Simon leaned back in the engine-room hammock, rather enjoying the view as Kaylee bent over the engine, tightening a bolt or some other such thing. He wasn't very mechanically-inclined... at least, not when it came to repairs.

"What are you working on, baobei?"

"This- gorram- coil-" she grunted, tugging upward. A high-pitched ting rang out as something snapped, and Kaylee broke into a litany of angry Mandarin as the ship screeched in response to whatever had happened.

"Kaylee!" Mal's voice rang through the corridors, punctuated by heavy foot-falls. "What in the gorram 'verse just-" His voice broke as the ship shook. "Lemme guess," he drawled sarcastically as he peered in through the door. "Everything's shiny?"

"Nothing's shiny!" Kaylee glowered. "Nothin' here is shiny because she's broke and you ain't stopped for parts in-"

Simon tugged her back to him. "We'll get it fixed, captain."

"You'd best."

As Mal walked away, Kaylee threw her tool to the ground. Simon hadn't seen her have a fit in... well, as long as he could remember, so he was somewhat taken aback.

"What's wrong?" He peered at the engine, wishing he knew more.

"She's not happy," Kaylee murmured. Tears filled her eyes as she whispered, "I think she misses-"

Simon tilted his head, torn between the fresh pain of Wash's death and the quirkiness of Kaylee's statement. "She does?"

"Your patients do worse when they're sad," she pointed out. "Why shouldn't Serenity?"

"It's a ship, not a person."

"She's got more personality than you!" Kaylee shot back. "And she knows there's someone new at the helm and she's upset. Well, that and her core's overheating."

Simon held back a sigh and humored her. "Well, there's nothing can be done about the first problem. So... let's tackle the core."

Kaylee huffed. Boys just didn't understand.



I have no legal rights to the Firefly characters; that honor belongs to Joss Whedon.