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A new Day Dawning

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Summary: Months after Early's visit, things start to change. Will the crew of Serenity be able to handle a grown up River?

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Firefly > Non-BtVS/AtS Stories(Past Donor)sevangelFR1822121,019162445,2347 Nov 056 May 06No

Gone

Title: Gone (9th a new day dawning)
Disclaimer: Not mine
FYI: Sorry, no smut this chapter, probably won’t be any for a couple of chapters

-

Jayne walks through the hall until he gets to the bay. Looking around, he don’t see any of the crew so he goes to the mess to check. When he walks down the steps, he’s shocked to see everybody sitting around the table, or actually sprawled around the table.

“Thought we was looking for River.” Jayne says.

“We did.” Kaylee answers, her voice slightly slurred. “Checked the bay, then the engine room, then here. Couldn’t find her.”

“Yep, nowhere to be find.” Wash slurs, his head leaning on Zoe’s shoulder.

“You’re all trashed, ain’t ya?” Jayne says.

“No, not trashed.” Kaylee tries to argue. “Just pleasantly numb.”

“Preacher, ya drunk too?” Jayne asks.

“No, I only had 3 glasses.” Book protests, pointing to the bottles and cups scattered all over the table. There were 3 empty bottles of the wine Kaylee had made a couple weeks back. “Which is 2 glasses more than I’ve ever had at one time. I think I’m feeling dizzy.”

“Alright, I’m gonna go find her, then the rest of ya are goin to bed. Dong ma?” Jayne orders.

Mal starts to stand up, ready to argue, when he stumbles slightly, and then falls heavily back into his chair. “All right, I’s the cap’n here. Jayne ya’re gonna find River then ya’re gonna help the rest of us to bed. Dong ma?”

Shaking his head at them, Jayne leaves the mess. He hears the crew get up and follow him. He turns around to see them all stumbling behind him.

“It’s a good thing we ain’t tryin to sneak up on nobody. Ya’ll sound like a heard of cows or somethin.” Jayne mutters. “Ya guys gonna follow me round?”

“Yes.” They all answer. Jayne walks back towards the bay, and then abruptly changes his mind and heads towards the bunks.

“I’s like watchin a dog or somefin.” Wash mutters. “He’s smellin her down.”

“Where ya goin Jayne?” Mal questions.

“Did ya guys check her bunk?” Jayne asks, ignoring most of their drunken chatter.

“No. Why’s would she go there?” Simon says. “I’s not a very good hiding spot.”

Jayne just mutters under his breath and then moves in front of River and Kaylee’s bunk. Raising his hand, he knocks on the door, hard. “Girl, ya down there.”

After a few seconds, the hatch opens and River’s head pops up. “Yes.” River says, rubbing her eyes as though she’s been sleeping.

“River, whata ya doing?” Simon questions.

“Sleeping.” River answers, looking at her brother a little weirdly. “Simon, are you drunk?”

“They all are.” Jayne answers for him. “Go on back down there and I’m gonna hand Kaylee down ya.”

River nods and moves back down the ladder. “Come on Kaylee, time to go to bed.” Jayne orders, grabbing the drunken girl. Kicking the hatch back open with his foot, he picks Kaylee up and lowers down in front of the ladder, holding her under the armpits until her feet touch the floor. He sees River grab her and waits until they are out of the way before moving down the ladder himself, yelling, “be right back,” over his shoulder.

Jumping down the last few steps, he moves over the grab Kaylee out of River’s struggling arms. He moves over to lay Kaylee down on her bunk, turning around when River moves to take her shoes and mechanics suit off, leaving Kaylee in a tank top and pair of shorts. By this time, Kaylee has passed out. River pulls Kaylee’s blanket up to cover her, bending down to kiss her on the forehead.

“Come on, kitten, let’s go get the rest of em in bed.” Jayne whispers, gently pushing River to the ladder. Jayne watches her climb up the ladder, tilting his head to look under her nightgown. Gorram, she’s got a great ass and she still ain’t got no panties on.

“All right Zoe, think ya can get down on your own?” Jayne asks once he’s back in the hallway.

“Yeah.” Zoe quietly answers. Jayne nods towards River, indicating she should go down first to make sure Zoe gets down there alright. River heads down Zoe and Wash’s hatch, reaching out help the larger women when she stumbles.

