BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

JACQUI

Pieces: Ch 35-50.
Thursday, December 15, 2005

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


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 2357    RATING: 10    SERIES: FIREFLY

The Fourth Installment.

Quick review to clear up any remaining questions: The Joss_100 is a challenge for fanfic writers (those who hate themselves enough to sign up, anyway) who follow a set table of 100 word prompts. Each word is supposed to 'prompt' a drabble or mini ficlet of between 100-1000 words.

I signed up for the Jayne/Kaylee pairing. And so far have completed 50 out of the 100 prompts. They're usually not connected, but I had to make it difficult and make it into a continuing fic for the whole 100. Yay me (I think?)

The whole table of prompts I have to follow can be found here. And the previous installments can be found: one, two and three.

Disclaimer: Not mine. Joss'.

Feedback: Oh, you know I want it, baybee. Comment (*please*) or send an email: wily_one24@yahoo.com.au

Comment: NC-17, just so you know. Some of these prompts get *naughty*, so avert your eyes young ones.

And, onto the fic...

***

Prompt #035: Life. Words: 820.

GIRLS 'N' GUNS.

Jayne didn't want to clean his guns.

His hand shook just a little as he rubbed the oil into the length of Cassie. Now that was a gun that could show you a good time, quick release, little to no recoil, she was somethin' to look at. Yes she was.

"Jayne?"

He breathed in.

"Yeah?"

Kaylee knelt up behind him and he closed his eyes for a second, let himself feel the weight of her dip his mattress down. Felt the heat of her near his back, she was so close that if he leant back even an inch, they'd be touching again.

"You gonna stop playin' with those guns anytime soon?"

No, not if he could help it.

"I told ya, it's gotta be done."

He wasn't about to tell her it had already been done hours before. Her whole body sighed and he allowed himself a small smile that she couldn't see.

"I already told ya, Kaylee, you wanna be down here in my bunk, you gotta let me do my thing."

"I know." Her face appeared over his shoulder and he felt her fingers touch his sides, under his shirt. "I just thought..."

His muscles jumped as she tickled and he squirmed away. A little. Not too much.

"I know what ya thought."

She wasn't exactly proving him wrong, the way she let her hands linger over his sides and over the skin of his stomach. Or the way she twisted her neck so that she could kiss the underside of his jaw.

"Do you now?" Her lips traveled to just under his ear. "Aren't you the smart one?"

Jayne didn't want to clean his guns. He needed to.

"Kaylee?"

"Mmm?"

Cassie had smooth, clean lines. Oh, Kaylee's hand had moved up to thread through the hairs on his chest. No, Cassie. Spring loaded trigger. Cassie. Kaylee teased his nipple to aching. Cassie. Kaylee. No... Cassie. Gun needed... but Kaylee... oh.

"You ain't playin' fair, woman."

He tossed the gun onto the side table with a growl.

"What's the matter, Jayne? Don't you want me?"

Jayne twisted around to face her, grabbing her hands and pushing her back down to the bed. Ye soo, but she looked right like that, hair spread out over his pillow, eyes glowing with triumph, mouth just waiting to be kissed.

"You think I don't want ya?" He pinned her hands up behind her head and nuzzled his face into her neck, breathing deep. "You think that's the problem?"

There weren't nothin' to do, but lie down on top of her, press his whole body against her, feel her twist under him.

"Jayne."

Her voice was thick and he groaned in response.

"'Cause I do want you."

He took both her hands in one of his and held them there as his other hand ran down her whole side, from the top of her head to the pockets of her coverall clad legs.

"I want you so bad, Kaylee."

Her pulse jumped under his tongue as he licked up her neck and his hand wrapped around her thigh and pulled it up around his waist. God, but he could feel the heat of her through their clothes.

He kissed at her lips, softly, little teasing pecks that made her strain upwards, made her try to capture his mouth and he loved the sounds of her as she did it. Her whole body was moving under him, pressing up, her hips grinding up to him.

"You feel that?" There weren't no way she could miss it, the way he was all but thrustin' at her, like a boy just grown a beard. "Don't ever say I don't want ya, Kaylee, I been wantin' it for so long."

He bought his hand up, ran it under her shirt and felt the rise and fall of her stomach as she breathed hard.

"I just..." He kissed her again, swallowed her moan. "I just.. I wanted..."

He couldn't breathe, but he couldn't stop talking either.

"I didn't want ya here 'cause you were mad at the Doc." Her ear was just beggin' to be licked and nibbled at. "Or 'cause you saw some dead bodies an' wanted to feel more alive. I just... I wanted ya here 'cause you wanted me, too."

And he kissed her again, cupped her breast and squeezed it.

"Guess it don't matter, Kaylee, don't matter none in the end."

"Jayne." She panted it out, stilled under him and pulled out of his grasp. "You're right."

"What?" He all but howled as she twisted away and sat up. "No. No I ain't."

"Yes." She fixed her shirt and he could see the heat that flushed all up her neck and face. "You are."

"But..." He gestured back to the bed. "... we were..."

"C'mon." She smiled at him. "I'll help you clean your guns."

Jayne didn't wanna clean no gorram stinkin' guns.

***

Prompt #036: Death. Words: 696.

DISTRACTION MAKER.

She settled back on his bed with a small pistol, resting her back against the wall. He knew how to get her all worked up, no question. And it'd been her fault, pushin' all his buttons like that.

But he had to go an' spoil it by bein' all serious. And damn him for that, too, 'cause he was right. He deserved somethin' better. Dammit if Jayne didn't just bring out the worst in her.

It was small, the little gun, fitting into the palm of her hand easily. Kaylee tried to remember or even picture Jayne using it and came up blank. Her fingers curled around it softly and she squinted off into the non existent distance as she raised it and pointed.

"Hey." His voice brought her back to the small bunk. "Who you aimin' that thing at?"

She blinked once.

"No one. Just playin'."

His eyes were sharp when they looked at her and she shivered, thinking of how dark they were only minutes earlier, looming over her and demanding. She felt like they were a bunch of kids being chased around by their folk. Getting' close, but never quite there.

