Series: Slayers in Space
Disclaimer: Not mine. Both belong to Joss Whedon and Co. (I would take good care of Jayne if he gave him to me though)
Rating: PG-13 (language)
FYI: Like everything I write, this is unbetaed
“You okay lamby toes?” Wash asks as they’re getting into bed.
“Yeah.” Zoe replies, pulling him down to rest her head on his chest. “It’s just a lot to take in.”
“Yeah,” Wash agrees. “Demons, who’d of thought they were real.”
“Not talking bout that, well mostly not.” Zoe says. “I chose this life. I became a solider because I wanted to. But those two, it wasn’t a choice they made. From what Faith said, they had no choice in the matter.”
“Yeah.” Wash says.
“I was also an adult.” Zoe replies. “Faith said she was 15 when she was called or whatever, I can’t imagine…….she was just a kid. So was River. Just don’t seem right.”
Wash doesn’t say anything; there is nothing he can say. The whole situation was screwed up.
“What’s the captain going to do?” Wash asks after a few minutes.
“Faith and River.” Wash clarifies. “Slayers and the whole homicide thing.”
“Don’t right know.” Zoe answers. “Not like we can say much, we’ve killed folk, hellova lot more than 3.”
“Yeah, but I’m thinking it was different for Faith.” Wash comments. “From what they said about slayers, they’re supposed to be some kind of protectors. Don’t think they’re supposed to kill folk.”
“Mmm.” Zoe agrees. “I’m just wonderin what drove her to do it.”
“Captain won’t kick her off, will he?” Wash asks.
“I doubt it.” Zoe answers. “We owe her a lot, including you. I’ll be sure to remind him of that. Sides, River needs her, anybody can see that.”
“You noticed that too?” Zoe questions.
“Yep. Simon is completely denying the whole thing. That’s not going to go well.”
“Nope.” Zoe agrees, moving her head to look at him. “Wanna have sex?”
“Sure.” Wash replies, pulling Zoe’s mouth down to his. With a moan, she flips them over until he’s on top.
“Yep, nothing like being with a warrior women.” Wash comments as Zoe pulls his shirt off.
“And don’t you forget that.” Zoe smiles up at him before moving to take his lips again.
“Simon, what ya doin?” Kaylee questions quietly as she walks into the infirmary. Simon’s back is to her and he is standing in front of a viewer looking at what Kaylee assumes is River’s brain scan.
“Going back through the information I have on River.” Simon answers not looking away from the scan.
“Haven’t ya already gone…..” Kaylee starts to ask.
“Yes.” Simon cuts her off. “But I’m going over them again. There has to be something in here, some reason for what happened.”
“Oh.” Kaylee replies, a little hurt by his curt tone. “It’s late, I’m gonna head to bed, you comin?”
“Not right now.” Simon replies, still looking at the scan. “I’m going to look over more of her tests.”
“I can wait for ya.” Kaylee says, moving to sit down.
“No, you should just go to bed.” Simon says, finally turning around to look at her. “I’m going to be up for a while, there’s no reason for you to wait.”
“Oh, okay.” Kaylee says quietly. She walks over and gives him a small kiss, hoping he’ll deepen it. He doesn’t; after a few seconds he pulls away and turns back to the scans. She stares at him for a few seconds before whispering goodnight and going to her bunk.
Simon pauses as Kaylee leaves then looks back at the scans, trying to find something that explains what River did.
“Okay, so we fly round planet to planet, doing what exactly?” Faith asks River. They are both sitting on River’s bed, cross-legged facing each other.
“Crime.” River answers.
“Crime?” Faith repeats. “Now it’s all starting to make sense. B, well she still has too much goodness inside of her, mostly from growing up with a loving family and all. She wouldn’t like the ‘crime’ thing, not that she won’t break the law or anything, but only when it’s necessary and all. Don’t think she’d approve of crime as a way of life.”
“No, she wouldn’t.” River agrees. “She’s a lot like Inara in that way; she can see where it is something that has to be occasionally done, but not something she wants to do to make a living.”
