Mischief, Part 4
Monday, November 13, 2006

Yet another Pirate Children story. Set thirteen years post-BDM, AU. A look into daily life for the children aboard Serenity. How do four children pass the time in the Black?


Title: Mischief

Rating: PG. For mischief and a little cursin'. Shh, don't repeat that in front of Mei-Mei.

Characters: the whole crew, plus the Pirate Children and Alistair Caramia (the latter are mine, the rest are Joss's)

Pairings: Canon pairings. I generally lean towards M/I, but this one is not as shippery as Shadow or any of the others. This is more about the kids.

Summary: Yet another Pirate Children story. Set thirteen years post-BDM, AU. A look into daily life for the children aboard Serenity. How do four children pass the time in the Black?

Author's Note: This is the end... Of this fic. There are many more to come. Thanks for joining me on the ride!

Part 4

“Brought you some tea, Al.” Ally looks up from the personal data player, and film feed nicked off the Cortex, pausing it to smile at the new arrival. “Thanks, Kace,” she says, sitting up on the common area couch outside the infirmary and accepting the cup from him. “Lolly said you might like it,” Kacey shrugs, his darker complexion hiding most of the blush that fills his cheeks and ears. “Also think she might’ve been trying to kick me outta the kitchen. She an’ Aunt Kaylee were cooking something, I think.” “More giggling than cooking, I’m sure. How’s your morning been?” Kacey shrugs, scratching behind his ear a little, stifling a yawn. “Just got up. It’s hard to sleep through that,” he gestures to the cargo bay and the raucous sound of Serra and Mal’s game of hoopball, which has already pulled in Jayne, Zoe, and Wash. “Are you going to join them?” “After I wake up a little. Maybe see if I can get Abe outta the shuttle, even up the game.” The boys, though constant rivals and frequent squabblers, are closer than they want anyone to think, are brothers in a very real sense. Ally glances at her watch. “I doubt you’ll get him out of there for another hour yet.” “Right. Gotta have his nose in a book, ‘less he be normal for once.” “Is everything okay with you and Abe, Kacey?” Ally asks, sensing more hostility than usual in his voice. Though the boys tease and rile each other like that in person, she’s rarely heard them talk like that outside the other’s presence. Though, she figures living in the cramped quarters of Serenity would be enough to drive anyone to be sick of their roommate. Kacey shrugs again. “Fine.” The typical teenage code word for “I don’t wanna talk about it.” She is still finding it hard to believe that Kacey is officially a “teenager”. “Alright,” Ally concedes, watching as he nervously looks to the hoopball game. “You know, if you ever need to talk…” Kacey nods. “Yeah, Ally, I know. I’m gonna go play, I think.” There’s still a hint of blush in his ears as he retreats to the cargo area.


Simon laughs more. Smiles when his little girl grins at him, when his wife teases him about his Core-born ways, when he watches River teach Lolly ballet in the bay. Lets himself loose long enough to engage in a water war with the two most important women in his life, despite the waste and impropriety of it all. River is number three now. She doesn’t mind so much. She likes watching him this way, when Kaylee has turned on an upbeat tune and Lolly grabs her father by his precious surgeon’s hands, making him spin with her around the kitchen table, both soaked to the bone. Those hands are used for so much more than surgery now. They clasp Kaylee’s while curled on the couch, watching a movie from the Cortex. They wipe tears from Lolly’s blue eyes when she’s scared or frustrated or hurt, tickle her sides to make her smile dazzlingly again, so much like her mother. They rest affectionately on River’s shoulders when he visits her on the bridge to talk about his day. They sew up crewmembers, yes, but also apply bandages to the boys after a scuffle, to the Mei-Mei when she skids on hands and knees in the cargo hold, despite every adult’s warning to walk. They ease fears, give pleasure, and, of course, save lives. “My turn,” Kaylee announces from the galley, “Come stir this, Lolly.” Lolly pouts with a tease, passing her father off to her mother, watching them laugh as Simon struggles to keep up with Kaylee’s quicker steps. Lolly doesn’t start when her Aunt River appears suddenly over her shoulder, is used to her aunt’s natural stealth. “We’re making jell-o,” the twelve-year-old announces, even though she knows her aunt already knows that. Lolly likes to vocalize these things, draw her aunt into verbal conversation, smile her Kaylee smile that makes everything right in the ‘verse. “Red,” River observes, one eye on the swirling liquid of the stirring, the other on her brother and sister-in-law. “Mom’s favorite. Dad’s, too. We gotta put it in the ‘fridge unit, let it set.” River nods, taking the bowl from her niece and putting it in to congeal. Then she grabs Lolly’s hand, moves to pull her over to join Kaylee and Simon. Lolly laughs and skips enthusiastically after her aunt, stealing her mom away, watching River and Simon pick it up. Kaylee spins her daughter, then dips her. Lolly returns the favor, almost dropping her mother. Both dissolve into giggles.

