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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
A little shootin’ practice, a little skinny-dipping and Jayne and Kaylee cook up some revenge on Badger...
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 966 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Title: The Contract / Revenge 2/5
Disclaimer: Joss's toys, my make-believe. No money changed hands and all that.
Rating: PG-15 for adult language, sexual references.
To read the other stories in this long Jaylee story arc, check out my earlier fic by clicking on my name above. This falls between "RED" and "Too Little, Too Late", post OIS, pre BDM. Compliment to my story, THE CONTRACT.
Dedicated to BlueEyedBrigadier, who challenged me to figure this one out. Thanks, BEB!
Technical assistance from my very own bigbadman, with beta by the lovely ArtemisPrime. Italics represent internal dialogue.
Nothing so pleases and inspires a muse as thoughtful and insightful feedback. Thanks!
Their purchase made, Jayne went next door to the livery stable and rented a couple of horses for the afternoon, asking the stable keeper for directions to nearby open land where they could do some target practice. At the same time, he’d purchased some sandwiches and a couple bottles of beer that he tucked into a saddlebag.
He steadied the bay mare as Kaylee mounted up, then gathered up the reins to his tall sorrel. Putting a boot into the stirrup, he swung a lanky leg over and settled himself into the saddle. He neck-reined the gelding and nudged him to a smart pace, calling back to Kaylee, "Well, come on, darlin'."
It seemed to Kaylee that her senses were sharper than usual after the cool quietness of the gunshop, and she drank in the fresh air, enjoying the hypnotic rhythm of her horse's movements and the rugged beauty of the big man beside her.
The late morning sun was bright and warm, but a sweet, clean wind kept the day from being uncomfortable as Jayne and Kaylee cantered out of Troy and along a dirt track into the countryside. The mercenary was as confident on horseback as he was in a firefight. His narrow hips planted firmly in the saddle with his wide shoulders back, he rode with the ease that only comes from long hours in the saddle.
"I knew Cap grew up on a cattle ranch on Shadow," Kaylee commented, "but I had no idea you ever worked as a cattle hand."
Jayne glanced over at her and chuckled ironically, his mouth curling into a wicked grin. "More like as a cattle thief…"
"Oh, I done all sorts a interestin' things you don't know nothin' about yet, Kaylee-girl. Remember, I'm a big, bad man and you're supposed to be stayin' clear a me."
"That ain't no fun!" she giggled.
To the west of town the land became more hilly and they left behind the orderly fields for tall grass and wide spreading trees. The stable keeper had mentioned an abandoned quarry that would be a good place for shooting, and they came upon it after about fifteen minutes’ ride.
They took a minute to scout the quarry, allowing their mounts to drink from the small, clean lake filling the deepest portion. Once the horses had slaked their thirst, Kaylee led them to a shady spot under a gnarled old tree and tied them up to graze while Jayne searched the quarry for things to use as targets.
After showing Kaylee how to load the single chamber of the derringer and wrapping his long arms around hers, he enclosed her hands and the pistol in his own. She could feel his warmth against the length of her back and his deep voice resonated by her ear as he explained, “This ain’t no long-range weapon, darlin’. It’s meant to be hidden in your clothes and used on someone up close, when you really need it. You just get the one shot.”
Steadying her, he coached, “Now just ease back on the trigger. I gottcha here; ain’t nothin’ bad gonna happen.”
Jayne’s reassurance and warm, enveloping presence emboldened Kaylee and a
half-dozen rusty cans and bottles met their demise as the gunhand familiarized the mechanic with the basics of how to fire her new pistol. Once she got past her initial tendency to jump when the gun went off, the girl became more comfortable with the weapon, although still not especially accurate.
“Didn’t hit much,” Kaylee complained when their shooting session ended, pouting and hanging her head in discouragement.
The merc put his arm around her shoulder and hugged her.
“Just takes time and practice. I’ll show ya how to clean her when we get back to Serenity. Oughtta be thinkin’ of a name for her. All my guns got names. Makes ‘em seem more personal, somehow. Guess I’ll need to figure out what to call that old shotgun, too.”
Kaylee giggled, “Oh, I already got a name picked out for her. Knew it soon as I handled her. I thought I’d call her ‘Lulu’.”
Jayne looked puzzled. “How come? Sound’s like a whore’s name.”
