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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Set approximately 4 1/2 months after A NEW LIFE: Newlyweds, Parts 1 & 2, and approx. 6 months after my A NEW LIFE series. - Simon is introduced to the joys of pregnancy, while Mal and Inara's wedding approaches. Rated Light NC-17 for a little S/K lovin'. S/K, M/I, R/J
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 2284 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
A/N: Here is the last fluffy story before the angstiness begins in the sequel to A NEW LIFE, A NEW BEGINNING, which I hope to start posting in a day or so.
It's probably best to at least read A NEW LIFE: Newlyweds so you'll know what's happening!
Thanks again to Leiasky for the beta and the encouragement. Enjoy and COMMENT!
A NEW LIFE: Babies On Board
Simon entered the galley, Daniel in his arms, ready to help with dinner. He approached Kaylee from behind, hoping to surprise her with a gentle kiss behind her ear. Trying to keep his very chatty one-year-old from blabbering away, Daniel baby-talked a bit too loudly and Kaylee glanced over her shoulder, her face breaking into a wide grin at the sight of her two men.
“Well, hey there, cutie,” she breathed, reaching for Daniel.
Simon handed the boy over, careful not to deposit him too quickly against Kaylee’s growing belly. “Hey there yourself,” he whispered huskily, placing a kiss to her temple and rubbing a hand along her midsection.
Throwing him a look with no malice behind it, Kaylee said wryly, “I was talkin’ to Danny.”
With a look of mock hurt, Simon kissed her again, and then took the dish towel she had over her shoulder and replaced her at the counter, taking over with dinner where she’d left off, even as Kaylee continued to make goofy faces at their son.
“Thank you, sweetie,” she said, kissing his cheek and then circling the counter to sit at the table. At six months pregnant, her back and legs were again feeling the strain of the added weight and she’d already been on her feet most of the day.
Sighing heavily as she sank into the chair, Kaylee sat Daniel on the table in front of her and started a lively game of patty cake even as River and Jayne entered the room.
“Hi nephew,” River said quietly, walking over to her sister and her son and placing a kiss on both their cheeks. Jayne did his duty and ruffled the kid’s hair, giving Kaylee a grin before turning to regard Simon in the kitchen.
Letting out a deep groan, he looked back to Kaylee and whined, “Awww, I thought you was cookin’ tonight.”
“I was,” Kaylee said simply, again looking back to her baby boy. “But you know, Jayne, it’s a little tiring, bein’ pregnant an’ all, so my husband came to help me.”
Casting a winning and smug grin over his shoulder at the mercenary, Simon missed the scowl that Jayne gave him in return. River watched the interplay between her two favorite men and slid her hand down Jayne’s arm and into his. Placing a light kiss to his cheek, she murmured, “Don’t worry. He’ll be in the doghouse later tonight.”
With a grunt of laughter that instantly made Simon suspicious, he watched as his sister skipped lightly from the room, stopping first to peck her brother on the cheek and steal one of the fresh carrots he was chopping before heading back to the bridge. Jayne simply turned his smug expression to Kaylee and then Simon and with a “See ya at dinner,” exited the room, whistling. Was the man actually whistling?
Turning a confused look to his wife, Simon asked her, “What do you think that was about?”
A clapping game with Daniel having completely devoured her attention, Kaylee turned to him and shrugged. “No idea.”
Mal found Inara in their shuttle before supper. She was moving with a hurried pace that he was not used to seeing and he found himself staring, dumbfounded, as she flitted about from one end of the shuttle to the other. He did not interrupt her for some unknown reason and as it was, it took her a full five minutes to realize he was standing in the doorway.
“Oh, Mal,” she said quickly, pausing abruptly. She had a few large books in her hands and Mal could see that one of them covered some kind of wedding tradition. Smiling at her, he approached her and took the books from her grasp, setting them down on the couch. With nothing between them, Mal stepped closer and wrapped his arms around her waist, pulling her tight to him.
“You lookin’ at weddin’ stuff I shouldn’t see?” he teased, remembering with clarity the blow-up they’d had just a week ago when she’d caught him looking at bridal gown sketches she’d stashed on her side of the bed.