“What’s up with Inara?” Faith questions. “Why she leaving? It ain’t cause of me, is it?”
“She was never going to stay.” River replies. “She loves this ship; but she doesn’t like they way we live. Captain doesn’t have respect for her line of work and she doesn’t respect his.”
“Oh, he doesn’t like the whole companion thing.” Faith says, understanding.
“Nope.” River agrees. “He’s not a man to share and she won’t give up her career.”
“Oh.” Faith grunts. “So, what’s the deal with Jayne?”
River stares at her for a second before replying, “Nothing, Jayne is Jayne.”
“I knew it.” Faith smirks. “You like him, don’t you?”
“What?” River stutters out. “No I don’t……I mean he’s much too….Jayney.”
“Don’t even try it.” Faith says. “I saw that look in your eyes when I asked about him. Same look B used to give me when I asked about Angel; like if she even saw me get within a foot of him, she was gonna rip my arms off and beat me to death with them.”
“You aren’t going to say anything, are you?” River whispers. “Nobody will understand, half the time I don’t. He’s just so…..different from anybody I’ve ever met. It fascinates me.”
“Plus he’s quite the hotty.” Faith says. River just glares at her. “Hey, no need to get all glare-y; I’ve done learned my lesson bout touching another slayer’s man. Don’t need another reminder.”
“He’s not mine.” River replies.
“But you’d like him to be.” Faith corrects her. “You’d like to get in a little after hours ehhh with him.”
“Haven’t you been talked to about the grunting?” River questions.
“Yep.” Faith answers. “Don’t make it any less true.”
“I know.” River agrees. “Not that it’ll ever happen; he’ll never see pass the ‘moonbrain’ girl, not matter how much I’m not anymore.”
“Dude, for a mind reader, you don’t catch much.” Faith says. “Trust me, he don’t see you as just a ‘moonbrain girl’. He might be a bit scared of you, but hell everybody but me seems to be, but that doesn’t mean he don’t see you. Now, getting him to act on that might take a little work, in fact I think you’re going to have to make the first move.”
“I don’t know how.” River whispers. “I mean I know how, but…..I don’t want to be just another piece of trim to him. I want to matter, be important.”
“Yep, you’re more like B than I first thought.” Faith says. “Getting you a piece of ass, hell that’d be easy as pie. Getting a real relationship, I don’t know nothing about that.”
“We’ll have to learn together.” River says.
“Whoa, I never said nothing about wanting a relationship, besides who the hell am I going to get one with? Everyone on this boat is taken.” Faith protests.
“Not everyone.” River argues.
“Mal?” Faith practically yells. “But he’s all….the captain and besides he’s in love with Inara.”
“No, he wants to be.” River argues. “She’s safe; knows nothing real can ever be from it, he can never lose her because he would never have her.”
“That don’t mean nothing.” Faith replies.
“Come on, Faithy, I’ve seen they way you look at him.” River smirks. “You’re wanting to put in for a little after hours ehhh.”
“Hey, that’s my saying.” Faith growls. “You can’t just go and steal a girl’s saying.”
River just giggles a little before sitting up straight and tilting her head to the side.
“What? Do you hear something?” Faith questions at her look.
River just sighs deeply. “Simon is being a boob again.”
“Yeah, doc ain’t seeming to like or accept this whole thing.” Faith agrees.
“Nope, he isn’t.” River says. “He’s trying to find a cure for my ‘slayerness’. He hurt Kaylee’s feelings.”
“He’s looking for a cure to a disease that don’t exist.” Faith replies.
“I know.” River agrees. “But he’s going to keep looking; he feels he has too.”
“Oh, well. More power to him.” Faith says. “We gotta start training tomorrow so we best get to sleep.”
“Yeah, you’re right.” River replies, kicking Faith off her bed.
“Hey.” Faith growls from the floor.
“You said we needed to go to bed.” River smirks. “Can’t very well do that with you sitting on mine.”