The girl grinned even wider. “Yep. Stop and think, Jayne. She’s all fancied up, little and shiny and frilly.” She admired the pretty derringer as it lay in her palm. “Don’t she look kinda like a bar gal?”
“If you say so. She’d sure be about the priciest piece I ever bought,” he teased.
The merc took off the black hat that shaded his eyes and wiped the sweat from his brow with his forearm. “Gettin’ warmish, ‘specially now the breeze has died down and the sun’s reflectin’ off all this rock.” His t-shirt clung damply to his chest and Kaylee watched, nearly hypnotized, as another salty drop trickled down his neck and onto the darkening, soft cotton garment.
She sighed ever so softly and licked her lips in longing, her eyes dark and impish. She was sure getting a powerful yearning and food wasn’t what she had in mind. That t-shirt had to go. The jeans and boots, too, she decided.
“We got a quick solution for that, right there.” Kaylee nodded at the little lake and sat down on a rock to unlace her boots, carefully placing the derringer inside one of them.
“What’re ya doing, girl?” Jayne’s dark brows knit together and he tilted his head in puzzlement.
Kaylee quickly yanked off her top and shimmied out of her overalls and panties. “I’m goin’ swimmin’!”
Jayne stood agape as she giggled and quick-footed her way over to the water, wading out to mid chest before plunging under. “It’s warm in the shallows,“ the girl called, “but gets right cool out where it’s deeper.”
Not about to sit by while a cute, naked Kaylee played and splashed within spitting distance, Jayne chuckled to himself and quickly stripped out of his own clothes. He piled them next to hers, but carried his gun-belt down closer to the water, where he’d have quick access to his pistol if necessary.
“Bottom’s rough, “ Kaylee warned him. “Don’t go divin’ in.”
“Kaylee, any idgit knows you don’t go divin’ into water you ain’t swum in before.”
“So you’re any idgit?” she taunted the big man as he waded out toward her. Jayne smirked and plunged under, coming up right next to her and grabbing her narrow waist.
As he pulled the shrieking girl close against him, he ran one hand down over the slope of her ass and murmured in her ear, “This bottom feels purty smooth to me…”
Kaylee grinned widely at him, her chocolate eyes sparkling. “Jayne Cobb, you are a rude man.”
He slid his other hand down her other cheek and lifted her buoyant body as she wrapped her legs around his hips. “Ain’t I, just? Can’t say ya wasn’t warned about that one.”
Bodies sated with lovemaking and bellies newly filled with their lunch, the sun-dried and redressed couple rested on thick, long grass in the shade near the grazing horses. Jayne lay with one arm behind his head and the other cradling Kaylee as she drowsed, her damp head cushioned on his chest.
Boy, ain’t this a li’l piece a heaven? he thought to himself. Don’t often get times this sweet. A man could come to like a little peaceful living. Even as he thought this, the mercenary knew that such moments were rare, precious interludes in the life of a man like him.
Kaylee stirred against him and lifted her head to give him a drowsy smile.
“Hey, Sunshine.” He pressed a kiss to her forehead. “You have a good nap?”
“Mmmm. Yeah, sure did.”
He trailed his hand down her arm. “I been thinkin' ‘bout dealin’ with Badger. Sure would be simpler if you’d just let me shoot th’ li’l turd.”
Pushing herself up into a sitting position beside him, Kaylee yawned and responded, “Simpler, maybe, but then we’d lose the work we been gettin’ from him.”
“But hell, Kaylee, half the time he sets us up against other crews or backs out on th’ deal or tries to screw us over the payoff. Can ya honestly say whatever we’re gettin’ from him is worth all the crap we gotta take from that bèn de hún dàn?” Jayne’s hatred of the crooked, self-important businessman was clearly evident.
The mechanic ran a hand back through her drying hair to comb loose any tangles and went on, “’Sides, Cap’n finds out you’ve offed his connection, no tellin’ how he’s like to take it. When I asked you ‘bout getting’ even with Badger for acceptin’ that contract on my life, I wasn’t thinkin’ in terms of killin’ him, Jayne.”
“Damn. An’ I was really looking forward to that part.”
Kaylee thought about the situation for a minute. “Ya know, Badger seems so dang full of himself, trottin’ around in his fancy duds an’ talkin’ down to folk. I’d be happy if we could just figure out a way to really embarrass him, somethin’ he couldn’t trace back to us.”
