Have Wings, Will Fly Chapter Five: Beachside
Friday, December 23, 2005

They crew arrives at the oceanside city of Delmar to enjoy a semi-relaxing day at the beach. Funnyness ensues.


Have Wings, Will Fly Chapter 5: Beachside

Just to clear up any confusion about the last line of chapter 4, I love the idea of Book kind of ‘watching’ over the ship, especially River. The touch on the shoulder was simply a figure of her imagination, not Arden. He’s way too shy to approach her now! Thanks again for the comments, I hope everyone is enjoying this fic as much as I am writing it. *Sorry about your shirt, Gypsylife! I know I’ve definitely ruined more than one article of clothing while reading stuff on this site!*

~*~*~ Newhall approached quickly in the very early hours of the morning. The sun was just rising on the edge of the planet and shone brightly on the sleeping River.

Inara woke in the middle of the night and, unable to fall back asleep, crept into the co-pilot’s seat to make sure River didn’t accidentally kick the auto pilot off again. She covered the small girl with a smooth, peach blanket she had in her shuttle. Inara smiled as she watched a thin dribble of drool escape from River’s mouth. Comforted by River’s gentle slumber, Inara eventually nodded off in her chair.

She awoke and hour later to a loud clatter coming echoing from the kitchen. Wrapping herself in her blanket, Inara stepped into the dining room to find Arden hastily opening cupboards and looking under pots and pans.

Inara cleared her throat, and immediately regretted it as Arden jumped and dropped the large cooking pot he was holding.

Mal, never a heavy sleeper, leaped out of his bunk, clambered up the ladder, and burst into the kitchen, but not before slamming on Jayne’s door yelling “Jayne! Wake the hell up!”

Both men stumbled into the kitchen to find Inara in her nightgown, and Arden holding his hands up in a surrender position.


“I-I-I was just trying to make breakfast. You know, a peace offering for my less-than-appreciated arrival yesterday. I’m really sorry if I woke anyone up,” Arden shuffled to pick up the pans strewn across the floor.

“Well, now that we’re up, I wouldn’t mind a little cookin’ myself.” Mal and Jayne sat down as Inara helped to pick up the pans.

Jayne studied Inara none-too-discretely. Mal noticed the direction of his leer and promptly smacked him upside the head.

“I weren’t doing nothin’ Mal!” Jayne rubbed the back of his head.

“Yeah, but you were thinkin’. And you thinkin’, of any kind, is a source for worry.”


River awoke and immediately smiled when she felt the warm blanket covering her. It smelled like Inara—fresh spring and soft flowers. Realizing that Serenity should have been prepped half an hour ago, River jumped up and frantically flipped switches, punched buttons, grabbed the helm and clicked the comm:

“Prepare for landing in six minutes.”

“Did I just hear our little albatross say six minutes? I didn’t even get to have any breakfast!” Mal was genuinely upset, as Arden’s cooking was about ten times better than Kaylee’s, but he couldn’t say that while she was sitting across from him, watching him eat appraisingly. The crew cleared their plates and hastily ran to strap themselves in.

Serenity’s vibrations grew more violent as they entered atmo and pierced the clear blue sky. Delmar’s coastline came into view with the sun casting glittering sparkles on the surface of the ocean. River smiled as she set Serenity down on the beach. Much to the crew’s delight, the landing wasn’t a total terror.

“It’s now 5:43 a.m. on Newhall, winds mild and temperature at 20 degrees Celcius. No clouds; not needed.”

At this time everyone was up an about, even in their half-asleep haze.

“Okay, folks,” Mal began as River slipped into the kitchen. “Today is the start of a nice vacation, but there is some work to be had. I recommend we get started on that pronto, so’s we can get us some sleep.”

Kaylee looked a little crestfallen. “What kinda work, Cap’n? Serenity’s all squared away, don’t need any new parts or…”

“No, no, none of that. We just need to find us some lodgin’, else you want to stay on the ship. And after bein’ in here for a few weeks straight, well, I’d rather not have to stay in my bunk while on vacation, ‘s all.”

“Sir, in case you didn’t notice, Delamar ain’t a big city. Think we can find us a decent place to stay?” Zoe asked.

“Well, Zoe, I’m glad you asked! I’ll be right back” Mal flashed everyone a smile and dashed out the door.

Wash was sitting in his makeshift wheelchair Kaylee and Simon put together. It was awkward and clunky, but it did the trick, and Wash didn’t have to stay in the infirmary while the others enjoyed themselves. “Anyone else thinking this is gonna lead to no good?”

