"Little Surprises"

Summary: A young stowaway holds an interesting secret…and it concerns Mal in a BIG way.

Author's Note: Takes place after my first story, "Little Adjustments". Picks up where that one left off.

Warning: Spanking in this story. If this bothers you, DO NOT READ THIS STORY OR REVIEW IT.

Disclaimer: I don't own these characters or this concept. I'm just borrowing them for entertainment purposes.

Chapter 13: Building a Family

Things began to settle down for the crew of Serenity quite considerably.

A few weeks after the incident involving the Alliance officers, Inara informed Mal that he was going to be a father—again.

Nine months later, she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl whom they named after Kaylee and Mal's mother.

They asked Zoe to be her godmother—which of course she did.

Jayne returned to his old self, though he made certain not to ever make Mal too angry.

And as for the kids…

Simon continued to question Mal's authority whenever he disagreed with him, but he rarely disobeyed a direct order.

Cal came to love his new family more than he would ever let on, and absolutely doted—in private, of course—his new baby sister.

River remained the same—a mystery.

They continued to take jobs wherever they found them, though Mal increasingly took more and more legal ventures rather then illegal ones.

As he told Inara, "I got young'uns lookin' up to me now. I reckon I'd best set a good example."

Inara had, naturally thought this a rather good idea—especially since it was hers to begin with.

Returning to his home planet on the one year anniversary of his mother's passing, and to introduce their daughter to her, Inara and Mal stood outside the house gazing up at the stars in the night sky.

"A lot has changed," Mal told his wife, quietly.

She nodded. "Who'd have thought two years ago we'd be married with a baby," she told him, grinning.

"Who'd have thought I'd have son and daughter—plus two adopted young'uns, to boot," he told her.

Inara grew sad. "As much as I love our daughter," she told him, "I can't help but miss Kaylee…no one will ever be able to replace her in my heart."

"Mine either, darlin'," Mal told her, gently. "But she'd want us to go on doin' what we been doin'."

"And what's that?" Inara asked him, curiously.

"Buildin' a family," Mal told her. "She always said that's what we all were and she was right."

Inara nodded. "Yes," she said, "she was."

Mal smiled, wrapping an arm around her shoulders.

"What the heck you two doin' out here?" Cal asked, from the doorway. "Makin' another baby?"

Mal and Inara grinned at him, and Simon and River, who had joined their 'brother'.

"You three get your tails out here," he ordered them, "and tell Jayne and Zoe to bring the baby out."

"Why?" Simon asked him, as they all stepped out of the house.

"Cuz," Mal told him, smirking. "This is family time."

"And family time is the most important time in the verse," River said, smiling. "Kaylee said so."

"That's right, darlin'," Mal said, wrapping his other arm around her. "We are a family now."

"A really odd family," Simon said, grinning. "But a family."

"It takes all kinds," Jayne said, snorting.

"Yeah," Zoe said, handing her goddaughter to her mother. "It sure does."

Mal grinned, as they all turned their gazes to the stars.

They were a family now—not just a crew—and that was the way it was going to stay.

Now and forever.

The End.