“Thanks.” Zoe replies moving over to drop onto her bed. River reaches up to grab Wash’s waist, helping him stand while still being careful not hurt his injured leg. Jayne jumps down the hatch after them, picking the pilot up and laying him on the bed next to his wife. River is already gone by the time he turns around, which is probably a good thing, seenin how he’d be tempted to take another look and Zoe’d be likely to cut his balls off fore throwin him out the airlock if she’d seen him do it.

When Jayne gets up there, he sees River arguing with Mal. Mal is yelling at her when she walks away from the captain to stand in front of him. “Can I just knock him out? It would be so much easier?”

“Hey, I’m the cap’n.” Mal yells. “Ya can’t knock the cap’n out. I can make it on my own.”

“Gorramit, Mal what if’n ya fall or somethin?” Jayne asks. “The doc is barely standin up, who’s gonna fix ya then?”

“A’lright, but she don’t come into my bunk.” Mal slurs. “Don’t want nobody accusing me of nothing ‘special’.”

Jayne don’t say anything, just goes down into Mal’s bunk. The captain stumbles into his hatch, missing a couple steps and would have fallen had Jayne not been down there to catch him.

Putting an arm around the smaller man’s waist, Jayne half-carries, half-drags the captain to his bed. “Need to check the bridge.” Mal mumbles.

“Don’t worry bout it.” Jayne grunts. He removes the pistol off Mal’s hip and places it on the table next to him. Then as an afterthought, he throws the covers over the man before moving out of the room.

“Nara, think ya can make it to your shuttle if’n River helps ya?” Jayne asks the companion.

“Yeah.” Inara answers, stumbling slightly over to the smaller girl. River wraps her arm around Inara’s waist and starts walking her towards her shuttle.

Jayne starts to say something to the remaining two when Simon falls over. “Gorrammit doc.” Jayne growls before reaching down to pick the smaller man up. Throwing him over his shoulder, he turns to Book. “Preacher ya gonna be okay to follow us?”

“Yes, son, but I think I might hold onto you, just to be safe.” Book answers, grabbing onto Jayne’s free arm.

It’s slow movement, but eventually Jayne makes it to Book’s room. He makes sure the older man gets into bed before taking the doctor to his room. He brings the man off his shoulder to set him on his feet. Simon stumbles for a second before looking at Jayne. He opens his mouth as if to say something, but instead pukes on Jayne before passing out. Jayne manages to catch him before he hits the ground, grabbing him under his arms.


-

River feels Jayne move up behind her and spins the pilot’s chair around to smile at him.

“Simon throw up on you?” River questions, seeing Jayne’s lack of a shirt.

“Yep.” Jayne growls. “Kitten, if he weren’t your brother I’da left him lying on the ground. Hell, I was still tempted to anyways.”

“Thank you, Jayne.” River says gratefully. “He takes so much looking after.”

“Whatcha doin?” Jayne asks.

“Putting Serenity to sleep.” River replies. He watches as she expertly presses buttons, putting Serenity down for the night. Then she stands up to move over to him. Wrapping her arms around his waist she lays her head on his bare chest.

“You okay kitten?” Jayne asks, wrapping his arms around her and putting his head on top of hers.

“Mm humm.” River murmurs. “Just tired.”

“You go on to bed.” Jayne whispers, giving her a soft kiss. “I’ll clean up everything.”

“Okay.” River agrees, yawning. “Night Jayne.”

“Night kitten.” Jayne says. He follows her down the stairs and makes sure she gets down her hatch okay.

Then Jayne moves into the mess and starts cleaning up the mess the rest of the crew made.

-

Mal manages to stumble up his ladder the next morning, though it’s hard work. His head feels like it’s going to fall off and his mouth feels like it’s full of cotton. When he finally manages to make it out of his bunk, he has to brace his hands on the side of the ship to steady himself for a minute. When he looks up he sees Zoe stumble out and then help pull Wash up the ladder.

“You okay Zoe?” Mal asks, his voice hoarse.

“No.” Zoe replies. “Wash, you okay?”

“I think I’d feel better if I was dead.” Wash groans. “Need to go check the helm.” Zoe turns to help him towards the bridge when River comes skipping down the steps.

“We’re on course.” River states. “We should make it to Para in 2 hours, we’ll have more then enough fuel cells to return the cargo to Grande.”

“Thanks River.” Wash says, trusting that she knows what she’s saying.

