The Nine – Chapter Thirty Three

Author owns no rights to Firefly and no copyright infringement is intended.


"I must say, Malcolm," Braz Guilford chuckled. "You fellows can't seem to have a wedding without a brawl of some sort."

"Tell me about it," Mal grumbled.

"That's a right handsome lip, there, Mal," Harwell noted. Mal glared at him.

"And I couldn't help notice young Tam is sporting a matching one, and that Cobb's eye seems to be swelled almost closed," George continued, clearly enjoying himself.

"I seen it," Mal muttered.

"Well, we're still having a wedding, aren't we?" Braz asked.

"I don't know for sure," Mal admitted. "Better be, after I got all busted up for it." The other two men burst into laughter at that. Mal didn't join them.


"Kaylee, dear," Winnie Frye was saying, "I know you're upset, but it's nothing but a few scratches and bruises. And boys will be boys." The women of Reynolds' Shipping all snorted in unison at that.

"'It's tradition'" Inara mimicked Mal.

"That's what Simon said," Kaylee almost snarled. "But he said he had to help, cause they's family," her look softened at that.

"Jayne didn't even bother," River grumped. "Just said he couldn't 'not' help."

"That's what Goldie said, too," Zoe muttered.

All four looked at Chelsa.

"What?" she asked, startled.

"What did you say to Liam?" Inara smiled. "I'm sure you helped patch him up," she smirked, and Chelsa grew red.

"I didn't say anything to him," she almost huffed. "I just fixed him up, and kissed him better."

"What?" River's head came up at that.

"It was just a little kiss," Chelsa's look weakened. "I was trying to cure him."

"Cure him?" River frowned. "There's no cure for adolescent stupidity."

"Inara said there was," Chelsa retorted, and Inara looked at her.

"I didn't mention kissing!" she almost choked, squirming under River's glare.

"Well, it seemed to be the thing to do," the precocious teen replied.

"I think it would be best that we didn't mention this around Jayne," River declared finally, a vision of a very unhappy Zhang fu flashing across her mind.

"Or Mal," Inara chimed in.

"Okay," Chelsa nodded. "It was just one kiss!" she exclaimed.

"Who kissed who?" Kaylee grinned.

"Kaylee!" Inara and River both said at once.

"I kissed him, of course," Chelsa beamed, ignoring the other two. "He would never have kissed me," she added slyly.

"Gotta go after what you want," Kaylee nodded firmly.


"What?" she demanded as River and Inara glared at her. "Just sayin'," Kaylee grumped.

"Well, that's enough saying, thank you," River scolded. "My home life has more than enough drama without adding an enraged father to the list."

"Or Sheriff," Inara nodded.

"I don't see what the big deal is!" Kaylee huffed. "When I was her age, I'd already. . . ."



"I'll never understand women," Goldie grumped, fixing his tie.

"Me either," Jayne mourned.

"None of us will," Simon said philosophically. "All we can do is try to get along."

"Right," Mal said, having walked in on the conversation. "You all look. . .well, I'm not sure how you look," he admitted.

"Well, if'n we didn't have a boss that insists on startin' fights in every bar we visit, we might look better," Jayne groused.

"I did not start that fight!" Mal screeched indignantly. "As I recall, Captain, it was you threw the first punch!"

"Only to keep you from gettin' decked," Jayne countered.

"Well," Mal said lamely. "'Preciate it."

"You're welcome," Jayne nodded. "Need a better sofa on Companion by the way," he added.

"How would you know that?" Mal grinned.

"Cause I slept on the gorram thing last night," Jayne shot back. The others laughed.

"And that's funny, how?" Jayne glared.

"It's not, Jayne," Simon patted his shoulder, fighting to keep a straight face. Jayne's look softened.

"Thanks, Simon."

"It's hilarious!" Simon finally blurted, howling in laughter, and the others joined in.

