Them that choose it : Chapter one : Both sides
Sunday, June 25, 2006

The first chapter in a new Jaylee centric story in which we learn more about their childhoods & how they came to be on Serenity


A Jaylee story originally written for the philosophy_20 community Prompt #7 Both sides & Several_ways community at LJ. Challenge #10 Several ways to get his attention. A continuation of Dangerous.

Dialogue in italics are words used during Out of Gas paraphrased by me. _________________________________________________


"I ain’t gonna talk ‘bout this again Jayne.” Kaylee jumped up from where she was preppin’ the mule and shook her head at him.

He studied her intently, she’d got him out of trouble with the Captain, stood up for him and he couldn’t really figure out why.

‘Cept for when he was young he’d never had anyone stand up for him like that, not when there was nothin’ in it for them anyway. ‘Course Kaylee was sorta like that with everyone Jayne thought, she’d defend the devil himself if she thought him hard done by.

Ever since he got outta the infirmary he’d been tryin’ to thank her for the help, not somethin’ he did too often these days, but she just brushed him off.

“Ain’t gonna let ya take the blame for somethin’ I did.” She frowned at him, “so I don’t need thankin’.”

Jayne gave her a half smile, admirin’ her strength and basic goodness. “Alright; instead can I thank ya for lookin’ after me in the infirmary?”

She nodded and started tinkerin’ with the mule again. “Sure. But it’s me should be thankin’ ya.”

“Why for?”

“For helpin’ me out when ya didn’t have to,” Kaylee squinted up at him “and havin’ ya there sorta gave me the strength to keep runnin’ away.”

“We both helped each other then.” Though in his opinion the girl didn’t need any help in bein’ strong. Might not be much of a fighter, but she was plenty brave.

“Yeah.” She grinned at him.

“Don ‘t tell nobody. It’d ruin my intimidatin’ nature.”

Kaylee frowned at him again, wishin’ Jayne didn’t always make himself out to be the bad guy. “Nothin’ could do that.”

“Ya ain’t showed no signs of bein’ intimidated by me.” He kinda liked that.

“I know ya Jayne. Ya might snap ‘n’ snarl at me, but ya ain’t gonna bite.”

“Ya reckon ya can trust me?” No-one had really done that for a long time neither. The Captain and Zoë knew he’d do his job okay, but they didn’t always trust him, Mal at least havin’ good cause for it. “Ya know how I got on the boat?”

“’Course I do.” Kaylee snorted. “Know how I did?”



>“Kaywinnit Lee Frye!” Kaylee knew she was in trouble the minute her mother used her whole name.

“Yes mama?”

“What is that?” Lily Frye pointed at the object on the porch.

“It’s an engine.” The girl frowned, it was an engine but where had it come from?

“I know it’s an engine child. Livin’ with you and yer pa I’ve seen enough of ‘em.” Lily smiled at her daughter. “But what’s it doin’ on my porch?”

Kaylee leant over to examine it more closely “It looks like a Capissen 38, and see,” she pounced, “there’s a note.”

Openin’ it up she glanced over the words and started to giggle.

“Well child?” Her mother asked impatiently as her pa, attracted by the noise, came to see what was the matter.

“Note’s from Brett Willock,” Kaylee was still gigglin’, “he’s askin’ me to the dance.”

Her parents exchanged looks behind her back and Jack Frye sighed, neither of them was easy with her likin’ for this boy.

That Kaylee liked boys and that boys liked Kaylee right back was somethin’ he’d had to come to terms with early in his daughter’s life. Since she’d turned sixteen he’d had to accept somethin’ a lot harder – his daughter liked sex.

Not somethin’ a Daddy wanted to know ‘bout his only daughter, but there it was. Not that she jumped into bed with every boy, thank Buddha,

She never really got involved with them for any length of time, a couple of tumbles and she was off like a gorram butterfly flittin’ from flower to flower. The first boy she really got interested in was this Brett…

Brett Willock was the rich boy in town. Aloof and smart, Kaylee had obviously attracted him and he for sure had some knowledge of her, ‘cause he had sent the one gift guaranteed to grab her interest.

Of course Jack knew why Kaylee was fascinated with the boy. He was different, new, shiny and Kaylee loved all those things. It was what was gonna take her away from them one day soon.

Oh his little girl loved her home and family, but she’d always had a hankerin’ for the new, the different, the faraway. He sighed and asked “Ya gonna go with him then?”