River moves past them to walk to the mess hall. They all turn to follow her, though they move at a slower pace.

When Mal manages to get to the mess, he sees Kaylee, Book, Simon, and Inara sitting lazily around the table. Jayne is standing by the stove while River is waiting by the door. Mal sits heavily in his chair then turns to look at Jayne. “What the hell happened?”

“Ya don’t remember?” Jayne asks.

“I remember River leaving, telling Simon to let her be, playing checkers, and then wine.” Mal says. “Lot’s and lot’s of wine. What the hell was in it?”

“Various things.” River says. “It had the same alcohol percentage as moonshine.”

“Moonshine.” Jayne says. “That’s 100 percent alcohol.”

“Yep.” River agrees.

The group around the table turns to look at Kaylee. “Cap’n ya told me to make it stronger.”

“You’re very lucky.” River says. “You could have gotten alcohol poisoning. As it is, Simon, you owe Jayne a new shirt.”

“What? Why?” Simon asks. “What happened?”

“You threw up on him.” River says.

“I what?” Simon screeches.

“Threw up on me.” Jayne answers. “And yourself and the floor.”

“But there wasn’t any when I woke up.” Simon says. “River did you…”

“Jayne cleaned you up and then put you to bed.” River answers. “Or did you think you were coherent enough to do it on your own?”

“I don’t….thank.........” Simon starts when Jayne cuts him off.

“Don’t worry bout it doc.” Jayne says.

“So, what else happened?” Mal asks, cradling his head in his hands.

“Put ya’ll to bed.” Jayne answers. “Even though ya didn’t want us to Mal. She actually asked if we could just knock ya out, thought it would be easier. Have to say I was tempted to let her.”

“What about the boat?” Wash asks. “Was she on all night.”

“I put her to sleep.” River answers.

“Did ya clean up in here.” Mal asks. “Cause from what I can remember, it was pretty damn destroyed.”

“No.” River replies. “Jayne told me to go to bed, that he would take care of it.”

“Oh.” Mal says, surprised. “Looks like you two took care of us.”

“Yep.” River and Jayne both answer. River moves from the doorway to walk towards the stove, stopping when she’s at the side, facing the table the crew is at.

“Jayne.” River says.

“What?” Jayne asks.

“I’m in the mood for eggs.” River says with a smirk. “Sunny side up. You know where you only cook them on one side; the yolk is uncooked with that gooey white stuff that you can never quite keep on your fork.”

Jayne looks at her funny then hears a painful groan come from the table. “Ya know, that does sound good. And maybe some bacon, ya know that ain’t cooked all the way so's there’s still some fat left on it. And toast so’s ya can break the yolk and use the bread to scoop up the good parts.”

Kaylee and Simon both jump up and run out of the mess, their hands over their mouths. The rest of the crew looks a little green in the face.

“You two are evil.” Mal moans, barely keeping from running out of the room himself.

River and Jayne just look at each other and start laughing.

“Very evil.” Book agrees.

“Ya hungry?” Jayne asks River.

“Yes.” River replies.

“Here.” Jayne hands her a butcher knife, in fact the same knife she used to slice him before. “Cut up that protein and I’ll try to fry us up somethin that resembles food.”

The crew watches them in shock. Jayne didn’t seem the slight bit worried about handing her a knife. They don’t talk, just fix themselves breakfast.

Simon walks back into the mess at about the same time as Kaylee. He wraps his arm around her waist to help her down the steps, even though he’s no steadier himself. In the end, they both stumble towards the table, dropping into their chairs roughly. He glances over at his sister, shocked to see her with a knife and Jayne not seeming to care.

“What are they doing?” Simon questions Mal.

“Making breakfast.” Mal answers. “Ya know, if I didn’t feel like my head was going to explode, I might be worried about how comfortable they seem around each other, but right now I just can’t seem to find the motivation.”

“You know, you’re right.” Simon agrees. “Not a bit of motivation.”

Jayne and River stay at the stove, eating their breakfast out of the pan. When they’re done, Jayne drops the pan in the sink at the same time as the coffee timer goes off.

“It’s done.” River says, grabbing the coffee pot. She moves to the table, Jayne following her holding seven cups. He places them on the table and River pours the mixture into it. They then hand the cups out to the very hung over crew.

“What is it?” Simon asks, smelling it. He pulls back quickly at the stench.

“Don’t ask.” Jayne says. “Just drink it, all of it.”