Smiling at him with that patient grin that drove him wild, she answered, “No, these books you can look at any time, if you wish.” She was about to say more, when he closed his mouth around hers, gently working his lips against hers, teasing them apart with the tip of his tongue, until she granted him passage. Unable to resist him, as always, Inara wrapped her arms around his neck, and met his tongue with her own, causing them both to work themselves into a fevered pitch before they were forced to part for air.
“Well, ‘Nara,” Mal breathed, having a hard time collecting his thoughts after such a kiss. “That was a fine greetin’.”
She giggled against him, and Mal loved how the sound resonated from her chest and into his own. Kissing lightly down her neck and to the top of her shoulder, he was gently working the skin there, where her neck and shoulder met, pulling and sucking it with his teeth and tongue, when Inara spoke the five words he dreaded most in the ‘verse.
“Mal, we need to talk.”
Freezing, Mal did not move for a full ten seconds, certain that if he stayed still she would forget what she wanted to say and let him continue his work. But when he felt her hands work up into his hair and felt her tug, ever so gently to get his face to meet hers, he knew there was no such chance.
Swallowing thickly, he guided her over to the edge of the bed and sat her down. “Okay,” he said slowly, watching as her eyes darted everywhere around the shuttle, but would not come to rest on him. “Let’s talk.”
Finally, she threw him her best annoyed look, and pulled her hand away that he had held onto. “Well, don’t say it like that.”
“Like what?” This hadn’t been his idea in the first place, why was he all of the sudden being scolded? “You said you wanted to talk, so let’s talk.”
“You know, Mal,” Inara started fiercely her anger at his insensitivity rising. “You always do this. You always think that if I want to talk or if we need to discuss something, you’ve done something wrong. You always give me this look, like I’ve just crashed Serenity or something, because you think I won’t yell at you if you look pathetic!”
As she ended her tirade, Mal’s expression had changed from one of mild fear to full-blown confusion. What in the good gorram was going on?
Inara saw him struggle to put together the pieces of her rant and realized with a sinking heart that she wasn’t being fair to him. The truth was, she wasn’t mad at him, not really. She was scared, and no matter how long they were together or how much they loved each other, Inara worried she would always counter her own fear with anger, directed at Mal, whether he deserved it or not.
And now, he didn’t deserve it. And if she wasn’t careful, she was going to ruin a perfectly good surprise for them both. Taking a deep, calming breath, Inara closed her eyes and tried to focus on the positive, on the good of what this news would bring them both, the happiness, she wanted that happiness and she wanted it for Mal.
Opening her eyes, they were clear and bright and held none of the fire Mal had seen in them only moments before. Still confused, he watched as Inara took his hand in hers, and held it gently, absentmindedly running her fingers along a scar between his knuckles. Watching her intently, he asked timidly, “Did I do something?”
Smiling at him, Inara felt a few tears ghost behind her eyes and she tried to blink them away. “No, sweetie, you didn’t. And I’m sorry. That was unfair of me. I just …” She again paused uncertain of how to break this news, of how to tell him. She was ninety-nine percent sure that he would be ecstatic, but that unaccounted for one percent taunted her, causing her heart to beat a little bit erratically in fear.
Mal knew now that whatever Inara was trying to tell him was insanely difficult for her. Reaching up, he placed a hand on her cheek, letting his fingers rest behind her ear and rub there gently, knowing it would soothe her as it always did. Watching as she let out a big breath, he knew it had again worked.
“I have some news,” she said finally, again bringing her eyes to study his bright blue ones.
“Some news, huh?” Mal could think of a handful of things Inara would be afraid to tell him and none of them were good. “What kind of news?”
“Good news,” she said slowly, thinking that he might guess and save her the struggle of saying the words. But as his eyes again stared to her blankly, she gave up on that pipe dream. Men.
Mal was waiting, still uncertain as to how all of this would end for him. Finally, unable to stand her own reticence any longer, Inara blurted out, “I’m pregnant.”
Untold seconds passed as Inara waited for him to say something. And when he finally did, it was a simple, “Huh.”
It was not the best thing to say, Mal knew that. He knew it with even more certainty when Inara immediately teared at his grunt and rose, pacing away from him, to stand on the far side of the room, her back to him.
Recovering quickly, Mal’s initial shock gave way to a bit of healthy fear, followed by ridiculous elation. Inara was pregnant, with his kid. He was going to be a father. This was almost too much. Their wedding was about a month away and now Mal found out he was going to get a beautiful wife and a baby all at once. It was unbelievable.
