Summery: When your women ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.
Inspired by rinalin, who threw this memorable phrase at me: "Slicker 'n a crate a weasles in a hen house." Features boy-bonding, drinking, and Jayne-bashing. Book isn’t even mentioned. So, um, pretend he moved away.
The boys was all relaxing in the local house of ill repute, ‘cause the girls had gone and kicked them off of Serenity.
“I’m thinking,” Mal slurred, “that all of them have been a mite tetchy lately.”
“A mite?” Jayne winced, and rubbed the welt on the back of his head where Kaylee had come after him with a wrench. “I’m thinking it could be more than just being tetchy.”
Simon grimaced as he swallowed what passed for alcohol in this place. “I hate to say this, but Jayne’s right.”
“Jayne?” Wash asked, eyebrows shooting up. “Jayne is right? Can I get that in writing?”
“Shut up, little man.”
“So, what’s more than being tetchy?” Wash asked, filching the bottle from under Jayne’s hand. “I know what is going on with Zoë, but what about the rest?”
“Going on with Zoë?” Mal asked sharply. “What’s going on with Zoë?”
“The same thing that’s going on with the rest of the ladies.” Simon looked glum.
Wash froze, stolen bottle halfway to his mouth. “Please tell me you’re joking.”
Simon shook his head. “No,” he sighed. “And I think we are all going to need a lot more alcohol to deal with it.”
Jayne was looking back and forth between the two of them. “I don’t get it. What’s going on with Zoë that’s going on with all the girlfolk on board?”
Mal was looking awful confused too. “What am I missing? Is this something medical, Doc?”
Simon shrugged, while Wash choked on his drink. “You could say that.”
“Well, can you fix it?”
“Nope.” Simon took another drink. “Nothing is going to fix this one but time.” He examined the bottle Wash was holding. “And a lot more drinking.”
Jayne was still looking back and forth between Wash and Simon. “I’m still not getting it.”
“None of us are,” Wash said glumly. “And we won’t be for about a week.”
Mal’s eyes suddenly went wide. “Please, Doc, tell me you’re kidding.”
Simon shook his head. “Afraid not.” He stared mournfully down into his drink. “I even double checked all my records to make sure after River threw her butter knife at me and Kaylee clocked Jayne in the head.” He took the bottle from Wash and topped off his glass. “There is no way I am wrong.”
Jayne was starting to look a mite frustrated. “Well, somebody tell me what’s wrong with all the girls, or I’m dragging you back there and giving you to Kaylee all wrapped up in a bow.”
Wash had dropped his head to the table. “No.” He lifted bleary eyes to look at Jayne. “Don’t you get it? All the girls are having…well, their..” He struggled to find a way to say it tactful like.
“Their menstrual cycles.” Simon supplied.
“What, their monthlies?” Jayne was staring at Simon with a panicked look.
“I don’t get it,” Mal said. “How can they all be having..that..all at the same time? All four of them?”
To everyone’s surprise, Jayne answered. “It’s something to do with the moon and with girls. You get all of them living close enough together, and it happens.”
Simon blinked at Jayne. “How did you know that?”
Jayne just shrugged, finally grabbing the bottle back from Simon. “I got sisters,” he sighed. “Five sisters, and my ma.” He took a pull off the bottle. “About four days a month, me and Pa and Matty would go camping. It was the only way to get any peace ‘round the house during then.”
Mal was staring at the merc. “So, you’ve handled this before?”
“Handled?” Jayne snorted. “There ain’t no handling going on. I ain’t stupid enough to try.”
“You aren’t afraid of some women, are you Jayne?” Wash asked, swiping the bottle again.
“Hell, yes.” Jayne looked between the captain and the pilot. “If you had any sense, you’d be scared too. One woman having her time is bad enough. She can just go hide by herself and cry and then she’ll be alright. But four?” The big man visibly shuddered. “They get together; decide that you’re the problem, and then gang up on you. Pass me back that booze.”
They watched him knock back half the bottle.
“I think we need more alcohol,” Mal said glumly. “I don’t even know if the ladies will let us back on Serenity, at this point.”
“You don’t think they would leave us, do you, Cap’n?” Jayne was looking a mite concerned.
“No, no, of course they wouldn’t,” Wash threw in. “I mean, besides the wrench and the butter knife, they haven’t been any more unreasonable than usual.”
“Zoë told me to go to hell,” Mal informed him.
“Oh God,” Wash clutched his hair. “They’re going to leave us on this rock to die.”
“No, I don’t think they will.” Simon stated. He took another sip of his drink.
“How come?” Jayne asked. “You might be the Doc, but I don’t think any of ‘em have any trouble with the idea of throwing any of us off.” He tried to take the bottle back from the wild eyed Wash, but couldn’t get the pilot’s fingers peeled off. “Your sis hissed at me, today. Called me a weasel, and accused me of hunting in the hen house.” He finally shook Wash off the bottle of booze and tucked it into his chest protectively. “I don’t have no clue what she meant, but she sure sounded mean.”
