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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - ROMANCE
Jaylee. Part 3 of 4. This one's called "The Grapevine." Click here to see why.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 749 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
FIC SERIES TITLE = Pivotal Moments
This four-part story is the result of collaboration with my dear friend and soon to be roommate, Mike. The writing game is not new to Mike. It is to me. We’ve both been into Firefly for nearly a year now and both are huge fans of the fanfic. Mike doesn’t have an LJ account (yet), but has read over my shoulder for a long time. Anyway, this is a result of mutual brainstorming and rewrite sessions. We hope you enjoy.
Dedicated to Squish. Thanks for bugging me to write until I actually did it. Thanks also for your great beta work and the inspiration your own writing is. It’s been a treat working on this with you.
Jaylee. Set approximately three and a half years post BDM.
Background: After Miranda, Kaylee and Simon were involved seriously for approximately eighteen months. Their relationship, though not horrible, had been unable to live up to the build-up they had both given it in their minds. They parted peacefully and had remained very good friends. Nine months prior to this story, Kaylee’s long-time friendship with Jayne had taken a very sudden romantic turn. They fell quickly and easily into a relationship that has been humming along since….
Chapter Three: The Grapevine
Kaylee is sitting on Simon’s bed. They are facing each other, sitting crossed-legged and talking. Most people would call it a respectable distance. It would probably make Jayne a mite uncomfortable. A box of tissues lies between them, and Kaylee has a fistful already. Simon notes that Kaylee’s eyes are still puffy, though she’s been coming around. He’s been so intent on their conversation that he just now realizes it’s almost morning.
“Kaylee, I’m really sorry you are going through all of this. I had no idea.” Simon is trying his absolute best to be a good listener. Say the right things. He feels he owes it to Kaylee to be there for her now, considering how he once let her down so many times. He runs a hand nervously through his hair and gives a little laugh. “I mean, I could tell that the two of you were fighting. Everyone knows. You aren’t exactly subtle…” and with that tears start rolling down Kaylee’s cheeks again. “Oh, God Kaylee! I’m sorry. Please don’t cry. I didn’t mean, or rather I meant to say…”
“It’s okay, Simon.” Kaylee sniffs and grins. “It ain’t you. Girls just do this sometimes is all. It helps get it all out.”
“Is there much of it left?” Simon asks curiously. This makes them both laugh. “You know Kaylee, I’ve been thinking. It’s true Jayne hasn’t been the most gracious of men about all of this, but when you think about it…I mean, he feels you violated some sort of trust. Had that been anybody else, they would be dead by now. You, he just treats poorly.” Simon smiles and teases, “It must be love.”
Kaylee hits him with a small throw pillow lying nearby. “Cut it out!” She giggles. Then she sighs and adds, “He does love me. I know he does. That’s why this is all so confoundin’. It just isn’t like him to keep things from me. Makes no sense.”
“Have you tried talking with him about it?” Simon asks. Then, he smirks and adds, “Oh, wait! This is Jayne we are talking about. Have you tried grunting with him about it?”
Kaylee sticks her tongue out at Simon. Then, she answers, “We’ve talked some, I s’pose. We keep starting conversations that end up as yellin’ matches. Jayne’s real stubborn.”
“Oh yes, I see.” Simon nods, trying to keep his face straight. “Jayne is stubborn.” Kaylee completely misses the sarcasm. Instead, she shrugs and nods somberly in agreement. This makes Simon laugh out loud.
“What?” She really has no idea.
“It’s just that you can be rather stubborn yourself.” Simon’s eyes are smiling at her.
“That ain’t even so!” Kaylee protests, but the look on Simons face tells her she’s going to lose this battle. Instead, she decides to cut her losses and run. She stretches her arms up, yawns, and says, “God Simon, thanks so much for sittin’ up with me and talkin’ an all. I think I can actually sleep now. M’right sleepy, in fact.” She smiles up at him, and slows her speech some. “I mean it. Thanks.”
“You’re welcome.” Simon smiles back. “He cares for you, Kaylee. You will find a way to work this out.”
The next day, Serenity stops briefly at Boros to pick up some fuel and supplies. Simon and Inara go to town for the bare essentials: protein in all the colors of the rainbow, water, and that little something to take the edge off a long days work.
While on the walk from the ship to the local marketplace, Simon and Inara don’t have any of their usual conversations about art or literature. The pair have become quite friendly, if not a little flirty, in the past few years. They started spending time together when Simon and Kaylee were still an item. Back then, it was the three of them. Inara and Simon found they had many common interests and both being more core-oriented in lifestyle, they found peace in the other’s company. After Kaylee and Simon broke up, Simon continued to spend time with Inara. Slowly their friendship seemed to be growing into something more.
“You are very quiet today, Doctor.” Inara can tell something is on Simon’s mind. He’s been a million miles away since they left.
“I didn’t get much sleep last night,” Simon admits. He looks at Inara. “Have you talked to Kaylee lately?”
