Children Of The Academy: Cooking Dinner
Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Brian arrives on ship. Who is he, and how will the crew, especially River, react?


Next chapter in my fic. Thanks to all of you for being patient.


“Da-shiong bao-jah-shr duh la-doo-tze!” Mal yelled as his whipped his pistol out of the holster to point towards the person that was now standing in his cargo bay. It was Brian, the young man that had started this whole mess in the first place.

Brian calmly looked at Mal, then at the three guns that were aimed in his direction, and said, “Is this really necessary Captain Reynolds? I mean you no harm.”

Mal chose to ignore the question and ask one of his own. “River, what the hell is this?”

River calmly walked up to the edge of the pit in the floor, and leaned over to give Brian a hand up. Once he was out, she turned towards Mal and gave him a look that told him to be quite. Then, quick as lightning, she spun around and slapped Brian as hard as she could.

Mal got a tighter grip, and prepared for the fight that was coming. Brian, however just stood there, holding his cheek and looking down into River’s sad eyes.

“You’re late,” River told him.

Brian continued to stare into River’s eyes, and after several moments, softly said, “I know, bao-bei, and I’m sorry.”

River smiled, and jumped into his arms. They twirled around, until Brian sat her down and leaned in to touch his forehead to hers.

Mal was still holding his gun during all this, but it was no longer aimed in any particular direction. While watching the brief exchange, he managed to catch a glimpse of Simon’s face. The man looked like he was ready to die of shock. Chuckling to himself, Mal replaced his gun in the holster.

Hitting the button to close the doors, Mal began to make his way across the bay, when River suddenly jerked back and started pulling Brian in Simon’s direction. Not wanting to miss anything that was about to happen, Mal quickened his pace, and out of the corner of his eye, he caught the rest of the crew heading in the same direction.

He managed to arrive just in time to hear Brian utter, “It’s nice to finally meet you, Dr. Tam. River was always talking about how you were going to rescue her. I’m glad she was right.”

“Yes, well. Um.” Simon seemed to be at a loss for words, and kept glancing back and forth between Brian and River, who was hiding her face from her brother’s gaze.

Kaylee, however, had no such trouble. “Well, it’s nice to meet you too, Brian. Just wish we’d a’ known a bit more about ya before you’d arrived. River never said anythin’ about a boyfriend.” This last comment managed to get a blush out of both River and Simon, and the crew was having a hard time maintaining their laughter.

“Yes, well. I don’t really blame her.” Stepping aside, he pulled River so that the crew was now arranged in a semi-circle, with Simon and Kaylee standing just outside the doorway to the common area.

Stepping up to Mal, he extended his hand and said, “Captain Reynolds. I’m sorry for any trouble I may have caused you. I promise that wasn’t my intention.”

Mal shook the hand he’d been offered, but didn’t say anything in return. He was still undecided as to whether he should trust this young man, but he was willing to give him a chance. For now.

Stepping back, Brian addressed the rest of the crew. “And I must thank all of you for taking care of River. I don’t know what would have happened had her brother not brought her onto this boat.”

Kaylee shrugged her shoulders. “It was nutin. River’s helped us out just as much.”

Inara spoke up from Mal side. “Yes, she has become a good friend to all of us. We’re glad to have had her.”

“Never the less, I’m well aware of the difficulty you’ve had ever since she came aboard. I know how hard it must have been, especially you Doctor Tam. The things those people did can’t be fixed, though I’m sure you must have tried.”

Mal had kept silent up ‘till this point, but something in Brian’s manner made him ask, “What exactly do you know about the Academy?”

Looking forlorn, Brian pulled River closer to him, and respond, “Because I was also a student there.”

While everyone took a moment to register exactly what that meant, Jayne spoke up. “Wait, does that mean you can read our minds too? And how come you ain’t all crazy like she is?”

Zoe looked at Jayne in a way that told him to shut up. She was still holding her gun, and was looking like she didn’t trust Brian one bit. Turning back to the rest of the crew, she looked at Mal and said, “What I’d like to know, is if you were a member of the Academy, how’d you escape?”

Brian smiled, and shook his head. “That’s actually a bit of a story.” Turning to River, he said, “But I’d be more than happy to tell you over supper.”

For the blink of an eye, River had a confused look on her face. She gave a start, then grabbed Kaylee’s hand and started pulling her towards the kitchen.

“River, honey, what’s going on?”

“I need your help making dinner,” was River’s only reply.

As the two stumbled up the stairs, they could just hear Kaylee say, “But, River, I don’t think I’m the best one to help you cook.”

