Breathing Space
Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Pre-series Jaylee. A filler-inner episode twixt their first meeting the arrival of one Simon Tam.


The earlier parts can be read by clicking on my name and checking out all my Blue Sun Room postings.

A LASTING IMPRESSION Part Three - Breathing Space

Jayne stalked straight along the aft passage and across the threshold into Miss Frye’s Mystical World o’ Engines. No more puttin’ it off. He really needed a dialogue with the little mechanic.

They’d had a ball of it yesterday putting up the gun racks in his bunk, with all the flirty winks and nudges, but they couldn’t keep on that way, not if Mal didn’t want anythin’ to come of the two of ‘em. Only thing was, he’d best be lettin’ her in on the deal, elsewise she’d get the wrong idea ‘n think he didn’t want her or somethin’.

He glanced around at the reddish-hued walls, feelin’ a prickle of sweat beading on his skin just from bein’ inside. Ai ya, it’s hotter than a fat man’s ass crack in here.


She scooted out from neath some rotating part or other and beamed at him, delighted that he’d sought her out. “Jayne! Hi!” She scrambled to her feet and brushed ineffectively at the coveralls tied around her waist, so covered in grime that the flowery pattern on her shirt was nigh obliterated. “You need somethin’?”

Jayne stared. He hadn’t seen her in her element before now. Her eyes were all bright and sparkly, and her hair was twisted up in some kind of fancy knotty thing, little flyaway strands clinging to the dampened skin of her neck.

So gorram pretty…

“I, uh…” Jayne licked his lips. He couldn’t rightly remember what his original purpose had been; she’d done shorted out his brainpan lookin’ all sweet and smudged like that. Acting purely on instinct, he reached out and brushed the pad of his thumb across her cheekbone, smearing the tiny trace of oil there. “You’re all grunged up.”

Kaylee’s eyes fluttered shut. “Hmm. Yeah. That happens a lot.”

Jayne stepped a mite closer, dropping his voice low and intimate. Womenfolk seemed to respond real nice when he did that. “I like it.”

The Captain’s warnings had flown right outta his head.


The minute Jayne’d stepped foot into the engine room, Kaylee’s world had shrunk. Serenity’s tacky orbital valve was clean forgotten in favour of drinking her fill of the mercenary’s presence. He was so big and powerful, he owned a space like no-one she’d ever met.

A tingle spread right through her at his first touch, then when his voice got all deep and growly, her eyes shot back open and widened as she registered his nearness. Uh-oh.



“What’re ya doin’?”

Kaylee couldn’t get a steady grip on her equilibrium. She made an attempt to move away, to find some breathing space, and found the engine block at her back instead. Her hands automatically came up to press against the solid wall of his chest, though she weren’t entirely sure that she really intended ta hold him off. The cloth of his khaki T-shirt was worn and soft, but under that he was hard as a steel plate. Warm, too. Heck, he was throwin’ heat like a Gurtsler at full burn.

“You could tempt a saint, you aware of that, baby girl?” He plucked at the filly hem of her cap sleeve. “So gorram pretty.”

Bluer than a lowered flame, his eyes scorched her, set her fuse alight. She felt her nerves fizzlin’, ready to pop, tight as a wire stretched to snapping.

“You’re fair temptin’ yerself,” she managed to gasp.

“Forbidden fruit.” He grinned, and it were as wicked as the devil’s own. “Wanna steal a taste?” His fingers blazed a trail down her bare arm, from shoulder to wrist, rough calluses tuggin’ a whimper from the back of her throat.


“Kaylee, you got that flibberty-bit fixed yet? We’re due to deliver that yi dui fei wu cargo on Persephone in two days, an’ runnin’ behind schedule ain’t exactly…”

Both Mal’s voice and the man himself slammed to a halt against the wall of spiralling tension in the room. He stared wide-eyed for a second, before his eyes narrowed into slits.

Kaylee ducked sideward out of Jayne’s hold. She was real reluctant about it, but there was no tellin’ what Mal was of a mind to do when he got squinty like that. She didn’t want Jayne shot. “I was just gettin’ on that, Cap’n. Not to fuss.”

“Oh, I’m fussin’.” Mal folded his arms crossways. “Is there somethin’ wrong with your hearing? Seems to me, I recall givin’ some particular orders regarding fraternizin’ on my boat. Specifically along the lines of ‘don’t’.”


Jayne watched Kaylee retreat, gathering her tools together one at a time like she was set on buildin’ a fence ‘tween them. He pursed his lips in displeasure and swung round to move toe-to-toe with the – just barely – shorter man, his movements slow and measured. Losing his calm just then probably weren’t a good idea. He didn’t think he’d seen the true extent of Mal’s temper yet, and he didn’t wanna end up spaced.