*** Splat! Swoosh, smack. “I’m hit!” “Mayday, mayday, we’ve got a combatant down. We need a medic!” “Told you to dress warm, Abe!” Splat. “Aw, c’mon, now. That’s dirty, Ally. There’re wounded on the field.” “Just protecting my man,” Ally claims before climbing out from behind the snow wall that serves as her, Kaylee’s, and Abram’s base. Kacey, Lolly, and Wash duck back behind their own wall to make more ammo while Ally brings the “wounded” Abram behind their defenses. They’re all bundled in their warmest clothes, most of them not water-resistant, but having the time of their lives. Serra and Inara are playing out of the range of the snowball war, making snow angels and snowmen. “The score stands at 15-15,” Wash calls in his best announcer voice. “The first to twenty wins!” “You’re going down, Reynolds!” “Not if I get you first, Washburn.” Lolly rolls her eyes at her boys’ posturing. “Stop talking, start throwing!” “Getting mouthy over there, Miss Tam.” “I get it from you, Mrs. Tam.” “Ooh, spunky.” Kaylee lobs a tightly packed snowball to the right of the wall, catching Lolly’s shoulder. “16-15!” Abe cries. Kacey grabs his “cousin” and yanks her back behind cover, brushing off her shoulder. “You okay?” he asks, catching her strange look. “I just got pegged… By my mom.” Kacey chuckles and presses a snowball into her hand. “We’ll get her back. I say we go into a feint, troops. Draw all of their ammo, then go over the top and hit ‘em while they’re reloading.” “Alright, General,” Wash mock-salutes. “What’s our first…” He’s interrupted by a loud war-cry and the trio looks up to see the opposing team charging towards them at full speed, pelting them with a ceaseless volley (of nine snowballs) and cinching the victory. Kacey, fallen general, sputters under the barrage of snow still sprinkling from his hat, disappointment in his blue eyes. “But… that…” Abe and his ladies are grinning wickedly, offering their hands in a sign of good sportsmanship. Wash laughs and takes Kaylee’s hand. “Now who’s ballsy idea was that one?” “Whose son do ya think he is? Ballsy plans that shouldn’t work…” Kaylee teases, slinging an affectionate arm around Abe as Ally helps Lolly to her feet. Abe offers assistance to his defeated counterpart, who takes his hand and pulls the younger boy into the snow bank with him. They play-wrestle like puppies, which is not at all uncommon for these two, until Abe, pinned under Kacey’s greater weight, calls for mercy. “Well, that was a rousing end to the Second Great Snowball Fight,” Ally says as the boys separate and dust themselves off. “Abe, Kacey, why don’t you go get the sleds?” “Got it, Ally.” The boys take off at breakneck speed, Abe’s mittened hand flying up to his red ski hat to keep it in place, Kacey’s tied orange hat staying on without help. The combatants all recover from their war, joking and teasing, completely distracted. Which is why they don’t notice the two lovely ladies of the Reynolds family sneaking up behind them, hands full of snow, and are completely shocked when Inara and Serra hit each of them in the back with snowballs. “Oh, you fight dirty,” Kaylee squeals, grabbing little Serra and spinning her around, then tossing her, gently, into the snow wall. Serra’s belly shakes with her peals of laughter, nose and cheeks red from the cold, dark curls peeking out from under her violet hat and flaked with white snow. She pushes herself off of the wall and full speed into Aunt Kaylee’s legs, knocking her to the ground. Kaylee laughs and tickles (as well as possible through several layers of clothing) the Mei-Mei until she cries uncle. The tickling is brought to an end by two resounding war cries as Abe and Kacey get running starts and then throw themselves on their hand-made sleds, belly first on the cold snow. Their momentum takes them a few yards, though the sleds aren’t the most maneuverable of crafts and they crash into the snow fortifications, laughing hysterically the whole time. “Careful with those,” Kaylee admonishes as the boys shake themselves out of the snow, big grins in place. “We worked hard on those. Can’t break ‘em ‘fore we get started.” “Sorry, Aunt Kaylee,” Kacey apologizes, subtly and playfully pushing Abe back into the snow. Abe grabs his ankle and yanks Kacey down with him. Serra lets out a yell and hops right into their puppy fight. Lolly, the peacemaker, moves to pull them apart and merely gets pulled in with them, the four children wrestling in the snow until finally they tire and roll off of each other. “Race ya down the hill,” Lolly grins at the boys, grabbing Serra’s hand as if to claim her for her team. “I get to go?!” Serra asks, eyes bright with delight. “Sure, Mei-Mei,” Abe says, after getting a nod of approval from his mother. “But be careful,” Inara instructs. “We should even out the teams, though,” Kacey claims. “Should be me and Mei-Mei. Heaviest and lightest vs. the middle.” “Sounds fair,” Lolly shrugs, releasing Serra to Kacey’s hand and grabbing Abe by the shoulder to set up their sled. “We need a judge at the bottom of the hill,” Abe says, “Only fair.” “We’ll go,” Kaylee volunteers, practically pushing Inara down the hill. The former Companion falters a little in the high snow, rights herself before she can fall. “I’d rather not roll down the hill, Kaylee,” Inara teases. “You mean like this?” With that, Kaylee gives a harder push and both women go tumbling down the fairly steep hill. Laughter overtakes the group at the snow-tousled women who wave from the bottom of the incline as Inara puts a handful of snow down Kaylee’s collar. Wash recovers from his laughter long enough to settle the two pairs onto their sleds, checking safety requirements and warning them both to hold on. He raises his hands and then drops them, shouting for them to go. Kacey and Lolly push off with their legs and the sleds zip down the hill. The pilot turns to the tutor, a grin still firmly in place. “The image of Inara rolling down a hill will remain with me for a very long time.” He shakes his head a little. “She’s come a long way from when I met her.” “And yet, she still manages to make it look fairly graceful.” “Wish I’d had a capture.” They watch the race, which Kacey and Serra win by a hair, and then watch the children begin to trudge back up the hill. “I’m glad Kacey and Abe are getting a lot of their competitiveness out of their system,” Ally comments as the boys, sleds dragging behind them, conspire to hit the girls with snowballs. “They have been at it a little more than usual recently.” “Happens to brothers,” Ally shrugs, a sidelong glance at Wash. “I have cousins who used to get in fistfights over who got more milk with dinner. Or whose green beans portion was smaller. They’re not so bad.” “Nah. They’re not. It’s nice, most of the time.” The children reach the top of the hill, Serra perched on Lolly’s back. “Your turns, Dad, Ally.” “Alright then,” Wash says, taking one sled from Kacey. “Think you wanna race, Miss Ally?” “I don’t know. The weight’s a little uneven.” “Are you saying I’m fat?” Ally and the kids roll their eyes. “No, just that I need a rider.” “I’ll go!” Kacey and Abe shout in unison.


