BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

JACQUI

The Best Deceptions: Ch 3
Thursday, December 29, 2005

Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive. (Jayne/Kaylee).


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 3032    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

Third part, third day. What possible trouble can they get into?

Disclaimer: At this point, Joss can claim Jayne and Kaylee. He probably wouldn't want to claim the rest, but they're mine anyway.

Rated: There's very little here, but I'll call it PG, maybe.

Feedback: Is so very shiny. I love it all. Give it me, give it me good. Comment or email: wily_one24@yahoo.com.au

***

Parts: one and two.

***

CHAPTER THREE.

Jayne crept into the room softly. It was damned cold, had been for the past few hours he'd been waiting outside. He could see her shape in the half dark and smiled as he leaned down close to her.

"Kaylee?"

He placed his hands on the side of the mattress.

"Mm?" Her eye lids twitched a little.

"Kaylee?" He whispered it again, close to her face now. "You awake, Kaylee?"

"Huh?" She blinked slowly and focused on him. "Oh, Jayne."

"Yeah. It's me." He gripped the mattress and pulled up, effectively tipping her onto the floor. "An' I'm cold. It's my turn on the bed tonight."

***

"Auntie Lee?"

A small voice woke her up. Kaylee frowned as she felt the crick in her neck. The floor was a damned uncomfortable place to sleep. She opened her eyes to see Lilly's face peering at her from over the bed.

"Morning." She stretched herself out and sat up. "Isn't it early?"

"Nope." Jayne grinned at her from his position, quite comfortable, on top of the bed. "Not if you can hear that squallin'."

And there it was, Ivy could be heard through the walls. A loud, insistent wail which sounded like she had worked up some steam and wasn't going to stop anytime soon.

"You slept on the floor last night?" Lilly blinked, confused.

"Yeah." She pulled herself up to a standing position. "I ro..."

"Rolled, I know." Lilly shrugged. "I walked in on momma and daddy rolling once and now I have to knock."

***

"Here." Mary sat a container on the table in front of them. "You can take these over to the Nelsons' today."

Kaylee looked up, a curve of a smile on her face.

"You been cookin', Ma?"

"I promised Nana I'd send somethin' over."

She was wondering how they were going to spend the day. Her Pa, Joe and the boys were all off working. It had promised to be a very quiet day. Quiet, that is, except for the crying.

"Sorry." Betty appeared at the door to the room she was sharing with Joe and the girls, a rather irate baby being bounced in her arms. "She's been like this since Joe left early."

"You get any sleep yourself?" Mary asked her. "You ain't gonna do her any favors you wear yourself down."

"I will, I will." A loud sigh gave lie to Betty's statement. "It's just, usually only Joe can get her to settle when she's like this."

"Here." The sound of Jayne standing up made Kaylee turn to watch as he kept speaking. "You sit down, I'll take her."

"Oh no." Betty blushed. "She'll be fine, she just needs..."

"For her mother to stop wearin' herself thin." Mary said sternly. "Do as the man says."

"I think you should, Betty." Kaylee spoke up. "They're ganging up on you an' I don't think you can take both of 'em."

There was something altogether hypnotic about Jayne taking hold of a tiny baby. Kaylee couldn't take her eyes off him, his huge hands as they cradled Ivy's head. Big, strong muscles all over his arms and chest that surrounded her all over when they could just as easily crush her. Kaylee sighed.

And Ivy stopped crying.

"There, that's better." Jayne sent a glare downwards. "Now give yer mother some peace, child."

A small hiccupped gurgling sounded as agreement.

"Thank you." Sighed Betty with a small wave. "And now she's all yours. Enjoy."

"But..." He looked up in panic and sat down on another chair.

"You got the gift, Jayne." Mary looked him over with approval. "Don't fight it."

"Guess I'm goin' out alone." Kaylee leaned over Jayne's shoulder to place a soft kiss on Ivy's still warm forehead. "I won't be long."