“Got no call to get tetchy,” he said. “We was just havin’ us a little discussion.”

“My understandin’ is that would involve less touching and more actual talking.” Mal glanced past the barrier of Jayne’s shoulder at Kaylee. “My engine room ain’t the place for scratchin’ your itches, mei mei.

She stopped fidgeting and gawked at him, a large wrench clutched tightly in her slender fist like she’d like nothing better than to hit him with it. “Captain!”

Jayne’s face darkened. “Hey! Don’t be talkin’ at her like that. This ain’t her fault.”

“Well then, it must be yours.” Mal gave him a scornful once over. “That bein’ the case, I should mayhaps be lettin’ you stay dirtside once we’ve finished this job.”


The vehemence of Kaylee’s shout made both men turn.

She blushed. “What I mean ta say is, don’t do that,” she begged. Her eyes got all big and she batted her lashes like there was somethin’ stuck in there. “Please? He ain’t done nothin’ I haven’t encouraged any. We’s both guilty parties.”

Jayne’s brows quirked upward in surprise. He ain’t ever had no-one so quick to stand up for him before. Be gorramed if’n he didn’t like that, too.

“Ain’t necessary for ya to fret,” he told her. He turned back to Mal. “I ain’t goin’ anywheres.”

“Is that right?” Mal’s gaze was pure challenge.

Jayne refused to back down. “Yeah. See, ‘ceptin’ for some of your more problematic rules, I figure this here’s ‘bout the easiest post I ever had. Cushy too. Got me a nice bunk, with plenty a’ room to hang my girls, good grub and a good percentage of the take. I ain’t gonna screw that up.”

Besides, Kaylee looked real cute when she was riled. He could stand to see a little more o’ that.

Mal’s face got all hard and stony. “I want you two to swear to me here and now that you’re never gonna be more than friends while either of you’re in my employ.”



Jayne locked eyes with Kaylee. He raised one hand like he was pledgin’ allegiance the way his Ma’d taught him. “My word to God, I won’t touch the girl less’n its friendly.”

She smirked at him, havin’ cottoned on that his wording was deliberately left open to interpretation. Smart as a whip, she was.

“Right.” The back of Mal’s head broke their staring competition as he leant over to look her dead in the eye. “Kaylee?”

She waggled her fingers in the air. “Yep. Me too.”

A beat.

Mal sighed. “Got myself a deep down apprehension that this won’t be the last time we have this conversation.” He stepped back and stabbed a finger at them. “But I’m holdin’ those promises dear, no matter how disingenuous, you get me?”

“Yes sir!” Kaylee saluted.

Jayne didn’t rightly know what ‘disingenuous’ meant, but it appeared the man was resolute about it. He didn’t want to look stupid in front of Kaylee, so he grunted instead of puttin’ voice to a proper answer. It seemed to pass well enough as agreement and the Captain retreated up the passage t’wards the dining room, grumbling the whole way.

“Might not have meant it altogether,” Kaylee began, interrupting Jayne afore he could get a word in edgeways, “But I reckon we gotta stick to what we just said.”

“In the interest of keepin’ the Cap’s peace of mind?” Jayne asked. “An’ my hide mostly intact?”

“Yeah.” She smiled, real soft and sad. “I’m sorry.”

“Naw. ‘S nothin’.” Jayne relented some at her adorable little pout. “Alright, yeah, it’s frustratin’ as hell.”

“Sure is,” she agreed. “You done got me all wound up and now there’s nowhere to go with it.”

They both stared for a piece, dreamin’ on what could have been, chemistry like theirs.

“Well.” Jayne shook himself and forced himself away from her, both physical and otherwise. “My suggestion is we each find us some willin’ trim once we dock, so’s we won’t get tempted again.”

“Sounds like a plan.” Kaylee’s grin widened, got all dimpled and cheeky. “So, we’re friends?”

“Seems like.”

She stuck out her hand and he shook it, tryin’ hard to ignore how her workworn palm rubbed ‘gainst his own, the grease on her fingers easing the way. The engine room seemed too small all a sudden, he needed breathing space. He dropped her hand like it burned him.

“I’ll see ya later, Kaylee.” Jayne put on a smile, sure it looked as out of place on his face as it felt, turned away and head off for his bunk.


Gorramn it, he’d been so ruttin’ close to tastin’ her…


Tuesday, September 26, 2006 8:55 PM


Oh...this explains some things from the series;D

Gotta love it when Mal decides to interfere with his crew's love lives. Can't/won't get any for himself, so he has to go and make things mighty difficult for Kaylee, Jayne, Wash and Zoe:(



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