"You ever kill anyone with this?"

Yeah, that was casual.

"No." Jayne kept looking at her, eyes sizing her up. "That ain't a killin' gun. That's a distraction maker. You want to cause real damage, you want some of my bigger girls."

She eyed the arsenal, but kept the small pistol.

"I don't." Her eyes fell to her lap. "Want to cause damage, that is. I don't think..."

"Kaylee." His hand rested on her knee and it was different, now, his touch. It wasn't the fiery claiming of their lust, it was softer and more of a comfort. "Ain't no one expects you to."

Her legs folded up underneath her chin easily and she toyed with the gun in front of her shins.

"I mean, I shot those reavers, I did that." It was strange, remembering all the noise and the panic and the thundering power of the gun as she'd shot it then and trying to link it to the peaceful little bit of metal in her hands. "But I ain't never shot a man before."

"I have." He faced her, looked at her head on. "And it ain't nothin'. Not really. Sometimes it's shoot or be shot and I'd rather be the one doin' the shooting. Better them than me an' I can't look at it any other way. Simple rule of the 'Verse, Kaylee, you don't wanna be shot, don't get in a gun fight."

That bought a smile to her face. If only a small one.

"You keep worryin' about the people who died, be they in a job gone south or those that got sick when they shouldn't've, or were attacked by some stupid monsters an' you're gonna make yerself sick."

"I can't help it, Jayne, one of 'em wasn't but a little kid."

"I know it, I was there." He sighed and she looked up to see his eyes, they looked worried. "But people die, Kaylee, and ain't nothin' gonna change that. They been dyin' for centuries, they did on Earth that Was, they do it in the Core and sure as hell they do it out on the rim."

He reached out and she leant into the fingers that touched the very tip of her head.

"Not just growed men, but little kids an' babies and good people and bad people. Sooner or later it'll be me an' you and everyone else on this ship. We'll be gone an' there won't be a person alive that remembers who we were or why we were sittin' in a bunk cryin'."

"You ain't much for the motivational speaking, are you, Jayne?"

"My point, if ya let me get to it, is you can't let it stop you livin', Kaylee. Hell, look at Zoe, she lost more'n most of us ever had an' she's still goin' up and about, she don't let it get her down more'n it has to."

"People die, so suck it up and live while I can?"

He chuckled.

"Yeah, that sounds about right."

***

Prompt #037: Resurrection. Words: 778.

CAHOOTS.

They sat at the table eating breakfast and Jayne thought about all the things he could do that day. Mostly, all the things he could do to make Kaylee smile. He'd gotten it all planned out. Mal had promised him a day planet side with her, he was takin' Zoe out on the job. 'Course, it hadn't hurt when Jayne had told him that she needed some time away, that she was still shook up some.

"Been a change of plans." Mal announced out of nowhere. "Jayne, you're with me today and Zoe, you go with Kaylee to the town, pick up what's needed."

"But Mal?" Jayne frowned. "You said..."

"And now I'm sayin' this." Mal's face said he wasn't gonna sit there and argue all day. "You got a problem?"

"No, I ain't got no problem." He mumbled it into his plate. "Gou tsao de..."

"Sorry, Jayne?"

"What?" He plastered a big, shit eating grin on his face. "I said I ain't got no problem."

He watched Mal out of the corner of his eye, thinkin' about ways in which he could maybe just relax the surveillance later that day. Not enough, really, to hurt the man, maybe just scratch him up a bit. Serve him right. Mal knew, he gorram knew that Jayne wanted the day with Kaylee.

He watched Mal, so he saw the glint in his eye when he winked across the table and Jayne just knew it was aimed at Kaylee. Girl was sittin' there with her eyes all wide and innocent when he looked over at her.

She was up to something.

And Mal knew about it. They was in cahoots. Fine, they could just go and cahoots themselves sick for all he cared.

*

"Gorramit, Mal!" The sun was hot and they'd been sitting there for hours, waiting on a man that ain't showed yet. "Why'd you need me here for?"

"'Cause I said I did." Came the answer. "You wanna keep squawking? Make a bit more noise? I don't think the ambush knows exactly where to aim just yet."

"There ain't no ambush, there ain't no contact, there ain't no gorram job. Face it, you dragged me out here and we ain't gonna get paid shit, 'cause look around, there ain't nobody but us sitting here gettin' our noses burned an'..."

He shut the hell up when a bullet skidded into the dust inches from him.

Their bellies hit the dirt hard and they reached for their weapons.

"You happy now, Jayne? Are ya?"

He ducked another shot and tried to squint into the sun to see where to aim.

"More'n a pig in shit, Mal."

*

She was waitin' for him when they got back. And damn, how could a person stay irked at her when she was all bouncy like that, grinnin' from ear to ear. She didn't even dull any when she hovered over the blood on his sleeve.

"It ain't nothin'." He said it anyway, 'cause it wouldn't take long for her to settle into worryin'. "Just a breeze from a bullet."

"Come get it stitched up then."

She all but dragged him across the cargo bay and he barely had time to look over at Mal, who shrugged. Jayne wasn't gonna buy any of that. Somethin' was up and they was still in cahoots. He hadn't forgotten.

Even Simon looked at her weird as she buzzed all around him as he sat and had his arm patched up.

"You got ants in your pants, Kaylee?"

"Nope!" Another grin. "Just hurry up!"

"Don't look at me." Simon shrugged. "She's been like this ever since they got back."

"Okay, that's enough!" She grabbed the hand attached to his good arm, pulling him up and away. Simon barely had time to snip off the thread. "You'll heal, you're a strong man."

She was takin' him straight to his bunk. Which wasn't altogether a bad thought, but she was still bein' all kinds of weird about it.

"What's gotten into you?"

The door hissed open and she gestured him to climb on down. Her face was glowing. He wasn't sure he wanted to go down there alone, but he got the feeling that he waited any longer and she was gonna just push him down.

"Oh." Jayne couldn't move. "Oh, Kaylee."

