Title: Stupid Move

Chapter: Stupid Move

Pairings: R/J, S/K, Z/W, M/I

Disclaimer: Don't be daft, I own nothing.

A/N: I originally wrote and posted this a few days ago, but reread it and it just wasn't up to scratch. So here is an updated version, with more chapters added, and hopefully a bit more sense! The main story is set 3 years after the BDM (at which point I have River at 20, Simon at 28, Mal at 36, Zoe at 35, Wash and Jayne at 33, Inara at 25, and Kaylee at 23. I am aware these ages are not correct! This is solely for the sake of the story.) There will be ongoing flashbacks detailing the relationships between characters. Please suspend your disbelief and try to enjoy!

STUPID MOVE

Present Day (3 Years Post-BDM)

It started, as most things did for Simon Tam these days, with Kaylee. Beautiful, earthy, charming Kaylee, the love of his life, his wife and best friend; smart, adorable Kaylee...had thrown a wrench at his head.

He didn't really think he'd earnt said wrench, he'd merely inquired (as politely as possible), as to when her period was due. Normally he wouldn't dare ask such questions, afterall a womans right to talk about such things was solely their own, but he'd noticed some odd behaviour of late. She'd been crying about the oddest things lately, most recently a bowl she'd accidently knocked over in the kitchen. She'd also been strangely snippy, when usually it took a great deal to incite such behaviour.

And then there was the nausea, which was initially attributed to another one of Wash's miserable dinners, but such an explanation couldn't be used three days later. All in all he was merely curious as her doctor, rather than her husband, as to her physical wellbeing.

However when his oh so polite enquiry was met with a scream of rage and a wrench making friends with his left temple, Simon decided it best to do a check of her medical records. All her vaccinations were up to date, they hadn't been planetside long enough for her to contract anything strange, and overall she should be in perfect health.

On a whim Simon referred to the calendar he had hidden in a back cabinet of the infirmary. It was solely knowledge of the males on the boat, and hadn't even intially been at that. It had started at dinner one night.

2 and ½ Years Ago (6 Months Post-BDM)

Mal looked up as Jayne entered the dining room with a large bottle of whisky and sat down heavily. He raised an eyebrow at the black eye his merc was sporting, and also noticed the beginning of a swollen lip as the large man held out two glasses and poured a liberal dose into each.

"Jayne, I'd make a comment about you coming on ta me, but I'm thinkin' that beautiful black eye and nice addition to your lip are tellin' another story. Our resident psychic have something to say?" Mal smirked at the morose looking man as he sighed and eyed his captain.

"I wouldn' be sa damn snarky iffen I was you cap'n." Jayne pointed to his left eye, almost completely swollen shut, and sighed. "This is from my wife," he pointed to his lip, which Mal could now see was split, "And this here is from your fine lady." Mal's smirk died. Inara, known for her grace and compsure even when dealing with the crude mercenary, had split Jayne's lip. That could only mean one thing. He sighed and gestured to the second glass.

"You gonna fill that up?" Jayne did as he was told, pouring a liberal dose into his captain's glass, and refilling his own, which was already half empty. Mal raised his left arm, bringing Jayne's attention to four deep scratch marks. The younger man frowned sympathetically. "So, what'd ya say to her?"

"Nothin', really, I just asked iffen she needed anything done. She was in the kitchen tryna make 'er tea, and kept stopping and snifflin'. Was just tryna be nice! Stupid move." Jayne sighed, and Mal couldn't help but commiserate with him. "Yeah, I was only asking if something was wrong earlier. She was crying and I tried to hold her. Might've squeezed her a little too tightly. Stupid move." However before he could provide any words of wisdom, Simon chose that moment to all but run into the dining room, closing the door he went to, before running across the room and closing the other just as quickly. He turned to the other two.

"Ah, wonderful." He held up his right hand which was firmly holding his own bottle of whisky. "We're going to need this too." He quickly grabbed another glass and sat down. Jayne and Mal shared a look.

"Ah, Simon, not that I mind you joinin' in the drinkin' or anythin', but why 'xactly are ya needing some liquid comfort as well?" Mal was fairly sure he knew what was wrong with Inara, and could summon as fair guess as to why River had chosen to exact her vengence on her oversized husband, but was confused as Simon moaned and gestured to Jayne's face.

"I'm not sure who made those but I'll see you a black eye, one split lip, and raise you this." He turned his face to reveal one pink cheek with a definite handprint, before adding "and this", and raising his shirt just enough to reveal the rapidly darkening bruise on his hip. The bright pink handprint on Simon's cheek stood out against the long puckered scar that now ran from his cheekbone to his jaw, another result of Miranda.

"I asked if she needed any help with the engine. Stupid move." Mal sighed, gesturing to Jayne, who promptly filled Simon's glass.

Mal sighed. "This is ridiculous, we're hiding from our women in the damn kitchen and comparing bruises like war wounds." The intended tirade was brought to an abrupt halt by the quick entrances of both Wash and Book. Wash, like Simon, was sporting a fat lip, whilst Book just looked a tad smug. Wash smiled lopsidedly at the whisky already on the table.

