Title: Mutiny Of The Bounty
Fandom(s): Firefly/Stargate: SG-1
Pairing(s): Mal/Simon, River/Aris Boch
Disclaimer: Not mine, not making any $$
Summary: Mal and Simon's night out is interrupted when River is captured by a bounty hunter...and she doesn't seem to mind a bit.
Word Count: 2,400
A/N: Sequel of sorts to All She Needs. Written for 10_cracks 'Cracky Crossover' prompt.
Mutiny Of The Bounty
Everything's just shiny until they hit Beaumond – well, it's a bit shiny after that since Mal doesn't have to worry about anything other than finding a decent place to eat and making sure the smile never leaves Simon's face. Zoë and Wash high-tailed it off Serenity shortly after they landed, and Kaylee's taken that troublesome husband of hers off somewhere so the captain doesn't imagine they'll be back before he's had a chance to ruffle some of Simon's feathers in private. Well, there's Albatross but River'll most likely be too busy sniffing around in the shuttle Inara used to use.
Thought of Inara makes Mal's smile slip just a little bit, but he forces it back on his face when Simon turns to him with that smile. "How about eating over there? That doesn't look like the type of place we might get poisoned in."
"You just lead on and I'll even let you test the food first, just to be sure," he teases back.
They're just finishing their food and Mal is scrutinizing the dessert menu like a man on a mission when Simon's gasp breaks him away from his contemplation of the tiramisu. "River!"
Mal's head snaps up and around just in time to see Albatross herself skipping along outside, clutching the stick of a rapidly melting Ice Planet. "Ain't she still a mite dangerous to be wanderin' about?" he starts to ask, but the question dies on his lips when he takes a second look out the window and sees a man following her. Wearing body armor that puts him in the same class as one Jubal Early, bounty hunter. "Tamade!"
Simon lurches from the table, and Mal hurriedly stuffs a few credit notes into their waiter's hand as they pass him in their headlong rush from the restaurant. "Do you see her? Where did she go?" Simon shouts, wild-eyed as he looks up and down the crowded street. "This is my fault, I never should have left her-"
"Easy, Doc. We'll find her," Mal soothes. And idea comes to him and, pulling Simon by the arm, he directs his lover down a nearby alleyway – if he's remembered correctly, this should take them to the next street over and they should intercept River there. If she's continued walking in the direction she'd been going, of course. Looking over at Simon's worried face, he offers up a silent prayer that she has.
As they careen around the corner and nearly upset a little old lady's basket of lychees, the two men are just in time to see the bounty hunter toss an extremely startled River Tam over a broad shoulder. With a gusty, long-suffering sigh, the man turns to walk back the way he came. "You're going back with me whether you want to or not," he says tiredly. "You're not even supposed to be here, let alone drunk off your mik'ta, and I'll be damned if O'Neill's blaming me for this one."
"Put. Me. Down!" River pummels the back of his armor fruitlessly, kicking her legs and successfully tagging her captor in the face.
He retaliates by bringing his right hand up and walloping her across the backside. "Knock it off!" River's lips form a perfect "O" of shock until she decides to even the score by pinching his backside and he nearly drops her. "Ow! Hey!"
Mal realizes that both he and Simon have stopped dead in disbelief, and he squares his shoulders before heading over to find out just what in Tien's name is going on. "You'd best be puttin' down my co-pilot right now, dong ma? "
The big man swings around to fix him with a green-eyed stare and Mal suddenly wishes they'd gone on a double-date with Jayne and Kaylee. The man's scarred face might be taken by some as an indicator of carelessness, but Mal gets the sense that he's more than capable of killing whenever it suits him... and Tien, if he ain't just as huge as Jayne Cobb! His hand starts to inch towards his gun, but a muzzle of a blaster is leveled at him before Mal has time to blink. "Walk away right now."
"River, has he hurt you?" Simon asks, eyeing the hunter warily as he sidles around to check on his sister.
"I wouldn't come any closer," the other man says calmly, shifting to resettle the girl across his shoulder and clamping his arm back over her hips…and for some reason, River stops in mid-kick and goes limp. "Back away or I'll have to shoot someone."
