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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Kaylee organizes a Christmas gift exchange. Secrets, funny banter, and good times abound. *incomplete*
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 3239 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Christmas on Serenity
In Which Kaylee Has a Plan and Jayne is Grumpy
Kaylee walked into the cargo bay of Serenity where the crew was gathered, waiting for Mal’s signal that it was all right to leave the ship for a little free time at Hester City, their most recent drop point. She was holding a hat upside-down in her grease-smudged hands. While this may not have normally prompted any comment, there was something mischievous about the way the ship’s engineer was looking around at her crewmates. It was enough to make Jayne feel a distinct uncomfortableness, and in typical Jayne fashion, he called her on it.
“What’s with the hat, little Kaylee?” he asked.
“Maybe she’s going to make a fashion statement?” Wash suggested.
“Nope,” she said, and proceeded to ignore both of their confused looks and walk up to the captain.
“I’m with them. What’s with the hat?” Mal asked. Kaylee held it out to him.
“Stick your hand in and pull one out,” she instructed.
“Do I even want to know what’s in there?” the captain asked, running possibilities through his mind – last week’s protein dinner, whatever was growing in the engine room before I made her clean it out three days ago... I have a feeling I’m going to regret this.
“It’s just a bunch of pieces of paper, Mal!” Kaylee chided him.
“Doesn’t sound so scary,” Zoe cracked. “What are they for, Kaylee?”
“Well, we all know what day it’ll be five days from now,” she began. The rest of the crew nodded and shared secretive looks of amusement. All except for Jayne, who just looked confused.
“Huh? What day is that?” he asked.
“I believe she’s referring to Christmas, if I don’t miss my guess,” Book answered.
“Yeah, and since we’re going to be out in the black, without another soul in sight, I thought we could do something to, you know, have a little holiday cheer,” she explained, and smiled so brightly that Mal couldn’t bring himself to do anything but nod. “So, I took some papers and wrote everyone’s name down. We’ll all draw one out, and get a present for the person whose name we pick. Then, on Christmas night, we’ll have a nice dinner and reveal who we picked, and give them our presents.” She looked around at her shipmates excitedly, and her face fell a little when she saw that none of them looked overly pleased with the idea.
“You’ve gotta feel for the one of us River draws,” Jayne snorted. “They’re gonna end up with a rock, or a scrap of paper, or something.”
“Not necessarily,” Simon said, putting a protective arm around his sister’s shoulders. “I’ll make sure she doesn’t get me, and I’ll help her pick something out.”
“Sounds fair to me,” Mal said.
“More like a stupid waste of money,” Jayne grumbled. Kaylee glared at him. She’d had just about enough of extra-super-grumpy Jayne.
“Well fine, then! I’ll just go through and take your name out. That way, you won’t have to waste any of your cash on one of us, and none of us will have to waste it on you!” she snapped. Jayne winced. As much as he hated to admit it, having Serenity’s sweet little engineer directing such harsh words at him felt wrong, somehow. The cold, even stare he was getting from Mal didn’t help much, either.
“No, no, don’t do that,” he backpedaled. “Leave me in. Don’t want to ruffle any feathers.” Kaylee immediately brightened, and Book’s look of vague disapproval melted into a knowing smile.
“Good,” she said, and held her hat out to the captain once again. “You pick first, Cap’n.”
Mal stuck his hand in, pulled out a paper, and nodded.
“Well, seeing how this is our last stop before Christmas, I guess I’m off to do some shopping,” he said. “All of you stay out of trouble, and remember, back at the ship in five hours.” They all motioned that they understood, and one by one, the crew of Serenity reached in and pulled out a name.
“Just one, River,” Simon cautioned when his sister’s turn came. He pried River’s fingers open and shook his head. “You’ve got two there. Put one of them back.” She did so, and then unfolded the remaining slip of paper, read it, and solemnly held it out to Simon. “I think I can help you with this one,” he said. “We’ll find something that… this person will like.” River smiled, and she and Simon turned and walked arm in arm down the ramp and onto the planet surface.