They all continued to stare in the direction the two women had disappeared, until Simon finally said, “I can’t believe she’s cooking dinner.”

Mal looked over at Simon, then gave another chuckle. “I can’t believe she picked Kaylee to help her.”

Brian just shook his head. “I can’t believe she actually forgot.”

A few more moments of silence, and Inara added, “Nothing against Kaylee, but I suggest we get someone up there to make sure we can actually eat dinner tonight.”

From somewhere behind him, Mal heard Jayne retort, “Well, I ain’t goin’ anywhere near that girl while she’s in the kitchen. I ain’t keen on getting’ cut any time soon.”

The rest of the crew shot nervous glances at each other, and then they were all racing up the stairs towards the kitchen, where they could already hear pots being put on the stove.


Brian was the first to arrive in the kitchen. As the others filed in, they saw River had tied her hair back in a bun, and was leaning over a pot of boiling water, sniffing intently. Kaylee, meanwhile, was holding a different spice jar in each hand. Several others were spread out on the counter, and she seemed to be having trouble deciding which one to use.

Brian made his way over to Kaylee, and, as he calmly took the jars off of her hands, he said, “Thank you, Kaylee, but I’ll take it from here.”

Making his way over to River he tried to push her out of the way. She refused to budge however, and a short shoving match ensued. Brian had to resort to picking River up and moving her in order to have full access to the stove.

Noticing the pout that had grown on River’s face, Brian said, “If you want to help, you can hand me ingredients.”

She beamed a smile at him, and the two began working around the stove, he mixing and cooking, she handing him the mostly necessary ingredients. They worked without a word between the two, just the occasional glance or nod of the head.

Meanwhile, the crew had spread out around the dining table, and were intently watching the couple. Finally, Mal surmised, “You seem to be pretty adept at working a stove.”

Brian looked up from the pot he was currently stirring. “Huh? Oh, well, living on your own for months on end can do that.”

Kaylee, who was now leaning against Simon’s shoulder, asked, “So you live alone on that boat of yours?”

“That I do.”

“But why? Don’t you get lonely?” Kaylee asked as she and Simon took a seat at the table.

Brian looked at one of the spices River had handed him. After reading the label, he shot her a questioning glance. When she nodded her head, he shrugged his shoulders, and added it to the pot. Setting it down, he turned to Kaylee and said, “Yes, I do get lonely at times. But it’s the only way I can keep my loved ones safe. Besides, it makes it easy to know who to blame when things go wrong.”

Mal leaned back against the bulk head next to Inara. “And what exactly would you need to keep them safe from?”

The spoon Brian was stirring with suddenly stilled. “The Alliance.” He started swirling the spoon around again, though his movements were slower than they had been.

Thinking that was all the answer he was going to get, Mal started to speak back up when Brian began to tell his story.

“My parents were elementary teachers. Born and raised on the Allied planets. But when I was born, they got restless. They wanted to help the Outer planets develop. So not too long after they had my little sister, we moved out to the Rim so that they could improve the quality of life by teaching the things people needed to know to survive.

“Now, a lot of it was contrary to what the Alliance wanted taught, but my parents understood that things were different on the Rim, and that what they were supposed to teach wasn’t what actually needed to be taught. So they continued to instruct they way they wanted to.

“Then the war came. My parents realized that the only way they were ever going to be able to teach the proper lessons was if the Independents managed to win the war and split themselves off form the Alliance. So they joined up, and sent me and my sister to our aunt’s house back on Ariel.

“Now, she was a mean old woman. She saw us as nothing more than the lost children of our wayward parents, and was constantly either trying to correct us in our ‘misguided’ ways, or use us to try and increase her standing amongst her peers. ‘Oh, my poor sister. She sent me her darling children because she knew her evil husband wasn’t teaching them right. How I wish she would just leave him.’ On and on, sometimes I just wanted to hit her.”

The intensity in the room has slowly been increasing, along with Brian’s grip on the spoon, and his stirring. Looking up to see the tense faces on some of the crew, Brian shook his head, and took a deep breath. “Sorry, didn’t mean to scare anybody.”

Most everyone was sitting down now, with the exception of Zoe, who was standing just inside the doorway with her gun still out, and Mal, who was behind Inara’s chair. Simon and Kaylee were sitting side by side, arms intertwined. Jayne had taken to inspecting one of his knives, while River was continuing to hand Brian ingredients.

Taking his hand off of Inara’s shoulder, Mal waved for Brian to continue.

Nodding his head, Brian pressed on.

