TITLE: Back to Bellerophon

AUTHOR: bugchicklv

DISCLAIMER: Not mine! If it were, Jayne would be nekkid in every episode. And the BDM. And in everything Adam might ever do...

CHALLENGE MONTH: October/Halloween

PROMPT: #96 Halloween (Writer's Choice)

SUMMARY: A job, some costumes, a distraction...

WORD COUNT: 3354

RATING: PG, to be safe (1 real curse word, some sexual innuendo and implied sexual relationships between the characters)

CHARACTERS: Everyone (ALL SERIES Major Characters, plus the mention of a recurring character). But it does have a bit of River/Jayne shippiness. Also, implied: S/K, Z/W, M/I.

SPOILERS: None for BDM; I do use a few quotes from the series episodes, and can that realllllly be considered a "spoiler" any more?

NOTES: Written in response to the Halloween challenge at the LJ community for Rayne-shippers. Also fulfills challenge #96 (Writer's Choice which I am designating "Halloween") for the fanfic100 community. I really don't like this format, but I was at a loss for how to make this work...the narrative style with dialogue wasn't working. After taking several Vicodin to alleviate the headache I suffered as a result of beating my skull repeatedly on the keyboard, I settled on this style. I hope it is not too distracting. Finished this pretty late and no one was up to beta sigh so all mistakes are my own. SPECIAL THANKS TO aliaspiral for allllll her help. I knew I wanted this STORY THEME, and she kept throwing ideas for "HOW to play it out" at me 'til SOMETHING finally stuck. The special planet suggestion along with a commercial I saw at 5 pm yesterday solidified my story. THANK YOU SUGAR!

This might possibly be a Crack!Fic. It's THAT stupid.

&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

Serenity—Cargo Bay

The crew is standing in a semi-circle, facing Mal who is explaining the next job.

Mal: So, that's the plan.

Kaylee: Mighty fine plan, Cap'n.

Mal: (With a smile) Ain't it just? Inara done good.

Simon: Inara? Is she moonlighting as the criminal mastermind now?

Mal: It was her idea, but my plan; so everyone knows what they gotta do, right?

Kaylee: Find strawberries; distract the guard posted in front of the library door.

Simon: Be prepared for emergency medical intervention; try not to get injured myself.

Jayne: Stand around and look ominous; kick the ass of anyone in our way.

Wash: Stay close to the exit so that I can prep the shuttle for a hurried take-off.

Zoe: Provide back-up; restrain the mark.

River: Ascertain the combination of the safe so that Captain Daddy can get the jewelry.

Book: (From around the corner, clearly not a part of this operation) Pray for your safe return and that no one gets caught.

Chuckles from some of them.

Jayne: So, what's 'Nara's job?

Mal: Ain't a part of this. She just provided the idea and got us the details. Seems Bellepheron is ripe for plucking again.

Zoe: Badger waved, said the invitations should be in the package Inara just picked up.

Wash: What package, lamby-toes?

Mal: Our costumes.

Simon: What? What kind of costumes?

Mal: Well, not rightly sure about that yet—Inara's getting' 'em. But the job's takin' place while Davidson's throwing a costume ball of some sort.

Kaylee: A ball! Does that mean I get to wear my dress again? (Dreamily) Maybe they'll have hot cheese, too.

Mal: Not sure, little Kaylee. We'll know when Inara gets back.

Simon: Which is when, exactly?

Mal: Anytime now. Wash, best head up to the bridge in case she's on her way.

Wash: (With a mock salute) Aye-aye Captain!

The crew disperses.

&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

1 hour Later, Serenity—Common Room

Inara: Mal, you have no choice. It was MY idea and I know best how to approach this plan. Yours is flawed and depends too much on luck and violence.

Mal: Inara, I ain't fixing to argue with you on this. Can't have you takin' risks like that—you bein' on a sabbatical don't mean you can't get in trouble with the Guild.

Inara: (Snidely) Well, I would have thought you'd appreciate that. It would, after all, take care of the pesky "whore" issue.