Simon's eyes are narrowed, his hands balled into fists. "I won't let you take her."
The bounty hunter makes an incredulous noise in the back of his throat, looking the doctor up and down pointedly. "What, you'd risk getting dirty?" This question draws a giggle from River, still dangling upside-down with her face far too close to the man's pigu for Mal's peace of mind. Almost as if she senses her captain's disapproval of the situation, River gives it another pinch. The hunter swats her rump once more. "Stop that."
Mal has the distinct sense that he's being ignored, and he doesn't like it one bit. "Put her down, right gorram now!"
More giggles erupt from the object of contention. "Right gorram now?"
"This is ridiculous. River, can't you get loose?" Simon asks plaintively.
"I prefer my current location," his sister informs him.
The big man's eyes start to narrow. "Who's River?"
"The little girl you're trying to carry off ring any bells?" Mal snaps.
"Little..! She's with me, and she'll continue to be with me until I say differently!" The hunter jiggles his gun from side to side warningly. "I don't know any River. Now, like I said before: move."
Mal shifts his glare to River, who still seems perfectly content to stay draped over the man's shoulder. "A little help, Albatross."
She sighs and reaches out for a third pinch, but this time the man's hand intercepts hers and bats it away before she can make contact. "I'm River."
"Not the girl you want to look after," she says apologetically.
The bounty hunter sighs and bends his knees, allowing River to slide down to the ground. "What are you saying? And how much have you had to drink tonight?"
River takes her sweet time separating herself from him and steps back to look up at the man. "Your eyes play tricks, Aris Boch. Came far but didn't mean to."
He's still staring at her, but so is everyone else. "You really aren't her, are you?" She shakes her head slowly. "Then how did you know-"
The Reader laughs and twirls around in a circle. "Thoughts are loud."
"And very self-important."
The corners of Aris' mouth twist up into a wry grin and Mal breathes out softly as the gun is finally lowered. "Well, you got me there."
River smiles again, and Mal is struck by the realization that he's never seen her so…so…well, flirtatious is the only word his confused mind can offer, but surely that can't be the case. This is Albatross, after all, and Albatross doesn't- his eyes nearly bulge from their sockets as River smoothes her tangled hair back from her face, and Aris Boch's eyes follow the movement. Oh. Well, apparently she does.
"Perhaps we should move our conversation back to the ship, Captain?" Simon blurts suddenly, his use of Mal's title converting his 'suggestion' into a clear demand. That feather ruffling has about an Ice Planet's chance in Hell of succeeding if Mal doesn't go along with this.
"Uh. Yeah," Mal says lamely. "Albatross?" She's currently staring up at their new acquaintance while she needlessly adjusts the neckline of her sweater, and he's looking right back at her with a gleam in his eye that makes Serenity's captain ten kinds of uncomfortable. "River."
She reluctantly tears her gaze away from the bounty hunter, who takes the opportunity to detach a small container from his belt and reach into the neckpiece of his armor for a small blue packet. Mal watches out of the corner of his eye as Aris squeezes the packet of liquid into the flask and takes a drink from it before replacing it on his belt. "He gonna cause us trouble, Albatross?"
River shakes her head. "Was born Trouble, but not for me."
"I don't like him," Simon insists.
"You wouldn't," River sighs.
"You're sure he's no danger to you," Mal tries once more.
Aris clears his throat loudly. "I can still hear you."
"Then go someplace else where you can't."
"You're such a boob."
"She doesn't seem to be half-wrong."
"Was anyone talking to you?" Simon huffs angrily. "You just tried to abduct my sister!"
Aris shrugs. "Didn't know she was a sister."
The walk back to Serenity is accomplished without bloodshed, though it's a close thing when Simon catches Aris Boch watching River's pigu with ill-concealed admiration as the girl skips along in front of them. "Ain't she a mite young for you?" Mal glares, looking unsuccessfully for any white in the other man's short copper/dark hair.
"Aren't they all?"
"Now, what is that supp-"
If there's one thing Malcolm Reynolds doesn't like, it's a smartass. He keeps that in mind as Aris follows them into the cargo bay looking supremely unconcerned with his own safety. "So, you wanna be explainin' why you were lugging a member of my crew off like a sack of soybeans?"