“Ever since Kaylee starting dating Jayne,” Inara answers, “she and I haven’t spent nearly as much time together as we once did. It’s the natural course for a friendship to take in these instances.” Simon thinks she sounds sad about the missing time with her friend.
“Things change,” is what he ends up saying, “and the measure of your worth comes in how you deal with that change.”
“When did you gain such wise perspective?” Inara smiles fondly and Simon beams under the subtle praise. “Are you asking me about Kaylee because she’s been fighting with Jayne?”
“She’s talked to you, then?”
“No, she hasn’t.” Inara sounds puzzled. “But we all know that something has been going on. They aren’t at all subtle.”
Simon gives a little laugh, “That’s just what I said to Kaylee last night! I ran into her in the kitchen. She was upset. Crying.”
“So, she was in a position that made her more inclined to talk,” Inara muses, trying to make herself feel better about being out of the loop. “I’ve been wondering what could possibly be so bad between them. I cannot recall any other instance where they carried on like this.”
“Exactly.” Simon nods. “This is different. Kaylee came to my room last night and we talked for hours. You are never going to believe what she told me…”
“I see.” Zoe says tersely. Not an ounce of emotion registers on her face.
“Yes, well, I don’t normally insert myself into other people’s business.” Inara very discretely wrings her hands as she keeps the rest of her body in perfect posture. She forces a smile and continues speaking into the view screen, “It’s just that it’s Kaylee. She means a great deal to me. To all of us.”
“To me as well.” Zoe nods in agreement. “I ‘preciate the heads up, Inara. Thank you for telling me.” She isn’t sure what else to say to Inara. She isn’t sure she can form words right now. There is a sense of dull shock covering her whole body.
“It just didn’t seem right for you to be walking into this hornets’ nest without proper warning. We’ll see you in a few days.” Inara reaches up and turns off the cortex. As she does, she hears some rustling coming from the draperies near the entrance to her shuttle. She doesn’t even need to turn around and look. In a stern voice, she says, “Malcolm Reynolds. How many times have I told you not to listen in on my calls?”
Mal steps around the corner and smiles shyly at Inara. “It’s just that your calls are always so interestin.’ You was talkin’ ta Zoe?” With the last part he tries he best to look innocent.
“Oh, give me a break!” Inara rolls her eyes and relaxes a little. Without exchanging words, she and Mal sit down on a sofa each. “You heard everything, I gather? What do you do? Sit up on the bridge and WAIT until I get on the cortex then come running over here to spy on me?”
Mal gives her a boyish grin and asks, “Would it be wrong if I said yes?” Once the joke has passed, Mal’s smile fades into a much different look. He’s got lines of worry and there is concern on his face. It’s obvious he’s turning the information about the nature of Kaylee and Jayne’s fight over in his mind. Companions are trained to notice things, and it appears to Inara that Mal may be privy to something else related to recent events. When Mal concentrates like that, his age shows. He looks less like an impish boy and more like a tired old man. Finally, he returns to the present and sighs deeply. “How did you find out? Kaylee come by for tea and sympathy?”
“No. I just… I just came to know is all.” Inara looks down and busies herself straightening her skirt. There are some things she isn’t interested in talking to Mal about. He waits. She says nothing. A silence hangs over them.
“Right.” Mal nods and stands up. “Guess that’s my cue to leave. We went five whole minutes before an awkward moment this time. That’s progress.” With that he walks out.
That evening after dinner Jayne is sulking in his bunk. Officially, he’s cleaning his guns. It’s a good thing he’s alone because someone else may have noticed this is the third time he’s absentmindedly taken the same gun apart to clean.
He’s spent most of his free time here lately. Avoiding Kaylee. Avoiding the others. It’s been a long time since he had the itch to change ships. He’s itchy some now. Jayne lets his mind wander on all the crews he’s shipped with over the years. He’s never been happier than he is right here. He sighs. Well, maybe not this very minute…
Jayne isn’t one for thinkin’ on things and this past week, he’s done more stewin’ than in the last five years combined. This occurs to him and he snorts, shaking his head.
“Women.” He mutters to no one in particular.
Just then, there’s a knock on his door and before he can say or do anything, Jayne hears the seal release and the door falls open. Mal’s head appears, upside down. His hair falls in a way that makes it look like he’s just stuck his finger in a light switch. In a playful tone Mal asks, “Whatcha doin’?”
Jayne raises an eyebrow. Clearly, this is Mal-the-buddy and not Mal-the-Captain. Over the years, Jayne has learned to spot the difference a mile off. Mal-the-buddy likes to go drinkin’ with Jayne and Zoe. Mal-the-buddy plays hoopball and hangs out with Jayne during shore leave. Mal-the-Captain is more your average dickhead. He barks orders and makes cruel jokes. He briefly tried to stand in the way of Jayne and Kaylee. He’s the one Jayne’s likely to just level one day. Lucky for them both, it hasn’t come to that.
“M’cleanin’ my guns.” Jayne answers and as if to support the statement looks down at the blanket spread across his bed. On it there’s a can of gun oil, several tools for getting into nooks and crannies, and a few rags. He looks back up “You need somethin’?”
