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Seeking Justice

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"It's okay! She's not a threat!" Simon blurted, pushing down the barrel of Mal's gun.

Mal glared at him. A strange older woman wearing a firearm, demanding entry to his ship? Call him paranoid, but she was obviously trouble. "How do you figure?"

Simon gave the woman a sympathetic glance. "Her daughter was at the Academy with River."

Mal frowned as he considered that. It had cost Simon a mint to free his sister; this woman, with her tired brown curls, plain clothes and antique pistol, like as not couldn't afford it. "My condolences, ma'am," he said, lowering his weapon.

She sighed. "It's Joyce. And I'm not here for your pity; I don't deserve it. I was the one who put Buffy in their hands, when I told her she was crazy and sent her for readjustment."

"Then what are you here for?" Mal asked.

Joyce tilted her chin up. "Justice. For Buffy, and those like her. I heard about the Miranda wave, and thought your crew might be willing to help."

Mal looked past Simon, to River's imploring face, and sighed. Definitely trouble.

"We'll... discuss it," he said, forbiddingly-- and tried not to soften at his albatross's dawning smile.