Simon shook his head thoughtfully. “No, I’m pretty sure they won’t just leave us here.”
“And how exactly do you know that?” Mal asked. “Your sister beaming you the info with her brain?”
“Nope,” Simon said. He fished in his pocket for a second, and then pulled out a rather large bolt. “See this?”
“Yeah,” Wash said. “So?”
“About a week ago, Kaylee gave me a tour of Serenity’s engines.” Simon tapped the bolt on the table. “Turns out, the engine won’t actually turn without this little piece of metal.”
“Doc,” Mal blinked. “You trying to tell me you sabotaged my ship so that a bunch of overly hormonal females wouldn’t hijack it out from under me?”
Jayne blinked drunkenly at Simon. “For that, boy, and the fact Kaylee’s gonna eat you alive when she finds out, I will hand over the last of my booze.”
Simon accepted the bottle with a nod. “I know.” He looked down into the almost empty bottle with a sigh. “I might survive this round, but what are we going to do next time?”
“Next time,” Wash covered his face with his hands. “I don’t think I can survive this again.”
“You?” Mal barked. “You got off easy! My second in command told me to go to hell!”
“What are you bitching about?” Jayne growled. “I took a wrench to the head!”
Simon just rolled his eyes. “Look, are we all willing to admit that our women are capable of killing us in our sleep if this happens again?”
The other men nodded, looking slightly confused.
“So, what are we gonna do about it?” Mal questioned. “I don’t know of any way to avoid the problem.”
“Wash could knock Zoë up,” Jayne offered.
Wash shuddered. “Don’t say that in her hearing, I beg of you.” He looked mournfully down into his empty mug.
“Actually,” Simon said. “Zoë is the only one I’m not worried about.”
“Well, to go along with Jayne’s information about women in close quarters having their cycles at the same time, it works with men too.”
Jayne blinked and reached for Simon’s bottle. “Huh?”
Simon took one more drink before handing over the bottle. “Well, a woman who lives with a man has a more regular cycle than a woman who doesn’t.” He focused on the Captain. “You are going to have to get over your ban on crew romances.”
Mal was caught mid-sip. “What?” he spluttered. “What does that have to do with us not getting killed once a month?”
“I’m moving in with Kaylee.”
This time, all of them nearly choked.
Wash raised his head from the table. “Does she know this?’
“Oh yes,” Simon said dryly. “It was the last thing she told me before she kicked me off the ship. She was packing for me as I left.”
“So, if you’re moving in with Kaylee,” Jayne said, ignoring Mal’s attempted protests, “where does that leave your sister?”
“She is turning my room into an office, I think.”
“Now, wait just one second!” Mal finally interjected. “I ain’t said it was alright, yet!”
Wash asked, “Do you want me to hail the ship so you can tell Kaylee that? ‘Cause I am not about to even say hello at this point.”
Mal blinked. “Well,” he tried. “I ain’t comfortable with your sister being unsupervised.”
“Oh, don’t worry.” Simon smirked. “She also informed me that she was going to be courting Jayne, and that I shouldn’t worry.”
“What?!” Three voices rose, two in amazement, one in terror.
“I believe the exact words she used were, ‘if this boat is rocking, don’t come knocking.’” Simon shuddered slightly. “I don’t want to think about it at the moment, please, the alcohol has made me queasy enough.”
Jayne was making slight whimpering noises. “Mal! Don’t let her!”
The captain shook his head. “I ain’t getting involved.”
The frantic mercenary turned back to Simon. “Doc, you can’t be alright with this.”
“Oh, I’m not,” Simon agreed cheerfully. “But I know my sister. Once she has made up her mind, there is no talking her out of it.”
“But, its Jayne,” Wash pointed out. “Why would our sweet, little, homicidal maniac want Jayne? He’s a..a..” He gestured wordlessly.
“Large, unkempt, homicidal maniac?” Mal supplied.
Wash, Simon, and Mal studied the big man who was miserably trying to disappear into his seat.
“Huh,” Wash said.
“Wait a second,” Mal ordered. “You said she was gonna be courting him?”
Simon nodded wryly. “That’s what she told me.”
The three continued to study the mercenary, who squirmed under the scrutiny. “What if I don’t wanna?”
“Well, when Zoë decided she wanted Wash,” the Captain said, “nothing either of us had to say really mattered.”
“She told me we were getting married,” Wash offered. “I didn’t even know until we were standing in front of the preacher.”
“Wait,” Jayne interjected. “Courting? Like, flowers and dates and stuff?”
“That is what courting usually means,” Wash pointed out.
“Uh oh.” Jayne slunk back down into his chair. “I found a little paper flower outside my bunk today.”
“Why is that ‘uh oh’?” Wash questioned.
“Well,” Jayne squirmed. “I kinda made fun of it, ‘cause it were a little lopsided, and then I squished it and threw it away.”
The others stared at him in horror.
