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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
This is a collection of short scenes in the family life of Master Adam Reynolds of Serenity. Warning: Wall-to-wall fluff ahead. Enter at your own risk.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 573 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
“We won’t be gone long, ai ren,” River said, standing on the tips of her toes to kiss Mal’s cheek and the soft thatch of sandy hair on top of Adam’s head.
“Wish I could go with you,” Mal whispered. “You might recollect I’m partial to sharing a tub with you.”
River smiled, a slight flush spreading across her face and chest at the memory of the last real bath they had shared together. “I remember,” she said, her eyes promising that such a pleasure would be repeated some day. “But it’s a ladies-only bath house, and I’m afraid you might stand out a bit.”
She turned to join Kaylee and Inara at the ramp. “I could always wear my cotton dress and pretty floral bonnet,” Mal called out to her retreating form.
“Maybe later,” came the reply as the three women made their way to the local bath house.
“Well, little fella, guess you’re stuck with me for awhile,” Mal said, re-adjusting Adam’s position against his shoulder. He figured everything was well under control, as their latest job had gone smoothly, Zoe had restocked supplies for a decent price, River had left two bottles of expressed milk for Adam, and the baby himself seemed to be in a fine humor.
But twenty minutes later, Mal found himself in a dilemma. Adam looked decidedly less cheerful. Smelling the source of the problem, Mal went down into his bunk to retrieve one of the diapers River kept neatly stacked by the crib. Moving into the common area, he laid Adam down on the couch there. Figuring it couldn’t be that hard to change a diaper, Mal at first was not concerned. He quickly unpinned the soiled diaper and cleaned Adam thoroughly. Ain’t as easy as it looks, he thought, as Adam began pumping his plump little legs and spreading the offending material all over the couch.
But finally, Mal managed to clean the baby and everything else within arm’s reach. Now, to put on the new one, he thought. Easy peasy. He unfolded the soft cloth and discovered it was nothing but a square. He eyed it thoughtfully, trying to picture how a square could be put onto Adam’s bottom in the same shape as the one he’d taken off so hastily. Thinking that maybehaps he should have studied that first one a mite better, he was relieved to see Zoe passing through the common area. Suddenly pleased beyond reason that his first mate had decided to forego the temptation of the bath house in favor of staying with Anya, Mal called her over.
Explaining the problem, he looked up at her hopefully. She raised one eyebrow and asked, “And how exactly would I have come by this knowledge of diaper-changing techniques you seem to expect me to have, sir?”
Mal gazed at her solemnly. “Well, you know, bein’ a woman-type person and all…”
“I don’t believe that diaper-changing know-how is genetically encoded, sir,” she said dryly. “But I think you’d best be figurin’ it out quick-like, if you don’t want to have to scrub the couch again.” And letting Adam grasp her finger and pull for a minute, she smiled at the baby. “Isn’t that right, little one?” she cooed. Adam grinned toothlessly in reply.
Mal watched Zoe, practically whistling a happy tune, go. Turning back to the task at hand, he began to try several different methods of folding, each one less effective than the last. The task was made no simpler by Adam’s enthusiastic kicks and wiggles. Feeling a blue streak of cursing coming on, Mal sat back on his haunches and tried to breathe deeply.
“What ya’ doin’ lettin’ the little squirt lay on the couch all bare-assed, Mal?” Jayne said, coming into the lounge to retrieve a deck of cards. “Don’t you know he’s like as not to piss on it?”
“Thought had crossed my mind, Jayne,” Mal said wearily.
Something in his tone made Jayne survey the situation more closely. Grinning widely, he said, “Aw hell, Mal, you ain’t got the slightest notion how to put that diaper on, have you?”
Mal’s patience was at a low ebb. “I suppose you do?” he asked sarcastically.
Jayne was on his knees beside the couch immediately, his hands working just as surely as they did when he cleaned Vera. Faster than Mal could even begin to follow, Jayne held Adam up, securely covered by the neatly folded diaper. Mal sat, open-mouthed.
“Want I should show you again?” Jayne asked.
“How was the baby today?” River asked, floating gracefully around their bunk in the new dress Inara and Kaylee had persuaded her to buy on their excursion into town.
“Very energetic,” Mal replied wearily, pleased to see her looking so well-rested and relaxed.