“Last one, Jayne,” Kaylee said. They were, by now, the only two left standing in the cargo bay. Everyone else had drifted off to Hester City’s marketplace, or gone back to their bunks to get cash and think on ideas. Jayne reached in and pulled out the last paper. He opened it, and let out a string of curse words that outdid even his high standards of vulgarity.
“Now now, be nice,” Kaylee chided him, and gave him that same mischievous grin that she’d had on her face when she first walked into the cargo bay.
Five minutes later…
Zoe was not expecting to meet anyone else in Serenity’s corridors, as she suspected that everyone else was already planetside. Therefore, her surprise when Kaylee jumped out in front of her was considerable. Before Zoe had much time to recover, Kaylee was whispering excitedly in her ear. Zoe chuckled quietly and nodded, and Kaylee disappeared down the hallway just as Jayne came into view. Zoe laughed a little louder, and made it look as if she were trying not to.
“What?” Jayne asked. “What’s so funny?”
“Nothing,” Zoe answered, and carefully schooled her face. Jayne peered at her suspiciously.
“You know something,” he said.
“Oh, come on, Zoe! I’ve been around you long enough to know when you know something! You get that… that… ‘I know something’ look on your face,” Jayne insisted.
“And, though you’ve gotten real eloquent about naming my facial expressions, I’m not going to tell you anything,” she said.
“So you doknow something!” he deduced.
“Never said that,” Zoe countered. “And even if I did, I wouldn’t tell you.”
“I’ll bet you know who’s got my name. Who is it?” he asked.
“I don’t want to ruin Kaylee’s little game! She’d be heartbroken! It’s supposed to be a secret, Jayne,” she teased. Jayne leaned in close and spoke quietly, well, quietly for him, into Zoe’s ear.
“I won’t tell anyone you told,” he offered.
“You know, you’re awfully excited about this for someone who didn’t like this idea at first,” she commented.
“Stop changin’ the subject and tell me who has my name!” Jayne demanded, and seeing the resolute look on Zoe’s face, added, “Please?” He was so absorbed in waiting for an answer that he didn’t notice Kaylee rushing past them with something under her arm.
“You are such a five year old sometimes,” Zoe said, and sauntered off.
In Which the Crew of Serenity Goes Shopping and Tries to be Mysterious
Hester City had a decent-sized marketplace. Shops lined the stoned paved streets, peddling just about anything a traveler straight out of months in space could wish to buy. Some had pretty clothes that blew like silk butterflies in the high wind that had kicked up about the time Serenity had set down on the planet. Others had shiny bangles – bracelets, necklaces, and every other kind of jewelry – softly clinking together. There was even a bookstore at the end of the street, though its clientele was considerably less in number than the toy shop next door.
Mal glanced across the street just in time to see Simon and River attempting to sneak out of one of the jewelry stores. River was holding a small package in her hands.
“Keep that safe, River,” Simon said gently, and wrapped his sister’s fingers more tightly around the paper-covered bundle.
“I will,” she assured him, and hugged her present close to her body like a child would a treasured toy. Simon cautiously looked around, searching the area for anything that looked dangerous as well as any crew members he didn’t particularly want seeing them right at that moment. He jumped a little when he caught sight of Mal, but gave the captain a perfunctory nod of recognition. Mal nodded back.
“Come on, next stop,” Simon said, and pulled River into the toy store. Mal raised an eyebrow at the doctor’s interesting choice of destination, but didn’t have time to ponder it much on account of Zoe and Wash coming around the corner not four feet away from him. Not having any time to run, Mal, leaned against the building and attempted to appear nonchalant.
“Any luck, Sir?” Zoe asked.
“I’m still thinkin’ on my options,” he replied. “Some people on this crew are powerful hard to shop for.”
“I’ll leave you to that, then,” Zoe said, and she and Wash breezed down the street, arm in arm. Mal watched them until they disappeared into the bookstore, and breathed a sigh of relief before continuing on his way, scrutinizing the displays in every window, hoping for inspiration to strike.