His heart pumped hard. There was nothin' he could say, his brain shorted out, not that it mattered, 'cause his throat was so tight he didn't think he could speak.

A thing of beauty. That's what it was. And he could touch it if he could just move forward.

"I missed you, Vera, I missed you somethin' awful."

***

Prompt #038: Dawn. Words: 647.

BEDSPACE.

Kaylee woke up cold.

No need to ask why. Serenity ran on a steady temp controlled air flow and she knew, in her head, that there was nothing wrong with the heating. Which meant that there had to be something wrong with her.

She stretched out, arching her back like a cat, wriggling her toes under the blanket and fluttering her fingers above her head, lengthened her whole body, made herself taut and then let it go with a gust of air.

That there was the very problem.

There was too much room in her bed. It was too empty to be really comfortable. She'd gotten a taste, a tease really, of a sometimes bed partner, of cuddling up to a warm body, of being surrounded. Not that it had been too regular with Simon.

He'd always leave before he fell asleep, or if he didn't, he'd leave as soon as he woke up. He always had things to do and, most of the times, they'd even been legitimate reasons. Mostly it was River and in no way could Kaylee begrudge him that, the need to take care of family, but sometimes she couldn't help wanting to be first.

Somehow Kaylee got the feeling that Jayne would be different. She knitted her fingers together, turned her palms outward and stretched until she heard some satisfying cracks of her knuckles.

It was a sneaking suspicion of hers, maybe it was wishful thinking and maybe she'd just been thinking about it too much lately, but she couldn't shake the image that once she was actually in his bed, Jayne wouldn't be letting her go anytime soon.

She could lie there for an hour, snuggled up against that huge chest, wrapped in those arms and he wouldn't mind it at all, would probably even encourage it. Jayne was nothing if not a warm body, she'd certainly learned that in the last few weeks.

Now that was a train of thought likely to keep her in bed a little while longer, it'd certainly warm her up a bit. She gave a long, lazy yawn that flowed through her body, woke it up a little, made her tingle.

Yup, Jayne's body was not one to sneeze at. He had those strong hands, men's hands that'd seen more'n a days worth of work, big meaty hands that she knew could be so gentle.

She felt cold, but her skin was warm to the touch.

And, when he didn't shave, he got that stubble over his chin that scratched at her like nobody's business. He had this way when he nuzzled at her, of rasping at her skin until it was near raw and then licking at it, using the wetness of his tongue to soothe it and, if he was feeling particularly playful, he'd blow over it, soft air cooling the heat he'd just caused.

That thought alone was enough for the warmth to pool low in her belly and she pressed her hand down into the pouch of skin just under her navel. She felt the ripples already, the expectation.

He had this way of growling, low in his throat, so that it rumbled all the way through his chest and into her when she did the same to him, when she kissed his jaw line and found the soft, sensitive spots under his ears. That was one of his weak spots, she could make him moan out loud just by capturing his ear lobe between her teeth and squeezing ever so slightly.

Kaylee let herself moan, so softly that she barely heard it herself, as her fingers traced the pattern of her abdomen all the way down. She was almost at the point where she didn't care to be gentle anymore and she'd only been thinking about the man.

Heaven help her when they eventually got to take their clothes off.

***

Prompt #039: Dusk. Words: 501.

LOOMING.

They were drinking.

It was an too rare moment. Everyone together and laughing and the warmth of the alcohol buzzed through them all. The end of the day loomed and Jayne preferred not to think about it.

He wanted to stay like this, so he could watch her laugh with them, so he could see the way her whole face lit up and the way her eyes just came alive. It was all too good to be able to just reach over and run a hand over her arm, along her shoulder and up her neck.

And have everyone see it.

To have her lean into him when he did it and turn to him to give him a small, secret smile that was meant only for him. She couldn't know just what that smile did to him, no way could she know, 'cause if she did she wouldn't do it so often, wouldn't tease him with it.

No, he wanted it to stay like that, everyone happy and them together in the middle of it. But the end of the day loomed and, with it, the time when she'd kiss him and leave him and he'd be left all alone to go back to his empty bunk. Alone.

Jayne figured they were both gonna drive each other crazy.

He knew she ready and he was well past ready himself. And sometimes he felt like he was gonna explode if something didn't happen, but he didn't and he waited. 'Cause it was Kaylee and she deserved a whole lot more than just a quick rut their first time, even if they planned to do it over and over again.

And Jayne planned that, oh but definitely.

For now, he was gonna have to stay content with messin' around like kids. Kissing here and fumbling there and leaving each other shaking and panting, open mouthed and needy.

One of these days, dear Jesus please let it be soon, he was just gonna throw caution to the wind and follow her into her bunk or pull her into his and then neither of 'em would have to sleep alone.

He wouldn't have to lie there, aching and tight, closing his eyes so that he could picture her, remember the feel of her, all soft and toned and fragile and strong and warm in his hands. He'd be able to hold her instead of wrapping his fist around himself and letting images of her stroke him with his own hand.

Soon, it'd have to be soon, but until then he just had to sit back, listen to everyone joke around him, let the good feelings of it wash around the room and try not to be too obvious when his hand settled on her leg. 'Cause he knew, oh how he knew, how hard it was to watch from the other side.

They were drinking and nighttime loomed, so he let it loom and didn't let himself think about how long it would be.

***

Prompt #040: Midnight. Words: 507.

OVERHEARD.

It was still late when Jayne woke up, just not late enough to be called early. If they were planet side, it might even have been dark. Things never got dark on Serenity, not really.

But they got quiet.

When everyone was asleep and the ship had powered down a little, it got real quiet. Jayne didn't like it when it was empty. Usually he'd just turn over and go to sleep again, but he couldn't do it. He wasn't sure why. Maybe it had something to do with the dream he'd just been having. Maybe it was the way his hand kept reaching out to feel the warm body that wasn't there.

So what else was there to do, but go find some kind of food and trick his body into thinking it was full?