Mal: (Snarky) But then I'd be out rent on that shuttle.

Inara: This is WHY I want to help more! If I'm not taking clients I need to find work in some other capacity. And I know you have no appreciation for my cooking skills.

Mal: (With a snort) Boilin' water ain't cooking. And if I recall, you didn't even do that right!

Inara: (Testily) Be that as it may, I have been to this function in the past and I know what needs to be done and how to do it. Davidson keeps the combination on his person because he his mind is typically altered, and I know how to get to it—

Mal: (Sneering) I'm sure you do.

Inara: (Ignoring him) He had a heavy smoothers habit from what I remember, and it should be considerably worse by now. You and the others will provide the distraction for me to lure Davidson away. He is very pliable without his little cadre pulling his strings. While you continue to distract, I will extract the combination, dope him, and retrieve the jewelry.

Mal: (Concerned) 'Nara, I don't like this. You could get hurt, or caught. And what would you do if the Guild kicked you out?

Inara: (Softly) Find another job…maybe like Nandi. I don't know, Mal. What I DO know is that your plan will not succeed. MINE will. Trust me on this, please.

Mal: So, if I agree—what kind of distraction were you looking for? Gunfight, Swordfight, Fistfight?

Inara: Um. Well, you see…maybe you should get the rest of the crew together so that I can explain it to all of you at once.

Mal: Why? You can tell me, I'll tell them. If'n I don't like the idea, we go back to my plan. I ain't keen already on the idea that we gotta park Serenity in orbit and everybody's gotta come off as it is…puts too many people at risk and provides too many variables, distractions.

Inara: I understand your concern, but that is part of how that planet is handling security now…after you and your wife managed to abscond with The Lassiter.

Mal: Seems I remember you havin' a pretty big part in that, too.

Inara: Yes, and I didn't fail you then, did I? Trust in me again.

Mal: I trust you Inara; I just don't trust Davidson. (After a pause) So I guess that means I better go get the crew and inform them of the change in plans.

&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

20 minutes Later, Serenity—Common Room

Everyone is sitting at the table.

Jayne: Whaddaya mean, "The plan's changed"?

Mal: The. Plan. Has. Changed. Inara knows these people and has inside information. So, the only thing we have to do is provide a serious distraction…one that lasts for—how long, Inara?

Inara: At least 5-7 minutes. And you have to get as many people involved in it as possible. I cannot do my job if his cronies are simpering after him constantly, and follow me back to the study.

Kaylee: So, what's we gotta do?

River: (Giggles, knowing already)

Inara: Well, first let me give you your costumes. Then, we'll talk. And I'll need to see everyone to do their make-up before we leave.

Jayne: Make up? Uh uh, no ruttin' way!

Simon: As concerned as I am that I agree with Jayne, it does not stop me from asking what you mean by that.

Inara: Make up; for your face. This event is not a masquerade in the typical sense. And Mal, you especially, might be recognized. Haymer and Atherton are regular attendees.

Mal: (Angered, then frustrated) What? Why can't a plan be simple? Be nice to have something go our way just the once.

Zoe: Maybe we ought not take this job? We can wave Badger…

Inara: That won't work. He's…already on his way to meet us at the complex. When he gave me the invitations he said that he was worried you'd back out Mal.

Jayne: (Suspiciously) Why's he always doubtin' us?

River: (In a sing-song voice) He doubts everyone. Lonely. Sad. Pathetic lit'le king.

Jayne: Hey, maybe for this distraction I can get nekkid!

Inara: (Looking him in the eye) Don't stray to far from that thought…

Inara starts to hand out the garments and accessories from a bag much too small for Mal's liking.

Simon: (Shocked) IS THIS IT? I can't wear this, Inara!

Mal: (Outraged) You? What the hell IS this, woman?

Jayne: (Confused) Why I gotta wear what I already got a handful 'a pair of? And these glasses better not be real or else I won't be able to aim my 6-shooter. Wait, where am I supposed to put Boo?

