Diversions & Digressions | fanfiction by mara

Extended Family (the Party Remix)

Extended Family (the Party Remix)

by Mara

Summary: Kaylee and Zoe deal with a life change with their usual aplomb. The rest of Serenity’s crew…doesn’t.

tory Notes:

Written for the 2008 Remix Challenge.

Original story: Extended Family by Liquideyes

Simon opened the door to his room, pausing for a moment to appreciate the sight of Kaylee undressing. That was a sight he really didn’t want to grow blasé about, an idea he’d learned from Wash…which was somewhat apropos, considering this afternoon’s gathering.

“So, you couldn’t tell me, ’cause you promised.” Kaylee didn’t turn around, but he could see the edge of her grin and knew she wasn’t angry.

“That’s right.”

“And that’s why you’ve barely been paying any ‘tention to me, huh?” She turned, slipping off her bra in the complete unselfconsciousness that never failed to amuse and amaze him.

“I’ve been reading,” Simon said.

“Didn’t spend a lot of time studying this at your fancy school?”

“I specialized in trauma medicine,” he said, unaccountably stung. Scolding himself for being silly, he started to undress as well.

Kaylee stood behind him, and after he tugged off his shirt, pressed herself against his back, slipping her arms around his stomach. Leaning back into the hug, Simon felt muscles he hadn’t realized were tense start to relax. Between the stress of keeping the secret and worrying about his ability to care for Zoe, he’d been a mess.

“It’ll be okay,” Kaylee said.

“I hope so.”

“But I’ve gotta wonder what it’s going to be like on Serenity with a *baby*.”

* * * * *

Two hours earlier…

Everyone gathered in the mess with their usual moods. Mal had his arms crossed and was glaring around at everyone, mumbling about time a-wasting. Shepherd Book was kindly allowing Mal to grumble at him, and Simon sent him a mental thank you. He was nervous enough that he didn’t need the captain yelling at him about something.

Kaylee was curious and excited, off in a corner talking with Inara. Jayne was fiddling with a gun, looking bored and annoyed.

Missing were the guests of honor, and Simon worried that their conversation was going worse than he’d expected.

Just as Mal looked like he was going to explode, Zoe strode through the door, followed by Wash, who looked…shell-shocked. His face was white and he was blinking approximately twice as fast as normal, and Simon took a step forward, wondering if he should be treating him for shock. Before he could decide, Mal turned to Zoe, who’d stopped in the middle of the cramped room. “Well?”

Zoe considered him coolly for a second. “I thought it would be easier if I told everyone at once. I’m pregnant.”

The momentary silence was so complete, Simon was ready to swear he could count each individual’s pulse. Everyone was frozen in place, apparently waiting for someone else to respond, or possibly for Zoe to say she was joking.

Just as Simon thought maybe he should speak up, Mal opened his mouth, closed it, then walked right out of the room without a word. Wash turned, as if to follow, face reddening, and Zoe grabbed his arm. They looked at each other, wordlessly communicating, and Wash muttered something under his breath and turned back to the rest of the crew.

Kaylee, that darling woman, piped up before things could get any more awkward. “I’ve got some hooch that’s been brewing,” she said with a delighted smile. “I was waiting for just the right time, and I think this is it.”

Bounding up to Zoe, Kaylee gave her a big hug, which Zoe returned with a small smile, and then Kaylee dashed out of the room. Simon wondered if she was also going to talk to Mal…well, that was her problem, not his.

Inara stepped forward, her smile wide and more sincere than the one they’d seen her show her clients. “I’m so happy for you.” She clasped Zoe’s hands in hers. “Tzoo-foo nee,” she said, kissing Zoe’s cheek.

Inara turned to Wash, who looked like he was going to make a highly inappropriate comment, but a single glance from Zoe caused him to sedately step forward and let Inara kiss his cheek and wish him blessings and luck.

Simon shook Wash’s hand. “Congratulations.”

Wash tried to scowl at him. “You knew.”

“I *am* her doctor.”

The scowl melted away, and Wash glanced at Zoe, who was accepting an effusive hug from Shepherd Book. “She’s, uh, she’ll be, I mean, I’ve heard–”

“She’s fine,” Simon said, taking pity on the other man. “She and the baby are in *excellent* health and I intend to keep them that way.”

Just then, Mal re-entered the room, and there was another deadly silence, as captain and first officer faced each other. (Simon noticed Kaylee slip in behind Mal, but he doubted anyone else noticed her.)

“Congratulations,” Mal said eventually, holding out his hand.

“Thank you, Cap’n,” Zoe said, shaking his hand.

Simon took a deep relieved breath, stepping back to allow Wash to shake Mal’s hand as well. Kaylee, bottle in her hand, practically skipped over to him. “I did good,” she said, grinning at Mal and Zoe.

“You did,” Simon agreed, putting an arm around her shoulders.

“Wanna drink?” she asked.

He looked dubiously at the bottle. “Uh, are there supposed to be brown specks in it?”

“Oh, c’mon, live a little!”

“I’m more worried about *dying.*”

* * * * *

The party had been boisterous, Simon thought as he slid into the bed next to Kaylee. And the festivities had given him a break.

“Tell me,” Kaylee said, pulling him over so she could drape her legs over his.

He didn’t ask what she meant. “Zoe’s depending on me. As is the baby.”

“‘Course, silly. We always depend on you.” She brushed a hand through his hair.

“It’s not the same, though. I know what to do if someone is shot or stabbed, but I’ve only attended four births, one of them as primary. There are so many things that could go wrong.”

“That’s always true out here in the black. We take our chances for the things we love. And the people we love.”

Simon put his arms around Kaylee, pulling her as close as he could. “Thank you,” he said.

“You’re right welcome.” She paused. “You know, now that Zoe’s pregnant too…”

Simon froze. Had she just said…?

She blinked up at him, face innocent and wide. Then she grinned. “You’re still such an easy mark.”

Simon let out a breath that sounded more like a gasp. “You’re terrible.”

Laughing, she rolled out of bed to turn out the light. For a moment, a trick of shadow made her belly look…round. And Simon wondered what she would look like with a babe in arms, her face aglow.

Turning to look at him, her eyes widened. “Oh no, you, don’t be getting any funny ideas!”

He smiled. “We’ll talk about it in the morning.”

“Hmmph. Men,” she said as she turned out the lights.

–end–

Chapter End Notes:
Chinese from the Firefly Pinyinary:
Tzoo-foo nee–Blessing on you

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