"Kaylee! Gorrammit, get a move on," Mal bellowed as he checked his gun one last time. They had a job to be gettin' to, and spare parts to be picked up….but for some reason, the girl mechanic wasn't ready yet. He figured she was most likely kissin' on Jayne or some such foolishness, but it wasn't like her to be late for scroungin' for spare parts. She might be 'sweethearts' with the merc now, but even Jayne knew that some times he had to take a backseat to Serenity –and it was a mark of how much the man had matured that he didn't complain 'bout it overmuch.

River drifted past, a dreamy expression on her face as she ran her fingers across the Mule's battered yellow hull. "Girl's late, has a bun in the oven. Time must be taken," the Reader said mysteriously.

"I don't care if she's got a whole bakery set up, we gotta g- whoa, now. You just say, 'bun in the oven', Albatross?" Mal felt his eyes widen at this turn of phrase. If there was one thing they really didn't need, it was... oh, Tien. "You sure 'bout that?"

The young woman nodded. "Belongs to Jayne. She's very proud."

Dumbstruck, Mal leaped off the Mule and headed up the stairs. "Kayleeeeeeeeeeeee!"

He intercepted the man of the hour first though, just as Jayne came up from the bunk he shared with the mechanic. "She's changin' her clothes – be up in a tick." The big man pulled the hatch shut and started to walk past Mal, who held a hand out.

"We got some words need exchangin'," the captain ordered tersely, pointing towards the bridge.

Jayne looked at him warily. "I ain't bringin' no grenades this time, just like you said not to."

"No, that's not… just get up there!" The other man shrugged and obeyed, like there was nothing in the 'verse wrong with him gettin' Kaylee in the family way. Wash turned in his chair as they came in and was about to speak when Mal waved him quiet. "What the diyuyou think you're up to? Thought you said you two weren't gonna plan nothin'," Mal said sternly.

The merc frowned. "Huh? We ain't planned nothin' but the weddin' – that some kinda problem? I told her she couldn't buy nothin' big as that poofy dress…weren't no gorram place t'put it."

Mal sighed. So this was the way it was going to be, with Jayne playing stupid. Except it was real hard to tell if it was real or just play, when it came to Jayne. "River said Kaylee's…" He trailed off, uncertain now as to how he should go about this.

"Kaylee? Somethin' wrong with her I don't know about?" Jayne started to rise from the co-pilot's chair he'd plopped down in.

"Gorrammit, sit down! River said Kaylee's got, in her words exactly, a 'bun in the oven'. You wanna be explainin' to me how that came to happen?"

It was Wash's turn to stare incredulously. "Really? A bun? As in a…bun? In the oven?"

Jayne shrugged. "Well, yeah! What's so weird 'bout that?"

"But… it's a bun. In an oven," Wash reminded him.

Mal waved him silent. "I don't need help from you!" Turning back to Jayne, he settled his hands on his hips. "You don't seem too concerned about this."

"Why the hell would I be? She asked me if'n I wanted one, and I said sure." The merc rubbed at his goatee. "Didn't know it'd make us late or nothin'."

"Late? Why would it…? Look, never you mind 'bout that. Let's just focus on the fact that-"

The clang of a bunk hatch closing cut him off, and Kaylee's cheerful voice rang out in the hall. "Jayne? Baobei, where are ya?" Moments later, the mechanic poked her head through the door. "We ready to go, Cap'n?"

He looked down at her. "Mei meithought you two were gonna wait before makin' family plans."

Kaylee looked bewildered. "Already told you we were. Why we talkin' 'bout this now?"

Mal pinched the bridge of his nose – there were only so many evasions he could handle before he reached the end of his rope, and he was comin' up on the last few frayed bits of it. "River says you're expectin'."

Jayne nearly fell off the chair with a startled "Huh?" and Kaylee's eyes got as big as saucers. "What?!?! Jayne, you said you got your shots regular," and she turned to scowl down at the big man.

"I did, I swear it! Last time was right 'bout when 'Nara went for her check-up," her confounded fiancé sputtered. "Batch musta been bad or somethin'."

Kaylee looked distressed as she put her hands over her stomach. "Ain't like I don't wanna have your babies or nothin', wenshen, but ain't neither of us ready for…" she trailed off, sniffing the air. "Oh, no! Bread's gonna burn!" Mal blinked in surprise as Kaylee ran out and they all heard her yelp of dismay as she reached the galley.

Wash chose this time to pipe up again. "That's funny. She's got a bun in the oven and another bun in the actual… hey, wait a minute."

Coming back and juggling what looked to be a large roll, Kaylee passed it to Jayne before turning back to Mal. "So she just came out and told you I was pregnant, an' never once told me 'bout it?"

A terrible suspicion was settling in Mal's mind as he watched Jayne blow on his burnt fingers. "Well, she said that you had a…" Oh, Tien almighty. "…a bun in the oven."

"What, like the one I just made for Jayne?" Kaylee started to relax, and laughed. "And you thought that Jayne'd knocked me up!"

"That ain't funny," Jayne said in an aggrieved tone.

Relief made Mal lightheaded. "Well, then. Let's get on with the job."

Back in the cargo bay, Zoë was helping get the Mule prepped while River drifted about with a smile that just got wider as they all came down and Jayne started scowlin' at her. "What'n hell's wrong with you, Moonbrain? Gorram freak. Put yer scrawny lil' ass in an oven." He climbed up and into the rear seat, droppin' spare ammo in the hatch.

"Don't be mean," Kaylee chastised, settling beside him. "She was just funnin'."

"Well, I ain't laughin'," Jayne pointed out, putting on his sunglasses.

Mal shook his head at Zoë's questioning look. "Just…don't ask." Wash hit the button to open the ramp and the Mule drove out, taking half of Serenity's dysfunctional family with them.

fin