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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - HUMOR
At a recent party, several guestst and hosts were getting massages, all on one bed. So as they say..Inspired by true events. Those involved know who they are..there will be no denials..Spectacular thanks to Leiasky for the inspiration and the super-shiny beta!
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1375 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Big Damn Rub-Downs…….by BigBadJayne
Timeline..After Objects in Space and before Those Left Behind….
It had seemed like a shiny idea at the time, Mal thought bleakly, fingering the twenty-credit gold piece. But that was before, when they were all drunk.
A big job, a bigger payoff, and for once the whole crew were flush. Jayne had bought more fresh fruit, continuing a trend he’d begun after their Ariel job. This time, it was strawberries, two entire flats of them. Kaylee practically cried with delight.
Mal, in his own form of generosity, decided a trip to Boros was in order. Its bars, nightspots, and dens of iniquity would be a boon of diversion after the bleak times they had recently faced. They had landed, cleared port control, and headed for the first bar they could find. Drinks were had, laughs shared, and then Jayne had crowed out.
“Enough liquor. I’m gonna get sexed.”
The party atmosphere was clashingly obliterated. Instantly.
“Jayne!” came the chorus from Mal, Zoe, Wash and Kaylee. Inara, mercifully, was absent, having found a client. Sheppard Book merely shook his head ruefully. River and Simon sat there, the former silent, the later near apoplectic. He was about to say something but Wash held out a hand. “No, Doc, really.” He said trying to warn him off the inevitable confrontation. “It’d be just too easy.”
“The sentiment I don’t mind overmuch.” This from Mal. “But the expressin’ of said plans, not too smooth.”
Simon, however, couldn’t stop himself. “Just . . . so crude.”
Jayne glared down at the much smaller man. “Don’t see you gettin’ any play,” he drawled meanly. “’siderin’ the fact little Kaylee’s been lubed up for ya damn near five months now.” And in a preemptive move, he got up and left the table. “Prissy boy.” He muttered.
Simon swallowed thickly and stared at his hands. Kaylee looked as if someone had shot her dog. Mal rolled his eyes, and wondered how to change the subject – or at least lift the uncomfortableness that had descended like a lead weight over the table.
Mal sat there a moment, ruminating over an idea. “Fact is, Jayne’s right – in a way,” he added after everyone opened their mouths to no doubt disagree. He held up a silencing hand. “We could all use a little relaxin’.
Zoe and Wash smiled at each other. “We’re leaving.” Zoe deadpanned.
“No, now I’m not talking Jayne-type relaxation, here,” Mal said trying not to sound salacious and failing miserably. “Just something, ah, healthful.”
“Maybe a spa or something like that.” The more Mal tried to sound cool and calm, the worse he got at it.
Wash sat up, instantly interested. “Massages?” he asked helpfully.
“River, “Simon turned to his sister, the beginnings of a scowl on his face. “Get up, we’re going.” She began to do so automatically, and then sat back down. “She needs to hear.”
Came the cryptic response. “And you should relax. Too tense.”
Wash, undaunted, kept the ideas flowing. “Acupuncture?” He said, trying to stifle a rising fit of giggles. “Salt water microbe inhalation therapy?” More snickers. “High colonics?” The last suggestion brought forth a laughing fit from the pilot, then a soft hiccup.
“Husband, you are cut off.” Zoe chided easily.
“Let’s try a spa, get rub downs!” Kaylee perked up, smiling brightly. She’d tried to catch Simon’s eye, but he avoided her enthusiastic gaze.
“Kaylee,” Simon was quietly aghast when he finally looked over at her. “You’re going to-“
“Rub down, rub up, whatever.” She replied, not put off at all by Simon’s milquetoast behavior. She finished her drink. “I’m in, Cap’n.”
“Good, fine example.” Mal was amused. “Anyone else? I’m buying.”
Zoe thought a moment. “Always did want a bit of pampering. Wash?”
“Right there behind you, er, beside you, lambytoes.” Another hiccup.
