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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
A lighthearted story about our favorite crew and a new member. Enjoy and Comment!
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1181 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.”
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 him 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 his 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.
“Where’s Mal?” Inara asked after everyone had gotten settled in their chairs in the mess and looked to her expectantly.
“The Captain’s busy at the moment and won’t be able to make it.” Zoe responded easily as Inara struggled to keep her hands from fidgeting nervously. She had already grown attached to Lil’ Cap’n, as she preferred to call him, and was almost afraid Mal would kick the puppy off Serenity the moment he found out it was there.
“Has anyone seen River?” Simon asked, looking around the room anxiously.
“She’ll be along in a moment.” Inara replied, apprehensive and relieved at the same time that Mal was absent for this little meeting. “As it happens, River is part of the reason for this conference.’’ She cleared her throat. “River? Come in, mei-mei.”
Every head around the table turned to face the door as River entered the mess hall her hands behind her back and her head down, her hair veiling her face.
“River, what’s wrong?’ Simon asked, looking from her to Inara and back again.
“River, honey, what do you have behind your back?” Zoe stood up slowly keeping her eyes on the girl. River gradually raised her head and looked around the room then without a word brought the puppy out from behind her back.
“A puppy!” Kaylee squealed in delight and rushed River her face lit up. “Iz’it a boy or a girl? What’s his name? Can I hold him?”
River smiled at Kaylee’s reaction and silently handed the pup over who made quick work of giving Kaylee’s face a thorough tongue washing.
Zoe looked at Inara, “Where’d it come from?”
“It would seem that River adopted him on the last planet we landed on.”
“Really?” Zoe looked back at the happy scene of River and Kaylee with the dog. “Captain’s not gonna like this one bit.” She muttered crossing her arms over her chest, a smile tugging at the corners of her mouth.
“What’s all this fuss for over some flea-bitten mutt?” Jayne asked annoyed, getting up from his seat. He smirked, “Cap’n’s gonna flip his lid over this.” Shaking his head he left.
“Jayne ain’t wrong ya know.” Wash said. “Mal doesn’t much like uninvited guests, human or otherwise.” He broke out into a grin, “I can’t wait to see his face when he finds out.” Zoe punched him in the arm. “Ow!” Wash grumbled feigning injury but still grinning.
“Ya don’t think Cap’n’ll hurt him do you, Zoe?” Kaylee asked, tearing her eyes away from the dog.
“I don’t rightly know.” Zoe replied. “Either way I think it best to keep him out from under foot until the bigger Captain is given some time to . . . . . adjust.”
“That’s a wise idea.” Inara said straightening. “Kaylee. River. Let’s take Little Captain to my shuttle for the time being. What do you say?”
River hesitated. “We can have a tea party.” Inara hurried on cheerfully. “Wouldn’t you like that?”
Looking back at Little Captain, River hesitated for another second then smiled shyly. “We would like that, yes.” Then bundling the pup into her arms she, Kaylee, and Inara left the meeting and their slightly bewildered crew mates behind.
“I think you should be the one to tell him.” Wash said, leaning back in his chair.
“Oh come on. He’s known you the longest and you’re his first mate. You’re the least likely one he’ll shoot the second he finds out some one on this boat is cuter than he is.”
Despite herself Zoe chuckled. “I doubt that will be the issue, husband.” She said standing up. “But you’re right, I should tell him.” Turning to face the hall to the cockpit she sighed. “Oh yeah. This is gonna go great.”
A warm breeze blows across the porch ruffling Mal’s hair. He closes his eyes and breathes deeply of the fresh country air. No place like home, he thinks. He opens his eyes and looks around taking in the ranch’s large front yard and his house’s expansive front porch. After so many years in the sky settling down back on Shadow felt so right.
Children’s laughter drifts to him on the breeze and he smiles, wondering what kind of trouble his kids were working on to scare their mother next. He turns in the rocking chair at the sound of a soft footfall.
He opens his arms for her and she sits down in his lap resting her head on his shoulder. “You call this watching the children?”
“I can hear’em.” He mumbles good-naturedly, entwining his fingers in her hair.
“Do you know how much I love you?” she asks, looking up at him.
He smiles down at her, “I love you too,--“
“Captain? Captain you awake?”
“Wha? I wasn’t asleep.” Mal dragged his hand across his mouth checking for drool. He swung his feet off the console. “What do ya want, Zoe?”
“Official, captainey business, huh?” Zoe chuckled softly then grew serious, “Seems we’ve got ourselves a small situation, sir.”
Mal fairly stomped across the catwalk towards Inara’s shuttle, Zoe trailing behind almost reluctantly.
“Inara!” he bellowed throwing open the door to the shuttle. He stopped dead in his tracks halfway in, momentarily speechless. By then Wash and Sheppard Book had heard the commotion and come to watch. Wash looked curiously over Mal’s shoulder and promptly burst out laughing.
There sitting quite calmly were Inara, Kaylee, River, and a mutt of a dog, all drinking tea from delicate porcelain cups.
“Inara.” Mal’s voice was low and threatening. He took a step into the shuttle and was answered by the dog. Growling low in its throat it jumped down from its perch on a pile of pillows and stalked slowly towards Mal. No one else moved (Wash even stopped laughing).
Inara cleared her throat and took a sip of her tea. “He certainly is an excellent judge of character.”
“Shush, Captain.” River scolded. “Big Captain’s the one in charge. Play nice.”
“Yeah, I’m in charge, so . . . wait. Big Captain? Since when am I ‘Big Captain’?” Mal asked, very confused. Lil’ Captain turned around and sauntered back to his pillows and teacup.
“Ever since Little Captain here joined the crew.” Inara indicated the currently well-behaved dog.
“That MUTT is not part of MY crew! And-and-did you give him some of your good tea? You never invite me for a tea party.” Mal said a little hurt.
“Well, maybe that would be because I don’t believe you can stay civilized long enough to enjoy a nice cup of tea.” Wash snickered softly at that.
Mal visibly straightened in indignation. “Well then, don’t come crying to me if he pisses on your favorite pillow or something.” With that he stormed out of the shuttle blowing past the rest of his crew and headed for the cockpit.
“Oh Captain, don’t be mad.” Kaylee called out after him.
Inara let out a breath that she hadn’t known she’d been holding in a rush. “That certainly went better than expected.”
Saturday, November 26, 2005 11:03 AM
Saturday, November 26, 2005 11:58 AM
Saturday, November 26, 2005 7:47 PM
Sunday, November 27, 2005 5:38 AM
Sunday, November 27, 2005 11:01 AM
Sunday, November 27, 2005 2:27 PM
Wednesday, November 30, 2005 9:28 PM
Wednesday, November 30, 2005 10:18 PM
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