Mal knew the 'verse had to be close to ending the day that Jayne came back with two unicorns following behind him.
"They followed me. Gorram things won't leave me be!" he said, when Mal pointed out his new accessories.
It was too good, too good to let go, so Mal hit the comm and called the rest of the crew down to see. Then he just stood back, and watched their reactions. It was great for a laugh.
"Unicorns!" Kaylee's face lit up like it was Simon's birthday. "Jayne! Where'd you go finding 'em?" She went right over, and started petting the back of one of them. She was cooing, and it gave Mal a certain uncomfortableness.
Jayne shrugged, the expression on his face getting darker every second. "Dunno." One of the unicorns moved closer and nuzzled at his head, and the other started chewing on the sleeve of his orange t-shirt. "Quit it," he said, brushing them away.
"Now correct me if I'm wrong," Book said, "since I'm not entirely up to date on my fictional-creature lore, but aren't unicorns supposed to be attracted to the virtuous? The ah, virginal?" He smiled benignly at Jayne, "No offense, son."
Looked like maybe Jayne had taken a bit of offense though, because he frowned at the preacher and snapped, "Well maybe them kind don't like virtue or the stink o'virginity. Maybe they like folk who like gettin' some. Could be discernin' types, you know."
And maybe Jayne had a point there, because it seemed that the creatures were already growing fond of Kaylee and Inara. Now both girls were cooing like a pair of doves over the things, and petting like their lives depended on it. Kaylee already had the white mane of one of the unicorns braided. And where the hell had that silk ribbon come from?
Figures Jayne would find the contrary mythical creatures. Just figures.
"Unicorns!" Wash yelled when he finally left the cockpit. "Honey! If Jayne can go out to Cerulean Township and come back with unicorns, does that mean I could go out and come back with dinosaurs?"
Zoe just snorted. "I doubt it, husband."
"Hey!" Jayne yelled, hand lingering on one of his holstered guns, "I don't go 'round collectin' unicorn toys, little man. Don't be castin' aspersions." And if as Jayne in a cranky mood wasn't enough, the unicorns too turned to glare at Wash, horns pointed at chest level.
"Ah. Never did say that, Jayne. Just wondering about dinosaurs is all." Wash stepped slightly behind Zoe, who rolled her eyes and moved away from him.
"Yeah, well keep yer wonderin' to yerself."
After a while the Jayne-unicorn situation stopped being funny to watch, and started to grate. Unicorns had no business on his ship, and if he wasn't mistaken, Jayne was starting to get attached to them. He'd come to this conclusion with his keen observation of Jayne's subtle body language.
Well, that and the fact that it hadn't taken Kaylee much to convince Jayne to start brushing out manes and polish horns. Mal wasn't sure if he wanted to laugh at the sight of Jayne going google-eyed over a couple of horses with a horn, or if it made him feel a bit ill.
"Yeah?" He looked up, but it was clear as day he was distracted. There was a moony expression on his face too, and that was downright disconcerting.
"Best not pay too much attention to them things, else Vera might get jealous." He said it as a joke, but hell if Jayne's face didn't crinkle up with concern.
"Gorrammit. Yer right, Mal."
"So maybe you ought to just tell them to go off back to their flower-filled field."
But Jayne wasn't listening. "Figure they must like guns. I was practicin' shootin' targets when they came over and started sniffing at my hair. Yeah. Best introduce them to the guns. Make us one big happy family."
That was not what Mal was intending. "You ain't keeping them things."
"Cap!" Kaylee yelled, her face already full of frowns and sadness. "Why not?"
"Mal. Don't be so thoughtless." Inara actually paused in her brushstrokes. "Can't you see it will break their hearts to be sent away? And Jayne will never be the same."
Nothing's ever going to be the same. "My ship. No – horses."
"Unicorns!" The three of them shouted.
"Livestock. They got no use, except maybe for eating." He immediately regretted saying it, because three pairs of human eyes, and two pairs of unicorn eyes turned on him, and all had killing thoughts behind them.
Before he could back himself out of this one – mostly by running and staying in his bunk until murderous thoughts faded from the minds of the insane – Simon wandered into the cargo bay from outside. He looked somewhat dazed, and hardly even glanced at the unicorns.
This was not what Mal considered to be a good thing. "Doctor?"
"Well. Not <i>wrong</i> exactly." His eyes slid to the side, and he said, "Oh. Hi, Jayne. Nice unicorns."
"Thanks," Jayne muttered, almost-smiling.
"Doc! Why you looking like someone bashed you up the side of the head?" Mal looked closer. "And is your shirt smoking a little?"
Simon looked down at his arm, and patted at the fabric of his sleeve. "It's nothing. Um. River found something. You might want to see. I'd tell her to come inside, but I'm not sure how the unicorns might react."
So Mal found himself following Simon outside, stepping into the bright sunlight of the little planet. There were flowers all around, and off in the distance, Mal could see a rainbow. He couldn't remember the last time he saw a rainbow, especially not one so colourful. And in the middle of it all, River was sitting on the grass, grinning happily and chattering away.
To a dragon. A green dragon, about the size of a large dog. It was sitting next to River, and chewing on her hair. Occasionally it turned away and belched a little smoke.
"What?" Simon asked.
"No. No gorram way. No dragons on my boat." Behind him, he could hear the others coming outside too, and Wash started making excited noises, and them unicorns went right over the to the dragon – ignoring River – and started nuzzling at it like they were old friends. "This ain't happening!"
Jayne moved to stand next to him, dopey grin on his face. "Bet we could train 'em. To fight. Horns, fire. Could come in handy."
On his other side, Simon leaned close and said, "It won't leave River. Believe me, I tried. And I think Jayne has a point."
Doomed. He was doomed.
|Characters: Mal, Jayne, crew.
Rating: So 'G' it hurts.
Summary: Doomed. Mal was doomed.
Notes: Clearly, I have lost my mind. Crack. The bit about the guns is fryadvocate's idea.