Just then, Inara walked up to the table, dressed to the hilt. Her face, however, did not match the disposition of her dress. A forlorn look momentarily crossed her features.
“’Nara?” Mal asked, surprised. “Thought you had a client, or some such?”
“I did, so I thought.” Inara responded, the Companion replied ruefully. “He cancelled.”
Kaylee was immediately sympathetic. “Aw, ‘Nara, I’m so sorry.” She said going to her friend and giving her a hug of support. “You should come with us!” The mechanic rebounded, “we’re going to get rub downs. Mal’s treatin’!”
Inara was astounded. “You’re, paying for it?” she asked, not believing her ears.
Mal sat back, raised his arms, and cupped his hands behind his head. “Happy crew’s a hard workin’ crew.” He looked smug. “C’mon, ‘Nara, join in.”
“This I have to see.” She smiled.
“Right.” Mal stood up, “everyone up that’s going.” He instructed. “Sheppard, don’t expect you’ll be join’ us . ..”
Book smiled. “As a matter of fact, Captain, I will.” He stood. “And I know just the place. They have a wonderful rock garden there, perfect for all kinds of contemplation.”
Mal refused to be baited. “Shiny. All hands fall in after the Sheppard.”
The crew stood, except for Simon. “River,” He said in true commanding older brother fashion. “You are not going. Sit down.”
The look River favored her elder sibling with was one of mild annoyance. “You are such a boob.” She said. The others stopped, Kaylee taking particular interest. River continued. “She needs to go. Be a part of the crew. Needs to undergo bonding.” She looked down at Simon, placed a hand on his shoulder. “Tense.” She said, smiling at him fondly. “Needs to relax with others. Be at peace.” She paused a moment. “Or drunk.”
Kaylee threw a companionable arm around River. “Yeah, Simon, c’mon.” She teased, smiling at him. “Or is this not ‘appropriate’?”
Simon gritted his teeth. “Oh, how I hate that word.” He picked up his drink, shot the rest down in one gulp. “All right. I’m going.”
“See?” Kaylee looked at River. “He really is easy.”
“Just to keep an eye on you two. This will end badly, I just know it.”
Mal, unflustered, turned to the Sheppard. “Where to, oh leader of the sheep?”
“This way my lambs,” Book replied, all good humor. “To your fleecing.”
Twenty-eight minutes later, they stared at the front of Madame Liao’s Finest Tailor and Massage Parlor. It was by all parties agreed to be the loudest, most garishly decorated building on the street.
It was the neon. It was everywhere. Dragons in neon, Tigers, Cranes, Happy smiling geishas, all done in shades of gold, red, and green neon so bright it could have been seen from the black.
Kaylee took a shine to the place at once. “Oh yes!” she said with obvious relish, “let’s go in right now!” and up the stairs she went.
Mal looked doubtful. “Tailor?” he asked dubiously. “Nothing gorram wrong with my threads.”
“That a needle and six weeks of soaking wouldn’t fix.” Inara said evenly.
Mal shot her a look. “Ow.”
Simon stood there, appalled. “It’s so..Garish. And sleazy.”
“I’m in!” said Wash, raising a hand.
“Not too far in.” Zoe looked at her husband with a wary eye.
“Honestly, Mal,” Inara sighed, “this is your idea of, “ she swallowed. “Fun?”
Just then Kaylee re-emerged, a bobble-headed geisha doll in her hands. “Lookit, Cap’n, they got some of our shipment here, too!”
Mal looked anywhere, everywhere, but at the doll. Inara simply smiled. “Best job?”
Kaylee wasn’t finished. “They got baths, and big comfy tables, and even boys to do the rubdowns!”
The magic word had been spoken. “Baths?” Zoe and Inara asked simultaneously. In they marched. Kaylee waved River up and she joined her shipmate, the two disappearing behind the doors. Mal looked at Wash, who shrugged, palms skyward. “Guess we hafta watch over them, Captain.” They both looked at Simon, who was standing stock still with distaste. “C’mon Doctor,” Mal said with a smirk. “Conjure you’re needin’ this more than us.”