The crew sends them both suspicious glances but drinks the mixture.

“Je shr shuh muh lan don shi.” Wash gasps at the bitter taste. “What the hell is this?”

“You don’t want to know.” River answers.

“I think if I’m being poisoned, I would like to know by what.” Simon groans.

“Just drink it.” River orders. The crew glares at her but drinks the mixture anyways.

“We drank it.” Mal says. “Now what the hell was in it?”

“Various ingredients.” River answers. “Don’t worry, it should help relieve the nausea, headaches, and discomfort you are all feeling.”

“Should?” Simon questions.

“The ingredients combined should act together to form some sort of a ‘hang over’ cure.” River explains.

“I’m still stuck on the should part.” Mal says. “And if it don’t?”

“I’m almost 99 percent sure it will work.” River replies. “And if it doesn’t, I’m fairly certain I can come up with some sort of antidote before anybody dies.”

“What?” The entire table yells.

River just starts laughing. “You guys are so easy. Do you really think I would give you something that could kill you?”

“Yeah, ya’re lucky she made it. I thought we should let ya’ll suffer, till she pointed out I couldn’t do the job alone and none of ya’d be able to help all hung over.”

“So when should this ‘cure’ thingie kick in?” Mal asks.

“About 30 minutes or so.” River answers.

The room is fairly quiet until Jayne speaks up. “I’s got to say, I’m a little shocked at ya’ll.”

“What?” Mal mutters. “Why? We ain’t the only one’s to ever get drunk.”

“No, but you and Zoe have never gotten trashed together while’s we was flyin.” Jayne says. “Let alone, I don’t ever remember seein Wash drunk while we was in the air.”

Mal opens his mouth to defend himself, but nothing comes out.

“I think we just thought the wine was the same as the last batch Kaylee made.” Inara says. “I don’t think any of us realized how potent it was until it was too late to do anything about.”

“Nara’s right.” Mal agrees. “The last bottle Kaylee made, me and Inara split. I didn’t even get a slight buzz. Why I told Kaylee to make it stronger, didn’t know she was gonna go and make it 100 proof.”

“Hey, I just fix engines.” Kaylee defends herself. “I ain’t a wine maker.”

“Kaylee, next time, let me help.” River says.

“Ya know how to make wine?” Kaylee asks.

“No.” River says. “But it shouldn’t be too hard to figure out. It’s just mathematics.”

Jayne starts to move out of the mess, but turns around to address the crew. “I’m gonna go take a shower, fore ya’ll steal the warm water.”

“Fine.” Mal agrees, not even feeling like getting up. He just hopes they don’t get waved or nothin. The only two able to function normally are the fugitive, who can’t answer a wave in case it’s the feds, or the mercenary, who be more likely to tell them to fuck off as to cooperate.

River starts collecting the glasses off the table and takes them over the sink. Running water into the sink, she washes the dishes and them puts them away. Moving back to the table, she stops in front of Kaylee. “Kaylee, do you want me to help you get cleaned up?”

“Yeah, River, I think I might.” Kaylee groans. River grabs Kaylee’s hand and pulls her up from the table. The two girls exit the mess, River’s arm supporting Kaylee’s waist.

After a few minutes the rest of the crew leaves the mess, slowly making their way to their rooms to clean up for the job ahead.

-

“Inara, like ya done told me once, I ain’t got no control over how you run your affairs.” Mal tells the companion. He actually feels somewhat human now. Whatever that mixture that River made was, it sure as hell worked. “If ya want to go shopping while we’re running the job on Para, then I can’t stop ya. Just be back before we leave.”

“That is not what I am asking Mal.” Inara says. “I just want to know if the girls can come with me.”

“No. Hell no.” Mal says firmly. “We already talked bout this and then I let em go to the bar. Ya saw what happened.”

“Nothing, really.” Inara argues. “Jayne got River out before anything happened and then you got a job from her almost-attackers.”

“And like I done said, they ain’t gettin off without me or Jayne, less I give em permission.” Mal replies. “I ain’t bout to give them permission to go shopping.”

“Mal, River told me she needs some things. Kaylee does too.” Inara protests.

“Fine, tell me what they need and we’ll get it after the job.” Mal says, thinking it’s engine parts or something of that nature.

“They need undergarments.” Inara states calmly. “Do you still want to pick them up?”