The sky’s growing dark. It will be time for lift off and dinner soon. But he’s promised her one last ride to the bottom, so he sends one sled back with the group and fits her between his legs, her tiny body pressed against his chest. He likes this, a lot. Coming back from a fairly smooth job (River kept things from getting out of hand), to a snow-covered family, pink noses and cheeks, three pairs of brown eyes bright with the exuberance of the day. To a crew laughing over snow angels, sled races, and a Jayne-shaped snowman, constructed by Kacey, Abe, and Lolly after lunch. A handful of pinecones represent grenades at his feet, and they’ve stolen one of his many woolen hats to place atop its head, traced tattoos into the snow. Jayne is stuck somewhere between gratitude and offense. “We gotta go fast, Daddy.” “You’re not scared, baby-mine?” “Daddy…” “Sorry, sorry. Captains don’t get scared.” Let her believe that as long as she can. “C’mon!” “So bossy,” Mal grumbles, pushing off with his legs. She clings to him, squealing and laughing the whole way down. When they get down to the bottom, she’s shivering, teeth chattering, but grinning wildly. Sometimes, her bravery scares the hell out of him, only because he knows what it may one day become. “Cold, Mei-Mei?” “No.” She yawns widely. “Right…” Mal says, giving her a look that says he definitely doesn’t believe her. He unbuttons his jacket and picks her up. Her legs wrap around him on instinct, her face nuzzling into his warm chest. He re-buttons the jacket with her inside, one arm holding her up, the other dragging the sled behind. He eyes the long trudge up the hill warily, readjusting her in his arms. “You better be glad you’re so small, daughter-mine.” She giggles, her breath warm on his neck. Night continues to fall, the temperature drops, but the lights of Serenity guide him on. Abe and Inara, warm and dry, ready for take off, wave from the ramp. Abe runs out when they’re close enough to grab the sled. Not quite dressed for the cold, he sprints back and forth from the relative warmth of the ship. Mal laughs a little. He unbuttons his jacket on the bottom of the ramp, lets his squirming passenger run up to her mother. “You’re wet,” Inara informs her, a teasing reproach in her voice. Serra just takes off her hat and shakes her curls in response. “Brat,” Mal accuses, kissing his wife’s cheek briefly in greeting. “Everybody aboard?” “The cargo’s locked up tight,” Abe informs him, repeating his Aunt Zoe’s earlier approval. “I can’t believe you killed the reindeers, Daddy.” “Aiya, Mei-Mei. We talked on this. They were dead when I got them!”

