A slight departure from my usual fare for the next few stories. I participated in Rare Pair Fest 2012 this year, and took it as an opportunity to branch off in new fandoms/new directions/new pairings. I ended up writing my actual story, a pinch hit, and then a treat on top of that and enjoyed them all thoroughly. Hopefully you will, too? ^_^

Title: Engine Grease and Summer Winds
Fandom: Fiefly
Pairing: Kaylee/Inara, hints of Kaylee/Mal
Rating: NC-17
Word Count: 2,192
Warnings: Graphic depictions of sexual situations; masturbation; F/F - if that's not your cup of tea, there's no shame in it... but please don't read it. Thanks! ^_^

Disclaimer: Firefly and her characters do not belong to me. They belong to Joss Whedon and all the wonderful actors who brought those characters to life. No harm was meant, I'm just playing in their sandbox. I promise I'll put them all back where they belong when I'm done. ^_^

Summary: "It was easy to love Kaylee. That was the problem."

August 25, 2012: Rare Pair Fest 2012. All these ample, wonderful opportunities to play with characters in ways which we'd never contemplated before. I'll admit, I was excited by the challenge. I was even more excited when I realized that I was going to have an opportunity to play with Joss Whedon's characters... especially these characters. ^_^ Having just recently started a rewatch of Firefly, I figured that this assignment was fate and I had a lot of fun with it. Hopefully you'll enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Engine Grease and Summer Winds
by Renee-chan

It was easy to love Kaylee.

That was the problem.

In the frozen cold of the Black, Kaylee was warmth. Among the long-embittered residents of the far flung outer planets, Kaylee was still full of innocent joy. And in a society where everyone was out for themselves and no one cared one whit for another beyond how useful they were, Kaylee's generosity of spirit was a rare gift, indeed. So, everyone loved Kaylee for something. That was the problem. But there was one person on Serenity who loved Kaylee simply for who she was... and that was the solution.

Inara smiled as she slid her hand back under Kaylee's hair, gently lifting it from the back of her neck and sliding the brush through its softly curling strands. Kaylee all but purred as she leaned into the brushstrokes. Inara smiled at the motion, paused and brought the auburn waves she was brushing to her face and inhaled. Kaylee always smelled like engine grease, no matter how clean she was, as though Serenity's lifeblood had seeped into her very cells. Engine grease... and summer. Kaylee was from a desert world - hot, dry, dusty... and so she always smelled like summer to Inara. Engine grease and summer winds. That was the essence of Kaylee and Inara loved it.

Kaylee murmured a protest, something about her being riper than a forty-day-old tomato left to rot on the vine. Inara smiled, let her hands drop onto Kaylee's shoulders to pull her back to rest against Inara's chest and said, "Nonsense, Kaylee. You smell like you... and you could never smell rotten to me."

Kaylee tilted her head back, looked at Inara from upside down, eyes wide and vulnerable as she said, "No foolin'?"

Inara leaned down, pressed her lips briefly to Kaylee's, then said, deliberately, "No foolin'."

Kaylee held Inara's gaze for a minute longer before snorting out a laugh and playfully shoving at Inara's shoulder, "'No foolin''. Pfft. Don't you go all Companion on me, now, Inara. I'm covered fingers to toes in engine grease and I ain't had a proper bath in weeks. Ain't got no illusions about how I smell and no pretty words from you are gonna change that truth."

Far from discouraged, Inara held out a hand to her friend. As Kaylee let herself be pulled back into the circle of Inara's arms, Inara started slowly unbuttoning Kaylee's coveralls. She leaned close to whisper in Kaylee's ear, "Well, if that's the only problem, then a bath you shall have, Kaylee."

Kaylee reached up to stroke one grease-stained hand across Inara's cheek, smiled at the smudge she left behind. "Huh," she said, an impish twinkle in her eyes, "Look at that. Sorry Inara. I guess you need a bath, now, too."

"Well," Inara pulled her washbasin over from where she'd pushed it when Kaylee had come in a half an hour before, "Then we shall have to have a bath, together... won't we?"

