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14 February 2006 @ 10:15 pm
Title: Prince Mali Ababwa
Author: shellies
Pairing: Mal/Inara
Summary: A conglomeration of Disney’s Aladdin and Firefly’s “Shindig.” Sort of.
Notes: For shinyhearts, written for likealocket. Thanks so much to adellyna and airgiodslv for the beta work. Chinese notes and translations at end of fic. Also, my apologies for the title, seriously. I couldn’t help myself.

“So, we’re stuck here.”

Mal looked at his crew, dreading what Kaylee would say next. It was bad enough they were on this gorram planet to begin with. Best to just do the job and leave – which they’d had all intentions of doing. Until, that is, a pipe burst, sending that perfect plan right down the drain. No pun intended.

“’Fraid, so, Captain.” Kaylee shrugged her shoulders apologetically. “’Least ‘till tomorrow when I can get some parts. Can’t go flyin’ a ship with the water leaking like that; we’re likely to fry up.”

Mal frowned, but nodded. “Right well, we don’t want any frying. So,” he addressed the crew, who were all looking at him expectantly, “looks like we’re here for the night, folks.”

Jayne made a face, slumping back into his seat. “Great. Too bad there’s nothing to do in this place. Been to three different taverns and couldn’t start no brawls.”

Mal shot a warning glance at Jayne. “Now, we don’t need to be stirrin’ up trouble. We’ve done our job here and we’d best get out of town without further incident, you hear?”

Jayne sat back down, grumbling. “Yeah, yeah, so what’re we supposed to do?”

Kaylee piped up, an excited glimmer in her eyes – the kind that usually meant she had an idea that was likely to give Jayne hives. “We could tell stories!”

“Stories?” Mal made a face.

“Stories, yes!” Kaylee stood up, waving her hands about enthusiastically. “My daddy used to tell me stories when I was bored, you know.” She sighed happily. “Used to get so lost in them, you know? The time would just fly by.”

Jayne started to say something, but Inara shot him a look. “A story sounds lovely, Kaylee.” She sat down in her own seat, crossing her legs, and that, it seemed, was that. Everyone else took a chair and settled in.

Wash pulled Zoe into his lap and grinned. “Story time, yay!”

“Thank you, Wash,” Kaylee beamed at him. “Everyone comfy?” There were nods from Wash, Zoe, Book and Inara. Simon and River – who was having what they’d all considered a Good Day – looked at her expectantly. Mal huffed and Jayne grunted, and that seemed enough to satisfy her. “Well, all right then. Once upon a time, in a far away land,” she began, “there was a man named Mal.”

Mal snorted.

“Can it, Captain,” Zoe glared at him, and Kaylee went on.

“Now Mal, he was a good man, but he wasn’t rich by no means. He made his money mostly by stealing, but never from good people – he was picky like that….”


Mal stuck the loaf of bread into his back pocket as nonchalantly as one could - it was, after all, a long loaf of bread in his pants – and slowly walked from the marketplace.

“Stealin’ again, Mal?”

Mal turned in surprise to see Simon, the town doctor, looking at him with a bemused expression.

“Hey, gotta eat to live, gotta steal to eat,” Mal shrugged. “Tell you all about it when I got the time.”

Simon snorted. “I’m sure you will. Now, off with you before you get yourself into more trouble.”

“No moralin’ from you, doctor. You just sew me up when I need it, okay?” Before Simon could respond, Mal was off, only to be stopped again by a firm hand on his shoulder. It wasn’t a friendly hand.

“Mr. Reynolds.” The smaller man looked at him disdainfully as his goon held Mal firmly in place, and Mal straightened his shoulders. Not this guy.

“Badger. To what do I owe this complete lack of pleasure?”

“Got a job for you.”

“And who says I’m interested?”

“Trust me, mate,” Badger smiled and crossed his arms. “You’ll be interested. Now follow me into my office.”


Some job, Mal thought to himself as he took in his surroundings. He was stuck in a cave, somewhere on Osiris, and completely trapped. Jewels and gold as far as the eye could see, and no way to get out of here. That gorram son of a whore Badger.

Mal kicked a ruby bigger than his head in frustration. He’d been double-crossed. Again.

