Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety Jig - Part 5
Friday, May 4, 2007

Post-BDM; one chapter left after this. Kaylee and her brothers get to do some work on an engine; Inara hears more than she bargained for from Kaylee's mother and sister... again, this is just nonsensy-fluff. hope it's not too terrible ;) All characters and whatnot belong to Joss...


Mal woke to that familiar - yet still extraordinarily uncomfortable - sensation of pain. He sat up, wincing, and leaned against the wall of his bunk. He wondered what exactly had woken him, since he knew he had given the crew the day off - mostly due to injuries and River's promise that they would not be found yet - and his watch had only ended an hour or so ago. "Mal, you up?" Jayne's voice carried from the hallway. "Yeah, Jayne," he sighed. "I'm up." "Good," the gruff man responded. "Zoë was wonderin'." Mal rolled his eyes. He doubted Zoë would have sent Jayne to ask. The woman knew how to use the comm system as well as the rest of them. If she really needed to speak to Mal, she would have--he looked at Inara curled up next to him on the small bed. It was possible Zoë hadn't wanted to disturb a quiet moment between the couple... Still, he decided he could go find out what she had needed. Carefully removing himself from the bed so as not to wake the sleeping form, he pulled on his shirt and pants in silence before making the difficult climb to the hallway. He entered the bridge. Zoë had a steaming mug of coffee in her hands as she frowned at the consul. She turned her head to him the moment he appeared in the doorway and looked somewhat surprised. "Thought you went to get some sleep," she said softly. "Jayne said you were lookin' for me," he answered, stifling a yawn. "What's more important? Sleep or Jayne shuttin' up?" "This could've waited," she smiled. Mal shrugged and winced at the action. "Just tell me what's goin' on," he sighed. Zoë pointed at a blinking light on the consul. "That ship is eerily similar to Tripp's runner," she explained as Mal leaned in to examine it closer. "It's not too far from here. I know River said they wouldn't find us yet, but what if they missed one of the decoys she dropped and came here sooner than even she expected?" "Where is the little reader?" Mal asked quietly. "She left earlier with Kaylee," Zoë's voice was soft. "Said she was goin' with Kaylee to the side job." "Side job?" the Captain repeated, standing up straight. Zoë nodded, a slow apprehension filling them both. "Kaylee's brother and Jayne heard about a man in town, needin' repairs for his ship," she replied. "Mathias wanted to have a day off, so they all convinced Kaylee to go in his place. The man was willin' to pay a high price, they were told." "Get Jayne," Mal ordered. "I'll meet ya by the mule." "Kaylee took the mule," Zoë said, already standing. "We can still make it. I'll contact the Fryes to borrow theirs." "Do it," Mal said from the ladder into his bunk. "I wanna be gone already." "Understood, sir." *** "Where is everyone?" Inara asked groggily, coming into the kitchen to find only Simon and the book he was pretending to read. "My wife went to fix a mechanical problem on a ship," he said slowly. "River went with her. Apparently, though, the ship belongs to the same men who tried to kill the Captain, Zoë and Jayne a few days ago. So they called on my in-laws and Mr. Frye, Corbin, Mathias and Cale joined our crew long enough to reclaim Kaylee and River." "What?" Inara gasped, her face going completely pale. "They can't possibly take them on again - Mal can't even climb the ladder to his own bunk without seeing spots!" "I thought you two were staying in the shuttle until he could do that climb," Simon replied, his voice strangely calm. "He must have forgotten last night," Inara waved off the question, irritated. "Why are you so calm about this?" "If we act upset," he said, still in that calm manner. "Then Mrs. Frye and Maura will think they can act upset, as well." Inara blinked at him. "They arrived here, shortly after Zoë 'waved to borrow their mule," Simon went on. "Kaylee took ours. Mal told me to remain here. We were arguing when my in-laws arrived. Mrs. Frye fainted at the thought of her children coming back with bullet wounds. It took ten minutes and a dope shot to calm her down. Maura is sitting with her in the infirmary - I believe she's cleaning it, too. They're snapping at each other. If I go in there, they snap at me. If I appear worried about anything, they stop snapping and start weeping. I think I'd rather the snapping." "You've been on this ship too long," Inara responded flatly. "Please don't make them weep," Simon asked, his voice soft. "I'll go see if I can offer them anything," Inara replied. She took a deep breath and let it out slowly. Simon saw confidence radiate in her walk as she continued through the dining room to the infirmary. He returned to stare at the book in front of him, visions of Kaylee at gunpoint swimming across his eyes. *** "Now, Kaylee, you ain't done nuthin' but crossed all the wrong wires," Matty complained again. "Dad, can't ya make her stay in th'kitchen this time? She's always doin' this!" "Kaywinnit, you jus' wait till your mother hears 'bout this!" Caspar boomed angrily. "You got to keep takin' those pills the doc