"This will be quick. In and out, like you like it…" Mal explained. Inara gave him a classic Inara look. "That wasn't some sex joke. I swear!" he cried.
"I never said it was. I haven't had business in a very long time. I need to make a living too, Mal!" she snapped.
"I ain't exactly stoppin' you. It's not like I'm holdin' you captive here!" he argued.
"My shuttle can only go so far," she said, her patience slowly wearing thin.
"Same with this boat if we don't got money. No jobs. No money. Nothin' keepin' us going," Mal replied. He enjoyed their bantering more than he should have. Something about it made him smile.
"What are you smiling about?" Inara asked, quickly bringing him back into the moment.
"Money makes me smile. Don't it you?" he asked with a wider smile. She sighed. "What?" he asked.
"You and your jobs and your money! That's all you care about. Petty thief," she exclaimed as she got right in his face. He smiled at her. "WHAT?" she snapped.
"You get testy when you haven't gotten any," he grinned. She shoved him. He laughed and dusted off his shoulder. "Come on! I know you can push me harder than that…" he teased. She groaned and started to walk away. "Why you leavin' so soon?" he called after her. She turned around and stomped on his foot. "OUCH!" he cried. She smiled.
"Was that better?" she asked sweetly. He looked at her angrily. "I'll take that as a yes," she smiled and floated away. He smiled and then hobbled towards the common area.
"Jayne, Zoe we set to go?" he asked.
"The Mule's ready to go, sir," Zoe nodded.
"Why you limpin'?" Jayne asked in his usual gruff way.
"That's not important right now. We gotta ship out," Mal responded. He put on his long brown coat and limped away with Zoe and Jayne.
"Why do you think he's all limpin' and stuff?" Jayne whispered to Zoe. Mal overheard Jayne's not-so-quiet question.
"If you must know, it was 'cause of Inara…" Mal snapped. Zoe laughed and Jayne's mouth dropped. Zoe stopped laughing after Mal shot her a look.
"Sorry sir. What'd you do this time?" Zoe asked.
"What makes you think…"
"Sir," Zoe said sternly with her classic poker face.
"I kinda maybe provoked her," Mal shrugged as they set out for their rendezvous. Jayne and Zoe laughed. "I'm glad you find this so gorramn funny, 'cause I sure as hell ain't laughin'! My foot hurts!" he cried.
"Right, sorry…" Zoe smirked.
"'Nara attackin' you? If that ain't the funniest damn thing I ever heard, it's gorramn close!" Jayne exclaimed. He got Zoe laughing again.
"Yeah, yeah. Laugh. I'm the one drivin' this thing," Mal snapped. Zoe and Jayne finally got themselves under control right before they got to the small town where their meeting was being held. They had a shipment of coats to smuggle to a nearby world. The money was pretty good, and at least it wasn't bobble head dolls this time.
"You Malcolm Reynolds?" a strange looking man inquired.
"Yes. You Louie?" Mal asked.
"Yes. Come in, come in!" Louie opened the door and led them to a few large crates. "These are the finest coats in all of the 'verse!" he proclaimed loudly.
"That's all fine and shiny. Where's the first half of our payment?" Mal asked. Louie handed him a heavy bag with a toothless grin. "Thanks. We'll be on our merry," Mal tossed the bag to Zoe. Jayne took the first crate out along with Zoe. Mal went for the next crate. Louie stopped him.
"Be careful with this crate. There are the special coats. Very expensive," Louie warned.
"No worries. We aren't exactly new to this sort of thing," Mal said with a reassuring half smile. Louie nodded. They loaded up the crates and went back home to Serenity. "That was nice 'n easy money, eh?" Mal asked happily.
"A little too easy," Jayne said, his grip tightening on his gun.
"Paranoid much?" Zoe asked. Jayne snarled. "I'm going to go get something to eat. Wanna come?" Zoe asked.
"Sure," Mal sighed as he tossed his coat aside.
"I'll be 'long in a minute," Jayne replied. Mal nodded, and then he and Zoe went to get something to eat. Jayne lifted the lid off of one of the crates. He picked up a coat that looked surprisingly similar to Mal's coat. "What's so gorramn special 'bout this old thing?" he growled. He tossed it aside and then left to go join Mal and Zoe.
Inara emerged from her shuttle. She noticed the mess down below. "Men…" she muttered. She walked down the steps. "Always leaving their things out everywhere…" she added angrily. She held up the two coats. "Mal…" she growled. She tossed one of the coats, the one she thought wasn't his coat, into the bin and placed the lid back on. She stormed into the galley and tossed the coat onto Mal. "Next time pick up after yourself," Inara spat somewhat playfully. Zoe cracked up. Mal took the coat off of his head and glared at Zoe. Inara walked away, feeling rather satisfied.
"Cap'in?" Kaylee called.
"Yes?" Mal answered. Kaylee appeared covered in grease as always. "If you don't have good news, don't say nothing. I ain't in the mood," Mal added as she opened her mouth to speak. She quickly shut it and frowned. "Oh no…" Mal groaned. "What now?" he asked.
"The air controls ain't workin' too good. The heat's goin' a bit on the fritz. I can fix it, but it's gonna take a day or two…" Kaylee explained.
"This means…?" Mal asked.
"It's gonna get a bit chilly in here," Kaylee frowned.
"I think we can handle a few days without a lot of heat," Zoe commented.
"Um…no heat," Kaylee said quietly.
"No…heat…?" Mal asked. Kaylee shook her head gravely. "That's just gorramn SHINY," Mal shouted sarcastically. He got up and broadcasted a ship wide wave. "Captain speaking. We ain't gonna have any heat for a day or two. Dress warm, 'cause you'll need it..."
"What about no heat?" Simon asked as he entered the room.
"No heat. That's it," Mal explained.
"That's dangerous!" Simon cried.
"Not if we dress all warm and take advantage of body heat," Kaylee said with a flirtatious smile. Simon blushed slightly.
"Shouldn't you be workin' on this problem?" Mal asked.
"Right. Right…" Kaylee nodded and quickly scurried away to the engine room.
"I'm worried about River. She's so small…" Simon trailed off.
"When ain't ya worried 'bout her?" Jayne asked. Simon and Mal ignored his comment.
"Don't worry. I won't let anythin' happen to anyone on this boat," Mal said seriously. Simon nodded and then went back to wherever he came from.
"Why you bein' so kind to 'em?" Jayne asked.
"They're a part of my crew whether you like it or not," Mal snapped. Jayne scowled and turned his attention back to his protein. "Stay warm. I'm gonna put away our shipment," Mal said. He put on the coat and started walking towards the cargo hold. The coat was a little stiffer than usual, but he figured that it was all in his imagination. It wasn't. Things on the ship were about to get very interesting…