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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Maya. Post-BDM. Bethany has a puppy, but Jayne brings a surprise ... more fluff, and I hope you enjoy! If you do - or don't - please comment.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1871 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
“A puppy.” Freya climbed down the stairs slowly, her eyes on the little scene below.
“I think it’s a beagle. Got him from a place where … well, let’s just say he’s probably better off with us.” Mal smiled at her. “What? What’s the problem.”
“A puppy, Mal. You were the one going on yesterday about the impracticalities of having a dog on board.”
“Well, can’t a feller change his mind?”
“Change his mind.” She looked at him. “Did you go out specially to buy a puppy?”
“No!” He looped his arm around her waist. “I was doing some other shopping, and … well, I passed by this food place and … it was kinda sitting there, all lost and lonely in a big cage, and …” He gazed into her eyes. “You’d’a done the same thing.”
“You are an idiot, Malcolm Reynolds,” she scolded him, but with no real heat. “And a big soft one at that.”
“Kinda takes one to know one,” he said, grinning at her. “’Sides, look how happy the squirt is. She’s forgotten the broken arm.”
He was right. Bethany had settled onto the floor and was stroking the little dog’s belly. He was twitching, one back leg kicking out.
Simon couldn’t believe his eyes. “You did this without consulting us?” he asked, crossing the bay towards them.
“Just got the kid a gift.” Mal raised his eyebrows. “And weren't you the one goading Bethany to ask for a puppy yesterday?”
“That was yesterday. She’d have forgotten the idea in a few days time.”
“You think?” Mal pointed to the little girl. “I kinda doubt it.”
River had sat down next to her niece. “I think he’s cute.”
“You would,” Simon said.
“I always wanted a puppy. Mother wouldn’t let me have one.” She stroked the soft fur. “Maxim,” she murmured. “I always wanted a puppy called Maxim.”
“Another thing you two’ve got in common,” Mal commented, squeezing Freya’s waist.
“And you expect us to look after a dog. On board ship.” Simon was still appalled. “With all the things he could get into.”
“I seem to recall saying that myself not twenty-four hours ago,” Mal pointed out. “And you still let Bethie think it was okay.”
“He’s right, Simon,” Kaylee said, sitting down on the floor with her daughter and stroking the puppy. “You did.”
The young doctor stared at his wife for not supporting him, then remembered that he had, indeed, taken some pleasure out of seeing Mal’s discomfiture the day before. “Well, even if I did, I don’t see that you should have bought my daughter a dog without asking me first.”
“Maybe I should have mentioned it. But it was either buy the thing then, or see it on the griddle. Which’d you prefer?”
Simon open and closed his mouth. “All right,” he finally said. “I’ll grant that. But a puppy?”
“Might teach the little’un a bit more responsibility, having to look after a pet.”
“I’d rather she had something a little less likely to crap everywhere.”
“Then make her clear it up. That’s what having a dog’s all about.”
River laughed. “Simon had a pet rock.”
Mal couldn’t resist the smirk. “Kinda figures.”
“And I …” She stopped. “Oh dear.”
“What, honey?” Freya asked.
“Jayne’s coming back.”
“Oh dear,” the young psychic repeated.
The old mule rumbled back on board, Jayne whistling as he parked. “Hey, short stub, what’cha got there?” he asked, seeing Bethany, River and Kaylee sitting on the decking, something between them.
“I got a puppy, Uncle Jayne!” she said beaming at him, and moved enough so he could see the golden creature rolling on its back.
“You got a dog?” His face fell. “Now that ain't fair.”
“You can play too,” she said, happiness seeping from every pore.
“No, it ain't that,” Jayne replied, climbing from the vehicle. “It’s just …” He reached into his jacket and pulled something black and white out.
“Oh good Lord,” Simon breathed.
“Uncle Jayne …” Bethany’s eyes grew even wider. “Another puppy?”
“I just figured … since you were so upset’n’all … I went over to the next farm and …” He squatted down next to her. “Hell, I guess ya might as well have this one too.” He put the new dog down next to the first.
“What’s his name?” Bethany asked, entranced as the two puppies began to roll each other around.
“It’s a girl,” Jayne said. “’N’ I ain’t figured on a name yet.”
“A girl?” Freya looked at Mal.
“Damn,” he whispered.
“A boy puppy and a girl puppy,” River said softly, looking at Kaylee. “That could cause complications.”
“The other’n’s a boy?” Jayne asked.
“If seasonal rotations stay the same in space, we could be knee deep in puppies in twenty two point six four months.”
“He’s getting fixed,” Mal said firmly. “Two’s more’n enough.”
“Aw, Mal, that ain’t fair,” Jayne protested. “Taking away a dog’s … doghood like that.”
“Are you going to watch them every minute to make sure they don’t … do what dogs do?”
“Maybe she won’t fancy him.”
“With eyebrows like that?” River put in.
“What’s going on?” Hank asked, strolling back on board, hand in hand with Zoe.
“Where’ve you been?” Mal asked.
“Talking to Inara. She gave us something … for … the …” He looked down. “Puppies?”
“One’s from Jayne, the other’s from the Cap,” Kaylee said quickly. “And I think they’re both cute.”
“Then you won’t be wanting this,” Zoe said, holding out the bag in her hand.