Simon: (Stuttering) Really, Inara. No. I…this…

Kaylee: (Happily, placing the hat on her head) Ooooh! Mine is so shiny and sparkly and look at all the glitter! Are these real tap shoes? I ain't taken tap in years.

Zoe: Is this some kind of statement? I appreciate how you picked costumes for me and Wash that seem to match, but…

Wash: This is the rattiest jacket I have ever seen. What's with the lump? And do I HAVE to wear the wig? I'm already fair-haired.

Inara: (Snapping her fingers) Oooh! Speaking of which… (She runs to her shuttle and comes back a moment later to find everyone still grumbling) Here: one for Mal, one for Simon.

Simon: (Horrified) A BLOND? Oh come on! Can get this get any worse?

Mal: (Holding up the shoes he has to wear) You wanna trade? Cause I will. I don't fancy breakin' my neck in these.

Inara: No Mal, you have to wear that costume. It has the most elaborate make up and, if we are to sneak you past Atherton and Haymer, you are going to need it.

Mal: So, I gotta wear all of this. ALL OF IT? (With a squeak, holding up a very small item) Even this?

Inara: (Trying hard to hide a smile and not succeeding) Yes.

River: (Disappointed) Mine is rather plain. (Holding up one of the pieces) Of course, I don't have one of these. Never really needed one…me being so small.

Jayne: Naw Baby-girl. Just right! (Holding out his hands, palms up) Perfect fit for my…

Mal: (Slapping his hand over his ears) Whoa! No more!

Simon looks nauseated. Whether it was at that comment, or his costume, is still unclear.

Inara: Let me see that, sweetie. (She grabs one of the other items in River's hands, rips the garment to shreds, and hands the torn pieces to Simon) I didn't have time to do that yet. Simon, you'll want to make those into bandages.

River: (Beaming) Much better!

Jayne: (Licking his lips) Hell yeah it is, Little-bit.

Simon: (With a groan at Jayne's lecherous stare and waggled brows) Can this night get any worse?

Inara: (Sheepishly) Well, now that you mention it…I guess I had better fill you in on the rest of the plan. We still have a few hours until we land, and in that time…well, you all need to see the vid that these costumes are based on.

Kaylee: Why's that 'Nara?

Inara: Because you have to learn about it for the "diversion." (Confused looks) Let me explain. Ok, too much to explain, so let me sum up: This is not your typical masquerade. There will be no fancy dresses, no masks, no tuxedos…

Wash: (Holding up his costume) Well, what is this supposed to be then?

Inara: Ok, generally, no tuxedos-- except for Wash's. And…the atmosphere will be very different than anything you have probably attended in your life. It's called a "Fantasy and Fetish Ball", and this one is the biggest in the system; it always is, especially since it is usually held on the same day as All Hallows Eve.

River: Samhain, pagan holiday. Fitting costumes.

Inara: Yes, that as well, River; and I am glad you agree.

Mal: (Still looking panicked) So, what are you going as?

Inara: I will be the Goddess Aphrodite

Jayne: Well, now that ain't much of a stretch you bein' a Companion and all, schooled in the arts 'a love. (At the shocked looks he gets grumpy) What? River's been teachin' me stuff. Gorram idjits acting like a man can't improve hi'self!

River: (With a wicked grin) Improves with each lesson.

Jayne: (Leering, touching her tiny costume) Yeah, well so do you, Little-bit. Think we might be in for some lessons tonight.

Simon: (Groaning) No THIS must be what going mad feels like!

Inara: (Empathetically) Oh, Simon—you don't know the half of it. I suggest everyone meet me back in my shuttle to watch the vid and acquaint yourselves on your character.

Mal: Great. Hey! What was that bit about it helping us with the distraction?

Inara: Yes, it definitely will. You see, every year the crowd votes on the best group of costumes and that group must then entertain them with a scene from whatever poem, story, book, or movie they are dressed as. Badger is stuffing the ballot box as we speak.

