BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

JACQUI

Pieces: Ch 1- 11.
Thursday, November 24, 2005

Sometimes pieces fit, sometimes they don't and sometimes they can't be put back together. Written for the Joss_100, Jayne and Kaylee.


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 3147    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

Yeah, I caved and joined the Joss_100. So sue me, although I'd really appreciate it if you didn't.

It's supposed to be Jayne/Kaylee, but it's more Kaylee/Simon at this point. We're only up to 11, though, so there's 89 to go.

Disclaimer: They ain't mine. If they were, I'd have killed small fluffy animals on whatever altar I could find to have kept them on air. Also, there'd be a lot more nekkid Jaylee scenes.

ENJOY. (please comment, don't make me beg, or send me feedback: wily_one24@yahoo.com.au).

Prompt set 2, the whole prompt table can be found here: Big Damn Prompt Table

***

Prompt #001: Dreams. Words: 480.

A WAR OF SORTS.

She got lost in a war one night.

Not that she had ever been to a real war, she'd seen pictures, but she supposed that there probably hadn't been a playpen in the middle of the barracks, with two very young squalling toddlers in it. The missiles and bombs, all the mud caked into her skin, the dampness of three day old clothes sticking to her and all the dead bodies that surround her felt right, though.

"Gorram it, Kaylee!" Mal yelled at her from behind a carefully constructed wall of cards. "Can't you control those boys? We're fighting a battle here."

"It's about time someone told her, Sir." She saw Zoe lean around the cards and point two fingers off into the distance. "Bang. Bang."

"Good shot, Zoe!" Kaylee frowned as Mal grinned. "Those damn women won't get close to us now!"

She looked off into the distance. High on a hill, amid explosions and gunfire, sat a table with a white cloth and a tall vase filled with blue roses. Seated at either side, heads tall and backs straight, were Inara and River, pouring tea into delicate china cups. They didn't seem at all concerned with the chaos around them.

"Like gnats." River whispered and Kaylee heard it, even over the distance. "Buzzing. Buzzing."

"I do wish they'd stop soon, it's very irritating." Inara placed her tea cup gently on its plate and lifted a platter of glistening fruit slices. "They could join us so easily."

"Thank you." River preened as she delicately picked up a grape between her thumb and forefinger. "This one is sour."

"Bang! Bang!" Kaylee looked back to see Mal aiming his fingers over the hill, his face turned and his eyes looked straight at her. "I mean it, mei mei, no one's gonna win this battle if'n you don't sort them out."

Kaylee shrugged and walked to the small wooden structure in the middle of the mud.

"He pushed me!" Pouted a small child. "He pushed me!"

Indeed, even as she watched, the other little boy placed his hand on a vested shoulder and shoved him into the mud.

"Now, Jayne," she scolded, "why would you want to do a thing like that?"

"Damn fool don't even know." The boy snarled, small white teeth poking through a rosebud mouth. "Supposed to be smart like he is an' he don't even know."

"Know what?"

They both looked at her with wide, innocent eyes when she asked.

"Kaylee?" She frowned and turned into the voice. "Kaylee? You're dreaming again."

She got lost in a war of sorts most nights, but that was okay, because she woke to warm arms surrounding her and Simon's soft fingers brushing hair behind her ear. If only she was allowed to find the answer to that question that came to haunt her.

"S'okay." She mumbled, half dazed. "I'm all shiny."

***

Prompt #002: Nightmares. Words: 574

FINGERLESS GLOVES.

Jayne often heard her scream at night.

He guessed it'd started way back when that bounty hunter had tied her up and he'd slept through the whole thing. Sure, she'd looked at him like he was as crazy as River when he'd told her he was sorry for it, but Jayne knew better. It cut him when she was skittish sometimes. It only got worse after Miranda, all of 'em surrounded by flesh hungry Reavers and those darts landing smack in her neck, face all slack with shock.

He knew he shoulda done better by her, better than what he'd done.

Knew it, 'cause he heard her screams when he slept, saw her pressed into the ground as she struggled, fists red as they clenched hard in her panic. Eyes wide and wild, just about bursting with fear. Saw parts of her flesh torn up an' off her as her head thrashed back and forth until there weren't no sounds left in her throat but whimpers.

