AN: A really short one-shot to try and get me out of the writing funk I've been in for the past month. Sorry if it's not quite as good as it probably could have been, but at least I finished it! I hope you enjoy.
Disclaimer: I do not own Firefly or Serenity. Not one-hundred percent sure who does, but it's not me.
The moment River walked onto the ship carrying her newest bundle of fun, Mal had to put his foot down.
"I've told you before River: no pets. Not even for you."
"It's hungry," River said with a shrug as an explanation, her voice making it clear that she had heard the captain loud and clear; she just didn't care. "I can't let it starve, it'll be sad that way."
"You gonna do something about her Doc," Mal asked his surgeon with a raised eyebrow as he prepared to kick them both, girl and cat alike, from the safe confines of his ship.
"River just wants to feed it Captain," Kaylee cut in, her own voice sounding as pitiful as she could make it in an attempt to gain some leeway from the man on the one issue he was strict about. "There's nothin' here on this old piece of rock for it, so maybe we could keep it just until we find some shiny place for it to live. It won't take up much space, and it can even sleep with me in the engine room if you want."
"That's exactly what we don't want Kaylee," Zoe said from her spot on the walkway above them, staring down at the impromptu meeting with a small smile. "Something soft and fuzzy that can get into our engines and crash us. It'll need supervision, and we can't spare the eyes."
"Thank you," Mal said up to her, his hand rising to gesture towards the fighter when the two women before him still fixed him with their hopeful stares. "You heard the woman; no pets."
"Come on Mal, let the girl have her cat and be done with it."
"Jayne," Mal asked in surprise, shocked to hear the toughest member of his crew speak out in defense of the girl, "are you actually saying I should let River keep her pet, because that's what it sounded like, and if it is, then I think the Doc needs to take a look at you."
"Shut up," Jayne growled good-naturedly, throwing the bag he had been carrying at the other man. "They're right; nothin' down there but danger and death for the little guy. Might as well take him somewhere safe where he can at least scavenge for his food, if not find somewhere to actually live. Way I reckon it, leaving him just ain't right."
"Fine," Mal said with a huff a moment later, his eyes narrowed at the crew members that had outnumbered him, "it can stay." Truthfully, there hadn't been much of a fight, for one look at the girl's face the moment she had walked on board had convinced him to let the creature stay, but this at least gave the impression that he still had control over his ship. "But you're taking care of it, got it, River?"
"I think I'll name it Jayne."
For a long moment, silence surrounded the crew of the firefly named Serenity, each member raising their eyebrows at the young pilot that was currently cuddling her hard-won pet close in her arms. A slight grin on his face as he finally reached out to pet the kitten, it was with a self-satisfied tone of voice that Jayne himself broke the quiet.
"Why are yah naming this little' feller after me? 'Cause you want him to grow up all big and strong like?"
"No. It's because she's a girl."
Jayne's yell of rage was drowned out by the rest of the crews' laughter, and from that moment on, Jayne the kitten became part of the crew.