Simon couldn’t find the words to disagree, despite how he wanted to, and simply scowled at his sister as she smiled widely at him.
“Wash,” Mal said firmly “You want to give me a hand with Doctor Tam here? Seems he’s havin’ a case of the jeebees.” Both men moved back down the stairs with determined looks.
“I’m going, already!” Simon retorted, clearly unhappy with the thought of being coerced into a den of iniquity.
Book, lastly, walked up the stairs. “Madame Liao, ni hou ma?”
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
Later on, as the men folk soaked in large tubs of clean hot water, sipping from small glasses of cold sake, they began to feel rather expansive. Naturally the subject went straight to the girls.
“I’m not saying we got a shortage of beauty on my boat,” Mal said, a warm washcloth draped over his eyes. He took another sip of the rice wine. “Just that it’s all, ya understand, unobtainable.”
The men nodded in agreement, Wash piping up “If it’s my wife in question, damn straight she’s unobtun-… unob-… can’t get to her.” He slurred.
Simon, who after an hour of soaking and eight glasses of rice wine had finally begun to uncoil himself, said, “Rightly so, Wash. There’s no playing around with married women.” The slurred comment sounded far too much like he was speaking from experience.
This little insight brought an immediate reaction from the other two. Wash’s eyes widened, and Mal’s washcloth fell off his face and into the water from his head jerking up so sharply.
“Oh, a story!” Wash crowed happily, “Cap’n, can Simon tell his filthy story?”
“It’s not so filthy,” Simon demurred. “Not really, anyway.”
“Go on, Doc,” Mal was the picture of indulgence. “Let’ er rip.”
Simon recounted his story, which turned out was completely filthy.
However, unbeknownst to them, the girls were sitting only one wall away from them, hearing everything. Zoe and Inara, neither one strangers to locker room talk, exchanged a knowing smile. River looked amazed, and slightly frightened. “Mrs. Zhao?” she said incredulously.
“Ya know her?” Kaylee asked, eager for any dirt on her erstwhile paramour.
“Dr. Zhao was our dentist.” She informed them.
Kaylee’s expression changed during the tale they overheard, at first delighted to learn Simon’s past wasn’t as squeaky clean as she’d been led to believe. Her mood quickly deteriorated as she began to disbelieve his tale – his voice became louder as he recounted the event, making it far easier to hear everything through the wall that separated them. Soon, she was more than a little miffed.
“Ho-tze da pigu.” She muttered, downing her shot of rice wine. She held the glass out.
“Gimme another.” She ordered sulkily. The bath girl smiled and poured another shot. Kaylee downed it and held the glass out again. “More.”
“Mei-mei,” Inara cautioned, reaching out of her tub to place a hand on Kaylee’s arm. “You shouldn’t drink so heavily in a hot tub. It’ll-“
“Get me drunk?” Kaylee finished the sentence with a question. She shot another one down.
“Kinda the point, ‘Nara.” The mechanic replied lazily. “Wanna be reeaal relaxed for my massage boy.”
Zoe looked her over. “Any more relaxed, little one, and you’ll be paralytic.”
“Who cares?” Kaylee retorted, near a point of being truly angry. It was easy to tell why. They’d all overheard Simon’s story. He wasn’t some virginal boy afraid of a first kiss. “Ain’t never gonna get anywhere with Simon, so why worry ‘bout it?”
As if in answer, Simon finished his story, and an explosion of laughter came form the three men.
Kaylee muttered forlornly. “He ain’t no robot, if that story’s true – so why –“
River looked up at her now inebriated friend. “Afraid.”
Kaylee looked up. “Shu-mu?” She tried to sit up a bit as well, slipped back down.
“Of hurting you. Hurting me. What Captain would say.”
Kaylee briefly shook her head to try and dislodge the fuzziness. “But he likes me, right?”
“No.” River responded.
Kaylee frowned, close to a tear.
“Thinks he loves you.” The younger Tam informed her friend. “Only doesn’t know what to do about it.”