“When I get out of here, that little piece of gou shi is gonna pay,” he grumbled to himself. Of all the luck, the cave had caved in. And he was stuck inside, still holding onto what looked like the most useless thing Badger could have possibly wanted – a beat up old lamp. Mal laughed out loud – at least Badger would never get his precious lamp.

“What the hell is this thing, anyway?” Mal looked more closely at it and saw that it had some funny markings on it. Using his shirtsleeve, he rubbed at it to see what it said.

And then the weirdest thing imaginable happened.

Like he’d taken more drops than Simon would ever consider medically necessary, Mal saw the unbelievable: out of the lamp came a man. Or, a sort-of-man, a line of blue smoke trailing behind him. He had no legs, and he was floating.

Okay, Mal thought. I’m definitely high.

“How can I help you, Master?” the not-quite-man asked him. He was wearing…a Hawaiian print shirt?


“Yes, Master,” the thing said. “You have freed me from captivity and now I must serve you – what do you wish?”

Mal looked around. “Okay, Badger? This isn’t funny. Where are you?”

“This isn’t a joke, I assure you,” it said, it’s voice booming through the cave. “For hundreds of years I have lived inside this lamp, waiting to be freed. With one rub, you have done it – and now you are my Master.” The thing smiled. “I’m Wash, by the way.”

“Wash? Um, yes. Can I ask – what in the name of all that is holy in the ‘verse are you?”

“Your humble servant, Master! Your slave, your bringer of good tidings, your procurer of riches and women and wine.” He shrugged, leaving puffs of smoke around his head. “Or, a genie, if you prefer colloquial terms.”

Mal promptly passed out.


Kaylee sat back with a grin, seeing how everyone – even Jayne – was paying her close attention. “Now, if you’ll let me switch gears,” she said, “I hafta tell you of another important character.”

“Wait, what happens to Mal?” Mal asked, leaning forward so hard in his chair that it scraped along the floor. He coughed. “I mean, Wash wants to know.”

“Keep your pants on, Captain,” Kaylee smiled. “We’ll get back to Mal. But first, there’s someone else you have to know. Also, in this far away place, there was a Guild of Companions – but of all the Companions in the land, Princess Inara was the best.”

“I like this story,” Inara smirked at Mal.

“Now Princess Inara, she wasn’t like other Companions. Men would come from every planet, lookin’ to make her an offer, but she’d always refuse. She was beautiful and rich – a mighty good catch for any man in the ‘verse, see? She lived in the Guild’s palace, where the boss-man, Jayne, saw to the needs of all the Companions in his charge.”

“I’ll bet he did,” Jayne interjected, and Mal elbowed him. “Hey!”

Anyway,” Kaylee went on, “Princess Inara was gettin’ to that time where she needed to accept an offer or Jayne was likely to get real mad. But every suitor that came, she turned down.”

“Too picky,” Mal scoffed.

Selective,” Inara responded. “Go on, Kaylee.”

“Right, so every man in town knew of Inara – and everyone was wantin’ their chance, Mal included. But Mal, he weren’t rich enough to make an offer. But now that he got a genie, things get interesting…”


“So, let me get this straight,” Mal said, shaking his head. “You’re my all-powerful slave, and you grant me three wishes?”

“That’s right, oh wise Master of mine,” Wash smiled. “Anything you wish – er, well. Almost.”


“Stipulations,” Wash nodded. “There’s always someone to answer to, you know how it is.”

“So what’re these stipulations?”

Wash ticked them off on his cloudy fingers. “Can’t kill anyone, can’t raise the dead and I can’t make people fall in love with you.”

Mal smirked. “Don’t sound too all-powerful to me.”

“Hey, I’ll have you know, I come from a long line of all-powerful genies. I’m widely respected!”

“Please,” Mal scoffed. “You probably can’t even get us outta this cave here.”

Wash raised his eyebrows. “Ha! Wanna bet, Master?” And, with a nod of his head and a puff of purple smoke, Mal found himself sitting on the sandy ground, staring at the collapsed cave from the outside. He grinned.

“Well, mister-you-probably-can’t-even-get-us-outta-this-cave-here,” Wash smirked. “What do you have to say now?”