Rising quickly, Mal walked up behind her and wrapped his arms around her shoulders, even as she tried to pull away from him. “Let me go, Mal,” she cried, trying to break out of his grip, but only attempting to do so with a half-hearted effort.
“Shhh,” he murmured into her ear, pressing a few kisses to her cheek. “You hush now. You’ve done shared your news, so now it’s time for me t’share mine.”
Turning in his embrace, it was Inara’s turn to be confused. “What news?” she asked him quietly, wiping her eyes with the back of her hand. Not making a move to leave his embrace, she asked quickly, “Did something happen today? On the job?”
Shaking his head, Mal smiled at her concern, and brought his hands up to cradle her face, her beautiful face that made him feel giddy and stupid and excited and whole all at once. “No, ai ren, no. The job was peachy.” Pressing a gentle kiss to her mouth, Mal pulled her close and said, “No, my news is that I’m happy. I’m glad you’re pregnant.”
He felt her relax in his arms, her body sagging a bit against him. Keeping an arm around her shoulders, he led her back to the bed and sat with her. She leaned against his side, her head on his shoulder and breathed a giant sigh of relief.
“I’m sorry,” she finally murmured, after a few more minutes of silence had passed between them.
Placing a finger under her chin, he tipped her head back so he could look at her and questioned, “For what?”
“For almost ruining the moment,” she answered sheepishly, averting her eyes to look at the floor. “I didn’t mean to yell. I just got nervous that-"
He cut off her next statement with an even more passionate kiss than the one they’d shared before and when their lips parted, it was Inara who could barely breathe. “So, this is really okay?” she asked, her breath warm against his cheek.
“Of course it is, we done already talked ‘bout it, din’t we?”
She nodded, they, of course, had discussed the possibility. After having safely gotten back into space and watching the ridiculous happiness that seemed to follow Kaylee and Simon around, they had discussed their options. The wedding of course had made the top of the list and with a lot of careful planning, Inara had been able to arrange for a location at one of the training houses. But quickly their thoughts and talks had turned to children. Mal knew, due to Inara’s history, how badly she wanted one, especially now that she had seen the way Kaylee and Daniel interacted with each other. And Mal wanted that for her. He only wanted her to be happy and if that meant they were going to bring a bouncing baby into this ‘verse, then he’d do it.
They again sat in silence and Mal realized that he had the biggest and probably stupidest grin playing across his face, but he didn’t care.
“You done been checked out by the doc,” he asked her, dropping his arm from her shoulders to rub circles along her back.
She nodded and said, “Yes, he confirmed it for me this morning, while you were on the job. We’re both fine.”
At the sound of the plural, Inara finally realized what she’d just said. With fresh tears, but this time, happy ones, in her eyes, she turned to Mal and took his face in her hands. “Mal, we’re going to have a baby.”
“I know, darlin’,” he said, brushing her hair back from her shoulder before kissing her again. “I know.”
With that, he pulled her to him and kissed her again, his hand trailing down her bare arms to rest at her waist. She let him push her back into the bed, delighting in the feel of his weight on her, of his growing arousal pressing against her center. He gazed down at her for a moment, and then finally smiled, that cocky grin that always made her grin just as stupidly. “I love you.”
She returned his smile and his gaze and then moved her hand to his cheek, drawing his face to hers. “Love you,” she whispered back, and waited with barely contained anticipation as he again closed his mouth over hers.
Simon stared at the door to his and Kaylee’s bunk in a look of pure befuddlement. Everything had been fine five minutes ago, he was sure of it. Even as he stood here now, on the other side of his own room in his pajama bottoms and nothing else, he replayed the evening over in his head, looking for the spot in the night where he had said the words that would cause such a reaction in his wife. But there was nothing.
Rapping lightly on the door, Simon called, “Kaylee. Kaylee, please open the door.”
“No!” Her hot yell called back at him through the screen and he squeezed his eyes shut against the anger in her tone.
“At least tell me what I did,” he begged, hoping that maybe she would just let him apologize and go back to bed.
Abruptly, the door slid back and Kaylee stood in front of him, a huffy expression on her face. Her arms were crossed over her belly and she was tapping her foot impatiently. Swallowing suddenly as Simon realized just how angry Kaylee was, he was about to ask again, when she bit out, “You done know what you did, Simon Tam, don’t even pretend otherwise.”