"Oh thank god, I didn't have a lot left. Meant to stock up a while ago but ever since the baby I figured I wouldn't need it as much." Jayne raised an eyebrow as the pilot and the preacher sat at the remaining seats around the table. "Zoe's big as a damn house by now so I'm purt' sure she ain't giving you the same hell the rest of us 're goin' through."

Wash rolled his eyes, before holding out the glass he'd brought with him. He gestured to his face. "This is my own fault, made the mistake of asking my lovely wife if she wanted to go shopping for some bigger clothes. Stupid, stupid, stupid move." The other men, sans Book, raised their glass and joined in for the salute. Mal looked over at Jayne.

"You ain't never said what it was you did that pissed off your wife. The other women I understand but River? She's bout as patient with you as I've ever seen a person. The girl is unnaturally calm these days. So go on, what'd you do ta piss off the our little witch." Jayne blushed, the colour mixing horribly with his black eyes and swollen lip. He mumbled something incoherent. Book pressed his lips together tightly.

Simon smirked. The mercenary couldn't have surprised the crew more when just two months after Miranda he'd married the Reader. In fact the only two people who didn't seem surprised were River and Simon. River, because, well, psychic. And Simon because he knew to never underestimate the ability of his charming little mei mei to get what she wanted. However pleased he was that his sister was happy, he also couldn't pass up an opportunity for torture.

"Say again?" Jayne glared but said, a little louder, "I might've thought a little loudly at 'er." Wash blinked and Mal raised an eyebrow. "What the hell did you think that was bad enough for her ta do that?" If possible Jayne blushed even deeper, glancing uncomfortably at Simon, who was now laughing outright. Their initial uneasy truce had slowly been developing into an actual friendship, and talking about the Doc's mei mei like this didn't seem wise. He chose his next words carefully.

"I might've been thinkin' on her a little in'ppropriately...and might've had a mental image or two...an' she may have not liked me thinkin' on her like that when she's feelin'...poorly." He trailed off, though the other men nodded sagely. Book looked in abject pain at this point. Finally Wash looked around confused.

"Hang on, I get why Zoe's acting weird, it's kinda obvious what with the giant bump in her stomach," he looked fearfully around as if expecting his wife to pop up, and when she didn't he continued. "But the girls are all very much not pregnant. Are you saying that River...and Inara...and Kaylee...but how?" Simon sighed, "It's a common occurrence; when women live in close proximety to one another their menstrual cycles can synch up, in fact it's a predictable phenomenom." Mal, Jayne and Wash all shared a look of terror, which matched the dawning fear growing on Simon's face.

"But that means..."

"Every month..."

"All of them?

"Oh holy god..."

At this point Book couldn' help himself. He coughed, then he giggled, before finally bursting into the loudest, most manical laughter any of them had ever heard from the older man. Tears rolled down his eyes, and when he finally gained some semblance of control over himself, he looked down the table at the four men. "And you think it's strange that I'm celibate."

Mal almost would have laughed if Jayne's glare at the preacher hadn't been so damn glowery. He cleared his throat and took on his best Captain demeanour.

"Alright Doc, what do we do?" Simon shrugged helplessly. "Short of tracking the cycle and stocking up on whisky and ice packs I don't see much else we can do."

Mal looked thoughtfully into his glass, which Jayne was filling up yet again. His eyes were starting to unfocus just the tiniest bit, and his brain was travelling slower than normal. He looked up, noting smugly that the other men, bar the Shepard, were all also starting to look a little tipsy.

"Then that's what we do! We keep an eye on things, buy whisky, and hide. Yesh, letsh do that." The other men all looked agreeable to this plan. Well, it was his plan, and he was the Captain. Was a good plan too.

"Now...we got more whisky?"

Present Day (3 Years Post-BDM)

Since that day Simon had promised to allow the other men access to the calendar, so that they could have fair warning of when their wives may be feeling...a little off. As he glanced at the calendar he frowned. Kaylee was due two weeks ago. He stood up and opened he cupboard containing the feminine hygeine products. None had been taken. None?

That couldn't be right. He glanced back at the calendar, his eyes widening as a few key moments in the last few weeks flashed through his brain.

Zoe, having just put 3 year old Jason to bed, wincing as she stood up and her arm brushed her chest.

Inara, looking pale and drawn, sipping her green tea very slowly whilst complaining of a headache.

River, with a bright flush to her cheeks, spinning slowly in the cargo bay and humming to herself whilst holding her stomach.

Kaylee's nausea.

Simon's eyes looked ready to pop out of his head. None of the feminine hygeine products had been taken for at least a month and a half. Which could only mean one thing.

They were gonna need a hell of a lot more whisky.

A/N I know it's jumping around a little bit, it probably will for a while, but hopefully the flashbacks will fit well rather than be overly frustrating. And I know that the idea they would all be pregnant at the same time is a little unrealistic, but it's fanfiction so please just try to run with it. Please review!