Categories > TV > Firefly

How Serenity Saved Christmas

by Dainichijess 0 reviews

A short, semi-sweet Firefly Christmas fic.

Category: Firefly - Rating: PG - Genres: Humor - Characters: Mal - Published: 2005-12-25 - Updated: 2005-12-25 - 4384 words - Complete

SPOILERS: None, specifically, but this should be pretty close to "Heart of Gold" (but before it) in terms of chronology.
NOTES: This is what happens when I watch Firefly and then Elf in succession. My boyfriend, who hates fic and Christmas, approved, so took that as a green light. Merry Christmas!

"Now, seein' as how we just met and all, I'm sure you think I'm a terrible person. That's okay. That's what most people think, and I can't rightly say they're wrong. But I ain't all bad. I saved Christmas once. Yeah, that's right-I saved Christmas. Well, not by's a funny story, actually..."

"Mal, we've got a wave!" Mal stomped into the pilot's area in his usual fashion.
"Who is it?"
"I dunno. They didn't say, they just want help."
"Wash, ever think that maybe you should get in the practice of askin' for names?"
"Hey, if people need help..." Mal sighed, annoyed. His crew was too kind; it was gonna get them killed one day.
"Put 'em through." The face of an older man flashed on the vid screen. "Hello there, I'm Captain...yeah, I'm the captain. What do you need?"
"Oh, thank you for taking my call, sir!" The old man seemed jovial. "I must ask you, does your ship do...legitimate work?" Mal and Wash both sat and stared at the white-bearded man for a few seconds. Who asked if a ship did legit work? Usually you asked the other way around, just in a subtle fashion, of course.
"Uh, that depends, I guess. What kinda work you got?"
"The Norge settlement needs supplies and medication badly, and no one will accept the cargo! It's extremely urgent, captain, I assure you. People are dying!"
"Norge? Isn't that a moon of Persephone?"
"Well, yes..."
"That's your problem right there. Offerin up an easy, legit job usually gets you a ton of offers, but something so close to the Alliance? Phft. Tell me a better lie, old man."
"Captain, I assure you, this offer is legitimate. There will not be any Alliance officers waiting for you on Norge to take your cargo or your ship." Mal thought it over for a bit.
"Will we be paid in full? And no half-and-half; paid in full before the cargo is deposited. I know that's not usually the way you purple-bellies work, but I'm a man of my word, I'm good for it."
"Ah, well Captain...I think that might be my other problem. There is no pay. This is charity work."
"Uh, well then. I think I'll just mull that over with the crew, and we'll call you back within the hour." Mal gave Wash the kill signal.
"Yes, Wash?"
"You're not gonna do it, are you?" Mal laughed derisively.
"What do I look like, Santa Claus?" As Mal turned away, the console beeped again.
"Woops, got a live one!"
"My, we sure are popular today."
"Yessir. I feel like the belle of the ball, don't you, Capt'n?"
"Just put 'em on screen, Wash."
"Mingo, Fanty. What can I do for you today?"
"Ever heard of a little moon called Norge?" Mal and Wash shared a momentary glance. This could be interesting...
"Yes, I do believe I have, go on."
"Well you see..." "...they've got a bank." "Yeah, and it's..." "'s unguarded, what it is!"
"Oh my. Well, that's not wise of them."
"No, it's not. Especially if..." " and your crew can come on in and make a bit of a distraction..." "...and wander off with the money!"
"Uh-huh. And why would we need a distraction?"
"Well..." "Calling 'unguarded' was maybe, a little..." "...a little exaggeration." "See, the locals, they take turns guardin it..." "...but there ain't no purple-bellies!" "And half the town is sick!" "So if you can distract 'em..."
"We can get in, take the money, and get out."
"Easy as 123." "Easy as pie." This was just too good. Mal could help people, steal money, and probably pull one over on Mingo and Fanty, and all in one day. This was going to be the best day ever.
"Well, then, I think we've got a deal. Goodbye, boys." Mal again made the kill signal. "Wash, get that old guy back up. Tell him there's hope after all." With that, Mal stalked off.

"As serendipitously as that went, I shoulda known somethin' was wrong right then. But I' be honest, I'm a bit dumb sometimes. On occasion, it's nice to believe that things will turn out alright, y'know? But anyways, I'm gettin' ahead of myself. Now that we had two jobs-which is a record for us, by the way, two jobs at once-we just needed a way to accomplish both, before Mingo and Fanty's deadline."

