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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - ROMANCE
Fluffy Jaylee snippet.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1589 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
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Summary: Jaylee snippet, post-BDM. Could be taken as a follow-up to ‘A Lasting Impression’.
Disclaimer: Joss created Serenity. Serenity belongs to Mal. Mal recruited Kaylee. Kaylee belongs with Jayne. Jayne is brought to life by Adam and occasionally pops up in my dreams. It’s one big happy family, really.
SEEING THE LIGHT
Kaylee couldn’t recall exactly when she’d stopped watching Jayne.
It was a pity, really, because he was just so damned watchable. She’d used to do it all the time when he first came aboard. It’d been somewhat of a hobby of hers, just watching him and setting herself adrift in lazy daydreams of his strong arms and rippling muscles, of his big careful hands. Sure, the Captain had warned her off getting involved, she suspected he’d warned Jayne too, but that didn’t stop a gal from looking her fill. He’d been new and interesting, and there was always some mighty fine scenery on show.
Then along came Doctor Simon Tam, and his bright-hot Core-boy shine had eclipsed Jayne’s steady warm glow. Like a moth with a flame, she’d burned herself over and over trying to get close to that light, the big mercenary reduced to naught but a shadow on the edge of her vision. She hadn’t really looked at him anymore, not without the flash burst of Simon blinding her to his presence.
Then came Miranda, and everything changed.
Somewhere amidst all the trouble, Simon finally saw her, finally wanted to be with her. The problem was, after being so wrapped up in the chase for all those months, the reality of actually having him within her grasp was pretty much an anti-climax. Not to mention awkward. They hadn’t quite fit the way she’d thought they would.
Wasn’t anyone’s fault really; they were just geared too different. Outside from the sexin’, they didn’t share a whole lot of common ground. Simon never wanted to talk with her much, not about anything serious leastways, and not without being all manner of snooty. He weren’t one for sharin’ his hopes and dreams; didn’t treat her like something dear, the way she treated him. Even when they was alone, his focus remained almost exclusively on his sister. She couldn’t really blame him for that - they was family, and River was in need of his doctorin’ skills - but he acted for the most part like Kaylee was a distraction or like he was doing her a favour spending his precious time with her, and that was something she could hold him accountable for. She began to realize that he’d been the same all along and wasn’t ever gonna change, that he wasn’t worth the effort she’d been making.
They broke up.
At this point, another month further down the track, Simon’s sparkle had worn clean off and she’d taken to watching Jayne again. She was aware of him in a way she’d never been before, drawn to his raw, ready form, beginning to suspect that it was hidin’ a treasure real and true. Buried deep beneath the rough was a tender heart, and it was breaking apart a little piece at a time.
It was the quiet that tipped her off something was amiss.
They’d all been so preoccupied after Miranda, after the dual loss of Book and Wash, that Jayne’s unusual silence hadn’t made so much as a ripple with the rest of the crew. Kaylee certainly hadn’t noticed, not until she’d taken her blinkers off and was paying closer attention.
There were no grumbles from him anymore; no sneers, no crude jokes, no big man bluster. Instead, there was an eerie, brooding quiet. He’d begun disappearing at odd times, was even absent from the dinner table on occasion, and spent hours alone staring at the pages of the Shepherd’s bible. He did his job well enough, went about the motions, but it was with a sort of resigned calm she never would’ve expected from him. He seemed smaller, diminished to some degree. It just weren’t right.
“Shadows and tall trees,” River said as she sat down alongside Kaylee on the catwalk, both of them dangling their legs over the edge. “Lamb’s lost in the woods.”
Kaylee peered through her lashes to where Jayne sat on the weight bench below, not working out, but engrossed once more in the Lord’s good book. “He is different, right? I ain’t just imaginin’ things?”
“Shell’s been cracked,” River explained, clear enough, though she never really made that much sense to Kaylee. She was better now, less prone to violent outbursts and the like, but there were times when words just flowed out of her like the stream she was named for, broad-waved straight from the recesses of her reader’s mind. “His insides are leaching out, spilling down the sides. No vinegar and brown paper can mend it. Faulty patchwork.” She nodded gravely. “Looking for love in all the wrong places.”
“Lookin’ for…?” Kaylee gaped at the girl, wide-eyed, then turned the stare back on Jayne. She swallowed, suddenly nervous. “What’s that s’posed ta mean?”
“Wants a solid foundation,” River went on. “Reinforcement, a home built on stone. It’s all that he needs. All you need. And Kaylee?”