“Must be why he’s sleeping so soundly now,” River mused, looking into the crib just to check again. She turned and walked the short distance to Mal. Wrapping her arms around his midsection, she asked, “Do you like the dress?”
Mal breathed in the clean, sweet scent of her. “I like it very much,” he said, running his hands lightly down the dip of her spine over the thin material.
She shivered at the contact. They’d had very little time since Adam’s birth to be together alone, and Adam seemed to have an uncanny knack for ruining their more intimate endeavors. And though she had harbored big plans for the evening, River could feel how truly tired her husband was, without even using her unique abilities.
Mal, however, was beginning to revive somewhat with River’s curves pressed so enticingly against his body. “Think I’d like it better if it was off your back and on the floor just now, though,” he murmured against her neck, as his lips brushed the spot just under her jaw that he knew did all manner of pleasing things to his wife. Feeling her pulse quicken under his lips, he smiled lazily as he found the fastenings of the dress and unwrapped River like the gift she was.
Praying to every deity she knew that just for this night, Adam would sleep through a standard sleep cycle, River began to plant soft kisses along Mal’s jaw line as well. When she heard his soft sigh, she whispered, “Sure you’ve got enough energy for this, ai ren?”
Pulling her more closely against him so that she could feel just how energetic he had become, he answered, “Think maybehaps I do.” And as he kissed her breathless, she had to agree.
Mal stood in the marketplace, scowling threateningly at the vendor while River did the actual bartering. Though she did as well as could reasonably be expected, Mal’s pockets were uncomfortably light as they made their way back to the ship with the crate of fresh fruits and vegetables.
It had long been Mal’s habit to purchase fresh foodstuffs as he could afford them for the crew, knowing that satisfied bellies led to happier and more productive work. But admittedly, it was a luxury he could ill afford.
However, Simon had recently pulled him aside to discuss the nutritional needs of Serenity’s two smallest inhabitants. While River’s milk had been sufficient until now, Simon explained that as Adam continued to grow, he needed solid food of good quality to supplement his diet. And Anya, who was also growing by leaps and bounds, had a similar need. So, Mal found himself scraping for extra coin to accommodate those needs.
Putting the foodstuffs in storage, he wondered how Adam would even eat the food, being as how his teeth were just two little nubs under his gums at this point.
Anya had no such problems. Blue eyes shining with delight, she had already availed herself of two apples and a half of a banana, munching happily as she ran around the ship. Seeing her obvious joy, Mal felt a stab of regret that she’d ever had to do without.
He turned his attention back to his wife and son. River had taken the other half of Anya’s banana and mashed it into a truly disgusting lump of pulp. Using the tiny silver spoon that had been part of Inara’s gift to Adam at birth, she held the mush up to his pursed little lips.
The baby’s blue eyes, so like his father’s, gazed at her with suspicion, and he clamped his lips tightly together. River wiggled the spoon a little. “Open up, baby mine,” she said calmly, smiling encouragingly. Adam turned his head abruptly away, spreading a thin line of banana goo across his cheek in the process. River scraped it gently back onto the spoon, not willing to waste even a little of the precious fruit.
Mal leaned, arms crossed and hip against the counter, watching the battle of wills as River persisted and Adam steadfastly refused to comply. He could see River’s frustration mounting by the tense line of her shoulders, but he was reluctant to intervene for two reasons. First, he was mildly interested to see which of them would prove to be the most stubborn, as they both seemed to have a healthy dose of that quality. And second, he was not at all certain his intervention would change the outcome one little bit.
Finally, practically vibrating with irritation, River handed Mal the spoon. “You do it.”
Mal sat down, eyeing his opponent for weakness. Adam gazed at him expectantly, very aware of the spoon in Daddy’s hand. Setting the spoon down, Mal grinned suddenly and made a silly face. Adam laughed, his little mouth falling open involuntarily. With quick-draw reflexes, Mal scooped up a lump of goo with an index finger and deposited it squarely on Adam’s tongue.
Adam’s mouth snapped shut in surprise, and Mal waited for the inevitable rejection to occur. But, Adam rolled the mush around in his mouth, fascinated by the taste and texture, and with a large smack of his lips, swallowed it down and opened his mouth for more.
“That’s cheating,” River accused.
Mal grinned and put another spoonful of banana into the baby’s mouth. “Any port in a storm, darlin’. Any port in a storm.”
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