Mal sat at the mess table with Zoë. This was one of those jobs: the kind where the easy part was getting it, and the hard part was the planning. As they brooded, Kaylee bounced in, her usual happy self. Except this time she was humming. She hummed all the way down the hall, and all the way into the mess, and as she got her special red mug, and as she poured her coffee, and not while she drank it, but in between sips, and-
"KAYLEE! Will you stop that gorram humming?" Mal could not take it anymore. Why did the little girl have to be so happy all the time? Kaylee stared into her red mug.
"I'm just happy, is all."
"You're always happy," Zoë and Mal supplied.
"But this is different?"
"And how is it different, Kaylee?"
"Well, because it Christmas."
"Well, that's very nice, Kaylee, but Zoë and I need to figure out how we're going to get two jobs done at once, and unless fat old Santie Claus can help us with that..." Mal's face lit up like a Christmas tree. He laughed jovially, leaped out of his chair and hugged Kaylee. "Zoë, I got a plan. of you girls can sew, right?"

"And with that, we set to work. The plan was simple: 'Santa' would show up, in his 'sleigh' in the town square, and begin distributing presents to all the people-especially the doctors and community planners, if you catch my drift. Only problem was, our 'Santa' was a mite bit ornery, and our pilot refused to dress up like a reindeer. Oh, and our onboard preacher was of course, angry at our 'perversion' of his 'holy day.' As was Kaylee. But other then that, everyone was on board! ...well, except for River, too, but River's not really on the same ship most of the time, so, yeah. Inara started sewing-for compensation, of course, as she's not really a crew member-a beautiful red Santa suit..."

The mess turned into a makeshift tailor's shop, with Inara doing most of the sewing and Wash doing most of the-well, Wash was supposed to help measure but he spent most of his time wisecracking.
"How come I gots to be Santa?"
"Because everyone knows you're the fat one." Wash tightened "Santa's" belt a little, and Jayne sneered at him. Jayne was angry. He hated Christmas, so that made him ornery, and he was ornery to begin with, and now Wash and Inara were trying to stuff him into an ugly, smelly, itchy red suit.
"This smells like a ferret's ass, 'Nara." Inara looked up at him with a mouthful of pins.
"Well, I'm sorry. But I'm not the one who decided on a shen jing bing plan at the last minute and then tried to dye used fur with cheap brazilwood." Inara glared at Mal. Mal, leaning against the doorframe, simply shrugged.
"Hey, I make do with what I've got." Meanwhile, in the corner, Simon stood up and began lurching drunkenly at Mal.
"That coat...was a family heirloom! It was my last possession from my family! I'll kill you!" He grabbed Mal by the lapels and looked him square in the face. Then, he let go and slid down onto the floor. River hopped down from her perch on top of some crates to retrieve her brother.
"He's exaggerating. He never liked it, and he has other things." River put Simon's arm around her shoulders and began dragging him towards the Tam quarters, and Simon swore and ranted the whole way there. Mal tried to hold back a snicker as they walked away. He stood up from the door and walked towards Jayne.
"Okay, so, we've got about three hours till we get there. When we do, Jayne and Wash, you hop in the shuttle and head for the town square. Go up a bit first, so the landing is all dramatic. Kaylee, how's decorating the shuttle going?"
"Wonderful, Captain Scrooge!" Mal winced. Kaylee was going to be mad at him forever. She was especially not happy about forking over her lights to decorate the outside of the shuttle, but they needed something pretty, and Jayne wasn't going to do the trick.
"Alright. Zoë and Kaylee will be helping to get the crowd excited. Jayne, anybody doubts you're Santa, point at Kaylee or Zoë and make something up. have to wear the elf suit." Wash whirled to look at the captain. Jayne started laughing.
"Aw, come on!"
"Hey, why would Santa travel with a helper who's not an elf?" Wash stood and shuffled his feet.
"Do I have to wear the tights?" Jayne laughed harder. Inara glared at him.
"Yes. You have to wear the tights." Wash grumbled and began to pull on the red and white striped tights. As he was pulling them up, Kaylee had a thought...
"Yes, Kaylee?"
"What if one of the townspeople asks what they wanted for Christmas last year?"
"Uh...Santa'll make it up." Kaylee huffed.
"They'll never believe that!" Mal thought hard. If only he could read minds...his eyes widened in surprise. That was exactly it!