Jayne woke up shivering those nights, he couldn't help it, woke up and swore in ways his momma woulda slapped him for. Those were the nights his shakin' hand would reach for his flask, his ever dwindlin' flask, and hope that he could forget.

'Cause there weren't no man alive who'd wanna remember those images, the sight of her eyes lookin' at him like that, all horror and pain and fear, beggin' and pleadin' with him to stop it.

Those were the nights, in his dreams, that Jayne were the one leanin' down to sink teeth into her cheek and hold her down, buckin' with her thrashes. The nights when he'd wake up with his teeth sliding through the inside of his cheek and his nails pressed so hard into his palms that his hands would be slick with blood. He'd never be able to stop the thundering in his chest until he saw her, during the day, all bright and shiny and happy and he wearin' his fingerless gloves all day so's no one would see the marks.

Didn't no one need to know, so's he made sure, always made sure, that Kaylee didn't ever need to worry 'bout no danger. 'Cause maybe he hadn't saved her then, but he'd make damn sure she'd never need to be saved again. Ain't no one gonna make her cry, Jayne knew it, knew it 'cause he watched her out of the corners of his eye, made sure she was happy, stayed happy with the doc.

It was an arrangement that suited him just fine if'n nothing happened to her.

Only, every now and again, he'd see River tryin' not to look at him, saw her running her fingertips over her own palms and wincing. Girl had to know, Jayne knew it, but she didn't ever say nothin' 'bout it.

"Not your fault." 'Ceptin' once when they was alone one day. "Don't need to dream it again."

And Jayne tried not to hear the plea in her voice, didn't even want to think on what it was doin' to her.

"Don't wanna do it, little one."

"I know." Damn, that girl knew how to break a man's heart with her big, brown eyes, even as she agreed with him. "No one blames you, but you flagellate anyway, punish yourself for what you'd never do."

He couldn't do nothin' but sigh.

"Let it go, girl."

"Wish I could, wish you would."

***

Prompt #003: Daydreams. Words: 711.

HONEYSUCKLE.

"And this one?"

Kaylee took her eyes off the open doors of Serenity, the crew preparing for whatever tasks they had to do on this planet, to watch River slowly trail her fingers along a dusty, bare wooden plank in the fence.

"Honeysuckle." The girl said, eyes dreamy. "Small, sweet flowers, all white and pink and bursting. The smell so strong you have to stop."

River's garden was taking structure in Kaylee's mind, full of all sorts of wonderful plants and animals. She closed her eyes and let the barren world they were on float away.

"Genus Caprifoliacea." River continued. "Represents the present, not the past, commonly used in traditional medicines to help those who cannot let go of their history, those who dwell."

"Wow. I can almost hear the birds chirping." Kaylee sighed. "It's real pretty. I wish I could see what you see."

She regretted her words, even as they came out of her mouth. The soft dreaminess of River's expression sharpened and she frowned. Kaylee followed her gaze to see Jayne standing by the mule, checking the guns in his holsters. Her brows furrowed even further and she didn't know why.

"No you don't." It was gone as suddenly as it came and Kaylee watched River smile again. "Your dreams are pretty, too. Tell me the one, from when you were young."

On the tip of her tongue sat the one about the handsome stranger who'd come and rescue her, take her away from the growing leash that became her planet, the suffocating sameness of it all, but that dream had come later. Had come when she'd grown too old to accept the same tired excuses, too old to look at the bare plates and lean bodies and not know the life that stretched out ahead of her if she didn't get out. Old enough to know better, but still young enough to believe her body could get her what she wanted.

River wanted the one from earlier, when she'd been young enough to laugh at her father's jokes about not having work, to believe that the sky and the grass and the shine of her mother's eyes was all she'd ever really need to be happy.

"You already know it, little miss mind reader."

"Tell me anyway."

"A home." Two words that sparked the dreamy look back on River's face and Kaylee let herself fall back into it. "Just like the one I grew up in, with a big table in a room that smells like smoke from the fire and bread from the kitchen. It'd always be noisy, 'cause everyone would visit, family, friends, neighbors, everyone and the door'd never close."