gave ya! You know that!" "But I --" Kaylee started. Cale cut her off. "She gets confused so often, like this, it's a real shame, see, cause she's so simple," Cale blathered on. "It ain't really her fault, y'see, that Corbin there dropped her on her head so much." "I din't drop her near as much as Matty did!" Corbin called from under the floor. His feet kicked angrily as he twisted a wrench violently. Kaylee jumped as a boot came close to her toes. She looked fearfully at her father as Cale patted her head for the fourth time in his ramblings. "I won't charge you none for the damage my fool daughter done," Daddy was saying now. "We're fixin' ya up right this time. No harm done, now, sir, no harm done. You'll be off-world in a matter of minutes." "You should really keep better track of your daughter," Tripp said icily. Kaylee's father nodded. "She seems very coherent. I believed she had full capacity of her mind and, more importantly, knew what she was talking about. If what you're saying is true, I would have been stranded before my crew and I reached our next destination." "And a real shame that woulda been, sir, a real shame," Caspar bobbed his head again. He turned furious eyes to his daughter who stared back, uncomprehending. She didn't try opening her mouth to explain or even to argue - Cale would cut her off again. She wasn't certain exactly what Corbin was doing, since he had never been inclined to learn much more than the basics her father could teach, and this engine was several steps above basic. "We're almost through!" Corbin called from under the gridwork. "Just another minute or so!" "Where'd your good-for-nothin' sister run off to now?" Daddy demanded. Kaylee shrugged. She had introduced River as her sister to the ship's captain and had explained her presence as part of an apprenticeship. But just as Daddy and the boys arrived, River had just...left. "Did she put you up to this?" Cale asked Kaylee as though she were a child. "Did she tell you this would be a fun joke? This is not funny, Kaylee, do you understand?" "I ain't--" she tried. Cale shook his head and sighed, patting her on the face lightly. "I know, dear, I know," he said sadly. "We'll talk to her. She's not to play these jokes and she knows better." Kaylee gave up. Whatever was happening, she'd get to the bottom soon. "We're done!" Corbin shouted. He pulled himself out from under the gridwork angrily and dropped the wrench into Matty's box of tools. Kaylee glared at him. He glared back. "Matty, we're through now," he barked at his brother. "Ain't we?" "Just about," Matty said from somewhere behind the large churning engine. The whine was wrong, Kaylee knew. "Just about through, now," Corbin shouted. His ear and most of his head was wrapped in a grimy bandage and Daddy had said he'd been too close to a rifle goin' off earlier that morning. Kaylee hoped his hearing would come back in loud and painful ringing after all the shouting he was doing. "Done," Matty said, wiping his hands on his pants. "Sorry for the bother, there, Mister Tripp." "Captain Tripp," Tripp corrected. "We done now?" Corbin shouted. Matty nodded. "Good. We're good then." "I still feel I should pay you something for your labors," Tripp offered. Caspar laughed, surprising all of them. "Sir, you can't think I'd letcha do that, sir," he chuckled. "My idjit daughter tries to cripple your ship don't mean you hafta give us so much as a 'how-do.' If you're happy with your engine's workin's, we're shiny, sir, real shiny." "If you're certain," Tripp smiled tightly. "Certain," Frye responded. "We'll be takin' ours back now. Tammikins, show yourself, so's we can leave with all ours!" Kaylee stared at her father in confusion until River reappeared in the hallway. She looked every bit the penitent child caught in a lie. "Jus' wanted t'see if she could do it," River mumbled, toeing the ground. "Those gos se pills make her all broken-like." "It's your yu ben de brother what made her broken," Daddy growled, coming up to River and taking her arm forcefully. Tripp glanced back to see what Matty was up to, but Kaylee saw Daddy wink at River's quick grin. "Yes, Daddy," River mumbled. Cale and Corbin led Kaylee out as Matty shook Tripp's hand one last time. "Pleasure doin' business on such a fine ship," he said politely. "You keep her goin' smooth, now, Mister Tripp, and she'll fly you jus' about anywhere you please." "Captain Tripp," the man responded, a touch angrily. He removed his hand and gestured for Matty to follow his family. "Anywhere you please, jus' about," he repeated. When he was sure Tripp couldn't hear him, he smiled. "As long as it ain't far." *** Inara brought the tea tray into the infirmary with an easy smile. Maura had stopped cleaning and fussing over her mother finally, now that Inara had asked for some help with her knitting. To be honest, Inara had never knit before in her life, but it kept Maura's fingers busy as she wound the yarn and pulled it through. Winna was doing better, too, now that she wasn't arguing with her daughter. Inara poured the tea delicately and handed Winna a cup. "Where'd you get such a fancy teapot?" Maura asked, her fingers working the yarn almost mechanically against the long needles. "It was a gift from a client," Inara answered smoothly. She poured a cup for Kaylee's