Simon raised his hand.

“Aww, isn’t it cute when he gets all excited ‘bout things, ‘Nara?” Kaylee nudged Inara who’d been silent the entire morning. She muttered a quiet “Mmm-hmm”.

“Tents,” River piped in, obviously happy about something.

“What?” Zoe asked, but her question was soon answered as Mal appeared in the doorway holding what looked to be a tangle of colored sheets and metal poles. He dumped them on the table, spilling Jayne’s coffee. “Sorry.”

“Well, what do you think? It’s cheap, and we can all be right here on the beach. ‘Course, you’re welcome to sleep on the ship, just thought it would be a nice change o’ atmosphere.” Mal grinned, looking pleased with himself.

“…juh jen sh guh kwai luh duh jean-jan” Jayne muttered under his breath.

~*~*~ Outside the cool breeze from the ocean made the entire crew simultaneously shiver. Jayne, Mal, and Zoe were busy tugging the tents out of the ship. Arden rushed to help, only to get shoved aside by Jayne. “Yer just getting’ in the way, boy!” He yelled before falling flat on his rear after slipping on the tent cover he was carrying. Kaylee let out a raucous laugh and was joined by the rest of the crew.

“Hey, I got’s an idea, how ‘bout we stop laughin’ at me and help me get the hell up!”

“Hey, Cap’n, can we set these up later? It’s too early!” Kaylee whined and pouted up at Mal.

“Yeah, I guess so. But put some rocks over the tents, or they’ll blow away.”

“Like paper,” River chimed in.

“Thank you. Like paper,” Mal nodded knowingly and decided he’d let his crew set things straight with the tents. He went back inside Serenity to find things to put inside the tents.

Kaylee cheered up. She was right sick of working and not spending time with Simon. She grabbed his hand and pulled for him to follow her. “Come on, Simon! I saw some interesting, uh, shells over there.” She pointed towards a large tower of rock formations about 200 yards away.

“Well, River, she--”

“She’ll be fine. Arden, Zoe, and Jayne’ll watch her. C’mon Simon. She’s an adult now. And were on a practically deserted beach. What could she possibly do?”

Simon paused, ready to begin listing about a thousand colorful different ways River could get into trouble, about half of those involving Jayne. He looked concernedly over towards River.

“Simon. She’s more capable than you think.” River lifted her eyebrows.

“Yes, that’s exactly why I’m worried about leaving you for an…uh, extended period of time!”

River sensed his frustration and he was clearly torn between the two women. She gave him her classic little-sister-can-handle-everything looks.

Jayne, who was busy being unsuccessful with refolding the tents, jumped back at the mention of his name, “Oh, hell, no! I ain’t watchin’ that moonbrained sister o’ yers. I gots stuff ta be doin’ today. Need to pick up some things in town ‘fore we get this vacation started. No time fer babysittin’.”

“Well, I know Zoe’s taking Wash into town to find a medical center, if they even have one. Maybe she can join you all in town.”

River sighed openly, “She’ll be fine. Got Arden. And Captain, and Inara are on the ship. She won’t touch anything. Promise.” She looked up at Simon with her big, expressive eyes in a ‘please?’ pout and blinked a few times for added effect.

“Fine. You can stay here. But River, you go tell Mal you’re staying so he knows to keep an eye on you, dong ma?”

River nodded and smiled sweetly to her brother. Simon gave a wary glace at Arden, who was standing in silence. He held up his hands, “I know you barely know me, but if I would never do anything to her, or your captain would have shot me by now.” Arden shrugged.

“All right, you. Let’s get a move on with those…shells.” Kaylee grabbed Simon’s hand and dragged him off again towards the rocks. River giggled.

Jayne grunted and yelled towards the ship. “Hey! How about’s we get our pretty little asses movin’! I ain’t got all day!”

“Why, Jayne? You got yourself a hot date or something?” Zoe asked with a grin as she emerged from the ship pushing Wash in his little wheelchair.

“Somethin’ o’ the sort. Unless you want to join me?” He gave a lascivious leer at Zoe.

“Only in you saddest and scariest dreams.”

Jayne mumbled under his breath, “Yeah, you’d kill me in them, too.”

~*~*~ River hopped up the steps in the cargo bay, leaving Arden by himself on the beach. She reached Mal’s cabin and knocked rapidly until he came to the door, which took about five minutes.