God, she could smell the butter and bacon grits and it ate at her somethin' fierce.

"I'd make the bread with real flour, you know, and my husband'd chop wood on a block out the back. He'd have a special name for me, sweetheart, or baby, or somethin'. Special, just 'tween us. We'd have two kids. A boy who'd learn to ride horses and follow his pa around and a daughter who'd be daddy's little girl. And they'd all be there at night and I'd be pulled into a big hug by the man who called us his two special girls and kiss us both, while the boy made faces."

"Do they have names?" River's mouth was dry with the longing she felt in Kaylee.

"No, you know they don't." Kaylee shook out of her reverie. "Can't name children without talkin' to their pa and do you see any pa around here? No home, neither, when it comes to that."

She scuffed her shoe in the dust and felt a hand on her waist.

"Have a good time, you two." Simon placed a small, polite kiss on her cheek. "Be careful, okay? Promise me?"

She spun around.

"You're not coming? But we were gonna..."

"I... I should stay." He stuttered and failed to notice the disappointment on her face. "I only seem to get into trouble in these towns, anyway, you know that, Kaylee."

She bit her lip.

"You ever wanted to call me anything else?"

"Than what?" He looked confused. "Kaylee's your name, isn't it?"

"Well, yeah." She sighed. "Don't matter none, just wondering."

***

Prompt #004: Emotion. Words: 473.

EVERYTHING BEFORE THE BUT...

It seemed like the whole ship hid.

Kaylee felt the primary thrusters disengage, her ears automatically picking up the rumbling of her engines turning down as they set course. She almost felt a slight sense of betrayal. Even her girl was staying away. Mal and Zoe, she knew, were in the bridge and were not about to come out any time soon. River had fled to Inara's shuttle, she tended to do that on occasion when the temperatures rose on ship. And Jayne, well, she figured Jayne had just gone to his bunk.

"I don't understand, Kaylee."

A little half laugh choked out of her throat.

"Oh, no, of course you don't."

Simon looked at her, stunned.

"What is that supposed to mean?"

"Oh my god, Simon, you're the genius, what do you think it means?"

She was being deliberately unhelpful and she knew it, but she couldn't bring the words out, couldn't say what was really the matter. Mostly because she didn't really know herself. Not even River could make sense of her head just then, she'd only be lost in the tumult of it.

"Does..." He paused and she turned to look at him, a lost lonely figure in the middle of his infirmary. "Does this have to do with the name thing?"

"Ai ya, Simon, nah mei guan-shee!"

"Then what, Kaylee?" He stepped closer and she looked down, didn't want to meet his eyes. "You come in here and accuse me of... of... what did you call it?"

"Having the emotional range of a strung out tadpole?"

"No, not that one."

"Less chemistry than a soggy twig in rainy season?"

"Um, yes, let's stop there, shall we?" He sighed. "I don't know what you want from me."

He sounded so sad. She supposed she did, too.

"I want it all." And all was more and different and nothing she knew. "And you don't give it."

"I give you everything I can, Kaylee." He reached out and cupped her chin, lifted it so that she had to meet his eyes. "You know I care for you deeply, but I still have to focus on River right now, she's not well, the Alliance are still looking for us, it's not over."

"It'll never be over." She whispered.

He leaned in to kiss her, softly, his lips barely touching hers and Kaylee had to close her eyes to stop a tear falling through. From somewhere deep down and far away, she could hear the deep burly sound of her father's voice. Everything before the but is bullshit.

And Kaylee had learned that lesson first hand. You're a very pretty girl, but... You're great with machines and I'd love to hire you, but... I'd love to take you with me, babe, but...

She shouldered out of his embrace and ran out of the infirmary.

***

Prompt #005: Hot. Words: 657.

INSIDE OUT.

He knew she was behind him, could feel it in the air.

"You gonna stand there all night, are ya?"

She sniffled and he looked up sharply, his eyes taking in the way her hands shook as she tried to clasp them together so he wouldn't see, saw the sheen of her eyes which told him she was close to crying.

Damn doctor, an' you were doing so well.

Turning back to the guns on the table, he pursed his lips and began to whistle. As if he couldn't care less. As if he weren't just about crawlin' out of his skin to have her sit down with him. She was jittery like a colt, curious and wantin' company, but unsure of it nonetheless.

