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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
After the events of Serenity, Mal and Kaylee chat
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1561 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Title: Ain't Our Kind
Author: Sullen Siren (adena(at)direcway(dot)com)
Pairing/Characters: Kaylee, Mal mentions of Inara/Mal and Simon/Kaylee
Summary: "We're border-born. Grew up working ranches and engines. Wasn't about power or alliances or propriety – was just about surviving. All grew up knowin' if we lived a little better off than our ma and daddy did, we were doing pretty damn well."
Disclaimer: I own nothing, sadly. I would really like my own personal Mal. But I don't. I'm just playing with Joss' babies and making no profit from it.
Feedback: Always adored!
Note: Spoilers through the Serenity movie! Thank you to musesfool for the Beta!
She was humming as she did the dishes, pulled back hair bouncing with her movements. It was irritating and it was endearing and that was more or less a constant state of being with Kaylee, Mal reflected. The table in front of him was dotted with gun parts and a battered hunting blade his mama had given him, before the cough and the medicine they didn't have any of took her down. They weren't none of them dirty, but he liked cleaning them. Gave him a calming effect.
When there wasn't humming, anyway. "Kaylee, I realize it's a bit like askin' a river not to run, but could you maybe, possibly, shut up?"
She grinned at him, cheerful as a gorram rainbow and sank into the chair opposite him. "Don't be so tetchy, Cap'n. What are you so grumpy about, anyway? 'Nara and you have another fight?"
"No. And what do you mean another?"
She smiled at him like he was the cutest, most adorable and clueless stray pup she'd ever seen. Which he wasn't. At all. He longed to roll his eyes. Wasn't anything least adorable about him. "Never mind Cap'n." She picked up the gun nearest her with the awkward touch of someone who knew guns, but still didn't like them. She studied the trigger. "Bet this catches," she told him, instinctively knowing what it needed, as she always did with machines.
He envied her that, a little bit. Serenity was his ship and there weren't no way he'd ever be able to keep her half so happy as Kaylee could. Half her workings were just so much moving metal to him – a jumble of stuff that didn't make anymore sense then the poetry in those books of Inara's that he'd tried to read. "It serves, little Kaylee."
She set it down and leaned her face on her hands. She had a smudge of dirt across her nose. Somehow it suited her. "Needs a new set-spring. Jayne's probably got one."
"I'll ask." She had a dreamy smile on her face, and that suited her too, but he didn't like its cause. "You and Doc been getting awful friendly."
She grinned so wide he thought her mouth might be bigger'n her face. "He's shiny. It's all . . . . It's just a good thing." Her face fell suddenly. "It is, isn't it? I mean maybe I shouldn't be so happy 'bout it. With . . . Wash and with . . . . I guess-"
"Ain't nothing wrong with taking happiness where it comes. It don't come often, so don't go looking for reasons to push it off when it comes," he interrupted.
She gave him a look that he thought might be a precursor to telling him he ought to take his own advice more often, but she didn't. "Zoe's doing better," she said lamely instead.
Zoe was the same she'd been since they'd buried Wash. All business. There weren't nothin' all right about her, and he knew it, but he didn't push. Wasn't their way. Wasn't his place either, maybe, though he thought with Wash gone he might be the only one who had the right left. Thought maybe might be coming a time when he'd have to push too, but he weren't looking forward to it none. Wouldn't be fun for either of them. Less for him, since he was likely to end up with his eyes blacked and his nose broke. "She's all right," was all he said.
Kaylee looked at him and a sly look crossed her face. "You know . . . 'Nara don't have no clients on the next planet . . . . Dockin' there for repairs . . . we are still dockin' for repairs, ain't we Cap'n? So I can replace the auxiliary power couplet, and fix up the secondary engine?" He started to answer, but she didn't give him a chance. "It'll be shiny to get a chance to fix up Serenity a bit. But 'Nara won't have nothin' to do . . . maybe you could take her out somewhere fancy. Could borrow some of Simon's clothes!"
"I ain't borrowin' nothing the Doc wears," Mal attempted to hide his irritation at the matchmaking, since he knew Kaylee meant well, but didn't manage it. Inara was, as always, a sore and confusing issue. Confounding sort of woman, anyway. "Don't need you messin' about in my affairs," he added. She sighed and rolled her eyes. He didn't like her meddling at all. So, probably be hypocritical for him to warn her off the Doc.
'Course that didn't never stop him before. "You and the Doc . . . . be careful, mei mei. Things like that don't ever work."
She frowned at him. "What do you mean 'things like that?' What's it like?"
"Too different, Kaylee. From different worlds. Always ends up badly."
"That ain't the way of it at all anymore. Simon's same as the rest of us – just poundin' out a life on the edge. He can't ever go back. Isn't no different save he's a doctor."
There was a stubborn tilt to her mouth, but he pursued anyway. "Still different. He ain't our kind."
"What do you mean 'our kind?'"
Mal rubbed at his forehead tiredly. "You, me, Jayne, Zoe – hell, even the Preacher had his hands pretty damn dirty." He ignored her wince at Book's name. "We're border-born. Grew up working ranches and engines. Wasn't about power or alliances or propriety – was just about surviving. All grew up knowin' if we lived a little better off than our ma and daddy did, we were doing pretty damn well. Doc and his sis' – they grew up different. Had everything, and it was all about keeping it."
She shook her head. "It don't make any difference what he were. He's not that now."
"People don't change Kaylee. Not all the way. Doc's a good sort, and I'm right glad to have him on hand to patch up bodily holes and the like. But don't make him like us."
"I ain't like you, Cap'n." It was blunt and flat and not at all like her. "I don't . . . bottle everything inside and deny feelin' it until it goes away." She looked at him with the sort of anger she rarely directed at him. "You say that people can't change, but you did. 'Cause if you grew up like me, you're a lot different now. Weren't born a Captain. Weren't born a soldier, neither. You changed, and I bet if your mama saw you now, she'd barely know you." She saw his face and softened a bit. "Ain't a bad sort of thing, but people can change lots, Cap'n. And even if he isn't the same's me – he still cares about me. That makes the rest not matter, don't it?"
"It's supposed to." In a perfect world, maybe. In the real world, love didn't change the fact that things didn't always work. Didn't keep people alive when they were supposed to die. Didn't keep people together when they weren't meant to be there, no matter how much they wished it would.
She stood up and smiled at him. "See? It'll be shiny Cap'n. You're just cranky 'cause it's another shipboard romance. I promise it won't change my work none. And I can fix the secondary engine. Right? You'll buy me a new coil? You promised."
"I promised," he agreed with a sigh. It would put a serious dent in their profit margins, but she was right – they did need it.
She grinned and ruffled his hair. "See ya later, Cap'n."
She left, humming her way down the hallway and he rubbed at his eyes again. It wouldn’t' end well. He could tell. Simon was a good enough boy – but he had his choices already set. Mal, Jayne, Zoe – given a choice, they'd pick Kaylee. 'Cause she was theirs more than the other two. Simon would always pick River. And one day, there'd be something that showed Kaylee that, and it'd be done. Just like that.
Gorram hell, he hated shipboard romance.
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