And with that she again slammed the door in his face, leaving him literally in the cold and figuratively in the dark. He didn’t like either position.
Turning with a sigh, Simon leaned against the door, and crossed his arms over his chest, his skin growing cold in the ship’s nighttime climate. As he rested his head back and tried to think of a way back into his own room, he saw River round the corner.
Sighing again, he brought his head back to look at her and groaned as he saw her bratty smile gracing her features.
Looking to her, he fixed her with his best hard glare and said, “Don’t.”
River simply shrugged and then moving forward patted his arm in a truly non-reassuring manner. Glancing over his shoulder at the closed door and the muffled sounds of slamming drawers from inside, River smirked again and asked, “You can still be such a boob.”
Dropping his chin to his chest, Simon rubbed his hand over his eyes, wishing his bratty sister, for once, would not be so bratty. But it wasn’t to be, at least not tonight. “River,” he sighed tiredly, hoping she would get the hint.
Smiling at his pain, and his obvious discomfort, River placed a light kiss to his cheek and said, “Okay, I’m going. Good luck.”
As she moved to leave, Simon watched her bouncy step and picked up on … something. Not sure why he was so curious, he asked, “Where’re you going?”
Looking back to him with a big grin on her beautiful face, she said simply, “To sleep with Jayne,” and was out of sight before Simon’s tired mind could even form a response.
River crawled down his ladder, seeing everything despite the pitch black of the bunk. With learned grace, she moved forward, towards his bed where he would be sleeping, and gingerly set herself on the edge. When she heard his snores continue, she smiled knowingly and crawled in beside him.
Jayne did not stir, except to wrap an arm around her waist and draw her close to him. As she pressed a light kiss to his cheek and settled against his warm form, River felt her whole body, and her mind, relax.
It was blessedly peaceful to be with him, like this. He did not make any demands of her, did not push or try and make her ready for something she was still a bit apprehensive about. Instead, Jayne simply slept, with her at his side, holding her through the night, waking her with kisses, some gentle, some passionate, doing his best to be the type of man she wanted so he wouldn’t lose her.
And that’s what she loved about him; he cared, about losing her. Not in the way Simon did. Her brother cared about losing her because she was his responsibility, his mei mei – for a very long time she had been his only reason to exist. She was his mission, much as she had become the captain’s and the weight of that responsibility, to be the focus of someone’s salvation, was tiring for her.
But with Jayne, she was the focus of his heart and maybe one day his life. Not his life’s work, not his absolution from all the sins he’d committed, but the one person in the ‘verse who he actually thought could make him whole. It was a frightening and freeing emotion for River, to be loved so completely. She knew that what Jayne felt for her, the depth of his emotion was something she never could have predicted, never could have foreseen. And that’s what made her love him even more.
As he again grunted in his sleep, and tugged her a bit closer to him, River felt a small smile creep across her face. Burying her head into the top of his chest, she entered a dreamless sleep in minutes.
Simon was awakened from his fitful sleep by a very insistent shoulder shake. Blinking his eyes and trying to clear the sleep from them, he looked into Kaylee’s concerned face and immediately became alert. Sitting up in the passenger dorm he’d absconded for the night, after it became apparent that Kaylee was not going to relent and let him back in their room, he took her hand in his, his other hand immediately flying to her belly to check the baby.
“Kaylee, what is it? Are you all right?” He knew his voice sounded panicked, and he wished he could control it, but every time Kaylee so much as hiccupped, he got all nervous, thinking of a million things that could go wrong.
Looking back into her big green eyes, he blinked abruptly as he saw that the earlier concern he’d saw reflected there had been replaced with a mischievous glint he’d seen plenty of times before. “Kaylee?” he questioned slowly, not at all certain what was going on. Reaching up to place a hand on her cheek, he asked again, “Are you all right?”
Taking his hand from her face, Kaylee kissed his palm and then leaned forward, no easy feat, to plant a big kiss on his lips. Still a bit surprised, but quickly getting over it, Simon returned the kiss, delighting in the ferocity of Kaylee’s efforts. Finally, pushing her back, Simon was panting a bit as he said, “What’s going on?”
“Missed ya,” she said demurely, batting those pretty green eyes at him in a way she knew drove him crazy. Rising slowly, she moved to the screen door and closed it, locking it firmly before turning back into the room.