“Embarassin’ him ain’t gonna be enough,” the merc growled, gnawing his lip as he thought about the situation. “We gotta come up with a way to make him feel real vulnerable on his own turf.”
It was late afternoon when the couple remounted and headed back into Troy, talking as they rode. Several ideas were explored and promptly discarded for a variety of reasons. The merc’s suggestions primarily revolved around overt mayhem, while Kaylee did her best to steer him toward more subtle options.
With a whoop of triumph, Kaylee blurted out, “Jayne, I got a great idea! When I was in grade school, there was this one boy was kinda small for his age. He was really smart, always made good grades, never bothered nobody. For some reason this other boy, who was big and mean and kinda slow, took to pickin’ on him an’ made his life a pure livin’ hell. Took his lunches, swiped his books, you name it. Bullied him comin’ and goin’ and nobody did nothin’.”
As Kaylee was sharing this tale, she wondered about the possibility that Jayne might somehow think she was mocking him and take offense, but he just studied her quietly as they rode together.
“Anyways, this smart kid got his fill of being picked on and made him up an ink bomb filled with permanent ink. Set it on his desk where he was sure the bully would see it and grab it, which he done. Soon as he picked it up, the thing went off and covered the bully in blue-black ink. Took that boy near on to two weeks to get it all scrubbed off, and folks was laughing at him the whole time. He never done nothin’ mean again. Whaddaya think?”
“You’re sayin’ we spray him with ink?” The mercenary asked quizzically.
Kaylee rolled her eyes in frustration. “Not ink, silly, but maybe dye. Don’t’cha think Badger’d look good dyed pink? We could put it under pressure in some sort of container and have it delivered to him. When he opens the box, the dye’d spray all over him and anything nearby. Wouldn’t be hard to rig.”
The merc laughed so loudly that he startled his mount and the horse shied slightly. “Ol’ Badger dyed pussy pink. Now there’s a sight I’d love ta see!”
He reined the animal back to a steady walk. “Just one problem I can see with that. How do we make sure Badger’s the one to open it? Usually, he’s got flunkies as do that sorta stuff. I been in his ‘office’ with Mal and Zoë several times and he’s got a little room off to one side with a fella that handles his mail and accounts.”
“You reckon, “ Kaylee nibbled on a hangnail as she thought about this, “that if it was addressed just to him with some important client’s name on it, he’d be more inclined to open it himself?”
“Yeah, probably so. You mean somebody like that Warrick Harrow fella we hauled them cows to Jiangyin for?”
The mechanic shook her head. “I’d hate to use his name, Jayne. He was real nice, worked fair with us on that job. Was him that stepped up to help the captain out in that sword fight, too.” She pondered, ”Wonder who else on Persephone Badger deals with?”
Jayne thought about this for a minute. “Don’t rightly know, myself, but I know who can tell us. Red Annie. The woman runs the best brothel in Eavesdown, an’ nobody knows everybody’s business like a whorehouse madam. Next time we’re on Persephone, I’ll see what I can find out.” Jayne grinned ferally. “You just git busy figurin’ out how to build this surprise for our friend Mr. Badger.”
When they returned to Troy, they turned the horses back in at the livery stable and Jayne ducked next door to pick up the shotgun that Mr. Lee had neatly wrapped in oiled paper. “Local law permits you to wear your sidearm,” the gunsmith explained, “but you can’t walk the street with a long gun. This way, you’ll have no trouble.” The two men shook hands and Jayne left the shop.
There were few people out on the street and it became apparent that most of Troy’s citizens were in their homes having their dinners. In fact, the town was almost disturbingly quiet. “I was thinkin’ about us stoppin’ by one of the saloons and havin’ a drink, but to tell ya the truth, place gives me the creeps. Ain’t natural for folks to be so proper,” Jayne concluded. “You wanna head on back t’Serenity?”
Kaylee linked her arm through his. “Yeah, let’s go on back. Been kind of a long day and we got us a ways to walk yet before it’s slam dark.”
They’d walked most of the way to the edge of town when Zoë and Mal pulled up behind them on the mule.
“You two vagabonds give up on Troy’s scintillatin’ night life?” Mal teased. Noticing the elongated parcel his mercenary was toting, he laughed. “Damn, Jayne. Leave it to you to buy a gun on one a the most law-bound moons on the Rim. What’d’cha get?”
