TITLE: To Be Jolly


A/N: Just a pointless bit of…well, nothingness really. Trying to get back into writing, this attempt probably doesn't really merit posting but meh, why not 'ey? Belated Christmas-ness.

Wash moved to where Simon and Mal stood side by side, both looking at the floor of the cargo bay below them. He silently handed over the beers he'd gone to procure, each man nodding in thanks and popping the caps. Another moment passed in silence as the three of them drank deep before Simon cocked his head to the side.

"Opportunities like this just don't present themselves too often."

Wash took another sip, nodding. "He's right Captain; be a damn shame to waste it."

Mal nodded, still staring down into the cargo bay thoughtfully. "I'm inclined t'agree with you Wash, just weighin' up the options in my head."

The three men took another silent sip before Simon spoke again.

"Well, we could keep it simple. Kaylee's been asking for it for weeks…maybe we should grant her wish?"

Mal stroked his chin. "You're a giving kinda man, ain't you Simon?"

The doctor nodded without looking away from the cargo bay. "Well, tis the season and all that…"

Twenty minutes of very quiet grunting, heavy lifting and careful movement of limbs later the three men stood back to survey their achievement.

Wash reached down to the belt of the bright red pants, carefully pulling a large bowie from its sheath. Mal did the same to a small pistol barely visible under the white trim along the bottom of the trousers. Both men moved back for Simon to step forward, delicately placing the finishing touch on Jayne's head.

The white pom pom at the tip of the bright red hat flopped forlornly against Jayne's cheek, as if all too aware of the fate that awaited it given its current placement.

As they walked away Wash sighed. "Are we sure we got all his weapons?"

Mal shook his head. "Probably not, but it'll have ta do."

Simon glanced back. "There's a good chance he's going to try to kill us tomorrow."

Wash snickered as Mal put on his most dangerous Captain-y voice. "Well, that's what he gets fer finishin' all the gorram whisky."

Wash glanced over at Simon. "How long did you say that surgical glue will hold?"

Simon shrugged. "Long enough that we probably should go check for more weapons before he wakes up."

There was a pause as each man took a moment of quiet contemplation to weigh up the pros and cons of having to pat down a drunken, passed out mercenary for more weapons. It was silently but unanimously decided that such a move was unpleasant, but necessary.

Wash nodded a greeting to Simon and Mal as they entered the galley on Christmas morning. The coffee had already been brewed by whoever was up before them, so they enjoyed their cups silently before Mal looked over to the pilot.

"He up yet?"

Wash smirked. "Haven't checked, but I thought I saw the girls heading to the cargo bay with the kids, so-"

Kaylee's scream of delight echoed through the ship, causing the three men to grin as they stood. They grabbed their mugs and moved quickly down to the cargo bay where they suddenly froze. Jayne was wide awake, sitting on one of the crates like it was a gorram throne. He had a cup of fresh coffee in one hand, and the other was helping four year old Jason Washburne climb on to his lap while Zoe smiled and Kaylee babbled about how sweet the mercenary was to get all dressed up for the kids.

Jayne glanced up when the three other men entered, raising one eyebrow and briefly narrowing his eyes before shooting them all a smirk. There was a slight redness around his forehead from where he'd obviously tried to pull off the ridiculous Santa hat when he'd first woken up, only to find it secured in place with surgical glue.

So there he now sat, decked out in a matching jacket and pants, the red fabric and white trim standing out against their metallic cargo bay like the nose of an outcast reindeer. His hands didn't twitch to his sides, so they guessed he'd figured out he wasn't packing any heat, but despite that reassuring thought there was a distinct lack of fury in his eyes that was…disconcerting.

Wash swallowed. "This does not bode well."

Mal shook his head. "Nope, 'specially since he knows Simon's got the solvent ta that glue hidden somewhere."

The doctor was about to speak when his two year old daughter tugged at his pants. "Baba, come see Santa."

Simon looked desperately at Mal and Wash but Inara's bemused appearance behind them suggested that they were going to be joining him whether they liked it or not. Derrick Reynolds was yelling for his father excitedly, and as Simon was dragged ever closer by his daughter, Kaylee shot him a look that suggested his participation was not only desired, but mandatory.

He sighed as he picked up Kira, handing her over to tell 'Santa' what she wanted for Christmas. As the little girl babbled incoherently about unicorns Simon spoke to Jayne through gritted teeth.

"You look nice today Jayne."

The bigger man snorted. "Don't think I don't know whose idea this was Doc."

Simon looked over at Mal and Wash, who were waiting anxiously to see if he was about to be killed.


Simon put on his best, most convincing 'nice guy' voice.

"But the kids are happy…so, no harm done? Since you're being so jolly?"

Jayne quirked an eyebrow. "Kids found me 'bout twenty minutes ago, an' Zoe made it clear I'm Santa today whether I like it or not. So I guess I don't mind."

Simon felt a wave of relief at the resignation in Jayne's voice. Maybe they'd get out of this unpunished after all. He shifted to move Kira back to her mother when suddenly his sleeve was caught in a large hand.

Jayne kept his voice a low growl as he continued, looking across the room to where River was helping Jason pick another present from under the tree. Beneath the white faux fur of the Santa hat there was a sinister smirk that revealed a few too many large, white teeth.

"Course, it helps that yer sister promised to come sit on my lap later."

Simon's yelp of horror was covered as Jayne tickled a giggling Kira. The doctor took a second to compose himself, looking to where River was now chatting with Kaylee and Inara. He let the knot of anger and shock that had settled in his stomach loosen as his sister gave him an innocent smile across the cargo bay.

Jayne was just trying to stir him up as payback; there was no need to let himself get worked up.

River brought over the coffee decanter, obligingly filling Simon's cup with another sweet smile and a kiss on the cheek. "Merry Christmas, Simon."

He returned the gesture, allowing himself to relax as she picked Kira off Jayne's lap with one arm. As she began to refill the mercenary's cup Simon looked over to Mal and Wash with a relaxed smile, letting them know everything was going to be ok. He saw Mal's eyes widen and Wash suddenly splutter coffee down his shirt.

Simon's head snapped around just in time to see his sister shooting Jayne a look that would have made a Persephone dock worker blush before she turned twinkling brown eyes to her brother. Kira waved happily at her father as River turned to refill other coffee pots, and as Jayne spoke Simon watched blue eyes follow his sister's form a little too closely.

"Awww, don't look so put out Doc." River spun a giggling Kira in the air, the movement flipping her dress out and showing a flash of slim thigh and the barest hint of red underwear. Simon swallowed thickly as Jayne ran his tongue over his teeth.

"After all, it's the most wonderful time o' the year."