Inside the bookshop, the light was dim, the dust was thick, and there was a faint musty smell in the air. Wash breathed in deeply.
“Ah, I feel smarter already,” he said, and flipped open the book that was nearest to his fingertips, furrowing his brow in an attempt to seem intellectual.
“Sure wish it worked like that,” came a gruff voice from the shadowy corner of the room. The couple turned to see Jayne pawing through a precariously stacked pile of books.
“Jayne?” Zoe asked, even though it was perfectly obvious that the person standing in front of her was indeed Serenity’s resident mercenary.
“You do realize that you’re in a bookstore, don’t you?” Wash said cautiously, approaching his shipmate as one would a dangerous animal that has strayed somewhere it shouldn’t have.
“What?” Jayne demanded.
“It’s just… this is like coming upon a tropical flower in the middle of the desert!” Wash said in mock excitement. Zoe and Jayne both looked at him funny. “In the sense of being out of place, I’m not talking beauty, here,” he amended. Zoe stifled a laugh, and Jayne glared fiercely at Wash in hopes that he would go away.
“Come on, Honey, there are lots of other books for us to look at,” Zoe said, and guided her husband away from his staring contest with Jayne, who muttered something unrepeatable before stomping loudly up to the front of the store to pay for his purchase.
Book smiled to himself as he watched Jayne coming out of the bookshop. Just the man I wanted to see.
“Hey there, Shepherd,” Jayne muttered when he saw Book walking up to him. He was a little embarrassed to be seen in a place where he was so conspicuously uncomfortable.
“I was wondering if you might help me out,” Book began, giving Jayne a conspiratorial look. “What I have in mind involves venturing over to the less than upstanding part of town. I wouldn’t want to go in alone, thought you might like to tag along.”
“What would you be gettin’ over there?” Jayne asked. “Who’s it for?”
“I might tell you. If you promise to keep it quiet, and if you come with me,” Book replied. He put a friendly hand on Jayne’s shoulder and waited for an answer. As it turned out, the dangled carrot of secret information was just the thing to pique Jayne’s interest.
“I’m in,” he said. The two men walked down the main road for a few steps, then turned off into a darkened alley. “Now, who’s it for?”
“I had this idea, you see…” Book explained, his voice fading into the darkness as they got further and further away from the civilized part of Hester City.
Mal was still window shopping an hour later. Seeing Inara coming out of a clothing shop and making her towards him was a welcome distraction.
“I see you’ve met with success,” he said, and pointed at the package under Inara’s arm, which was festively wrapped in metallic green paper.
“Yes, I have,” she said, and looked down at the captain’s empty hands. “I suppose it’s safe to say you haven’t?”
“I like to take my time, find something appropriate,” he covered. “It would be a lot easier if I had your fashion sense… I could just get my person some shiny new piece of attire…” he looked closer at Inara’s package. “That is what you got, right?” Inara swiftly hid her present behind her back.
“I’m not telling you!” she said. “If you think I’m going to tell you who I have so you can narrow it down, it’s not going to work.”
“And who said that that was my plan?” Mal asked. His wide-eyed innocence did little to convince Inara.
“Don’t toy with me, Mal. I can read you like a book,” Inara said, then smiled playfully at him and started to walk off in the opposite direction. “I’ll see you back at the ship,” she said over her shoulder. Mal watched her go, then went back to staring at the nearest store’s window. Finding that its contents looked promising, he went inside.
The interior of the store was filled with neatly laid out displays advertising a host of different items – mostly household supplies, decorations, and furniture. A clerk, a neatly dressed older gentleman of about Book’s age, appeared as if by magic at Mal’s elbow.
“Is there something I can help you with, Sir?” the clerk asked.
“I’m in the market for some advice,” Mal told him. “I’ve got this friend I’m supposed to shop for…”
“Well, perhaps I can give you some suggestions,” the clerk offered. Mal nodded and let the clerk lead him around the store.