Zoe: So, if he's doing that, why do we have to dress this way?

Wash: I'm not complaining anymore sweetie-pie! I just noticed what you're supposed to wear UNDER that uniform and I'm thinking…

Inara: (Ignoring him) BECAUSE it has to look plausible that you actually WON. These costumes were VERY popular on Earth-that-was and with my assistance, you will easily have the crowd fooled.

Mal: (Still uncertain) But…

Inara: Let's go watch the vid. I am sure all of you will have A TON of complaints after you are done. I think I'd rather hear them all at once. Oh, and you still have to learn the scene.

Everyone heads to Inara's shuttle.

&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

100 minutes Later--Interior of Inara's Shuttle

Simon: BUT SHE'S MY SISTER! Please tell me that is NOT the scene we have to perform!

River: (Condescending) It is just play acting. We used to play doctor when we were…

Jayne: Oh hell no! I reallllly don't wanna hear that Baby-girl. (Glaring at Inara) And it sure as hell better not be me and…I mean, it's MAL. I ain't sly!

River: It could be MY scene with Mal.

Jayne: (Growling) Over my dead body.

Zoe: That can easily be arranged, you know.

Kaylee: Wow. Zoe, uh. Not that you aren't pretty an all, but I really hope it ain't that scene where our characters are watchin'…well, all that stuff on the view-screen. And Inara, what about my guy? I mean, I know he gets killed but…well, who's s'posed ta be him?

Inara: I think I mentioned earlier that…Badger will be joining us? I made sure to tell him his costume consisted of denim pants and a leather jacket. He said he knew exactly where to get a saxophone.

Kaylee: Whew! (At Simon's hurt expression) I mean, I was kinda worried that it'd have to be the Sheppard and I don't wanna go to hell for that. Got enough to repent for as it is.

Book: (From the door again) Yes, well I am assuming that I am the man in the suit?

Inara: (Bowing slightly in acknowledgement) Shepherd. Only if you wish to be, but yes…it would be beneficial; then almost all of the important cast members are taken care of.

Simon: I still cannot believe that…I mean…People WATCHED that? (Squealing again) And LIKED it?

Inara: Oh, yes! It was one of the most popular cult movies of all time. I have even read of nights when audience participation outshined the actual movie.

Mal: (Grumbling) Not seein' how that'd be hard to do.

Inara: Well, there is no accounting for taste. (Looking at Jayne and River making out on her bed) Ugh, no matter the century. So, everyone needs to get dressed and come back here for hair and make up.

Mal: Can I just bow out like a good chicken-shit would? You know, stay in an EVA suit and float out here in the black till you guys get done? I don't know if I can pull this off, Inara. (Holding up a very small item of clothing and the shoes) THIS! -- is not a Big Damn Hero costume.

Inara: Now now, Mal. You have the biggest…um, role in this. And I think I know the scene you all will be performing. It's simple to learn, is destined to engage the crowd, and while everyone in the movie did not actually star in this scene, it is easily overlooked with all the fun that will be had. Kaylee, you said you know to tap dance, right? Wash, Zoe, can you sing?

&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

3 hours Later, Bellepheron—Davidson's Ballroom

After much mingling, drinking, eating and dancing, the Fantasy and Fetish Ball's MC steps to the microphone.

MC: Ladies and Gentlemen. May I now present this year's winning costume group! They are going to perform for us a musical number, and would like complete audience participation. Please, everyone on your feet!

Clapping and cheering as the curtain rises to Wash, Zoe, Jayne, and River front and center…Simon, Badger, Kaylee, and Mal waiting to one side, Book to the other.

Wash: (Singing deeply, circling River and Jayne) It's astounding. Time issss fleeting. Madnessssss…takes its toll. But listen closely--

Zoe: (Sexily rubbing on Jayne) Not for very much lonnnngerrrr—

Wash: I've got to keep controlllllll. (Louder) I rememberrrrr--doin' the Time Warp--drinking those moments when…the Blackness would hit me—

Both: And the void would be callllling…

All: (Singing, gathering together) Let's do the Time Warp again! Let's do the Time Warp agaaaaaaain!

