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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
The best way to start a battle is by taking a deep breath...
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 417 RATING: 10 SERIES: FIREFLY
There is dead silence. Mal not Captain? It’s unthinkable! Who can possibly speak after that?
Inara can. “Zoë, I have a request. As your first act as Captain, Mal and I would like you to preside over our wedding.”
It takes a few moments for everyone to really understand what has happened, but soon there are smiles and congratulations all ‘round. Kaylee is particularly happy: “Shiny! We should make this a big party!”
Diana agrees; “I think it should be a big traditional wedding! And since both Inara and I are from Sihnon, I think it should be a hun1 li3 (Chinese wedding), and I get to be the Mother of the Bride.
Kaylee is all for it; “And since Zoë must be Master of Ceremonies, that means I get to be Mother of the Groom!”
Mal looks up in amusement; “Hi Mom. How’s things back on the ranch?”
Zoë makes her first command decision; “A hun1 li3 it is. We’ll make it a big blow out party. Just what we need to take our minds off the even bigger shindig that’s a’comin’. When do you want it, Inara?”
“Well, since it’s going to be a traditional Chinese wedding, an auspicious day would be in three days’ time. That will be 32 weeks and 2 days since we started this journey, a nice even number, Shuāng Xǐ (Double Happiness, Good Luck) for our wedding.”
It’s three days of insanity as everyone pitches in – Jayne kicks Mal out of his quarters, “You’re not gorram Captain now anyhow.” so that he, Simon and Jan can redecorate it as the hóu sè yīn (Groom’s House), the bridal chamber for the wedding night. Zoë suggests that while they’re at it, they should incidentally add a few of Inara’s things to make it a proper place for a married couple. Simon mentions that Mal’s idea of decorating seems to consist of “If you don’t need it right now, don’t keep it.”
Inara sorts through her extensive wardrobe, and puts together her own red and gold Chinese wedding gown, but Mal needs help – Diana finds the perfect design for a red Chinese style shirt and pops it out of her “magic box”, while Kaylee and Zoë review Mal’s entire pants wardrobe, over his strong objections. Kaylee says “Well, Captain Tight Pants, it looks like you have nothing that’s even close.” They have two days to sew up a whole new pair of loose fitting black slacks.
Kaylee and Zoë gather Inara’s “Dowry” - bedding, linens, and a few dishes for private dinners.
When they’re done, Kaylee, as the “Good luck woman” gets to move the Dowry into the new quarters, and carry out the “Installation of the Bridal Bed” ritual.
Diana kicks everyone out of the kitchen, forcing them all to eat in the cargo bay. “It takes a lot of cooking to prepare for a Chinese Wedding Banquet.”
When the big day arrives, everyone knows their part.
While the men decorate the Cargo Bay and Mal’s hóu sè yīn with red xìng fú qí (Happiness Banners) and anything else they can think of, the women conduct the Shang Tou (Hair Dressing) ritual with Inara, then Mal has to endure the Jia Guan (Capping) ritual at his cabin. He was prepared for that, but it’s the first time he’s seen what they’ve done to his place! “Ai Yah! (Damn!) What have you done to my gorram cabin? How am I supposed to run the ship from this fancy ass establishment?”
Simon smiles gently; “You’re not. You’re supposed to entertain Inara here. You’re not Captain any more, remember? In any case, we’ve moved all the “Captain” items into the spare crew quarters.”
It’s time for Mal to bring Inara to their new home, and as he approaches her shuttle, he finds the door blocked by all three women, and he knows he has to play the “Door Game”.
“Now I know why Diana gave me this Li Shi (Token Money wrapped in a red envelope).” He presents it to Kaylee as a bribe, but as in tradition, she refuses.
The Door game turns out to be easier than it was traditionally – all four women hide behind a sheet, putting one hand through holes in the sheet, and he has to guess which is his bride’s. Mal looks them over – The first hand is very strong, with a few knuckle scars – that woman has been in a few brawls. Number two’s hand is also quite strong, and in spite of obvious signs of being washed thoroughly, shows grease stains in several locations. Number 3 is quite small, with a definite oriental tint to the skin. Number 4 has been manicured to perfection. Mal hems and haws, then says, “Well, it’s difficult to tell, but I think I’ll go with number 1 – no, wait! Number 4!”
