The trip from Osiris to Harvest was quiet and tense. The first few days of the ten day trip were filled with a happy River reacquainting herself with her parents and dragging her brother along for the ride.
Simon put aside his prejudices and bitter harbourings to attempt to rebuild his family's tattered relationships.
By the fourth day the effort made by all the Tams and the rest of Serenity seemed to be all for nought.
It was around mid afternoon when Simon came screaming from the passenger quarters:
"MY EYES!" A frantic Kaylee who desperately tried to console him and find out what happened met him.
There was a second scream from Jayne and River's bunk:
"MY MIND!" Came River's voice.
There was a frantic gathering in the infirmary as Inara and Mal met Simon and Kaylee to find out what the commotion was all about.
Zoe and Book arrived seconds later on the heels of a worried Jayne carrying a huddled River.
Zoe was under strict instructions from her husband to report back with relevant gossip. Book was ordered to keep track of the irrelevant gossip.
"What the gorram hell is going on?" Jayne demanded as he gently laid River on the bed.
"Damned if I know, first Simon starts screaming and then River starts up." Mal offered.
"We heard the doc start his hollering and then River starts to read 'im to find out what the problem is. Next thing I know she's screaming about her mind." Jayne informed them as he stroked River's hair.
"Mei mei, you saw what I saw?" Simon asked shakily.
River nodded her head as Simon hugged her comfortingly.
"Now that you both know that you both saw what the other saw, would you mind telling us what you saw… I think?" Mal managed to confuse himself. "Zoe…?"
"Simon, what's got you and River screaming bloody murder 'round the ship?" She asked calmly whilst rolling her eyes at Mal.
"I believe we can answer that." A somewhat dishevelled Gabriel answered from the infirmary door way, Regan was shyly huddled behind him.
"Do tell, Mr. Tam, I don't take kindly to my crew being upset like this." Mal stated as he widened his stance and crossed his arms.
Inara rolled her eyes at his act of bravado.
"Our children have exhibited a distinct lack of bad timing. They interrupted my wife and I whilst we were otherwise occupied." Gabriel declared with more than a little forced dignity.
"They did what now?" Jayne asked somewhat confounded, which also happened to be the state of the rest of the crew.
"Well… they… you know!" Gabriel tried to voice his explanation as his face turned redder and his wife practically blended into the bulk heads.
There was a sudden snort from behind Zoe, which exploded into a guffaw as the Shepherd finally figured out what had happened.
River frowned at Book. "Not funny Preacher-Man! Scarred for life! May never have sex again!"
"WHAT!" Jayne bellowed. His hand went to his knife hilt as he turned to face the elder Tams.
Inara having been watching the whole scene unfold decided to venture a guess at what had occurred.
"Simon, did you happen to walk in on your parents… making love?" Inara wasn't quite sure what terminology to use, but she figured the softer the better… not to mention the less graphical.
Simon nodded his head glumly.
"Run-tse duh fwotzoo..." Mal muttered aghast.
"What? Why should it be a problem for Mister 'n Missus Tam to be having sex? Mr. Tam's been locked all this time." Kaylee asked bewildered, yet ever the sentimental softy.
"Kaylee!" Jayne declared, shocked at her. "Ain't nothing wrong with two people having sex… it's a whole 'nother mess when you walk in on your parents doing the deed!"
Kaylee was about to protest when Mal interrupted.
"Kaylee, imagine you walked in on your parents!"
Kaylee was about to respond immediately but then stopped to consider, her face changed from thoughtful, to curious, to perturbed, to slightly queasy, to shocked and finally to sympathetic as she hugged Simon and River close to her bosom.
"Jayne, Kaylee, take your significant others back to your bunks and sort 'em out. Mr. Tam, Mrs. Tam… I hope you have learned the Golden Rule of living on a small ship… 'Always lock your doors'." Mal informed them.
Gabriel and Regan ducked their heads in shame.
"I suggest we leave these couples to their business. Zoe and I have to go and… make our reports." Book suggested.
Book and Zoe backed out of the infirmary and headed in the direction of the cockpit whilst Jayne and Kaylee escorted their loved ones to their bunks.
Gabriel and Regan made their own dejected and humiliated way back to their bunks in the passenger dorms.
Mal and Inara stood in the Infirmary watching the departing pairs.
"Well, I'm guessing that any remaining starch in the Tam's has just been washed out." Mal remarked.
"Indeed, I imagine dinner will be a very subdued affair and that Jayne and Kaylee will have a hard time looking their parents in the eye." Inara replied.
"So I guess the only people getting any for the rest of this trip will be you and me and Zoe and Wash." Mal mused. "Care to get a head start?"
Mal chivalrously extended his arm to Inara.
"Absolutely." Inara delicately placed her hand in the crook of his elbow. "Just remember to lock the door Mal."