Payin' Up: The Game
Friday, December 16, 2005

By popular demand: How Simon ended up the prize in a poker game.


Tons of dialogue in here, since any card game involving Jayne and Mal is gonna be chock full of insults.


"Now, Mal, you know I'm the best poker player we got out here. I done cleaned out the bank at New Reno that one time, iff'n you recall."

"You ROBBED the bank, Jayne. There's a slight difference, I'm thinkin'." Mal poured them both another drink. They'd been at it for a while now, and the galley was starting to look fuzzy around the edges. Might soon be time to head off to bed, but it wasn't getting worrisome quite yet.

Jayne slammed his shot before answering. "Aw, hell. I can still beat anybody on this boat at cards, an' you know it. You, Zoe, even the gorram mind readin' witch. Nothin' gets past a Cobb." Jayne was a two-stage drunk: at first he was snuggly and companionable, but he soon got past that and became obnoxious and grabby - well, more obnoxious and grabby than usual, anyway. The last time he got to stage two, Zoe had to lock him in the storage closet so he'd stop bothering Inara. He looked well on his way to a repeat performance tonight.

Mal was saved from having to retort, as River's psychic powers apparently extended to picking up on drunken challenges. She swooped in from the cargo bay stairs, squinting at Jayne appraisingly. "There are millions of permutations in a 52 card deck, each with varying probabilities." She sighed at him, obviously sympathetic. "You simply don't possess the mental capacity for counting cards, Jayne."

Mal snickered behind his hand and threw back another shot. "Right creepifyin' on the timing there, albatross. But I do believe you have a point."

"You callin' me stupid, girl? Gorramit, we'll prove this right here!" Jayne reached for his pocket. Mal's eyes widened in horror.

"Oh no! You keep them pants buttoned up proper, Jayne Cobb!," Mal roared, flinging an accusing finger at him. Like hell Mal was gonna fall for that "just gettin' a deck o' cards" trick again. Couldn't sleep right for a week after that last time.

Jayne managed to looked slightly hurt. He pulled out a deck of cards and motioned for River to take a seat at the table. "Wouldn't do such a thing with youngins in the room, Mal."

"Didn't stop you none with Kaylee."

"'Cause I ain't a youngin', Cap'n. Ain't that right, Simon?" Kaylee ambled in from the aft hallway, Simon a few feet behind.

"Uh, no. You're very mature and capable, Kaylee." Simon blushed furiously at being put on the spot.

"Damn right I am. We playin' cards? I got some chores to give away." Kaylee pulled up a chair in the circle gathering at the end of the table. "I got dishes all this week, an' it chaps my hands. Can't be havin' that." She reached up to pat Simon's face suggestively and grinned when he sputtered for a few moments. Jayne and Mal laughed and took the opportunity for another drink. "You gonna play, Simon?" Kaylee patted the chair next to her.

"I'll sit this one out. I always end up losing for some reason." Simon knew he couldn't bluff to save his life, and had his fill of picking up everyone else's duties. Instead, he regarded Mal with a doctor's eye, mentally timing how long they had until the Captain passed out cold and spilled the booze.

"'Cause you couldn't sell water in the desert, Doc. Tells are too plain to see." He gestured expansively with the bottle of liquor. Simon caught his hand mid-arc, relieving the Captain of the expensive liquid before he dropped it. Grabbing another mug from the kitchen, Simon pulled up the chair Kaylee had offered and poured himself a drink.

"He's got ya there, Doc. Now shut yer traps, I'm dealin'." Jayne made a half-assed attempt at shuffling the cards, but somehow the bridge went all wonky, and he ended up spraying the entire deck in a pile on the floor. Mal snorted his approval. Simon rewarded both of them with a shot, as well as one more for himself.

"52 pick-up! It was always Simon's favorite!" With an excited bounce, River leapt out of her chair and collected all the cards as fast as she could. Grinning hugely, she presented the now assembled deck to Kaylee for the deal.

"Huh," Kaylee grunted, examining the deck in her hands, "she got it all arranged in order an' everything. Weird." Mal, Jayne and Simon all agreed that this was indeed weird, and availed themselves of a shot of booze to think on it while Kaylee shuffled.

"OK. Game is five card draw, nothin' wild, an' no mind readin'. Ante up, folks." All the players threw a chore into the pot. She expertly flipped the cards around the table, giving River a final "no cheating" glare. She put the deck down and grabbed her own hand. Two pair already. Not bad, but she might as well try for the full house.

