Word Count: 831
Summary: Star Trek/Firefly x-over. Captain and Captain. Written for mallorypen's birthday.
Disclaimer: I know this may come as a shock, but I am not, amazing as it may seem, Gene Roddenberry, J.J. Abrams, Paramount or Bad Robot. Just so you know.
“Dude. You’ve got to be kidding me!” The man-boy’s words are appalled, and Mal winces as he quite literally bites his tongue.
“What?” he asks with false patience. For the millionth time, he wonders why he of all people seems predisposed to pick up strange folks like lost cats. First the doctor and the moonbeam—and yeah, okay, they have a first rate surgeon on the crew now, but his sister is a handful. And now this…this… Mal sighs. He doesn’t even know what this guy is.
“It’s just—you know—“ Captain Kirk of the Starship Enterprise—if that even is a real ship, Dao-Gao-Yee-Chi Moh-Gao-Yee-Juhn, and Mal is not entirely inclined to believe it—looks slightly apologetic, possibly even embarassed.
“Spit it out, son,” Mal says harshly. “You got words, use ‘em. Dong ma?”
Kirk makes a face. “Got it. It’s just—“ He sticks his thumbs under the suspenders—Mal’s own, most worn pair, thanks much—and pulls them up illustratively. “I feel like Huckleberry Finn in these.”
“Beggars ought not be choosers, chwen,” Mal answers. “We found you with nothin’, and I’m relyin’ on you to keep your word. We get you back to your folk, I’m expecting that—that—whatever Kaylee wanted.” Some piece of equipment; whatever it was made his mechanic’s eyes grow large, and Wash wasn’t far behind on the coveting side.
“You’ll get it,” Kirk says, making another face. “Dilithium converter. Scotty won’t argue. Don’t worry, I’m good for it.”
“Better. C’mon then.” Mal gestures, and Kirk follows him to the common room, still tucking in the battered linen shirt. It’s about time to head out, and the rest of the crew needs to meet their new guest.
Everyone is civil enough, at least. The man-boy has most of the women folk charmed in minutes, Kaylee and Zoe both beaming at him. Wash is polite and cheerful, the Shepherd reserved. Tam eyes him skittishly at first, then more so when Jayne spies the still-fading bruises over Kirk’s cheekbones.
“What’s that then, pretty boy?”
Kirk looks rueful. “Alliance trooper and his four best friends wanted to dance. I didn’t.” He grins a little, then, sharing a look with Mal. “I wasn’t doing too bad, when your Captain jumped in. I appreciated the help.”
Mal grins back. “It was a good fight,” he says to Jayne. “Shoulda been there.”
The mercenary snorts with approval. “Five troopers, huh? Can’t be too bad then, huh, Shwei.” He punches Kirk in the shoulder, making a small grunt of surprise when he discovers the lithe, wiry form is well-muscled beneath the loose-fitting clothing.
Kirk absorbs the impact, and meets Jayne’s gaze, eyes half-lidded in lazy arrogance. “I’m good in a fight,” is all he says.
“He survives. It’s what he does best.” A quiet voice, and they all turn to it. River joins them carefully, bare feet moving across the ship in that odd, balletic way of hers, until she’s face to face with Kirk herself. “You ran the numbers, you always do. Eight thousand, four thousand, and you make up nine.”
They are all silent, none of them with a clue of what she’s talking about.
Kirk does, though. “That’s right,” he says quietly, head cocked to the side. “Telepath?”
River shakes her head. “I hear and see, but I can’t sift. Infinite diversity in infinite combinations cannot compensate for human hybrids, not even now.” She pauses. “He’ll be here soon, though, him and the lonely man.”
Kirk relaxes visibly. “Any idea how soon?”
River shrugs, and gives him a small grin. “Soon enough.” She turns to her brother. “His friend is a doctor, dammit, not an engineer, but he might be able to reintegrate some of my circuits back to their authorized settings.” She spits her tongue out. “You won’t like his language. No Mandarin.”
“I see,” Tam says slowly, clearly not. He takes River by the arm. “Let’s get you to the infirmary, it’s time for your medicine.”
As they go, Kirk says, “When we find my ship, we might be able to help her.”
Tam turns back, opening his mouth to say something. He thinks better of it, then nods. “Thank you for the offer,” he says, and the two disappear.
As if that were some sort of signal, the others melt away, back to their jobs. All but Mal and Zoe, and Kirk.
Zoe turns to Kirk, frowning. “You seem awful certain of your people, ‘Captain,’” she says, emphasizing his title. “You think you can deliver all you promise?”
The other man grins—an honest one, this time. “I am certain of my people, Captain,” he says, to him and Zoe both. “They’re the best crew in the fleet.”
Zoe shoots him another look, then nods to Mal and heads up to the bridge to see her husband.
The two Captains are left on their own. “This’ll be interestin’,” Mal says. “Shiny even.”
“Tell me about it,” Kirk agrees.
And of course, it is.