Jack stepped onto the porch and stretched his muscles. He’d spent five straight hours in the workshop fixin’ things and was feelin’ pleasantly tired and ready for bed. Glancin’ round to check on everythin’ before goin’, he was startled to see a small movement on the swing.

“Kaylee?” he asked surprised. Seein’ it was the night of the dance he hadn’t expected her home before dawn at least.

“Yeah it’s me Daddy.”

“Somethin’ the matter child?” he asked, knowin’ for gorram sure there was from the wobble in her voice. “Did that boy do somethin’ he shouldn’t?” Jack growled sittin’ down beside her and huggin’ her close.

“No Daddy. Least not the way ya mean.” Kaylee snuggled against his shoulder. “Ya showed me how to handle that, remember?”

“Sure I do. I also remember tellin’ ya that the moves I showed ya might not always be enough.”

His daughter looked up at him confusion in her eyes. “It weren’t that, honest. It were just Brett’s behaviour.”

“His behaviour?”

“He was lookin’ down on everybody, makin’ mean jokes ‘bout them. Comparin’ everythin’ to that school he goes to.” Kaylee moved closer to her father’s warmth and babbled. “He likes me I know, but he kept talkin’ ‘bout me lookin’ better this way, then he corrected somethin’ I said and made jokes ‘bout me likin’ engines(why’d he send me one then?) And then I got angry and come home,” she finished miserably.

She liked Brett ‘cause he was him. Why couldn’t he like her ‘cause she was her? Kaylee thought in disappointment. “I ain’t gonna do that again.” She shook her head at her father, “go after somethin’ just ‘cause it’s different.”

“Yes ya will girl.” He grinned at her. “Ya might think differently now, but yer always gonna be wantin’ somethin’ ‘cause it’s different. Ya just have to learn how to choose better.”

“Is that somethin’ ya or Mama can teach?”

“Nope, it’s somethin’ ya have to learn by yer ownself.”



“Kaylee!” One of the farm hands came runnin’ toward them pointin’ at the sky. “There’s a new ship landin’.”

She looked up from the tractor she was fixin’ just in time to see the unmistakable shape of a Firefly landin’ in the grove.

“It’s a Firefly Daddy.” Kaylee exclaimed.

She’d never seen a real one, but had studied up all about them from books and vids. Course she studied up on all engines and such. But ships’ engines, they were the ones that interested her most.

Her father poked his head out from the other side of the tractor and asked “Do ya want to go see?”

“’Course, what d’ya think?”

“Well seein’ yer only helpin’ to keep me company, I guess ya better go.”

Kaylee stood and carefully packed up her tools, walkin’ to town to join her friends who she knew would all be wantin’ to take a closer look at that ship and its occupants.


“And this here is the engine room.” The mechanic ended with a flourish.

He were pretty swai Kaylee thought lookin’ at him, with his blond hair, cute smile and tattoos proudly displayed. But there was somethin’ even better in this room for her to be starin’ at.

“Oh look at the turbines,” Kaylee squealed runnin’ her hands over the metal.

“Yeah, look at them.” Bester agreed smilin’ and lookin’ anywhere but at the engine. “An’ there’s a pretty girl too.” He put his hands round her waist and sucked at the back of her neck.

Kaylee gave an experimental wriggle against him and giggled at his moan. Two of her favourite things together she thought, a beautiful engine and a boy wantin’ to sex her up.

***************** Kaylee could hear impatient rantin’ as she dressed, lucky they’d finished sexin’ before they got found.

“Bester get your prairie harpy off my boat and put us back in the air.”

“’Kay, but can’t.”

“What d’ya mean, can’t” the angry voice demanded.

“No can do cap’n. The secondary grav boot’s shot.”

Kaylee frowned and butted in. “No it ain’t.” She jumped to her feet, not worried she was still gettin’ dressed ‘cause she was too interested in the engine. “Ain’t nothin’ wrong with the grav boot. Grav boot’s fine. Hello.” She gave the angry man, probably the captain a wave and dropped down again to inspect the engine.

“She don’t – that’s not.” Bester started, “no it ain’t!”

“Sure it is.” Kaylee was kind; the poor guy weren’t much of a mechanic. “Grav boot’s ain’t yer problem. I seen the problem, plain as day, when I was down there on my back. Yer reg couple’s bad.”

“The what?”

“Reg couple, right here. See.” She pointed. “No.”

“This,” said Kaylee still patient. “I’m pointin’ right at it.”