He heard their voices when he got closer to the kitchen. They were well past drunk and he waited to hear if anyone else was there. Nope, far as he could tell, it was just Kaylee and Inara.

Giggling.

"Really?"

"Oh, 'Nara, I know he ain't like one of your fancy clients or nothin', but he's just so... mmmph."

Mmph? What the hell was mmph?

"Oh, I don't know, Kaylee, there's a lot to be said for the rugged types."

"Yeah." She hiccupped. "Rugged. He's that alright."

"He's certainly not anyone the guild would approve of, but I'd be lying if I said I haven't looked."

More giggles.

"Who hasn't? You seen him on that weight bench? Muscles all up one arm and down the other."

"Yes, he's certainly..." A pause and Jayne strained to hear what was said. "... built."

"Built? Way he presses those weights. Up and down. Up and down. Ugh. Sometimes I just wish he'd press me up and down a few times. Just give me a good goin' over. You know?"

"Yes." It came out like a long sigh.

There was a pause and more laughter.

"'Nara!"

"What? I'm still human, aren't I? A girl gets... curious."

"Any more curiouser an' I'm gonna explode. At least you get some regular."

"No, Kaylee, I give some, I don't get some. It's an entirely different thing."

"One thing I can tell you, 'Nara, the man likes to give. At least, I think so. He's just so... when we..."

"Really?"

Giggle.

"Oh, you got no idea. He likes to tease an' nuzzle an'..."

"You're gonna make me jealous, mei mei."

Jayne coughed loudly and tried not to grin too wide as he made his way in and walked over to the kettle. He nearly laughed out loud at the blush that swam all over Inara's face as she sat up straight and tried to fix her hair.

"What're you two ladies doin' up so late?"

"Nothin'" Kaylee gave him a long, slow grin and he had to smile back. "Just talkin'."

"Hello Jayne." All prim and proper.

"Funny thing..." Jayne carried his mug over to the table and sat down. "They say eavesdroppers don't ever hear no good thing."

***

Prompt #041: Watch. Words: 622.

HAPPINESS.

Kaylee sat in the copilot's chair with her feet up on the console.

She rarely ever sat in the pilot's chair, even now, because she couldn't stop her eyes from tracing out the seam of the repair work, the pathway of damage that was fading, but still visible if you looked hard enough.

So she sat in the other seat and kept her eyes trained out on the landscape, not that she could see anything, not that she could see what she was looking for. Serenity wasn't even pointed in the right direction.

His footsteps echoed into the room before his knock did.

When everyone else was out, which happened a lot more than it ever used to, and it was just the two of them together, Serenity felt awesomely huge and vast. Too big and ready to swallow them both up.

"They're not back yet?" She didn't respond, didn't think she needed to. "No, of course they're not."

He took the seat across from her and it had taken so long for Kaylee not to think of it as Wash's seat. Her fingers twisted in the little strap of leather she held.

"It's supposed to bring happiness." She didn't even need to look down at the medallion, the mirrored image, her brain had already memorized the shape of it. "That's what you said."

She felt rather than saw his eyes flicker down to it.

"Kaylee..."

"Maybe you can give it to River." It was strange, the little sound she made, it might even have been a laugh. "Don't know if she'd want it, though, knowing its history and all."

Her arm stretched out as far as she could reach, stretching across the consoles and her eyes caught the symbol as it floated in air, easily tossed across the room. He caught it, took his time in studying it.

"I am sorry, Simon."

It seemed like an eternity before he answered her.

"I'm not." The words made her gasp and she couldn't help but stare at him. "I was upset at first, I know I said things I shouldn't have, I mean, who wouldn't?"

She waited for him to continue.

"But I've been watching you, the two of you together, and I realized something." He looked up at her and his eyes were crystal clear. "You were right, Kaylee, and it was selfish of me not to understand that."

"There wasn't anything right about what I done to you."

It was very small, the smile that flickered over his lips, and it wasn't a happy one.

"No, perhaps not, but you were right when you said you deserved it all and I couldn't give it to you." He sighed. "I see him with you now, how he can't bear to look anywhere else when you're in the room, how he can't think about anything or anyone else, not even himself, until he's convinced you're happy and I think about all the times I brushed you off or made you wait or gave you the same, tired excuses."

"You tried."

"No, Kaylee, that's just it." He stood up and walked over to stand behind her chair. "I didn't try hard enough and I have no one to blame for that, but myself."

It was strange, so very strange, to feel his hands reach up and pull her hair back and to the side. It hadn't been long enough for her to forget his touch, to forget the familiarity of his body near hers. She felt the tremor in his hand and wondered if he was thinking the same thing.

"I bought it for you, Kaylee." He fastened the medallion around her neck. "It means happiness and I still want you to have that."

***

Prompt #042: Monsters. Words: 630.

REALITY.

Reality is a matrix of time pressed into a line of memories. The inherent problem with that definition is that, while it can be trusted to be remain linear, it can also be subjective from person to person.

Sometimes she wondered what her reality would look like if it ever remained linear, as it was written in the texts. If she could ever trust point A to lead her straight to point B without deviating through points X, G, M and back again.

Maybe her reality was linear and it was her memories that couldn't be trusted, maybe it was the way she pressed them into an order understandable to no one but herself.

Or it was entirely possible that she was just as bat shit crazy as they said.

"River? Mei mei, open your eyes."

"I can't! I won't! It's there."

"There's nothing here."

That's what he kept saying, but she could see it. Hovering around him, seething, breathing, waiting. Just waiting. Always waiting.

"Hey River, how're you doing today?"

"Why won't you make it go away?"

"I... I don't..."

"It's okay, Kaylee, she's been like this since yesterday. I don't know what it is. She's been doing so well."

As if he didn't know, as if they didn't all know. Just because they didn't say anything, didn't mean it didn't exist between the awkward silences and white elephants in the middle of the room.

"You can't solve it by ignoring it! Like we needed to add more variations to the equation, the raw materials aren't equipped for it. The exponential potentials are catastrophic. Can't you see?"

"You need a hand, Doc?"