"Oh, no you ain't." Mary huffed. "I send you over to Nana Kent with a box of biscuits and no muffin to speak of an' she'll throttle me stupid."

"Muffin?" She frowned for a moment and then her mouth fell open. "Ma!"

"What?" A grin and innocent eyes. "Her words, not mine. That woman may be old, Kaylee, but she ain't blind yet."

***

Jayne stared forward, his eyebrows furrowed. Green eyes stared right back at him, framed by long, long lashes. He'd propped Ivy up on the table, half sitting on the edge as his hands wrapped around her torso, underneath her arms.

"She looks... serious."

Kaylee said from somewhere to the right. He'd been waiting for the lot of them to get ready and had spent the last ten minutes involved in a heated staring contest with a baby who couldn't even sit up by her own self.

He'd only lost twice so far.

"Yeah." Kid was stubborn and her bottom lip pouched out in a pout he found too familiar. "But she ain't cryin'."

"She likes you, I think. She's got good taste."

Blink.

Damn it.

He looked over to see Kaylee standing there, watching the two of them and her expression made him nervous. Not that he had much time for that, soon as he'd looked away Ivy'd started fussin' and twisting in his grasp.

A quick hoist and he lifted her off the table and onto his lap. Her head was so soft when he ran a hand down it, all feather light hair and warm skin. He watched as Kaylee's hand came out of nowhere and followed the path of his own down the small skull.

"She's pretty." Kaylee sighed. "Don't you think?"

"'Course she is." He smiled. "She looks just like her aunt."

It made him wonder if the blush that flowed over Kaylee's cheeks was 'cause he'd just called her pretty, or 'cause she was just gushin' over the kid. He kinda hoped it was the first one.

"You think?" Kaylee screwed up her nose and turned her head to the side. "I don't see it."

Yeah, she was just waxin' all sad and yearnin' over the kid. He couldn't imagine knowin' Mattie had a kid and not bein' about to see it, having blood kin and not even meeting 'em. Had to be worse for Kaylee, if anyone was devoted to family and all that mushy woman stuff, it was her.

"What do ya mean, you don't see it?" He bounced his knee a bit and turned Ivy to face her. "It's plain as day. Look..."

Ivy's hand was tiny when he grabbed it and waved it up and down at Kaylee, making his voice all high and squeaky.

"Port thruster! Main line failure!" There, that was a little spark of a smile on Kaylee's face. "We need a compression coil! Ship's gonna blow without a new coil, Cap'n!"

And a laugh.

"How 'bout...?" Kaylee reached over, taking Ivy's little fist and waving it back at Jayne. "... Stop it or I'm gonna shove the coil up your..."

"Hey!" Jayne wrapped his hand around Ivy's head, covering both her ears and shielding her. "That ain't appropriate!"

"We're ready!" Lilly danced into the room and grabbed Kaylee's hands to pull her up. "Let's go."

"You sure you don't mind us taggin' along?" Betty wasn't far behind, shadows under her eyes, but a bounce in her step. "We can be kind of tiring, the three of us."

"'Course we don't mind." Kaylee looked back. "And it ain't like Ivy's lettin' go of Jayne. Where she goes, you go."

"Yup." Betty sighed. "Sadly, my boobs don't travel without me."

"You need to get out and about, girl." Mary pushed her out the door, then turned to Jayne. "You make sure she gets some fresh air. Take her the long walk around."

***

"No." Kaylee sighed and sent a sideways glance to Jayne. "I told you, Nana Kent isn't anyone's nana, not really. She just lives with the Nelsons. She's gotta live somewhere."

Ahead of them, Lilly reached the gate and pushed it open. Kaylee could see a table on the front lawn already. It had been there as long as she could remember. And the little old lady that sat there was still the same, too.

"C'mon." She linked her right arm with Betty and Jayne with her left. "Let's get this over with."

"She's not that bad." Laughed Betty. "And she loves you, you know it."