“You’re an ass.” Faith says as she stands up and flops down in her own bed, across from River’s. The captain had put Faith in River’s room since they seemed comfortable with each other. Simon had moved down to the room Book used before.
“Night Faith.” River says.
“Night R.” Faith says back.
When Mal walks into the mess the next morning, he’s shocked to see River and Faith standing over the stove cooking breakfast. River walks over to him and hands him a cup of coffee.
“Thanks.” Mal replies taking the cup.
“No problem.” River replies, walking over to finish making breakfast. By the time the two girls finish setting the table, the rest of the crew have made their way in.
“Mei-mei, you cooked?” Simon asks as he drops down into his chair.
“Yeah.” River replies, looking at him weirdly. “I am quite capable of cooking, Simon.”
“I know that, I’m just surprised is all.” Simon says. “You never tried before.”
“Nobody would let me.” River replies. “You all just saw me as an incapable ‘moonbrain’. Faith doesn’t. She’s not afraid to let me be me.”
“River, if you wanted to do stuff to help you should have just said something.” Mal says.
“I’ve tried.” River argues. “Nobody would listen to me when I tried to help or when I tried to warn you. You just wrote it off as crazy-speak.”
Mal just stares at her for a few seconds before speaking, “Alright, River, if you want to help around the ship, I see no problem with it.”
“So, it’s okay for me to be me?” River questions.
“Sure.” Mal responds, not really knowing what she means.
“Cool.” River smiles at him.
Everybody starts eating and the first few minutes are quiet. Mal notices that Simon is looking rather raw and questions him on it. “Hey, doc, what the hell’s up? You look like go-se.”
“Huh?” Faith grunts.
“He looks like shit.” River clarifies. They all stare at her in shock. “What, she didn’t know what it meant.”
“Oh, in that case, Mal’s right.” Faith says. “You look like shit, doc.”
“I’m sorry if my appearance isn’t up to everyone’s standards, but I didn’t get any sleep.” Simon replies.
“Rough night?” Jayne questions.
“He wasn’t with Kaylee.” River answers for her brother. “He was reviewing all my tests and scans.”
“I thought ya went over all them before, many times.” Mal replies.
“Yes, but due to the new developments in River’s abilities, I’m hoping I can find something I missed before.”
“How’d it go?” Mal asks.
“Not well.” Simon answers. “There is nothing there that I hadn’t already seen. But I think I’m going to take more blood, run more tests.”
“Simon, you ran every test you can.” River says. “You aren’t going to find anything new.”
“She’s right.” Faith agrees.
“It doesn’t matter; I’m still going to keep looking.” Simon replies firmly.
“Simon, do you know what the definition of insanity is?” River questions her brother.
Simon just looks at her weirdly before replying, “Yes, I am a doctor. Insanity is….”
He’s cut off when River and Faith both answer for him. “Performing the same task over and over and expecting different results.”
“Learned that in murder rehab.” Faith says.
“That’s not the real definition.” Simon replies after a few seconds.
“Hey, insanity comes in many forms.” Faith argues. “I say, find your own and embrace it.”
“Thanks for the advice.” Simon says sarcastically. “I’ll be sure to keep it in mind.”
“You do that.” Faith agrees.
The table is silent for the next few minutes until Faith looks at Kaylee. “Hey, Kay, you got any wood?”
Kaylee gets ready to respond when River lets out a huge snort and then quickly puts her hand over her mouth to hold in her giggles.
“So, R, you gonna share what’s so funny with the rest of the class?” Faith questions.
“Nothing much.” River replies, still slightly giggling. “Except if you’re looking for some wood, you’re asking the wrong person.”
Simon and Mal both choke on the food they’re swallowing while the rest of the table stares at River with their mouths open.
“Damn, R, you’re quite the little pervert.” Faith says with a smirk.
“Takes one to know one.” River replies.
“Damn straight.” Faith agrees.
“Whadda need wood for?” Jayne asks after a few seconds, causing River to snort again.
“Can’t you keep your mind out of the gutter for five seconds?” Faith questions River.