They were going to kill her.

"No, it's okay, Jayne, I'm sure we can handle it from here."

She felt the small prick of a needle in her forearm and wondered which of the matrixes of reality this one belonged to.

Buzz and soothe and float and deny. Burn the middle from the ends and say goodnight. They weren't ever going to see, but she could. She knew it was there. Waiting, boring deeper and deeper until it couldn't be ignored. Until it ate them whole.

"Mei mei?"

"Go away, Simon. Just go."

"It's okay, Simon, I'll stay with her."

When she was alone, Kaylee was easy to deal with. Her eyes blinked heavy and she tried to stay awake, tried to see woman without the cloud. The way she used to be.

"Don't let it eat you, Kaylee."

She could reach out and touch her then, press a finger into the soft skin of Kaylee's cheek.

"Oh, River."

She sounded sad and River knew it was because of her, because she was lying in her bed trying to fight the drugs and because they all thought she'd been getting better and they'd almost forgotten the worse days and now they were scared it was all coming back.

"He says it's not there, but it is. It seethes when he sees you together. And you say it's not there, but you won't get past it, it blocks you, keeps you from what you want."

"River?"

She didn't even know if she knew anymore. The words came too fast and sleep was coming faster.

"But it's festering in Jayne. He sees two sides of the coin, has been there and doesn't want to go back. Insult to injury isn't his way. He can't hurt another like he was hurt, but he's going to hurt someone else dearer because of it."

"Shh. Oh, River, don't you worry none about any of us."

"Can't help it." If only she could stop the truth. "It's too strong to block out."

If only she could tell Kaylee it wasn't her fault, but she couldn't tell if even that was real any more.

***

Prompt #043: Time. Words: 418.

BUBBLES.

Kaylee smiled as she reached out to take the plate from the drainer. It was still warm and her fingers relished in the heat that resided there. Tonight was good, as good as they could expect lately.

"Purple." River laughed.

Better in some aspects than others and she let herself look at River, to take in the relaxed look of her face, the smile that lingered in her eyes as she buried her hands deep into the water and pulled out another dish.

"You got that straight from my head!" More laughter. "But it sure did look uncomfortable from where I stood."

She saw the secret smile that lingered over River's face and only had to wonder at it for a second before she felt a hand at her waist. Large and comfortable, it sat there, warm, sending a shock wave that rocked her on her axis.

Or perhaps he was trying to throw her off balance.

He leaned around to nuzzle her neck a little and she smiled, reached to the side and skidded her hand over the top of the sink to send a spray of water in his direction. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw River duck with her smile still in place.

"You wanna play like that, do ya?"

It was probably less than a second she had to feel regret at her actions before he'd reached around her, gathering a handful of suds and daubing her face with them. She tried to blow the bubbles from her nose as she dodged out of his grasp.

Kaylee heard herself squealing as Jayne chased her around the kitchen with a towel, rolling it tightly and flicking her with it. Air was hot in her lungs when she tried to breathe. He caught her, not entirely against her will, and brought her body up flush with his and they both stopped still. Breath heavy.

But she still caught the sight of River flinching. Such a small expression, a furrowing of her brows and twisting of her mouth that she covered quickly and easily.

Then Jayne stood a little bit straighter and picked up the towel he'd dropped.

"Best get back to finishing these chores."

The mood was gone and Kaylee didn't even need to turn around to see that Simon was standing in the doorway.

"I think we need to talk." No one said anything, but no one besides River met her eyes either. "The three of us. We can't do this anymore."

***

Prompt #044: Seasons. Words: 866.

AWKWARD.

They followed her mulishly into the second shuttle.

"We done this already, Kaylee."

"No." She whirled around to face them. "You and I have talked, Jayne, and Simon and I have talked, and maybe the two of you had some kind of pissing contest when I wasn't around, but the three of us haven't been in a room together since this whole thing started."

"I meant what I said the other day." Simon looked at her. "Really, I just want..."

Jayne's expression said a lot as to what he wasn't saying. Neither of them looked at each other.

"Yeah, an' I already said I didn't..."

"Stop it." She glared at both of them. "We've all said how much none of this bothers us. And we all know it's a bunch of fei oo. We need to clear the air, if for nothin' other than it's gonna kill River if we don't."

They both looked embarrassed.

*

They sat around a small table. Jayne and Kaylee sat opposite each other and Simon sat at right angles to them both. The air was thick and Kaylee wondered if it was really only an hour ago she'd been in the kitchen playing with River as they did the dishes.

"I told you I understand what happened." Simon sighed. "I don't blame you."

"But you still feel..." She insisted.

"Yes." His eyes flashed. "It's hard to see you together. I know why you left me, Kaylee, I do. I agree with you. I told you that, but... I see the mistakes I made and I can't help wonder what would happen if I had another chance."

"You had your..." Jayne bit his lip when she glared again.

"I'm not asking." Simon told him evenly. "I've already said that. I made mistakes and now I have to accept responsibility for them. But you have to understand that it's still fresh and it's still... painful."

He bit the word off at the end and she tried not to think how hard it was for him to admit it out loud. Especially in front of Jayne.

"I know it's hard." She saw Jayne make a frustrated move with his hand and kept speaking. "But, Simon, you have to understand, I never once apologized for wantin' things and I ain't gonna start. Jayne makes me happy and I need that for me right now."

They fell back to silence and she sighed at the bare wooden table top.

*

"I don't have nothin' to share."

"Jayne." She looked up at him as he paced the small shuttle space around the spare crates "There's gotta be some issue..."

"Only issue I have is that we're still talkin' 'bout this. It ain't my fault if the Doc here gets weepy."

Kaylee didn't think she needed to elaborate on the sigh she gave, it was evident in the way he looked away from her that he'd gotten the message, but she continued anyway.

"River told me that you don't want to hurt Simon and that's why you're holding back." She saw Simon jolt a little, the surprise widening his eyes as he sat there. "That you know what it felt like."

"Is that true?" She winced at Simon's timing.