She did sit down, right next to him. And he didn't look up, didn't give her any sign that he'd even noticed and soon enough he fell back into the pattern of oiling and cleaning where he didn't even need to think on it.

"Do you name them all?"

Quick flick of his eyes up to see that she was watching his hands.

"'Course I do, can't not name 'em." He eyed the small pistol in his hand, turned it over so the casing gleamed in the half light. "That'd be rude."

"Rude?" She reached out and her fingers trailed over the butt of a larger semi automatic. "What's rude about it?"

He gestured at the arsenal.

"Well, these here are my special ladies. They look after me, so's only right I treat 'em nice and proper. Each one of 'em is different, see?"

Reaching out, he took her hand and curved it around the small pistol.

"This here? She's gettin' a little gray around the gills, see, but she's still good if'n you squeeze her trigger the right way."

Her fingers curled around the metal and he saw her breathe in deeply. She'd stopped shaking.

"Which one's your favorite?"

He snorted.

"That ain't no secret." And he lifted his largest gun from the table. "You've met Vera, I treat all my guns with the respect they deserve, but Vera, well, she's my baby girl."

"Baby girl, huh?"

There was something in her voice, a catch that made him think she was gonna start crying again. Vera was placed carefully back in her spot and he felt the absence of her weight with the quick flash of loss that he always did.

"You wanna tell me what's...?"

But he never got to finish that sentence, because the minute he'd let go of Vera, Kaylee'd grabbed his head and kissed him. Hard. Her mouth was all sorts of fire and need and he moaned into her breath. Her fingernails pressed hard into the sides of his face and he wanted them to dig deeper.

It took everything he had to bring his hands up and push her shoulders, to break away from her.

"It ain't right, Kaylee." And he couldn't look her in the eyes, because he didn't think he could stop himself if he saw in her what she had to see in him. "It ain't right."

"Like you ever cared about what was right?" She was angry and he didn't even need to look to know that the tears had started to fall. "Since when don't you just take what you want?"

"Maybe I don't care about what's right, Kaylee." He kept his voice steady and tried not to show how much she'd just hurt him. "Maybe I want it, maybe I've wanted it since before that gou tsao de doctor ever boarded this boat. And maybe I want it so bad right now I can't even tell you."

It was then that he looked in her eyes.

"But you do care, Kaylee, and it'll just eat you up. Eat you from the inside out if'n you do this." He stood up and left her with his guns. "And I care about that."

***

Prompt #006: Cold. Words: 891.

SALT.

She avoided him the next day. It was probably a good thing, he wasn't sure what he would do when he saw her next. Only thing was, she kept avoiding him and a day stretched out into a week.

Jayne didn't think there were that many excuses on such a small ship to keep out of another person's way, but there were. She made herself all manner of busy, fixing engines, cooking meals, tagging after River and Simon, hell, she'd even gone with Mal planet side once.

Mealtimes were worse. She wouldn't look at him and she wouldn't ever pass him food, even if he asked nice. And loud. It had gotten to the point that others had noticed and he didn't have to wait long before someone asked.

Mal, of course it was Mal, found him in the cargo bay, throwing horse shoes and steadfastly ignoring the all too loud laughter that came from the common room just outside the infirmary. River, Simon and the third voice that held a slightly edgy, desperate note to it, as if Kaylee was eager for everyone to believe she was fine.

"You gonna tell me what's wrong?"

"You wanna know?" Jayne was already tense and he just knew he wasn't going to take the hardness in Mal's voice too well. "You better ask her."

"I'm askin' you." There was a pause. "What did you do, Jayne?"

"Yeah, me." He gave a soft, bitter little laugh and tossed another horse shoe. "I didn't do nothin'. That's what ye all think, though, ain't it? Something happened, it had to be Jayne."

His hands grasped in thin air and he sighed as he walked to the peg to pick up the shoes. He'd gotten all but one, the last one.

"I ain't nothin' but a ruthless merc to you people, am I? Huh? I'll do anything for a bit of coin, sleep with anyone and not even flinch, hell, you all probably think I'd kick a puppy and laugh about it."