Swallowing thickly, Simon managed to ask, “Is Daniel okay?”
Still smiling wickedly, Kaylee tossed the monitor to him that she had carried into the room, Simon catching it and looking at it for a moment before setting it onto the floor. “Sleepin’ like a baby,” she told him, her voice having grown huskier in the last few seconds.
Simon’s eyes widened as he watched as his wife, with a few deft movements, unbuttoned the top of her gown, giving him a full view of her swollen breasts. With a rising heat somewhere below the waist, Simon watched with rapt attention as Kaylee slid her hand over her skin, caressing one breast and then the other. Her eyes fluttered closed at the motion and Simon again swallowed thickly.
Once she’d elicited a moan, he realized he didn’t care what was going on. Lunging towards her from the bed, he pulled her tight against him, not easy with her six months of pregnancy in the way and crushed his mouth to hers. Moving one of his hands up and under her nightgown, he brushed his fingers at her core, feeling her already getting slick against his hand and grinning into her mouth. She inhaled a bit, even as they kissed, at his caress and tried to move closer to him. With his own smile, Simon took his other hand and followed the one she had placed inside her gown, running his fingers over her collarbone and down the center of her chest, making light patterns over her heart before he moved them to fondle the warm flesh of her breasts.
Breaking their kiss, Kaylee leaned her head back against the door, panting slightly as he worked his hands over her, his mouth now firmly attached to her shoulder and neck, his teeth grazing her skin in a way that always made her moan. And it worked again. “Oh, Simon,” she panted, working her hands up and over his well-muscled back and bunched them into his dark hair.
She wanted him so badly, she was aching again. She had never guessed sex could be so good during pregnancy, but as her hormones raged and her body changed, she found herself turned on by almost any motion her husband made. Now, as she felt his growing arousal pressing against her firm belly, she knew it wouldn’t be long before she had to have him.
“The bed,” she murmured, panting again, as his hand that had earlier passed over her folds, ghosted over her hips and down her thighs. They moved as one to the edge of the bed, and only once Simon’s knees hit the back of it did he break his hold on her neck, helping Kaylee to sit and lie back before joining her. With a tug on her night shirt, he got her to raise her arms and he pulled it off, revealing her glowing and perfect body. Her hands immediately came down to cradle her stomach and he knew she was trying to hide a few of the stretch marks that had shown up in the past few weeks, but he didn’t care. She was still the most beautiful woman he had ever met.
Running his hand along her swollen stomach and down past her hips and into her groin, he watched as her eyes glazed over with desire and her hips bucked against his hand even as he continued to tease.
Smiling as his own passion began to consume him, Simon again worked kisses all along her skin. “So, I’m not in trouble anymore?” he murmured, even as Kaylee moaned and wriggled, desperately wanting him to stop this torture and give her release.
“Uh-huh,” she murmured, biting her lip to keep from crying out too loud. They were after all not ensconced in their recently sound-proofed room and she’d hate for prying eyes to come looking, although it was early.
“So, I’m off the hook, then?” Simon asked, grinning despite his own growing need to take his wife. He looked up from where he’d been sucking on one of her nipples to watch as she struggled to form a thought.
Finally, deciding she had indeed had enough, Kaylee fisted her hands back in his hair and tugged him up, wanting his mouth to meet hers. He gave in, knowing it wouldn’t be long now before he’d be putty in her hands. Straddling her and being sure to keep any unnecessary weight off her middle, Simon placed his hands on either side of her shoulders and pressed a fierce kiss to her mouth which Kaylee returned and then some. With relish, she thrust her tongue into his mouth, smiling slightly as she heard him moan and felt him drop a bit towards her, his hardness just touching her center.
With a loud cry she could not contain, Kaylee knew this would be over soon, but she couldn’t take it, not a second longer. Running one hand down the length of his muscled chest, Kaylee felt his firmness in her hand and delighted as his eyes again burned bright with passion as she pulled gently. “Wo de tian, Kaylee,” he breathed, his head falling to her shoulder as she increased her ministrations.
And then in one beautiful motion, he grabbed her hand away, wrapping their fingers together and bringing their intertwined hands up over her head and slid into her. Filling her with ecstasy, Kaylee again moaned, loud and long as Simon began to move, causing her to pulse and throb with delicious energy.