To answer, Mal allows his right arm to hang down and join his head in Jayne’s field of vision. He’s holding a near full bottle of good whiskey. He waves it around as if he’s waving a steak in front of a dog. “Wanna toss some horseshoes?”
“Yeah, okay.” Jayne is very thankful for the diversion, though he tries to play it as if he could care less. “Be with you in a minute. Lemme put m’girls up.”
Jayne and Mal drink and play into the night. Though they talk nearly the entire time, it’s all small talk. They pass the time trading gossip about their various business acquaintances, speculating about potential future work, commenting on Zoe being off with the Washburns, anything and everything. Except THE thing.
It’s not like they don’t know it’s out there. Mal just figures Jayne’s gotten himself so angry and worked up that it might help matters to distract him awhile. Make him have a little fun and calm the hell down enough to see reason. Jayne knows Mal is playing him and doesn’t care. He tells himself he needs the break from all the heavy.
Eventually, the gaming winds down and Mal and Jayne end up sitting and drinking on the catwalk atop the cargo bay. Their feet are dangling in the air and they have looks on their faces as if they are staring off into a horizon somewhere, each man picturing his own landscape.
“I know why you and Kaylee are in a snit.” Mal just says it. “Kaylee told Simon and Simon told Inara and Inara waved Zoe and I sorta overhead.” He squints at some unknown object in his imaginary horizon.
“Fuck.” Jayne reaches behind Mal for the near-empty whiskey bottle.
“You really expect it to stay quiet on a boat this small?” There’s a hint of amusement in Mal’s voice. He turns and grins. “On THIS boat? Jayne….even you ain’t that dumb.”
“Fuck.” Jayne deadpans, looking back into his horizon. “Mal, about Zoe...”
Mal holds up a hand, “I know. I mean, I’ve known all along. Zoe told me back when it was goin’ on.”
Jayne raises an eyebrow but continues to look straight ahead. This he was not expecting. He decides to fish some. “How come you never said nothin’?”
“It weren’t my place t’say. Zoe told me you were doin’ her a kindness. You helped her through a real rough time.” Mal pauses and says with great sincerity, “I was glad you were there for her, Jayne. Reckon that is what squared the debt with you an me. I think it was then I started to see you in a whole new light.”
“Thinkin’ of me gettin' sexed by Zoe, ya mean?” Jayne jokes, a little uncomfortable (though touched) by Mal’s praise. Mal winces, the desired effect. Jayne almost smiles, then sighs. “Fuck.”
“Relax. This air’ll be through the engine before ya know it.” Mal is being his most charming, most convincing. The liquor has brought it out in him. “You’ll forgive each other and…”
“Each other? What the hell did I do?” Jayne’s head spins right and he casts a suspicious eye at Mal. “I thought you was on my side.”
“I am on your side, jackass. That still don’t mean you aren’t gonna owe Kaylee an apology.” Mal shakes his head. “Yeah, she made a mistake. She did. She owes YOU for that. But then you go and act like such a fei fei de pi yan that you’ve near leveled the ‘who was wrong’ field.”
“Have not.” Jayne pouts.
“How many times did you call her a baby?” Mal questions, grinning broadly.
“Gorram. Word really does get around.” Jayne shakes his head. “Fuck.”
“Suck it up, big guy. You know you love her. You know she loves you. You know you’ll get past this so just get past it already. You’re making a big deal out of nothin’.”
“She went through my shit!” Jayne makes one last ditch effort. “Like you’d feel any differently.”
”We all know you’re gonna marry this girl one day,” Mal almost sounds like a stern father saying that, “and when that day comes she’ll have right to your shit. What’s really the big deal she did it now?”
“It’s different…” Jayne protests, but Mal cuts him off.
“I know. I ain’t sayin’ it’s exactly the same. What I am sayin’ is that maybe you made too big a’deal about it. That’s what happens when you think on things too much.” The ‘Malcolm Reynolds’ grin makes another appearance. “What have I told you ‘bout thinkin’?”
“Don’t do it.” Jayne sighs and nods. “Can only hurt m’self.” They share a grin at the joke and fall into silence. There is exactly two shots of whiskey left and Jayne pours them out. They raise their glances in a silent toast.
Inara pokes her head out of her shuttle and rolls her eyes when Mal gives a drunken grin and waves dramatically. Without a word, she turns and goes back in. Mal sighs comically. “Women.”
“Yeah. Women.” Jayne nods emphatically, all seriousness. He looks off and they drift into silence again.
Eventually Jayne turns back to Mal, nods, and slaps him on the back. Without a word he gets up and lumbers off to bed.
Mal lays down on the catwalk and shuts his eyes. He’s asleep in seconds.
Wednesday, August 09, 2006 7:01 AM
Wednesday, August 09, 2006 3:39 PM
Thursday, August 10, 2006 8:14 PM
Wednesday, October 04, 2006 5:15 AM
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