In his free arm, Jayne still cradled a sleeping Ivy like it was nothing. Like he hadn't been carrying her for the last fifteen minutes. Just like it was the most natural thing in the world. It was a dangerous, dangerous thing for Kaylee to be thinkin' on, how good he was at it, how good he'd be if he ever had to do it himself.

Oh, but that was something else that was dangerous to think on, 'cause Kaylee'd trained herself long and hard not to keep dreamin' those dreams. A life out the black was exciting and not always in a good way. In that argument, she could never decide whether to agree with Zoe or Wash. She always kinda agreed with both of them.

"Nana Kent!" Lilly ran up to her. "We all came. 'Cause Ivy wouldn't stop cryin' and only Jayne could settle 'er and she won't let him go now and Momma had to come with them an' so I came, too!"

"Good thing, then." Nana Smiled and bent forward to let Lilly kiss her on the cheek, before looking up. "Morning."

"I brought these from Mama." Kaylee bent down to kiss her, giving her a look as she put the tin on the table. "Just like you asked."

"Morning Nana." Betty leaned down to kiss her as well.

"Good to see you out and about." She replied pointedly. "If this was all it took, I woulda ordered you out weeks ago."

"I get out." Betty turned to run her fingers over a sleeping Ivy. "I get out lots. Didn't have no choice today. Ivy's fussin' and she's taken a liking to Jayne."

"Yeah, well, girl's got good taste." Nana smiled at Jayne. "Tell you what, I was seventy years younger, I'd give young Winnie, here, a run for her money."

She winced, Kaylee actually winced. She saw Jayne give her that puzzled look again. So she settled for distraction.

"Where's Annaliese?"

Nana Kent gave her a look, that look which had always meant the woman wasn't fooled, not in the slightest.

"She's inside, gettin' together some drinks and sandwiches and the like. Why don't you two," Nana looked at Kaylee and Betty. "go in, take her these biscuits and help her?"

"Oh." Kaylee tried to smile. "It don't take two of us."

"Yes, it does." Nana's voice left no room for argument and Kaylee knew when she was beat. Nana turned to Lilly. "And you, child, I hear there's a big green tin on the bench inside just chock full of salt taffy."

Lilly's eyes got real wide.

"I ain't never had salt taffy!"

"Well, there you go." Nana winked. "You go in and you tell Annaliese that I said you were to have carte blanche of that tin and if she has a problem with it to come out and talk to me."

"Thanks!"

And Lilly was off. Betty gave Kaylee one quick look of sympathy and Kaylee looked over to Jayne.

"Go." He said calmly as he sat down. "Me an' Ivy'll be fine."

Kaylee wasn't so sure. He'd never had a Nana Kent ambush before.

***

"How you finding our little planet?"

Jayne looked up from Ivy and nodded.

"Everyone's real nice here."

"'Course they're nice." Nana smiled. "You seen how happy you're making their favorite girl? It's been a while since we seen Winsome Winnie this happy."

"Yeah." Jayne tried not to blush. "How come you call her that? She said there ain't no one calls her that."

"Well, no, I guess there isn't, not anymore." Nana sighed. "But that's what we used to call her, bein' her name an' all. Or close to it. Weren't no one gonna call her Kaywinnit, that's for sure. Don't know what got into Mary and Frank that day. They're usually sensible folk. Sometimes I think they named that poor child on a drunken bet."

Jayne choked down a laugh.

"But you're right, not anymore. Not since she was about ten or so. I always said they coddled her too much after that boy died. Do you think they listened to me?"

Jayne sat up a bit straighter.

"Died? What boy?"

"No, see." Nana folded her hands into her lap and gave Jayne a smile. "I didn't get you here to tell you stories I already know. I'm too old to keep repeating myself. You can ask the others, they got the time to be tellin' yarns. I have questions I don't know the answer to."

"Huh?" This didn't sound good.

"I'd like to know why you're here."

"'Cause Kaylee wanted to see her folk an' she wanted me to meet 'em."

"I don't doubt that." It was giving Jayne the chills, seein' this woman all watchin' him and the corners of her eyes crinkling in. "I'd like to know why you're pretending that you and her are an item."

