out how to show this up on a screen. This kind of material, it's got to be shared. Deserves a private screening for the crew.

Leaning back in his chair, he smiles. Not only does he have the whereabouts of Badger's coin stash, he's got blackmail material for years to come. Maybe some days, the 'verse ain't out to get him after all.

He'll have to remember to thank Jayne for handing over a bottle of his most special hooch. "Guaranteed to get folk talkin'," he'd said.

Hell, he's feeling good enough that he might just up Jayne's cut to twelve percent.

Characters: Mal, Saffron/Badger
Summary: Some days, Mal figures the 'verse is out to get him. Other days, not so much.
Notes: for longsunday who said she'd read it if I wrote it (sure, she asked me NOT to write it, but some things can't be stopped).

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