"So Santa got another elf. River wore one of her pretty red dresses, with the extra pair of tights and a hat Inara made for her out of scrap from Wash's costume. We finished all the preparations just in time. T'was the night before Christmas, and all through the ship, not a creature was stirring...or happy with me."

Wash did not enjoy flying a shuttle with elf boots on. Nor did he enjoy flying a shuttle with a grumpy Jayne and a loopy River sitting in the shuttle with him. Well, River was sitting, in the passenger seat, but Jayne was in the back, stomping around, swearing up a storm. Everything about his costume bothered him-the coat smelled bad and his beard itched and he couldn't see with the hat on and why'd he have to wear the dopey thing anyway, blah blah...Wash stopped listening pretty quickly. Between that, and the task Mal had given him of making sure River stopped running her nails up and down her stockings for the express purpose of ripping them (she apparently liked the feel of the ribbing under her fingertips, and the noise it made when she ran her nails across the stockings), as well as the pointy toed boots, Wash was having a hell of a time flying. But at least River wasn't licking the tights anymore; that was just too weird. He hoped Kaylee and Zoë were ready for him on the ground-the faster this was over, the better...

Kaylee sat at a table at one of the few cafes in the town, staring into a cup of hot chocolate. She loved Christmas, which made this all the more awful. Decorating a fake sleigh for a fake Santa, so they could rob people? At /Christmastime/? Kaylee couldn't believe the captain had stooped so low. At least the people would get the supplies and medicine they needed. And some presents-Kaylee had refused to get involved until the Captain promised to throw some geisha dolls and such into the other boxes as toys for the kids. She and Inara had even knit a few things for the grown ups. But all the gifts in the world didn't make stealing right...Before Kaylee could think anymore about it, she heard a bit of a commotion in the town square-and that was her cue. She ran for the town square, hoping everything would turn out alright...

Mal and Zoë stood across the street from the entrance to the bank, idly chatting. Then, suddenly-"Santa's" shuttle flew overhead, and landed with a clatter. People began slowly making their way into the town square to see what was the matter. When someone shouted, "Hey, it's Santa Claus," people began streaming out of the buildings in town in a big hurry. Mal and Zoë began to slowly make their way across the street...and slipped in just as the last lawman on duty ran off to see Santa. Standing behind the counter was a lone, balding man.
"Merry Christmas." The man looked up to see two guns pointed in his face.

"If you're the real Santa, what did I want when I was twelve?" a woman shouted. Jayne and his elves found, unsurprisingly, that people were very distrusting of them. River looked at the woman and whispered in Jayne's ear.
"A BETSY-WETSY!" Jayne yelled. The woman began crying. The crowd cheered. Wash began grabbing boxes out of the bags and handing them out, being careful to make sure the ones with supplies and medicine didn't get into the wrong hands.
"EXCUSE ME! EXCUSE ME! MAGISTRATE, COMING THROUGH!" The crowd parted to allow the town magistrate and one of his assistants to approach the shuttle. The man leaned in close and grabbed Jayne by the beard, pulling him even closer. "And just who are you!" he hissed.
"Santa! Gorramit." Wash tapped on Jayne's shoulder. Jayne, his beard still in the magistrate's fist, turned slightly to look.
"Uh, Santa? Why don't you let me handle this?"

As the old man dumped money into the bags, he shook his head sorrowfully.
"What's the matter, old man?" Mal asked. He knew he'd regret asking, but...
"Doing something like this...on Christmas, no less..." the old man made a "tut-tut" noise and shook his head again.
"Yeah, well, me and mine ain't gonna be having any Christmas ham tonight ifin we don't get some money, you get me? 'Sides, Santa Claus is here, I'm sure he'll give you folks something nice." The old man looked up.
"If that Santa is any funny business..."
"You've already fallen for it. Doesn't matter, does it?" Mal gestured to the bags the old man had already finished filling, nodded at Zoë, then nodded towards the entrance. Zoë backed out quickly to cover the Captain's way out.
"Not actually taking all the money, are we?"
"It is Christmas." And with that, Mal left.

The magistrate, placated with Wash's tale that they were sent by the Alliance to give out supplies and boost morale, was now handing out presents with Santa. When they reached the bottom of the bag, Santa and the magistrate shared a big hug, eliciting a cheer from the crowd. Santa and his elves got back into their shuttle, and the crowd was so busy watching Santa leave that they missed the other shuttle leaving-the one with over half of the town's money.