On that bit of news Kaylee instantly cheered up, and with a lopsided, blissful grin, sank under the water.
All this time, Inara sat there, forming a plan of her own. Mal wasn’t the only one with an idea of fun. “Ladies,” She said to them. “I have a proposition for you.” As she explained, Kaylee’s eyes lit up with wicked delight, while Zoe’s became hooded.
“Yes!” the mechanic replied at once and then closed her mouth, hoping the boys couldn’t hear her as well as she could hear them.
“No,” came the answer from the first mate.
“Why not, Zoe?”
“It’s silly,” the former corporal responded. “And besides, I’m not going to spy on my husband, he knows how to comport himself.”
“Zoe,” Kaylee retorted, “He’s three sheets farther ‘long than me!”
“All the same,” she replied firmly. “Good luck, but, no.”
And so Kaylee and Inara, after a few well-placed bribes, found themselves in silken robes and geisha wigs, in a room near the men’s massage rooms. The Companion vainly tried to teach the drunken mechanic some of the fine points of massage.
It was not going well at all. For one thing, Kaylee was so fixated on the idea of Simon being naked that she could scarcely think of anything else. That, and she wasn’t paying attention to Inara’s instruction at all, made for a trying time of it.
“You rub like this, circles, see Kaylee?. Kaylee, mei-mei, pay attention..if he thinks you’re a fake he’ll call the Madame.”
Kaylee was standing there, a dreamy half-smile on her face, mentally picturing her Simon, naked on a table in front of her. “Don’t ya worry, “Nara,” She replied lazily.
“my hands’ll know jus’ what to do, you betcha.”
“No, sweetie,” Inara corrected, trying to calm her frustration. “ You get too carried away, and it’s all going to be spoiled.” She held her hands up. “Like this, please?”
Kaylee sulked. “Awright, ‘Nara, jus’ his back, I get it.”
Inara smiled patiently. “Good. Now, he’ll go in first, I’ve had that arraigned. Then you go in and turn down the lights. If he asks why, just say this..”
A few moments later, Inara peered out the door they were hiding behind. “All right, now.” She said.
The boys, having toweled off, had been shown to their rooms.
As Simon lay there, nervous still but losing it quickly as the sake took effect, he thought back to River’s earlier words. “Tense.” She had said flatly. “Need to relax.” He tried to relax - about a great many things. Kaylee, being the foremost one, aside from his constant worry over River’s treatment and their continuing run from the authorities. He tried to banish it from his mind, found it easier to do so as the door opened and a geisha stepped in, dimming the lights immediately.
“What are you doing?” Simon was instantly suspicious. “Why are you lowering the lights?”
Kaylee moved to the prep table, her normally steady, sure walk a tad thrown by the amount of alcohol she’d consumed recently.
Ain’t all I’m gonna consume,she thought wickedly.
She tried her best to loose her accent and responded in Chinese, “Not to worry, good sir. Only to relax you. Bright lights make tense clients.” She struggled to contain her giggles behind the towel she was holding, and saw that Simon did indeed lower himself back down to the table, easing himself somewhat. Mentally she was beaming at the sight of so much Simon right in front of her. It was better than she’d imagined. And she’d imagined quite a lot.
“What’s, ahem, what is your pleasure, good sir?” She’d let her drawl come out, caught it in mid stride.
“Well,” Simon answered, trying for nonchalance, “Everyone says I need to relax. So, relax me, I guess.” He smiled goofily, through the euphoric haze of cold sake and hot bath water.
“Yes, sir!” came Kaylee’s enthusiastic reply.
Mal lay their waiting, wondering where his girl was. Just then the door opened, and a geisha walked in. “’Bout time,” Mal remarked quietly.
“I’m so very sorry,” the geisha replied. “I needed fresher towels.”
The Chinese was flawless, impeccable. “That accent’s beautiful.” Mal paid out the compliment. “Core bred, are ya?”
“Oh, no sir,” came the demure reply, “But my instructor was, thank you.”
Mal raised his head and craned it back to get a better look at her, only to have her gently but insistently turn his head back into the pillow. “Relax, please. I’ll be starting now.”
