Disclaimer: I own none of these characters, but I do so love to play with them.
Summary: A little piece of fluff for Friday. Serenity's crew takes a little break.
Mal and River walked hand-in-hand with Adam, who made them stop every few minutes to swing him high in the air by his arms. "If we keep stoppin' like this, little fella, Mr. Jayne will get too far ahead of us and sneak off to eat everything in the basket," Mal said, smiling down at the little boy.
Adam abruptly stopped grinning, looking up at his father with wide, bright blue eyes. "Even the cookies?" he asked.
"Especially the cookies," Mal confirmed, putting on his most serious face of doom.
"Then we gotta hurry," Adam said, wiggling out of his parents' grasp and running down the dirt path.
Mal took River's hand, leaning down to kiss the smile on her lips. "That boy's a wonder to behold," he said fondly.
"Just like his father," River said, bending down to smell the flowers that grew along the path. Mal smiled at the lovely view her position afforded him, making River laugh lightly. "If we stop for that," she said, giving him a wicked grin, "Jayne will surely have eaten all the cookies by the time we get there."
"I'm thinkin' it might be well worth missin' the cookies," Mal said, running his hands lightly along River's gentle curves.
"Mama, Daddy, hurry up!" Adam called out from somewhere ahead of them. "Mr. Jayne's openin' the basket now!"
"Save that thought for later," River whispered, kissing the tip of Mal's nose before pulling him along down the path. Rounding the small bend in the road, they saw that Adam was right. The rest of the crew had arrived at the stand of trees where they intended to picnic, and Jayne was busily pulling containers out of the huge basket Inara had packed earlier in the morning.
Zoe and Anya were spreading blankets over the sweet-smelling grass, while Inara supervised Jayne's handiwork. Simon and Kaylee sat a little to the side, as Kaylee was still slightly sensitive to food smells of any kind. Four months into her pregnancy, she was doing much better. Once they'd been able to get her the iron supplements and prenatal vitamins she needed, she had ceased her troubling fainting spells and had begun to enjoy early pregnancy. And now, with nausea that usually only lasted through mid-morning, she was beginning to blossom with the new life she carried.
Mal watched her with wonder, pleased to see her looking so radiantly happy after the rough patch she'd had at first. She leaned back against Simon, and his hand automatically stroked the small mound of her belly. Mal averted his eyes from the private moment, the memory of feeling the flutter of Adam inside River suddenly vivid in his mind.
His thoughts were interrupted by Jayne's voice. "We gonna stand around admirin' the scenery all day, or we gonna eat?"
Zoe snorted. "Inara, ever wonder how it was you found such a romantical man?"
Inara rolled her eyes, but pecked Jayne on the cheek. "I admit I had to look long and hard to find someone like him."
"Aw hell, Inara, you know there ain't nobody else like me in the 'verse," Jayne said, grinning evilly.
"A fact for which most of us are profoundly grateful," Simon said, helping Kaylee to her feet. As everyone laughed, Mal thought what a good idea a picnic had been for all of them.
After the meal had been eaten down to its last crumb and the dishes and blankets had been re-packed, Zoe took Anya and Adam on a treasure hunt through the meadow and into the woods a small distance from the stand of trees. Each of the couples found private spots to rest and allow themselves the luxury of an afternoon of complete and utter leisure, a rarity in their normal lives.
Mal leaned back against a large maple tree with River's back against his chest and her arms resting lightly on his knees. Eyes closed and face turned up to the dappled sunlight of the meadow, Mal listened to the rustle of the leaves in the wind and the faint sounds of Anya and Adam at play in the distance.
"River?" he asked quietly, not wanting to disturb the peace of the moment. "You ever think about us maybehaps having another little one?"
River smiled lazily. "Has Kaylee given you baby fever, Captain Reynolds?"
Mal's voice deepened considerably. "You're the only one gives me any kind of fever, darlin'. And I ain't sure it's the baby kind."
River shifted her body more closely against him. "Maybe not. But I believe it's the kind that might lead to babies, somehow."
"I conjure it might at that," Mal said, nuzzling his nose into her silky hair and cupping her breasts through the thin fabric of her dress. "Would you mind if it did?"
"I wouldn't mind," she said, her breath hitching as one of his hands moved lower, skimming along her thigh and pushing the skirt of her dress out of the way.
Mal heard the soft wanting sound in her throat as he continued stroking her lightly, and it increased his own desire. He reached to pull the dress completely off, but River stayed his hands. 'What if someone comes?" she whispered breathlessly.
Tugging the dress over her head, Mal answered huskily, "Then we'll tell them to go find their own gorram tree."