DISCLAIMER: Firefly/Serenity is the property of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is a different take on 'Our Mrs Reynolds'. An AU version of that ep, if you will. As such, it contains the same storyline and some of the same dialogue.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
With the captain out of commission, she made her way quickly to the bridge. Upon entering she was somewhat startled to see nothing but a pair of legs sticking out from under the control panel. She had expected to find the dopey pilot, instead it was the young mechanic. No matter, she was flexible. She quickly forced her eyes to well up and dipped her head, covering her mouth with her hand.
Kaylee sat up, wiping her hands on a rag and smiling widely. The smile faded quickly.
"Oh, Saffron hey now you alright? The cap'n didn't upset ya again, did he?"
She said nothing, but allowed a muffled sob to escape. Kaylee immediately got to her feet, approaching without hesitation and wrapping her arms around the crying woman. Saffron smiled, this one was going to be easy. Kaylee drew back and tried to get a look at Saffron's face.
"What'd he say? You shouldn't pay heed to him, he's kinda a lug sometimes but he means well."
Saffron shrugged and shook her head.
"He's a very noble man. But he doesn't want me. I can understand it. Why would he want me when there are so many beautiful women on his ship already?"
Kaylee laughed, surprised.
"Oh honey, he don't want none of us! He's well, that'd be like doin' stuff with my brother and I ain't from one a those kinda planets!"
Saffron looked down at the ground.
"But he is a worldly man. I know nothing much of anything. I wouldn't be able to please him. He has been with women before and I I "
"Oh oh right. Well uh, there ain't all that much to it. You got some parts that are pretty much built to fit together. Feels nice too, most a the time anyways."
Saffron kept her head bowed and looked up at Kaylee, her eyes still wet with tears.
"Perhaps if someone could show me. Someone gentle, so that I might please him more."
Her eyes drifted to Kaylee's lips, her own lips parted and moist. Kaylee took a step back, removing her hands from Saffron's body and holding them up, almost in surrender.
"Right uh, listen that'd be I mean, you're real pretty I'm sure it'd be well, kinda weird, but nice and all. It's just that I can't cuz I'm well, I've got someone that'd be right upset if I started goin' around kissin' other people."
Saffron quickly looked at the ground again, willing the blood to move to her cheeks in a display of embarrassment.
"Oh, I'm truly sorry. Of course, you and the doctor. I should have realised. I apologise for my forwardness."
Kaylee's laugh tickled her ears and she glanced up, surprised at the reaction.
"Simon? Dear Lord, it ain't Simon. That boy is more clueless than you about where his parts oughta be goin'!"
Saffron was furious at herself for misreading the situation, but she couldn't allow that to show. She kept her eyes on Kaylee, adopting a curious expression.
"Again, I'm sorry for being so forthright but if I might ask who "
Kaylee looked at Saffron for a long time, wondering if she should continue the conversation. Finally she decided that the poor girl needed some understanding of the situation on board Serenity. She moved closer to the poor waif and lowered her voice to a whisper.
"OK, well this ain't exactly common knowledge, but Inara and me we're well, she'd be the one who wouldn't be pleased if I was to kiss you."
The surprise sapped all of the meekness and pretence out of Saffron's voice. Kaylee looked at her strangely, the change in tone throwing her. Again, she stepped back from Saffron.
"Yeah. Look, I got stuff to tend to down in the engine room. Maybe you oughta talk to somebody else about this. The shepherd's a real good listener."
Saffron realised her mistake quickly and knew that Kaylee was suspicious. She really had no other choice. She lunged forward, grabbing Kaylee's arms and forcing her back against the wall. When Kaylee's mouth opened in protest, Saffron leaned in and crushed their lips together. Kaylee squirmed against her hold and tried in vain to break the kiss but Saffron held on until she felt the girl weaken. She pulled away, leaving Kaylee leaning heavily against the wall. Kaylee's eyes drooped and she slid down until she was prone on the floor.