The captain was standing on Serenity’s ramp, leaning against the side of the ship as he waited for the rest of crew to return. It was dark already, and though Serenity had some of her outer lights on, he still couldn’t see very far. However, he knew his crew, and he’d hear them coming before he ever saw them.
“Was it just me, or did that walk seem longer comin’ back than it did goin’?” he heard Zoe ask.
“Don’t be complaining to me. We didn’t even have to leave this shipyard to get what I needed. You’re the one who made us walk all the way down to the other end of the street,” Wash replied.
Book and Jayne followed, right on the couple’s heels.
“Well, that was certainly an interesting experience,” Book was saying.
“Did you see the look at that guy’s face when he figured out you weren’t alone? Funniest gorram thing I’ve ever seen,” Jayne said, and laughed loudly, clapping the preacher on the back. They walked past the captain, and Book gave Jayne an admonishing look.
“We’re back on the ship now,” Book reminded him. “Remember our deal. Keep quiet.”
“Don’t worry, I won’t squeal,” Jayne promised.
“Oh, but that would be so interesting,” Inara said in her best sultry voice, coming up behind him. The rest of the crew stared at her in shock. That little comment was enough to get her past them all without any interrogation.
“Now there,” Jayne muttered, “is a master of diversion.”
Everyone was still watching Inara climb the stairs to her shuttle when Simon and River reached the ship. All heads turned to stare curiously at them.
“Are we late?” Simon asked.
“Nope, you’re just about on time,” Mal told him. “Now it’s only Kaylee that’s missing.”
“Should we be worried?” Book asked, peering out into the night.
“Not just yet,” Mal said. “Kaylee’s a big girl. She can take care of herself.” Still, the captain couldn’t help looking a little concerned. He didn’t have to worry for long, though.
“I’m here! Sorry I’m late! I had to wait a while to make sure what I got would um… fit…” Kaylee explained as she ran up the ramp into the cargo bay. She carried a sack on one arm, and was trying to keep something else out of sight under her coat. She and Zoe shared a significant look, and both of them nodded in understanding.
“Guess I’ll go get Serenity up and running,” Wash said, and started towards the cockpit.
“Not just yet,” Mal told him. “I’ve got one more thing I’m waiting for.”
“But, Cap’n, everyone’s on board,” Kaylee said.
Kaylee’s protests were interrupted by the arrival of a young man in a delivery service uniform.
“Are you Malcom Reynolds?” he asked Mal.
“That’d be me,” he answered. “You got something for me?”
“Yep. You mind your people helping me a bit unloading all this stuff?” the deliveryman asked.
“Not at all,” Mal answered. The crew all gave him questioning looks. “Well, get to it,” he told them.
“So, what is all this stuff we’re carrying?” Kaylee asked as she set an armload down in the cargo bay.
“Christmas dinner,” Mal answered. The ship suddenly got very quiet.
“Someone say something about dinner?” Jayne asked.
“I figured we’d have some real food on Christmas night,” Mal told them. “There’s a ham, some potatoes, other vegetables, and peaches, flour, and sugar so Kaylee can make that peach pie of her grandmother’s she’s always talking about.”
“Real food!” Kaylee squeaked, and threw her arms around Mal. “I know I’ve said this before, but I love my captain!” She gave Mal a quick kiss on the cheek and the knelt down to stare at the food.
“Now, I want y’all staying out of the food till Christmas. I hear about anyone filching, I’ll… I dunno… have your hands cut off or something,” Mal threatened, directing most of his warning at Jayne.
“What are you looking at me so hard for?” Jayne asked.
“Because you’re so suspicious lookin’,” Zoe answered for Mal. “Now, how about helping me get all this up to the kitchen? You’ll at least get to be near the food.”
“Don’t have to ask me twice,” Jayne said, and practically jumped to pick up two large boxes at once.
