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Untitled (Mal/Kaylee, less melodramatic)

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"Hey, Cap'n."

"Heya, Kaylee." Mal pulled up a chair and took Kaylee's hand in his. "How ya feeling?"

"Little woozy. Still hurtin'."

"Doc said he's been dopin' you up much as he can."

Kaylee put one hand curved against her stomach. "He won't do more in case it hurts what's in here."

"That's right." Mal watched her with the same steady gaze.

"Simon thinks I should keep it. Says he believes in the sanctity of life." Kaylee had looked down to her belly while she said it, but then she looked back at Mal again. "What do you think?"

"Don't matter none what I think, darlin'. It's all up to you. Only matters what you think."

Kaylee watched him for a bit as if trying to suss out the truth of it. "I keep it," she asked, "you gonna throw us off Serenity?"

That question got more of a reaction out of him and he swore. "Hell, no, darlin'. Serenity's your home, long as you want to stay here. Only way you're leavin' is if you choose it."

Kaylee's concern melted into a wide smile. "Thanks, Cap'n."

"You're welcome." Mal leaned over her and kissed her forehead. "Now you get some rest, darlin'. I need my mechanic back on her feet." He pushed the chair back to its place on his way out.


"You've already decided," River said some time later." Kaylee hadn't heard her come in.


"You didn't tell them."


They watched each other steadily for a long moment until River said, "Okay," and climbed into the bed with Kaylee. She put one arm under Kaylee's shoulders and the other hand on her stomach. "Okay," she said again.

Inara found them there later, and Kaylee opened her eyes when she heard the door open.

"Hey," Kaylee said.

"Hi." Inara tugged her shawl a little closer around herself. "How are you?"

Kaylee blinked back a sudden rush of tears. "Get in with us." She held up the blankets on her other side.

Inara didn't - just didn't - laugh. "I don't think there's enough room."

Kaylee turned onto her side and pressed back against River. "There is. Please," she added softly, and Inara's resistance fell away. She draped her shawl on the back of the room's single chair and settled in to the small bed with them.

As soon as they were situated, the tears Kaylee had held in before began to fall.

"It's not going to work," she said into Inara's shoulder. "Simon and me. I'm not keeping it, but that's not it."

On the other side of the glass, Jayne stood rapt. "What are they doing?"

Mal stopped beside him to see. "Women's rituals. Get back to work. Zoe, close the blinds."

"Yes, sir."

Inara and River looked up when she came in, and then let her do as she would. Zoe closed the blinds and took up position next to the door.

Kaylee's tears eventually slowed. "Will you do it?" she asked.

Before Inara could ask what she wanted done and by whom, River said, "Yes."

"Will it hurt?"

"No," River said. She pressed her lips to the back of Kaylee's head. "I'll give you something so it won't."

"Okay," Kaylee said. She took Inara's hand in a death grip. "Will you stay while she does it?"

"Yes, sweetie, I'll stay."

"And you'll make sure no one comes in?" Kaylee asked Zoe.

"I will."

"Okay," she said. "Okay."

They shifted; River got up and gathered supplies together, Inara pulled a chair close to sit in, and Zoe resettled herself in front of the door.

Whatever River gave her made her feel pleasantly fuzzy, and it didn't hurt. She was tired, afterward, and she fell asleep with Inara's hand in hers and River's hand on her forehead.

River cleaned up and then led the other two women out of the infirmary. Zoe took up guard outside the door, River disappeared to wherever it was she liked to disappear to, and Inara went to the galley. She made herself a cup of tea, cheaper than anything she had in her shuttle, and then turned to face the men.

"It's done," she said, only the slight sloshing of the tea in her cup belying her calm. "Kaylee's not pregnant anymore."

"What?" Simon jumped up. "I need to--"

"No! No," she said again. "River did it. She's fine. She's resting."

"Leave her be," Mal agreed, and Simon settled uneasily back into his chair.

Inara nodded at Mal and left her tea, untasted, on the counter.


Later, when some time had passed, Mal went down to the infirmary. He didn't even need to order Zoe to let him in; she just stood aside for him.

He sat in the chair next to the bed and took Kaylee's hand. His crew could function without him for a bit while he watched over Kaylee.

When she eventually woke up, she turned toward him and asked, "Can I go back to my bunk now?"

"Soon's the doc says you can move around, you can go back."

"Okay." She squinted at him. "You mad at me?"

"No, oh no, darlin'. Jus' a little worried about you is all."

"I'm fine now," she assured him. "Jus' fine."