Tooth and Nail
Sunday, August 13, 2006

Simon and Jayne have a little altercation over family politics. For ff_friday's 132nd prompt, "animals." Simon/Kaylee and implied Jayne/River.


Jayne liked guns. He liked guns, he liked women, he liked getting drunk and he liked food that tasted like actual food. Every once in a while he really liked punching someone out, feeling the crack of knuckles hitting teeth and the raw animalistic power of seeing someone on the ground where he’d put ‘em. He liked lifting barbells, feeling his muscles push half his weight upward against gravity. But that still paled against the rush of using that strength to lay someone out.

It was a while since he’d seen action, and he was getting restless. No one wanted to play hoop-ball. One of his heaviest weights had fallen off the bar and cracked on the deck plates three days ago. Cap’n had forbidden him Cortex access after River had walked in on him browsing on the pilot’s consol and learned a few things about the human body her older brother probably didn’t know.

Jayne always seemed to be the one who trampled all over the carefully strung tension between the recovering crew. He was the one that always received the lash of pent-up grief and anger when something went wrong. They’d been drifting between planets without landing for weeks now. They’d have to touch down for fuel before long, and as soon as they did he was going to be the first out that back hatch…

But for now he prowled the mess late at night, cleaning his guns or using his favorite knife to carve naked ladies in the bits of bone he picked up here and there on border planets. He was building a set. The first was Helen, the whore from Nandi’s brothel, from the front. She was reclining.

There was also Helen from the back, standing. And Helen from the side, kneeling. By the time he got to Helen in three-quarters view looking over her shoulder, he was getting better at the fine details like facial expression and nipples.

Finally he made a full revolution, and was thinking of how Helen would look from the front, standing. He tried to think about Helen’s orgasm-face and he kept coming up with River’s expression when she caught him looking at ladies on the Cortex. That mixed curiosity and incomprehension, a little bit of fear, but mostly a sparkle of fascination, kind of spunky. It was sexy, that’s why it reminded him of Helen.

So, just for variety, Helen’s face became River’s, a little softer with larger eyes and wavier hair. He etched a little hand held up to her mouth, lips parted. And then he carved the shape of her body as it appeared under her dress – slender, curving –

“What the hell are you doing?” Damn fussy doctor crept up behind him. “You –you animal! Is that my sister?”

“What’re you doin’, sneakin’ up behind a soul when he’s workin’ with his scrimshaws?”

“This is the mess, I’m getting food. That’s what the mess is for. I may not know a lot about ships, but I know the customary use of this space is not to spread out with your dirty carvings of whores.”

“Got tired o’ my bunk, is all. Give a man some space.”

“Let me see that.”


“The one you’re working on.”

“Ain’t none o’ your business.” Jayne swept the spread of ivories into his pocket. He did it so fast he nicked the corner off Helen #7 (from below, looking down). “Man’s got a right to his privacy, as much as the next.”

The doc just glowered in the serious way he got when things concerned his sis’ safety. He turned his back, reaching up into a cabinet, and Jayne thought he was almost free when Simon called to him again.

“I just want you to know that if you ever display any animal proclivities toward my sister, I’ll kill you. Don’t think I won’t. This isn’t between a doctor and his patient. This is between men, and you will be dead so fast you won’t have time to -”

Jayne never found what he wouldn’t have time for, because he’d grabbed the doctor’s sweater and slammed him up against the counter, turning him so their faces were close enough to smell hot, tainted breath.

“You don’t know what you’re talkin’ about, doc,” Jayne growled. “I ain’t never touched your sister in any wrong fashion, but hey – if she came to me one day, you couldn’t stop her…an' she’s a tasty little –”

Simon’s fist swung up from below and smashed Jayne’s chin, snapping his teeth shut before he could finish his monologue. Soon the two men were simply grappling, swinging fists inefficiently, kicking, wrestling each other against pieces of furniture to gain the upper hand. There were growls and snarls and yelps of such a broad range that, from the outside, it could have sounded like five different men fighting, and a few dogs thrown in.

“You’re so high an’ mighty, ain’t ya,” Jayne said, finally pinning Simon to the floor with a knee on his sternum. “Think you got the right to look down yer prissy nose at me for makin’ pictures o’ nekkid ladies. But I ain’t no more animal than you.”