After general laughter all around, Kaylee finds a red umbrella, and leads the bride and groom to Mal’s cabin. Inara steps inside, and looks genuinely lost in all the finery; “What room is this? I thought we were going to Mal’s place!”
Mal answers; “I did too, but apparently I’ve moved.”
It’s now time for the official marriage ritual, the Tea Ceremony. Everyone jams into the small cabin, then Zoë sets the tea service. Inara then bows as she presents each of her guests with a cup of tea, in order of age, and they bow as they receive it, and present her in return with Li Shi.
That’s the end of the short ceremony, and everyone proceeds to the Cargo Bay for the banquet.
The layout is impressive! Nothing like this has ever been seen on Serenity. The space has been filled with every colour in the rainbow, and as per tradition, red predominates.
But the most impressive is the main table, groaning with every kind of food imaginable! Fish, roast suckling pig, pigeon, chicken cooked with red oil, lobster and dessert bun with lotus seeds stuffed inside. Eight courses, from appetizers to desserts. But the most impressive item is the huge Chinese wedding cake in the centre of the table, multi layers of little cakes, all decorated in dragons and phoenixes.
Inara is overwhelmed; “Diana, how did you do this? I was sure there was no lobster in Badger’s supplies.”
“I managed to acquire a few special items when we were at Oasis, and was saving them for a special occasion. I think that this counts.”
As the meal ends, someone finds some dance music, and Mal is surprised to see that everyone seems to have already chosen a special partner. “I didn’t know Zoë had teamed up with Jan – she must have a thing for pilots.”
Inara is more worldly in such things – “Yes, I had noticed that before. And Diana told me once she’s tired of the “too civilized sissies” in the Core. Jayne seems to be her type.”
As the evening wears down, Inara disappears for a few moments, and then comes back in the most stunning cocktail dress that anyone has ever seen, a red and gold strapless effort that manages to conceal and accentuate every curve simultaneously. The party comes to a screeching halt –
But then they all understand that it’s time for the Song Ke (See Guests Off) tradition. Everyone lines up to wish the bride and groom a good night and good luck, and files out…
Mal and Inara spend a few moments standing hand in hand, surveying the now quiet but still extravagantly decorated Bay.
Mal looks about, reminiscing. “A perfect shindig. Exactly what everyone needed to relax before the action begins.”
Inara says quietly, “It’s beautiful. It will never look like this again.”
Mal says, even more quietly, “I hope not.”
It’s nearly a week before the Honeymoon Couple manages to rise in time for a breakfast with the rest of the crew. Everyone very diligently avoids pointing this out.
Finally Inara breaks the silence; “We want to thank you all for respecting our privacy, but Mal and I know we must get back to work. Can anyone remind us what our plans were for the next few weeks?”
Zoë says; “Well, the first thing I want to mention is about this job. Mal, this Captain thing is zao gao (crap). Everybody expects me to have all the answers. You can have it back.”
Mal looks at her very seriously; “Well, I dunno, Zoë. Maybe you should stay on. I haven’t heard a single complaint since you took over.”
“That’s only because you haven’t been listening.”
Much laughter and congratulations later, Mal finally accepts the keys, and all returns to normal.
They enter their seventh week and deceleration begins. A day or two later, the familiar sight of the ‘Verse is before them – there’s momentary gladness at the sight of home, then tension mounts even higher as they prepare for the worst.
The Revelation’s orbit has put it part way ‘round the ‘Verse, and Mal is in no mood to be discovered before they even get there; “Kaylee, put us back on the old drive as soon as we’re down to normal speeds, and Jan, steer us a course around any planets – no sense in announcing ourselves too soon.”
Mal is even more tense than the rest as he reviews their readiness with Zoë: “It’s too bad Mr. Universe’s Broadwave setup is gone – we could do it all in one go.” But you work with what you have.
Friday, November 11, 2011 3:18 PM
Saturday, November 12, 2011 2:19 PM
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