Compromising Positions | Into the Black | Contact

The Slumber Party

Notes: A little HetYay! Be warned. And no worries - I'm taking the fast train back to HoYay-ville

Series: The Hotel

Sequel to: The Romp

"Where the ruttin' hell are they?" Mal asks as he paces back and forth in the hotel lobby. Wash and Zoe wait with him, the rest of the crew of the Serenity having already taken the first shuttle back to the spaceport.

"Mal, relax," Wash says. "They'll be here. They know we have to leave this morning."

Pacing and waiting for Jayne and Simon to show up, Mal ponders the events of the previous night and wonders exactly when he went insane.

It had definitely been one of the strangest nights of Malcolm Reynolds' life, and that was saying quite a lot. It had started with Jayne and Simon sitting next to each other at dinner and ended with Mal becoming an honourary girl.

Mal figured something funny was going on when Simon and Jayne didn't snipe and snark at each other. His suspicions were confirmed when Jayne's hand disappeared under the table part way through the meal, and Simon nearly choked on a mouthful of food when he gasped at whatever it was Jayne was doing. Simon threw down his napkin, stood up and walked away from the table. He must have signaled Jayne because within seconds the big man got up from the table so fast he nearly knocked it over. Zoe and Wash took one look at each other, tossed their napkins on the table and left, too. The rest of the crew continued their meal at a leisurely pace and when it was over, Book excused himself, leaving Mal with Kaylee, River, and Inara.

Mal got up from the table and bowed at the waist, a slight smirk on his face, "Ladies, I hope you have a pleasant evening, try not to order the entire dessert menu." Mal turned and headed towards the bar. The next thing he knew, Kaylee and River had grabbed each of his arms.

"Oh no, you don't, Captain. No goin' off and bein' alone an' mopin'," Kaylee said. "You're coming with us."

"I am, am I?" Mal said and looked back and forth between the two girls. "Now, where, exactly, am I going?"

"Inara booked us a suite, an' we're gonna have a slumber party," Kaylee said brightly as she and River started tugging Mal towards the stairs.

Mal turned his head and looked at Inara. "You know about this?"

Inara held up her hands and waved them in negation. "Don't look at me. It's all their idea."

"Kaylee," Mal said, and started pulling his arms away, "this is ridiculous. I'm a grown man."

"Please, Captain?" Kaylee said, eyes wide. "It'll be fun."

"Fun," River stated firmly and smiled widely.

Mal looked back and forth between the two earnest faces again, and then looked at Inara who was trying desperately to suppress a grin.

Mal rolled his eyes and said, "Oh, all right." The truth was, he didn't particularly want to sit in the bar alone half the night. He had thought he and Jayne would get nice and hammered together, but apparently the mercenary had other plans - with Simon of all people. Mal shook his head slightly in wonderment.

The girls dragged him by his arms to the suite they were sharing with Inara and she opened the door. The room was large and well furnished with two big queen-sized beds in the centre of the suite. Kaylee steered him towards the open doorway of the bathroom. She pushed him in and shut the door.

"Kaylee, what the..." Mal said, reaching for the door handle.

"We're gonna change into our jammies - no peeking," Kaylee said playfully. "We'll tell you when it's safe to come out."

Mal pulled his hand away from the door and started looking around the washroom. He picked up random personal objects that the ladies had left behind, and was running his fingers over a fancy brush that must be Inara's when he heard Kaylee's muffled voice through the door.

"You can come out now."

The women were all on one bed. River, wearing one of her loose flower print dresses and shorts, was lying on her stomach, waving her bare feet in the air. Kaylee, in a pair of loose pants and a tiny top was sitting cross-legged near the centre of it, while Inara lounged on one hip, legs tucked to one side, the soft folds of her silk dressing gown pooling around her. Mal took off his jacket and tossed it on a chair. Then he sat down on the other bed and took off his boots. Imitating Kaylee, Mal sat cross-legged on the bed.

Feeling uncomfortable, Mal looked around the room, his eyes skimming everything, but not really taking it in. He cleared his throat. "Now what?"

"Well, Captain," Kaylee said, "Usually at these sorts of things we fix each other's hair and talk about men. But seein' as you're not really gonna want to do that, I thought we'd play a game instead."