“No, I’ve seen dogs nobler than your sort,” Simon wheezed before Jayne’s hand clamped his jaw shut.

“Yeah, well you took our Kaylee,” Jayne barked. Simon writhed uncomfortably. He tried to speak but Jayne’s hand held his mouth tight.

“You bed our Kaylee like a tom in heat, rubbin’ it in our faces, makin’ us listen to your racket like you’re lord o’ the alley but she’s our girl. Don’t think that makes you any friend o’ mine. Like you got some right to whining about your sister’s virtue when you’re violatin’ our crew -”

“No one’s doing any violating,” came a stern female voice from the portal. It was so commanding and cold that Jayne and Simon both didn’t recognize it as Kaylee’s until they saw her standing above them through the red haze in their eyes.

“Jayne, get off my boyfriend.” Jayne only looked up at her, wrath still haunting his now uneasy gaze. “Jayne, you heard what I said. Move your hulk off the doctor.”

Jayne did as he was told, meek and frustrated like a scolded schoolboy. Simon hauled himself up from the ground.

“How do you live with this beast?” he began, but Kaylee cut him off.

“I’m disappointed in you too, Simon. I thought you were the kind of guy who’d never go looking for fights.”

“Kaylee, he was drawing pictures of my sister –”

“I know I ain’t River’s sibling, but I still know how it is bein’ a girl growin’ up among men, an’ you can’t have a hair trigger about everything. Let Jayne be as long as he lets River be.”

“I was letting him know –” Simon tried again.

“Know what? That you’ll stab him with a little scalpel if he makes a move?" Kaylee was fuming like Simon had never seen her before. "‘Cause that ain’t something the Simon I know would say in his right mind. So what am I talkin’ to? The animal who attacks when it feels threatened?”

“Yeah, an’ I’m getting’ mighty tired o’ being attacked jus’ so’s you folks can work off yer repressed rage,” muttered Jayne petulantly.

“Don’t pretend you weren’t using this encounter for your own sake, either,” snapped Kaylee. “You had a right to be angry with him, but you attacked like he’d groped your mother an’ then boasted about it. And when did you learn the word ‘repressed’?”

“Back when Shepherd Book was still around,” Jayne replied, downcast.

By now, both the males were scrutinizing their own toes like they’d find the cure for all their distress and regret between their shoelaces.

“Well, now, come on boys,” Kaylee sighed, softening. “Let’s get you fixed up in the infirmary. I’ll help.”

Kaylee shooed the boys through the portal out of the mess and they filed down the catwalk in front of her. Jayne rubbed his head while Simon fidgeted with his sleeve, tugging it to reveal the extent of a rip in the shoulder seam.

“You owe me a shirt,” he mumbled, but without bitterness.

“I guess we’re even,” replied Jayne.

“Oh, and Jayne?”

“That’s my name. Don’t wear –”

“If you have an inclination to draw my sister naked,” Simon blurted all in a rush, “you’re free to live as you like, but please do so in the privacy of your own bunk and never speak of it ever.”

“Simon,” Kaylee crooned, “that’s very generous.”

“Yeah,” Jayne muttered. “Real big of you.”

“With the good you’re doing, there’s a hope you’ll housebreak Jayne soon, too,” Simon bit back.

“Now these are the men I know and love,” Kaylee beamed. “All stand-offish and completely full of shit.”


Sunday, August 13, 2006 1:49 PM


ROTFL! Oh my gosh this was funny!

Kaylee mad at them both was so great. And her stopping in the middle and asking when Jayne learned the word 'repressed' made me laugh out loud.

Kaylee's last line was the best, though.

keep writing. Your stuff is very well done!

Sunday, August 13, 2006 2:23 PM


This was awesome! I love the Kaylee interaction with them both and Simon trying to let off some steam, trying to be noble, but in the end only egging Jayne on and really just acting like him.

The idea of Jayne carving the woman from every angle was hi-larious and so totally Jayne. Keep writing! I'd love to see River's reaction to this whole altercation ...

Monday, August 14, 2006 5:40 PM


Would have given a crap load of money to have seen this happen between Simon and Jayne! Totally could perceive these two morons just putting aside whatever civilized habits they might possess and just start wailing on one another;P

And Kaylee! She was completely magnificent here! First taking a book out of Mal's leadership manual, then cracking wise after they had reluctantly apologized to one another:D



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