Author owns no rights what-so-ever to Firefly, nor the universe in which it lives. He writes solely for his own amusement. It's okay not to sue him.

FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF

"Simon, I wouldn't do that, I was you."

Simon Tam looked at the hulking, ape-man-gone-wrong genetic experiment and managed to hold in a sneer.

"You might not, but I do not believe I will ever lead my life based on anything you might, or might not, do."

"Suit yerself," Jayne shrugged, watching the little pansy-ass core-boy trying to catch the squirrel. They hadn't been anywhere the crew could go planet side safely in months. After a drop off on the moon Arabis, Mal had declared a down day, setting the ship down in a fairly deserted area to allow the crew some time on the ground.

The country side around their landing site was beautiful. Plush grasslands with stands of hardwood trees dotting it like islands in a green sea.

And the stupid doctor boy was about to get eat up by a tree rat.

"Simon, maybe you oughta leave 'im be," Kaylee told him, eyeing Jayne slightly. The merc looked uncommonly happy, watching Simon ignore his warnings.

"Kaylee, it's hardly larger than a mouse," Simon replied. "What could possibly happen?"

Not far away, the rest of the crew were settling onto the ground, having decided they would enjoy the outdoors. Mal had even purhased fresh food from the town near their drop off, so there was a collective agreement that there would be a picnic.

"Ah, dinner on the ground," Book smiled, enjoying the fresh air. "There's just not much that can compare."

"Have ta agree with ya, preacher," Mal sighed in contentment. Everything was sure calm, and quiet. Plumb peaceful, in fact, and the Captain was enjoying. . . .

"AGGHHHH! Get it off me! GET IT OFF ME!"

Mal sighed again, this time in consternation.

"I told Jayne to keep an eye on him."

Simon was dancing frantically around the clearing, shaking his arm as hard as he could.

"Don't just stand there, you imbecile, DO SOMETHING!" Jayne nodded, grinning, and jacked a round into Vera's chamber.

"Don't you dare shoot him, Jayne!" Kaylee squealed.

"Him, or the squirrel?" Jayne asked, chuckling.

"Either!"

Sighing, Jayne safed his rifle, and walked toward Simon.

"Help, help!" Simon was screaming. "IT'S EATING MY FINGER!"

"Hold still, ya pansy-ass crybaby," Jayne snarled, trying to grab the squirrel. Simon kept moving, however, making it difficult. The squirrel, unfortunately, seemed quite content to keep munching at Simon's finger.

"GAHHHH!" Simon exclaimed, running around in circles, more or less. Despite his predicament, he could hear his sister laughing.

"What could possibly happen!" she wailed, laughing so hard that her eyes brimmed with tears. Despite Kaylee's overwhelming concern for Simon, she found herself joining in.

"Gorramit, Doc, hold still!" Jayne bellowed, trying again to grab the squirrel. Again, Simon's movements took the small creature out of his grasp.

Mal, Book and Wash arrived all at once, with Zoe and Inara close behind. Mal looked at Jayne angrily.

"What in the gorram hell is wrong with him?" Mal demanded.

"Little busy, Mal," Jayne grunted back, trying again to reach the offending animal. Book saw what was happening, and tried valiantly to stifle a laugh. Wash had no such compulsion.

"Aw, Simon went and got himself a pet! Lamby-toes, can we have a pet, too?" Zoe fought to keep a grin from her face.

"Not now, husband," she managed.

"It's not that funny," Inara voiced her concern. "Those things carry several types of diseases."

"Well, he is a doctor," Wash told her seriously. "I mean, he should be able to treat himself for whatever. . .you know," he waved at the squirrel in question.

"Gorramit, Jayne, get that thing off 'im!" Mal yelled.

"Case you ain't noticed, I'm tryin'!" Jayne snapped back. He made a grab for the squirrel, only to have Simon jerk away at the last second.

"That's enough!" Jayne snapped, and popped Simon in the forehead with one meaty paw. Simon fell like he'd been boned. The squirrel, sensing that it's target had been vanquished, froze for a second, then turned and fled for the safety of the trees.

"Well, no pet for Simon," Wash sighed in mock disappointment. "Does this mean we can't have one?" he looked at his wife. "I promise I'll take better care of ours than Simon did of his," he added, trying to look hopeful.

"Wash," Mal warned, walking to where Simon was just sitting up. His hand was bleeding rather profusely.

"What have you got to say for yourself?" Mal demanded, looking at Jayne.

"Shin me?" Jayne looked at him. "For myself? I told the pansy-ass idiot to leave the damn thing alone! He went and said anything I said didn't make no never mind ta him!" Mal looked around to where Kaylee was nodding.

"It's true, Cap'n," she agreed, reluctantly. "Jayne warned him proper. So did I," she added with a sigh.

"Physician, heal thyself," River added, pointing to his bloody finger. Simon looked at his hand, eyes agape.

"It could have killed me!" he blurted, rising to his feet. "Why didn't you do anything?" he screeched at Jayne.

"I tried to," Jayne shrugged. "Ain't my fault you was caterwaulin' all over the damn moon, screamin' like a little girl."

"I was not screaming like a girl!"

"Well, actually. . .OW!," Wash started, but a sharp kick to his leg stopped him. He looked at his wife, muttering under his breath. Something about 'sudden but inevitable betrayal'. She grinned, but said nothing.

"You was screaming, some," Mal told him seriously. "Thought for a minute you'd finally made Jayne mad."

"He stays mad," Simon snapped. Mal chuckled.

"Could be that, but this here's on you, Simon. I ordered Jayne ta look after ya, which means ya shoulda listened to him. Better go git that hand seen to," he added. "'Nara's right, they do carry all kinds o' diseases."

Simon stomped off toward Serenity, Kaylee right behind him, soothing his ruffled feathers. The other women trailed along behind them, leaving Wash, Book, Mal and Jayne behind. Mal looked at all of them stoically, watching as the others disappeared from view.

Then he bent over laughing.

"It could have killed me!" he gasped between laughs, mimicking Simon's voice.

"I was not screaming like a girl," Wash added in a high falsetto. Book shook his head, but was grinning himself.

"Seriously, Jayne," Mal sobered for a minute. "How could you let that dangerous, man-eating monster attack our good young Doctor like that?"

"Easy," Jayne shrugged. "Told him I wouldn't do that."

The others howled again in laughter, Book even joining them this time.

"Son," Book chuckled. "I have a feeling you knew he'd react that way." Jayne's eyes twinkled slightly.

"Ain't never heard o' nobody gettin' et up by a tree rat," he shrugged.

"C'mon," Mal ordered. "Let's get back and eat. Best keep that laughin' under control, too. Ain't no reason to poke the bear."

"But," Wash looked at him, "what could possibly happen?"

FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF

A/N: Okay, last night, the wife and I are watching these crazy videos on youtube, one of which was a guy, a city guy who didn't know any better, trying to catch a squirrel.

He succeeded. Sort of.

Actually, the squirrel caught him. He screamed, and ran from the balcony he had been on, presumably to get help.

We both laughed till we cried.

And then the wife says "That would make a good story. Will you write a story, a Firefly story, where Simon tries to catch a squirrel. And put a hat on it?" The wife is obsessed with putting hats on animals.

So here it is. Sans hat.

Hope you enjoy!