Friday, May 12, 2006

An embarrassingly fluffy tale of Mal, Inara, and hide and seek.


Title: Hidden Pairing: Mal/Inara Prompt: Hide and seek. Words: 937 Post-BDM. Written for the lovely 2x2 over on LJ. This… really has no nutritional value. Please remember your dental floss.


There were near one thousand places to hide on a Firefly-class transport ship. Small nooks and crannies for any sized item.

Hide-and-seek had been Kaylee’s idea, of course. A way for the whole crew to bond.

Mal tried to be firm. He threatened. He pointed to his gun belt. He swore.

He was still it.

“Ten, nine, eight….” It wasn’t fair, being subject to this kind of torture. He was the captain. Kaylee’s pout had no place on his ship. “Three, two, one… ready or—”

Hell, there wasn’t a power in the ‘verse that could get him to finish that sentence.

He found Zoe first. On the bridge. Checking coordinates.

“Wasn’t really hiding, sir,” she said, before he could say something.

Next was Simon and Kaylee. In the engine room. Doing stuff Mal really hadn’t wanted to see.

“Never again,” Mal mumbled, leaving them to it.

Jayne was in Simon’s quarters—going through his personal things. Mal decided to leave him be, still feeling ornery with the doctor.

Inara was in her shuttle. Filing her nails.

“Okay,” Mal said. “I won. Took me five minutes. That’s gotta be some sort of record.”

Inara didn’t look up. “You found everyone already?”

“Well, it ain’t like it was a challenge… almost insulting. This here is a Firefly transport.”

“I know what your ship is, Mal,” Inara said, finishing one hand and starting in on the other.

“Yeah, well, it’s got some of the best places to hide in the whole ‘verse. And not a one of you is…” Mal trailed off, realization dawning. “Duh liou mahng… River.”

Inara frowned. “Hmm?”

“River, she’s the only one I haven’t…” Mal began to feel a little desperate. “Little one could fit into any manner of places. I don’t find her, I got no one to fly the ship.”

“I’m sure she’ll get bored eventually, and come out…” Inara stopped and looked up, worried. “Maybe I should help you look.”

“Hey, nobody knows this ship better’n me,” Mal said. “I’ll find her.”

“As reassuring as that is, you know what they say—”

“Don’t come between a man and his ship?”

“—two pairs of eyes are better than one. “


An hour later and they still had no luck.

“River?” Inara poked her head into one of the cargo bay’s many compartments. “Come on out, sweetie…”

“She’s gone,” Mal said. “Gonna have to hire a new pilot. And Simon’ll probably hit me when he learns I’ve lost his lil’ sis. Course, that’d give me a reason to hit him back, and that’s—”

“We’re not giving up,” Inara said. She looked determined. “River is on this ship. And we will find her.”

“Inara, we been up and down this boat near ten times, and I don’t reckon we’re ever gonna find the little albatross ‘til she’s good and ready to be found.”

Inara got a funny look on her face. “What… if she’s not in the ship?”

Mal stared. “Huh?”

“What if she’s on it? Space, Mal. She loves being out in space. What if she—”

“Nuh uh, no way, no how,” Mal said. “She couldn’t’ve climbed out’a the ship, someone would’ve heard her!”

Inara sighed. “Then she’s gone. We’ll have to give up.”

“Guess so,” Mal said. “Shame. I was even startin’ to warm up to the girl.”

“Yes,” Inara said sadly. “I was going to invite her over for tea tomorrow.”

“Really? Tea?” Mal said. “How come you never invite me over for tea?” She gave him a dirty look, clearly telling him this wasn’t the time. “I, uh… I mean, tea… awful shame she’ll have to miss that.”

“And I do make very good tea,” Inara said, giving him a smug little smile.

Mal rolled his eyes. “Yeah, too bad—”

That’s when River bounced down between them, her expression one of delight. “Found me.”

Mal glanced upwards. “Were you… were you on the gorram ceiling?”

River beamed. “It was challenging. I had to climb the doors, circle the pole—almost fell near the catwalk—”

“I don’t wanna know!” Mal said, throwing up his hands.

“Rules of the game say I’m next,” River said, frowning. “But you all think so loudly.”

“Darlin,’ thinkin’ ain’t really the issue when it comes to this crew and hiding. You’re just gonna have to make the best of it.”

River stared at him, her eyes unblinking. “You were bluffing about finding a new pilot.”

Inara covered her mouth to muffle a laugh, and Mal glared at her over the top of River’s head. “River, go and find your brother. He’s in the engine room. Tell him… tell him I want to speak with him.”

“That was mean,” Inara said, when River left.

“Yeah, but it’ll be real funny,” Mal said. He gave her his most charming grin. “Crisis averted. Ship’ll fly another day.”

“Hmm. No need to count your chickens before they hatch.”

“Count what?”

“Never mind,” Inara said. “Mal…”

“Yes?” Mal said, moving past her and heading for the bridge.

“Do you want to… maybe…” she let her eyebrows rise. Just a little. “Get a head start on the hiding… in that hatch, over there…”

Her head tilted a little to the left, her lips curving into a perfect seductive smile.

A year ago, Mal would’ve yelled at her for using wiles on him.

Currently, it was a welcome distraction.

“Think she’ll find us?” Mal said.

Nothing wrong with being cautious.

Inara’s smile widened. “Oh, I think she’ll let us be.”


Friday, May 12, 2006 5:37 AM


Absolutely precious!!! You've got talent with Mal and Inara!:) Look forward to your next post!

Friday, May 12, 2006 5:45 AM


I read this on LJ and I loved it there too. Some great humour in it.

I particularly like this line...
"Mal tried to be firm. He threatened. He pointed to his gun belt. He swore.

He was still it."


Friday, May 12, 2006 7:18 AM


This was great fun and I liked the notion of Mal and Inara hiding together, especially as it was Inara's idea.. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Friday, May 12, 2006 7:21 AM


An excellent addition to the fic here. And it is the Week of Fluffy Love and Smut, so this ties in perfectly. :-)

Loved Mal all pointy and cursing.

Saturday, May 13, 2006 6:42 PM


Lovely piece of fluff you got here, Goldy;)

Though I gotta wonder if the crew wouldn't ban River from being It during any game like Hide & Seek. Them psychic powers are mighty tempting:P



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