Saturday, March 18, 2006

Unpredictability may be the spice of life, but it tends to give Simon indigestion.


Title: Unpredictable Author: Ana Sedai Rating: PG Character(s): Mal, River, Simon, Kaylee Prompt: 100 - Fire Word Count: 1,000 (Whew! Just made it.) A/N: 13/100 for Joss100. Feedback is God. I give burnt offerings to it on a daily basis.

Summary: Unpredictability may be the spice of life, but it tends to give Simon indigestion.


“Captain, are you insane? Have you forgotten what happened the last time you took her out on a job?”

“Why, yes I do, Doctor. As I seem to recall, she saved our collective asses from Reavers. Am I missin’ something?”

“Just the part where she almost got killed!”

“Look, Doc, I appreciate your concern, but in case you’ve forgotten, River’s able to tell when we’re gettin’ cheated and the like, and Badger ain’t ever been what you’d call on the ‘up-and-up’ with us. Zoë and I’ll have four guns between us, and River’s more’n able to take care of her own self in a situation, should it come to that. Final word is that she’s ready, she’s comin’, and that’s that!”

By this time, Mal and Simon were toe-to-toe, glaring at each other, with their faces about two inches apart. Kaylee, attracted from the kitchen by the shouting, took one look at the testosterone tornado brewin’ in the cargo bay and decided to jump in before one (or both) of her two favorite men ended up with a bloody nose. Again.

She marched into the bay.

“Simon, Cap’n, shouldn’t River should make up her own mind about this? I mean, she is eighteen ‘n all. She’s not so crazy anymore. She’s grown up now.”

Both men’s heads swiveled towards her simultaneously. It was funny, actually. Simon looked annoyed that she wasn’t squarely on his side. Mal just looked annoyed that she’d interrupted him mid-rant. He opened his mouth, then promptly shut it as he got a strange expression on his face, like he’d figured something out that he hadn’t considered before.

Kaylee wasn’t blind. River and the Captain had been spendin’ a considerable amount of time in each other’s company lately, as in friendly-like time. Personally, she was thrilled for them. They seemed comfortable around each other, happy. Cap’n even smiled on occasion. For that reason alone, Kaylee would’ve thought that River and Mal together was a good thing. But River had changed for the better too. She was calmer, content, and more lucid than she’d ever been.

They still seemed a bit awkward together. Well, the Captain, more’n River. He must’ve still thought of her as too young or too vulnerable or somethin’. Kaylee could’ve snorted at that idea. River was tougher’n all of them, ‘cept maybe the Captain or Zoë. Gettin’ Simon to accept that was proving hard enough, but changing the Cap’n’s mind about anything was like pushing a twisted gear back into place with a pair of tweezers. But the reminder that River was, in fact, a legal adult must’ve given him somethin’ to chew on. Good.

Didn’t mean he’d tolerate anyone puttin’ forth contributions on how to run the ship, though. She waited for the inevitable dressing-down, and hoped Simon would hold his peace for once.

But before Mal could lecture them, again, on his policy regarding interference in command decisions, the subject of their little debate leaned over the upper railing and made her own views clear.

“Based on unpredictable and volatile experiences with the twitchy one and the amusement he attained previously, I calculate an 82.5 percent chance he will attempt to deceive if the girl is not present, and only a 46.2 percent chance he will if I am.”

Mal sent a quizzical look up at her.

“What ‘amusement’ you talkin’ ‘bout, River? When did Badger…”

He broke off when he recalled that slimy little weasel had sat on his boat for a good 14 hours while he’d been doing his best to avoid imitatin’ a shish-kabob. 14 hours. His eyes narrowed.

“Did that hun dan try anythin’, River? I swear, if he did…”

Kaylee broke in.

“No, Cap’n, he didn’t try anything. Actually, River kinda perplexed him some. She started talkin’ all funny like he did. He seemed to think she was from his home planet or somethin’.”

She giggled a little.

“I think he got a bit of a crush on her, to tell you the truth. He tipped his hat to her and everything. It was kinda cute.”

Simon looked like he was ready to choke on his tongue, and Mal felt a slow burn start boiling in his blood.

“S’that so?” His tone was deceptively serene. River knew better, and sent a haughty glare his way.

“Not handsome enough to tempt me. Thoughts were too mean, as well. It felt nice to be thought of that way, though. Like a woman, not a crazy girl, able to make up my own mind.”

Both Mal and Simon looked sheepish at that. River descended the stairs and grasped Simon’s hand.

“Have to let me go, Simon. I want to go. I’m needed. I can see and hear for myself now. Keep everyone safe. I sound the alarm before the fire rages. Playing with fire is fun if you know how not to get burned.”

She gave him an affectionate little smile.

“Don’t need your permission, Simon, would like to have your blessing, though.”

Simon looked at her for a second and sighed.

“River, I know you’re an adult. I know you can make your own decisions. But I’m still your brother. I’ll always worry, especially when you’re around someone like…Badger.”

He made a face that stated quite clearly just what he thought of the man.

She smiled and squeezed his hand in gratitude, then turned to Mal. “Permission to come along, Captain?”

His mouth gave a wry twist at the familiar phrasing.

“Y’know, you ain’t quite right.”

Her eyes danced.

“It’s the popular theory.”

He straightened up and told her to be ready in a half-hour, then walked off to discuss logistics with Zoë.

Kaylee looked up at Simon and saw he was still trying to digest just what he’d agreed to.

“Aw, come on Simon. Nothing bad’s gonna happen. Cap’n can take care of her fine.”

Simon glanced down and Kaylee realized she wasn’t the only one who’d noticed somethin’ between River and Mal.

“That’s what I’m afraid of.”


Saturday, March 18, 2006 9:56 AM


So far, I really like this. You've got Simon/Mal and Simon/River down perfect. Next installment, please!

Sunday, March 19, 2006 6:57 AM


Loved this. I am particularly liking River coming into her own, making her own decisions and ensuring that Simon knows she has that right. Makes her all kinds of empowered I'm thinking and I love the way she and the Captain are in sych. So amused that Kaylee has been seeing what Simon is now realising. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Monday, March 20, 2006 12:02 PM


Thank you all for your very kind comments.

Wanmei, I'm glad you noticed the P&P line in there. That's one of my favorite books! :)

I intend to keep on writing these as long as there is an to post 'em in. So have no fear, but I don't know if I'll ever be able to write faster than I am now. Studying is an absolute b*tch. :(

Sunday, May 28, 2006 5:07 AM


aww, sweet that simon and mal are both worrying about badger's intentions



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