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Sunday Night Bartending!
this is the captain speaking
bad_in_latin wrote in milliways_bar
Apparently, Mal has competition.

The specials sign?

Football is boring. Come to Happy Hour! Drinks half-off.

That should do it.

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Does he tell? Would it make a difference?

Would it change things?

" somethin'. In my 'verse, my time. Against Gabriel Tam."

Raguel stares at him.

"Why would..."


"I saw Gabriel Tam a couple of weeks ago. He looked pretty bad, said it was, uh."

He trails off, frowning.

"He said it was what?"

Mal's not about to contradict him.

Even though he already has.

"He said it was demonic."

Raguel is looking paler by the second.

"I was away in a different 'verse," Mal explains -- partially that's why I don't have the details and that's why I can't explain everything.

"That's what I heard."

"I'm sorry," he says helplessly, but he's staring at a place just over Mal's shoulder.

He wouldn't even let me touch him.

"You're, uh." He gestures, blinking rapidly.

"The rest of you are okay?"


It's only now, at the question and concern apparent, that Mal matches Raguel's expression.

"I know it weren't you."

Raguel finally looks at him and seems to focus.

"I don't think that's how it works."

"It's how it works for me," and it's firm and strong as a response.

He seems to be trying to form a response of some kind, but it's too much to explain. And it's all too fast. His head is spinning. He clutches at the bar's edge to remind himself which way is down.

"Could I get a drink, please?"

It's almost inaudible.


It's a nondescript brown bottle with a nondescript beer.


He starts to reach for it automatically, but stable is not really what he's looking for.

"Whiskey, I think. Should've specified."

"Whiskey with a beer chaser, then."

Mal sets out two fingers in a tumbler.

"Try 'em both?"

Raguel's fingers are less than steady as he reaches for the tumbler and knocks it back. He looks around the bar like he's seeing it for the first time.


It's quiet.

Almost pathetic, really.

"Anythin' I can help with?"

Also like he's seeing it for the last time.

He pulls a mess of crumpled bills out of a pocket without looking and lays them on the bar. His tab goes to zero, then into credits as they vanish.

"I don't think so," he replies, with a wan attempt at a smile. It fails rather miserably.

"I'll have to think o' somethin', then," Mal replies firmly.

"Uh huh," he says, distracted, and stands up. He's still staring around the bar, but apparently doesn't find what he's looking for.

"Captain Reynolds," he says, still in that low tone. "It's been an honor knowing you."

He hesitates a moment longer, looking blankly at the beer bottle.

"Thanks for the drink," he concludes, and makes his way slowly to the door.

Oh this is very much not good.

Mal hops over the bar -- a trick ending in an abrupt groan when he lands ass-first on one of the barstools, and he cuts Raguel off.

"How do you know leavin' now won't be the reason why you are how you are in my time?"

There's a longish pause.

"I don't, I guess. But if I'm getting there anyway, I don't suppose it matters much. It's not like it's any great surprise."

"It don't have to be like that."

Destiny's always been Mal's least favorite Endless.

"Oh, I think it does," he says, and the pieces are fitting together so nicely now. He figures he missed it before because he just wanted to.

"I've visited your ship. I wouldn't have felt... that... if it wasn't the same timeline. It's already happened."

"What? I don't -- I don't understand --- "

He looks very tired, suddenly.

"You took me to your ship, remember? I could tell he was there. Just didn't know what it was at the time. Two versions of the same person, in the same timeline. Didn't work."

It costs him something to talk casually about this future demon as the 'same person,' but he's pretty sure it doesn't show. Much.

"But that's what I mean -- I'm hundreds o' years ahead o' you. You don't have to become...anythin' you don't want."

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