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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
What happens when the newest crew member is cuter that Mal?
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1645 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
“Do locks not mean a gorram thing to people anymore?” Mal muttered, firing two shots without looking in the general direction of the intruders as he huddled behind a crate in the cargo bay with Zoe.
“Just a wild guess here, sir, but I’m gonna go with no.”
“A person locks some’in’ ‘cause they don’t want nobody just waltzin’ in an’ shootin’ up the rightful owners.” he cringed as bullets tore up the crate they were behind. “Wang bao dahn, stop puttin’ holes in my cargo!”
“Things never seem to go smooth do they, sir?” Zoe asked sarcastically.
“Not a once.” He seemed genuinely baffled. “This is getting’ just a might tiresome. If we survive this remind me to ask Kaylee to swing an upgrade for Serenity’s security.”
“If , sir?”
Mal’s only response was a muttered, “Bwah.” as he jumped up from behind the safety of the crates and started firing in earnest.
“Wash, the last of our guests has been dropped off, kindly take us off-world.”
“Will do, Cap’n.” over the comm Wash sounded more than eager to be going. He always got nervous when Zoe was in a fight and tended to blame Mal no matter what the outcome.
Mal switched the comm to broadcast throughout the ship, “Drama’s over people. We’ll be exiting atmo in a few, then dinner will be served as planned. That’s all.”
Heading from the bridge Zoe paused at the mess hall doorway as seven faces turned toward her expectantly then all but one drooped slightly and went back to staring at the still untouched food sitting on the table.
“Hi, honey.” Wash said, as Zoe sat down next to him and he gave her a kiss on the cheek. No one else said anything or really moved for a moment.
Finally Simon cleared his throat softly. “Will the Captain not be dining with us this evening then?”
“No,” Zoe said slowly, “not for a bit at least. He’s found something that seems to require his immediate attention. I don’t think he’d mind if we started without his this once.”
The collective sigh of relief was drowned out by the mad scramble for the biggest roll in the basket and Jayne’s curse as River plucked it away, right from under her fingers.
“She cheated!” Jayne protested.
“Not from where I’m sittin’, Jayne.” Zoe chuckled, “And I outrank you.” The crew laughed easily at Jayne’s half-hearted mutterings as he glanced around the table then stole the roll that had been second biggest off of Simon’s plate.
“Hey!” Simon cried as Jayne stuffed the whole thing in his mouth at once then smiled. “Oh that’s nice. Real mature. Well never mind, you can keep it.” He grinned despite himself and Serenity’s crew settled down to enjoy another meal together. No one noticed River’s uncharacteristic silence or that most of her meal seemed to disappear into the napkin in her lap instead of her mouth.
“May I be excused, please?” River said abruptly, turning to Simon.
“Um, sure, River.”
“Thank you.” River hopped out of her chair and headed for the door.
“Wait, River. What’s that?” Inara asked as she stood and gently took the napkin-wrapped food from River’s grip.
“Food.” River said sulkily looking away and fidgeting with her skirt.
“Captain.” came the hesitant reply.
The silence was deafening.
Inara recovered first, “That’s very sweet, River.” she smiled uncertainly. “Don’t you think maybe the Captain would prefer his food on a plate instead of in a napkin?”
River’s forehead creased in thought. “Yes. You’re probably right.”
Inara walked back to the table and carefully arranged the food on the empty plate at Mal’s spot. She handed it all back to River who smiled, “I’ll be sure to tell him you suggested the plate.” Then she turned and disappeared through the doorway and down the fore hall, leaving the mess and its speechless occupants behind.
About fifteen minutes later Mal entered the now deserted mess hall and sat down wearily in his chair at the head of the table. Things never went smooth. The buyer had immediately backed out of the deal on hearing that the goods had gotten slightly damaged in their initial extraction. And none of the cajoling, threatening, or arguing Mal could muster had changed his mind. Not one jot.
He glanced at his placemat then away and did a double take. “Hey! Where’s my plate?”
Inara had left the mess just shortly after River, somewhat unsettled by the whole episode. She sat curled up on one of the overstuffed chairs in the common area, the book she’d been reading rested, forgotten, in her lap.
She startled, hearing laughter from the direction of the passenger dorm. Curious, she rose and walked toward River’s room, pausing at the closed door.
“A world of smell and sound.” Inara’s hand froze, about to knock. “Eat. Play. Sleep. Eat, play, sleep. Grow. Big soul in a little body. Silly, Captain. Two legs are for people.”
Inara nearly jumped, “What?!” She pushed the door open, her eyes searching the room for the aforementioned male. All she saw was River sitting in the middle of her bed, her back to Inara.
“Not polite to forget to knock.”
“River, wha-?” River turned to her then and Inara gaped at the furry bundle in River’s lap. “Oh, run-tse duh FWO-tzoo. Mal is not going to like this at all.” At that point the bundle turned its head toward Inara, revealing itself to be a puppy. After regarding her closely for a moment, the dog cocked its head and smiled widely, tail wagging enthusiastically. “Ahhhh . . . .”
She sat down on the bed and after a moment’s hesitation reached over and scratched the puppy behind his ears, the tail-wagging increasing in tempo. River fairly beamed.
“Cap’n, this is Inara. Inara, this is Cap’n.”
Inara choked. “Captain?” she glanced quickly from River to the pup who, after growing impatient, nudged her hand, frozen mid-scratch, with his head. “You named the dog Captain?” Suddenly the whole food episode made complete sense.
“No,” River giggled, shaking her head, “His momma named him that.” She sobered, “He wandered away and got lost. Found me.” She smiled again and looked at Inara happily but distracted like.
“Oh. I see.” Inara sat back and nodded seriously. “Does anyone else know about Captain here?” As if in response Captain sneezed loudly shaking his head. Absently petting him on the back, River looked away from Inara.
“No.” she mumbled, quietly.
“Well then,” Inara said clearing her throat quietly. “we’ll have to break the news of his presence very carefully.” Understatement of the millennium. Mal’s not going to like this one bit.
End of Part 1
Saturday, September 3, 2005 6:22 AM
Saturday, November 26, 2005 6:16 AM
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