“Gorramit, Inara, can’t ya just pick them out?” Mal asks.

“If they were children, then yes.” Inara says. “But they are both past the point of training bras and the like. They need to try them on. I had Wash check the posts for Para. It is one of the safest places we’ve visited. Besides, the boutique that we are visiting is a very classy place. The only reason I was able to get an appointment there is because I am a registered companion, bringing my nieces out shopping. Otherwise, one would have to be extremely rich to get an appointment.”

“I’m going to regret this, I just know it.” Mal mutters. “Fine. You fly your shuttle there. The girls get their ‘undergarments’ and then you come back to Serenity. I don’t want ya guys pullin any of River’s little loophole things, dong ma?”

“Thank you Mal.” Inara says, smiling at him.

Mal nods and then heads to the mess to tell the girls they can go.

“River, Kaylee, you guys are going shopping with Inara.” Mal tells the two girls sitting on the couch. “Now, I don’t want none of that loophole go-se. Ya buy what you need in the girly store then you come back to Serenity. No stopping for anything else, dong ma?”

“Yes cap’n.” Both girls reply.

“Wait, I thought they weren’t leaving the ship without you or Jayne.” Simon interrupts.

“Yes, well they need to go buy some things.” Mal explains.

“Shopping, you’re letting them off to go shopping?” Simon asks, disbelieving. “Fine, then I’m going with them.”

“No.” River and Kaylee both screech.

“What?” Simon looks confused.

“Simon I am not going underwear shopping with you.” River states.

Jayne roughly stands up, moving out off the mess without saying a word. “What’s with Jayne?” Kaylee asks.

“Probably getting ready for the job.” Zoe answers.

“Doc, they know the rules and we checked the planet out.” Mal says. “They need to get personal stuff and don’t feel comfortable with anybody else picking them out, so Inara’s flyin em there. Zoe, how much time?”

“Bout 20 minutes till landing.” Zoe answers.

“Fine, you two go get ready and be in Inara’s shuttle in 15 minutes.” Mal says.

Kaylee and River stand up and head towards their shuttle. They rest of the crew leave to prepare for the job.

-

River quickly changes, tells Kaylee she forgot something in the mess, and then goes to look for Jayne. She’s walking past one of the various storage closets, when an arm reaches out and pulls River inside.

“Kitten, I don’t want ya goin.” Jayne growls, pulling River to his chest.

“You told me I’m not allowed to leave the ship without panties.” River reminds him. “If so, then I need to get some.”

“Ya mean to say ya’ve been walkin round this ship for over a year without panties on.” Jayne asks, shocked.

“Most the time, yes.” River answers. Reaching up, River wraps her arms around his neck and gives him a deep kiss. After a few seconds, Jayne pulls away to glare down at her.

“Ain’t gonna work kitten.” Jayne growls. “Ya better be wearin some now.”

Instead of answering, she grabs his hand and places it on her hip where he can feel the outline of her panties.

“I guess ya is.” Jayne says, rubbing his thumb along her hip. “I still don’t want ya goin.”

“We’ll be fine.” River assures him. “Not going to find any loopholes, just going to get panties and come back.”

“I don’t want nothin happenin to you.” Jayne whispers.

“I know, cause I’m your kitten.” River smiles up at him. “You better be careful. Don’t want anything to happen to you either.”

“Ya know me.” Jayne smirks down at her.

“Yes, which is why I said to be careful.” River replies.

Jayne lets out a chuckle and then reaches down to kiss her again. This time, it’s River who pulls away after a few minutes. “Have to go to Inara’s shuttle.”

“Ya, if you don’t go now, Mal’s libel to come lookin in this closet for somethin.” Jayne agrees. “Ya need any money?”

“He does seem interrupt us a lot. I have money, took it along with the guns.” River says. She gives him a short kiss and then turns to leave.

“Be careful kitten.” Jayne whispers as she opening the door.

“I will.” River whispers back.

-

“Ya okay, Jayne?” Mal yells into the backseat of the mule. They are on their way to make the pickup. The girls had left in Inara’s shuttle a few minutes before they landed. Simon, Book and Wash were staying on the ship while Mal, Zoe, and Jayne went to make the pickup.

“Fine, just tired.” Jayne lies. He don’t like River leavin the ship without him. He’s startin to get the gut feelin somethin was gonna happen.

“Yes, well bout that.” Mal says. “I need to thank ya for takin care of everything last night.”

