Disclaimer: Joss is Boss. No copyright infringement is intended and no money was made from this of course. Any similarity to any other story but my own is a coincidence.

The line: I swear to you, by my own stunning good looks and towering ego that I'm not lying to you is from The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. (It was one of the prompts for the challenge)

Title: Untitled
Genre: Humor/hints of romance; Kaylee/Simon (mentioned)
Rating: G
Timeline: Post TBDM
Author's Notes: This is just a little drabble for a fic challenge at scifiland
Language note: Inara is meant to be saying: bless love and all his cupids but I do not speak any dialect of Chinese so...

Kaylee eyed the Captain with an uncharacteristically severe gaze.

"Somethin's goin' on with Simon and you know what it is, Capt'n."

Malcolm reached out a hand and gently smoothed a finger down the girl's nose.

"Didn't yer ma ever tell ya that your face would freeze like that, Kaylee girl?" The Captain asked with a fond smile.

"Captain..." the young mechanic sighed. "Why won't anyone tell me anythin? Simon's actin' all kinds of strange and nobody'll talk to me 'bout it."

Her face crumpled a little.

"I thought sure you'd..."

"Kaylee girl," Malcolm interrupted quietly.

"I swear to you, by my own stunning good looks and towering ego that I'm not lying to you," Malcolm assured her. "And if there's really somethin,' as you say, goin' on with the boy, I ain't rightly certain as to what it could be."

Kaylee looked to him with wide eyes teetering at the edge of tears.

"I wouldn't worry, Kaylee girl. Likely it's nothin' at all, and things'll straighten themselves out soon enough, yeah?"

The girl nodded a bit slowly and walked out of the galley without another word.

"What are you going to do when she finds out you've been lying to her?" Inara asked carefully before lifting her steaming tea cup to her lips.

Malcolm turned to the Companion.

"I'm hoping Simon will have proposed by then and Kaylee'll have other things to think 'bout. Otherwise, I might have to speak with boy, 'cause I don't rightly like doin' it. Ya woulda thought he'd have done it sooner. If it were me askin' my own..."

Malcolm shook his head and Inara hid her smile behind the lip of her cup.

"And now, if you'll excuse me, I'll be on my bridge doin' captainy things that have nuthin' to do with romance and all the fool silliness that goes 'long with it."

Inara smiled in the direction of the Captain's retreating back.

"Buddha, hē hù Xīn cháng yě jū jué tiān shǐ..."