Disclaimer: I don't own either canon.
Author's Note: I *really* wanted to start a new Firefly fic, but wouldn't let myself until I updated at least one of the other two. As per usual, I hit my "chapter 6 block," so any encouragement, suggestions, etc are most welcome.
"Kaylee," Simon said, sounding incredibly relieved that she'd made it out of the horror that was Teenage Girl Land unscathed.
Kaylee grinned. She loved hearing Simon saying her name like that- like she was all important to him and what have you. It made her feel all melty inside and all...well, not-exactly-melty in places that the Cap'n preferred she not mention. Ever.
"You sound surprised to see me," Kaylee said, leaving the word 'alive' off the end of that sentence and trying not to laugh, because as ridiculous as Simon's reaction to her emerging from the girls' room was, she didn't want to say anything that would make him think she makin' fun. So what if he was terrified of a trio of teenage girls and counted himself lucky that she'd survived them? Kaylee's girl parts were a-buzzin', and when it came right down to it, she bowed to their greater wisdom on things such as these.
"Are River and the girls...okay?" Simon asked.
Kaylee gave a little sigh. First he was glad she'd escaped from the Lair of Teenagerdom in one piece, and now he was going to go back to worrying about River.
Sorry, girl parts, Kaylee thought morosely. That's just the way he is.
"They're fine, Simon. River... it's like she's happy
, like she has friends."
Simon gave Kaylee an odd look. "I thought you were River's friend."
"I am," Kaylee said, not wanting to make him mad, but compelled to tell the truth anyway. "It's just...they don't seem to mind River bein' River. Not that I mind," the mechanic said quickly, "I love River, but it's like they don't even notice she's... you know...ummmm...River."
Kaylee hated the way her words were coming out all wrong. At this rate, her girl parts would stay lonely forever.
Mal made it back to his quarters, but not before passing by the doc and Kaylee in the hallway and giving the two of them a suspicious sideways glance, because Kaylee had that look on her face that reminded Mal that his honorary mei-mei wasn't exactly a little girl and that the first time he'd met her, she'd been "playing nice" with another mechanic in Serenity's engine room.
Mal quickly tried to get that mental image out of his mind, but unfortunately, the first thing that popped up to replace it was the thought that now, his ship really did have three little girls on it. Teenagers. What in the gorram hell was he supposed to do with teenage girls on his ship? It was one thing with River. She was... special. A bit odd, to be sure, and even he would admit that she wasn't quite right in the head, but she was River, and over the course of the past few months, the girl had become crew.
And though he never would have admitted it out loud, to Malcolm Reynolds, "crew" meant "family."
That was exactly why he was gettin' all manner of displeased feelings at the idea that two teenage girls literally falling out of the sky and onto Serenity. Mal knew himself well enough to know that he couldn't leave two defenseless teens to the mercies of the 'verse, but if they stayed, and they grew on him...
He did not
want this arrangement to go making itself permanent. He wasn't a gorram baby-sitter, and his boat wasn't a playground for teenyboppers of the female persuasion.
!" Mal cursed fluently underneath his breath. Dawn and Claire had only been on Serenity for a couple of hours, and already, here he was, thinking words like "teenybopper."
This. Was. Completely. Unacceptable.
He was roguish. Callous at times, but never without honor. Nowhere in his psychological makeup was there anything to suggest that a thought like that one should have ever crossed his mind.
As he slammed into his own room, Mal caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror, and as he took in his own scowl, he couldn't help but wonder if maybe the suspenders did make him look a mite bit... how had Dawn phrased it...weird
Rogue though he was, in that moment, the stormy expression that came over Mal's face as he considered his trademark suspenders could only have been described as a pout.
"No," Dawn said quickly. "You have to look more pathetic. Like this." She demonstrated making her eyes really big and sad.
"You can bit your lip if you want," Claire said. "Or let it tremble just a bit. That always used to get to my dad, back when... you know... I had one."
For the briefest instant, something dark flew over Claire's face, but she pushed it back and concentrated on the task at hand. Moments after they'd convened the first meeting of the Somebody Tried to Cut Out and/or Eat My Brains Club, Claire and Dawn had discovered that while River was a prodigy at many things, wheedling wasn't one of them. And while a puppy dog eyes and a pouty face had never been known to persuade an adversary against cutting out brains left and right, Dawn and Claire insisted that it was a useful technique, and so, they'd begun River's lessons.
Lesson One: how to use big, sad little girl eyes to get what you want.
"Logical reasoning," River mumbled. "Piece of the puzzle. Make them see. Disarm them if they don't."
Dawn shook her head firmly. "You can logically reason somebody out the wazoo, and they'll still tell you no, but the puppy dog eyes have a much higher success rate."
"Didn't always work for you," River grumbled.
"Unfortunately," Dawn said, "they work better on guys than girls, and Buffy is...was... all, you know, female and stuff. Mom, too. It worked better on Willow and Tara, but Xander and Spike were the easiest." For a brief second, Dawn thought of the people she'd left behind, but thinking of Buffy and her mother was enough to keep her from wanting to return to a world where too much had been sacrificed so that she might live. It hurt too much to think of Buffy, and the Scoobies had always, always been hers, never Dawn's.
"Luckily," Claire said, "there seem to be plenty of guys on this ship. If we combine our pouting forces, we'll be unstoppable."
Part of Claire didn't believe that. After all, the Haitian had been completely immune to anything resembling a pout, and Claire hadn't even had the chance to try it on Nathan or Peter or anyone else in her biological family. Still, she'd been a girl long before she'd been a freak of nature, and all of her experience in wheedling told her that the men of Serenity were far more vulnerable to this particular kind of manipulation than anyone back home had been.
"Bigger eyes. Sadder lips. There!" Dawn clapped her hands. "That's perfect, River."
River smiled. This "pouting" was quite intriguing, even if its projected efficiency was significantly less than either reasoned arguments or physical force.
"Okay," Dawn said, moving on to her own area of expertise. "Now that you've got the pout down, we're ready to move on to the big time."
"Killing people with our brains?" River guessed.
"Disturbing," Dawn said, "but no." She smiled evilly. "Now, it's time to learn how to whine."
"Whadya think they're doin' down there?" Jayne grunted quizzically.
"Evil teenage girl spells," Wash said with faux seriousness. "There are undoubtably voodoo dolls involved."
Jayne's brow wrinkled as he tried to decipher that response, and Zoe gave Wash a look that conveyed a message somehow akin to a "please do not tease the monkeys" sign at the zoo.
"Well, wifey mine," Wash said, grinning cherubically up at Zoe's austere face. "You were once a teenage girl. What do you think they're doing down there?"
"I wasn't exactly a typical teenage girl," Zoe said. She glanced at Inara, and the companion sighed.
"By the time I was River's age," she said, "I had already begun my companion training."
Jayne's eyes glossed over a bit at that pronouncement, and Inara narrowed hers at him.
"What?" Jayne said, and when the rest of the crew continued to glare at him, he pushed his chair back from the table, and gruffly announced, "I'll be in my bunk."
And if, on the way to his bunk, he happened to pass the girls downstairs, well then so be it.
TBC.. Jayne interrupts the whining lesson and gets triple teamed by three pouting teenage girls...