“I say well done,” Mal replied with a smile. “Now about those three wishes…”

“Ah-ah-ah,” Wash shook his head. “Two. You just used one.”

Mal shook his head back, feeling quite smug. “I don’t recall ever saying ‘I wish,’ Mr. All-Powerful.”

Wash’s jaw dropped. “Well, you sneaky, stupid ne me jugez pas…” He muttered under his breath and then coughed. “Indeed. Well, all right then, three wishes it is. What’s first?”

“How ‘bout you work on gettin’ the contents of that cave back to my place?”


Mal sat back in his small home – more of a room than anything – and grinned widely. It was now covered from corner to corner with riches. Jewels, gold, crowns and coins filling every available space.

Wash smiled. “Are you satisfied, Master? You are now one of the wealthiest men around.”

“I am indeed, Wash,” Mal said, taking it all in. He sat down on the floor and looked at the genie questioningly. “So, this is what you do? You make men like me rich?”

Wash shrugged, floating above him. “Usually. I mean, riches are usually one of the first wishes. Convenient they were already all there in the cave for us, wasn’t it?”

“Yeah but–“ Mal frowned. “You’re trapped, enslaved, and then you make other people rich, only to what? Go back into your lamp until someone else finds you?”

Wash wrinkled his nose. “Well when you put it like that, it doesn’t sound too appealing.”

“It’s not!” Mal said angrily. “It ain’t right, a good guy like you…” He ran his hands together, considering the situation. “Tell you what, genie. I got one more wish for myself and then, after that, I wish you free. How’s that?”

“I…you’ll…free?” Wash looked astonished, and his face softened. The smoke around him changed to a rosy pink. “Seriously? My…my freedom?”

“Your freedom,” Mal nodded decisively. “That’ll be my third wish.”

“I—oh, Master!” Wash flew to where Mal sat on the ground and wrapped his arms around him. They were strangely solid around Mal’s shoulders. “Oh, thank you, Master! Thank you!”

“Okay, all right, enough of that,” Mal pushed him back, hiding a smile. “Just don’t do that again.”

Wash brushed himself off, glitter falling from his flowered shirt as he did so. He opened his mouth to respond, but was distracted by the sound of trumpets out on the streets. He flew to the window and peered outside. “What’s going on?”

Mal rose and stood next to Wash, looking out. “Oh, that,” he said disdainfully, “is Atherton Wing.”

Wash looked at him, the trumpets and drums blaring from the streets. “Important guy?”

Mal snorted. “Supposedly. He’s come to make Princess Inara an offer, no doubt. Again.”

“Oh,” Wash nodded, taking in Mal’s obvious disapproval. “And we hate him for this?”

Mal looked angrily out the window at the spectacle. “He’s all show,” he growled. “Doesn’t give a lick about the Princess, just wants the benefits of winning her. Fang pi!”

“Well, you know, Master, you could make her an offer now.”

Mal turned his head sharply. “Me? What, I don’t even—I’m not interested.”

“Uh huh, well, right,” Wash raised his eyebrows. “Just a suggestion. But clearly by the way you’re gripping the window so hard I think your knuckles might break, you obviously don’t care about that sort of thing.”

“Can I wish for you to shut up?”

“If you want to, Master,” Wash smiled, folding his arms together and preparing himself.

“Wait, no!” Mal put up his hands. “Se! Wait, okay.”

Wash looked at him expectantly.

Mal ran his hands over his face wearily. “I don’t suppose you’re up for a trip to the marketplace?”


“So, Mal went shopping, got himself dressed up real shai and headed off to the Guild’s palace to make the Princess an offer,” Kaylee said. “He and Atherton both were in the palace and Inara, she didn’t seem too thrilled with either.”

“Snob,” Mal grumbled.

Selective,” Inara said again.

“And Jayne, he was happy with both offers, see. Mal and Atherton were some of the richest men in the ‘verse now, and either would be a great match for his Princess. He decides that Mal and Atherton will each take Inara out, and she’ll pick between the two. Well, Inara’s not so happy about this, but she agrees.”

“Smart girl,” Jayne commented. “Best listen to who’s in charge.”