“Oh, come on, like you weren’t thinking the same thing.” River answers.
“Well, yeah, but I have enough self control not to snort about it.” Faith replies.
“Sorry, I’ll behave.” River assures her.
“I need the wood for River’s training.” Faith answers.
“What training?” Simon asks.
“Slayer training.” Faith replies.
“No.” Simon says firmly. “She’s my sister and I say no training.”
“Not your decision.” River argues.
“The hell it isn’t.” Simon responds. “I am your brother and you are under age….”
“Turned 18 three days ago, Simon.” River states. “I am legally an adult and you can’t tell me what to do. Captain can, since I’m on his ship. So, captain, can we train?”
Mal thinks about it for a few seconds before answering. “No guns, no knifes. First time one of you gets hurt, it’s done.”
“Mal, I don’t think this is a good idea.” Simon argues, hurt by what River said and guilty for forgetting her birthday.
“Probably a good idea.” Jayne replies. “Only way she’s gonna know what’s she capable of is by trainin. Also the only way she’s gonna learn to control whatever abilities she’s got.”
“Jayne’s right.” Mal agrees. “Master any talent you have to practice.”
“Yep, boy’s are right.” Faith says, ignoring the looks Mal and Jayne send her. “Don’t worry, we ain’t gonna do anything to rough, at least not for a while.”
“Thanks captain.” River says.
“Your welcome.” Mal replies. “Just don’t make me regret this.”
“We won’t.” River assures him.
“Wash, how far are we from the training center?” Mal questions his pilot.
“Bout an hour.” Wash answers.
“Alright.” Mal responds. “Now, we ain’t stayin long, just long enough for Inara to settle in. We got a meeting scheduled with Mingo and Fanty on Beaumonde. They might be able to swing some work our way. Zoe and Jayne, you’ll be with me. Kaylee, I want you and the doc to go supply up.”
“Are you sure it’s safe?” Simon questions.
“Yep.” Mal responds. “You’re no longer wanted by the Alliance. It’ll be safe and I don’t want Wash leavin the boat. We ain’t stayin too long, only a couple hours.”
“Okay.” Simon agrees.
Inara gets up quietly and leaves the table. After a few minutes, the crew finishes eating and River and Faith clean up. Wash, Zoe, and Mal head to the bridge while Jayne heads to his bunk.
“I’m going to take a shower and then maybe sleep for an hour or so.” Simon replies, standing up. “Kaylee, I’m sorry for being so curt to you last night.”
“It’s alright.” Kaylee says with a smile. “Ya’re just adjustin, is all.”
“Yes, adjusting.” Simon says. “Will you wake me up before Inara leaves? I would like to say goodbye.”
“Sure.” Kaylee replies. Simon smiles warmly at her before leaving the mess.
“You okay Kaylee?” River questions, making the girl jump.
“Yeah, Simon’s just being weird about this whole ‘slayer’ thing.” Kaylee answers. “Last night was the first in the past week he ain’t slept in my bunk. Hope it don’t last long, I missed him.”
“He’s gonna need time, Kay.” Faith responds. “The man’s too smart for his own damn good; he’s going to keep looking for some kind of solution, one that ain’t there.”
“I know.” Kaylee sighs. “Should I do somethin?”
“My advice: let him be.” Faith answers. “You push him, it’s only going to make him resent you or piss him off. This is something he’s going to have to accept in his own time.”
“She’s right Kaylee.” River agrees. “Simon is very stubborn and has to learn to accept this in his own way.”
“Okay.” Kaylee agrees. She stares at River for a few minutes, making the genius nervous.
“What?” River finally asks.
“Nothin.” Kaylee says. “You’re just so different. More, I don’t know confident and stuff.”
“And less crazy?” River adds.
“It’s cause I am.” River answers. “The voices from Miranda are gone. Plus, I no longer have to hide what I am. That was a lot of the problems before; I had to constantly keep myself hidden while at the same time fighting the voices. Now both problems are gone. I can focus on discovering what I am and what I am capable of.”