"Got nothin' to do with you, Doc, so don't go writin' my name in that diary of yours." Jayne twisted his hands into each other and stopped pacing. "Maybe I just don't want to hurt Kaylee more'n she has been. An' if that means walking around your prissy egg shells, then..."

"Fine." Simon raised his hands in surrender. "I didn't mean anything..."

Jayne's hand landed on the table next to him.

"You never do..."

"Okay." Kaylee smiled, big and bright and false. "That's not helping."

"What about you, then, Kaylee?" Jayne turned to face her. "Why're you holding back?"

*

When did she start crying?

"I don't want to hurt no one no more."

Jayne had sat down again and she felt as if the two of them wanted to shift their chairs around, to get closer to her, maybe pat her on the back or even hold her hand. The fact that neither of them moved, not even a muscle as they both sat straining not to give an inch, made her feel worse than ever.

"An' every time I do somethin' lately, someone gets hurt."

"No." Simon's soft voice.

"Don't think like that, Kaylee." Jayne sounded sad for her.

"It just seems," She couldn't help choking back the little sob that bubbled up, "every time I took somethin' I wanted, it hurt someone else: you, Simon, or you, Jayne, now it's even hurting River and I can't do that."

"So you're making us do it for you?" She looked up and saw the hint of humor and challenge in Simon's eyes and was grateful for it. "Do you think that's fair?"

Kaylee shook her head.

"So we agreed then, are we?" Jayne laid his hands on the table. "We ain't gonna feel guilty for other people not ourselves. An' we ain't gonna pretend not to feel bad if that's what we feel. An' we ain't gonna hold back for fear of hurtin' them either."

They nodded.

***

Prompt #045: Want. Words: 1043.

WANT.

"You ok?" Jayne watched as she swiped at the corners of her eyes and gave a half hearted nod. "I mean it, you sure?"

"Yeah." She sniffled. "Guess I been holding that in."

"Guess we all have."

She looked up at him as he waited by the door. Her cheeks were blotched, her eyes watery and she looked about as drained as he felt. He wrapped his arm around her shoulder as she stepped close.

"Come here." His lips touched her forehead and she nodded against him. "You done good, Kaylee."

"Maybe."

"No, not maybe." He placed one finger under her chin and forced her to look up at him. "You done real good."

Her eyes shifted a little, left to right, and he didn't look away, kept his own eyes open so she could find whatever it was she was looking for. It musta been good, what she found, 'cause Jayne was pretty sure it was a good reaction for her to step up on her tiptoes and kiss him.

Especially when her hands came up to his waist and grabbed on tight.

"Hang on." He grabbed her shoulders and turned her so that her back was to the door and he could reach under her arm to turn the little lock on the handle. "Just makin' sure."

She allowed herself a smile and raised her eyebrow at him as she leaned back against the door. He placed one hand flat, just to the left of her head.

"Any reason you feel you needed to lock us in?"

He placed the other to the right.

"Maybe." He grinned and leaned in to kiss her cheek. "I just wanted some time alone."

And the other cheek. Her hands found their way under his shirt and he bent his neck down further to kiss along the small underside of her jaw, letting his tongue rasp along her skin. He loved the way she gasped in and held her breath when he did that, loved the way her fingers closed in on his skin.

"So I could do this." He kept his hands on the wall beside her head as he worked his way up to take the lobe of her ear between his teeth, squeezing it gently. "And this."

He ground against her softly.

"An' maybe this."

It almost tickled, the way her fingers traced along his sides and around his back, kneading into his spine, pressing deep into the muscles there and dragging him closer.

His thigh nudged its way between her legs and he smiled into her neck as she moaned just a little. Her hands bunched up his shirt and pulled it up over his head as he let go just enough to let her.

Her eyes were wide and her lips just not swollen enough.

He pressed forward so that he could kiss her, made it hard and desperate and didn't give her time to breathe as he thrust his tongue into her mouth and ran his hands over her hair, down her face so that he could cup her chin and hold her up to him.

"Jayne." She sighed it around his mouth and he felt a tremble go through him.

"We ain't holdin' back." He reminded her as they broke apart. "So you tell me what you want."

"I already said." It was torment, that little twist to her mouth as she smiled, her eyes gleaming. "Jayne."

She made her voice deep and breathy when she said it and that made him close his eyes for a second. Long enough for her to have shucked her own shirt when he opened them again, skin gleaming as he just looked for a moment.

"Ye soo, Kaylee." She reached out and placed a hand behind each of his ears as she pulled him in for another kiss. "You're gonna be the death of me."

"Not until we're finished, I hope." He heard her breathy giggle just before he kissed her again.

His mouth sucked at the corner of her lips, at her chin, down around her neck again as he ran his hands over her breasts, lifting one and then the other. His own fingers were rough, the skin weathered and the contrast of her skin on them was enough to drive him wild as he felt her nipples harden again him.

The veins in her throat jumped as he sucked a line down her neck to her collar bone, her hands grabbing at his shoulders and he couldn't tell if she was trying to pull him up or push him down.

He traced a line down between her breasts and over her belly button, around the trembling flesh of her belly and to her hips, which he pushed back against the wall as his mouth came down to nuzzle around each breast. He could actually hear the sound of his bristles against her skin.

Jayne wasn't ever going to shave again.

The buttons on her coverall popped open easily as he fumbled with them, sucking hard on her right nipple and listening to her moan again. She shifted, letting her pants fall to the floor and kicking out of her sandals as her hands undid his pants.

"You sure?"

"Jayne." Her voice was a low, throaty growl. "You stop now an' I will kill you."

He laughed as he grabbed her hips and lifted her, pressing himself up between her thighs and pinning her to the wall. She wrapped her legs around his hips, her arms around his neck and began kissing his jaw.

His hands ran up the underside of her arms, finding her wrists and holding them up above her head. He nudged her face back up so that he could look into her eyes.

"Kaylee."

She panted.

"Jayne." Her lips hung open as she tried to lean forward and get his mouth again. "I want this, dammit."

He grinned at her.