"What?" Jayne felt his face go slack. "I don't know what you..."

"Of course you don't." Nana kept smiling. "You see Lilly's face when I told her there was taffy inside? She didn't even blink at the biscuits."

Now he was beginning to understand why Kaylee had kept givin' him those looks before she went inside. This woman was worse than River with her change of subjects and unsettlin' way of speaking.

"That was the face of a child who hadn't ever tasted the stuff, but wanted to. If I invited her back tomorrow and told her the same thing, it's possible she'd make that face again. Maybe, even, if she came back every day for a week, she'd get that excited at the thought of the taffy."

She sighed and Jayne swallowed.

"It's a rare child that can eat taffy every day for months on end and still get that look on her face." And there it was, at least Jayne could recognize the point of the argument, unlike the rambles that River went on. "Now, you watch that child over lunch, when that plate of Ma Frye's biscuits is placed right in front of her."

"Maybe the kid just likes taffy more'n biscuits."

Nana laughed.

"I take it you ain't tasted Mary Frye's biscuits then? Well, you been there some days now, so you shoulda at least tasted her cookin'. It's damn fine. Lilly Frye would eat up the whole tin if you let her."

Jayne tried to jostle Ivy a bit. Maybe if the kid started squallin' again, Betty and Kaylee would come out to rescue him.

"Who knows? Maybe the girl won't even like the taffy once she tastes it. Some people don't, you know, they think it's too sweet. Can't take all that sweetness."

"Yeah?" The kid just wouldn't wake up. "That so? Well, I like it real sweet."

Nana laughed again and it sounded satisfied.

"I bet you do." She leaned forward. "Point is, young man, you been lookin' at young Winnie like she's a piece of taffy you'd just about kill to get your hands on. An' she's been lookin' at you the same way."

"It ain't like that."

"You think I'm too old to remember? It's exactly like that. Now the others, they may not see it, they're just so overjoyed to see her, an' see her so happy to boot, to pay any attention, but I see it."

Jayne looked down, past Ivy to the grass under his chair.

"You gonna tell 'em?"

"You haven't been listening to a word I said, have you?" She sighed again, falling back against the chair. "Well, at least you're pretty to look at."

"But...?" Jayne looked up to the house, to the door that was still closed.

"Don't you worry, none, boy. Your secret's safe with me. On one condition."

Jayne frowned.

"Condition? I don't have nothin' here you'd want." Then he paused, thought about it for a minute. "Hell, I don't got nothin' at all anywhere you'd want."

"Not me. Heavens no." She winked at him. "But I think there's somethin' you can do for Winnie."

He looked up and saw Kaylee holding the door open for the others with her hip as she carried a tray.

"For Kaylee?" She looked over and smiled at him, he smiled back. "Sure."

Nana leaned forward again.

"Stop pretending."

***

"There been any new waves?" Mal stood nervously on the bridge. "At all?"

Wash laughed.

"Not now, Captain, not ten minutes ago and not an hour ago. What are you expecting to find?"

Mal looked out into the black and shrugged.

"A wave from Kaylee, asking us to come pick up the body?"

***

"No, no." Kaylee laughed. "I mean, sure it's a little dangerous, but it's so exciting out there."

"Really?" Annaliese arched her brows. "I hear there's all sorts of things out there, rogue bandits, pirates..."

Her voice lowered dramatically and Kaylee recognized it enough to know what was coming.

"... Reavers."

Betty sent her a look.

"Reavers ain't real." Lilly piped up. "Everyone says so. They're just a story like the bogey man to keep us stayin' at home. Monsters on the edge of space? That's nothin' but a bunch of..."

"Lilly." Warned Betty.

"... made up nonsense." The girl smiled sweetly at her mother. "Daddy said there weren't no such thing as Reavers an' you agreed."

"They're real." Jayne said and Betty shot Kaylee an even worse look than the one she'd shot Annaliese. "We seen 'em."