"As capers went, it was a fairly good one. Except for the fact that most of the crew was mad at me and little Kaylee's heart was broken and even my conscience took a bit of a hit from that. Hey, I'm not heartless. did Kaylee get back? She walked. What?! It's not like Serenity was in orbit at the time! Golly. So anyways, with the job done, it was time for Christmas dinner. 'Cept, when dinner was served, t'weren't anybody at the table. Except me."

Malcolm Reynolds was seated at the head of Serenity's table, staring down a big roast turkey. He had splurged on it when they got the job, and kept it in cold storage for the past few days, and he had even followed the rancher's instructions and roasted it himself. And now, there was no one to eat the thing. Kaylee, of course, wasn't talking to him and neither was Book-he imagined them sitting together somewhere, decorating a tiny tree, discussing the nativity and their Scroogish captain. After they got back, Jayne had had a change of heart, and now he wasn't comfortable with the plan either. Zoë and Wash were...well, Mal didn't pay too much attention to what they did as long as they kept it to themselves. Simon had a nasty headache on account of his drinking earlier, and once he had woken up, he was not happy with the fact that River had been "exploited," particularly without his permission. So the Tams were out, which just left Inara, who didn't like him most of the time anyways-why should Christmas be any different? So it was just going to be him and the turkey. After he had spent so much money and Kaylee had worked so hard to decorate the table-Mal had even let her use the red emergency candles for decoration. Mal put his head in his hands and sighed.
"Merry Christmas to all, and to all, good riddance."

Jayne had locked himself in his quarters almost as soon as the crew got back. He was currently lying on his bed, staring at his ceiling. When he got tired of looking at that, he rolled on to his side and stared at a picture of his family. When he got tired of that, he would probably roll back onto his back, and repeat this process ad nauseum-as he had been doing for what was probably hours. Now, though, he was thinking about his family, and the way his Ma raised him...
"Ma...I'm real sorry for what I did today. I didn't really mean to...well, actually, I did. But...if I had known how much it would hurt those people after I had fooled 'em like that, after the money was gone...I wouldn't have done it. You know I wouldn't've, Ma. You raised me to be a good boy, and I try, but it's hard out here, sometimes. It's all Mal's fault, too!" Jayne crossed his arms over his chest, pouted, and stewed a little. "Well...I guess it's not all his fault. I mean...well, I didn't particularly want to be Santa, but I didn't really have a problem with the whole 'robbin'' bit until afterwards, and I haven't's was Christmas, and I feel bad that I did that on Christmas, y'know, Ma?" Jayne stared at the picture, as if begging for forgiveness. "Shoot. What am I doin' locked up in here? I should be upstairs, enjoying Christmas. I mean, I know what we did today was bad...but...things are hard out here in the black. And us here on /Serenity/, we've kinda become a family. And on Christmas, you should be with your family-no matter what. ...unless you're related to Reavers, or 'sumthin." Jayne got up from his bunk, walked over to his picture of his family, and kissed the glass. "Thanks, Ma. Merry Christmas." And with that, he climbed up out of his bunk and headed for the mess hall.

In the Tams' quarters, Simon was sitting on the couch. He still had a mighty strong headache from the drinking, and Kaylee pacing back and forth in front of him did not help.
"I come into the mess one day singing carols and because of that we've got to rob some people?"
"Kaylee...wouldn't we have had to do the job anyways?"
"Well...yes. But that's not the point!"
"Then...what is?"
"'s not right! Oh...I don't know." Kaylee sighed and ran a hand through her hair. She slumped down next to Simon on the couch. "I felt just awful, standin' in that crowd, oohin and ahin over a fake Santa..." Kaylee pouted and sighed again. She turned to look at Simon. "How're you holdin' up? I mean, first Christmas away from home and all."
" would have been decidedly better if River hadn't been used. But...I mean, I'm not entirely sure I should feel angry about it. I'm not entirely sure she knew exactly what was going on."
"You two gonna celebrate Christmas together?"
"I don't know if she even remembers Christmas." Simon and Kaylee looked out together at River, who was sitting the stairwell across the room, staring into space and trying to catch something invisible with her fingertips.
"The girl knows. She knows, and she sees. She comprehends, too."
"River?" Simon and Kaylee stood up and approached River. Simon crouched in front of her while Kaylee stood by his side. "River, what do you know, see, and comprehend." River stared straight at him.
"Christmas, duh. It's about family. And togetherness. Stealing was merely an auxiliary function of the captain's plan." Kaylee and Simon exchanged a glance.
"And by that you mean, what, exactly, /mei mei/?"
"The captain does what he has to, to protect his own. Sometimes this involves things outside the law. In this case, it was stealing. He stole so we could keep eating. And so we could have a Christmas of our own. He understands, too, about the real meaning. And about kindness. He didn't take all the money." Simon and Kaylee just stood there, feeling confused.
"You think that maybe...we should go eat with everybody else? I mean...what the captain did was bad and all, but it is Christmas."
"Yeah. That...that's true. Will you come with us, /mei mei/?" Simon stood up and held his hand out to River. She took it, and the three of them left for the mess together.