“I’M COMIN’! WHO THE HELL IS SO GORRAM IMPACIE--” Mal stopped mid sentence when he opened the door to his smiling little psychic. “Oh, it’s you. Should have figured. What do ya need, darlin’?”

“Simon says.”

Mal sighed inwardly. Why’d she always have to give him riddles early in the morning?

“Says what?”

“Keep and eye out. Always watching, but never seeing. Lookout.”

“You know, I’m really startin’ to get worried when I can almost fully understand what your sayin’, little one. Just don’t get into any trouble, ok? Inara will be out soon to check on you. I need my pilot alive, you know.”

River gave him a stiff salute. “Aye, aye, cap-i-tan!” She then turned on her heel and flounced back out of the ship.

Arden searched the sand quickly while River chatted with the captain on Serenity. When he found what he was looking for, he picked it up and ran to the waves to wash it off. It was an ammonite shell. The spirals were soft, and on the inside of the shell it gleamed iridescently. River jumped off the last step leading out of Serenity and did a light twirl.

“Open air, good to be by water. Do you want to walk?” River glanced at Arden.

“Um, yes, I’d love to,” he opened his fist and showed River the ammonite shell. Her eyes widened with delight as she picked it up and held it up to the light.

“Thank you, Ari.”

Arden blushed and began to walk towards the water. He let the waves wash his bare feet and he watched as the water rushed away from his feet when he pressed into the sand. He enjoyed the silence, finally allowing his thoughts to wander. It’s funny the effect the ocean has on people. River watched him as she strode next to him closer to the water. She paused as she caught a wave of memory emanating off of Arden.

“You miss your home?” she asked. It was definitely a question, not a statement.

Arden startled out of his reverie. “I thought you could read minds?”

River knitted her eyebrows. She was sick of always knowing and never actually hearing. It frustrated her that she often missed out on connecting with people, because she knew what they were going to say. She stopped walking as stared at him, her eyes strangely cold.

“There are things I never want to see in the minds of men. Cannot fathom the evils there. Plus, you can block me. You are psychic, too.” She softened a little and continued to walk along the shore, occasionally kicking the water.

“I’m sorry, that was a stupid thing to say. Of course I miss Ariel. It’s really a beautiful planet. My hometown, Lyn, was very green. I miss my parents, too. I’m sure they never expected me to end up here. They don’t know anything since I entered that place. I’d contact them, you know, but I…honestly just don’t want to.” He sighed.

“Because you have too much pride.” This time River spoke gently without much accusation.

“Well, yes. I gave up my scholarship to the best flight academy on 30 worlds to take a chance at a place I thought would solve my condition and make me great. My father would kill me if he knew where I was now. Wanted me to take over his company when he retired.” Arden stared at the sky wistfully. He could be up there now, flying. Arden had always wanted his own ship, but the chances of that were slim now. He was a fugitive, and among fugitives and criminals. He knew he must be on the wrong ship but couldn’t bring himself to admit it, since it was this strange girl walking next to him who had saved him from a fate like hers.

“Being psychic is not a problem needing solving. It is a gift, if you control it. If.” River half-smiled to herself and looked at her shell and turned it in her hand. “Spirals.”

Arden looked at the shell in her slender hands. In the midday light, River was radiant. She was one crazy girl, but she was stunning nonetheless. “Never ending, spiraling. That’s us in this ‘verse.”

They walked the length of the beach, stopping to pick up the occasional shell or water-polished stone. River was grateful for his silence. ~*~*~

Inara watched from her window in her shuttle as Arden and River walked the seashore. She also caught a glimpse of Kaylee and Simon playing on the rocks, and smiled when Kaylee pulled Simon out of sight.

Just then, she heard a knock on her door.

“Ching jin.”

Mal stuck his head in. “Mind helpin’ set up the tents now? Be dark in a few hours, and I can see the others comin’ over the hill.” “Do I have a choice?”

“If you did, I sure wouldn’t be tellin’ you!” Mal gave her his usual goofy grin and disappeared out the door.

“Why do I even bother to ask? I always know what he’s going to say!” Inara shook her head and headed out the door.


“Wash, baby, I’m sure it ain’t gonna be all bad.”

“Three months! Three months I gotta be in this piece of go-se,” he smacked the wheel on his chair, which gave an ominous wobble, “and you think it’s not that bad?!”

