Disclaimer: Kaylee, Inara, Mal, Simon, River, Jayne, Zoe, Wash... they all belong to our high and mightly leader, Joss Whedon. I'm just borrowing them to play, I promise to put them back when I'm done. Leilah, Aidan and Ebony are however mine.
Title: Am I pretty?
Pairing: Simon/Kaylee, but not much focus on them.
AN: Okay, so this is a one-shot and can be read as a one-shot, but it's also a continuance of my story "Pretty ... pretty" as well. So I recommend reading it, even if you can read this on its own without being confused. It's a couple of years later.
- She was makin' kissy faces at Aidan, Leilah exclaimed. - Ewwwwwww...
- Like Aidan, the four year old murmured, completely trapping poor Aidan in her embrace.
Kaylee put her hand to her mouth, to not let out a high pitched giggle at the sceene, she threw a glimpse over at Zoe to see the first mate working on the same thing. The way Aidan was looking, there was no doubt he was his fathers son. The mechanic was gratefull that the doc had some work to be done up in the infirmary, or else he would have been covering his face with his hands.
- Awwww, don' you two look sweet, she cooed.
The girl grinned and used all her strength and weight to pull the boy down, proceeding to put a fully smack kiss on his lips. Zoe snorted and just couldn't hold it in anymore. Her daughter was even more forward than Kaylee and that was saying enough.
- It's not sweet.., her six year old replied loudly.
Leilah stomped off to her room, pouting. Stupid Ebony! Usually she loved playing with the younger girl, but right now she wanted her to be far away. Everybody loved Ebony, cause she was the baby, and usually that bothered her none. She had all the love and attention in the world, herself and didn't really mind sharing. Being a twin, you got used to sharing. So the boat had two princesses. Okay, so there was more like one and a half. Leilah didn't wear many dresses, she was always so busy playing. And being her mother's daughter a lot of the playing took place in the engine room.
She didn't get to do many things, being only six years old, but her mom gave her things to tinker with, nothing that were too sharp or that could in other ways hurt her, but little puzzles for her to play around with. There was no touching of any parts that were attached. Kaylee had made sure to teach her that. In fact it was her favourite bedtime story; the ship's beating heart. It had talking engine parts, who all wanted to do their bit to keep the ship happy and how if one of them had gotten hurt and how that had hurt all the other parts as well. Luckily there was a ships doctor who listened to the parts and made it all better. Leilah wanted to be such a doctor and she allready knew a lot.
So usually when she played around she wore messy coveralls, her amber hair put up in a messy knot and usually a spot of grease or two on her face. But even when she was wearing a pretty dress, Ebony outshone her. The younger girl had medium brown skin, black, semi-curly hair, just like a princess'. Usually with a bow to keep some of the hair out of her face. And she didn't even have a scar.
She had gotten it when she was barely two years old, her momma had shielded her two babies with her body as something had hit her, making her fall down. Momma had weakly called out to her and Aidan, telling them to get down, but Leilah hadn't listened. When she closed her eyes and concentrated she could still see the picture of the people with the cut up faces and something coming at her. She didn't remember much after that, except she knew her momma had been crying the next time she saw her.
The scar was now just a faded white ridge on each side of her face, going from the edges of her eyes and almost reaching her ears. If she had her hair down, it wasn't even visible. It hadn't bothered her much. She had never really thought about it, as she couldn't remember not having it. But last time they had been on Beaumonde she had gotten a crush on a boy her age. He had told her he could never have an ugly girlfriend. That day she had declared all boys for stupid. But before the day was over she had made the men on Serenity an exception to the rule... well she had continued calling Aidan stupid for a couple of days, but that too had passed.
She wasn't much for long-term anger, there was far too much of her momma in her for that to be the case, but she did a bad temper at times. And that temper had appeared when she saw Ebony following Aidan like a lovesick puppy. Aidan would never tell Ebony she was ugly. In fact no boys would ever call Ebony ugly... because she wasn't.
She let her finger run over the scar, but bit her teeth together, she wasn't gonna cry. There was a soft knock on the door, but before she answered her mom popped her head in.
- Hey baby, she murmured, seating herself on the bedside next to her little girl and stroked the girl's cheek.
- Aidan's stupid...
- He's a boy, Kaylee chuckled. - Can't help it if a pretty girl throws herself at 'im. It'll go over.
There it was again... pretty...
- Momma... am I pretty?
Kaylee gave her daughter a puzzled look.
