Exhausted from their lovemaking, Mal and Kaylee were slowly drifting into sleep, still
joined and warmly wrapped in each others arms, when Mal felt cool skin across his
naked back. ‘Gaahh!” he cried and leapt to his feet with a soldier’s reflexes.

River was dropped on her ass by his swift unthinking movement.

Mal and Kaylee stared at her, stunned, and not a little embarrassed that all three of
them were as bare as the days they were born.

Kaylee was first to recover. “What are you doin here, Riv? And how didya get through a
locked door?”

“Felt sad. Came to where there was happiness. Can open any lock.”

“Well, that was downright coherent, Tross. But the door was locked because we wanted
to be private. I’m right annoyed that you broke in on us.”

Mal was pulling on his underwear. He gave Kaylee a worried look.

“Where are your clothes, Riv?” asked Kaylee.

“No dress code here.”

“Not for invited guests,” grumped Mal. “And you were not invited. Like I said, private.”

“Cmon, Riv. I’ll walk you back to your room. Mal, can she borrow one of your shirts?”

“Coming back, darlin’?” “Always.”

River was pouty when the girls got to her room. “Stay . I’m lonely.”

“No, the captain needs me. You go to sleep now.”

“No one for me. Captain has you. Simon has his boyfriends. Zoe has Hope. Jayne
has paper dolls. Crazy River is all alone.”

Kaylee was momentarily bemused by “paper dolls” then figured River meant Jayne’s
massive collection of girlie mags. Wash had reported once that some of the stash was
vintage or even antiquarian, and might have been quite valuable, if the pages weren’t
stuck together.

“We’ll have to do something about that, Riv. You deserve someone as special as you.”

Kaylee was able to get River into bed, but she adamantly refused to give back Mal’s
shirt. “Skin on skin.” She tried to explain.

Kaylee plopped into bed beside Mal. “Well, not only are we dealing with teenage
hormones, looks like she’s crushin on you particular-like.”

“Well, that won’t last. I’m more worried about her talkin to the rest of the crew fore we’re
ready t’ be a couple.”

“Good chance she’ll make her news as an announcement about strawberries and
unicorns. Might not be unnerstood.”

“No such luck, sweetheart. She’s getting more and more normalish. And who knows
what she’ll say about that shirt. I like that shirt. Want it back.”

“So do we want to talk to everyone at once. Or do we go one on one?”

“所有的小神和他们的使者. One on one, I reckon. If you talk to Simon, I’ll talk to
Zoe. And we can let Jayne figger it out on his own. I don’t want him mouthin off at you.”

“You might want to talk to Jayne private though. If River decides she needs something
with manparts to scratch her itches, he’s about the only available critter.”


“He’s not a complete ass. I’m thinkin that he’s a tad scared of Riv and might fight back
too hard if she snuck up on him like she did us.”

“Yeah. But I was worried that I was too old for you and there’s only a dozen years
between us. Jayne’s goin on forty. River’s a kid.”

“Horny kid.”
There are a lot of Rayne shippers,but between the age difference, the cultural differences and River’s mental health issues, I just find that relationship icky.


About femmefan1946

Retired professional writer and editor. Nominated for an Aurora Award for work on CAN-CON 2014, which concentrates on introducing new and aspiring writers and artists to agents, editors and publishers.
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