"Wooo! I got me five jacks!" Jayne was thrilled at having such a good hand. The fact that said hand could not possibly exist didn't faze him in the least. "I done got you ladies whupped right here. Y'all wanna fold now, or just wanna take my chores offa me the hard way?" He leered across the table. "Or the even harder way?"

River glanced at Kaylee. Kaylee glanced at River. They both rolled their eyes. Simon, heroically ignoring Jayne's crude advance on his sister, simply poured Jayne another shot. Jayne nodded his thanks to the doctor - a sure sign he was drunk, thanking the doc - and gunned it down. Simon toasted Jayne back, before likewise taking another drink.

"What y'all gonna bet? I'm throwin' in dishes." Kaylee placed her marker in the center of the table.

"Cookin' for me." Mal laid his bet.

"Laundry. Ain't goin' near Mal's drawers again."

"I'll bet with Simon's chores. Cooking for him, too." Simon had a brief pang at the thought of his sister betting on his behalf, but after four shots in the space of 15 minutes, he couldn't really be bothered to object.

"New cards. Cap'n, what ya want?"


"I meant cards. But 'Nara's good, too." Kaylee giggled at her captain.

"Oh." Mal studied his cards with exaggerated care. "I'll take five."

"You already have five, Cap'n. You can only ask for three 'less you have an ace."

"Yeah, but I wanna different five. These five're makin' fun o' my hair." Mal scowled at his cards, daring them to mock him again. "Hundans. 'Specially this fella here, with the knife pointed at his head all cheery like. You tryin' to tell me somethin', buddy?"

"Here, Captain, I think you need a drink to calm you down." Simon refilled Mal's cup. Mal considered the offer for a moment, before deciding that it was OK to have another swig. Simon was a doctor, after all. You always did what the doctor suggested. Live longer that way.

"Thanks, Doc. Right kind of ya, lookin' out for us all the time. Kaylee, gimme three." Mal grabbed three cards from his hand and tossed them in Kaylee's direction - or he assumed it was in her direction, since it was getting right hard to focus on things. She gave him three fresh cards in return.

"Jayne? Your turn." Kaylee was trying to keep the game moving. It was obvious that Mal and Jayne were on borrowed time.

"I done told you, I got five jacks. I'm gonna win, an y'all are" Jayne attempted another leer at the girls, but didn't quite manage to get the expression set on his face before his eyes rolled up and he landed flat on the table.

"Hmmm. I guess Jayne folds. River?" Kaylee was obviously no stranger to Jayne passing out in the middle of a card game.

"One for me, please." River daintily handed Kaylee a card and took one from the draw pile.

"An' two for the dealer." Kaylee traded in her cards and looked to Mal. "'K, Cap'n. You got the first bet. Cap'n? Oh. Simon, can you make sure the Cap'n ain't dead?"

While River and Kaylee were working their hands, Mal had quietly slid off his chair and was now curled up under the table. Simon carefully set down the liquor bottle and myopically peered at the floor. "He looks like he's breathing. He'll be fine." Simon sat up straight and rewarded his hard work with another shot.

"Well then, River, guess it's up to us to settle this." Kaylee looked at the younger Tam. "Your bet, and no cheatin'."

"I bet Simon's laundry."

"Dishes again."

"Sweeping the cargo bay."


"Septic Vac."

"More dishes."


Kaylee cocked her head. "Simon ain't a chore, sweetie."

"You obviously didn't live with him most of your life." River giggled. "But I'm out of chores, so I bet my brother. Whichever one of us wins gets his undivided attention for a whole day."

Kaylee's smile turned from questioning to downright predatory. "You mean if I win, I get Simon all to myself for a whole day, an' he can't complain?" River nodded. "Shiny, but we'd better ask him first. Simon?"

While the girls wre working out their deal, Simon had leaned back in his chair, and was now quietly singing to himself. At the sound of his name, he managed to get his head facing in more-or-less the right direction and cracked an eyelid. "Yes?"

"You mind if we use you as a chore?"

"Will it let me go to bed soon?"

"I guarantee that if I win I'll take you to bed."

"Carry on, then." Simon was in no state to realize the trouble he had landed in. He leaned back and resumed singing.

Kaylee grinned devilishly at River. "You're on. Hell with the chores, we play for your brother." She considered a moment. "Ain't rightly fair, though. You get him every day, gamblin' or not. I gotta depend on luck."

River's eyes lit up, but she nodded seriously. "You're right. I should share. I fold." River placed her cards on the table and stood up. "I'm going to bed. I suggest Simon does the same. He looks tired." River winked at Kaylee. Kaylee winked back and moved to collect her shiny new toy.

