Pulling Pigtails

"Why do you gotta be so mean to her all the time?" Kaylee asked the greying man before her. House was his name. Dr Gregory House. He reminded her a little of their stubborn captain, Mal, before he'd overcome his stupidity and finally taken the first step to deepen his relationship with Inara – with success, she'd been happy to hear and later witness.

Until Mal had pursued Inara they'd had nothing but a vicious cycle of bantering and insulting one another. Though not much had changed in that sense, a happier atmosphere surrounded the couple and by extension, the rest of the crew, for the most part.

House seemed content to ignore her question and stared after the retreating form of his now previous employer, taking particular notice of her rear end. Nothing had held his attention so fiercely for so long that Kaylee had seen. Likewise for Dr Lisa Cuddy. They were truly the next Mal and Inara aboard Serenity. Kaylee grinned to herself.

"Dr House?"

Cuddy disappeared from sight through the door that led to the infirmary and House finally turned to fix Kaylee with a calculative stare. Having received the same treatment from Mal previously, she was prepared for it and didn't so much as flinch under his cool, assessing blue eyes.

"Little one," House addressed her condescendingly. "Be it known that whenever Dr Cuddy leaves a room, I am otherwise preoccupied. I'm lacking in entertainment without 'General Hospital', so I take what I can get." He paused for emphasis. "Do not under any circumstance interrupt me."

Kaylee smiled knowingly. "Sure. No problem." She was perhaps a little too quick and cheerful with her response because House peered down at her with a scowl.

"What?"

Kaylee shrugged. "You like her," she said, slowly, deliberately. "It's obvious."

House continued to stare at her with the expression one might wear upon accidentally trampling cow dung.

Got him, Kaylee smirked inwardly. That's all the proof she needed.

"You're pulling pigtails," she explained. "Fightin' with Cuddy 'cause you don't know how to move forward. Keeps her attention on you even if it's not quite the type of attention you're after. Capt'n an' Inara did it too before they got some sense knocked into 'em."

"You're stereotyping me," House mused, the corner of his mouth twitching up in amusement. "I don't know whether to be offended or impressed by that."

"Jus' giving you something to think about," Kaylee said dismissively. She began to move in the direction Cuddy had gone. "Best to go for what you want before it's gone," she called back over her shoulder to a still thoughtfully amused House. "Out in the black it's easy to lose sight of things."