There were no more words, no more thoughts for either of them, as they moved as one. They were again locked in a passionate embrace of love and feeling, of lust and touch, of want and desire and as Simon finally open his eyes and saw Kaylee’s bright green ones staring back he knew the next time she kicked him out, he’d go gladly.
With another loud cry of release, Kaylee felt her entire body relax into the mattress and watched with veiled satisfaction as Simon, panting and sweaty rolled off of her and fell beside her. An arm over his eyes and still trying to catch his breath, Simon turned to her and smiled that swai grin that almost made her ready to go again – almost, but she was tired.
“That was amazing,” he murmured, rolling onto his side and wrapping an arm around her waist. Pressing a light kiss to her lips, he sighed again once he’d pulled away and let another wave of contentment roll off of him.
“Mm hmm,” Kaylee murmured, rolling onto her side to face her husband. Bringing an arm up to rest under her head, Kaylee reached out her free hand and ran it through Simon’s sweaty hair, getting a low groan from him in the process. His eyes fluttering open, Kaylee bit her lip as that blue pierced straight to her heart and he murmured, “Again?”
Kaylee smiled at him and kissed him, and then snuggled close. “Maybe, but not now. I’m tired.”
Simon wrapped both his arms around her, agreeing with that assessment. As they lay in each other’s embrace for a few more minutes, Kaylee quickly losing her battle with consciousness, Simon placed a gentle kiss to her hair and whispered, “Kaylee?”
“Mmmm,” was all she could manage, not even able to lift her head from where it felt so comfortable against Simon’s firm chest.
“What did I do?” He wanted to know, truly, he kind of needed to know – because he figured if getting kicked out of his bunk led to some mind-blowing sex with his wife then he might need to get kicked out more often.
Giggling slightly and not exactly sure why, Kaylee kissed him right over his heart, and said sleepily, “I don’t know. I think it was a mood swing or somethin’.”
Slightly disappointed, Simon again placed a kiss to her temple and figured that, as River had reminded him, he surely could figure out ways to end up in this situation again.
When Simon, Kaylee and Daniel made it to breakfast the next morning, they were only greeted by River and Jayne. Holding out a chair for his wife and then handing over their son’s squirming form as he was quite hungry, Simon moved about the galley with light movements, seeming to not have a care in the world.
The smile on his features when he brought plates of food back for his wife and son, told them all that he indeed did not have a care in the world, and judging by the cheerfulness with which Kaylee was chattering away, they all knew why.
Throwing a disappointed look to River, Jayne leaned back in his seat and grumbled, “I thought you said he was gonna be in trouble.”
River grinned at him, and looked to her brother, watching with her own happiness as he helped to feed Daniel, stopping every so often to kiss Kaylee or rub her back or just touch her in some way. Watching as, with a light heart, Simon kissed his son or made a funny face, hoping to keep the little boy happy. River had always wanted this for Simon, this joy, this future and now that she knew he had it, she found herself unbelievably elated.
Leaning back in her own chair, River took Jayne’s hand and smiled at him. “Don’t worry. He’s still a boob.”
Jayne shot another dissatisfied look across the table and muttered, “Well, I done know that.”
River was about to say something else when the captain and Inara entered the room, hand in hand. She knew immediately they had news and she knew what that news was, so she sat up, her back straight, hands clasped on the table before her and waited, with a wide, knowing grin on her face.
“Mornin’,” Mal said, noting River’s attentiveness and being somewhat bothered by it.
“Mornin’,” Kaylee said brightly, leaning her cheek to Inara as the woman passed and placed a kiss there in greeting.
Inara passed Simon and gave him a slight nod, confirming for him that Mal now knew of the pregnancy. The former Companion had briefly discussed her reservations with Simon the day before when he’d run her tests and Simon had simply assured her that after losing so much time with Kaylee, the one thing he wished for anyone in love was the chance to share that love everyday. Two people could do that with each other, but both she and Simon felt that sometimes having a baby, a living reminder of that shared affection, could be the sweetest treasure of all.
As Mal got food for himself and Inara, no one noticed how he was a bit more attentive to her. No one noticed as he held out her chair, just slightly, or brought her a plate of food before he served himself. But Inara noticed and as he took his seat beside her, she gently squeezed his hand in thanks. The smile he gave her back easily melted her heart.