"Let's go, Simon, time for bed." Kaylee dragged him from his chair and walked him towards the aft hallway.

"S'good booze. Strong. We gonna sleep now?"

"I might let you. Eventually."


Friday, December 16, 2005 9:06 PM


Goodness you finished this fast, lol. I loved this, I can just see Mal and Jayne getting stinkin' drunk and passing out, and Mal curled up under the table was so cute.
River is such a trickster, and Simon should know better than to drink when she and Kaylee are clearly up to no good :)
I hope there will be a slave-for-a-day fic too? *crosses fingers and jumps up and down*

Friday, December 16, 2005 9:57 PM


"He looks like he's breathing. He'll be fine."- HAHA!! Love it!

Friday, December 16, 2005 10:04 PM


I absolutely loved this!

Mal and Jayne drunk has t be the funniest thing in fanfic. Might have inspired me some.

But this was truly great writing, so thankyou for sharing this with us.


Saturday, December 17, 2005 2:54 AM


This is easliy one of the best fics so far here. I am not a huge fan of fanfic in general (especially if it's off canon) but this one is brilliant. I love your writing style and timing. That would be an 11 if there was one.

"OK. Game is five card draw, nothin' wild, an' no mind readin'" - that reminded me of the legendary last scene of Star Trek: TNG where Picard ended the series with his words: "Game is five card stud, nothing wild, and the sky is the limit". Just a small observation.

Saturday, December 17, 2005 7:19 AM


"Looks like he's breathing." Hee! That's some good doctorin' from Mr. Top Three Percent right there. Hi-larious fic.

Now then, how about the slave for a day fic? That's right, we ain't gonna stop nagging you till we get it. And we want details, too ;)

Saturday, December 17, 2005 7:24 AM


Made my day! You write "drunk" really well and very much in character. I love Mal's accidental "Inara" comment.

Saturday, December 17, 2005 11:25 AM


heres another vote for the 'slave for a day' fic. I would love to read it!!!!!

Saturday, December 17, 2005 1:34 PM


Hah An actual laugh out loud and hope no one's walking by your cubicle fan- fic. Good work.

Sunday, December 18, 2005 7:24 AM


i wanted to quote, but that would involve copying the entire thing into this teeny tiny box and that would be stupid


Sunday, December 18, 2005 7:24 AM


and no, i'm NOT drunk...they are

Monday, December 19, 2005 2:07 AM


I like where this going.

Monday, December 19, 2005 4:18 PM


ROFL now that was a LOT of fun! Thanks for sharing.

Monday, December 19, 2005 4:19 PM


Oh I want to add, I LOVE the part (I know it's not much but it's GREAT) where Simon rewards himself for the hard work of checking that Mal isn't dead under the table lol.

Monday, December 19, 2005 7:38 PM


This was really a lot of fun. You did a great job with the character dialogue so much that I could see and hear the scene play out in my mind as I read.

I loves me a good fanfic. My only regret is that I won't get to see these made into episodes for the series!

Maybe a set of radio plays?

Friday, February 17, 2006 10:36 AM


"You tryin' to tell me somethin', buddy?"
Oh Mal...
What a great idea...I love how beautifully you write the comedy mixed with the compromising situations and the promise for romance...
You are a master of the craft!

Saturday, February 18, 2006 8:57 PM


Way better than the first

The last one annoyed me because it didn't point out that River wouldn't read their minds. I loved how River just wants Kaylee to have Simon for a day. Thats sweet.

Tuesday, October 3, 2006 11:38 AM


>Kaylee cocked her head. "Simon ain't a chore, sweetie."

"You obviously didn't live with him most of your life." River giggled. "But I'm out of chores, so I bet my brother. Whichever one of us wins gets his undivided attention for a whole day."

ROTFL! Oh, great lines!

>"I guarantee that if I win I'll take you to bed."

Oh yes, definitely want to see just what happens in that hour between them waking up and landing to go shopping. . .

Monday, November 6, 2006 2:18 PM


This was so funny I was giggling like a school girl. Mal's response about what he wanted being Inara had me rolling and then all of the stuff between Simon and the men and then Kaylee and River was just priceless!

I too would like to see that sequel, even though I knows it's been a while. Come on, we've all waited long enough!

Thursday, January 11, 2007 12:09 AM


Just found this, and wanted to add my comments that this is fantastic, and I just love the image of Mal, drunk, under the table ... so sweet!


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