Mal flashed a quick look at Inara, but her features gave nothing away. "What kinda game, Kaylee?"

"Truth or dare," Kaylee said with a big grin on her face.

Reluctantly, after being called a chicken by all three women, Mal agreed to play. At first, the questions and dares were light-hearted and fun - who knew that Kaylee could do a handstand, or that River could touch her tongue to her nose, or that Inara could cross her eyes, or that Kaylee kissed her first boy at 11, or that Inara hadn't until she was 16? They had managed to get Mal to confess to having three sisters and a love of tomatoes, and had gotten him to make a prank call down to the hotel lobby. Suddenly, the questions started getting more and more personal - Mal had not needed to know that Kaylee had had sex with two men at once, or that River thought Jayne was sexy. After being asked by a wide-eyed River how old he was when he lost his virginity, and being goaded into confessing, Mal decided to avoid choosing truth for a while.

"Truth or dare, Inara?" Kaylee asked.


"Have you ever been in love?"

Looking quickly down at her hands, Inara said, "Yes."

River's turn, she picked truth. Trying to keep it light, Inara asked her, "Favourite colour?"

Eyes squeezed tightly shut, River shuddered and said, "Anything but blue."

Before River asked, Mal said, "Dare."

River looked up at him from under her long hair and said, "Kiss Inara - lips."

Feeling his face start to flush, Mal glanced quickly at Inara out of the corner of his eye, and said, "Maybe we should stop now. You young ladies are getting carried away." Inara's face had drained of blood and her skin was white as death.

"C'mon, Captain," Kaylee said. "You promised you'd play by the rules. You been dared, so take your dare."

Mal looked at Inara again with a question in his eyes. She nodded slightly. Mal got up and went over to where Inara was sitting. He leaned down and lightly brushed his lips against hers - they were soft, so soft, and perfect and sweet and everything he wanted but could not have. It took every once of will power he had in him not to make the kiss deeper, not to claim those lush lips as his own, not to open himself to the heartache that he knew would come if he allowed his true feelings for this woman out of the locked cage he tried to keep them in. Pulling back quickly, not looking at Inara, Mal went to the chair where he had tossed his jacket earlier.

Kaylee made a disappointed noise, "That wasn't even a real kiss," she said pouting.

"Enough, Kaylee," Mal said sternly, some anger in his voice as he picked up the jacket. "That's enough. Game's over. We have to get up early in the morning and get to the spaceport."

"Don't be mad, Captain," Kaylee said. "Stay, we'll stop, promise. We can tell ghost stories. I bet you know a few."

It was difficult to maintain any sort of anger in the face of Kaylee's cheerful enthusiasm and Mal felt himself smiling back at her.

"Oh, all right, you win again, Miss Frye. I'll stay - but only one story, I was serious about having to get up early."

Mal had ended up telling three, but by then all the tension had left him and he slept peacefully through the night.

Wash nudges Zoe on the shoulder and directs her eyes towards the staircase. She looks up and sees Simon and Jayne making their way very slowly down the stairs. Jayne is standing beside the smaller man, a hand on his back as the doctor negotiates the stairs, death grip on the banister as he guides himself down, one painful step at a time.

"Recognize the walk?" Wash murmurs into her ear and gives it a soft kiss.

"Reckon I walked it a time or two, husband," she says and smiles softly at the memories.

In a louder voice, Wash interrupts Mal's reverie, "Mal, you might want to take it easy on them. Looks like they have a good reason for being late."

Mal looks up at the staircase and he can practically hear Simon hissing in pain at each step. Jayne puts his hand on Simon's arm and stops him. They have what looks like a brief argument, and then Jayne scoops up the smaller man and carries him the rest of the way down the stairs to the waiting crew members.

Simon's face is red with embarrassment and he struggles in Jayne's arms. "All right, Jayne, we're here. Put me down." Jayne gives him a soft, gentle kiss, puts Simon down, and then wraps an arm around Simon's waist, pulling him close. Simon smiles and leans against Jayne.

"About ruttin' time," Mal grumbles, the heat taken out of his anger by the public display of affection. "C'mon, our docking permit's about to run out."