Mal and Inara both have a day off and decide to spend the day together.

Chapter One – "Raindrops on Roses"

As Malcolm Reynolds paced up and down the cargo bay of Serenity, the unsettling thought that something was not right crossed his mind. Looking back to Serenity's entrance, where the crew was waiting for his say-so before they left, he tried to imagine what could be making him feel so uneasy.

There was only a simple job they had to pull on this moon, and the rest of the time would be spent getting hold of supplies. He couldn't see any valid cause for his anxiety.

Pushing his thoughts aside, he made his way over to his impatient crew.

"Now I know that Wash has declared this moon Alliance-free" Mal began "but that is no reason to be careless. I want everyone to stay on their guard at all times and nobody is to go wandering off by themselves. Am I understood?"

At the nods he received from the crew, Mal continued.

"Jayne, I want you to stay with the Doc and his sister, to make sure they don't get into trouble."

Seeing Simon about to protest, Mal cut him off explaining "Also you're going to need some help carrying back those supplies and Jayne here is one of the best people we got to lug stuff around."

Turning away from them, Mal looked towards his first mate. "Zoe? You and Wash all ready to go?" at her slight nod he continued. "Now if there's going to be any complications you come straight back to Serenity and we'll be off. And don't do letting that husband of yours get into any brawls" Mal said smirking. Wash frowned, but on Zoe's look, held back any retort he might have made.

"Okay, little Kaylee. So you need to be finding us some synchronizers and that compression coil. Dong ma? Don't you let nobody push you into getting something you know won't we don't need. Shepherd will be accompanying you and I know he'll keep you safe" Mal said glancing towards the older man.

Kaylee sighed. "Capt'n, we've gone over this a thousand times already. We get the compression coil and synchronizers, then we come back to the ship. Have you even looked out at this planet? It's so shiny looking and see how nice-looking all the folks are."

Widening her eyes, and pouting her lips slightly, knowing there was no way the Captain would deny her, she continued. "Can't we go and do something fun afterwards? Zoe and Wash might take hours and you said yourself the planet was completely safe and Alliance free"

"Fine" Mal gave in grudgingly after trying to avoid her eyes, but finally giving in. "After your jobs are done you can all go have some fun for a few hours. But be back by 7pm and not a second later. Anyone not back on time will be left behind. Dong ma?"

Kaylee grinned and skipped up to Mal giving him a hug "Awww, thanks Capt'n".

Feeling his face heat up, Mal spoke again. "Well get on with it. I'm not paying ya'll to stand around here all day doing nothing"

Everyone quickly began to exit the ship taking with them the necessary equipment.

"And remember, be back by 7pm." Mal called as they retreated.

Watching as his crew went their separate ways, Mal was once again reminded of the anxiousness he had been feeling previously. Looking around at the empty ship, he suddenly realized what was wrong. He had been so busy organizing what his crew would be doing that he had forgotten to organize his own day.

Lost in his thoughts of what he could be doing, he didn't hear the light footfalls coming down the stairs towards him. It was only when a voice spoke that he was pulled from his thoughts.

"Mal? Are you alright?" a worried Inara questioned, coming into his line of sight.

"Hmmmm?" Looking up Mal realized that she was looking at him with a concerned expression, as he stood there akwardly. "Oh no, nothing's wrong. It appears that I have a day of leisure ahead of me. There's no work to be done. Serenity's running fine and the crew's out getting what we need."

His forehead crinkled suddenly and he looked at her again. "What are you still doing here? Wash said you left for a client."

Inara shrugged. "A change of plans. My client had some important business to attend to and so had to postpone our time together."

"Wow. Do you have a late cancellation fee?" Mal asked grinning "Still must have gotten a nice round sum from him."

Inara smiled disdainfully replying "I don't accept any money unless I have worked for it. A different philosophy to the values you hold, Captain."

Mal opened his mouth to retort, but thinking better of it closed it again. No sense spending the morning of his day off arguing with Inara, as fun as that was, when he could be out roaming the town.

Instead trying a different tack he began. "Well it seems that you and I both have a day off. How's about we go see what's there to do on this moon?"

Inara was initially surprised at his suggestion, but then smiled at him, "I would be delighted to spend the day with you, Captain" she said. Hooking her arm through Mal's which he had held out towards her. "Being a gentleman Mal? I may just die of shock".

Mal laughed at her words, which she had used before on the rare occasion he shocked her with a random act of kindness.

Together the two headed out off Serenity, towards the hustle and bustle of the town. Behind them, Serenity's door closed, protecting it from the outside world.