Malcolm Reynolds was not the kind of man who believed in miracles, much less Christmas ones. And yet, right before him, one was unfolding-the crew that had turned against him, exploited beyond their will, was now returning. Jayne came in first.
"You gonna eat that whole thing by yourself?"
"No. I figured we'd wait for the others before we started eatin', Jayne." Jayne took his usual seat at the table and stared at his plate. He looked up and straight at Mal.
"Well...if they don't get here soon, I'm gonna start tearin' off pieces and eatin' 'em." Mal chuckled.
"I'd expect no less from you, Jayne." Next came Wash and Zoë.
"Well, look, more people that don't hate me!" The Washburns both sat down to Mal's left. " don't, do ya?"
"Well, I can't say I'm over the pointy shoes...but I'll forgive you for the tights," replied Wash with a wink. Zoë and Mal laughed.
"Keep it to yourself, man!" chuckled Mal. Jayne looked up.
"Whu," which just made the rest of the table laugh harder.
"Hope we didn't miss all the fun, Capt'n." Kaylee stood behind the captain, in the doorframe.
"Nope, fun's just startin'. Take a seat." The Tams sat down across from each other; River by Jayne and Simon by Zoë. Jayne looked down at River and raised an eyebrow; River just smiled back. Jayne looked away and humphed. Kaylee gave the captain a quick kiss on the cheek before sitting down next to Simon.

Inara was standing just outside the infirmary, thinking. She wanted to join the crew, but something had stopped her. She could hear the others, laughing and talking a few feet away, and knew it was rude to make them wait to eat. But somehow, now, she just felt like an outsider. This was the Companion's curse-being a social chameleon means not having friends or family to call your own at Christmas. Except here. Here she had friends...but...
"Do you feel like you're not one of them?" Inara jumped, startled.
"Oh, Sheppard! I didn't know you were here. I'm sorry if I interrupted you."
"No, it's alright. You know, sometimes, I feel that way myself."
"What way?"
"Like I am an outsider here. In a way, I think we both are. Neither of us came here expecting it to be a permanent arrangement, and yet with every day we stay, they pull us in deeper, don't they?" Inara looked off towards the mess. She said nothing, but nodded despite herself.
"We shouldn't keep them waiting any longer. Outsiders or not, they are waiting for us."
"Well then, would you do the old man the honor of accompanying him to dinner?" Book offered Inara his elbow. Inara laughed and placed her arm in his.
Inara and Book entered the mess. Book sat on Mal's right, and Inara sat next to him. Mal smiled at them both.
"Everybody ready to eat?" Everyone laughed and cheered.
"Captain, would you mind if I said a few words?"
"Actually, Sheppard, I have a few words to say myself." Mal stood up and stood behind his chair. "The job today was a great success. And I understand, that some of you did not like today's job. That it made some of you uncomfortable, even angry. Now maybe I should stand hear and apologize, but we all know that's not me. I'm not going to apologize, especially because I don't feel I've done anything wrong. Because here's the thing-you all are family. You all came aboard for different reasons; what matters is that you've stayed. While you're here, I'm going to take care of you as best I can. That means that sometimes I'm gonna ask more of you than you want to give. I'm gonna ask you to do crazy things. You'll get hurt. But for as long as I can, I'll make sure there's a ship over your head and under your feet, and rations in the mess. You just need to trust, your, captain. Now, let's eat!" And with that, Mal began carving the turkey.

"See! I told ya! I saved Christmas. I was the one who got us the job, and also I made a lovely speech. That probably wasn't exactly what you were 'xpectin', but life don't always give us what we expect. I'd tell another story, about that, but I can only pretend to be wise for so long each day. So long."
Sign up to rate and review this story