Pairing/Characters: Wash/Zoe, Mal&Kaylee
Spoilers: "War Stories," "Out of Gas." No spoilers for Serenity.
Summary: Remembering beginnings. For settiai who wanted memories, kisses, light banter, and cuddling, either Wash/Zoe or Cordelia/Doyle, in inlovewithnight's Fluffython. I finally settled on Wash/Zoe, but couldn't get it quite written right until I shifted the focus a little. Those who know me probably won't be surprised.
Listen to me read this story!
Je me souviens
“Do you remember?”
“I remember, dear.”
“This here’ll be your bunk. Oh, and one last thing—you might have got this job on your back, but you ain’t gonna be keeping it that way. Dong ma?”
Kaywinnit Lee Frye, newly hired ship’s engineer, nodded. “No shipboard romances. Understood. Only—Captain Reynolds?”
“You don’t have to call me Captain Reynolds all the time. There ain’t no other captains around on my boat. Just ‘Captain’ should be fine.”
“All right,” Kaylee answered. “But—Captain?”
“What about them two?” Kaylee gestured toward the cockpit.
Mal arched his brow. “What two?”
“The two you introduced me to. The first mate and the pilot,” Kaylee explained.
“What about them?”
“Well, you just said no shipboard romances, and—” She trailed off.
Mal just stared at her dumbfounded for a moment, then burst into laughter. “You think Zoe—with Wash‽”
Kaylee waited for a beat, then asked, “You’re not very good at reading women, are you Captain?”
“What? That has nothing to do with—I’m good at reading Zoe,” Mal insisted. “Hell, we can be across from each other at a town market and all she’d have to do would be raise an eyebrow and I’d know that she wanted me to buy broccoli.”
“Eyebrow means broccoli?”
Mal suddenly looked flustered. “It’s not the eyebrow, it’s how she’d raise it. And broccoli was just an example. You learn to pick up on how someone else thinks when you fight alongside them, to anticipate their actions. You can’t do that, you die.”
“And Zoe did a lot of romancin’ during the war?”
“Well, no, when you put it that way, but—if my first mate and my pilot were doing any romancing, I’d know about it, okay?”
“If you say so, Captain,” Kaylee said, and opened the door to her bunk and slipped into her new quarters.
Mal just stared at the space where she had been standing for a couple of minutes before giving a short laugh. “Zoe and Wash. That’s a good one.”
“Now, you know, this new mechanic girl we’ve picked up, she’s gotten into her head the strangest notion that—”
Mal looked for the first time at what was actually going on on his bridge and promptly stopped in his tracks. “And apparently she was right. Smart girl we got. Never mind then.”
He made his way away from the bridge as quickly as he could.
Wash pulled his face away from that of the beautiful woman in his arms. “Did he ever run that fast when he was in the war?” he asked.
“Not a once,” Zoe answered.
“Come on, Kaylee, you know you want to say it.”
Kaylee looked at Mal from across the kitchen table, a mischievous smile on her face. “Say what, Captain?”
“Say that you told me so.”
She shrugged. “Don’t need to say it.”
“Yeah, but if you say it, then you’re the one being childish and I don’t have to feel so stupid.”
“Oh.” Kaylee blinked, then promptly said, “I told you so.”
Mal nodded. “You gorram did. And I didn’t see it. Taikong suoyou de xingqiu saijin wo de pigu.” Mal let loose a breath slowly, then continued, “I’m just gonna have to set them down and explain to them all quiet and logic-like that shipboard romances complicate matters and that we just can’t have that on my ship.”
Kaylee looked skeptical. “You really think that’s gonna work, Captain?”
“I’m the captain.”
“And there ain’t no one disputing that,” Kaylee agreed. “But you going to order them not to be in love?”
Mal looked unsure. “If I have to.”
Kaylee laughed, then got up and walked around the table until she stood behind Mal. “You just tell me how that goes, Captain,” she said, gave a quick kiss to his temple, then exited the kitchen.
Mal looked miserable the next time he ran into Kaylee.
“Didn’t work, Captain?” she asked, ever rutting cheerful.
“This is my ship,” he answered. “I’m the captain. You’d think people would do what I say.”
“I do what you say,” Kaylee pointed out.
“That’s just because you haven’t been onboard long enough to disobey me,” Mal pointed out. “You’ll turn against me soon enough.”
“Oh, come on, Captain,” Kaylee said. “Don’t you have any sense of romance?”
“None,” Mal answered with a straight face. “I had to space it one time when the feds were at our heels; it was slowing us down."
“I’m serious,” Kaylee insisted. “One day a woman is going to enter your life and just sweep you off your feet.”
“I don’t need any women in my life ‘cept Serenity, little Kaylee,” Mal answered. “I’m happy with my feet firmly on her floors.”
Kaylee nodded. “She is certainly something, isn’t she? I replaced the catalytic coupler this afternoon and I think I should be able to get us 120% of the distance we’ve been getting for the same amount of fuel.”
Mal stood up, looked awkwardly at Kaylee. "You do a good job. Keep it up."
Kaylee just smiled. “Thank you, Captain.”
“I remember, dear.”
Wash held his wife in his arms, and they both looked up at the stars, at their home. “I love you, Zoe.”
“And I you.”