Title: Small Favors
Author: The Artful Dodger / dodger_sister
Category: Fluff/Schmoop, General, Humor
Characters/Pairing: Mal, Jayne, Simon, River, Book, Zoe, Kaylee, Wash & Inara.
Summary: Mal is having a hell of a week, so he guesses he ought to be thankful for small favors.
Word Count: 849 words.
Date Written: 1/28/2012
Disclaimer: Firefly belongs to Joss Whedon and Fox. Thanks for it, btw, Joss. This fic is all mine, I have no money.
Feedback: Bring it. dodger_sister / TheArtofDodger@comcast.net
Author's Notes: This was originally written for a meme over at vikingprincess’s journal, wherein you pick a book title and make a fic out of it. I chose ‘Small Favors’.
Dedication: For vikingprincess, my enabler in all things!
It was just one of those weeks.
On Sunday, the clamp on the inside of the left vent broke off and went shooting out into space. Mal and Jayne had to secure the vent in place with plasma glue and duct tape until they could get a new one, which was going to be awhile since they were way out in The Black with nothing but backwater planets that might as well not be called planets at all.
On Monday, they got buzzed by scavengers and had to make for ground and hide out just to save their own damn necks - scavengers in these parts usually took what they wanted and left you for dead. It put them a day off schedule and Wash couldn’t even push her to ride harder without worrying about the gorram vent snapping off, what with it being held together with glue and tape.
On Tuesday, Wash and Zoe had a hell of a fight that everyone could hear through all of Serenity’s metal and neither one of them spoke to each other for the rest of the day, except to pass messages through Mal, which he most definitely was havin’ none of.
On Wednesday, they made the pick-up of cargo - enough cattle to stuff their cargo bay with - but the sellers wanted to renegotiate the terms and in the end, Jayne took a sizeable bullet to the hip.
On Thursday, Jayne and Simon had a blowout like they hadn’t had ever before, which was sayin’ something with the way they usually got on, just on account of Simon telling Jayne he had to stay off the leg for awhile. They’d already been out in The Black for a month and the only stop they had made had been the previous day when Jayne had taken the aforementioned bullet and not one of them did well being cooped up that long, least of all Jayne. Take away the man’s ability to workout and you were askin’ for a fiercely pent up Jayne Cobb.
On Friday, the cattle got all worked up, making noise like thunder through the floors and for some reason, Simon decided that was a good time to inform Mal they were running low on medical supplies and if they wanted to keep Jayne’s leg free and clear, they needed to make a stop at a core planet.
On Saturday morning, Inara pitched a screaming fit at Mal that he needed to tell her ahead of time if they were stopping at a core planet, so she could make arrangements and such, nevermind that Mal had only just learned they had to be making the stop the day before.
But on Saturday afternoon, when Mal was kind of waitin’ to see if the sky might fall right out from under them and they would go circling and spinning through an even more black Black than they already were, he found a sight he hadn’t quite expected. When he made his way into the kitchen, looking for some protein - though it was all dried out and brittle because someone had forgotten to seal the container properly, a discovery he had made on Wednesday after returning from that disastrous pick-up - he found Zoe and Shepherd Book leaning against opposites sides of the door frame in the mess hall.
“What’s going on?” he asked and Zoe just pointed into the room.
Jayne and Simon were at the table, playing some sort of game with River involving stacking tiles and then removing them. Simon pulled a tile out slowly, right from the center of the stack, and watched as the tower teetered a little. River did the same, eyes all scrunched up, looking over her options ever-so-carefully and managed to keep the tower from falling.
Then Jayne pulled one out, slow and steady and River watched with wide clear eyes and an almost evil delight of a smile. The tower teetered, righted itself and then fell completely into a smashing of pieces.
River squealed with joy and clapped her hands in two quick successions. “Let’s do it again, Simon! Do it again!”
Simon grinned over at Jayne and started stacking the tiles back up.
“Your comprehension of balance and structure are not of high magnitude,” River pointedly told Jayne. “But you’ve been recently shot, so I’ll overlook it this once.”
Jayne reached where his gun usually was, but then remembered it wasn’t strapped to his hip on account of his hip being all shot up, so he just grumbled something profane under his breath at the girl instead.
“What are they doing?” Mal whispered, afraid to break the scene.
“River was circling the cattle. It looked like a situation may occur, so I guess Jayne and Simon are entertaining her elsewise,” Zoe said matter-of-factly.
“Small favors,” Book added. “Considering the week you’ve had, I’d be thankful.”
Mal supposed he was.
Until Sunday, when the vent broke off completely and they got grounded on some hole of a planet that was somehow overrun with miniature lizards.
Yeah, just one of those weeks.