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FF: Layer Cake (Kaylee)

Written for serenitysummer: Shindig.

Title: Layer Cake
Author: voleuse
Fandom: Firefly
Characters: Kaylee & ensemble
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: A little frill, a lot of ruffles.
Notes: Set during "Shindig"



i. chasing down a tumbleweed

"And how, exactly," Badger asks, "do you fix on entering the grand event? If you don't mind my asking."

Mal nods to Jayne, who grunts, grabs another handful of sandwiches, then wanders out of the room.

Badger sneers. "Bringing the muscle as your escort?"

"Actually," Mal says, "I thought I'd bring another of my crew."

"Your bird Zoe?" Badger squints his eyes. "She'd be a sight, all dressed up."

"That she would, but she wasn't the one I had in mind."

"That so?"

"That's so." Mal leans back. "We'll be needing a dress."

Badger frowns. "I've got my hand in all sorts of enterprises, but dressmaking isn't one of them."

"Don't matter." Mal smiles. "I've got just the one in mind."


ii. lassoing my cowgirl dreams

Kaylee, pointedly, does not look Mal in the eye as they walk to the cargo hold.

She's so busy not looking at him, in fact, that he has to grab her by the arm and turn her before she sees it.

The dress, draped carelessly over some crates.

"Oh!" For a second, she forgets herself and rushes forward, buries her hands in the lace of the skirt and revels in the way it catches against her fingers.

"So you like it."

She turns to look at Mal, suspicious. "This ain't an apology."

"Wasn't meaning for it to be." He shifts on his feet. "Get dressed. We've got a party to go to."

"A party?"

"Business." He grabs a bundle of material, huddled next to the dress, and strides off.

She sticks her tongue out at his retreating form, then flips the dress over.

The fastenings at the back are unfamiliar to her, a complicated array of lacings and stays.

"It's a job for two," says River, from behind her. "Li Wei tugged too hard."

Kaylee clutches the dress to her chest. It smells like dust and oranges.

River eyes her, then the cloud of pink spilling around her. "I never liked parties."

"I've never been to one. Least, not where I had to dress up like this." Kaylee shrugs, feels embarrassed.

"I can--" River reaches out, pokes at the dress as if she expects it to poke back. "I can help you."

"Really?" Kaylee squeaks, pulls River into a hug. "Thank you so much!"

River looks uncomfortable, but she smiles.

*


"River?" Simon wanders up, through the mess, but there's no sign of her. He makes his way to the cargo hold.

The captain appears, tugging at the collar of a formal jacket. "Hey, Doc."

"Captain." Simon pauses to stare. The suit is a few seasons dated, but the material is fine, and the captain wears it well enough. "Um. Have you seen my sister?"

"With me." Kaylee's voice emerges from the corridor, a few seconds before the hem of her dress does. The dress, like the captain's suit, is old-fashioned, but Kaylee's beaming, and that would make up for far greater crimes than being unfashionable. "Hey, Simon."

River giggles, and Simon starts, realizes he's been staring.

Kaylee's blushing. "It's silly," she stammers. "Not fancy like the stuff Inara wears."

"No, it's...I mean--"

The captain clears his throat, and River glares at Simon. He gets the hint, and smiles broadly. Bends his leg and bows, the way he used to at the galas back home.

"You look beautiful, Kaylee," he says, and he means it.

The captain steps up, does an awkward imitation of Simon's bow. "Miss Kaylee, if you'll do me the honor."

Kaylee takes his arm. "Why, thank you," she says, then grins at River. "Thanks, River."

"Try not to trip," River admonishes. Then she turns to the captain. "Don't get blood on it. It's hard to wash out."

The captain blinks. "I'll try and remember that." He nods formally at Simon. "Doctor."

When he and Kaylee sweep out of the hold, River punches Simon on the shoulder.

"Dork."


iii. i've been riding hard all day

Mal tells her to get back to the ship, tell the others not to worry.

As she watches him follow Inara out of the ballroom, Kaylee manages to wave.

"Back to the ship," she repeats to herself. "Right."

And Badger's waiting in a carriage outside the building, along with several men with several guns.

"Shiong mao niao," he spits out when he sees her. "I paid money for that dress?"

Kaylee scowls. "I think it's pretty."

He watches her for a second, then shrugs. "You do it justice, my dear." Then he jerks his head, and one of the men tromps to her side and takes her elbow. "Now, if you'll allow me to escort you back to your ship?"

Kaylee shakes off her handler, but steps into the carriage. She doesn't really have a choice, and besides, the fancy slippers she's wearing are killing her feet.

She brushes her hair out of her eyes with as much dignity as she can. "Thanks for the ride."

Badger smirks, but she pretends she doesn't notice.

*


It's a relief to get back to the ship. Kaylee perches on a crate with the crew, kicks off her shoes with a sigh.

"How was the party?" Wash asks her, as if they're not under the watch of an armed guard.

"Fun. Well, mostly," she qualifies. "And Inara looked real pretty."

"Food any good?" Jayne asks.

Kaylee grins. "The best."

"This is not a gorram social," Badger snipes.

They all turn to glare at him, but it has little effect in the face of weaponry.

Kaylee squirms in her seat, starts to feel self-conscious in her finery.

"Is River--" Zoe shakes her head slightly; Kaylee gets the hint. "Zoe, could you give me a hand with this dress?"