“About halfway through the war, we got word that my parents had been killed. It was devastating for me and my sister, but my aunt saw it as an opportunity. We were legally her responsibility now, and she could do whatever she wanted to. She enrolled us in a private school, in order to ‘cure’ us of our misconceptions, but we rebelled.

“The war was still going on, and we continually praised the efforts of the Browncoats, against all of our classmates. The teachers couldn’t control us, and we were always contradicting them on subjects that our parents had taught us. It infuriated our aunt to no end, which just made things that much sweeter for us.

“Finally, when I was thirteen, my aunt received word that there was a very elite private school. One for highly gifted or troubled children. The Academy.

“My aunt immediately tried to enroll us, hoping that even if it didn’t correct our behavior, it would get us out of her hair. I was just old enough to be admitted. My sister, however, was too young at the time, and so they refused to let her in.

“So I was sent off. I won’t go into detail about what they did, as I’m sure you’re aware of the results.”

The pots and pans that were spread out on the stove had by this point filled the room with a wonderful aroma. After checking on them, Brian declared, “And I’m afraid the rest of my story will have to wait until after we eat. I hope everyone’s hungry.”


“Well, I do gotta admit, this is a fine meal,” Mal said, “even if it is a mite interesting.”

They were sitting around the table eating. Most of the crew had been silent due to the fact that everyone was either too interested in the food or digesting what Brian had told them so far.

Brian looked up from his plate and over at River, who was sitting next to him. “Yes it is. Though you can blame the interesting part on River. She had some unique choices as far as spices.”

Inara spoke up from the other end of the table next to Mal. “I think it’s quite good actually. Not unlike some of the dishes they serve in the Core.”

“I agree,” Simon said. He hadn’t spoken much since Brian had come aboard, but the cooking seemed to have loosened him up a bit. “In fact, it tastes almost exactly like what River and I used to have on special occasions.”

Jayne stopped shoveling food into his mouth long enough to ask, “Wait, are you sayin’ she did it on purpose?”

While River’s only response was to blush and hide her face, Kaylee perked up from across the table. “Well why not? It ain’t often she gets to cook for an old boyfriend. And they did a fine job too, ‘specially given what we got. Now Brian, I bet you got a full kitchen set up in that ship of yours.”

Brian just laughed. “I wish I did, but then I wouldn’t have room for any cargo. The holds small enough as it is.”

Mal finished chewing and asked, “So you’re a shipper then?”

Brian thought about it a moment then just kinda shrugged his shoulders. “In all honesty, I’m really more of a freelancer than anything. Sometimes it’s cargo, sometimes passengers, even information on occasion. Mostly, I just take what I can get.”

Kaylee leaned forward and ventured, “I bet you got a real sweet engine in her.”

Brian smiled, and said, “Only the best. Though I had to retrofit it in order to get it in.”

As Brian and Kaylee started discussing the modifications Brian had applied to his ship, Zoe leaned over next to Mal. “Sir, I don’t trust him.”

“I’m aware of that, Zoe, but the boy seems to be alright. Besides, River trusts him.”

She gave him one of her, I-know-you’re-not-actually-thinking-that-looks. “You said it yourself, sir. She can’t read him like she can everybody else.”

Mal looked at the end of the table. “That I did, but the point is that if he’d wanted to take her, he have done it already, and none of us woulda’ been able to stop him. So I think you can relax.”

As Zoe leaned back into her chair, Mal heard her say, “He still hasn’t answered my question.”

Mal nodded his head, and tuned into the other’s conversation, just in time to hear Brian say, “No, that’s not possible. It just wouldn’t fit. Look, the best way I have to explain everything is to show you, so why don’t I just give you a tour after dinner?”

Before she had a chance to answer, Mal interrupted. “Fun as that may be, it’s struck me that you still haven’t told us how you escaped from the Academy.”

Looking over, Brian nodded his head. “Alright. You can thank the doctor for that, actually.”

As all eyes turned in his direction, Simon said, “Me? I don’t, I mean, I didn’t… what?”

Giving a small chuckle, Brian answered, “It’s alright, Doc. You may not have known about it, but that little stunt you pulled when you rescued your sister was just the distraction the rest of us needed to escape.”

Mal leaned back in his chair. “Doc, you care to explain what he’s talkin’ bout? Cause I seem to recall you tellin’ us you paid someone to sneak her out.”

“I did. Pay someone, I mean.” Simon took a deep breath, and continued. “But they told me that the only one who could actually get her out of the building was me. So they gave me the proper uniforms, documents, and tools I would need to accomplish it.”