Aris quirks an eyebrow at him, settling atop a nearby crate as River disappears up the stairs and into the ship. "Let's just say she looks a great deal like someone I know."
Simon puts in his two credits. "And you make a common practice of hauling women away over your shoulder?"
The bounty hunter glances over at him with that irritatingly smug look on his face. "Some of them seem to enjoy it. Your sister, for example-"
"That's it, get out!" Simon roars.
Mal blinks in surprise, Aris' smile widens a little more, and River makes her reappearance. "Don't be mean, Simon," she scolds, walking over to perch on the crate next to Aris. "He's a guest." Turning towards him, River smiles shyly. "You fly the turtle."
"Turtle?" When she makes a shape in the air with her hands, he laughs. "I guess it does look like a turtle. It's called a tel'tak."
"Can I see inside it?" she asks excitedly.
"Sweetheart, I'll take you wherever you'd like."
"No, you won't! "
"I wasn't talking to you."
Simon drags Mal to a far corner of the cargo bay, still eyeing Aris suspiciously. "Can't you just shoot him? I don't think anyone would mind."
Mal glances over his shoulder at the couple once more – the big man is leaning over to whisper something in River's ear and she's looking just about as thrilled as she can be about it – before turning his attention back to Simon. "Albatross says he ain't a danger, I conjure we should trust her on that. No harm in lettin' the girl get some attention, any road… I'll make it clearer than clear that he's to keep his hands where we can see 'em unless he wants to be missin' a few fingers."
"You'll have to do a little more than that, because…" Simon's eyes widen to the size of dinner plates. "Where'd they go?"
Mal whips his head around as if he might catch a glimpse of River and Aris if he moves fast enough, but they're nowhere to be seen and the only indication that they were ever there in the first place is the pair of combat boots lying discarded on the floor.
Several hours of searching later, Mal has his hands full trying to keep Simon calm and explain things to Zoë at the same time. "You don't seem to be graspin' how serious this is," Mal complains.
His First Mate is decidedly unsympathetic. "It's very serious, Sir. At this very moment, they could be somewhere holding hands."
Wash opens his mouth to chime in, but a glare from Mal helps him reconsider. "Remember the part where he's a gorram bounty hunter?"
"Uh, Mal?" Wash finally asks.
His pilot lifts a hand and points out at the edge of the landing platform. "I think they're right over there."
They all turn to look and Mal feels his jaw drop when he sees River in Aris Boch's arms, being kissed to within an inch of her life. "Huh."
"I…I…oh," Simon gulps in distress. "That's not…he shouldn't…she's just…!"
"Looks like she's a bit more than just," Zoë says appraisingly.
"We'll have to try that."
"Much as I love you, I doubt you could lift me like that, Husband."
Outside the ship, River finally uncurls her arms from around the big man's neck and slides down to the ground, rearranging her skirt. The two walk closer, exchanging a few words and another kiss that nearly has Simon charging down the ramp, then Aris fishes in a thigh pocket for something he presents to River before brushing his lips over the back of her hand. River fairly glows with happiness and runs a fingertip along the thick scar curving around his jaw. "Thank you."
Instead of answering, she smiles up at him. "She likes you more than you think."
"Whoever you are, River Tam, you're my kind of crazy." Aris looks up at their audience and tosses Mal a mocking salute. "Keep an eye on this one, Captain Reynolds. She shows an alarming tendency to sneak off with strange men." Giving River a wink, he turns to saunter off before Mal can pull a gun on him.
Simon finally finds his voice as his sister drifts up the ramp and past him. "River, what….!"
Without looking at him, River picks up her boots and continues on her way, laughter in her voice. "Oh, Simon; hush. You'll ruin it."
They're still discussing it when Jayne and Kaylee arrive back at the ship, laughing at something. "I still say it looked like a turtle," Kaylee insists. "Betcha if'n I get River to take a peek, she'll say the same!"
Mal just shakes his head and sighs as he thumbs the button that locks the rear hatch. Things were a lot less complicated when he considered River to be too young for this sort of thing.