sister. "Client?" Maura echoed, her interest peaked. "Hush," Winna admonished softly. "You know better." "I assumed Kaylee had told you," Inara smiled. Winna smiled at her. "Ain't every child o'mine gets to travel with a Registerd Companion," she replied softly. Maura's jaw and knitting needles dropped. "Registered Companion?" she gaped. "Didn't we tell you that?" Winna asked her daughter. "Perhaps we meant to, but you was so convinced no good would ever come of Kaylee's choices in life that you never heard us." "You--she's told us dozens of times how she's been shot and near death!" Maura stood, angrily. "How could that be good?" "I wouldn't say dozens of times," Inara responded softly. "And she's always had the best care available. We love Kaylee dearly and always keep her best interest in mind." "So you shelter her?" Maura demanded. "Keep her in th'dark?" "Maura!" Winna snapped. "Kaylee made her own choices and she found her happiness here. That's all I ever wanted for her. That's all I ever wanted for any of ya." "She made her own choices and now my husband's out there with my brothers and my father --" "Who are my boys and my husband," Winna cut her off. "Workin' with my baby daughter's other family to get her back safely. You think you're th'only one worried? You seen this crew limpin' around jus' as much as I have. I know what they're goin' into. Mebbe not as well as Simon nor 'Nara here, but I have a notion." "You really shouldn't over-excite yourself," Inara suggested quietly. "Oh, hell," Winna sighed. "I only went into fits t'keep Mauralan from offering to go with them." "You what?" Mauralan shrieked. Simon came in, his face flushed from the run. Inara waved him off. "You woulda gone in there, shoutin' and carryin' on," Winna argued. "We never woulda gotten any of 'em out in one piece. You always do that. Orderin' and carryin' on. They already have one cap'n, they don't need another." "Someone hasta order," Maura insisted. "They don't do a thing lessen I tell 'em! They didn't bring no guns with 'em, 'cept what their yu ben de Cap'n and that woman tucked in their belts - and they couldn't walk more'n a few yards without fear of rippin' stitches! And the big one? He'd only got the one knife and pistol in his hand! They'll come back here, bleedin' and needin' more medical work than this doctor can do on his own!" "Jayne only brought a knife and one pistol?" Inara asked Simon softly. "The one in his hands," he shrugged. "And that was Vera. I think his vest was covering more than she's aware." Inara nodded. That was the Jayne she knew. "Where's my wife?" Cale's voice sounded from the docking bay. Startled, the four looked to each other before Inara and Maura hurried from the infirmary. Simon helped Winna from the bed and they followed the women. They found the Frye men and Serenity's crew laughing. Inara had her arms around Mal, smiling as she listend to Kaylee describe the scene her brothers and father had pulled off in the engine room of the sleek runner, while Mal, Zoë, River and Jayne had stolen the fair payment they deserved right from under Tripp's nose. Cale was dancing - or, rather, dragging his unwilling wife around in a circle as she, too, listened in shock. Simon and Winna joined the party just as Kaylee got to her favorite part. "And then, to top it off," she was laughing, "Corbin had the earpiece bandaged to his head so he could keep Cap'n aware of our situation and still know when they were done stealin' our pay back from the hun dan!" "Yeah, the shoutin' may have made me go deaf," Mal grimaced. Inara placed a light kiss on his ear and brought a warm smile to his lips. "Won't he come after ya still?" Maura demanded. Matty laughed. "Mauralan," he grinned. "Once he breaks atmo, that engine will stutter and slowly start leakin' all its energies. The tricks I pulled in there will send out a beacon to th'nearest Alliance cruiser and he'll be picked up in a day or two. Jus' in time for our complaint to go out: services rendered, no pay." "He's gonna sit in orbit, jus' waitin' to get picked up?" Winna asked, her worry showing. "He's gonna get out to dead space," her husband assured her. "And sit there a while." "And that ain't as fun as it sounds," Jayne grunted. Mal and Zoë voiced their agreement. "His life support won't shut down, will it?" Simon asked out of curiosity. "Not after Corbin's game with the life support wirin'," Kaylee smiled. "Seems he learned somethin' from Daddy after all." "You wanna learn the wirin', jus' say the word," Corbin grinned. Kaylee saw her Captain show interest in the idea. Some experiences did make certain skills seem worthwhile. "Still wouldna helped," she told him. "Catalyzer was the problem; not the wirin'." "And I won't forget," he said firmly. "Catalyzer was what problem?" Caspar asked, all ears. Winna shook her head. "You can find out all the details on the ride back t'the house," she insisted. "We've got a full day and daylight's burnin' away."


Monday, May 7, 2007 10:16 AM


Hmm...definitely think Maura needs a giant dose of sedatives, cuz zhe's gonna have a breakdown soon if she doesn't relax!


And leave it up to the job crew part of the BDHs and Kaylee's male relatives to pull off a con where Kaylee's the crazy person:D



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