The two women looked at each other in perfect understanding and Inara's smile widened. Yes, it was easy to love Kaylee... but perhaps that wasn't really a problem, at all.

It was easy to love Inara.

That was the problem.

In the stark, barren waste of the Black, Inara was a breath of luxury. In a world where everything was made of harsh lines and angles, Inara was all elegant curves. In a society which only had use for practical efficiencies, Inara was indulgent beauty. Everyone wanted to possess that beauty, to own it, cage it, claim it, if only for a little while. That was the problem. But there was one person on Serenity who was willing to let Inara fly where she would... and that was the solution.

Kaylee loved Inara in such complete innocence that she couldn't have explained why even if asked. She would have spluttered and stuttered, tongue-tied and awkward as she tried to put into words an action that came to her as naturally as breathing. After all... how could you not love Inara? Inara was beautiful, graceful, talented, eloquent and exotic. Inara was everything Kaylee had always dreamed of being and yet known she could never be.

Kaylee's love for Inara was so deeply instinctive that she didn't even remember when it had started. The first week? The first day? Maybe even before they met. It didn't really matter, though. It was enough for Kaylee that she loved Inara. She didn't need to know why or since when. She didn't even need to be loved in return. The act of loving was enough for her all on its own.

Kaylee loved seeing Inara all dolled up for her clients. Kaylee loved sitting down in the engine room after seeing her off and dreaming about all the glorious places Inara went, all the exotic parties she attended, all the rich and sumptuous food she ate... all the beautiful men she took to her bed. Kaylee would sit beneath Serenity's great revolving engine and just let herself take in the thrum of the great ship propelling herself through space. And as that gentle hum settled deep into her bones... she would picture Inara.

Inara had gone to a fancy party that night, just like the one that the Captain had taken Kaylee to all those weeks and weeks ago. She'd not be as awkward as Kaylee, that was for sure. She wouldn't end up in the corner, talking engines with a bunch of old men - though if pressed, Kaylee would have admitted that she'd loved the attention, loved being admired for her skills and her beauty... almost as much as she'd loved the amazing spread of food that the younger men had kept bringing her samples of. But, no. Inara wouldn't have ended up in the corner. Inara was made to captivate the senses, made to show off... made to be seen. Inara would have danced the night away, spinning the dance and the easy conversation into a seduction so skilled that none could have resisted her. Most of the men and half the women would've been in love with her by the time she left, just the right degree of tired "forcing" her to lean on the strength of her handsome young client.

They'd have gone back to Inara's shuttle, then, maybe indulged in a tea ceremony to cool themselves down from the exertions of the evening, maybe not. Either way, it was inevitable where they would end up... Inara's bed. Inara would peel herself out of her clothes, a slow, seductive tease. Maybe she'd help her young man out of his, too. Once they were nude, she would lay back against the pillows, her hair spread artfully on the red satin as though each strand had been deliberately placed to achieve the proper effect. She would reach up to the young beau above her - he would be eager, almost desperate for her touch after the slow seductions she'd been playing out all night, but Inara would soothe him, stroke him, gentle his fire into a steadily burning blaze. He would groan out her name, sink down on top of her, bury his face in her neck. Kaylee knew what he would smell there - spice and lavender, a hint of cream.

Imagining that smell, Kaylee would bite her lip, then, imagine that she bit into Inara's neck, instead, sure that Inara's young man would do the same. He would press his tongue to the olive-toned skin at Inara's neck, taste that exotic blend of scents for himself. Who wouldn't? And next... oh, and next...

Utterly careless of who might be watching, sure that Serenity's protective thrum would keep her safe from notice, Kaylee would unbutton her coveralls, slip a hand inside to stroke across her breast, because of course, that would be what Inara's young man would do next - cup his lordling-soft hands around those firm, perfect globes. Maybe he would lean down, take a dark rose nipple into his mouth. Inara would sigh, smile, cup a hand behind his head to keep him there for a moment. She wouldn't let him linger too long, though, would soon move him along, conscious always of time and tempo and the proper rhythm for these things, knowing easily enough the moment when he would be ready for more.