River continued to wait, growing more impatient and when Jayne finally decided it was time to start the day, River placed a firm grip on his arm. “Can’t leave yet,” she told him. Having learned long ago not to disagree with her, he looked across the table to her brother with a puzzled expression, even as River’s eyes roamed down the table to Inara and then Mal. “Not yet.”
Mal swallowed down a particularly large chunk of protein and met Inara’s slightly widened eyes. Giving him a slight shrug and a smile, Mal wiped his mouth with his napkin before clearing his throat loudly and getting Simon and Kaylee’s attention as well.
“There somethin’ wrong, cap’n,” Kaylee asked, her bright eyes shining with love for each member of their family.
“Well, no now, lil’ Kaylee, I’m actually thinkin’ there’s somethin’ right.” Glancing over to Inara’s luminous face, he reached up a hand and brushed her cheek slightly as he added, “A lot of somethin’s right.”
Pulling himself from his stare, he again turned to regard the table and said, “Actually, Inara and I gotta an announcement to make.”
As soon as the words were out his mouth, Jayne knew what would come next and he groaned, loudly, getting a sharp look from his girl sitting at his side. With a poke in the ribs, he sat up slightly and asked, “What?” before she again turned a beatific smile on the happy couple at the end of the table.
“We’re going to have a baby,” Inara said, after getting a slight nod from Mal.
Kaylee’s squeal of delight was the only thing anyone could hear. Jumping up, as fast as she could given her condition, Kaylee rushed to the end of the table and threw her arms around her friend, holding her tightly. “Oh, ‘Nara, this is so shiny,” she breathed, squeezing the other woman so hard, Inara found it a little hard to take a breath.
“All right, easy there, Kaylee,” Mal said, placing a hand on the girl’s arm as he read Inara’s discomfort. “That is the mother of my child you’re attackin’ there.”
Sheepishly, Kaylee backed away from her friend and instead turned a crushing embrace to her captain. “Cap’n, you’re gonna be a pa, ain’t that great?”
Patting her lightly on the back, Mal said, “Yeah, Kaylee, it truly is.”
Simon had risen by this time, leaving Daniel in his high chair as he walked to congratulate the couple. “Inara, Mal, congratulations. It’s wonderful news.”
Mal met the other man’s eyes over his wife’s shoulder and nodded once. “Thanks doc.”
At his words, Kaylee abruptly stood and turned to Simon with a glaring look. Stepping back involuntarily, Simon watched with his mouth hanging open slightly as she advanced on him, and finger pointed in his direction. “You knew, din’t ya?”
“Knew what,” Simon asked, wishing to all the gods in the heavens that he could understand mood swings – just once.
Frowning at him, Kaylee finally reached him and pressed that sharp finger into his chest. “You knew, ‘Nara, my best friend, was pregnant.”
Understanding now and realizing that he had a perfectly legitimate excuse Simon took her by the shoulders and said softly, “Yes, bao bei, I did. But Inara is my patient. Therefore, I couldn’t say anything.”
Pursing her lips at him, Kaylee gave him a cold stare and then backed out of his arms. Crossing her arms over his chest, she said succinctly, “Nice try.”
And before he could even think of some way to apologize, she had swept past him, and headed for the engine room.
Sheepishly looking to his friends at the table, Simon was especially disappointed that Jayne had witnessed all that, because now the mercenary had an even more smug expression on his face than normal. Sighing heavily, he glanced to his son, who was still chattering away happily in his highchair and then forlornly after his wife.
Looking back to Inara she rose and moved towards Daniel before Simon could even say a word. “I’ll watch him. You, go,” she told him pointing in the direction Kaylee had retreated.
Smiling his thanks, he turned and left, hoping that if she did indeed decide to stay mad at him until tonight, he might just get awoken in the same manner as this morning.
Later that night as Simon again stood outside his bunk, dressed in his pajama pants and desperately trying to get back in to be with his wife, he was not at all surprised to see River come back. However, when she carried a blanket and pillow across the hall to the empty dorm he’d slept in the previous night, he gave her a quizzical look.
Crossing the distance between them, she placed a hand to his cheek and with a sad gaze said, “It’s not going to end as well as it did last night.”
Then, turning on her heel, she flitted away, leaving Simon more dejected than before.
NEXT: The Big Damn Sequel - A NEW BEGINNING - stay tuned!
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