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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Yet another Pirate Children story. Set thirteen years post-BDM, AU. A look into daily life for the children aboard Serenity. How do four children pass the time in the Black?
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 879 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Rating: PG. For mischief and a little cursin'. Shh, don't repeat that in front of Mei-Mei.
Characters: the whole crew, plus the Pirate Children and Alistair Caramia (the latter are mine, the rest are Joss's)
Pairings: Canon pairings. I generally lean towards M/I, but this one is not as shippery as Shadow or any of the others. This is more about the kids.
Summary: Yet another Pirate Children story. Set thirteen years post-BDM, AU. A look into daily life for the children aboard Serenity. How do four children pass the time in the Black?
Author's Note: Thanks for the feedback! You're all amazing. This story is SO much fun to write. I think it's been my favorite (and the quickest) story yet.
“Somethin’ wrong, Husband?”
“I’ve got no monitors. They just… blitzed out.” Wash pulls the intercom down to him. “Captain, we’ve got a situation on the bridge.”
Mal’s disgruntled voice crackles back over the comm. “What kind of situation?”
“One of the ‘we’re blind and still flying’ variety.”
A string of Mandarin curses follows, and then abruptly ends as the captain cuts the connection.
Wash is fiddling with switches and buttons, about to open up the console when Mal stomps onto the bridge calling for Kaylee.
“Why can’t this boat stay together for more’n a week at a time? Kaylee!”
“Yeah, Cap’n?” the mechanic answers, climbing the steps to the bridge, Serra on her hip. Both are covered in streaks of paint in all shades of the rainbow. Zoe snickers a little at the pair.
“What the he…” He catches himself, remembering his very impressionable five-year-old, and continues, “Heck happened to you two?”
Serra grins, big brown eyes wide with innocence even as one of her black curls is practically dipped in purple paint. That innocence strikes Mal as funny, but he knows his littlest has the mischief of her three older companions combined.
“We had a finger-paintin’ mishap,” Kaylee shrugs. “But we made some real purty pictures, didn’t we, Mei-Mei?”
“Yep, Daddy. You should come see ‘em.”
“In a minute, baby-mine.”
“Yes, excellent idea. This is a rather thrilling conversation, but can we focus on the fizzled monitors, please? Before we collide with a comet.”
“Calm down, Husband.”
“Uncle Wash, what’s a comet?”
“Not now, Mei-Mei. Uncle Wash and his dinosaurs will answer all of your astronomical questions after he can see again.”
Serra shrugs. Kaylee sets the little girl on the ground to join Wash in his search for the problem. The little girl looks to her daddy, silently asking him to pick her up.
“Nuh-uh,” Mal shakes his head, exercising much will-power. He’s such a sucker for chocolate eyes and dark curls. “These clothes are newly washed. Your mama will kill me if I get ‘em dirty so soon.”
Zoe hides a smile at the pair’s interaction, returning her attention to bickering pilot and mechanic.
“Wash, what’d you do?”
“Let me go check on somethin’ in the engine room.”
She gets to the bottom of the steps, and the monitors spring back to life.
“We have visual! Crisis over.”
“Kaylee, get on down to the engine room and make sure everything’s normal,” Mal orders. Serra giggles beside him, but just skips over to her uncle when her father looks questioningly at her. Mal shakes his head at the silliness of his daughter.
Serra climbs into Wash’s lap, heedless of her messy clothes, hands, and face.
Wash laughs, tugs on one of her curls lightly, and reaches for a stegosaurus to explain some of the basic facts about the Black.
“Everything okay, Daddy?” a voice asks behind him. Mal turns around to see Abe, Kacey, and Lolly, all looking a little sweaty, at the bottom of the stairs.
“Yeah, everythin’ seems to be under control, Bubba. What have you three been up to?”
“Just throwing a ball around down in the cargo hold,” Kacey answers. “Ally told us we could do what we wanted until dinner, as long as we stayed out of the way. We actually managed to get Abe’s nose out of book.”
“Weren’t you supposed to be watching Mei-Mei?”
“She wanted to paint with Mom,” Lolly shrugs. “Mom said she could.”
Mal studies them for a few minutes, then shakes his head. “All right. Dinner’s in a few, so go wash up a little, dong ma? Don’t need anyone stinkin’ up the dinner table.”
“But we let Jayne sit with us,” Abe says, feigned innocence in his voice.
Kacey and Lolly snicker, and Mal laughs a little. He crosses to the pilot seat and plucks Serra out of Wash’s lap. She squawks a little in objection. “Speakin’ of gettin’ clean, take this with you and wash it off.”
