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just another day on Serenity

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"Remind me why we’re all out here?"

Kaylee rolled her eyes at Mal, sat down on one of the couches, then repeated for the umpteenth time, "Most of the heating's out. She'll hold together a'ight, but it'll be pretty cold 'less we stay in a room together. 'Kay?"

The whole crew was in one of the communal rooms, passing around blankets and jackets in an attempt to stave off the cold that was slowly creeping through the ship. Zoë tapped Kaylee on the shoulder and offered her a blanket. She accepted with a murmur of thanks. She then turned back to Mal, who was leaning on the back of the couch opposite to the one she sat on. The rest of the crew milled about.

Mal scowled. "My bed's a far sight more comfortable 'n these couches but okay. Whaddwe need to fix it, 'gain?"

"Just a couple parts. We can get 'em soon as we touch down on Hera. Just one night. Maybe two."

Mal grunted.

Jayne took up a place next to Mal on the back of the couch, and they exchanged quiet grumblings for a good thirty seconds.

"She's cold, but she's not asleep," River said, distant-sounding as ever.

River sat down lightly next to Kaylee, right on the edge of the couch. Her eyes roved around the room. Kaylee muttered something to her, looking pointedly at Simon. River burst into laughter. Simon's attention had been attracted by River's laugh, and now all he could do was watch in bewilderment as River and Kaylee talked, giggled, and then looked at him in regular intervals.

He sighed in frustration at their antics, and instead turned his attention to Mal.

"So. Who's sleeping where?"

"Dibs not with Jayne! He's as smelly as it's humanly possible," River said, much to Jayne's displeasure. He, thoroughly miffed, glared at her. She smiled brightly back.

Mal sighed, a steady stream of air through his teeth. He stood up and surveyed his crew. "Girls there, boys here." He said, gesturing in turn to the couch where Kaylee and River sat, on which Inara leaned, and then to the couch upon which Jayne had just recently been leaning.

Zoë sat down on the far right side of the couch, drawing a blanket over her legs and shoulders then just blankly looking at nothing in particular. Inara noticed her seeming detachment and murmured something into her ear. Zoë's expression brightened slightly.

Jayne took three blankets and the far left end of the couch. He stretched his back over the arm rest but, much to the pleasure of Mal and Simon, drew his legs in, which left a considerable amount of space for them all.

Kaylee and River shared a blanket, looking thoroughly sister-like. Zoë and Inara shared a blanket, looking... Not thoroughly sister-like. Simon fumbled with the light switch a moment, then turned off the light successfully. He yawned and, rubbing his eyes, stumbled back to the sofa on which he had been doomed to the middle. In the dark, however, he tripped on a shoe that had been left by the base of the couch and fell straight towards the couch, saving himself from falling on top of Mal by throwing out his arms at the last moment. The cause being thus: he stood suspended over Mal, in the pitch dark. Oh shit.

Through some quick, careful manoeuvring, Simon removed himself from that exceptionally awkward situation. He sat in the middle of the couch, wrapping himself in blankets and waiting for sleep. It didn't come.

Some time later, perhaps ten minutes, Mal tapped Simon lightly on the shoulder. Simon started and turned around.

"I can tell you're up," Mal breathed.

Simon looked away. "Couldn't sleep."

"Me neither."

Suddenly, a pair of arms was wrapped around Simon's torso, a pair of arms that gently pulled him back, onto the lap of their owner.


"Just for tonight. Help you sleep." Mal's voice was softer than a whisper, yet it echoed in Simon's head for another few minutes—was it one? Five? Ten? Simon couldn't tell. He was simply over aware of Mal—Mal's arms, Mal's breathing, the way Mal had tucked his face next to Simon's—he way it fit perfectly. It was torturous, being so close to Mal yet still knowing full well he had no chance. At some point, Simon must have fallen asleep, because what seemed like soon later, he became aware off being woken up.

"Simon... C'mon. We should get up before e'ry one else." It was Mal, murmuring in his ear and rubbing tiny circles on his arms and hands. Simon sighed and sat up tiredly, blearily rubbing his eyes.