Kaylee would slide her hand down, then, under the waistband of her panties, press her fingers into the growing heat between her legs, because now... now, Inara would be spreading her legs, too, guiding her beau between them, stroking him with her delicate, graceful hands, murmuring sexy nothings into his ear as she urged him on. Completely under her spell, he would plunge into her, lost in her scent, her beauty, her words, the primal passionate need to possess her, even just for this moment. Picturing it, Kaylee would press her fingers deep into her own body, stroke her thumb over the hard nub of her clit as she fought not to let forth those mewling cries that wanted so desperately to escape her lips.

Of course, they would climax together: Kaylee, Inara and her beau. Why wouldn't they? In fantasies everyone is always perfectly in tune and in sync. And as Kaylee lay there beneath Serenity's great engine, slowly coming down from her high, Inara would be cleaning up, finishing her time with her client and preparing her shuttle to bring her home. Kaylee would put herself back together, too, finish the task she had interrupted with her imaginings and start making her way up to the docking bay to meet Inara.

Sometimes, like tonight, she would run into the Captain on the way, pretending that he wasn't also heading towards the docking bay to check on their "ambassador," as he called her. There was always a hint of sadness around the edges of his face then - sadness haunted most of his expressions, Kaylee thought, but he always had a smile for Kaylee, even so. Tonight was no different. He smiled at her, placed a hand under her chin and gave it a gentle tap, and said softly, "I pay you to work, mei-mei. You know that."

This time, Kaylee smiled brightly, took the Captain's hand in hers and swung it between them, "I know, Captain! Me 'n Serenity were just havin' a little bondin' time while she told me her troubles so's I could better fix 'em."

Mal opened his mouth, closed it again, finally choked out, "Bondin' time, huh? That's what they're callin' it these days?"

Kaylee laughed, pulled Mal's hand up to her mouth and placed a kiss on his knuckles, "I guess they are, Captain! It's just somethin' we girls have to do from time to time, you know?"

Mal frowned then, as though at a disturbing thought. Finally, at Kaylee's patient expression, he said slowly, "You and Inara have this, uh... 'bondin' time,' too? I can't help but notice you always seem to show up to spend time after she's been away a spell, mei-mei."

Eyes twinkling impishly, Kaylee swung Mal's hand again and said, "Yessir, Captain. We do." Voice taking on a more serious cast, Kaylee added, "Serenity ain't the only one has troubles that need sharin', you know." Kaylee raised Mal's hand to her face again, this time pressed the palm to her cheek and raised her own hand to cup his in return, "Captain... who do you share your troubles with?"

Inara watched Kaylee and Mal from the catwalk, watched as Kaylee leaned up on tiptoe to press a soft butterfly of a kiss into the corner of Mal's mouth. She watched as Kaylee smiled, then spun, spotted Inara and waved before brightly skipping across the bay towards the stairs. She watched as Mal raised a hand to his lips, fighting the bemused smile that kept trying to break through.

Eventually Mal caught Inara watching and recollected himself, gave her a small, irony-filled grin, doffed an imaginary cap to her and turned to leave the docking bay, a hint of a skip in his step that hadn't been there before.

Kaylee reached the catwalk then, quickly took Inara's hand in both of hers, clasped it to her chest and asked, "So, did you have good sex tonight, Inara?"

Inara smiled, tweaked Kaylee's nose and shot back, "Did you?"

Kaylee's mouth broke into a wide grin, "Well, my client had no complaints, that's for darned sure!"

"Well, neither did mine," Inara said. She pulled Kaylee along, guided her to the entrance to her shuttle as Kaylee started shooting off rapid-fire questions about Inara's evening and her client. Often she supplied her own imagined answers before Inara could even open her mouth - answers that were also often far more exotic and exciting than the truth of the evening had been and Inara didn't have the heart to contradict a single word.

Yes... it was easy to love Kaylee, so everyone did.

Sometimes that was a problem.

But it was also easy - as natural as breathing - for Kaylee to love others in return.

...and that was the most brilliant solution of all.


Yeah... really nothing much to add. ^_^

Questions, comments, strawberries?

Kaylee: Strawberries? Oh, Grandpa... *_*