He hands Serra off to Kacey, who lets her scramble onto his back. She pouts prettily at her father over Kacey’s shoulder. Mal puts a kiss on the top of her head and then brushes past the quartet.
“See you at dinner.”
The children head towards their rooms, going into Lolly and Serra’s room first (the captain’s former quarters). Once the door pulls shut, they dissolve into laughter.
“Nice work, Mei-Mei. They didn’t suspect us for a minute,” Abe praises.
“It helped that we kept the comm lines open between the engine room and bridge. Then we knew when to get out,” Kacey observes. “And good job, Lolly. Excellent sabotage. You didn’t leave any clues, did ya?”
Lolly scoffs. “Who do you think you’re talking to?”
Kacey nods, conceding the point.
A voice crackles in over their comm, a trace of amusement in the feigned admonishment.
“Thanks, Aunt River,” Abe smiles. “See you at dinner.”
The comm clicks off in response.
“All right, Mei-Mei,” Lolly sighs. “Let’s try and get this paint out of your hair.”
“Did you see the pretty pictures Aunt Kaylee and I did, Mama?” Serra asks as Inara brushes out the little one’s curls before bed. She’s in one of Lolly’s old nightgowns, a purple teddy bear gracing her chest.
“I did. Once they’re dry, we’ll have to hang one in here.”
“Okay. But one goes to Aunt Kaylee, ‘cause I promised.”
Abe rolls his eyes behind his book, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
Mal enters the shuttle, dropping onto the couch beside Abe. “Good readin’, Bubba?”
Abe nods. He grimaces when Mal tousles his hair, but it’s mostly feigned. “It’s a fantasy. And a Christian allegory, too.”
“Huh,” Mal says, surprised as always about the level of intelligence that comes out of his son’s mouth.
“It’s the fifth in a series. You and I read the second one together, remember? The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. The lion is supposed to be Jesus.”
“Right,” Mal nods. He looks to Inara, who is braiding Serra’s hair with much-practiced ease. She smirks at him over the top of their daughter’s head. “Right, I remember my mama readin’ those to me. As much as your mama would like to think otherwise, I have read several books.”
“I’ve made no claims otherwise.”
“Mama! Did Daddy tell you that we’re goin’ to St. Albans?”
“I’d heard something about that, Mei-Mei,” Inara answers, twisting a band around the end of Serra’s second braid and pushing her up with a kiss on the top her head. “Go get your books for tonight, please.”
“Will you have a snowball fight with me and Daddy, Mama? Everyone says I’m too little to join in on the big kids’ fight,” Serra questions as she kneels by the bookcase next to the curtain covering the cockpit of the shuttle.
Inara laughs and sends an accusing look at Mal. He shrugs in return. “We’ll see, Mei-Mei.”
Serra grabs two worn picture books from the bookcase and crawls into her parents’ big bed. “Comin’, boys?”
Abe puts his book down and seats himself next to Serra in the middle of the bed, cross-legged. Serra scurries into his lap immediately, pressing the books into his hands.
“C’mon, Mama, Daddy.”
Simon Tam closes the drawer with a tired sigh, stretching a kink out of his neck after an hour of inventory, taking into consideration the new batch of supplies from Persephone. He turns out all but one light in the infirmary and heads towards his bedroom, hoping to catch his wife and daughter. His room, though full of medical journals, twinkling lights, and spare parts, is unoccupied. His first instinct is, of course, to check the engine room.
He finds two pairs of coverall-clad legs poking out from under the engine, hears a muffled chattering barely over the hum of the engine.
He clears his throat. “Will you be sleeping anytime soon, Leila Lee?”
Lolly pushes herself out, a wide grin echoing her mother’s, blue eyes just like his own bright with joy, grease across her nose and one cheek. “Hey, Dad. Mom and I were just making a few tweaks ‘fore bed.”
Kaylee rolls out as well. “Hey, sweetie. How was inventory?”
Lolly holds her hand out to her father, a silent question to help her up. Heedless of the grease staining her fingers, Simon helps his daughter to her feet. She bounces up effortlessly, full of her aunt’s dancer’s grace.
“Better get to bed. Mei-Mei doesn’t let Uncle Mal or Aunt ‘Nara leave until I’m there. She says she can’t sleep alone.”
Kaylee smiles at her daughter’s concern for Serra, at the responsibility each of the older children on Serenity take in her life. As much as they may complain about their youngest compatriot, the elder trio adores their Mei-Mei.