“Simon’s a boob.”
Kaylee laughed. “Yeah, well, you coulda told me that before I made a fool of myself.”
River’s attention strayed back to Jayne, who’d put the bible away and had begun performing a set of presses, the bar so laden with weight it was practically bending in the middle. “Fixing a hole where the rain gets in,” she murmured. “Stops his mind from wandering…”
Kaylee bumped shoulders with the other girl in an attempt to break her concentration. “Hey, aren’t you meant to be flyin’ the ship right about now?”
“Captain’s clearly showing some aptitude,” River quipped, and smiled to herself. “Keeps her in the air, steady as she goes. It’s all he needs, too.” She turned the smile outward, a sly twisting of her lips, and then she was up and gone, as quietly as she’d arrived.
The cargo bay was like a tomb in her absence, its charged silence broken only by Jayne’s grunts and the rhythmic sound of the weights shifting with his movement.
For no particular reason she could fathom, his presence had rendered Kaylee jittersome; her heart taken to pounding and her palms all sweaty. Then there came a deafening crash, its echo booming around the bulkheads, and she near jumped out of her skin.
The curse word was harsh and heated, and made Kaylee want to cheer. It was the first time she’d heard him swear in weeks. It was a relief to know that the man she’d come to care for still lurked somewhere inside that hollow shell.
She scrambled down the stairway instead, gasping out loud when she saw what had happened. It seemed impossible, but he’d somehow tumbled sideward, not quite hitting the floor, with the barbell pinning him against the bench. “Are you okay?”
Jayne shot her a withering glance and pushed at the bar on his chest. “Stop askin’ stupid ruttin’ questions and help me outta here.”
Kaylee hurried around to his side and grabbed a hold of the end that was stickin’ up in the air, yanking it towards her. It hardly moved at all, probably weighed near to a full ton, but Jayne was able to slide a little further from under it, his backside hitting the floor with a thud. He scooted out using his legs for propulsion, and as they let the bar go, it rolled in the opposite direction, smashing into the deck.
Jayne stood, stretching out the neck of his crudely-sloganed T-shirt and peering into the hole to assess the damage.
“Are ya hurt?” Kaylee let her eyes dance over his frame. He’d gotten leaner lately, harder. Between all the exercisin’ and the skipped meals, there weren’t a spare inch anywhere on that big body. “Do you need to go see Simon?”
It was quite possibly the worst thing she coulda said.
Jayne’s aversion to Simon had risen to a whole new level since the break-up. If there was one name guaranteed to trigger a reaction that was it, and this time proved no different. His eyes shot to her face, scorching her with indigo fire. “I never willin’ly want that ben tian sheng de hun dan anywhere near me.” He swung his left arm, rotating the shoulder cuff.
“No reason to get nasty, Jayne.”
“Did you just get smacked by a loaded barbell?”
“Well, no, but that ain’t…” She was talking to fresh air. He’d just walked off without so much as a thank you. “Well… fine!” she snapped at his retreating back. “You should go see Simon. Two’ve you make a fine pair. Like green peas in a gorram pod!”
He turned, one hand rubbing at his chest, the other on the stair rail. “What the hell is your problem, girl?”
“You. And Simon too, I reckon. Ain’t a one of you sees me. Stupid men on this boat act like I don’t even exist.”
Jayne was on her before she could blink, right up against her, toe-to-toe, so close she could feel the heat from his body all the way along her front, stealing the breath from her lungs. He waited until she raised her chin, toffee-coloured eyes makin’ the long journey upward to meet the molten steel of his.
“You might wanna reconsider that notion.” His voice purred like a crouching tiger, soft and dangerous. “’Cause I been seein’ ya just fine for a good long while.”
Kaylee smiled. A coy little smile similar to Inara’s that she’d practiced the mirror. “Oh, I’m all aware o’ that. Just so happens that now I’m seein’ right back.”
“Uh...?” Jayne clearly hadn’t expected that reaction from her. He frowned and stepped back, his hands curling away like she was contaminated with something. His eyes darted around the cargo bay, waiting for the trap to spring, for Mal to step out and shoot him for daring to get fresh with his precious mechanic.
Kaylee’s smile widened. She hadn’t seen him this discombobulated since Higgins’ Moon, when they was listenin’ to that Hero of Canton song. It was all kinds of cute on him.
The bigger her smile became, the darker his scowl. “I don’t…” He tucked in his chin, brows scrunching together, staring hard. “What game’re you playin’ at?”