"Fine fam'ly, laughin' at a man's marital troubles," Jayne grumbled, though there was no heat in it. He had slept on the sofa, but had awakened to the very pleasant sensation of his wife kissing him awake, telling him all was forgiven. Mostly.

"We're only laughing 'cause. . .well, cause it's funny," Mal burst into laughter again.

"Where'd you sleep?" Jayne asked.

"What's holdin' things up in here, anyway?" Mal demanded, suddenly serious.

"What I thought," Jayne nodded.


Simon stood nervously at the podium, waiting for the ceremony to start. The minister was already in place.

Suddenly music filled the hall, and Simon straightened himself. He was still sore, but nothing would ruin this day.

I hope, he thought.

Jayne and River were first down the aisle, as River was the Maid of Honor. Jayne looked no better than Simon did, his eye swelled nearly shut. River was a vision in the peach gown, with a tiara of flowers in her hair.

Next came Mal and Inara, Mal limping slightly, but without his cane. Inara was radiant on his arm, her gown less embroidered, but the same hue as River's.

Next came Gerald Frye, escorting his sister, Sophie.

Then came Goldie and Zoe. Then Kaylee's brother Will, and sister Bethany.

Finally, the music changed, and Caleb Frye was escorting Kaylee down the aisle. Simon's breath left him in a gasp as he saw her. Her own gown was a deeper blush than the others, and her tiara of flowers sported a veil of the same color. The dress hugged her beautifully, and she absolutely glowed.

My God, to think I almost lost her, Simon's mind worked. He was the luckiest man in the 'verse, he knew.

Caleb brought Kaylee to him, and placed her hand in his. Kaylee smiled at him through the veil, and Simon squeezed her hand softly. The two of them turned together to face the minister.

"Dearly beloved, we are gathered here this day, in the sight of God, to join. . . ."


The reception was a bit more rowdy than the wedding had been, as food and drink flowed freely. Simon and Kaylee would spend their wedding night in their apartment, then take the Companion to Astra for their honeymoon, returning on Serenity a few days afterward.

"Congratulations, Simon," Braz smiled, shaking Simon's hand. "And to you, as well, Mrs. Tam," he added, with a peck on the cheek for the bride. "I thought this might come in handy on the honeymoon," he smiled again, offering Simon an envelope.

"Thank you, sir," Simon accepted it. He opened it, and a look of shock crossed his face. Kaylee peeked inside, and let out a squeak. There had to be at least five hundred credits inside.

"Sir, I. . . ."

"Don't say you can't," Braz warned. "I insist. You've both become like family to me. And you've done a great deal for all of us. I want you to have a good time. See to it that you do," he ordered.

"We will Mister Guilford," Kaylee nodded, kissing him enthusiastically on the cheek.

"Well, I must mingle a bit," he patted Simon on the shoulder, and moved away.

"Wow," Kaylee whispered. Simon just nodded.

Jayne and River were next. River hugged Kaylee, and Jayne held out an envelope for Simon.

"What's this?" he asked, looking at Jayne.

"Room at the Capital City Bay Resort Hotel," Jayne told him. "Honeymoon suite. For a week," he added, winking. "Use it wisely."

"Jayne, I can't take something like this! You bought. . . ."

"Simon, it's nothing," Jayne told him. "I promise. River and I, well, we wanted you two to enjoy yourselves. This was something we thought would make it easier on you."

"Jayne, how can you afford all this?" Simon asked. Jayne looked uncomfortable.

"I got some money stashed here and there," he answered evasively. "I don't spend it like I used too," he shrugged.

"Jayne. . . ." Suddenly Simon grabbed Jayne in a hug. Jayne was stunned, but managed to embrace his brother-in-law in return.

"Thank you," Simon told him, straightening. "Not for the room," he added. "But for. . . ."

"We're family, Simon," Jayne's eyes twinkled. "Never thought it would happen like that, I admit. But I'm glad it did."

"So am I," Simon said sincerely. "So am I."

"If you two are done with all that," Goldie snickered, as he and Zoe walked up.