“Careful! Don’t drop it!” Kaylee called, then, seeing that Jayne’s precious cargo was in relatively small danger, smiled to herself and climbed the stairs to the crew quarters so she could put back what it was she’d borrowed.
In Which the Crew Attempts to Discover Secret Things to No Avail
Jayne carefully peered down the hallway in both directions, just to make sure no one was coming, before squatting down beside the wall.
“Three up for the bottom, four to the left of the kitchen door,” he counted to himself, preparing to slide the panel out of the way to reveal one of Serenity’s many secret hiding places. It was, he reasoned, a perfectly good place for someone to have hidden a present. Just as he was about to remove the panel, he sensed rather than heard someone behind him. He turned quickly, and found River standing practically at his elbow.
“You’re a quiet one, ain’tcha?” he snarled at River. “What are you doin’ here?”
“No one hid any presents there,” River informed him, pointedly ignoring his brusque tone. Jayne’s hand fell from the panel as if it were burning hot, and he tried to hide the fact that River was dead on by glaring at her. It was usually enough to send her running for her brother. This time, however, it didn’t work.
“That’s not what I was…” Jayne started to lie, but the knowing look River gave him stopped him from speaking the rest of the sentence. “How did you know?”
“It’s a dumb place to hide a present,” River said, not really answering his question. “Besides, I already looked.” She shrugged, and Jayne began to get an idea. Gently, as not to scare her, he stood up and took one of her hands in his so she couldn’t run off.
“Now, you wouldn’t happen to have other places you haven’t looked, would you, Little River?” he asked. River smiled at him playfully.
“Maybe,” she said. Alas, Jayne was never to find out what those places were. Instead, Simon came out of the kitchen, realized that Jayne was within ten feet of his baby sister, and had a characteristic reaction.
“River! There you are! Where did you go? And… why are you holding hands with Jayne?” Simon spluttered.
“We were talking about secrets,” River whispered.
“You were trying to use my sister to find out… I can’t believe you sometimes,” Simon said angrily. He put his arm around River’s shoulders and guided her in the direction of their quarters. River managed to turn around and wave happily at Jayne before Simon realized what she was doing and grabbed her hand.
“Back to lookin’ the old fashioned way, I guess,” Jayne muttered to himself as he heard the door to River’s room slam shut.
“I wasn’t going to tell,” River said, swinging her long legs as they dangled off the side of her bed. Simon was in the corner of the room fussing with something that wasn’t perfectly straight.
“I just don’t feel comfortable with you being around him. Especially alone. I mean, he’s Jayne,” Simon said.
“We were going to look for hiding places. But we wouldn’t have found anything,” she said.
“And how do you know that?” Simon asked, suddenly paying more attention.
“Because I know where all of the real ones are,” she told him. Simon stopped what he was doing and sat down on the bed next to River.
“You do?” he asked.
“Of course, silly! How could I not? Everyone tries hard so hard to hide it, too,” she giggled. “They think about it all the time, it’s just… right there.”
“So, you know who everyone picked, too,” Simon inferred.
“Uh huh. And I’m not telling you, either,” she informed him. Simon jumped and tried to hide his surprise and disappointment, doing a horrible job of it. “There are so many secrets right now. It’s fun,” River said, and looked around at the empty air like she could actually see something intriguing.
“There are always secrets on Serenity,” Simon reminded her, half speaking to himself.
“These are good secrets. They make the air tingle,” River said.
Simon decided he was glad of the secrets. They made his sister smile.
“You mean to tell me you’re not the least bit curious?” Wash asked his wife, looking away from Serenity’s controls to peer at her in amazement.
“Nope. I can wait,” Zoe said calmly. It was the same calm that had gotten her through dozens of battles, life and death situations, and other scrapes resulting from Mal’s less than successful planning. A little bit of Christmas curiosity wasn’t going to faze her.
“I mean, if I had, say, some information about your secret gift giver, you wouldn’t be willing to think about an exchange?” Wash asked. That’s it, he thought to himself. Cool, calm, suave. Is she falling for it?