el fin


Monday, November 13, 2006 8:19 AM


Yeah for fun in the snow! This was so perfect ... something tells me that Kacey's and Abe's competitiveness has to do with a certain attractive tutor. Of course, part of it could be that Kacey wishes he got attention like Abe does because of the nightmares he shares with River.

I really love Mei-Mei and her relationship with both Mal and Inara. Inara as a mother is very intriguing to me. She could easily have locked her feelings away, used a stand-offish approach as she had been raised to do, but I'm glad that she loves them just as she loves Mal.

I can't wait to read more about the Pirate Children! I know M/I are your thing, but I would LOVE to see a fic that centers a bit around Lolly, a Kaylee/Simon combo with a bit of River thrown is just all kinds of interesting. (And I really loved River's reflection on Simon with his girls.)

Monday, November 13, 2006 10:43 AM


Love these pirate children stories, you describe an idyll that is almost painful in the heart warming joy encapsulated in each vibrant little tale. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Monday, November 13, 2006 1:36 PM


Lovely story in all its parts, lovely mix of utter insanity and poignant moments, but the bit that got to me most of all was Mal thinking about Serra's ultra-bravery at the end. I adore this series.

Monday, November 13, 2006 2:00 PM


what a gorgeous fluffy chapter!! i really really enjoyed watching everyone interacting with each other- adults and children alike.
i especially loved seeing the interactions between the tam family. just the thing i was waiting for in your pirate children fics!!!!
give us more soon!!!! please!!!!

Monday, November 13, 2006 2:45 PM


Oh...that was shinier than chrome, AWindsor! Especially the part where River reflects on being happy that she's #3 in Simon's life after Kaylee and Lolly. Definitely shows growth on both Simon and River's parts:D

And I wonder just how aware Ally is of Kacey and Abe's crushes on her. She strikes me as being quite I really can't wait to see how she handles the eventual "truth" moment...


Monday, November 13, 2006 2:50 PM


“Whose son do ya think he is? Ballsy plans that shouldn’t work…”

Yup, sounds about right...

But this:

“Sorry, sorry. Captains don’t get scared.”

Let her believe that as long as she can.

i don't know what you're building up to, but i'm a little scared to find out. ;) Give us more soon, kay?


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