“Like I told the doc, don’t worry bout it.” Jayne replies. He ain’t comfortable with all this gratitude. “Like you done said fore, you’re my crew, gotta look out for ya.”

Mal doesn’t say anything; he’s too shocked to. When did Jayne start looking out for the rest of the crew? Something was changing his cold-blooded merc and he could only think of one thing that it could be. He’s just hoping he’s wrong. Guess he was gonna have to have that talk, despite what Inara and Zoe said.

-

“Owww, look at these.” Kaylee squeals, holding up a pair of red lace thongs. “They don’t look very comfortable.”

“You get used to it.” Inara says. Kaylee runs off to go look at some dresses, leaving Inara alone with River.

“You two are being careful, right?” Inara asks River.

“Yes.” River answers, without asking what she is referring to. She could tell Inara’s been waiting for Kaylee to leave so she could ask her. “I’m still a virgin.”

“Well.” Inara replies. “Does Jayne know?”

“No, it’s going to be a surprise.” River replies. She continues digging through the underwear, stopping when she finds a small, black, pair of bikini underwear with the word, ‘kitten’ across the tiny triangle front. Smiling, she adds them to the basket Inara is carrying.

River’d already picked out 5 bras and about 15 pairs of panties, all of them either lace or satin. Kaylee had commented on the ‘sexy’ underwear but Inara just assured her that all girls want to feel, well, girly.

“That should be a funny reaction.” Inara says, smiling. “Are you almost done, Mal will have a fit if we’re not back before them.”

“Yes.” River says, putting a few more panties into the basket.

“Kaylee, are you ready?” Inara asks the mechanic.

“Yeah, the dresses are so pretty.” Kaylee says.

The owner of the boutique came over to Inara, taking the basket and ringing up their purchases. Inara hands her the money that River had given earlier. Taking the bags, Inara leads the girls out of the store to go back to the shuttle.

“That was such a neat store, all fancy and the like.” Kaylee tells Inara. River follows a few steps behind them, listening to Kaylee’s cheerful chatter. Coming to abrupt stop, River glances around. Something’s not right, she can feel it. But before she can say anything, Kaylee and Inara are already in the shuttle.

River enters the shuttle, holding her arms up in front of her.

“Don’t make any sudden movements or your little friend’s going to be short a head.” A large man tells River. He’s got a gun aimed at River. Another man is holding Kaylee around the waist, a gun pointed at her head. The last one is tying Inara’s hands behind her back and then shoves her to stand by Kaylee. “Now, go stand by your little friends.

River slowly moves over to Kaylee and Inara. Inara looks over and whispers, “Can you stop them?”

“No, margin for error is too large, one of us won’t make it if I try.” River says.

“Hey, shut the hell up.” The large man yells. “Now, the two little ones are comin with us. The whore is going back to your ship. You try anything, we will kill you, dong ma?”

The girls all nod. Then River leans over and whispers something in Inara’s ear, right before one of the guys slams his gun into River’s head, knocking her out.

-

“Girls ain’t back yet?” Mal asks Wash. They just got back from the job and they were supposed to be back before them.

“Nope.” Wash answers. “How’d the job go?”

“Got to shoot someone.” Jayne says, walking onto the bridge, a grin on his face. “Girls’s back?”

“Nope.” Wash answers again. “Wait, Inara’s shuttle’s in distance.” Wash reaches up to hit the button to talk to the shuttle. “Nara, you guys are almost close enough to start docking. Nara?”

“Wash, something wrong?” Mal growls.

“She isn’t responding.” Wash flips a couple of switches then looks at the display again. “Cao ni zuxian shi ba dai!”

“What?” Mal and Jayne both yell.

“The return pilot’s flying the shuttle.” Wash answers.

“What the ruttin hell does that mean?” Jayne questions. Somethin happened, he just knows it.

“Means nobody’s flyin that ship.” Wash replies. “It’s a safety precaution me and Kaylee installed in case nobody can fly the shuttle. It will return the shuttle back to Serenity, but we haven’t finished yet.”

“Haven’t finished how?” Mal growls.

“It can’t dock.” Wash answers. “It’s going to return to Serenity and I mean right into Serenity.”

“Can’t ya override it?” Zoe asks.

“Yes, but I don’t know where they are, so I don’t know where to fly it.” Wash says.