"Quiet," Zoe elbowed him. She held out their gift.

"Little something for that first night on Astra," she winked, and Kaylee giggled.

"Well, li'l Kaylee," Mal smiled as he and Inara come past. "Simon. Congratulations." Mal and Inara had opted for several homemaker gifts. None of them were useful for the honeymoon, but would be of great help when the couple got a house.

"Thanks, Cap'n!" Kaylee beamed, hugging them both.

"Thank you Mal," Simon added.

Soon, it was time for the flowers. Kaylee stood at the doorway, and tossed the flowers over her shoulder. They arced through the air, landing right in Zoe's hands. She looked at them, stunned.

"Well, now," Mal gloated. "Ain't that prophetic," he smirked at Goldie.

"Mal," Inara hissed, leading him away.

"What?" Mal's face was a mask of innocence.

"Don't you say a word," Zoe warned as Goldie started to grin at her. The grin disappeared.

"Yes, dear."


As the reception began to break up, Mal noted that Holly and Liam were lugging baggage toward Companion.

"What gives?" he asked.

"Wanted to be ready to lift at first light, Cap'n," Holly smiled. "They're all packed and ready to go, and the ship's already loaded."

"In a hurry, I guess," Mal grinned.

"'Spect so," Liam nodded with a smile.

"Well, carry on, then," Mal waved, and the two men resumed their work.

"Hello, Baba," Mal turned at River's voice. She and Jayne were strolling along, arm in arm.

"Hey, you two," Mal smiled. "Eye looks better Jayne," he noted.

"Don't feel no better," Jayne grinned. "But 'spect I'll live."

"It was quite a tussle," Mal nodded, and River glared. "Now Albatross, ain't no point in them dirty looks. Weren't our fault. Not this time."

"Never is," she muttered.

"No, sometimes it is," Mal admitted. "But this wasn't one of'em. So get that outta your system," he ordered sternly. River stuck her tongue out at him, and he laughed.

"That's my girl," he hugged her. "See you two are gettin' ready to set out first thing."

"Soon as the happy couple get aboard," Jayne nodded. "Their reservations start in three days. Don't want'em to miss any of it," he grinned.

"You two still gotta honeymoon comin, too," he pointed out.

"Well, we been thinkin' on that," Jayne nodded. "Thought if Inara could fly the ship for us one trip, we'd go when Kaylee and Simon got back. They already agreed to watch Chelsa while we was away."

"Don't want her to tag along?" Mal asked in shock.

"No," River almost growled, and Mal shook his head.

"She's got an uncanny ability to know just the wrong time to show up," Jayne explained, and Mal laughed at that.

"Oughta make Simon and Kaylee's life interestin' for a few days," Mal said.

"Yes," River grinned wickedly, and Jayne chuckled at that.

"Well, you two have a safe trip," Mal said. "Don't let nothin' happen to the newlyweds."

"We won't," River nodded firmly. She and Jayne headed for the ship, and Mal turned to start back to the hall, looking for Inara.

"Hey, sailor," she called, meeting him after a few steps. "Busy this evening?" she asked, batting her eyes theatrically.

"Well, not that busy," Mal said. "What'd you have in mind?" She leaned forward, whispering in his ear.

"No, I'm not busy at all, in fact," Mal stammered. Inara smiled at that.

"Well, what say we head back to my place, then," she asked, taking his hand.

"Lead on, ma'am," Mal smiled. "Lead on."

Whew! Another chapter in the Shade 'verse comes to a close. There's another on the drawing board, but it will have to wait a while, lol. I need a rest! Thanks to everyone who has been so kind to review my efforts, and to suggest changes. I always manage to make a better story with your help!

Don't know what's next, as yet, since Archangel is still in the works, but it will probably be the next Spartan story. Maybe. Unless it ain't.

I do hope you've enjoyed this story, along with the others. Remember, if you aren't entertained, then tell me. That's the only real reason for me doing this!