Saffron took hold of the unconscious girl's hands and dragged her off the bridge and dumped her unceremoniously at the top of the stairs. Looking down at the innocent young face, Saffron sighed.
"Goes to show, you never can tell."
Inara stepped out of the second shuttle, confused as to why the cortex wasn't responding. She almost collided with Saffron who appeared to be in a hurry. The new Mrs Reynolds turned away abruptly, averting her gaze from Inara's.
"Are you lost?"
"I'm sorry I thought the other shuttle was yours."
"It is, I was on the cortex and my screen shorted. This one's out too."
"Looking for customers?"
Inara prickled slightly at the question.
"What were you looking for?"
"I don't mean to be rude a companion's life is so glamorous and strange I wish I had the skill for such a trade "
"You'd like to please your new husband."
Inara spat the word out, disgusted at the fact she had to say it at all.
"Oh, he wants none a me. It doesn't please him to look at me. I'm not beautiful, not like you."
Inara's intense and irrational dislike of the woman made her want to agree, but she relented and gave the required response.
"You're very pretty."
Saffron shifted uncomfortably and looked up at Inara from under her eyelashes.
"That's what Kaylee said. She tried to show me how I should be, with a man. But I'm not sure I could ever bring myself to do those things. I wouldn't be good at them."
Saffron had trouble suppressing her smile as she saw Inara's mask crack for a second before falling firmly back into place.
"You were with Kaylee?"
The enquiry almost sounded disinterested. Almost.
"She's a lovely girl. Kind hearted, taking the time to help me out. Not many would take an inexperienced girl like me to their bed and lie with me."
Inara's eyes hardened and she smiled coldly.
"No, I don't suppose they would. And I know that Kaylee didn't. So how about we stop the lying right now?"
Saffron raised an eyebrow, no sign left of her earlier shy and retiring persona.
Again, a crack appeared in the perfection as shock fleeted across Inara's features. She had no time to respond before Saffron's fist was heading towards her face. She held up her arms to block the blow, ducking down to avoid a high kick and landing on her knees. Saffron ran to the second shuttle and went inside. Inara hurriedly got to her feet. She knew Kaylee had been planning to do some work on the bridge so she headed there, her heart thundering in her chest.
Upon reaching the bridge, Inara sighted Kaylee's body sprawled out at the top of the stairs.
The words was meant to be a shout but came out no louder than a whisper. Her legs felt shaky and unstable as they carried her, on instinct more than conscious thought, to where Kaylee was lying. She fell to her knees upon reaching the top of the stairs, her shaking hand going to Kaylee's neck.
A few interminable seconds passed before she finally located a strong, steady pulse. She released a breath she could remember taking.
"Run-tse duh fwo-tzoo."
She swept some hair off Kaylee's forehead and leaned down, pressing her lips against Kaylee's, their warmth further reassuring her. She heard footsteps at the end of the corridor, she pulled away and stood.
"Get the doctor, Kaylee's hurt!"
Someone yelled an answer but she couldn't quite make it out as her head was starting to feel strangely heavy. She swayed slightly and leaned on the railing for support. A strange taste pricked her tongue and she licked her lips. The flavour was familiar to her. She'd been warned about it in training, when learning about women of ill-repute and unscrupulous clients. The 'goodnight kiss'.
Her heart sank as the fog fell over her eyes.
"No Kaylee you didn't "
No more words came before the darkness claimed her and she collapsed, landing on top of Kaylee.
The first thing Kaylee became aware of was the sharp smell of the infirmary. She had never really been keen on it. She was more used to dirt and grime than disinfectant and cleanliness. But since her shooting incident she had really hated it. Sometimes she couldn't even stand to be near Simon if he'd been fixing someone up because he smelled too much like the infirmary. So the smell didn't really inspire her to open her eyes.