Book: (Demonstrating) It's just a jump to the left.

All: (Dancing) And then a step to the riiiiiiiiight.

Book: (Demonstrating) With your hands on your hips.

All: (Dancing) You bring your knees in tiiiiiiiiiight. But it's the pelvic thruuuuust that really drives you insaaaaaaaaaaayayayane. (Starting to mingle with the crowd, encouraging participation) Let's do the Time Warp agaaaaain! Let's do the Time Warp agaaaaain!

&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

2 hours Later, Serenity—Catwalk near the shuttles

Inara: Well, here you are Mal--one bag of completely untraceable jewels, ready for Badger to fence. I hope you got a good percentage of the cut.

Mal: (Snorting) Not enough, considering what I had to wear. You do realize that I've never been hit on so many times in my life. Didn't seem to matter who it was, either. Mighty pretty men at that party, I must say. Right now though, I think I want nothing better than to shower this stuff off and burn this corset. These gloves ITCHED and I have no clue how you women wear these gartery thingies. And what the hell? Those SHOES almost KILLED me!

Inara: (Putting her arm around him, purring) Come to my shuttle Mal. I have some special makeup remover that will be sure to get all traces of that charcoal eye shadow and black eyeliner off. (Pausing) I kind of like the shiny red lipstick on you though.

Mal: (Following her to her shuttle) You know Inara, I bet you do. (Playfully grabbing her ass) Wonder what you'll think of it when you find it in some unusual spots tomorrow.

She squeals and starts running, laughing the whole way to her shuttle.

&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

Serenity--Infirmary

Kaylee: Hey Simon? How 'bout you play patient like he did so's I can unwrap you from all them bandages. That was sexy. And can I wear one'a your masks?

Simon: Somehow, it figures you'd have a nurse kink. And I guess that means you don't want me to throw out the gold lame short-shorts?

Kaylee: (Tackling him with hungry kisses) Oh, no ruttin' way!

Simon: (Tucking her under him on the reclining chair) Well, as long as you promise to wear that hat and those shoes…

&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

Serenity--Bridge

Wash: Well, that was one of the…no, it was THE most interesting job I have ever been involved in. Or heard of, for that matter. I highly doubt that anything will top that.

Zoe: (Starting to undress) Now, don't go making statements like that. Next thing you know, we'll be doin' something even more bizarre…what that is, I can't fathom, but…just imagine worse.

Wash: Good point. And we all thought River was the crazy one; we forgot to factor Inara into that equation. (Disappointed) Hey, now why are you taking that off? I kinda like the sight of you in that maid's uniform. Not that you are a maid or anything, or that I think you should be waiting on me…or cleaning stuff…cause you're a strong woman, and I wouldn't dream of…

Zoe: Shut up, husband. I'm taking this off to get to the part underneath that you said you liked best.

Wash: (Grasping hold of her bottom as she sits in his lap) Ah, my wife knows me too well... (Reciting) "And so we shall return to the moon-drenched shores of our androgynous planet."

Zoe: Wash? Don't remind me that they were siblings…kinda dampens the mood, you know?

&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

Serenity--Jayne's Bunk

Jayne: You know, baby…Next year maybe we dress up in the costumes at the end?

River: Why Jayne! This lesson didn't come too hard at all, did it?

Jayne: Not as hard as you're 'bout to…

Sounds of hot and heavy sex coming from inside.

Tighty whities, a bra, a pair of panties and the tiny remainder of one very torn slip are discarded by the door; and, much to Book's chagrin as he passed by, they are in a pile OUTSIDE the hatch. With a sigh, he continues on to the galley.

Book: And crawling on the planet's face, some insects called the human race. Lost in time, and lost in space…

THE END

face/palm

I'm sorry, really really really sorry for this. cringe