Zoe frowns, confused. "What?"

"The hooks in the back," Simon pipes in, "they're a little difficult to..." He trails off as everyone turns to him. "Never mind."

Zoe smirks. "All right, Kaylee."

When they stand, however, Badger whips around. "Where do you think you're going?"

Kaylee straightens her spine. "I'm gonna change out of this dress."

Badger stalks forward. "Careful not to tear it. I want to get my full money back."

"What? No!" Kaylee purses her lips. "The captain said I could keep it." She stares Badger down.

Badger blinks first. "Fine." He turns, waves carelessly. "Keep the gorram thing. Long as your captain gets a deal."

"He will," she states, and her skirts whirl as she walks away.


iv. the stars will be my feather bed

When it's all said and done, and the cargo is herded into the hold, Kaylee hangs the dress on the wall of her quarters. It'll have to come down eventually, get folded and rolled into a trunk, kept safe for the next party.

For now, though, she settles on her bunk, and gazes up at the dress. Reaches out, and buries her hands in the lace of the skirts.

The hatch to her quarters clanks open, River slides down the ladder.

"Hey, River." Kaylee leans back as River sits cross-legged by her bunk. "It's real pretty, ain't it?"

"It's very pink," River replies.

"Did you used to have dresses like this?"

River catches the skirt's edge in her hand, rubs the fabric between two fingers. "I don't remember."

"Oh." Kaylee waits, but River doesn't say anything more.

So she turns the music a little louder, and River smiles.


###

A/N: Headings adapted from Mirah's "Lonestar."

Originally linked here. Linked on serenitysummer.

Comments

( 28 comments — Leave a comment )
liminalliz
Jul. 24th, 2005 03:50 am (UTC)
OMG!!! This was absolute bliss. OMG! River calling Simon a dork and helping Kaylee out with her dress is SO DARN CUTE. I love it! :)
voleuse
Jul. 26th, 2005 04:55 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!
illmantrim
Jul. 24th, 2005 04:19 am (UTC)
very very cool. Well done and well-voiced!
voleuse
Jul. 26th, 2005 04:56 pm (UTC)
Thanks!
illmantrim
Jul. 24th, 2005 04:20 am (UTC)
a small little inkling occurred to me. I would lo0ve a wee little drabble when Zoe helps Kaylee out of it.. Just Zoe thinking about where she knows such things from, when she has lived as a soldier for so very long... or something like that.
ship_recs
Jul. 24th, 2005 04:31 am (UTC)
This is lovely. I think Kaylee looked so adorable in that dress.

When he and Kaylee sweep out of the hold, River punches Simon on the shoulder.

"Dork."


haha, River's awesome.
voleuse
Jul. 26th, 2005 04:56 pm (UTC)
*g* Thanks! I'm glad you liked it!
berkie
Jul. 24th, 2005 05:19 am (UTC)
*squee* I love it!! Kaylee just makes me smile, she is so adorable.

Beautiful fic!!
voleuse
Jul. 26th, 2005 04:56 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
brightcupenny
Jul. 24th, 2005 06:46 am (UTC)
Having nearabout killed myself making this dress the last few weeks, this fic is delicious. Thank you. :)
voleuse
Jul. 26th, 2005 04:56 pm (UTC)
Hee! And a gorgeous dress it was, too.

Thanks!
musesfool
Jul. 24th, 2005 06:57 am (UTC)
Oh, this is so sweet and so utterly Kaylee. Lovely.
voleuse
Jul. 26th, 2005 04:57 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
(Deleted comment)
voleuse
Jul. 26th, 2005 04:57 pm (UTC)
Hee! Thanks!
anno_superstar
Jul. 24th, 2005 08:19 am (UTC)
PERFECT.
I love these little "between scenes" fics!
voleuse
Jul. 26th, 2005 04:57 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I'm glad you liked it!
sunnyd_lite
Jul. 24th, 2005 01:28 pm (UTC)
Enjoyed this muchily, including She doesn't really have a choice, and besides, the fancy slippers she's wearing are killing her feet. So practical, so Kaylee! Loved your voices, dead on.
voleuse
Jul. 26th, 2005 04:58 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much!
jennnlee
Jul. 24th, 2005 02:13 pm (UTC)
Really, really nice. I've been hoping someone would write a fic about her reaction to getting the dress, and reactions of Simon the crew to her in the dress. Your voices are dead on. Thanks for sharing your writing!
voleuse
Jul. 26th, 2005 04:58 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you liked it! Thank you!
mirageofmae
Jul. 24th, 2005 07:54 pm (UTC)
Great! Loved this! =)
voleuse
Jul. 26th, 2005 04:58 pm (UTC)
Thanks!
eccentrici
Jul. 25th, 2005 03:42 am (UTC)
I just love this story!
voleuse
Jul. 26th, 2005 04:58 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
out_there
Aug. 17th, 2005 04:29 am (UTC)
This was as adorable and delightful as Kaylee herself.
voleuse
Aug. 20th, 2005 10:50 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
_xehra
Aug. 19th, 2005 12:31 pm (UTC)
Absolutely love this. It's got a little of everything and captures them all :)
voleuse
Aug. 20th, 2005 10:51 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I'm glad you liked it!
( 28 comments — Leave a comment )

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