“Oh, have ya told Simon this?” Kaylee says after a few seconds.
“Nope and there’s no point in it.” River replies. “He isn’t going to listen until he accepts the ‘slayer’ think is real.”
Kaylee helps them finish cleaning the kitchen, enjoying working with them.
Faith knocks on the shuttle door hard, waiting for Inara to open it. After a few moments, the companion opens the door, looking a little shocked to see Faith standing outside the door.
“Hello Faith.” Inara replies pleasantly. “Did you need something?”
“Just wanted to talk to you.” Faith answers, looking around the shuttle. “It’s a little run down. You don’t……companion in here, do you?”
“Not now.” Inara says with a smile. “It didn’t look like this when I lived in it. Mal’s let it go since I’ve been gone.”
“Yeah, he don’t seem like the decorating type.” Faith replies, sitting down on one of the various crates. “Which is why I’m thinking Kaylee’s responsible for the flowers painted all over the mess.”
“Yes.” Inara agrees. “According to Wash, he about had a heart attack when he saw it.”
“It is awful cheerful.” Faith says. “Almost like she put part of herself on the walls.”
“Hmm.” Inara murmurs. “It does seem that way. Kaylee has the ability to light up a room when she enters it. But I’m thinking you didn’t come in here to talk about her, did you?”
“Nope.” Faith says. “You’re not leaving because of me, are you?”
“No.” Inara says. “It has nothing to do with you. This isn’t my home anymore. I don’t fit.”
“What about Mal?” Faith questions. “You care about him.”
“Yes.” Inara agrees. “But it would never work. Mal will never accept my career and I can’t give it up; it’s a part of who I am. Besides, I can’t handle this life. I lived here for almost 2 years and I know I can’t do it anymore.”
“Why?” Faith asks.
“The kind of work they do.” Inara answers. “Most of it’s illegal; I don’t know how many times they’ve almost been arrested. On top of that, it’s highly dangerous. Every person on this boat has been shot, except for River and myself, though I suspect River has been before she came here. I don’t….I can’t stand waiting for them to return from jobs anymore. I can’t handle being afraid that someone’s going break into the ship or that we’re going to be ambushed. It’s not the life I want to lead.”
“Huh.” Faith replies. “Is it really that dangerous?”
“Yes.” Inara answers.
“Cool.” Faith says.
“It’s not going to bother you, always having to worry about being hurt or worse, killed?” Inara asks.
“Nope.” Faith answers. “Kinda life I’ve always led. I’d get bored with any other.”
Inara is quiet for few seconds before replying, “I’m glad. You’ll be good for this crew, especially River. She needs someone to see her as the woman she is, so that everyone else can too.”
“I know.” Faith agrees. “It’s time everyone stopped treating her like a child and realize she’s all growed up.”
“Yes, she is.” Inara comments. “Faith, I need a favor from you.”
“Keep an eye on Kaylee.” Inara answers. “She’s too trusting for her own good; she always sees the good in everyone. Which, we both know, isn’t a safe thing to do.”
“She does have that Pollyanna thing going on.” Faith observes. “That can get her in a load of trouble.”
“I know.” Inara agrees. “Which is why I would feel better if I know someone is keeping her out of trouble.”
“Don’t know about the trouble thing, but I’ll make sure nothing happens to her.” Faith answers.
“Thank you.” Inara says gratefully.
“No problem.” Faith replies. “Do you need help with that?”
Inara turns to look at the trunk she had left last time. “If you can carry it, I would appreciate it. It’s very heavy.”
Faith reaches down and picks the trunk up easily, setting in on her shoulder. “Where to?”
“The bay.” Inara answers.
Faith opens the shuttle door with her free hand and starts out only to almost run into the captain.
“Hey Mal, what’s up?” Faith asks.
“Nothing.” Mal answers. He reaches out to grab the trunk off Faith’s shoulder. “Let me help you with that.”
“I can carry it.” Faith says. Mal just ignores her and moves the trunk onto his own shoulder. Without a word, he turns around and leaves the two women standing there.