“But you don’t,” Zoe countered, sounding very sure of herself. Nope. Guess not.
“Oh, come on, Zoe! Whoever has you might have taken me into their confidence!” Wash tried to reason with her. She just shook her head.
“I don’t think so, Sweetie. Besides, what makes you think I know anything?” Zoe asked, laughing.
“It’s Kaylee, isn’t it?” Wash burst out, unable to contain himself any longer. “I’ve seen her whispering to you! What was she doing? Trying to get gifty ideas? Wondering what the perfect present for me would be?”
“You have this all figured out, don’t you?” she said. “And even if it was Kaylee, do you think I’d tell you?”
“It’s your wifely duty to be honest with me,” Wash said, in all mock-seriousness.
“Not in this case it’s not,” Zoe said sweetly. She kissed her husband on the cheek and walked out of the cockpit. “Nice try, though,” she called back over her shoulder. Wash watched her go, disappointment readily apparent on his face.
“What? No consolation prize?”
The sound of Wash and Zoe’s conversation drifted through the doors that were open all over the ship, but by the time their voices reached the captain down in the cargo bay, they were only so much garbled noise.
“Can’t even get any peace down here,” Mal grumbled.
“Be careful, Mal, you wouldn’t want to catch the cheerfulness that seems to be going around,” Inara teased, coming to stand beside him on the walkway.
“I’ll just be glad when Kaylee’s little party is over, and we all go back to actin’ like normal folk, instead of sneakin’ around all the time,” Mal said. At that moment, Book poked his head into the cargo bay, saw Inara and Mal, smiled secretively, and turned tail and went back the way he’d come. “See?” Mal said, pointing at the shepherd’s hastily retreating back. “That is exactly what I’m talking about.”
“I think it’s nice,” Inara said.
“Nice. Yeah,” Mal said. Inara was completely unconvinced on the subject of his sincerity.
“It’s nice to have people doing kind things for each other, going out of their way to do something nice for another crew member. And everyone is having such fun!” she reminded him.
“Fun? You know what I woke up to this morning? River and Kaylee and Simon of all people, chasing each other up and down the hall, shouting something about ‘I’ll never tell,’” Mal told her.
“I heard that too. River hid in my shuttle for a little while,” Inara said.
“You’re encouraging this?” Mal asked, raising an eyebrow at the Companion.
“Yes. I believe that the spirit that has descended upon this ship in honor of the holiday is… a good thing. It’s almost like we’re a family.”
“It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside,” Mal cracked, allowing himself to smile. Inara looked hopeful for a second. Was Mal actually coming around to her way of seeing things? Then, he added, “Kind of like when I’ve drunk too much and I need to go find a bucket.” Inara quelled her impulse to laugh, put on a hard face, and lightly punched Mal on the shoulder.
“You’re horrible, do you know that?” she asked.
A loud crash resounded throughout the ship, coming from the direction of the infirmary.
“Nope, nothing in there,” Jayne’s voice came through loud and clear.
“My infirmary! JAYNE!” Simon shouted.
Mal and Inara looked each other in the eye, both trying their hardest not to laugh. This lasted for all of five seconds.
“I don’t think this ship’s going to survive ‘till Christmas with all of us trying to get secrets out of each other!” Mal said when he could finally get words out again.
“And yet somehow, I think Serenity will persevere,” Inara assured him.
Monday, December 23, 2002 7:56 AM
Monday, December 23, 2002 9:45 AM
Monday, December 23, 2002 12:42 PM
Monday, December 23, 2002 1:27 PM
Tuesday, December 24, 2002 1:26 PM
Tuesday, December 24, 2002 2:08 PM
Tuesday, December 24, 2002 2:26 PM
Wednesday, December 25, 2002 7:51 PM
Thursday, December 26, 2002 2:40 AM
Tuesday, December 31, 2002 10:17 PM
Wednesday, August 4, 2004 9:37 AM
Sunday, September 26, 2004 4:13 PM
Tuesday, August 16, 2005 5:15 AM
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