Title: Beyond Wonderland
Disclaimer: All I own is the plot.
Summary: The past has a way of returning. Rasey.
Spoilers: Series finale for Jungle Fury and (set after) Serenity for Firefly.
Translation: Wei- Hey, Wo Bu Shin Dah Yan Jing- I don't believe my eyes, gorram- god damn
Chapter 12: Seven Kinds of Fool
"What the hell is this?"
Casey barely spared Mal a glance. His attention was directed more toward the group in the middle of the cargo bay.
"Casey," Lily said, stunned, before a big grin broke out of her face and she moved forward, only to freeze when Casey backed away. "Casey?"
"Lily, Theo, this is certainly a surprise." He glanced over at Simon and River, who were looking more than a little surprised themselves, then looked over at RJ, who refused to make eye contact. "In more ways than one."
"Wo Bu Shin Wo Dah Yan Jing," Theo blinked at them, incredulous.
"My sentiments exactly," was all Casey said in reply. The look he shot RJ was nothing short of murderous.
Then he turned and headed up the stairs, disappearing through the doorway, leaving a mix of confused, resigned and guilty looking expressions behind.
River moved from her brother's side, approaching the group. She didn't even spare her parents a glance, looking up at RJ instead. "I tried to warn you."
Then she turned and followed Casey's path out of the room.
Casey was a few feet from the door to his bunk when a hand reached out and grabbed his shoulder. He spun around, instinctively swinging out to hit the person. Jayne barely jerked back in time to avoid a hit to the face.
"Wei!" He stumbled back a few feet, holding up his hands as Casey glared at him. "What did I do?"
There was a growl in reply as Casey clinched a fist at his side. "I'm not in the mood, Jayne."
"You know, I never took you for being someone who would hide from their problems." Jayne seemed thoughtful, which was never good in Casey's opinion.
"What?" What the gorram was Jayne going on about now?
Jayne continued on as if Casey hadn't said anything. "I could always shoot him if you want. And the doc and crazy's parents too. Save us all a mess of trouble."
Casey opened his mouth, ready to tell Jayne he better not even try, then stopped. "I'll get back to you on that."
That appeared to appease Jayne, if the pleased look on his face was anything to go by. Casey wondered if he should be worried about that.
"You know I have half a mind just to take off and leave you here."
RJ glanced up to see the captain standing across from him, glaring.
"There seems to have to have been nothing but trouble going on since we took you on board." Mal's hand twitched, hovering over the pistol strapped to his thigh.
RJ suddenly became very aware that he and the captain were the only ones in the kitchen. Frowning, he calculated his odds. He would probably be able to get out of the way if Mal decided he'd had enough and shoot. It wouldn't take that much effort to incapacitate him before he even tried.
Instead, he just sighed, running a hand through his hair. "I haven't meant to cause you any trouble," he tried to soothe it over. RJ was a diplomat and this man in front of him was nothing but the captain of a third rate cargo ship. How hard would it be? He changed his posture, moving toward non-threatening and reassuring. "This will all be okay. I am sure about that. All I wanted was for them to talk."
Hands slammed themselves down on the table, creating a loud bang that echoed throughout the room. Mal was eye to eye with him, looking very much like he wanted to take a swing at him. "If you believe that everything is going to work out then tell me, why is my pilot hiding in his bunk?"
Theo crossed the cargo bay, running his hand across a few of the crates idly. Sunlight streamed from the open cargo bay doors, brightening up the room and making it look less depressing than he originally thought. Lily had disappeared after their son, when he stomped out of the room.
"You shouldn't be poking around down here."
He spun around to find the large man sitting in front of the crate he had helped carry in with Casey. The man wasn't even looking up at him, making Theo wonder if maybe it hadn't been him speaking in the first place. He seemed more to be paying more attention to the very large gun he was cleaning. "I'm sorry?"
The man finally glanced up at him. "I said you shouldn't be poking around down here. Shouldn't you be with the good Chancellor?"
"Lily believed it would be best if I stayed out of the way." And she was probably right, but he didn't add that.
There was a snort in reply as the man proceeded to clean a piece and snap it into place.
"I'd ignore him," a smiling female voice called from across the cargo bay. Theo turned to see a woman who would have be more in place on Ariel than on this ship. He wondered if she was a passenger as well. "Jayne doesn't possess anything in the way of manners."
Jayne just answered by leering at her. She turned to look a Theo with a raised eyebrow as if to say 'see?'.
"I don't believe we've met," Theo replied, amused. He immediately turned on the charm, knowing it would do well to learn more about the ship and those on it.
She gave a soft smile. "My name is Inara."
Inara falter a little but the smile never wavered. "You're Simon and River's father."
He merely raised an eyebrow. "News travels fast here."
"It's a very small ship."
Theo looked around in obvious distaste. "I can tell."
Inara frowned and turned to eye the man on the floor. "Jayne, what are you doing?"
He shrugged. "Cleaning my gun."
"Here?" She asked, incredulous.
"It's my very favorite gun."
The holo-book was starting to blur before Casey's eyes and he could already feel the pull of sleep tugging at his conscious when the door to his bunk slammed open. He blinked as a familiar slight figure appeared. "I thought I locked that door."
River just jumped on his bed and curled up against the wall, wrapping her arm around her legs. Her fingers tangled in the blue skirt as her grip tightened.
"What's wrong?" Casey asked, concerned spun around in the chair, tossing the book aside. It landed harmlessly on the desk.
"I can't be out there. I can't." She grabbed a pillow and buried her face in it. For a moment he thought he wasn't going to get any more than that but she glanced back up. "This was good. All of it was. We were happy. Now it's not." Tears welled up in her eyes. "I tried to stop it. I really did. But now it's going to go bad."
He got up off the chair and slid onto the bed beside her, slipping an arm around her shoulder. She immediately buried herself into his embrace. "I want them to leave."
"I wouldn't worry too much, River. Even you can't predict the future," he replied.
"Don't need too. I can see inside them all. What they are thinking, planning. Everything else is statistical probability. Mathematics. Yes, no, maybe, so." She shrugged, sighing. "I can make predictions and see the most likely outcome."
Casey shook his head. "But it'll still be a guess."
"A good guess. A very good guess." A thoughtful look crossed her face and she frowned, turning to look up at him. "The only unknown variable in this equation is… you."