Lolly kisses each of her parents goodnight and skips off to bed. “Love you!”
After River relieves him in the bridge, Wash heads down to the dining area to grab a quick snack. The mess is quiet, but occupied. Ally’s on one end of the table, reading and sipping tea, apparently oblivious to the card game in front of her. Jayne and Kacey are engaged in a game of tall card, Kacey already in pajama pants and a t-shirt.
“Aren’t you supposed to be in bed?”
“After this round,” Kacey answers without looking up. He’s alternately studying his cards and Jayne’s face, carefully selecting two cards from his hand and sliding them into the middle. Jayne is likewise studying his young competitor, slapping one card on the table.
Wash grabs a box of crackers, still good from their recent trip to Persephone, and sits down next to Ally.
“How long have they been at it?”
Ally glances at the silver watch on her wrist. “About an hour, maybe a little less.”
“Hard to say. They go back and forth. Don’t worry; they’re not really betting. The captain says no one under fifteen is allowed to gamble.”
“How… progressive of him?”
Ally smiles over the top of her book. “I’m not sure anyone would accuse the captain of being progressive. I hear there was some excitement on the bridge this afternoon.”
“Ha!” Jayne cries, pulling in the pot, which appears to be of some of the same crackers Wash is eating.
Wash looks skeptically to the gloating mercenary before returning his attention to Ally. “Just the screens going on the blink. This boat has some strange quirks.”
“That’s what I hear. Just warn me if we’re going to fall out of the sky, okay?”
“We’re in the Black,” Wash teases, “We won’t fall anywhere. Gravity, Miss Caramia! What are you teaching these children?”
Ally laughs. “My figure of speech stands corrected.”
There’s a light commotion outside of the dining area as the Reynolds family makes their way from the shuttle to the children’s bunks. From the view Wash has of them, it seems as if little Serra has fallen asleep before making it to her bed, cheek resting on her father’s shoulder.
“Don’t drop her, Daddy,” Abe teases as he opens up his bunk. He glances into the bunk, realizes Kacey isn’t there, and heads into the dining area. “Kace, you coming to bed?”
Kacey pushes himself away from the table with a sigh. “Yeah, I’m comin’, Abe. I’ll get you next time, Jayne.”
“In your dreams, lil’ Cobb.”
“I wish he wouldn’t call him that,” Wash says softly to Ally.
“You named him that,” Ally reminds him, a twinkle in her green eyes.
“Correction, my wife named him that. You don’t argue with warrior women, especially post-childbirth.”
“Jayne did save your life.”
Wash brushes her off. “Technicality. It’s his job.”
Ally laughs. Kacey comes over and kisses both Wash’s and Ally’s cheeks goodnight.
“’Night, Ally!” Abe calls from the doorway before walking with Kacey to their bunk.
“I don’t get a goodnight from either of ‘em?” Jayne questions.
“They don’t have crushes on you,” Wash reminds him, standing to put the box of crackers back.
“Can’t imagine why not, lovely mug you got there, Jayne,” Mal says, entering the dining area with Inara.
“The kettle’s still hot, Inara,” Ally calls, nodding towards the kitchen.
Mal sits opposite Ally as Jayne collects the tall cards and shuffles them idly. The captain puts a hand to his ear, cupping as if straining to listen.
“Do you hear that?”
“What?” Inara asks indulgently, sitting down beside him with a cup of tea.
“Exactly. Nice, quiet boat. Can only mean one thing.”
“You finally put the brats out the airlock?”
Everyone shoots Jayne a dirty look at that. He just shrugs and grins a little wickedly.
“Bedtime,” Ally supplies with soft sigh and light grin. She stands and moves to clean out her teacup. “And I think I am going to join them. Good night, all.”
Everyone says their goodnights, including Jayne with a “’Night, Miss Ally” and Zoe, who passes the teacher in the doorway, having come up from the engine room.
“Everything’s locked down for the night, sir,” Zoe says, sitting down next to her husband.
“Shiny,” Mal grins, taking a deep breath and putting his hands behind his head. “Let’s hope we don’t get no disasters tonight.”
“Don’t jinx us!” Wash objects.
“Relax, Wash. We’re goin’ to poky ol’ St. Albans,” Jayne claps Wash’s back roughly as he passes him to go to the crew quarters.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006 6:36 AM
Wednesday, November 08, 2006 5:43 PM
Thursday, November 09, 2006 9:20 AM
Thursday, November 09, 2006 9:21 PM
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