"Jayne?" A plea, a small, desperate plea. "Please. I want it."

"You want it?" He ground into her slightly, felt her thrust up at him. "Maybe that ain't enough."

"Ain't...?" She was on the verge of growling. "Jayne, I need you."

"There." He leaned forward again, kissing her hard as he slid in. "That's better."

***

Prompt #046: Need. Words: 365.

GOOD.

It wasn't soft and tender. It was hard and fast. It was her arms aching as he held them tight, forearms sliding against each other. It was his hips stretching out the muscles of her thighs. It was his breath hot in her ear. It was her biting her lip in the struggle not to cry out loud as he took her nipple between his teeth and bit gently. It was messy.

In other words: it was good.

Kaylee couldn't, for the life of her, think on why they had waited so long. If she had any say in it, they certainly wouldn't be leaving it so long again.

They were just too good at it.

"Jayne." She wasn't too proud to beg. "Jayne, please?"

He moaned low and long, making his chest rumble and he thrust harder, just once.

"God, girl." He sucked at her bottom lip. "You even make my name sound dirty."

She would do just about anything to keep him talking, to make that husk in his voice keep sliding over her ears and into her blood. It sent shivers through her. Even if he didn't say anything, just groaned. What the sound of him did to her, was downright criminal.

It was like he knew it, too.

As she pressed forward, stretching her shoulder blades as she ran her tongue up his neck, he groaned her name. Over and over again, her name, rasping out with his hot breath.

Hot and jerky and shuddering breath, like their bodies slamming against the wall. Wet and slick with each other, the smell of salt and musk and the sound of skin slapping against skin.

He paused mid thrust.

"Say it again."

"Please, Jayne?"

In hard and out again. She couldn't stop the moan.

"Again."

"Jayne." He thrust slowly. "I need..."

"What?"

Too slowly.

"Now, Jayne, please?"

She threw her head back, felt the back of it hit the door and didn't care as he kept the steady rhythm, in and out and in again. Hot tongue at her throat, his chin scratching her skin raw and his arms holding her up.

"Again."

"Please, Jayne." Her hips rocked forward, hard and violent. "Now."

***

Prompt #047: Vengeance. Words: 441.

PAYBACK.

Jayne woke up alone. And cold.

He couldn't imagine why Kaylee had left him here, lying in the abandoned shuttle, 'cause the last thing he remembered was pulling her close and snuggling up with her. Feeling her breathe right next to him, warm and content. Now she was gone.

And, on top of that, so were his clothes.

A quick look around the shuttle told him that anything that he could remotely use to cover himself was long gone. There were crates, but even he couldn't heft them properly enough to cover what needed to be covered.

Fine then.

It should still be early enough that everyone was in their bunks, or possibly in the kitchen getting breakfast. At least, if he was lucky they would be. That there thought should have told him what was wrong with his plan.

Jayne Cobb had never been particularly lucky.

He knew what had happened the moment he stuck his head out the door to check. Five people were seated, chairs lined up neatly across from him, quite happily watching his approach.

"Mal. Simon." He nodded. "River. Inara. Zoe. How ya goin'?"

Mal grinned, reached into his bag of chips and tossed one into his mouth.

"Mornin' Jayne."

"Yeah." He didn't think it sounded like an agreement, but he also didn't think any one of 'em really cared. "You got a blanket or somethin' out here? Have ya?"

"Not really." Simon was just a little too smug.

"What about that shawl, Inara?"

"My shawl is not touching your..." She paused and he grinned. "... you."

"Zoe?" His last chance, 'cause he might not have been a mind reader, but he didn't think he needed to be to understand that the glee on River's face meant she wasn't about to be rushin' to help him. "Zoe, come on."

"Not a chance, Jayne."

He gauged the distance between the shuttle to the crew quarters, wouldn't be but a few seconds that they'd have to look. A precious few seconds in which he'd have to walk right past 'em.

That's when he saw Kaylee peeking her head around the door. Her eyes widened when she saw him looking.

"Kaylee!" Modesty. What modesty? He threw the door open and gave chase. "You get back here!"

"Oh, god, I think I'm blind!"

"River, don't look!"

"What? The visuals will aid the imagination in later..."

"Oh, mei mei, no! I don't want to hear that."

"Kaylee!" He heard her giggle as he saw her disappear into the kitchen. "I'm gonna catch you, you know."

"Maybe." Her laughter came back to him. "And maybe next time you shouldn't make me beg!"

***

Prompt #048: Direction. Words: 303.

FISH.

"Ha!" Kaylee slapped a card down and gloated. "I believe that makes me the winner. Yet again. Hand 'em over, fellas."

She collected her nice little pile of papers amid the soft grumblings of Simon and Jayne seated across from her. So far, the game had been going well and only marginally uncomfortable.

"Rin." River breezily walked into the common room. "Rina. Rina Baligi."

"River." Simon was as close to annoyed with his sister as Kaylee had ever heard him. "If you don't stop it, you can turn around and go."

She poked her tongue out.

"Rinaetopsaro."

"I understand, okay?" Simon sighed. "You were right, I was wrong. You win."

"What's goin' on?" Jayne's eyes flicked between River and Simon. "Are we missin' something?"

"Yeah." Kaylee had to agree. "She's been sayin' all that weird stuff for days now."

"Tell me about it." Simon sent another glare her way. "She only stops when Mal's in the room. He's already used his captain privileges to order her to stop."

"Cease and desist." Was River's happy retort. "But the message hasn't gotten through."

"Yes it has." Simon tossed the remainder of his cards on the table as he stood up. "I already gave in. What more do you want?"

And he stormed out of the room.

"River." Kaylee gave her a look. "What are you doing to the poor man?"

"Just as he said." She grinned as she picked at an energy bar. "He was upset and I told him not to be, because there were many more fish in the sea. He challenged me to name them."

"Oh." Kaylee tried not to laugh. She tried hard. "But aren't there hundred of different fish?"

"Five thousand, three hundred and seventy one common names alone." River answered happily. "And I'm only up to R."

