How long is a piece of string? Too goddamn long in your opinion.
That’s how long they say post-production is. Whoever they are, fuck them.
River is still editing like twenty minutes before the premiere is supposed to start, and you have to buy time. She says she’ll be done in forty, and she’ll be right down. You estimate that stretching out to at least an hour.
At least she’s already here, finishing up inside.
So you pass word around that you need to stay on the red carpet for as long as possible. You don’t elaborate on why. Your hand is starting to ache from signing autographs, but you can push through for the sake of your wolf baby movie, which may or may not be good.
You think you might be blinded by your love for the project. Josh tells you that happens sometimes, but you are mostly concerned with the decision you made to have a man who goes by Mr. Universe compose the score. He’s here too, dressing in a holo-sequin suit with a supermodel towering over him as his date.
Zoe quirks an eyebrow when she catches you looking, but she looks gorgeous, so you don’t know what she could be worried about. Unless she’s worried that the flashes going off and bouncing off all those sequins could cause permanent vision loss, which is something you are starting to worry about too, now that it’s entered your head.
You still find it nearly impossible to to look away from that trainwreck, but you need to think of a way to slow this march down the red carpet until River and Simon get here with the film. It’s kind of a crucial element to the whole premiere experience.
Kaylee is having a long discussion about astrophysics or something with the crowd, who seem both highly interested and incredibly confused. For once, Simon is the one mooning all over her. She’s gesticulating all over the place, and Jayne has to duck his head and tries to avoid swearing at her as he passes, managing a “motherfudger”. Jayne is wearing that goddamn hat again, but he’s wheeling his little sister’s bedazzled wheelchair over a stubborn fold in the red carpet, so it looks kind of quaint.
Mal and Inara are pointedly ignoring each other. You hate when they do that, but she’s pretty hurt that he picked Jayne over her - hell you’re pretty hurt that he picked Jayne over you. You were right there, beside him, and he kissed Jayne? Jayne!?
“You don’t have a flask in your clutch, do you?”
“Of course I do. I brought you one as well.”
“Oh, I love you.”
You take them both, because you need a distraction, and Mal drunkenly proposing to someone seems like distraction enough to last the hour they need, might even buy them extra time. You sidle up to him.
“Ready to get that blackout drunk like you promised me?”
He doesn’t even answer, just takes the flask and chugs it, accepting the second when you pass it off like he’s a marathon runner. That was straight vodka, or some other clear alcohol.
Doesn’t seem to faze him in the slightest.
You are going to need a lot more hip flasks.
Kaylee surrenders one, half empty, and you get three from Jayne, which makes you wonder how much he brought because he definitely didn’t give you all of them. A long hard stare gets one from Book, and you feel weird, trying to get your friend drunk enough to reconsider the institution of marriage.
You don’t think it’s working either, because he’s still standing around scowling and not proposing marriage to anyone. You don’t even care who it is anymore, you need a big motherfuck of a distraction.
He’s also figured out your diabolical plan, and he’s started refusing the alcohol, saying that he doesn’t want anymore of your weak-as-water moonshine. So then you have to go ask Zoe, and it turns out that the she was carting around two flasks of water.
This is so not the time or place to find out your wife is pregnant.
“Can we tell everyone?”
You’re still desperate for a distraction. That should buy you at least fifteen minutes. You’re too busy trying to stall to be over the moon, but you swear you’ll get back to that later.
“What? No, I only found out this morning. I haven’t even confirmed it with the doctor.”
“Zoe. You know I love you.”
“What do you want.”
It all comes out in a rush, about River and the movie being not exactly finished and Tahiti being nice this time of year and trying to get Mal to get married to Inara while drunk and she’s holding up her had to stop you and you wonder why your wife seems so much more competent than you at any given moment…
You check your phone. River has started exporting the film. It’ll be ready in forty minutes, but she needs to sneak out the back and arrive at the premiere in style, even though she’s been here for two days straight now.
“One distraction coming right up.”
You aren’t sure how or when she did it, but your wife had some kind of coded contingency distraction plot put in place at some point because, you swear, all she does is cough and say loudly “oh would you look at the time, we’re going to be late starting, what a shame” and it seems like everyone's in on it.