He saw Mal look at him, long and hard, his eyes sharp.

"No." It was spoken calmly. "No one thinks that, Jayne. Maybe we joke around a bit, hell, a lot, but we think more of you than that."

"Yeah." Jayne was fairly sure he didn't sound very agreeable as he walked away. "That's about as clear as mud."

He waited, he waited until there was a time he knew she'd be alone. There weren't no place on the ship a person could be alone, really, 'cepting the bunks and Kaylee when she was in her engine room. And he certainly wasn't gonna go into her bunk.

"Cap'n?" Her voice came from around the machines. "I'm nearly finished, I just have to... Oh."

Her face flushed red.

"Yeah. It's me. Sorry to disappoint."

She turned back to the machine, chin set, and didn't say anything else.

"Look, Kaylee, I just wanted to say..." He waited until she stepped out again, until he could look her in the face. "I ain't gonna say sorry. If that's what yer waitin' for. I didn't do nothing wrong."

Silence. He sighed and turned to leave.

"I know." Her voice was tiny. "It's not you. I wanted to apologize, really I did, but I'm not ready, I couldn't..."

Jayne felt a million stares, all the different glares he'd been getting all week from everyone on board.

"But ye damn well should." He turned to see her eyes widen and her mouth part open in surprise. "You knew, didn't you?"

"I... don't..." Her eyes flickered to the left and back again, her hands twisted into the cloth she was holding.

"Don't play games, Kaylee. You knew, before I said it, you knew I... cared." He didn't need to wait for an answer, not when he saw her bite her top lip, capturing it with her lower teeth and holding it there. "You damn well knew it and you used me."

"What?" She stopped fiddling and stopped avoiding him. "I didn't..."

"You were fightin' with the doc and you wanted to pay him back. And you thought you'd come and get even with him by playing with me. Did I miss anything?"

"Jayne." It was almost a plea, her small voice. "That's not..."

He stepped toward her.

"I think it's the meanest thing you've ever done, Kaylee. That, maybe, and then tellin' me to my face that I wouldn't give a hoot about doin' it. You honestly think I'd just use you like that? That I could do it and not blink?"

"No." She shook her head and her lip trembled. "I just thought..."

"You thought what, huh?" He stepped forward again and he was so close that she had to take a step back. "You thought you'd come to me and what, Kaylee?"

"Jayne, please." Her back hit the far wall and he pressed in further. "Stop it."

"Ain't this what you wanted?" He bought his mouth in close to her face. "It's what everyone thinks happened. Ain't it? I figure, hell, maybe I should just do it and get it over with. Then maybe we can all just go back to normal."

Her neck was so soft when he grabbed it.

"Might as well have my fun before Mal eventually kicks me off the ship."

Her cheek tasted like salt.

***

Prompt #007: Lust. Words: 617.

EVEN AFTER.

She managed to bring her hand in between their bodies and grabbed his nipple, twisting it until he yelped.

"Get off me!"

She pushed him hard and they broke apart, standing still and staring at each other as they caught their breaths. Kaylee couldn't remember either of them doing anything particularly energetic, but they both seemed to be struggling.

"I'll go." He said finally and she saw something in his eyes she didn't think she'd ever seen in him before. "Kaylee? I... I didn't..."

Whatever he'd been about to say got stuck in his throat and she watched him wrestle with it.

"Don't you dare walk out of here." She spat the words and they seemed to slap him across the face. "I have words to say and you're gonna listen to me."

Her skin ached and she wondered if there'd be a bruise, wondered if Simon would notice and what he'd say if there was. She couldn't imagine a more awkward conversation than trying to explain what'd just happened. Well, maybe this one.

"I shouldn't have kissed you, Jayne, I shouldn't have done it." When he opened his mouth to argue she held up her hand. "Yes, I kinda had an inkling, more'n one, that you liked me. I figured you'd go for it, I didn't know you... cared, an' that's the truth."

A breath.

"It don't excuse it, you're right, it was mean. I didn't think, I just..." What could she say? "... you were talkin' about how special those guns were and I kept thinkin' how I weren't special to no one and I wanted that."

"S'at all?" He looked as if he wanted to say more, but she knew he wouldn't, knew he was already thinking of ways to punish himself.