- Of course you are, sweetie. I think you're the prettiest girl in the 'verse.
- You're just sayin' it cause you're my momma. That don' count...
Leilah got up and left the room before her mom got to answer her. Maybe auntie River was up at the helm. She liked auntie River, even though she couldn't understand her sometimes, but River understood her. Not that momma didn't, it was just that sometimes there was need for someone else. And River was often that someone else. She found Mal up at the helm. That wasn't so bad either, she liked her uncle capt'n, as she liked to call him.
- Hey munchkin, he called out as he saw her, noticing her down-kinda look.
Mal could never stand to see his surrogate niece down. Just like her momma, she had creeped up on him, making it impossible for him to even be a little mad at her. Even when she broke his stuff, which sadly wasn't as rare as he'd like it to be, but she was just a little, sweet girl, didn't mean no harm by it.
- You wanna try some flyin'. he offered, knowing that would at least cheer her up some.
He got out of his chair and picked her up, placing her right in the middle of it. She grabbed the controles and moved them around. Even though she knew it was on autopilot, she always had a blast when he let her "fly" the ship. She was a good pretender.
- Uncle capt'n, she asked. - You think I'm pretty?
He too had a puzzled look on his face at the sudden question, but the proceeded to bend down to her height.
- I think you're the prettiest pilot I've ever seen, he whispered. - But don' go tellin' your aunt I said that...
She was six, but she wasn't stupid. Uncle capt'n had never let Ebony fly his ship, she was too little still. She slid off the chair and proceeded to go out of the room. She thought maybe auntie River was in the infirmary, her little feet took two steps at the time decending down the staircase and she spotted someone else than River or daddy on the couch. Though having still not found her aunt, she didn't mind as the person on the couch was her favourite person in all the world, not counting momma or daddy, cause that wouldn't be fair. He immediatly raised his brow.
- Is that Leilah I'm hearing, he asked.
- Uncle Wash, the girl exclaimed as he caught her in his arms, lifting her up to his lap.
- Wow, you're getting heavy, he joked. - Good thing I worked out this morning, or else I would never have managed to lft you.
She giggled. Uncle Wash was always funny and happy. Even though he was Ebony's daddy he always had time for her too. Especially now that Ebony was chasing her brother all over the ship. He smiled at her and hugged her tight.
- So why aren't you off playing with Aidan and Ebody?
- Don' wanna. Aidan's stupid. Boys are stupid.
- Not that again, Wash chuckled. - What's the reason today?
- Think Ebony's pretty, she gruffed, before silently adding. - An' I'm not.
- Nonsense, the former pilot objected. - You're a very, very pretty girl and don't you forget that.
- You don' know, you can't see me...
Wash's face fell in a slight frown, just for a split second. He really should have no complaints about life, not when he was lucky just to be alive. That he couldn't pilot anymore or see the faces of the people around him didn't bother him that much, well there were sometimes he caught himself wishing he at least could have a picture of his daughter in his head. But to live and not have something to want wouldn't be a life.
- There was once a time I could and I can still see you clear as day in my head, he reminded her. - And you really are a pretty girl.
Him and Leilah shared a bond. Just like him, she had been inches away from leaving this world, almost realizing Simon and Kaylee's greatest fear. For a short while they thought she too had gone blind, but it had just needed a couple of days to readjust. All she had left was a scar. Kaylee had taught her that the scar was there to remind them on how lucky they were to have her. And up until this stupid thing with boys Leilah had been proud of it.
- You're also pretty on the inside.
She made a face, but of course he didn't see it.
- Ewwwww, no... Daddy's shown me my insides on an x-ray, an' they ain't pretty.
- No, squirt, he chuckled. - Pretty on the inside means that you're sweet and friendly, that you say good things to others and make them feel good.
- You're pretty, too uncle Wash, she said before sliding off his lap.
It wasn't before almost bedtime when Leilah was sitting on the kitchen floor, drawing, that she saw her aunt come in.
- Auntie River, she asked, as she stood up. - Am I pretty?
River said nothing, just sat down on her knees next to her at the floor. Se grabbed a marker and leaned over, scribbling something on Leilah's face. Putting the marker down, River kissed her niece's forehead before getting up and leaving for her room.
Leilah climbed up on the counter to look into the mirror. Upon seeing the pretty small flowers drawn on the edges of her scar, her face broke into a wide smile. Would you look at that, her scar was pretty.