“I didn’t know!” He protested. “I didn’t know that she made it for me special!”
Wash dropped his head onto the table and started to laugh. “I’m amazed that River herself didn’t take that wrench to you.”
“She is going to kill you in your sleep,” Mal stated.
Simon nodded. “She can be very vindictive when she wants revenge.”
Jayne grabbed Simon by the shoulders, “You gotta help me, Doc! I don’t wanna die because a crazy girl with a crush carves out my heart with my toothbrush!”
“You need to make it up to her,” Simon said, grimacing as he peeled Jayne’s fingers back painfully.
“We all need to make it up to them,” Mal declared. “Inara called me an insensitive oaf and slammed the door in my face.”
“Can you slam a shuttle door?” Wash asked.
“You can if you kick it after shutting it.”
“Alright,” Simon said, “how exactly do we go about making things up to our assorted women?”
“I don’t have a woman on board!” Jayne protested.
“You do now,” came from three different directions.
Jayne looked slightly hurt. “I always planned on it being Kaylee.”
“Well, you can’t have her,” Simon snapped. “She has claimed me, and River has decided you belong to her, so get used to it, and help us plan.”
Jayne whimpered again, clutching the long empty bottle to his chest like a teddy bear.
“Flowers?” suggested Wash.
“Won’t work for the girl,” Jayne moaned. “She might stab me with them.”
“Oh, come on, Jayne,” smirked Mal. “You can’t kill somebody with flowers.”
“You ain’t never met this girl, have ya?”
Simon and Wash shared an exasperated, slightly drunken look.
“Jewelry?” Wash tried again.
“We have no money, remember?” Simon pointed out. “This is why we are outlaws.”
“We could rob a bank,” Mal suggested.
“You’re worthless without Zoë watching your back, Captain.” Wash pointed out. “Besides, if I got you killed, she would never have sex with me again.”
“I’m not worthless!”
The others ignored him and kept talking.
“Dinner?” Jayne suggested. “We could bring ‘em real food, and cook it and everything.”
“I can’t cook,” Simon said, “but I can follow directions if someone else does.”
“I can make a pretty decent soup,” Wash offered.
Jayne looked up hopefully, “I’ll make my momma’s biscuits.”
With new purpose, the four men staggered out of the bar in the direction of the general store. They still didn’t have much money, and the owner was a mite tetchy about being roused out of bed in the middle of the night, but they did find some things that might resemble dinner, if someone had some imagination.
“This ain’t a bad idea,” Mal mused, as they stumbled back to Serenity, arms laden with bags. “What could go wrong?”
They all stared at him in horror.
“What? What did I say?”
“That’s it,” Jayne sighed. “We’re all gonna die.”
“Think they will open the door?” Wash asked.
“I think we will be lucky to see the sunrise,” Simon predicted grimly.
Jayne stopped right outside the boarding ramp. “I think I’m just gonna bed down here.”
“You afraid of a little girl, Jayne?”
“You’re one to talk, Doc. I ain’t headed towards the bed of the girl who hit me with a wrench earlier.”
Simon stopped too. “Good point. I’m with Jayne.” He nodded firmly. “I’m sleeping here.”
“Neither of you is sleeping here,” Mal ordered. “Get your asses on board and deal with your women.”
Simon and Jayne opened their mouths to protest.
“All of you on board,” Zoë commanded from the top of the ramp. “Now.”
All four men froze. Then, as one, they turned to see all of the women assembled in the cargo bay.
All four of the ladies had their arms crossed, and looked more then a mite pissed. The girl was looking daggers at Jayne, and Inara glared once at Mal, then turned away with a toss of her hair.
Kaylee stomped down the ramp. “Give it!” She shoved her hand out at the group and tapped her foot.
Slowly, Simon drew the bolt out of his pocket and handed it over. He cringed away when she lifted it, but she didn’t hit him. She did, however, offer him a number of suggestions for what he could do with it, ranging from mildly unpleasant to anatomically impossible.
Normally, the others would be snickering at his plight, but they were all too busy trying to avoid the glares of the women still bunched at the top of the ramp.
“Zoë, sweetie,” Wash said brightly. “We brought dinner!” He held out the bags in his hands hopefully.
“More important,” Jayne said, desperately trying to avoid the eyes of the little girl staring poison at him. “We have dessert.”
“We do?” Mal asked. “I mean, we do!”
Zoë, at least, looked interested. “What?”
Jayne shoved the bags in his hands at Wash, and then reached into his pockets. He withdrew four foil wrapped bars.
Kaylee stopped mid swear. “Is that chocolate?”
Inara stepped down towards him, “Are those real?”
River swept down next to him, snatched the four chocolate bars out of his hands, snapped, “Still not forgiven,” and herded the women back on board.
“Wait!” called Mal. “Can’t we come on board?”
The ladies just waved as the ramp closed.
“Maybe we shouldn’t push our luck,” Wash said. “There is always tomorrow. And, boy is this ground comfy!”