And you do mean everyone, because Kaylee just fainted in Simon’s arms and Mal is suddenly blind, stumbling drunk and yelling to inquire if anyone can lend him an engagement ring he’ll give it right back he swears, Mattie is either faking respiratory distress or straight up dying because Simon drops Kaylee in order to go be a doctor and Book scrambles to catch her before she cracks her head open on the carpeted pavement.
Jayne is yelling at Simon to do something, so you figure the respiratory distress is fake because Jayne is useless ninety percent of the time but he’d never actually panic in front of Mattie. Also he told that she used to pull that trick all the time so they could leave places they didn’t want to be.
You aren’t sure Simon knows that, but he’s a great doctor, he’ll figure it out. Book is fanning Kaylee and asking someone to get water and Mal is trying to convince your wife that they belong together, that she’s the only one who’s been there for him, and that all three of you should be married together. It eases the wound left by him kissing Jayne, but not by much.
In the background, you learn that not only is Mr Universe’s supermodel date his supermodel wife, so not only do you have no choice but to refer to her as Mrs Universe from now on out, but she’s getting caught up in all the drama too and wrestling her ring off her finger. She waves in it his face and throws it, hard, in a calculated direction.
Inara pounces on Mrs. Universe and proclaims her love, so that’s when you know that that’s probably fake too. You can’t be sure though, because Mr. Universe looks both convincingly devastated and resigned. You’d be devastated and resigned too, if Zoe ran off with Inara.
Mal scrambles to find it, figuring he’ll take what he can get in order to convince your wife to enter a polyamorous marriage. You know he’s not drunk, but in the moment you fall over him as he crawls around looking for the ring, you really believe it.
You think you might being going blind, because everything looks an awful lot like a big blurred blob due to the camera flashes working overtime. You’ve walked into at least six people so far, and two of them might have been cardboard standies, you aren’t a hundred percent sure.
At this point the shock seems be wearing off, so you rip open your tux and shirt, revealing River Tam’s face, stylized to suit the Ace Attorney logo under it, to the world just as she arrives, barefoot and looking like she doesn’t even know what sleep is. She’s wearing a worn summer dress, and judging by the garment bag slung over her shoulder, it wasn’t exactly the outfit she was supposed to wear.
Dishevelled is putting it likely.
Her laugh peals like a bell when she sees your chest, and she stumbles over to take a photo with it, abandoning what is no doubt a thousand dollar dress in the middle of the red carpet before taking a selfie with your bare (and fairly pathetic) chest.
Inara picks it up and folds it over her arm for safe keeping, shaking her head after her.
In the middle of Zoe’s gentle dissuasion of a pseudo-drunken Mal’s proposition - and it’s beautiful, it really is - River starts hauling you all to the premiere. You take that to mean that it has finished exporting.
Really. It’s miraculous how everything magically resolves itself when there’s a film to get to.
Kaylee is suddenly revived, and Mattie finds herself able to breathe as well as ever she can, Mr. and Mrs. Universe resolve their sudden marital issues and Mal returns the ring upon the sudden revelation that he and Zoe are better off as just friends and Inara decides that if Mrs. Universe is so willing go to back to her husband, she’s not even worth her love.
She links arms with Mal, insisting loudly that “they don’t deserve us.”
It’s enough to bring a grown man to tears, if you wasn’t so busy trying to rebutton his shirt and find the speech you’re supposed to make before the curtain goes up, about how it wouldn’t have been possible without so many people.
It really wouldn’t have, but you were gracious enough not to mention all the people who tried to make the dream impossible.
You might just wing it though, they’ve all waited long enough for this, and you can hear some vague grumbling about the delay. Zoe hands you a stack of photocopied cue cards from her clutch, and you wrap your arms around her, planting an obnoxious, sloppy kiss on her cheek because you love her and holy shit she’s pregnant.
You’re going to be a dad.
You mean, you’re already a dad, but now you’re going to be a dad to twice as many kids. A dad squared.
You rip the cue cards into tiny pieces and use them as confetti. It gets all caught in your wife’s hair and when she shakes them loose, it’s great because it’s like a second shower of celebratory cue card confetti. You need some confetti in your life at the minute.You regret it when you get up to make your speech, because you end up telling everyone that you passed out when you were getting River’s face tattooed on your chest.
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