blue flamingos

Wedding Day (the Behind-the-Scenes remix)

Fandom: Firefly

Category/Rated: Slash, PG

Year/Length: 2008/ words

Pairing: Kaylee Frye/Simon Tam, Inara Serra/Zoe Washburne

Spoilers: Set post-movie, with attendant spoilers

Disclaimer: No, I don't own them, for which I should think they're profoundly grateful.

Summary: It takes a village, or at least the population of a small ship.

Author's Notes: Original story: Champagne by [info]n_e_star

Feedback: Yes please. Even if it's bad. Especially if it's bad.


A man who loved her...

Inara found Zoë in the kitchen, late into the night, when everyone was asleep, or at least in their own beds. Sleep was perhaps a little too much to ask of this crew, after the evening they had just spent.

"Guess you won," Zoë said when Inara sat down opposite her with the tea pot and an empty cup. "Thought Simon'd take at least another month to ask her."

Inara topped up Zoë's cup, then filled her own. "You under-estimate the power of young love," she said.

Zoë nodded. "Apparently. Always seemed like the core planets were keen on long courting periods before marriage."

"Usually they are," Inara agreed. She didn't mention that no-one who adhered to core planet traditions would be marrying Kaylee, who would never fit into the ideal of a young wife there. "Perhaps Simon no longer feels like he belongs to their traditions."

"Could be," Zoë agreed.

They drank their tea peacefully; Inara thought everyone on the ship had noticed how quiet Zoë had become during the impromptu celebration of Simon and Kaylee's engagement, River curling next to her on the sofa, Mal hovering close to her and trying to look as though he wasn't. It was one of the times when Inara's own status as half-outsider worked in her favour – she was the only person around whom Zoë would allow herself to be anything less than perfectly fine.

"I forget," she said eventually. "What did we wager on the date of the engagement?"

Zoë looked up from contemplation of her empty mug and smiled. "Believe it was winner's choice," she said.

"Indeed?" Inara said. She collected both cups, replacing them and the tea pot in her cupboard. When she moved back to the table, Zoë was on her feet, waiting. "Then may I suggest that we both retire and I can collect on my winnings."

Sometimes, she thought she was the only person from whom Zoë would allow herself to accept comfort.

All that was left was to find a preacher...

Mal could cope with most things, though there were a lot that he preferred not to, given the choice. One thing he couldn't cope with was his mechanic in tears in the engine room. It was even worse when she smiled through her tears, told him that she was thinking of Shepherd Book, and then made a joke about no-one listening to the preacher at the wedding, the end barely making sense as her bottom lip shook.

He was clearly going soft in his old age. It was the only explanation for why he was using up precious power on making a long-distance vid call to a man he hadn't spoken to in going on twelve years, asking for a favor.

And if that wasn't evidence enough of his going mushy beyond the telling of it, he found himself thinking that it had been worth an hour of lectures about faith when Kaylee's face lit up and she leapt across the kitchen to hug him like he'd given her the best present, instead of just finding her a preacher who'd do the job cheap.

Two days later, Jayne swallowed something he shouldn't have and came back to the ship ranting and raving and trying to kiss Inara; Mal hit him over the head with a handy wrench and not a second thought.

Not totally soft yet.

Simon always looked classy...

"I don't see why I gotta do this," Jayne complained, following Mal through the ship. Two days they were going to be planet-side, and Mal wanted him to babysit the doc.

"Because I'm in charge and I say so," Mal said, like he always did. Like Jayne didn't have no say in things.

"Seems like more Inara's thing," Jayne added. "All them fancy parties she's always going to, she'd be the one to tell him –"

"Jayne." Mal stopped and turned round very fast, so Jayne nearly walked into him. "You might recall that we have in fact been here before, and were not exactly well received on revelation of our intent to steal the town's priceless treasure."

Jayne grunted in agreement – they'd been chased off the planet at gun-point, and he hadn't even gotten to fire at one of them. Mal was no fun some days.

"Perhaps you might also recall that this place is home to the finest purveyor of men's attire outside the core," Mal continued. Jayne took a minute to work out what he was saying – he hated when Mal got all super-polite and started using big words – and nodded. "And I'm sure you'll agree that Inara, while terrible knowledgeable about all manner of things, isn't the first person you'd choose as a bodyguard on a world that's not real keen on us."

Jayne gave in – sometimes it was the only option. "Can I at least take some weapons?"

"Whatever weapons you like," Mal said, then saw Jayne smiling. "No grenades."

Yeah. No fun at all.

Was a shame – Jayne was sure the tailor would have knocked another fifty percent off the price of Simon's smart wedding clothes if Jayne had had a few grenades to threaten him with.

The most beautiful dress a girl could want...

"It has..." River circled the dress, or half-circled it – the wall was in the way of the rest of her circle. The word she wanted ran ahead of her, too fast to catch, and she rippled her fingers instead, trying to call it back.

