A Stickler for Twenty-One (Mal/River)
Title: A Stickler for Twenty-One
Series: 21 for 21
Rating: PG-13 -some suggestive talk
Disclaimer: Joss owns them. We’ve seen what he’s done to them. So we gank them
Spoilers: Yes, for the BDM. You’ve been warned, people.
Three: defenestrate, frolic, hat
Summary: The Captain’s little albatross is growing up.
Notes: 21 for 21 is my insane plan to write 21 ficlets for my birthday. . . except that people on lj give me a pairing and three words.
Dedication: to pandora049 for the characters and the three words
A/N: This is my first Mal/River fic. While I do enjoy the pairing, I’ve never actually written it. So.A Stickler for Twenty-One
It’d been three years since Miranda. Three long years, years that since then crew’d lost not only Book and Wash, but Inara as well. She’d managed to stay on ship for all of five months before it got to her. Claimed he’d changed, that it weren’t love. Two years since Simon’d grown a pair and finally did right by lil’ Kaylee, who was full on her way to becomin’ a mother for the second time. Year since Zoe’d gotten herself in a bad way, nearly died. Mal wouldn’t wager that part a her was still dead, had been since that day on Mr. Universe’s moon when the Reavers had killed Wash.
Jayne was still the arrogant sumabitch that he’d always been, seemed kinda surprised he’d make it to see forty in a year or so’s time. And as for little River - well, hell, she was the reason he was thinkin’ of keel-hauling Jayne right this very moment.
“What in the gorram hell are you doin’ to my pilot?” Mal hollered, hearing River’s smothered giggles, but glaring at the big merc the whole time.
“Aw, come off it Mal, just sharin’ the hooch,” Jayne chuckled, tossing back another shot.
“And his fun hat!” River burst out, tugging the hideously bright and worn hat over her eyes. Jayne caught sight of her and burst into a fit of laughs.
Mal didn’t know what bothered him more. The fact that his underage pilot was gettin’ sloshed when she was supposed to be flyin’ his gorram boat or the fact that she was sittin’ all prettily in Jayne’s lap wearing one of her tiny little dresses. River grinned at him from under the hat.
“Jayne, she ain’t old enough to be drinkin’ -”
“Hell, Mal, gorram moon-brain’s old nuff to kill Reavers and pilot this boat, reckon she’s old nuff to drink. Killed more men then me when I was her age,” Jayne laughed.
“Jayne, go to your bunk.” Mal snapped, glaring at him.
Insteada fightin’ him, Jayne just grinned at him. Mal took one step back, but Jayne merely plucked his hat off of River’s head and went to his bunk. River pouted at him. Mal just rolled his eyes as he went to her.
“C’mon, lil’ albatross, off to bed.”
“Wanna frolic. Was havin’ a merry time, Cap’n Tightpants,” River grumbled as she rose shakily to her feet. “Cap’n’s got somethin’ lodged up his pigu
can’t even letta girl enjoy her frolic.”
“Don’t mind ya frolickin’, sweetie - an’ my pants ain’t all that tight. Everybody makes a fuss about ‘em.” Mal muttered.
“I could just defenestrate you,” River laughed. “Whoosh, watch the cap’n soar - plop.”
“Keep on usin’ them big words a yours, River. Don’t rightly know if you really know what yer sayin’,” Mal said flatly, leading her towards her bunk. Had been Kaylee’s, till she and the doc got hitched. “Besides, for a genius you pick the wrong company to get drunk with.
“Always know, I make sense to you,” River shook her arm out of his grasp and glared at him, looking more sober than she had a second ago. “Company I keep ain’t no matter of yours. Just a pilot, pinch hitter, worth going to battle over but not worthy enough to love. And it hurts. Old enough to be a killer, but not to drink - not to love,” River’s voice broke a little as she grabbed Mal by the suspenders. “Can’t see the woman, just the mission.”
River pulled him down to her, kissing him sharply on the mouth. Mal’s eyes stayed wide open, but hers fluttered closed. He felt her sink against him, and Mal started to shove her back. But River was stronger, and held him in place, nudging her tongue against his lips. Gorrammit, if he didn’t give in, and let her kiss him. Didn’t kiss her back until he was startled into it. River grinned against his lips, one hand still squeezing his left butt cheek as the other worked it’s way into his hair. When she drew back, the Cap’n stumbled forward a bit.
“Gonna have to throw out that rule, Mal,” River giggled.
“No touchin’ till she’s twenty-five. She enjoys the touch,” River grinned. “Makes her feel whole again.” She frowned at Mal before swatting him hard on the butt. “Don’t think that!”
“Ow! Gorrammit, girl, you are a mean an’ ornery drunk,” Mal said, rubbing his butt.
“I learned it from my Captain,” River said, yanking him back down to her lips. “And you’re not going to the Special Hell.”