He lay there a moment, then tensed suddenly as the heated massage oil was poured lightly on his shoulders, the sandalwood and patchouli-scented oil filling the room with its aroma. “Hmm, that’s..nice.” Mal said, relaxing almost at once. He felt her hands begin at his shoulders.
“Is this good?” she asked.
“Yeah, but a little harder. I won’t break none.” He replied, a drunken smile crossing his lips as her hands moved over his skin.
Inara smiled to herself. So far, so good
And it was good, good to touch him and feel his hard but not over-powering strength. The feel of him under her fingers was a silent thrill for Inara, a closeness she’d secretly longed for. Longed, it seemed, for ages. Now, finally under cover of night and disguise, she could fulfill that temptation, if only a small taste of it, at least. She reached up to his neck, pressed a little firmer, and heard a soft pop under her hands. “Yes?” she asked.
“Yes,” Mal replied dreamily, “Oh, yeah.” He let go completely and trusted her, and Inara could feel the tenseness begin to wane at once. She worked him, trying to please without overtly causing arousal, lest he turn suddenly, in passion, and the moment be spoiled. She began to make concentric circles down his spine. Slowly, but surely. Then, she got to the towel around Mal’s waist and hesitated. “There a problem?” he asked, slight amusement in his voice.
“No sir, not at all.” Inara replied. In for a credit, she mused, and reaching down, took the edge of the towel and lowered it halfway down his backside, exposing the top of his well-rounded cheeks. “For someone who does this all the time,” he noticed. “You’re a mite nervous.”
Oh really, nervous am I? she thought icily. She removed the towel, leaving the Captain fully naked on the table. Despite the scars from fights and wars, it was worth a second look. She took it. Then, a evil grin on her face, she picked up the bottle of unheated oil, and poured it liberally over his ass.
“Wuh de ma!” Mal exclaimed, as the cold oil invaded his nethers.
“Oh! I’m so very sorry, sir.” She said, hiding a grin. She poured the warm oil. “Is this better?”
“Enough lubrication, just get on and rub!”
Fighting back her laughter, Inara sprung the trap. “Sir!” she acted the outraged employee.
“This is a respectable establishment. Are you suggesting-?”
“No! No, not that at all!” Mal panicked, now on the defensive. He held a hand up. Don’t mean that. Just keep doin’ what you were doin’, darlin’”
“I must ask you not to speak to me in that manner, sir.” She replied huffily. “I am a professional.”
“My fault.” Mal apologized.
Meanwhile, things were going just about as smoothly for Kaylee. She’d begun rubbing Simon’s shoulders, trying vainly to remember what Inara had coached her on, only to loose most of it due to inebriation and sheer nervousness. She’d never been this close to Simon before, certainly not like this anyway. And his being completely naked save for a towel was almost impossible to resist.
However, once she’d actually begun, after a few moments, Simon became so relaxed from drink and the sensation that, to Kaylee’s chagrin, he’d fallen not into passion with her but into, rather, sleep.
“Sir?” Kaylee touched him gently on the arm, trying to wake him and keep her disposition cheerful. She tapped his shoulder, still in geisha mode. “Sir?” she said, a trifle louder.
Simon Tam’s response was to stir once, turn to his side, and begin lightly – snoring.
It was too much for Kaylee to take. “Simon.” She said, louder still this time. She poked him on the chest. “Wake up.” She poked him again, but he flailed an arm at his disturber and opened his eyes briefly. “Ya know..,” he said drunkenly, pointing at her but unable to focus. “I know some’ um who’d relly, relly look beau-ti-fool in that.” He smiled lazily, and even drunk, Kaylee couldn’t be too mad. He was adorable – even drunk. Especially drunk. “Then ‘gain,” he continued, “She’d look good in nothin’, I mean anythin’ too.” And with that, he rolled onto his back and passed out, stone cold. This time, no amount of prodding would rouse him. He was well and truly out.
And so, Kaylee noticed with glee, was his towel. It had fallen to the floor.