"You don't need to come in here and tell me how awful I am, Jayne, 'cause I've been telling myself that all week, how awful and how horrid and how you'd be right if you just hated me after this."

"I don't hate you, Kaylee."

She felt the tears again.

"I do, I kinda hate me." And when he reached out, she tried to push him away but he wouldn't let her. "I wanted to say sorry, I did, I wanted to come tell you how bad I felt, but I couldn't, see."

Oh, he was so gentle now and she felt herself give into it, felt herself warm against his chest.

"And every time I saw you I kept thinkin' on that kiss and how much I wanted it, how much I wanted more. That just made it worse. And you don't help, with your lips and your muscles and the way you fill up a room and now you're holding me and I know it's wrong, Jayne, but I don't want you to stop."

"Even after?" His fingers raked through her hair and she sniffled.

"Even after."

She lifted her head and kissed him again, felt him tighten against her as her fingers closed tight against his shoulders. He pulled his head back.

"Oh, Kaylee." And her heart melted, 'cause she knew what he was going to say and she didn't want him to say it, even if it only made her want him more. "We can't go down this road. Not now." She stepped back and nodded and he let her go as she chewed the nail on her thumb, shifting uncomfortably from one foot to the other. They were back to silence and trying to breathe.

"Gorram, Kaylee." His hand rose to his chest. "You twisted my nipple!"

The air cleared and she let herself raise her eyebrows.

"You're just lucky I didn't kick you in the balls."

***

Prompt #008: Love. Words: 469.

TIRED

They stayed in the engine room. He sat with his back to the wall and his arms resting on his knees, his wrists dangled in mid air. Across from him, with her back against the engine casing and her head leaning back so she looked up at the ceiling, Kaylee sighed.

"He said he loves me, I know he does." She couldn't have seen the look on his face, the snarl he gave, but she must have known. "Don't Jayne. You were there, that day, you heard what he said."

Yeah, he'd heard.

"He actually say that? He ever look you right in the eye and say 'Kaylee, I love you'.?" He wasn't at all surprised when she shook her head. "'Cause I heard him say he regretted not ever bein' with you. And that's all I heard."

That must be the most interesting ceiling in the entire 'Verse, way she kept starin' at it.

"He thought, hell, we all thought we was gonna die in that room. You know what it means when a dying man promises you sex?" He watched the slow, lazy roll of her neck as she finally looked at him. "It just means he ain't dead yet."

She was so drained she didn't even have the energy to scold him and he could see that she wanted to.

"Why now?" Was what she settled for, a tired sigh of a question. "Why are you sayin' all this now?"

"'Cause maybe I'm tired of watchin' you throw yourself at someone who ain't never bothered to notice you other than to make you feel bad about yourself. Maybe I'm tired of bein' alone at night. And maybe, just maybe, I never once thought you wanted me back and now I know you do, I don't plan to sit back all quiet like and not fight for ya."

He watched her cheeks flush and saw a shiver run through her.

"God, you're a dangerous man, Jayne Cobb." And then she was back to the ceiling. "I don't wanna hurt him. I can't do it."

He shrugged.

"I'll do it."

At least it bought a laugh to her shoulders and a curve to what he could see of her lips.

"He does care." She insisted. "And he needs me. He doesn't ever complain, but I know how much he hurts over River an' what she goes through. He needs someone to lean on."

"That ain't love, Kaylee."

"You don't see him. You don't see him when there ain't no one else around, Jayne, he's a different man. He's all..." She paused and he was grateful that she didn't go into any detail. "... well, he's different is all."

If she was gonna be stubborn, then he could match her in the bull headed stakes. Easy.

"It ain't love."

***

Prompt #009: Hate. Words: 463.

PATCHWORK.

He'd gone to get them coffee and she accepted her mug with relish. She hadn't eaten much that night, in fact she hadn't eaten much in days. A week, if she was going to be honest about it. And she found her tummy was grumbling.

"You gonna tell him?"

Kaylee paused. She thought about it, she really did.

"No."

Jayne's mouth tightened in the corners.

