Title: And Then She Was Noticed
Date Posted: 7 March 2006
Author: Van Donovan
Rating: PG
Characters: Wash, Kaylee
Pairing: implied Wash/Kaylee
Word count: 702
Warnings: pre-TV series.
Summary: Kaylee has a birthday.
Notes: Written to fill a requested Wash/Kaylee with the prompts: dance, the bridge and pretty.


Birthday’s tended to pass by unnoticed on Serenity. For the older members of the crew, the date was just another reminder of how much nearer death was getting. Kaylee meant well when she reminded them, baking cakes and wishing them happiness, but Mal resented her birthday cheer, and Zoe tended to ignore her. Wash humored her because her intentions were sweet, but he felt silly when she showered him with gifts.

Her first birthday aboard Serenity slipped by unobserved. Kaylee was morose for a week after, and it took Wash a month to figure out why. He determined then and there to do something nice for her birthday the following year, and marked his calendar to alert him when it was approaching.

The day arrived and dragged on uneventfully. They were in between jobs, but that suited Wash’s plans just fine. He set up a few things in the cockpit, and then padded down to the engine room. There he found Kaylee sulking in her hammock, folding origami cranes. “Hey,” he announced.

Kaylee looked up glumly. “Hey.”

“Could you help me with something in the cockpit?” he asked. “I think there’s a faulty wire or something.”

Kaylee studied the unfinished paper bird in her hand, then set it aside and swung to her feet. “Sure.” She dusted her hands off on her coveralls.

“You know, you look real pretty tonight, Kaylee,” Wash casually commented as they walked abreast down the hall.

Surprised, she looked over at him. “Really?” She smoothed her hair down self-consciously.

“Really. You’re all kinds of glowy.”

Kaylee smiled just a bit at that. “Thanks, Wash.”

They moved through the galley and into the crew quarters where soon, the soft sound of music wafted down to them. Kaylee’s brow furrowed, curious.

Wash let her go up the steps first, but followed close behind.

The cabin lights were dimmed and Wash had bought a string of fairy lights that he’d wrapped around the overhead pipes and intercom system. They twinkled cheerfully. Soft classical musical piped in over the Cortex, giving the room a dreamy quality. On the pilot console stood a small frosted muffin with a lone candle brightly burning in it, two chipped ceramic mugs from the galley, and a small bottle of wine.

“Happy birthday, Kaylee.”

“Wash,” she breathed, stunned to tears.

“You’re always doing such nice stuff for us, seemed like it was about time someone did something nice for you.” He crossed to the muffin, picked it up and held it out toward her. “Make a wish.”

Kaylee happily wiped the tears off her cheeks before leaning forward and blowing out the candle. Wash handed it to her, grinning. “I didn’t want t’make a fuss,” she said in a quavering voice. “Didn’t want t’burden no one.”

Wash uncorked the wine, pouring some into the mugs. “It’s not a burden, Kaylee. We’re just all to selfish to see your needs.” He handed her one of the mugs, grinning as the bite she had taken of the muffin dropped crumbs all over the floor.

“Cap’n’s gonna kill us,” she laughed. She washed her bite down with the wine.

“It’s worth it. You’re worth it,” Wash stated. He leaned forward, taking a bite of the proffered muffin. “Hey, this doesn’t even taste too bad. I wasn’t sure it’d still be good.” He grinned brightly.

Kaylee wandered in further, standing beneath the fairy lights. “Wouldn’t’ve cared even if it were bad,” she mused, lifting her face to the tiny lights. “These are fantastic.”

“Hoped you’d like them. You’re always lighting up our lives. Thought it’d be nice if I could light up yours a bit.”

Kaylee shifted her gaze to him, studying him in the dim lighting. “Wash . . .”

He set his mug down and stepped to her, taking away her muffin and mug to set them beside his. The music on the Cortex was a soft waltz, and when he slipped under the fairy lights, he took her hands in his. “Shh,” he crooned. “It’s your birthday. Nothing else matters right now.”

Kaylee let Wash draw her close, resting her head against his chest. Together they swayed to the music, and the bridge glowed with her happiness.

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