Jayne grinned smugly. “Antique Hillier shotgun, come all the way from Beaumond.” His deep voice was warm with pride. ”She’s a beauty, Mal.”
“No kiddin’?” Mal was obviously impressed. “You’ll have to show me when we get back to the boat. You folks want a ride?”
The little mechanic was getting pretty tuckered out and grinned. “Why, that’d be real shiny, Cap’n.”
Jayne climbed into the back of the mule and slid his package down between the front seats, then extended a muscular arm and helped the girl up onto the back of the utility vehicle.
Zoë grinned at him over her shoulder. “A Hillier? For real?”
“Yep.” Jayne Cobb was a happy man.
With a brief acceleration and a short series of bumps, Zoë drove the mule up the ramp and into Serenity’s cargo bay and parked it over the tie-downs at the back of the bay. As the foursome piled out of the yellow ATV, everyone inhaled the rich, mouth-watering aroma floating through the ship and smiled. There was no question as to who was cooking.
“Damn if that don’t smell like Shepherd’s chicken pot pie!” Jayne exclaimed with delight as he pulled his shotgun out of the mule.
Mal smiled as he took off his duster and folded it over his arm. “Yeah, I figured some fresh food might be nice for a change and gave him and the doc enough to stock us up some supplies from the town market. Man’s definitely got a knack with cookin’. Almost makes up for his religifyin’.”
Kaylee turned to Zoë. “Delivery go okay? Our contact come through with the other half of Badger’s money?”
The dark warrior woman smiled. “For once, everything went smooth. We ain’t had such an easy turnaround in a long time. Part of why the captain’s in such a good mood. And speakin’ of good moods, Jayne seems awful cheery for a change. Must be findin’ that shotgun.”
“Guess so.” Kaylee did her best to act nonchalant. “Want me to tell Wash you’re back?”
Zoë knelt to fasten the tie-down straps around the mule’s axles. “That’d be great, Kaylee. See ya upstairs soon as I get the mule secured.”
Their supper had been every bit as tasty as its aroma promised.
“Now that was what I call some fine eatin’, Preacher,” Mal commended. “Pity we’ll be back to canned goods and pre-fab protein within a few days.”
A chorus of praise from the other crewmembers prompted a big grin on Book’s face. “Well, I’m happy to feed your bellies if I can’t feed your souls.”
Mal continued, “You can do your preachin’ at me with food any time you like.” The captain downed the last of his tea and cleared his throat.
“Well, folks, we got paid with no complications this time around, circumstances I just as soon we enjoyed a little more often. Found a grain merchant looking for bulk transport for his product back to Persephone, so looks like we’ll do another quick turn around on this run.”
Mal rested his hand on the boot that lay across his knee. “I could get real used to things goin’ this smooth. How’s about you, Zoë?”
“Yes, sir. Smooth is real fine.”
“Mornin’s gonna come real early. We’re expectin’ a freight truck at 0700 tomorrow mornin’ laden with palletized grain. They’ll bring their own pallet jack, but off-loadin’ into Serenity is still gonna involve some heavy work for some of us. Jayne, I want you and Wash and Zoë ready when the truck comes in, so make an early night of it. Kaylee, you be makin’ sure my boat’s space-worthy, and the rest of you just stay outta the way.”
Kaylee rose and began helping clear the table, aware of the solid mass of the little derringer in her overall pocket. She still wasn’t convinced she needed a gun, but if knowing she had one made Jayne worry about her less, she was glad of that. Didn’t mean she’d always carry it, however.
As the little mechanic picked up Mal’s plate and mug, he turned to his mercenary. “So show us this prize that emptied out your pockets, Jayne. Way you was grinnin’ when we picked you up, I figured you got lucky somehow on this tight-assed little world, but wasn’t figurin’ on a gun”
Jayne laid the bundled-up shotgun on the table and began to tear off the oiled paper, then glanced at Kaylee and discretely winked. “Oh yeah, real lucky… “
(To be continued… 2/5)
Wednesday, September 6, 2006 5:01 PM
Wednesday, September 6, 2006 5:20 PM
Thursday, September 7, 2006 8:19 AM
Saturday, September 9, 2006 4:31 PM
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