Yes, River, There Is... (Part 2 of 3)
Monday, December 14, 2009

Just a short little tale to warm hearts this holiday season. Usual disclaimers apply...


"Dontcha just love Christmas morning?" Kaylee smiled, accepting the mug of hot chocolate from the Shepherd. "I tend to love it more after I get to sleep through a significant portion of Christmas Eve," Book chuckled, sitting at the table next to the mechanic. "Yeah, but think of all those kiddies who get to wake up now," Kaylee murmured dreamily. "Thinking they won't be gettin' nothing and then creeping outta their bedrooms to find trees, toys and warm clothes for the coming months. All cuzza us." "It does warm the heart, doesn't it?" Book smiled. "So, whaddya think they're doing back on Serenity?" Kaylee asked after a moment of quiet had passed. Book looked at her curiously. "The Captain and the doctor?" he asked in response. Kaylee shrugged and looked away before her real question could be read in her face. "Well, it's Christmas..." she mumbled. "I mean, d'ya think they're opening presents yet?" "I don't think the Captain was planning on celebrating Christmas," the Shepherd replied quietly. At Kaylee's look of shock, he felt the sudden need to apologize. "But I always give him a present Christmas morning!" she pointed out. "And he always gives me something, too - a little something over breakfast! Every year...'cept the first one..." Kaylee's voice trailed off as it occurred to her. Book just waited. "He don't celebrate, 'less someone else is there," she realized aloud. She looked to the Shepherd for confirmation. "I'm sure it's because he thinks that in his present state of belief," Book began slowly, "Or lack of belief, that he shouldn't celebrate the birth of - " "We gotta go back!" Kaylee announced. "No way is my Captain not havin' Christmas. It's time for family and when ya ain't close enough to family, it's time for close enough! Let's go, Shepherd!" Her hot chocolate now forgotten, Kaylee stormed off to the shuttle. Book could only stare after her in amazement. Of course, he realized that Kaylee had to be the source of Christmas spirit on the ship - who else but Kaylee could bring joy to mismatched people whether they want it or not? She returned. "Shepherd, you're coming, ain't ya?" she asked with an arch brow. "Just getting myself together," he smiled, gaining his feet. She nodded and left the room a second time. He just laughed to himself as he followed after her. *** "More to the left," she insisted. "Here?" he grunted. "Left, dear, left," she repeated. He rolled his eyes. "Here?" he asked through gritted teeth, the strain getting the best of him. "Wo de ma!" she snapped. "Pay attention. Left. Only a tiny, tiny bit. And then up a bit more." Jayne clenched his jaw and pushed the large, heavy decorative box a hair's breath left and more above his head. He'd been moving Aunt Beryl's furniture and decorations around every single day since arriving. And she was constantly changing her mind. He had been promised pampering and good food from his mother's favorite aunt, but so far the food had been tolerable and the pampering nonexistent. He was beginning to wonder why his mother loved Aunt Beryl at all. "Here?" he demanded. "That will have to do," the old woman sighed. "Although you really could have been less snappish. I am putting you up for the week. Feeding you out of my own tiny pockets." Jayne forced himself to smile at her. She'd been harping on that, too. He marked the location of the box before setting it down at his feet and picking up the hammer and nail. "Y'know, Aunt Beryl," he grunted. "I can always head back to my ship. I'm sure my crew needs me..." "Nonsense," Beryl waved his words away as if batting away flies. "A captain of his own ship needs time to his own self. That crew should be glad to have you as captain. Grateful, even. This time away from them will help them see that. It's too high, now, Jayne, can't you see that?" Jayne stepped back from the decorative cupboard and saw that it was, indeed, very high but thought to himself he'd be damned 'fore he re-hung it. Again. "Naw," he argued. "It's perfect for that chest of drawers underneath it." He glanced out the window over Aunt Beryl's head at the early sunlight. When she had woken him this morning, he'd hoped it was for some of that good food he'd been promised. "But I don't want that chest in here," Beryl moaned. "I wanted it downstairs and you said you'd move it for me." A knock came from the front door downstairs, saving Jayne from what he was going to say to the old bat. "Go and see who it is," Beryl instructed. Jayne threw open the door to find a mustached skeleton in a dark green suit, carrying a large wrapped box. "Yeah?" he growled. "Don't you 'yeah' me, boy," snapped the skeleton. "I'll break you in two. What'd you do to Miss Beryl? She ain't got nothing for the likes a'you!" "Jayne, who is it?" Beryl screeched from upstairs. "There's more work to be done!" "Miss Beryl?" the skeleton shouted back. "I brought you that hat you wanted!" "Oh, Silas!" the screech changed in pitch. Jayne could almost hear the woman primping her white curls. "Come in! Jayne's just goin' out for a while, ain't ya Jayney-boy?" Silas needed no more invitation, it seemed, as he pushed past Jayne and scrabbled up the stairs. Annoyed, tired and still hungry, Jayne stepped out into the street and glowered at the world in general. There was a young boy down the street a ways, banging a shiny red drum with a triumphant grin. Kaylee and the Shepherd, Jayne realized. They'd been through the neighborhood just last night...making today Christmas day... His Christmas morning had been filled with moving furniture for a distant relative he didn't even like. He thought of his mother and how she would always make sure Christmas morning was something special. No chores, just hot breakfast waiting for him and always some new toy she'd managed to acquire. He squinted against the early morning sun and realized that he had been hoping for that experience once more...that this aunt he'd never met would be able to provide that piece of his childhood. Instead, she'd been treating him as though he were the hired hand since he'd arrived. He decided he'd had enough. He'd go back to the ship and spend the rest of his Christmas sleeping in his own bed. Jayne turned back to the house and quietly gathered his things. From upstairs, he could hear Aunt Beryl's shrieking laugh mix with Skeleton Silas's raspy voice. He scrawled a quick note about an emergency on his ship and left. At least on Serenity he'd be able to sleep and no one would ask him to move any furniture higher or to the left... *** "I'm sorry," Wash said again, packing up the mule. "It's fine," Zoë replied again. "I could've sworn I made the reservations for the whole week," he insisted. "It's fine," Zoë repeated. "Who checks into a hotel on Christmas Day?" Wash asked rhetorically. "We'll just go back to the ship," Zoë shrugged. "Everyone will probably still be sleeping. No one will even know we came back a little early." "I'm sorry," Wash said again. Zoë kissed her husband's cheek and climbed aboard the mule. "It's fine," she assured him.


Monday, December 14, 2009 4:01 PM


I see the plot is thickening like Christmas pudding. Glad they'll all be together at Christmas. Wanted to mention that in your first chapter, your image of Mal's lack of any living family to share a holiday with left me with a sense of despair all day. No wonder Mal would hate holidays, even though he would understand their importance to others.

Monday, December 14, 2009 4:52 PM


It's nice to revisit the crew around the Holidays.

I had a feeling everyone was going to come home.

Thanks for making the magic happen.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009 3:16 AM


Yes, the family will be together for Christmas. Just like it should be. Very shiny.


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