Fightin' Dirty
Wednesday, July 9, 2003

Mal never had a chance. Rating's there for a couple non kid-friendly words.


I’m not Joss, please don’t sue me.

Ok, I know I said y’all were gonna get the longer fic first, but that one’s still undergoing renovations. Here’s a silly little ficlet I came up with awhile back. Please tell me what ya think, and enjoy!

Fightin’ Dirty __ She caught him just outside of the common area.

Rusty, winding pipes with fading green vines painted on them snaked from the ceiling and twisted into the wall behind her, disappearing into the innards of the boat. Something clicked and whirred in the floor vent on her left, and she smiled at him.

All normal. He saw her everyday; saw these pipes and heard the engine thrumming. It was all perfectly normal… but it wasn’t. Something about the way she was looking at him.

“Hey there, little Kaylee,” he greeted.

“Hey, cap’n,” she said, still smiling. Normal.

He stepped past her, and she stayed where she was, but watched as he started down the hall.

“Wash says we’re gonna set down in ‘bout an hour.”

Reynolds hesitated, and turned to face her. She was still staring at him like that. “That somehow a bad thing?”

She leaned against the bulkhead in front of him, and her tone was indifferent, almost as if she was casually reminding him of a past conversation. “She’s runnin’ dry.”

That was it. That was why she was looking at him like that. He knew what she was about to say, having heard it from her almost every time they refueled the ship. He had a reply all mapped out.

“Mid-grade cells, Kaylee. Same stuff we always get.”

She finally stopped with the look. Kaylee cocked her head to one side and regarded him with hopeful eyes in the dimly lit hallway. “Oh, come on, captain. You never buy the chroma blend; we can’t try it just this once?” she asked, now sounding far from indifferent.

She was still smiling.

Rut. He couldn’t say no to her, not now. If he denied her request for that high-dollar fuel she was always begging him for, she would stop smiling.

And that would screw up his whole gorram day.

He tried it indirectly, stepping up so he was less than three feet from her and could better get his point across if he was closer to her than his original position: “You feel like eatin’ next month? ‘Cause I certainly plan on it, and that go se you want’s too damn expensive. I let you buy it and we’re all drawin’ straws to see who on this boat gets to sacrifice themselves to feed the rest of us.”

“I got a thing off the Cortex last night,” she told him the instant he got out the “s” in “us.” Her smile didn’t waver. “Says the chroma blend’s half-off if we fill up ‘fore noon… cheaper’n the plain fuel.”

Mal sighed as if he had better things to do than stand here and argue fuel cells with her. Places to go, people to see, when in fact he had been on his way to the galley for a fill-up of his own. But that wasn’t the point; he was the captain, Serenity was his boat, and if he said they were going to buy cheap fuel cells for the rest of eternity then gorramit that’s exactly what was going to happen. He had to make her understand.

“That stuff’s too rich. Probably blow Serenity’s ass right off the second we start her engines up.” He moved to go, trying to tell her that the discussion was over without actually saying so.

Kaylee snorted; his attempt hadn’t worked. “The blend’s light enough that we could use it to run the Mule without causin’ no harm, plus it’s so clean-burnin’ it’ll flush all the carbon junk outta the steamer… I just wanna see if she does better, that’s all.”

In the metal all around them, the engines moaned softly as if the ship itself was agreeing with her.

Reynolds called off the retreat and stood his ground. He didn’t say anything, instead fixing her with one of his hard looks that oftentimes was enough to cow his entire crew, her included, into avoiding eye contact and send them scurrying for safety.

It failed miserably.

She still looked him right in the eye, and her smile only grew. “If it don’t do Serenity no good, I won’t bring it up ever again. We can keep buyin’ the mid-grade and you can say you told me so.”

She’s winning. She knows she’s winning. Tell her no. Put your damn foot down and leave it at that; regular cells get us around just fine, always have. Ain’t gonna be discounts on this blended go se all the time.