Frills and frippery. Too much froufrou, Kaylee said in her own head, words in River's head, remembering Zoë's words when she'd first seen the pink dress in a shop window on Persephone. River shook her head. Not right.

"It has friendly parts," she said. "It wants to attract people. Lots of things for them to look at."

Kaylee smiled and frowned at the same time. Inara did that as well, both of them saving it just for River. No-one else looked at her that way, though they all would either smile or frown at her. She liked it when Kaylee did, and when Inara did as well. "Is that a good thing?" Kaylee asked, fingering one of the frills.

"It's a Kaylee thing," River told her, making Kaylee smile.

The color of the frosting being changed...

"You know," Inara said when she found Zoë and Kaylee standing round the large sink in Serenity's laundry room, and River sitting cross-legged at the side of it, "I had heard that things were done differently away from the core planets, but I wasn't aware things were so different."

Kaylee looked up with a grin. "This is my wedding present from Zoë," she said.

"I see," Inara said, though she didn't. "I'm a little afraid to ask, but what is it?"

In answer, Zoë lifted her hands from the sink, a mass of damp material dripping dark red as she held it up. For a moment, Inara thought it was blood, before she reasoned that blood was in no way an appropriate wedding gift. "Figured if we're going to pull this shindig, we ought to do it right. Stick to tradition."

"Color of blood, meaning of happiness," River murmured, tracing a pattern on the water with one finger. The material shifted with the water, and Inara caught a glimpse of familiar lace trim.

"Your dress," she said.

Kaylee nodded. "Zoë altered it, too. Made it all... slinky."

"Slinky?" Inara asked, raising on eyebrow at the three of them. "I shall look forward to seeing that."

"Gotta do things properly," Zoë said firmly, lifting the rest of the material from the dye and letting it drain.

Inara thought of the few captures she'd seen of Zoë and Wash's wedding – there hadn't been much traditional or proper about that ceremony, but maybe that was the point. Maybe it was just that such things hadn't mattered then, not the way they mattered now.

"I'm sure you'll be beautiful, mei-mei," she said, hugging Kaylee against her side.

Inara said that she would see to River, who had fallen asleep and was being carried by Zoë...

"You think Simon will mind if we put her to sleep in his room?" Zoë asked, shifting River in her arms and wishing she hadn't chosen to wear a dress to the ceremony – it was hard to climb stairs with a full-grown girl in her arms and a dress that threatened to trip her on every step.

"I think very strongly," Inara said, sounding like she was smiling. "Here." A hand grazed Zoë's thigh, then Inara gathered up some of the material of her dress, holding it back from her feet.

Zoë nodded her thanks.

"She can sleep in the shuttle with me," Inara added, turning them in that direction. "There's plenty of room."

Zoë thought about pointing out that she had as much space as Inara, these days, but she didn't want to think on that, not today.

River settled into Inara's low couch with a sigh, curling into herself and tucking one hand under her cheek, looking much younger than she was. Some days, it was hard to imagine that River had fought off the Reavers.

"Should I change her into something more comfortable, do you think?" Inara asked, eying River's dress, the line of stiff, embroidered decoration running down the sleeves.

"She'll be fine," Zoë said. "Won't be more than a bit of discomfort, if that." She was tired, and her feet hurt, from too much standing at the ceremony, but she was glad to have been there. Maybe now she could think on weddings and think of this, not of her own. "I think I've had enough excitement for one evening," she said, nodding to the door.

Inara's hand closed round her wrist, cool and light, before she could step away. "Stay," she said softly. "If you want."

Zoë thought of her quarters, still covered with reminders of her husband, the one place on the ship where no-one was welcome, and how Inara had opened her own space to Zoë without question, when she'd rejoined the ship after Miranda. It wasn't a hard decision, not really.

Champagne colored slip...

River woke up. The room was dark and unfamiliar, full of shadows that she didn't recognize at first. She could hear two people breathing, two more than usual, and one heartbeat missing.

It came back when she slipped from the shuttle into Serenity, the ship whispering around her, humming beneath her bare feet. Her skirt trailed behind her, adding its own voice, but there was no-one awake to hear it. She thought about balancing on the railings, all the way from the shuttle to the cargo bay, not once touching the floor, but this was a night for feet on the ground, not flying away like the day had been.

The cargo bay was cooler than the shuttle, and not long empty. River stepped across it, each foot carefully placed, until her toe touched something that wasn't right. Not the ship, not Serenity.

She bent to look at it, soft and pale, delicate in the gloom, satin under her fingers when she risked a touch. Not warm, but not cold either – not long discarded, and only one person on Serenity would wear such a thing. She thought of Jayne for a moment, a hand pressed to her lips against the sound that tried to escape. No noise, not in the night.

She lifted the slip carefully from the floor, folding it into a triangle, tucking the ends inside. Not made to be changed, she thought, and crept back to Inara and Zoë and the room of strange angles, tucking the slip away before she slept.

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