Mal grabs one of the handheld coms. “We’re gonna go out and direct you.”

“Good idea.” Wash answers.

Mal runs through the ship, Jayne at the back of his feet. They pass Book and Simon, but don’t stop to answer them. When they get out of the ship, they see the shuttle in the air a little ways away.

It’s a very stressful and difficult few minutes but Mal is eventually able to guide Wash into landing the shuttle without crashing it.

“Got a weapon?” Mal asks Jayne as they move to open the shuttle.

“Think I’ll need it?” Jayne answers, pulling a gun out of the waistband of his pants.

“Don’t know.” Mal says. “But if they aren’t able to fly might mean someone’s in there with them or they ain’t in there at all.”

Mal pulls the door open, letting Jayne enter first. Jayne moves into the shuttle and instantly knows River ain’t in there. He can’t feel her. “Ain’t nobody in there.” But as he says it, he sees something lying on the floor. Quickly moving over, he kneels down next to the trussed up person. “It’s Nara.”

Mal quickly joins him, checking over Inara. Picking her up, he turns to move out of the shuttle, Jayne following behind him.

“What happened?” Simon asks. “Where’s River and Kaylee?”

“Ain’t there.” Jayne growls.

“What?” Simon screeches. “We have to go…..where could they…..what are we going to…..”

Mal gets ready to tell the doctor to calm down, when Jayne grabs him by the front of the shirt and slams him into the side of ship. “Ya wanna get them back then ya need to focus. We need to know what happened and the only one can tell us is Nara. Ya need to fix her.” Jayne yells at him.

Simon nods shakily and follows Mal into the infirmary. “Lay her down. I need everyone out but Zoe.”

“Wait a gorram second…” Mal starts.

“I need to examine her, see what happened.” Simon says, pulling gloves on and bringing some of his equipment over. “She doesn’t need everybody watching.”

“Go on sir, I’ll call you in when he’s done.” Zoe says.

Mal and Jayne reluctantly leave, shutting the door behind them.

“Untie her and then take off her dress.” Simon orders. Zoe follows his orders, removing the rope and taking the dress off the companion. Simon quickly examines her applying some salve to the bruises on her back and her wrists from the rope. “You can call them back in.” Simon says, pulling a blanket off of a shelf and laying it over the companion. Moving back to his workbench, he preps a needle and turns around as the rest of the crew enter the infirmary.

“How is she? What is that?” Mal asks.

“Something to wake her up.” Simon answers. He quickly injects Inara and then disposes of the needle. “She has a few bruises and a slight concussion. She should be awake in a few minutes.”

The entire crew is silent, waiting for Inara to wake up. After a few minutes, Inara coughs and then sits up. Mal moves over to touch her arm, making her take a swing at him.

“Inara, it’s me, Mal.” Mal says, trying to calm her.

“Mal?” Inara whispers.

“Yeah, baobei, it’s me.” Mal assures her, not even realizing what he called her.

“River and Kaylee. They took them.” Inara whispers.

“Did they get ya in the store?” Mal asks.

“No, waiting in the shuttle.” Inara answers. “They grabbed me and Kaylee when we walked in. River came in last, her hands up in front of her. I guess she knew or something. They tied me up and then made us stand together. I asked River if she could stop them but she said if she tried one of us wouldn’t make it. This is all my fault.”

“We can’t deal with that now.” Mal orders. “Do you know who they were? Do you think they were Alliance?”

“No, they were thugs.” Inara answers. “I don’t know who they were but River whispered something to me before they knocked her out, but I don’t know what it means.”

“They knocked her out?” Jayne growls. He shouldn’t have let her go, knew she weren’t safe without him.

“They hit both her and Kaylee in the head with their guns.” Inara answers him.

“What’d she say?” Simon asks, running his hand through his hair.

“He wants to meet the real me.” Inara says.

“Tai-kong suo-yo de shing-chiou doh sai-jin wu di pigu.” Mal yells, slamming his hand through one of the glass doors.

“Sir, do you know who has them?” Zoe asks.

Mal turns to face them, his face completely white. “Niska.”

-

Chinese translations
Je shr shuh muh lan don shi: What kind of rotten thing is this?
Cao ni zuxian shi ba dai: Fuck 18 generations of your ancestors.
Tai-kong suo-yo de shing-chiou doh sai-jin wu di pigu: Stuff all the planets in the universe up my butt!
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