"So you're just gonna go back to him and pretend nothing happened?" She didn't answer him. "And I'm supposed to what? Crawl away with my tail 'tween my legs? Skulk in the shadows?"

"This isn't what I wanted." She whispered it into her mug. "I didn't want none of it."

"But you've got it, Kaylee. And you can't just wish it away. It ain't some bad dream."

"Yes it is." She scrunched her eyes tight and clasped her mug tighter. "God, I hate this, you don't know how much I hate it."

He was watching her, she could feel it on her skin.

"You poor thing." His voice was fair on dripping with sarcasm. "It must be so hard on you, finding out you have cravings and havin' to carry 'em for a whole week. You wanna times that by a few months and maybe throw in a rival and everyone else sayin' how cute ya are together and makin' fun of... oh, jus' forget it."

She was about to say something when he cut her off.

"I said forget it, Kaylee, I don't want no damn pity."

There was a laugh, all bitter and choked off suddenly and Kaylee was surprised to realize it had come from her.

"I had a really good thing, Jayne, you know it? For once there was someone who wanted me, who looked at me like I was something they could love, I felt good. And then you come along and piss all over it."

"Don't look at me, babygirl, you started this whole thing."

"It was good. We were good." She didn't even react to him. "Everything was fine. And now it's not. You had to come and poke holes in the very thing that made me happy."

He gave a grin, but it didn't reach his eyes, a last ditch effort if she ever saw one.

"By my count, I ain't got to poke nothin' yet."

"I had something good." She said it again, hoped he could see. "And now it's a bunch of holes trying to look like something good. I need to see if I can patch it up."

He sighed again. Deep and heavy and she knew he got it.

"You can't patch nothin' up with lies."

"I know." She flinched when he slammed his mug down on the floor. "I think I have to tell him."

***

Prompt #010: Anger. Words: 560.

DOG.

Maybe there were tensions in the air, maybe Mal felt guilty for what he'd said, Jayne didn't know, but he knew that Simon and River had been taken planet side with Mal and Zoe, that Inara was off with her client and he was left to arrange cargo with Kaylee.

Just the two of them.

"You tell 'im, yet?"

"Um..." She hesitated. "No."

She stood at the edge of the crate and waited for him to take the other end. Jayne brushed his hand over her fingers and he watched her eyes fall to where their hands sat. He moved away before she could say anything and they carried the box over to one of the hidey holes, crouching down to push it in.

When Kaylee stood up, he didn't give her any room and she found herself trapped between him and the wall. He couldn't help but run a hand down the side of her face, let it fall to her shoulder.

"Don't you think you should?"

"I will, I will." She wasn't moving away. "I'm just waiting for the right moment."

That made him chuckle.

"You think there's a right moment for that? Let me tell you, Kaylee, there ain't no right moment to tell a man about another man."

"Jayne?" Her voice was breathy as he trailed his finger across her collar bone. "Come on, stop it."

He grinned.

"You really want me to?"

"Yes?"

Her eyes said something different, though, they looked up at him and were just beggin' him to reach in and kiss her mouth, the mouth that parted as his eyes focused on it, thin little sliver of a gasp. He almost trembled with it.

"Gorram it, Kaylee." He stepped back and away. "You gotta do something. Make up your mind, choose him, whatever, just do something."

"Don't rush me, Jayne."

"Rush you?" He turned back to her, the frustration of it boiling right up. "Rush you? You're damn lucky I don't 'rush you' right here and now. It ain't fair. Not on me, not on Simon and not on you. You can't leave us all hangin' like this."

She reached out to hold his arm and he wrenched it free of her.

"No." He knew better than to risk looking in her eyes and seeing the wounded look that would be there, if he did that, he'd be lost. "You can't have us both, Kaylee, I ain't known for my ability to share."

"It's not that easy."

"You're makin' me a dog, Kaylee," And he couldn't look at her anymore, didn't trust himself to. "Some stupid mutt hangin' about the table and beggin' for scraps at the end of the day. And I don't like it. That ain’t me."

He placed his foot on the edge of the last crate and kicked it towards its hidey hole, feeling strangely satisfied at the loud scrape of metal on metal as it skidded and crashed.

"Jayne, look at me."

But he didn't, he grabbed his holster from where he'd left it on the weight bench in easy reach if he needed it.

