Eternity in Our Moment
Cross: Firefly and Highlander, with maybe a cameo
Summary: There's something very different about this Rim tavern.
Disclaimer: No infringement intended. I'm just playing, no profit involved. If you recognize the characters, they're not mine.
Spoilers: None. Some time after all the characters showed up in their shows. (But not the movie for Firefly.)
"What the hell does blue have to do with a bar?" Jayne asked the group at large.
"Blues bars were common on Earth-That-Was," River explained. She was smiling and using her 'superior-teacher voice' that drove Jayne insane. "It's also a type of music."
Simon ignored the by-play and fussed with River's head scarf. "I'm not sure that it's safe for us to be out and about like this."
"I am," Mal said. "The owners hate the Alliance and their stranglehold. This is Joe's Blues Bar. They have some of the best alcohol in the 'verse."
Simon followed the rest into the bar and was pleasantly surprised that the inside was remarkably cleaner than the outside. It was also evident that the exterior hid the sturdiness of the structure. Just inside the door was a man with a gun. He was also reading a book. He looked up and glanced over the group. He nodded to the original Serenity crew and eyed the newcomers. He and River ended up in a staring contest until River started whimpering.
"I don't want to meet Death."
Simon immediately put his arms around her to comfort. "Mei-mei."
"Don't start problems, little one," the man answered calmly. He turned to the captain. "Reynolds."
"It's been a while."
"Enough to change the quality of your brews?" Mal teased.
"Only improvements here," Adam growled. "I wouldn't tolerate anything less. And since no one else makes anything decent, I have to put forth the effort myself."
"You could stop drinking," the shepherd said from the back of the group.
Adam did a second glance at Book. "Like you stopped your addiction?"
Shepherd Book smiled and shrugged.
Adam grunted and waved them through.
"You had an addiction," Mal jibbed.
Book smiled and shrugged again. "Different time, different place."
Simon looked around the bar. He could see various people wearing remnants of the Independence Regulars uniform. The bar surprised him. Where most swore that the most civilized hovered around the Core Planets, this rim planet bar had live music and pictures on the walls. Admittedly, they didn't resemble the art nor the music found on the Core, but in was intriguing and moving just the same. They didn't try to imitate the 'quality' of the Core, but they had their own culture.
There was something that seemed to disassociate the inside of the bar from the harsh planet outside. Whatever it was, it made the bar a very busy place.
"Something old, something new," River sang. "Something borrowed, something blue."
Simon was suddenly paying attention. "Not blue hands?" he asked.
"No." River was mystified.
"Then what's blue?" Simon asked.
The short bartender happened to overhear the question. He chuckled wryly. "Other than the music," he answered for River, "Nothing." He paused for a moment. "Food? Drink?" he asked.
Mal, Zoë and Wash called out their favorites. Simon looked chagrined but asked anyway, "Is there any possibility of a menu?"
The bartender handed over a menu to Simon's delight. He and his sister poured over the script.
"Sushi!" River squealed.
Simon grinned. "I haven't had good sushi since I graduated from medical school."
"Where was the fish caught?" Book asked evenly.
A waitress appeared to take their orders and to answer questions. "We have underwater streams that we fish. And we're near 'nough to the ocean to have some brought here several times a week."
"You don't have a problem with pollution getting into the fish?" queried Book.
The pretty waitress shook her head. "Nope. And we have some people who are very sensitive to pollutants who eat sushi each week."
"Sounds wonderful," Simon said. "I'd love to have the sampler platter."
"I as well," agreed the shepherd.
"Me three." River clapped her hands in glee.
The waitress left them for a while. Adam abandoned his post by the door to the bartender that had talked to them. He grabbed a dark bottle and a glass from behind the counter and handed the alcohol to Book for inspection. Book surveyed it, opened it and sniffed it.
He nodded in approval. "That's quality, Adam. I'm surprised you don't sell it."
"We do." Adam poured Book a half glass. After judging the Tams to be of a wealthy lifestyle that would appreciate quality, he poured each of them a glass.
Simon gingerly took a sip. He had been subjected to some of the worse rot-gut available on the Rim. Mudder's milk probably topped the list. He was pleasantly surprised with the pure taste that seeped into his tongue. "This is exquisite. What is it?"
"Icewine," Book answered with a smile.
"I've never heard of it," Simon savored another sip.
"It's made from frozen grapes," River added. She, too, drank more.
Simon took her glass away from her. "I'm sorry River, but we can't mix this with your medications." River pouted but didn't fight her brother's edict. Simon looked at Adam. "May she please have some water or juice?" Adam nodded. Simon looked for a place to put River's glass.
He felt that it was impolite to add the wine to Book's drink. He considered adding the wine to his own, but then realized that he could do better. He walked over to Kaylee and offered her the glass. "You really should try this, it's wonderful."
Kaylee eyed the clean, delicate flute and wiped her hands on her overalls. She tried to smile at Simon, but it came out rather weak. Simon wasn't detoured. He held the glass out in front of the mechanic. "The clarity of the liquid and scent only add to the perfection of the taste. You probably haven't ever tasted any liquor this good." He noted the way that Kaylee's face closed off and hurried to add, "I haven't ever tasted anything this good." Simon put the rim of the glass to her lips. "Try it and then you can tell Inara about it. I'm sure she's had some."
That seemed to be the key to Kaylee's cooperation. She carefully took a sip. "Hmm. It tastes like it should be cold."
Simon nodded. "Exactly." He left the flute next to Kaylee. "I hope you enjoy it. River won't mind sharing with you."
"Simon," River called. "Lunch has arrived."
The doctor turned and blanched when he saw the huge platters of food being set on the tables. "Did you order?" he asked Kaylee.
She shook her head. "I couldn't decide yet."
"You want to share with me?"
Ever the gentleman, Simon pulled out Kaylee's chair, picked up her wine glass and escorted the mechanic to a seat next to his. The foursome mightily enjoyed the food and drink. The bartender and Adam played their guitars in the corner.
Simon wished that they could stay. He thought about asking Adam if they had need for a doctor and if there was a house for rent. River could dance to the music here.
River patted his hand. "They don't need you. They come back from the dead on their own."
Simon gaped at his sister, once again unable to follow her thoughts though it was obvious that she was following his.
Book raised his glass to offer a toast. "To life, wherever it may take us."
It would have been rude to ignore the toast, so Simon lifted his glass and clinked it with his sister and his… Kaylee. This moment needed to be savored.