“Ain’t playin’.” Kaylee stepped closer, he stepped back. “I’m dead serious.”
Another step forward, another retreat. Almost like they was dancin’.
“I’ve been seeing you, for weeks now, Jayne. Seein’ you hurt somethin’ fierce an’ keep it all inside. It’s eatin’ at you.”
The big man was regarding her with something akin to fear, back-pedalling fast and searching for an escape route. “You’re talkin’ out your pi gu.”
“No.” Kaylee shook her head, all trace of merriment gone now. “No. I’m not, an’ you know it, too. You - you’re sharp-eyed, don’t never normally miss a trick. Hell, even the Capt’n says you’re near to the best tracker in the whole ‘verse, but you’ve got so woolly-headed lately you ain’t even noticed how much I been spyin’ on you.” She shifted nearer again and this time he had nowhere left to go, the bulkhead hard at his back. “You miss ‘em, don’t you? Shepherd Book an’…” She almost couldn’t say it, a sob unexpectedly clogging her throat, “…an’ W-wash…”
“You miss ‘em so bad, you’re holdin’ tight to the only little bit you got left.” Kaylee reached out and yanked the dog-eared bible from the thigh pocket of his cargo pants. She waved it under his nose like an accusation and then tossed it back over her shoulder.
He watched it go with dismay, wincing when it hit the deck. “Now, that ain’t right…” He moved as if to go fetch it, and she shoved him back against the wall.
“Oh, you’re damn straight it ain’t. You’re not gonna find what you’re looking for in that yu ben de book, Jayne. You gotta let it out, talk to someone, ‘cause goin’ on the way y’are’s apt to get you killed, an’ I can’t…” Tears stung her eyes, but she was determined to get it said now that she’d started. “…I can’t lose you too. Not now.”
“You can’t…? Huh?” Jayne looked confused. He blinked. “Oh hey, I got a idea. How’s about we conduct this conversation some time else, when you’re actin’ a lot less like a crazy person?”
Kaylee glared. “Don’t you dare make sport at me when I just went and told ya…”
“I know what ya said, Kaylee. It just don’t make no gorram sense.”
“Lately I been havin’ these… there’s a whole lot’a… what I mean to say is, since Simon didn’t…”
He huffed. “See now, there’s where it gets clear. I ain’t nobody’s consolation prize, darlin’, an’ I sure as hell won’t be playin’ second erhu to the Doc in any scenario.” Jayne pulled himself tall and stalked past the little mechanic, determined not to get mixed up in whatever girl-brained scheme she was conjuring.
He bent to collect the Shepherd’s poor mistreated bible, gathering together the handful of pages from Genesis that kept falling out no matter how many times they were reaffixed. He nearly fell on his ass when Kaylee knelt down right in front of him. “What the…?”
“You ain’t second best,” she said, staring straight into his wide eyes. “An’ I’m sorry I never saw that.” She touched his cheek, fingertip tracing the tiny dimpled scar she found there. “I want you to come first.”
He blinked at her for a bit, and then a slow smirk crept across his lips. “You propositionin’ me?”
“What?” Kaylee smacked his shoulder, a furious blush pinking her cheeks. “Jayne!!”
He rocked back on his heels, letting out a snort of amusement. The accompanying grimace was fleeting, but enough for her to figure out that he really had injured himself earlier, worse than he was letting on.
She frowned. “How bad’re you damaged?”
Jayne ducked his head, shuffling the bible pages to get the numbers in order. He shrugged. “Nothin’s busted permanent, if that’s what you’re askin’.”
Kaylee poked him and he yelped, jerking upright and away from the evil pain-giving digit.
“Ow! Gorramit, girl, that ain’t kosherized!”
“You march your stubborn body out to the infirmary right now, Jayne Cobb, or so help me I’ll…”
“What? Prod me ta death?”
“Just… come on.” She latched onto a sturdy wrist and tugged him along behind, knowing without a doubt that for all the formidable strength he possessed, he wouldn’t resist following.
He didn’t. He let her lead him for a few steps before speaking again.
“Um, about what you was sayin’ before, me needin’ to talk n’ all… I - I’m not good with words, Kaylee. I’m more a action kinda guy. Times get troublesome, I just get the urge to do somethin’, you know? Be practicable. But there ain’t nothin’ to be done here that we ain’t already seen to, so - so what I been tryin’ ta… I mean, mostly I don’t get the why of it.”
