xiao_meimei: (I think I love you)
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The flower itself was a thing of rare and fragile beauty, tucked between a couple of pipes. It was bright pink, fading to red at the tips, like someone had taken it and dipped it lightly into a scarlet dye, scattering droplets of color in its wake. Kaylee's fingers brushed over a petal, half expecting it to disappear under her fingers or be made of silk, but soft as the petal was, it was also real.

A piece of paper hung from the stem, tied with a bit of ribbon the same color as the scarlet petal tips. She unrolled it, something fierce burning in her stomach and fluttering around like a pack of butterflies she'd heard tell about. Just four simple lines were scrawled there in a strong, but pretty, hand.

There be none of Beauty's daughters
With a magic like Thee;
And like music on the waters
Is thy sweet voice to me

That was it. No signature, no rest of the poem, but it weren't like there was more than one person on the ship who'd go around leaving notes like that. Besides, she'd traced her fingers 'round more than one of those letters, put together in different combinations, before. She didn't recognize the poem, but she got the gist of it well enough to follow it's general meaning.

The smile that had grown was startin' to make her cheeks hurt, but she couldn't seem to find a way to make it stop as she traipsed down to the infirmary. She paused in the door, finding it empty, though a book was laying out on the counter that looked a bit on the old side. Curious she stepped in and went to the book. It was old, and a bit dusty, and marked in two places. The first poem was the one her note started with, and her grin grew a bit more, though she weren't sure how that was possible.

The second was marked with another rose petal.

BYRON! how sweetly sad thy melody!
Attuning still the soul to tenderness,
As if soft Pity, with unusual stress,
Had touch'd her plaintive lute, and thou, being by,
Hadst caught the tones, nor suffer'd them to die.
O'ershadowing sorrow doth not make thee less
Delightful: thou thy griefs dost dress
With a bright halo, shining beamily,
As when a cloud the golden moon doth veil,
Its sides are ting'd with a resplendent glow,
Through the dark robe oft amber rays prevail,
And like fair veins in sable marble flow;
Still warble, dying swan! still tell the tale,
The enchanting tale, the tale of pleasing woe.

Weren't much of a lick of sense in the whole piece, as far as she could tell, and she was left wondering just why he'd marked it and left it there. She read it again, and all she could think of was River, and maybe that someone'd written something for her, sad and beautiful. Had he been reading, looking for poems for them both? 'Cept the petal marking the page matched the flower in her hand, and a glimmer of an idea hit her and sent her to the passenger quarters looking for River.

River had another sheet of paper, and she fixed Kaylee with a curious eye, circling around her.

"The words go together."

"The poems, you mean?"

"Not just these, but all of them," the other girl said, thrusting her paper in Kaylee's hands. "He always makes things so complicated," she said in a long suffering tone before pirouetting and leaving the room, headed in the direction of the cockpit.

Kaylee read the new sheet, lips silently making out the words.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impair'd the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o'er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

"Inara?" The smile was still there, but it was warring with a frown of puzzlement as she headed toward Inara's shuttle, feeling all mixed up inside. The door was open and she knocked, peeking her head in.

"Hey...Um...Do you know anything about this?" Kaylee waved the piece of paper in Inara's direction.

"Come in," Inara said with a smile, waving her in.

"It is Simon leaving them all over, ain't it?" Kaylee asked, starting to worry a bit.

"Of course."

"What for?"

"Sit down," Inara said, waving toward the chair in front of the mirror.

Kaylee sank into it, giving Inara a worried look. The other woman just smiled and picked up a brush, running it through Kaylee's hair. "What's going on?"

"I think he's attempting to woo you, which really is sweet." The brush felt good, rhythmic and relaxing.

"By leavin' clues in poems all over the ship?"

"Something like that, yes?"

"Ain't that big of a ship, and we're out here in the black," Kaylee pointed out, pragmatically.

"And he needs some time to keep you busy," Inara whispered with a grin.

"...Oh." Biting her lip, Kaylee let Inara brush her hair and waited impatiently for the next scrap of paper. If he meant to send her to every one else on the ship first, he'd best realize just what the anticipation was doing to her, and know he wouldn't be leavin' wherever she found him anytime soon.

OOC: River, Inara and Simon borrowed without permission of their muns and nothing in this fic should be considered at all binding on them. Unless any of them would like to pick it up and play along at any point. *g*


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Kaylee Frye

November 2008

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