“In case anybody forgot to mention, Mal’s has this old-fashioned view.” Inara tells the slayer. “He’s protective over the woman on this boat. He doesn’t like to see woman suffer.”
“Sounds kinda sexist.” Faith comments, following the Inara down the hall.
“No, not at all.” Inara replies. “Look at Zoe; he respects and completely trusts her to always have his back, protect him and this ship. And Kaylee, he completely trusts her with keeping this ship in the air. He just has this….nobleness to him. Feels he always has to protect everyone. I am thinking you two are going to fight about this.”
“Yep.” Faith agrees. “Never had anybody protect me; learned to do it myself a long time ago.”
“Kaylee knows how to get in contact with me, if anything happens.” Inara replies.
“Okay.” Faith replies.
They make it to the bay right as Wash lands Serenity on the training grounds.
Kaylee is the first to say goodbye. She squeezes Inara tightly, tears in her eyes. “I’m gonna miss ya.”
“I’ll miss you too mei-mei.” Inara whispers back.
“It feels more like a final goodbye, not like last time.” Kaylee says. “Ya ain’t comin back this time, are ya?”
“No.” Inara replies. “This isn’t my home. And I don’t want you blaming Mal for my leaving. This has nothing to do with him and everything to do with me.”
“Alright.” Kaylee agrees. She steps aside for Simon, who hugs her quickly, says goodbye, and then steps aside for Zoe and Wash.
“Gonna miss you, Inara.” Zoe comments, hugging the smaller woman quickly.
“I know; I’m going to miss you guys too.” Inara says. Zoe moves away and Wash quickly hugs the companion before moving back for River.
River hugs Inara tightly. “Sweetie, I need to breath.” Inara gasps out.
“Sorry.” River says, loosening her grip. “I forgot.”
“It’s okay.” Inara kisses River’s forehead. “You have grown up so much in the time you’ve been here. Don’t let anyone stop you from being yourself.”
“I won’t.” River assures her. “Goodbye Inara.”
“Bye River.” Inara replies.
“See ya round, Nara.” Jayne says, not comfortable with the whole goodbye scene.
Inara smiles at him before giving him a quick hug. Jayne just awkwardly pats her back.
Mal picks the trunk off the ground from where he’d set it down. “I’ll be back in a few minutes.”
Inara gracefully walks in front of him, leading the way out of Serenity.
“Ya know ya don’t have to leave.” Mal says as they’re walking towards the center. “We can go back to the old deal; you renting the shuttle and working out of it.”
“No, this is how it has to be.” Inara calmly says. “You’re life isn’t one I can lead Mal. It’s not something I can handle watching anymore. Besides, I just was offered a position as a headmistress; I’m going to take it.”
“Oh.” Mal replies. “If you need something, you know you can wave me, right?”
“Yes, I know that Mal.” Inara says. “You can set that down there.” Inara points towards a spot by the door they just walked through. “Someone will come down and take it up to my room.”
Mal puts it down and turns to look at Inara. “Guess this is goodbye.”
“Guess it is.” Inara agrees. She kisses him lightly on the lips before giving him a hug. “Don’t cut yourself off. You deserve to be happy.”
“Huh?” Mal questions confused.
“We would have never worked.” Inara answers. “We both know that. We’re too different; our lives are too different. You deserve to have someone who wants the same things you do; who isn’t afraid to live your life.”
“Where do you suggest I find this person?” Mal questions. “Order her?”
“I think she’s closer than you know.” Inara answers.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Mal asks a little worried.
“Not a thing Mal.” Inara says with a smile. “Not a thing.”
“Now, see.” Mal growls. “Ya woman and you’re head games. Libel to drive a man insane.”
“Well, like Faith said; embrace it.” Inara replies. “You need to go. Jobs to do; laws to break.”
“You know us; we go where the work is.” Mal says. He kisses Inara’s forehead before turning and leaving the center.
Inara watches him leave, a little sad. She would miss him, all of them. But she knows she made the right choice. Serenity is no longer her home; the training center is.