Jayne chuckled.

***

Prompt #049: First Love. Words: 414.

LIZZIE.

He'd been right. Not that it surprised him. If there was one thing Jayne would have picked about Kaylee first off, it was that she'd most likely be one to cuddle.

And the time of day didn't matter, none, either.

He was getting used to having her hands on him. Soft, sure, knowing hands that ran over his arms or back. Of course, that meant he was free to touch her and he wasn't about to argue that fact.

It was like she had a magnet in the small of her back that drew his fingers, those two small divots above her ass just pulled his hand right in. He was useless to power such as that.

She curled up against him, her whole body sighing as she smiled, one hand playing with the hairs across his chest.

"You don't talk much about when you were little."

He ran his hand down her back, splaying his fingers across the rise and fall of her shoulder blades.

"I wasn't ever little."

"You're just bein' grumpy." She lifted her face to kiss his chin and he felt her foot slide on up his ankle. "It couldn't have been all that bad."

"Yeah, it could."

"I don't believe you, Mr. Cobb. You turned out pretty good an' I know your Ma still writes you." How was a man supposed to resist a pout like that? "Tell me somethin' nice, then. Tell me 'bout the first girl you loved."

"Oh, hey, that's a strong..."

"Liked then." She sighed against him. "It's just a word."

"She was small." He started, anything to distract her. "Real tiny thing, could pick her up with one hand. Woulda been about ten when I first saw her."

Kaylee was watching him with a little furrow in her brow and he wanted to kiss it.

"I figured she was too good for the likes of me an' I'd never even get to lay a hand on her, but I wanted to. Oh, how I wanted to."

Her frown wasn't going anywhere and Jayne felt the corners of his mouth turn up into a grin. He just couldn't help it.

"I was wrong, though, I did get her and she was every bit as magical as I knew she'd be. Oh, she was a beauty." He sighed heavily. "I sure do miss her, sometimes, Lisbeth."

"Jayne!" She slapped him square in the middle of his chest. "You still got her. Lizzie's one of your guns!"

***

Prompt #050: Weapons. Words: 486.

SHORT SKIRTS.

"Stop it!" He shielded himself as best he could against her. "Stop hittin' me."

"I was serious, Jayne."

"Well then." Oh, she could forgive anything when he smiled like that. "You tell me somethin' about the first boy you ever..."

"What?" Kaylee looked up so that she could look in his eyes. "The first boy I ever what?"

He grinned.

"You decide, then let me know."

"You sure you wanna hear my sordid history, Jayne? You strike me as the jealous type."

She settled back into his arms and let her eyes linger over the broad expanse of chest before her.

"Most of the women I been with lately 're whores, Kaylee." He ran his fingers through her hair. "Long as your stories don't match up with theirs', I think I can manage just fine."

She giggled.

"I think I can fly in under that radar.” And she sighed. “Barely. Ok, the first boy I ever really liked was Billy Wu. I was nine and he pulled my hair. I cried all night.”

“Want me to punch ‘im for ya?”

She laughed and rolled over onto her back.

“I think I’m over it. ‘Sides, he kissed me when I was eleven. Then I punched him myself.”

“You punched a kid?”

“He kissed another girl on the same day.” Her shoulders scrunched up into a shrug. “What was I supposed to do? After that, there were a few boys here and there I really liked.”

“You liked a lot of boys, huh?” Maybe she was imagining it, but his fingers paused for a second in her hair. “You ever loved any of ‘em?”

“Love.” She sighed. “My kind ain’t the sort to love, Jayne, it’s a fine idea, though.”

“What do you mean your kind?”

“My kind, your kind. I know you ain’t stupid.” She rolled over again so she was half lying on top of him. “You spend your time as a kid thinkin’ about growin’ up and fallin’ in love with one person and living the best life ever lived. Then you grow up.”

She rested her chin on his shoulder.

“And then you spend some more time thinkin’ about findin’ someone nice, or at least half way decent, who’ll take you away from the planet before you’re so stuck there you ain’t ever got no hope of leaving.”

His hand was still now.

“And then you start trying to find anyone, anyone at all, who’ll fall for a pretty smile and a wink and a skirt that’s a little too short.” Kaylee didn’t feel like smiling anymore, so she burrowed her face into his neck. “And sooner or later what you liked about yourself wasn’t more’n a weapon to be used on some stupid border planet hick breezing through town on a pretty ship.”

“Huh.” Jayne’s hand began to stroke her hair again. “That never worked for me. Guess my skirts weren’t short enough.”

***

End for now...

COMMENTS

Thursday, December 15, 2005 3:45 AM

BOOKADDICT


I'm loving this series and can't wait for the next fifty! there are so many good lines, but I do like the last couple. Jayne’s hand began to stroke her hair again. “That never worked for me. Guess my skirts weren’t short enough.”

Thursday, December 15, 2005 4:00 AM

CANTONHEROINE


The Big Five-O. Half-way home. Well done!
I've loved all of these so far and can't wait to see where the rest of it's gonna go, especially since some of the prompts coming up sound kinda ominous. Destruction, Apocalypse, Terror, Betrayal... Yeesh.
As long as you promise me a happy ending, though, I can handle the angst. ;P

Friday, December 16, 2005 6:48 AM

CUB


Thanks for explaining the Joss 100. See the lightbulb over my head and the dim glow it's now emitting?

I think the Inara/Kaylee scene was my favorite part. The Bubbles scene was lots of fun, too. Both had everything I love best about your writing. Love Jayne missing Vera as well.

Sure, you do angst and sexual frustration like no one else in the 'verse, but yay for silly Jacqui!

The River perspective was incredible. Particularly:

"Sometimes she wondered what her reality would look like if it ever remained linear, as it was written in the texts. If she could ever trust point A to lead her straight to point B without deviating through points X, G, M and back again.


Maybe her reality was linear and it was her memories that couldn't be trusted, maybe it was the way she pressed them into an order understandable to no one but herself."

And bonus points for using the word "mullishly."


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