Kaylee’s breath caught. Dear Lord, he was actually doin’ it, he was honest-to-goodness sharing his feelin’s with her. Right here was proof that her trust in him weren’t unfounded, that this man was willing to let her close when all the other had done was hold his self away. Still, she’d best tread careful, or he might bolt. “Of what?”
“Why they died. Any of ‘em. Ain’t no reason for it.”
She remembered him saying similar on Miranda and struggled for a second to cotton to his way of thinking. “Jayne, you kilt a lot of folks in your time, you sayin’ they never gave you reason?”
He stopped walking. “Hey now, most times those fellas come into it with their eyes open. They’s cognisant to the fact that it’s either them or me – just so happens that it’s usually me. And bein’ good at my job don’t make me cold-blooded. I ain’t no gorram Reaver. Can’t deny that I done plenty a’ bad for my split of coin, but I prefer my fights fair. We already talked on this.”
That memory was somewhat vaguer than the other, and tinged with a quantity of guilt. She’d no more than half-listened to him at that juncture, too wrapped up in the possibility of Simon leaving Serenity. “Yeah, I guess we did.”
“Anyway, the situations ain’t exactly similar, are they?” he asked. “Them people on Haven didn’t volunteer to be counter-struck at, no more’n those on Miranda looked to get made better by the Alliance.”
“Well, way I see it, people is always gonna be people, for good or bad, and maybe there ain’t a reason.” Kaylee turned to face him, and found herself the centre of his attention. She hadn’t ever been on the receiving end of such steely regard. It was kind of disconcerting, threw her for a moment. “M-maybe the whole point of livin’ is to live, not spend time worryin’ on what happens when you’re not.” She pointed to the bible he still carried. “Maybe the people who wrote that book knowed that an’ that’s why you ain’t found any answers there.”
Jayne was silent for a minute, intent on the book in his hand. “But… the Shepherd used ta… I need…” He sighed. When he looked up at her again there was naught in his big blue eyes but lost little boy. “Why for, Kaylee?”
“Oh, sweetie.” She threw her arms round his middle and held him tight, feeling an odd sense of completion as she did, they locked together so perfect.
He kept himself stiff, muscles bunched and tensed up, and his voice was thick when he finally spoke. “Shoulda been me.”
“Hired guns are a dime a dozen in this gou shi ‘Verse. Mal could’ve just…”
“Capt’n wouldn’t do that, Jayne. You ain’t replaceable. None of us are. We’s pulled together on this boat closer’n most blood kin. You matter to us, same way as we matter to you.”
Kaylee cuddled tighter, overjoyed when his arms gradually closed around her in reply. She shut her eyes and savoured the sure, solid weight of him; his breath stirring her hair and his heart beating a reassuring rhythm neath her ear. She’d never felt so safe in her whole life.
A solid foundation, reinforcement, a home built on stone…
Kaylee made a mental note to gift River with something pretty.
They stayed there for what seemed years, warm and content, until one of his large hands began to drift south, creeping across her hip and curving down round her backside.
“Jayne,” she whispered. “Are you propositionin’ me?”
She giggled, sliding her palms down the slope of his lower back and grabbing on to a choice handful of her own. “Shiny.”
“Hey, Kaylee?” Jayne sounded surprisingly hesitant, considerin’ where his hand was. Or hers, for that matter.
“Did you mean it?”
“That you been spyin’ at me. That you ain’t all caught up in that sha gua Doc no more.”
She gazed up at his open, earnest face and found comfort there. He needed this as much as she did, possibly even more. “Yeah, I meant it. There’s somethin’ ‘tween us, Jayne, something good and strong. Always was, truth be told, and I’m all set to take a chance on it now. I wouldn’t be here elsewise.”
“Well. That’s alright then.” Jayne was back to teasing now, a long-denied spark flaring to life behind his eyes. No longer unrequited or forbidden, it burned anew in the wake of their recent trials and tribulations. If anything, it was likely hotter and stronger for the wait.
She’d finally seen his light, and it had led her home.
Tuesday, May 30, 2006 3:57 AM
Tuesday, May 30, 2006 9:22 AM
Tuesday, May 30, 2006 1:55 PM
Tuesday, May 30, 2006 2:34 PM
Tuesday, May 30, 2006 11:56 PM
Wednesday, July 12, 2006 6:16 AM
Wednesday, July 12, 2006 8:03 PM
Thursday, August 10, 2006 12:39 AM
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