Inara snickered and Kaylee went on, settling back in her chair and curling her hair around one finger. “Well, the princess, she goes out with Mal first. She figures right quick that this guy ain’t what he seems, but she likes him well enough to let it slide. They spend some time gettin’ to know each other, candlelight dinner, long walks—”

“Grapplin’,” Jayne cut in, accompanying his words with a rather lewd gesture.


“What? She’s a companion, right?” He gave an innocent face.

Kaylee frowned. “She’s a princess. And after spendin’ some time with Mal, she decides she don’t want to give Atherton another shot at all. She’s made her choice.”

“Damn right,” Mal grinned and Inara shot him a look. Their eyes met and Mal quickly looked away.

Kaylee, hiding a grin, continued. “So, she and Mal, they go to Jayne about it and say they wanna go off together, but Atherton, you can imagine, he’s not too happy about this. He came a long way and he’s right angry he never even got his chance. He decides to do somethin’ about it…”


Wash floated around the room, wondering just where the hell his Master’s gone off to. Floating throughout the palace, he couldn’t find him anywhere. He was just starting to worry when he heard voices down the corridor. Shrinking to nearly invisible, he hid behind a corner to listen.

“And you’ll be able to make your offer after all?” a male voice asked.

“Indeed I will, James,” Atherton’s voice said. He dripped with arrogance, and the genie cringed, dreading what was to come next. “Mr. Reynolds decided he’d rather…take a swim…than be with the Princess after all.”

That was all Wash needed to hear. Without another thought, he flew out of the palace, beyond the walls to its surrounding river. Diving in, sure enough, there was Mal, slumped unconscious on the water’s floor.

“Mal, buddy, Master, can you hear me?” Wash said frantically. “Seriously, oh se, wode ma, Mal!” Wash shook his Master, who only slumped more in his hands. “Mal, you have to wish for me to save you…come on, wish it! You wish for me to save your life!” He shook the unconscious man’s body and his head rocked back and forth. “Good enough for me,” Wash said and, with a flash, they were back on shore, Mal coughing himself awake.


The hit to his jaw sent Atherton reeling to the floor, and Mal rubbed his fist, smiling.

“You’ll pay for that, Reynolds,” Atherton stumbled to his feet, only to be immediately struck down again. He grabbed for Mal’s leg, pulling him down with him, and the two men wrestled and fought until they heard voices above them.

“Mal! Atherton! Stop this right now!” Inara stood over them, looking alarmed. Jayne was quick behind her.

“What’s goin’ on here?’ Jayne yelled, pulling the two men upright and apart.

“This ta ma de wang ba dan tried to kill me is what,” Mal yelled back. He turned to Inara, who was looking at him, shocked. “Er, sorry ma’am,” he said contritely.

“Is that true?” Jayne looked at Atherton, who only scowled. “I think it’s time you left my palace, Mr. Wing, before you have to meet my fist.”


“Well, everything seemed to be shiny for Mal and his princess,” Kaylee continued, “with Atherton out of the picture. They were makin’ their preparations to leave together, and Mal was gettin’ ready to wish the genie free.”

“What a pal,” Wash looked fondly at Mal, and Zoe ruffled her husband’s hair. “That’s our captain,” she smiled.

“But what Mal and Wash didn’t know was that, while he was talkin’ to the genie, Atherton was hiding outside the door, listening.”

“Uh-oh,” Wash said.

“Exactly. So he busts into the room and knocks Mal out, takin’ the lamp for his own.”

“Wait, woah, hold on,” Mal interrupted. “He didn’t even defend himself? That’s unrealistic, it is.”

“He didn’t see it comin’,” Kaylee waved her hands. “And now he’s passed out in his room, and Atherton has himself a genie...”


“Genie, my first wish is to be Inara’s choice,” Atherton said, looking down at Mal’s unconscious body smugly.

Wash, dismayed, looked at his unappealing new master and frowned. “Well, see there are stipulations we need to go over.”

“Never mind the technicalities!” Atherton yelled, frustrated. “This has taken too long as it is. Inara must fall in love with me and accept my offer. Make it so!” He stomped his feet in emphasis.

“But, really, stipulations,” Wash stressed. “I can’t make anyone fall in love. It’s not in the rules.”