Simon Tam lay there, completely, gloriously, nude.
Kaylee looked slyly at the door, then went and locked it. This was a one time only opportunity, not to be missed. She looked him over, and like what she saw.
More than strawberries.
She looked at the rise and fall of his chest and he slept, noting the way his chest muscles clenched and unclenched, his sparse hair centered down the middle of his chest, saw his shoulders, thinking it funny how he seemed so slight with clothes on, solid with them off.
His arms were coiled, the muscles clearly defined, wiry, but not frail. His stomach tight and defined, but not so that he looked as if all he did was exercise and nothing more.
Though what he did do when not treating River or one of the other crew or try to speak and wind up annoying her was still a mystery. She pushed that thought aside, concentrating on his chest again, looking farther down, past where the brief, curly hairs encircled his navel. Farther still, and smiled in quiet surprise. He was, as she used to say, healthy. Rather much so. It was somewhat surprising just how healthy he was, but it lay there, for all her eyes to see, and there was no denying it. Simon Tam was built to please. If only she could find that pleasing time with him, instead of only her imagination.
Lest her excitement override common sense, she refocused her eyes, noting his strong legs and finely turned calves. Even his feet were pretty. Toes straight. It was all she could do to not jump on top of him, but she managed. Then she saw his face. His peaceful, sleeping face. And the trouble really began for her.
His eyes, closed in restful slumber, sat under his brow, which for once, was not furrowed with concern or annoyance. Dark eyelashes rested against his cheeks. He looked, in fact, almost angelic. His nose straight, and then his lips. So inviting, his lips.
She looked around again, a sure sign of nervousness. But there was no helping it. She’d often wondered about those lips, how they would feel against her own. To have his passion for her meet hers for him and to have their lips collide, parted slightly or open fully. It didn’t matter, she was sure it would be paradise no matter what. All she wanted was a single, selfish moment.
It wasn’t so wrong to want that, was it? To have that moment where lives were not at stake and River was fine and cared for, where a man and a woman could express their desires fully, without crude snickers or overprotective Captains.
A single kiss. Just that. Not so bad to want that. Right?
Kaylee wanted that moment more right now than any other thing in the ‘Verse she could think of. A hundred horses couldn’t have pulled her away. To feel those soft, pretty lips.
She would dare it. Would not be stopped. It was only a kiss, that was all she wanted, but she would not be denied it.
Bending down, she moistened her own lips, holding onto her geisha wig, lest something fall from it and strike Simon. It seemed dishonest, to steal this kiss, but drink and desire had put her past all notions of propriety.
Closer, lil’ closer, she thought, trying to contain her excitement. Just a bit more, careful Kaylee, bit more, then, oh, yes, Simon.
Her lips met his, brushing them gently at first, to gauge his response, then firmer as she found no resistance. Her first touch of them tingled, but then she felt them fully, so soft, so warm, a faint taste of the sake still lingered. But oh how sui sung chung those lips were on hers. She parted her mouth even more, eyes fluttering back into her head and closing with delight.
She let it linger still, fireworks going off behind her eyes as she kissed, and opened his mouth slightly with her own. The barest tip of her tongue ran over his lips once, then she closed his mouth back with hers and put a hand to his face. Just a little longer, she pleaded mentally, Don’t wake yet, Simon, oh wu de ma . .
Simon stirred briefly, feeling the pressure on his mouth. Warm, not hostile, but unfamiliar. What the . . ., his drink addled brain tried to rouse itself, am I dreaming?
Kaylee stopped herself leaned up quickly as Simon’s hand reached up, tried to stroke her hair but caught the wig instead. He got through one stroke and she managed to snake herself out of his reach, and got the hell out of the room, shutting the door loudly behind her.
As the door slammed shut and Simon sat bolt upright, felt something slick on his lips and rubbed them hurriedly, fearing he’d been given the infamous good night kiss. After a few tense moments, he was still alert, or at least not drugged, and he stared at the back of his hand.
It was a bright Chinese crimson.
He had been kissed, but not to rob. But who?