She started tinkerin’, talkin’ her movements through for them as she worked and standing up satisfied when the turbine started turnin’.

“What’d you do?” the mechanic was mystified.

“She fixed it.”

The captain was lookin’ at her with a much kinder expression and was really seein’ her now, not as a nuisance girl, but a mechanic. He didn’t suffer from that mechanics ain’t girls thing neither cause after a bit of conversation he offered her a job! A chance to see round the ‘Verse a little, an engine to fix, a beautiful ship to fly in and money to earn too!

Kaylee bounced off happily to tell her folks. “Don’t leave without me!” she called.



Jayne sighed and bent down to pick up the donkey again. “Do ya think, just once ya could keep it on the bed Bobby?”

“He just fell Jayne, honest.” His cousin grinned at him.

“Yeah ‘n’ I’m the King of Londinium.” Jayne grinned back and went back to tidyin’ wonderin’ what it would be like to have a room of his very own. That he didn’t have to share with four other people and all their things, that didn’t take him half the night to tidy up and one that best of all, was quiet.

Course he didn’t blame Ben for his nightmares. Seein’ yer Daddy attacked by Reavers would give anyone nightmares, he just wanted some quiet.

The tiny house was full of people and though he loved each and every one of them it was hard living there.

Ever since the moon his aunt lived on was overrun by gorram Reavers, her and the kids had been livin’ here. There house too small for just them, got smaller still. He ended up sharing with his four cousins and baby Mattie went back into Ma’s room. His aunt Sarah slept, when she slept, out in the sittin’ room.

His Pa hadn’t wanted to take ‘em in and stormed off soon after, takin’ their only source of money with him. Ma still expected him to come back one day, but Jayne reckoned the ho-zi zi duh pi-hua hun dan were long gone. It was left to Ma and him to look after everybody.

Ma did all the cookin’, cleanin’ and house stuff. Earnin’ money when she could by doin’ sewin’. He left school. He was pretty slow and weren’t no good at it anyhow so he didn’t mind that, and did the farm work and huntin’.

The one useful thing his Pa had taught him was huntin’ and trackin’ and Jayne put it to good use, findin’ game for his family to eat. But they still needed money. Aunt Sarah needed doctorin’, the kids needed clothes and food, and he was gonna have to look for a job.

But not many folks were hirin’ fourteen year old boys right now, least not for anythin’ legal and he had no idea where to look next. Sighin’ Jayne bent down to pick up the stupid donkey which was already on the floor again and grabbin’ Bobby tickled him with it.


“Sheriff,” Josie Cobb nodded at him as she opened the door. “What can I do for you? Is Jayne in trouble again?”

“No ma’am,” Tom Stackpoole said reassuring her and taking off his hat as he entered. “Yer boy ain’t in trouble. He’s been tryin’ real hard these last few months. But with yer permission, I’d like to speak with him if I could?”

“Sure Sheriff.” Josie sighed thankfully. She depended on Jayne a lot and really didn’t think she could handle it if he’d got in trouble again. Turning she spoke to one of the younger children. “Susan, go get Jayne.”

“Sheriff.” Jayne was standin’ at the door and surveying him with the identical wary look his mother had used not five minutes before. “I ain’t done nothin’.” Grinnin’ suddenly he added, “well nothin’ you’d notice.”

“I’m sure of that boy.” He was addressing the boy, his mother and about six children now. “Fact of the matter is I’m here to offer you some work.”

“Work!” Jayne’s gaze snapped to his face, attention caught. “Work that earns coin?”

“Yep, you’ll earn good money.”

“Doin’ what?” as usual the boy was direct and to the point. A characteristic that got him in trouble more often than not and one of the reasons Tom wanted to hire him.

“I need me a tracker and in spite of how old ya are, yer the best around. Also need a jailer. A day jailer,” he added quickly seeing Jayne’s face fall and knowing that he was needed at home nights. “The place needs to be kept clean, the weapons looked after and me and any prisoners there might be, fed.”

Jayne looked at his Ma, it sounded like a good deal to him. He’d be doin’ all the things he could already do, maybe learn some more ‘bout guns, and it was respectable work too.

“Does he get some time off?” Josie asked. She still needed her boy out huntin’ if they were all gonna get fed.

“One day a week.” Tom nodded. I gotta be straight with ya boy. Trackin’ a man ain’t easy, ‘specially the part that’s likely to happen at the end, people dyin’ and all. If ya don’t think ya can take it, best tell me now.”

“I can take it.” Jayne nodded stubbornly, hopin’ inside he could. “When do I start?”