Atherton hmmphed, about to yell again, when Inara and Jayne both entered the room.

“What’s going on here?” she asked, troubled to see Atherton still in the palace.

“Boy, you are messin’ with the wrong guy,” Jayne advanced on him, fist in air, when Atherton held his hands up to stop him.

“Wait, wait! There are some things you should know before you do that,” he warned.

Inara looked at Mal’s body and back to Atherton, stilling Jayne with her hand on his arm. Jayne huffed, but held back. “Go’n then.”

“Your prince, it seems, is nothing but a fraud! He’s got a magic genie!”

“A who?”

“A magic genie,” Inara said softly, realizing that her suspicions had been correct. Mal wasn’t what he’d seemed, not entirely. “He’s not wealthy at all.”

“No, he’s not,” Atherton said, self-satisfied. “Now, genie, do what it is you do. Inara will love me and Mal will be nothing but an unpleasant memory.”

“See, I don’t think you’re understanding the can’t-make-people-fall-in-love part,” Wash began, but Inara cut him off.

“Oh, Atherton, thank you for showing me the light,” she crooned, stepping over to him and wrapping an arm around his waist.

Jayne looked from Mal, to the genie, to Inara. “What the…?”

“I should have realized from the start that you were the one for me,” she went on, nuzzling his neck. Her eyes met Wash’s and she subtly motioned with her eyebrows toward Mal, who was starting to come to.

“Oh!” Wash said loudly. “Oh, yes, Master! Wash, your humble servant has granted you this wish! I am devoted and also dedicated to your every whim of pleasure!”

Atherton, who was attempting rather poorly to kiss Inara, didn’t see the punch coming.

“Get your hands off of her,” Mal growled, shoving him to the ground. “Please.”

“What is the meaning of this?! Genie, do something!” Atherton jumped back to his feet and glared.

“What do you want me to do?” Wash asked, feeling helpless against whatever Atherton might ask.

“Anything!” Atherton stomped his feet. “Make him go away, kill him!”

“Actually, I can’t—”

“Now you listen right here—“ Jayne started toward Atherton again, but Atherton shoved him away.

“This is absurd!” he yelled. “I am the most powerful man in this room! You must all listen to me!”

“Actually,” Mal cut in, “you’re not.”

“Excuse me?”

“Well, our genie here, he’s got more power in his finger than you do in your whole body, see? So, you’re not the most powerful.”

“What? I—“ Atherton was outraged. “Fine then, genie! I wish to have your powers!”

Wash started to laugh. “Your wish is so granted.” With a flick of his hands, a silver lamp appeared in the air and, with a flash of light, Atherton was sucked inside.

Jayne, Inara, Mal and Wash all stared at the lamp, both amused and shocked.

“Well,” Mal said, “I suppose we’ll see him in a few hundred years.”


“And so, our hero has saved the day,” Kaylee declared. “But, there’re still some things to take care of.”

“Yeah, like freeing the genie!” Wash exclaimed.

Zoe patted him on the head. “Patience, all-powerful.”

“And that’s the first thing he did,” Kaylee smiled. “Mal used his final wish to set the genie free, true to his word. The genie thanked him and went off a free man.”

“I’ll bet he went to a tropical island,” Wash mused. “Met himself a nice genie-girl and made some genie-babies.”

“But now there was another problem,” Kaylee went on. “Mal’s secret had been uncovered and, knowing that his fortune wasn’t genuine, Jayne had the power to turn down his offer.”

“Well, that’s a bunch of gorram nonsense if I ever heard it,” Mal exclaimed, giving Jayne a glare.

“You know this isn’t actually me, Captain?” Jayne started.

“Shut it.”

“But the princess truly loved Mal, despite his lies,” Kaylee said, giving Inara a look of her own. “And she convinced Jayne let things go as planned.” She paused, and the room fell silent. Mal looked over at Inara, who smiled and looked down at her hands.

An uncomfortable silence filled the air, until Mal couldn’t take it anymore. He coughed. “And?”

“And they lived happily ever after, of course,” Kaylee grinned.


Inara made her way to her own shuttle sleepily, only to find Mal standing outside her door. “Captain?” she asked. He looked at her oddly.

