Characters: Kaylee and Simon
Summary: Simon's mouth gets him into trouble. Again.
Length: 655 words
Spoilers/Timeline: Set somewhere in the series, before BDM
Author's Note: Done for bringthehappy for the prompt
Nothing made Simon more nervous than being in port. Well, that was a lie - many things made Simon more nervous than that. Everything tended to make Simon nervous these days. Being in port was a big one, though. At least when you were in flight you could escape. On land, there was a greater chance of those who were hunting you catching up.
He had paced the length of the ship twice in between doing useless work in the infirmary and checking on River (who was docilely watching Inara paint her fingernails). He’d been through the cargo hold twice already, but this time Kaylee was there. She was sitting cross-legged on a ragged blanket with a ragged basket next to her. The parasol she’d been holding the day Simon had first boarded Serenity was folded up, sticking out of the basket.
“Hiya!” she called out to him. She waved him over. “C’mere, I was gonna go lookin’ for ya in a sec.”
Simon obliged and approached the blanket. She beamed one of her sunny smiles at him and he smiled back.
“You gonna sit?” she asked.
Simon sat. This earned him another smile. “Uh, what’s all this?”
“It’s a picnic,” she said. She opened up the basket and began arranging food on the blanket around them. “I wanted to go outside, there’s real shiny meadows out there, but the Cap’n said I wasn’t to go ‘frolickin’’, so I changed my plans.”
“Oh,” Simon said. He thought that was a nice and neutral statement.
“Lemonade?” she asked, holding up a vacuum bottle.
“Um, sure,” he agreed. “Where did you get lemons?”
“It’s not real lemons, of course,” she said, with a laugh. She handed him a glass. “Go on, it’s not bad.”
Simon took a sip. It actually wasn’t that bad. It tasted nothing like lemonade, but it wasn’t bad. “So, why a picnic?”
“Why not?” she said. “People go on picnics. Just ‘cause we’re petty thieves don’t mean we can’t be like civilized folk. Bàn miàn?” He nodded and accepted the bowl of noodles and a pair of chopsticks. “I mean, I bet you went on lots of picnics ‘fore you joined with us.”
Simon cocked his head to the side, remembering. “We used to go when we were younger, out into the country, by this lake. River liked to feed the swans. My dad had a portable chess set; we used to play after lunch. He always let me win the first one and then completely trounce me on the second.”
“I bet it was a lot fancier than this,” Kaylee said, gesturing to the worn blanket and basket.
“Yeah,” Simon said, still lost in thought. Kaylee’s face fell. “I mean, it was...this is nice, too...it’s creative and...you’ve done a great job for what you have...which isn’t to say that you don’t have a lot or anything, but when you’re in space and on the move all the time it must be hard to...”
Kaylee rolled her eyes. “Stop talking, Doc.”
Simon closed his mouth with a snap. Kaylee opened up her parasol and twirled it over her shoulder, blocking her view of him with it. Simon ran a hand through his hair and cursed himself. His tongue never worked right around Kaylee. He slapped his palm with his chopsticks nervously, trying to figure out how to fix things.
“I don’t need a lake or lemonade with lemons or anything like that,” he said, quietly. “I’m happy to be here, with you. You’re...you’re better than a lake.”
He chanced looking over to her and found her eyes peering at him over the parasol. The parasol closed and her cheeks were flushed. She smiled at him.
“You talk pretty when you’re in trouble,” she said.
Simon’s blush matched hers. “Lots of practice,” he said.
She grinned and nudged his knee with her foot. “Eat up. I got a chocolate cake with no chocolate in it for dessert.”
Simon raised his eyebrows and picked up some noodles with his chopsticks. “Well, I certainly don’t want to miss that.”