Mal realized his silence was rapidly contributing to his downfall; he had been giving Kaylee the upper hand all this time and hadn’t even been aware.

You can lead an army into certain death, withstand hours of torture, and keep this crew alive during the most impossible situations. Yet you are rendered completely powerless when Kaywinnit Lee Frye confronts you with a smile and a pair of pleading eyes, his inner voice chastised.

She looked up at him expectantly, almost confidently.

Tell her no, you pussy.


Kaylee’s smile shattered into a million pieces, crumbling into haphazard ruin on her sweet face.

You rutting asshole. Look what you did.

Mal sighed. He was the one to look away, his stern expression gone.

“Oh, but captain…” She started, her tone imploring, and he looked at her once again.

Mal knew what was coming; he could tell by the light in her eyes and the lean of her pout. And there was nothing he could do to stop it. Best to stand firm and take it like a man.

Kaylee broke out the big guns. Leveled a heartbreakingly innocent expression directly at him and fired away.

“For me?”

Mal’s resolve buckled like the knees of an overworked horse before it completely vanished, no doubt disappearing into the vents to be recycled into air fit for breathing. He was left standing at Kaylee’s mercy, vulnerable for all the ‘verse to see.

Still with the innocent look. Now it was Mal’s turn to snort.

“We refuel and we’re gone, little Kaylee,” he told her, attempting to salvage some of his ruined dignity from where it had fallen among the battered remains of his defenses. “Don’t go wanderin’ off, you hear me?”

Her smile brightened up the dark hallway, practically giving life to the painted pipe vines. Reynolds felt it spreading to him whether he liked it or not.

Kaylee sidled towards the engine room, kissing him on the cheek as she passed. “See, cap? You’re a nice man after all.”

Mal watched her go, and shook his head, giving in to the smile. “That was downright unfair.”



Wednesday, July 9, 2003 8:27 PM


<<<<Very good Issy. I'm lovin the whole Kaylee/Mal brother/sister relationship. It's perfect.>>>>

was done by me. I don't know why this site will not keep me logged in when I come to the blue sun room. SHEESH!

Anyhoo, great fic Boo!

Thursday, July 10, 2003 5:50 AM


Yay! This is just *perfect* vintage Kaylee. Mal didn't stand a chance!

Thursday, July 10, 2003 7:05 AM


Shiny! I like the engine techy stuff at the beginning. Your Kaylee voice is just great.

Thursday, July 10, 2003 6:26 PM


Loved this. Great view of Mal and the relationship he has with Kaylee. Especially loved these lines:

You can lead an army into certain death, withstand hours of torture, and keep this crew alive during the most impossible situations. Yet you are rendered completely powerless when Kaywinnit Lee Frye confronts you with a smile and a pair of pleading eyes, his inner voice chastised.

Keep it up.

Saturday, July 12, 2003 3:21 PM


How you *do* put a smile on my face!

Loved how you described everything seeming normal but not, loved the mechanical bent of the conversation, so fitting for Kaylee, love how Mal's downfall sneaks up on him unawares, and I love that Mal loves it all in the end.

Kaylee knows what's best for Serenity better than Mal does. Nice little bit of the true 'verse in that.

Excellent mood, excellent voices and writing. Well done and smiles all around!


Tuesday, July 29, 2003 3:12 PM


I loved this to itty bitty pieces. The whole Kaylee/Mal dynamic is wonderful and you have captured it effortlessly. It was priceless seeing Kaylee deconstruct the Captain's intention to decide what should or should not be the fuel they ran on. And you can tell that he knows she is right even at the start, it's just an attempt to hang on to his pride that is failing him. So loved this. But then, just like Kaylee, I love my Captain... Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Monday, December 15, 2003 3:27 PM


I really love the feel of this one, and Mal's internal dialogue, please keep writing

Tuesday, June 15, 2004 5:12 AM


Poor Mal... Never had a gorram chance...


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