Then, and only then, did he realize his towel was missing. And there was a wig on the floor.
“Somebody here?” he asked to no one in particular. Where were his clothes again?
He saw a closet door, got off the table and went to it.
Sitting in the center of one of the ‘Verses’ most beautiful Zen rock gardens, Sheppard Book was surprised to see a half naked Kaylee, wearing a geisha robe, racing across the hallway back to the girls rooms, the look on her face one of giddy conquest mixed with fright.
“Girl’s gonna get herself caught up in one fine mess one day.” He smiled ruefully, looking on with a paternal humor. As she opened the door to the girls’ baths, Kaylee exclaimed, “I did it, Zoe! I did it!...Zoe, where are ya?” and the door slammed shut.
Mal was groaning openly in undisguised pleasure.
Inara stood at the foot of the table, working on his calves. Hands traveling down to his ankles, then finally to his feet and she turned the heat on for his benefit. He lay there making so much noise Inara was sure the Madame would come in, thinking it an indecent act. “Sir, Shhhsh!” she cautioned. “My Madame will come!”
Mal was uncaring. “You, my Spring Flower, are gonna get one hell of a tip!” he remarked conspiratorially, and despite herself, Inara smiled.
“Spring Flower thanks Autumn gentleman for his great praise, but now, you should rest.”
And with a final flourish, Inara stopped, eliciting a groan of disapproval from the Captain. Now for the test, she conspired to herself. “Is there, oh,” she said, pausing for effect, “anything else I can do for you?”
Mal’s head rose from the table. “Sweetheart, with those hands, there’s a whole hell of a lot of something, but thank you, no.” He sat up, wrapping the towel around his waist again, and Inara was forced to turn quickly to avoid being seen. She moved to the pitcher and wash basin, making a great show of cleaning her hands of the oils. Mal kept talking.
“Made a mistake like that not too long ago, hurt someone in the process.” He looked sad for a moment. “Won’t be making a mistake like that again.”
Inara’s head went up. Nandi, she realized, He’s remembering Nandi. “This someone, a loved one, or a lover?” she asked struggling to keep her voice neutral. No, Inara, you cannot cry now. You will not. She struggled still. Not here.
“No,” Mal replied, even sadder, “Conjure she wont ever have the likes of me.” He replied, his voice calm, but wane, reflective.
He reached into his boot, and pulled out a twenty-credit gold piece, placing it on the table. “For the attention,” he said, for once grateful for the easing of a woman’s touch, that it didn’t end in a fight or bloodshed. “Which, I might add, was damn fine.”
Inara didn’t turn, could not, for the Captain would not see just the deception.
He’d see the tear running down the side of her face. He wasn’t referring to her. He means me. Oh Merciful Buddha, he means me. But some acknowledgement had to be made. She bowed low, so low he could not see her. “Thank you, most generous sir.”
She managed. “Good night.”
“’Night.” Mal replied cheerily, taking his boots and leaving the room.
She heard the door open, then close. Now , she was alone. She wiped the single tear from her face, bittersweet at the loss of a friend, that sadness replaced by a wan glimmer of hope for them.
A short while later, back in the lobby, the crew met up again. Dressed for the most part. Mal was buckling his gun belt back on, and Wash was trying vainly to explain to Zoe how he’d not only not asked for a happy ending to his massage, he didn’t even remember how he’d lost his towel in the first place. She stood there, fuming, while Inara tried to placate her, pointing out quietly that if she’d only went along with the plan it wouldn’t have happened in the first place.
Kaylee was standing there, touching her lips, a slight smile on her face. Book walked over, cast a bemused eye on her. “Interesting night?”
“Fine night, Sheppard.” Kaylee agreed, not too certain what he was on about.
“Should be careful, my dear.” He warned, “dressed liked that again in that much flight, you might catch your death of cold.”
“Ah, yessir, Sheppard. Gotcha.” A blush crept along her cheeks.