“Got some people need trackin’.”

Jayne glanced up from the girl’s dress to see his boss waitin’ for him and thought, not for the first time, how disappointed the Sheriff would be in him.

“Where they at?” he grunted at Marco, kinda disappointed himself when he really looked at the man.

“They’re landin’ right soon ‘n’ goin’ to pick up the goods. Problem is we don’t know where they’ve landed or what goods they’re pickin’ up. Just know we’re gettin’ paid to take the stuff from ‘em.”

“Well that ain’t no good, is it?” he grumbled unhookin’ his fingers from the girl’s bodice. He was gonna have to go look for them and he’d been anticipatin’ a bit of trim from the girl and a real bath too.

Sometimes he wondered who was dumber, him or Marco. Fancy not askin’ what ya were pickin’ up, that could lead to all kinds of trouble.


After askin’ around a fair bit and comin’ up empty, Jayne sat down studied his maps and then started trackin’. Finally after a five solid hours, he’d found where his prey had hidden the Firefly, Serenity it was called.

They’d picked a good place Jayne thought as he hunkered down to take a good look at it. Showed they knew what was what. Weren’t a bad boat either, old but probably in better repair than Marco’s heap of bolts. Bet they had workin’ showers he thought resentfully.

He didn’t think the boat had been down too long, the ramp was still up, so he was here in time. Now all he had to do was wait to see who came out and follow the right ones.

It was sorta nice waitin’ out here under the sky. It was a lot better smellin’ than his bunk and his current partner.

Jayne was beginnin’ to think he’d let himself drift too far down. In his need to earn money he’d done some pretty questionable things and hadn’t cared much. But his Ma and the Sheriff would care what he was doin’ and he knew it, knew every time he lied in his letters home.

Maybe after this job he’d find a decent boss or partner and even do some more legit jobs.


Jayne had watched and waited till he was rewarded with the appearance of his prey. The first two off the boat didn’t interest him. Judgin’ from their clothes, they were maybe the pilot and mechanic and weren’t who he was after. His glance sharpened on the next two, they were more like it.

Dressed like soldiers, they moved liked fighters when they strode off in the direction of town. Keepin’ well back and outta sight, Jayne followed them a little way to make sure that’s where they were goin’, then circled back, took position at the ship and waited for their return.

Now Marco, Jayne and Lee stood pistols pointed at the two fighters standin’ at the ramp of the Firefly.

Aside from an occasional comment, he weren’t really listenin’ to what was goin’ on, bein’ too busy admirin’ the friendly way the two talked to each other. He woke up a bit when the Captain asked how much he was earnin’ and saw the look he and the woman shared when they heard the answer.

“Why, what does she get?”

“Knock it off Jayne.”

“Look forget I said anything.” The captain type said, “I’m sure you’re treated very well, get all the perks. Got your own room….” His smirk widened when he saw the mercenary’s head lift up “You share?”

“With him,” Jayne growled gesturin’ at the other merc, thinkin’ ‘bout the man’s slobbish habits.

“Really.” The captain tilted his head.

“Jayne, this ain’t funny.”

“Yeah, I ain’t laughin’.

“You move over to this side, we’ll not only show you where the stuff’s at – we’ll see you get the share you deserve. Not no sad seven percent neither.”

“Private room?” Jayne asked gorram near salivatin’ at the thought.

“Jayne!” Marco’s voice was urgent.

“Your own room, run of the kitchen, the whole shot.” The Captain promised.

“Jayne, I ain’t askin’…”

“Shut up!” said Jayne shooting his erstwhile boss in the leg and beyond irritation with the man turned his gun and shot his bunkmate dead. “How big a room?”



You must log in to post comments.



Recurrent verse : part seven : Weary
Kaylee has to cope on the crashed ship while the crew of Serenity search for her.

Simon has concentrated his whole life on his sister

Wash and River get to know each other better a friendship fic.

Recurrent Verse : Part six : Crash
Kaylee meets unexpected problems while flying with Monty.

Them that choose it : Part two : Loss
Kaylee meets someone from home.

Recurrent Verse : part five : Dreaming
A meeting with Monty and Jayne and Kaylee sort some things out

Jayne tells Kaylee something she doesn't want to hear

To heal
River is still healing as she and Jayne learn more about each other

Things that can happen in darkness - a Jaylee drabble.

Recurrent Verse
a collection of four stories exploring the beginnings of something for Jayne and Kaylee