“I, um. The leak ain’t too bad in your room, right?” Mal asked awkwardly.

“It’s manageable,” Inara smiled. And, without further thought, she leaned forward and kissed him on the cheek. “Goodnight, Mal,” she said, walking past him and into her room, closing the door behind her.

Mal rubbed his cheek, a faraway look on his face. “’Night, princess.”


Chinese (all taken from this website):

gou shi - dog shit
ne me jugez pas - dirty son of a bitch
fang pi - asshole!
se - shit
shai - handsome
wode ma - mother of god
ta ma de wang ba dan - fucking bastard
likealocket on February 15th, 2006 06:33 am (UTC)
Hee! This was so great. Did you know that I work at Disney World, or was that just a great coincidence? Either way, I love it! So perfect that Kaylee was the storyteller and I loved your sticking some of the others in there too (Wash as a genie and Jayne as, well, a pimp, really. Teehee!). And the hints of the Mal/Inara-ness that's there but unspoken outside of the story. *happy sigh* Yay, thank you!
adellyna on February 16th, 2006 12:30 am (UTC)
Wait, you work at Disney World? WHERE?! I did a good stint at Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe back in high school, and then a spell at Space Mountain. *sighs* They never would let me out of tomorrowland and all I wanted was a nice bustier.
likealocket on February 16th, 2006 06:12 am (UTC)
I was College Program for the second half of 2002 in Magic Kingdom Main Street Merchandise, but now I'm Bell Service Dispatch at the Caribbean Beach Resort. Woo! Ah, Cosmic Ray's. How I love thee. Space Mountain? Not so much, lol.
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agent_rouka on February 15th, 2006 04:55 pm (UTC)
Wash = perfect genie.

And the rest is just pure "awwwwwww"! Kaylee as a storyteller and the entire jumping between story and the crew, that was great. And then that sweet ending, yum yum!
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randominity on February 15th, 2006 05:16 pm (UTC)
Ahahaha oh, this was truly adorable. Wash as the genie was a stroke of genius, and Mal getting all caught up in the story despite himself was hilarious! I really enjoyed this :).
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van on February 15th, 2006 11:03 pm (UTC)
This was really cute. It was nice to see almost all the cast getting cameos in the fake-story, too, although I do wonder what the story versions of Book, Zoe and River were up to, hehehe.

Still, very creative, and very cute. :)
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redmapletree on February 20th, 2006 07:09 pm (UTC)
Bwee! This was *adorable*. Wash was amazing as the genie--I loved his genie-babies line. And the ending and Jayne's reactions and oh everything. Wonderful. <3
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goldy_dollar on February 24th, 2006 07:30 pm (UTC)
Awww. So much crew love. Wash as a genie. Heh! JAYNE AS A PIMP. LMAO.

“Snob,” Mal grumbled.

“Selective,” Inara said again.


“Wait, what happens to Mal?” Mal asked, leaning forward so hard in his chair that it scraped along the floor. He coughed. “I mean, Wash wants to know.”

*giggles again*

“I’ll bet he went to a tropical island,” Wash mused. “Met himself a nice genie-girl and made some genie-babies.”

Awww. WASH.

The end made me grin too - Mal/Inara cuteness! *grins*

Oh, and Mal punching Atherton Wing? ALWAYS satisfying.
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kballgetlost on February 24th, 2006 10:16 pm (UTC)
Awwwwwwwwwww! You took my childhood love of Aladdin and mixed it with Firefly....nothing beats that!! And the Mal/Inara cuteness at the end was great!
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mayorst on February 24th, 2006 10:57 pm (UTC)
Aaaaaaah! I love you, I love you, I LOVE YOU! This is like the best ficlet I've read in like-forever! It's sooo adorable! Heheheheh! Squeefest over here, don't mind me!


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jasadin on February 25th, 2006 09:16 am (UTC)
Two of my fav things!!
Aladdin and Firefly!!

>miss jasadin
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oceans_of_nat on June 1st, 2006 12:06 pm (UTC)
*sighs* loved it.

I'm teaching English to kinder and elementary kids in Korea right now and I sing them the Aladdin songs alllll the time! Such a classic movie.....!!!!!

What a nice treat to read this at the end of my day :)