Mal glared at her. “Zoe, if you’ve brought that kid a puppy, I’m spacin’ ya, pregnant or not!”
“No, sir, I haven’t, and may I point out we’re sitting on the ground?” Zoe continued her action and pulled out a soft toy from inside the bag. “Unless you’re going to put me out the airlock for this?”
“Ooh,” Bethany whispered, looking up at the dog toy.
“Inara had bought it for Bethany, but when we told her about the broken arm, and the rest of it …”
“She said we had to bring it now,” Hank finished. “Said she‘d be along later.”
Bethany held up her hand, taking hold of the toy and cuddling it. “I’ve got three puppies,” she announced proudly.
“Three too many,” Simon muttered. “And where are they going to sleep?”
“My room?” Bethany said quickly.
“No, no, and no. Well, maybe the toy,” Simon amended. “But they’re not going to be kept in there.”
His daughter’s face began to screw up.
“I’ll build a pen out here, don’t you worry, doc,” Jayne offered. “Won’t take but a few minutes.”
“It has to be puppy proof,” Mal warned. “Ain't no way I wanna climb out of my bunk and find any little … messages on the floor.”
“Be easy,” Jayne assured him.
Bethany beamed at him. “Thank you, Uncle Jayne.” She stood up. “I want to show Ethan.” She leaned down, but with one arm in a sling and the other full of toy, she couldn’t pick up even one of the squirming dogs.
“I’ll help,” River said, hoisting a puppy under each arm and rising smoothly to her feet.
“I think I’d better supervise,” Freya said, letting go of Mal and following them towards the nursery.
“You bought Bethany a puppy, sir?” Zoe said, watching them go.
“It … seemed like a good idea at the time.”
“I hope you don’t live to regret it, sir.”
“Oh, I do already, Zo. I do already.”
The pen Jayne had put together seemed more than adequate, and Mal leaned on the edge, looking down at the two puppies fast asleep, rolled up together into one black, white and gold bundle.
“Penny for them?” Inara asked, walking up the ramp.
He looked up at her and smiled. “Thought you’d be over before now.”
“I do have some other calls on my time, Mal.”
“Yeah, but with Bethie’s broken arm and all -”
“I thought she probably had enough people fussing around her without adding to the overall mix.” She looked over the edge of the pen. “And I see I was right.”
“Hey, only one of ‘em’s my fault!” Mal exclaimed. “The other’s Jayne.”
“Jayne’s the proud father?”
Mal shook his head, grinning. “Wish I’d thought to say that,” he admitted. “Kinda looks like him, don’t you think?
Inara studied the two comatose bodies. “They’re very cute.”
“That they are.”
“And their names would be …”
“The boy’s Fiddler, while the girl’s Giselle.”
“Hey, don’t blame me. Bethany chose ‘em. I think River showed her some ballet or other a few days ago on the Cortex.”
“Well, I’m glad it makes sense to you.”
“And one of each sex. How progressive.”
“Don’t go looking at me like that. There ain’t gonna be no procreating on board.”
“So you’re extending your rule regarding shipboard romances to include pets now?”
He glared at her. “She used wiles on me.”
“Feminine wiles. If I didn’t know better, I’d think you’d been teaching her.”
“She did the eyes, and the lip trembling, and …”
Inara laughed. “Mal, most little girls are born knowing how to wrap their uncles around their little fingers.”
“Oh, well, I must be wrong then.” She looked down at the puppies again. “And where is Bethany?”
“Eating her lunch. Or probably wolfing it down right this minute.” Mal grinned. “She loves these two already.”
“How couldn’t she? Puppies are designed to elicit that particular response from everyone.”
“You mean like certain roguish, handsome Firefly captains?”
“Don’t push your luck.”
They watched the puppies sleeping for a while, then Mal cleared his throat. “Look, ‘Nara, I got a favour to ask.”
“You can say no if you like.”
“And it ain’t nothing illegal.”
“Do you want to help me or not?”
“You haven’t told me what it is yet.”
“Oh, no. Well, I -”
“Auntie ‘Nara!” Bethany ran out of the common area. “You seen my puppies?”
Inara went down elegantly onto her heels. “I have. And they are very handsome.”
“Want to play with them?”
“They’re asleep, Bethie,” Mal pointed out.
“Oh.” She leaned over the pen, her cast banging on the gate. “Sleepy.”
“Well, I’m sure they’ve had a busy morning,” Inara said, standing up. “Do you want me to sign your cast?”
Bethany looked up, grinning. “Everyone else has.”
“Then I don’t think I want to be left out.” She glanced at Mal. “Perhaps you’d walk me home later, and we can talk.”
“Couple of hours ain’t gonna make that much difference, I guess,” he admitted. “Long as you say yes.”
Bethany studied the two of them, then stared at Mal. “A surprise?” Her eyes were big as saucers.
Mal lifted her up, sitting her on his hip. “When’s your next lesson, Bethie?”
“Well, I think we’d better ask your Auntie Frey to get started on that control. Surprises are meant to be just that.”
“Won’t tell,” she promised, laying her cheek against his. “Promise.”
Mal smiled, then saw the look on Inara’s face. “See?” he said in exasperation. “Feminine wiles.”
to be continued
Sunday, May 27, 2007 4:42 AM
Sunday, May 27, 2007 6:52 AM
Sunday, May 27, 2007 2:10 PM
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