Simon was trying to find his clothes still, but was dressed in what had to be the most outrageously embroidered pink silk kimono anyone had ever seen, his mouth still bearing faint traces of the lipstick. River stood there, smiling at her brother’s obvious discomfort, while he argued with Madame Liao as to where his clothes were, and that they did not need tailoring.
Wash was still trying to placate Zoe. “I didn’t ask, honey. Honest.”
“You just remember that, next time you’re thinking about all that sex you’re not gonna be having for the next six months.”
Mal was faintly amused. “ Zoe, ease off.” He said, trying to help his pilot. “I put her up to it, as a joke, right after I left my room.”
“You see?” Wash said instantly. “I’m victim here of a nefarious practical-joking Captain”
Zoe eyed Mal suspiciously, not believing a word of it. “Uh-huh.”
“So, how’d yours go, Doc?” Mal asked sprightly.
“I’m not too sure about that, Captain.” Simon answered, holding his head, the beginnings of a hangover clearly on the horizon. He rubbed the back of his neck absently. “I believe I fell asleep. But when I woke up, my towel was gone, and my clothes were missing.”
“Not ta mentionin’ you bein’ all prettied-up an’ like.” Jayne said archly, coming into the lobby just then. “Thought ‘point of these places is that the girls are the ones all gussied ‘bout.” He stood there, a mussed, but obviously satisfied, look about him.
“Yeah, Simon,” Wash observed, happy to have the attention in the room deflected off him. “What’s with the lip color?”
“I think I was kissed.” He said sheepishly. “I’m not sure.”
“I wonder how that happened?” Inara remarked to herself, casting an accusatory but slightly amused glance over at Kaylee, who only two feet away heard her completely. The winsome mechanic looked skyward, and said nothing. Then, a moment later, she put an angry look on her face and rounded on Simon. “You don’t know how you got some jien huo’s lip junk on your mouth, serves you right for getting so drunk in the first place.
Cheatin’ chwen joo.” And she stormed off.
Jayne crowed with laughter.
“See Doc,” he said with relish, “dressin’ like a woman don’t get you one either.”
River, nonchalantly, presented Simon with a largish, wrapped box. “Belated birthday present.” She informed him.
He opened the lid, and his face instantly was one of dismay. In the box were his clothes, neatly pressed.
And a geisha wig.
“For lonely nights.” River said with quiet aplomb. Then skipped out of the Parlor.
He began to head out after her, but was corned by Madame Liao. “Hey!” she said sternly “You pay for robe and wig first, then run out!”
“River!” Simon yelled, “Get back here!” the others were too busy laughing to assist.
Kaylee met River outside, both in fits of laughter. “Best idea we ever had,” Kaylee giggled, highly proud and amused, “He’ll think twice ‘bout drinkin’ like that and telling stories from now on.”
River looked oddly at Kaylee a moment, the crew coming out just then, Simon having gotten his clothes back on.
“Of course Simon’s healthy.” River remarked with a smirk.
Doctor Tam stared suspiciously at the ship’s mechanic.
Later, back on Serenity, Mal clambered down into his bunk, relaxed and happy, still a bit buzzed. He shrugged his suspenders off, got ready for what promised to be the best night of snoozin’ he’d gotten in a good long while. Then he saw it, on his bunk.
A gold piece. The twenty-credit gold piece. And a note.
The calligraphy precise, practiced, near-perfect in rendition.
‘Spring Flower sends her compliments to Autumn Gentleman.’ It read.
Mal looked at the gold piece, then the letter, again. Then once more, open mouthed in wonder. He slipped the gold piece back into his pocket.
“Nah.” He said to himself. “Couldna been.”
Wu de ma- Mother of God
How sui sung chung- Wondrous happy moment-paraphrased.
Chwen Joo-Retarded Pig
Monday, November 12, 2007 7:26 PM
Monday, November 12, 2007 8:21 PM
Monday, November 12, 2007 8:23 PM
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Tuesday, November 13, 2007 3:24 AM
Tuesday, November 13, 2007 9:55 AM
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Saturday, November 17, 2007 7:42 PM
Tuesday, December 25, 2007 10:46 PM
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