Jayne snickered. Zoe kissed Wash on the mouth. That always shut him up. The results from the small medical center were positive, and Wash was making a quick recovery from his accident. He was damn lucky to be alive. Didn’t mean he couldn’t complain about it, though. They drove up and parked the mule in Serenity’s open cargo bay. Approaching the tents, Jayne gave a loud groan.

“Now we gotta set up these? Well, I ain’t doin’ it. I’ll be in my bunk.”

“Jien ta da guay, you are!” Mal stood up from his lopsided tent he had set up. Pathetic would be a severe understatement. “You’re gonna help just like everyone else, or you ain’t eatin’.”

The rest of the crew’s attempts to set up the tents were just as fruitless. There were six tents in all to set up, and it took about four hours.

“Not bad!” Wash looked at his watch. “Four hours! With this kind of crew, I expected no less than six hours, min.”

“Easy for you to say. You just get to sit there!” Kaylee grinned as she collapsed in the sand after pounding in the last stake into her tent. The rest of the crew soon followed suit. They were covered in sand and exhausted.

“Now, for the sleepin’ arrangements…I get my own tent. The rest o’ you can fight out the other five tents.” Mal leaned back, eager to watch the ensuing battle. Jayne immediately jumped up and dived into the neared tent, nearly caving it in.

“Thank God. Who would want to bunk with him?” Simon asked while laughing.

“Simon and I can share a tent. That way Zoe’n Wash have one, you, Arden, and Jayne have their own.” Kaylee said.

“And River can sleep with me. Is that okay, sweetie?” Inara inquired.

River nodded her head in agreement and began to bury her feet and legs in the sand. Jayne poked his head out of the tent flaps.

“Well, ‘Nara, if you don’t wanna sleep with a crazy, my tent is always open.” Jayne said, while giving puppy eyes at Inara.

“I’ll be sure to remember that when hell freezes over twice.” She quipped.

Jayne shrugged and sat down on a box that held some supplies they picked up in the little city of Delmar. “So, we gonna eat or just sit watchin’ little moonbrain bury her toes in the sand?” Jayne nodded towards River, who seemed to be enjoying herself. She poked her tongue out at Jayne, who poked his out right back. Inara and Kaylee laughed, they always loved to see those two duke it out. Without knives, though.

The sun set slowly as the crew of Serenity gathered together around a fire, listening to Jayne strum on his guitar. Simon dished out a hot stew Kaylee and Arden had prepared. He looked at River, who was playing with something in her hand.

“What do you have there, mei mei?” He asked while peering into her small hands.

“Spiral shell. It coils…like water with a finger through it. Or smoke….Did you and Kaylee find any shells today?” River grinned knowingly over at Simon, whose blush was even deeper than the red fire glow surrounding them. Simon choked on his stew. Did his sister have to know every. Gorram. Detail. About his…intimate life?


End Chapter 5

More to come! Not much plot progression in this one, but I love writing funny little situations with our characters. I’m glad I kept Wash alive, at least for this fic. Any requests?


Friday, December 23, 2005 6:09 PM


RG you are so gorram good with the funny. First Mal popping Jayne on the back of the head...and omg I laughed so hard when Simon just raised his hand. And yes I have a request. Can I borrow your funny to write my are so good at making me laugh. Keep it up. I loved Mal in this one...

Waiting for chapter 5...hey we're going at the same pace....race really

Friday, December 23, 2005 7:32 PM


Gypsylife- feel free to borrow! Thanks for commenting. And to let you know, I had a blast coming up with stuff for this chapter. I'm very proud! (and not for my talent for alienating people)

Friday, December 23, 2005 9:58 PM


That last comment was me btw, silly me, didn't realize I wasn't logged in.

Friday, December 23, 2005 11:00 PM


How is Wash going to move around on the sand in his wheelchair? Maybe Kaylee will put it on runners? I had to chuckle at Jayne. Mal's notion to sleep out in improvised tents (bedsheets no less) seems doomed to any bit of wind that might blow or rain that might fall overnight. Hmm, I think Inara and River are going to be the only cosy ones... Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Saturday, December 24, 2005 5:29 AM


Love jayne learing at Inara and the smack by Mal... Great read.

Saturday, December 24, 2005 11:17 AM


Jayne studied Inara none-too-discreetly. Mal noticed the direction of his leer and promptly smacked him upside the head.

“I weren’t doing nothin’ Mal!” Jayne rubbed the back of his head.

“Yeah, but you were thinkin’. And you thinkin’, of any kind, is a source for worry.”

mal doesn't like other boys looking at his things...



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