"I gotta get out of here." He walked away without looking back. "The others'll be back soon."

He knew there'd be some bar, somewhere, with some unlucky patron just waitin' to get the thrashing of a lifetime in a brawl that hadn't started yet, but would soon.

***

Prompt #011: Jealousy. Words: 500.

HIBERNATION.

Simon was in a very good mood. Kaylee could smell the drink on him when Mal and Zoe had led him up through the cargo bay doors, River following several steps behind. Not that she’d had much time to think about it, because Mal had just about exploded when he’d learned Jayne had gone off.

Now they were all sitting at the big table in the mess and Kaylee was trying to brush Simon’s hand off her leg as Mal’s voice sounded loud and large.

“I don’t care, Jayne, I left you here to watch the ship and watch Kaylee. What do you think woulda happened if someone had tried to board? Huh?”

“Cap’n.” Kaylee spoke up, tried to ease the tension. “It ain’t his fault, I said I’d be fine. He weren’t gone that long.”

“That ain’t the point, Kaylee.”

Mal paused for a moment, his eyes told Kaylee that he had another rant waiting, just for her, and she knew it’d probably be the same old line about strange planets and girlfolk and how she oughtta have more brains. He was right, too, that’s what always made it worse.

She couldn’t look across the table and meet Jayne’s eyes, not when Simon’s hand trailed up off her thigh and onto the table where his fingers made patterns over her wrist and all she wanted to do was pull away. Just her luck that he got most demonstrative when she really hoped he wouldn’t. There was a pulling in her, she felt it, Simon’s hands and Jayne’s eyes boring into her and making her shrivel.

“We were ready to go and I come back to the ship, only to have to go back out and drag you away from some bar and whatever that whore’s name was.”

Nobody heard the little gasp she gave, but Kaylee felt it, felt it ripple all the way through her. Her eyes flew up just as Jayne’s looked down and away. She could see the slight flush crawl up his neck.

“Ain’t nothin’ happened, Mal,” he growled, “give it a rest, okay?”

“Yes, Captain.” Kaylee closed her eyes when Simon spoke up, voice slurred. “Everything’s just fine. Especially Kaylee, look, she’s just fine.”

She couldn’t help the cringe when she felt his hand lift some of her hair away from her face. Nobody noticed, not with the screech of Jayne’s chair reeling backward. Her eyes flew open.

“We all done here?” Jayne slammed his wad of bills back onto the table. “It’s gonna cause a problem, take my cut, I don’t want it. I don’t want no part of this no more.”

They all sat in silence as he walked away.

“Did he just voluntarily give away money?” Inara looked at the cash.

“More importantly.” Zoe frowned. “Did he just quit?”

“Something’s wrong.” Mal stared after Jayne.

“Bear’s woken up.” River told the table, her eyes coming to rest on Kaylee. “Been hibernating for months, he won’t lie down again, can’t do it.”

*** end, for now.

COMMENTS

Friday, November 25, 2005 2:46 AM

BOOKADDICT


There are so many good lines, I'm so looking forward to the rest of the series.

Friday, November 25, 2005 11:04 PM

ITSAWASH


Dear lord, Jacqui. This is---astounding. So many voices perfectly flowing, some insanity, some love, lots of hurt, iron responsibility the crew members feel for each other, feeling it for different reason.

You've got the gift, and we're lucky you've time to share it with us.

Amazing lines in here, but if I hadta pick a fave: ..."and his nails pressed so hard into his palms that his hands would be slick with blood. He'd never be able to stop the thundering in his chest until he saw her, during the day, all bright and shiny and happy and he wearin' his fingerless gloves all day so's no one would see the marks."

Sigh. Our Boy Jayne, hurting and hiding. That's him in a box, for certes.

Saturday, November 26, 2005 11:52 PM

CANTONHEROINE


Sweet Yesu!
I'm away for a few days, and this is what I get to come back to?
I should go away more often!
Great stuff. Can't hardly wait for more ;P

Monday, October 20, 2008 3:53 AM

RIVERRED


wow just wow i love this story so much, i love that everyone is okay and are living, and they way the story ended was funny i wonder what river is going to shot.


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