The second thing she was aware of was the sound of voices. Voices arguing. Specifically the captain's voice. He seemed to be arguing with everyone. Some stuff about narcotics and kissing and taking advantage.
Shepherd Book's authoritative voice finally broke through the mugginess in her head.
"My apologies. You were victimized, as apparently was Kaylee, whom Inara found."
"And then I fell. My head got hurt."
Inara was hurt? Her voice sounded funny. Kaylee tried to open her eyes but they wouldn't co-operate. The talk continued all around her.
"I don't get any of this."
"I only fell is all!"
Inara never spoke that way. Ever. She must be seriously hurt. Kaylee forced her eyes to open, blinking under the harsh white light of the infirmary.
"Hey, look who's back."
Wash loomed into view over her. Then Simon was there with a flashlight, pulling her eyelids up. She turned to see the captain in a similar state to herself.
"She kiss you too, cap'n?"
That sentence had sounded different in her head. She quickly looked around to gauge the reaction in the room. The captain looked strangely intrigued. Wash and Zoe looked amused. The Shepherd looked surprised. Simon looked embarrassed. Jayne was, thankfully, nowhere in sight. And Inara, well, Inara looked pissed off. And sort of drunk. She was propped up on a bed, her back against the wall, legs dangling.
Mal dragged his gaze away from Kaylee, shaking his head slowly.
"I don't understand any a this. But we best get up to the bridge and see if Jayne got that door open yet."
People started moving out of the room. Kaylee pulled herself into a sitting position, her head was still spinning a little.
"I don't need to be examined. I'm comfy."
Kaylee turned to see Simon backing away from Inara and heading out of the door, casting a final confused glance at both of them. Kaylee looked over at Inara, who was taking great interest in the ceiling.
"So what happened to you?"
"Like I said, I fell."
Inara had not yet met her eyes.
"Uh huh. Seems mighty silly not ta let Simon look at your head if it got hurt, like you said."
"I'm fine. It was just a bump."
"Look, 'Nara, if she kissed you, you can say. I won't be mad."
Inara's eyes suddenly locked on Kaylee's.
"You won't be mad? Well, that's very big of you. Considering you're freely admitting to kissing her, in a roomful of people no less."
"I didn't say I kissed her. I said she kissed me."
Kaylee got to her feet and unsteadily made her way over to where Inara was sitting, clambering up beside her and resting her head on her shoulder. Inara made no move in response.
"She tried ta get me to kiss her. Was comin' on pretty strong for a shy girl too. Then when I tried ta leave she grabbed me and kissed me. An' that's all I remember."
Inara remained silent. After a moment, an arm came up and encircled Kaylee's shoulders. Kaylee smiled.
"Now, did you really fall?"
"Did she kiss you?"
"So what happened?"
"I kissed you."
Kaylee's smile grew wider.
"You shoulda said that when everybody else was here."
"Mal's head would have exploded."
"We should go up and see what's happening."
Kaylee sighed, her body still wasn't keen on excessive movement. She turned slightly so that her nose was against Inara's cheek.
"So, you think it's safe yet?"
"Is what safe yet?"
Kaylee's fingers touched Inara's chin, turning her head around so that their lips could meet in a soft kiss. When they parted, they both waited a few seconds before deciding that they weren't about to slip into unconsciousness again.
"I think we're safe now."
"Even if we ain't. We can always just say you fell off the bed or somethin'."
Inara grinned and pulled Kaylee to her, kissing her deeply. This time, a cough pulled them apart. They turned in unison to see Simon standing in the doorway.
"I uh Kaylee the captain asked me to see if you were OK to come up and help Wash look at the circuitry. Saffron appears to have meddled with it somehow."
Kaylee jumped off the bed.
"Right, sure, I'll head up right now. I'm feelin' much better."
She brushed past Simon and out of the infirmary, leaving Inara and Simon to look at each other, awkwardly. Inara broke the silence.
"Uh I fell?"
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