Jayne spoke up as he reached for another roll. “So why was she in that box, if you was the one that snuck her out?”

Simon shook his head. “Because it’s easier for a doctor with a cryogenic box to get away then it is for a brother and sister fugitive.”

Brian perked up at this. “A cryogenic box?” He looked over at River. “So that’s why…”

River smiled and then nodded her head.

Brian turned back to look at Simon. “Huh.”

Mal looked between the two couples, but when nothing further was said, he asked, “So the Doc’s rescue plans allowed you to escape? Seems to me that things don’t quite work that way.”

Brian smiled. “Normally, no, they don’t. But the people that Simon was working with had people on the inside too. So they used their resources and some of the money he gave them to time it so that when he busted out his sister, we would be able to escape.” Noticing the incredulous look Simon was giving him, Brian smirked. “Come on, Doc. You knew they had loved ones in there. Surely you didn’t think they were going to just let you get River out without helping the rest of us.”

Simon shook his head. “It’s not that. It’s just that there were some incredible security measures in place to insure that didn’t happen. I was barely able to get in and get back out, how did you manage it?”

“Some of the people working in the facility didn’t like what was being done to us. They were given instructions to break us out of our individual cells when the alarm sounded. After that, we had to try and escape on our own. And it wasn’t easy, let me tell you.”

Inara spoke up from the end of the table. “Did everyone make it out?”

Brian shook his head. “Two of the newbies refused to come with us. They didn’t understand what was going on quite yet, and a few of the others were too far gone. Jeff got killed on the way out, but the other twelve of us managed to make it to the surface.”

Jayne dropped his fork onto his plate. “Wang bao DAHN Twelve?! You’re telling me there’s almost a dozen of you runnin’ around out here?”

“No.” Brian had a sad look on his face, and as River leaned over to place her head on his shoulder, he said, “Unfortunately, there’s only about ten of us left, River included. Marie was captured a little over a year ago. But after Miranda, the Alliance realized exactly how big of a threat we could be, and increased their efforts. Lauren and Kris were killed a few months later.”

Mal leaned back forward onto the table. “And you know this how?”

Brian looked up at him. “We keep tabs on each other. See, when we escaped we…”

Suddenly the dining room lit up and the ship rocked as if something had hit it.

Gripping the table, Mal looked up. “What was that?”

Zoe stood up and said, “Looked like something exploded outside.”

Just then, the proximity alarm started to sound.

------------------------- Chinese translations

Da-shiong bao-jah-shr duh la-doo-tze = The explosive diarrhea of an elephant!

bao-bei = sweetheart

Wang bao DAHN = dirty SOB


Don't worry, the next two chapters are already in the works. Expect the first within a week.


Wednesday, September 13, 2006 4:55 PM


I just stumbled onto this, but I am liking it already! Brian is very interesting, but I am hugely intrigued with River romances right now - especially with OCs. I can't wait to see where you take it!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006 6:15 PM


Getting me to buy River in a romance is pretty difficult but I am interested in seeing where you go with this.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006 8:45 PM


Hehehe, more Academy escapees on the loose, I can't wait to see where this goes.

Nice way to end the chapter too.

Friday, September 15, 2006 6:53 PM



Saturday, September 16, 2006 12:30 AM


Not a hundred per cent sure of Brian yet and why can't River read him, or is that some part of what was done to him in the Academy? Brian almost seems too good to be true so have to say I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop just in case. Shiny story, Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Monday, September 18, 2006 2:16 PM


Oh...I so want River to have someone like Brian (if it can't be Jayne;D)...but I gets the feeling this will all go 'blooey in the end:(



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Children of the Academy: Shopping
As Mal and Zoe meet with Badger, most of the crew goes shopping.

Children of the Academy: Decisions
Mal must decide what to do with Brian, and the crew must decide if they can trust him.

Children of the Academy: Goodbye
Caught between a rock and an Alliance ship, the crew watches a Brian makes the ultimate sacrifice.

Children Of The Academy: Trapped
Serenity is trapped between a rock and an Alliance ship. Who is this new enemy, and just how much can they trust Brian?

Children Of The Academy: Cooking Dinner
Brian arrives on ship. Who is he, and how will the crew, especially River, react?

Children Of The Academy: Special Place
As Serenity heads towards Beylix, the crew struggels to figure out why they're headed there, and what River has planned

Children Of The Academy: Secrets
River's takes control of the ship, and the rest of the crew tries to figure out why, where they're headed, and what they can do about it.

Children Of The Academy: Chance Meeting
River runs into a fellow student from the Academy, and it's not what you expect.