"You saw Reavers?" Nana Kent sat up straight.

"Didn't see 'em too clearly." Kaylee broke in with a little laugh. "We was runnin' that fast."

"What about...?" Jayne began.

"There weren't nothin' else." Her tone of voice made him close his mouth. "I think he's got a worse imagination than Lilly here."

"Wait 'til I tell!" Lilly gushed around a mouthful of sandwich. "I'm gonna be the most popular girl at school, people hear my aunt fought off a bunch of Reavers! An' that Reavers are real!"

"I didn't fight..." Kaylee breathed in. "You're letting your imagination run away with you, I think."

Lilly giggled.

"Who else is it gonna run away with?"

Kaylee poked her tongue out at the girl and Lilly poked hers back.

"How much of that taffy you eat, girl?" Jayne grinned at Lilly. "You're talking thirteen to the dozen an' you can't keep still."

"Six!" She held up her fingers to demonstrate. "I had six whole pieces!"

"No wonder you got ants in yer pants." He winked. Lilly laughed. "What about you, Kaylee?"

She looked up in surprise.

"Me? Me what?"

"You eat any of the stuff? With your sweet tooth an' all... "

She blushed.

"No. I mean, I wanted to, but..." Nana Kent was smiling an evil little smile and Kaylee couldn't figure it out. "... you know me. Once I get into it, I just can't stop."

***

"You look..." Jayne paused as Kaylee turned to eye him up and down with a small frown. "Something's missing."

He spread his arms wide and let them hang in the air.

"Ah." She grinned. "No baby."

"She's sweet an' all." He sighed. "But that kid's too clingy."

"Like ivy, almost."

She kept her face straight as he gave a little groan. They kept walking through the field, Betty, Lilly and Ivy already far ahead of them. He was almost expecting her hand when it slid into his.

"You miss them?" It came out of nowhere, he certainly wasn't expecting it and by the look on her face, neither was she. "I mean, all the people here. They seem to miss you."

"Yeah." Her face lost the little spark of laughter it had held moments ago. "Sometimes it's harder than others, but I get by."

"Why'd you leave?"

"You seen Serenity, yeah? How could I turn that ship down?" But he wasn't fooled and she sighed. "There weren't nothin' here, outside of family. No work, not really. The black just seemed so exciting."

"Anyone you miss more'n the others?" He couldn't help but ask it. "A certain boy maybe?"

"I'm happy where I am, Jayne." She took her hand back. "Why you gotta mess around with that?"

He gave a quick look to see that the three girls were far, far ahead, then grabbed her arm and propelled her behind a tree.

"Because you ain't happy, Kaylee." She looked up at him, stunned. "I watch you and you can smile all you like at Mal an' Inara an' the others, but you're not foolin' me."

"You don't know..." She reached up to push him away, but he didn't give an inch.

"Oh, trust me, I know. You don't know how long I been watchin'." Her hand stayed on his chest, he could feel how she didn't move it away, felt it intensely. "Watchin' how you just throw yourself at the Doc and he don't even blink back at you, how you walk away from him like a broken thing. Every time, I watch you try not to cry an' you don't think I know?"

He leaned in closer.

"Kaylee, I know more'n anyone that you ain't happy, you can't be happy like that."

"What do you know, Jayne?" Her bottom lip trembled. "Huh? You know shit. Every time we dock you're surrounded by girls and you don't even blink. Me? I got nothin' and no one. It's lonely out there and a girl's gotta try, don't she?"

"But it ain't workin'. Is it?" He tried to look in her eyes, but she looked away. "Maybe you oughtta try somethin' else."

"Like what, Jayne?" She pushed against him again, putting some leverage behind her. "What are you suggesting?"

To stop himself tumbling back, he leaned further forward, pressing deeper into her and catching her hands between them. Her eyes widened and there was no mistaking the way her pupils darkened.

"This."

He could get used to kissing her like that, the way she sighed as she opened her mouth. All soft.

"Jayne!" She hissed it as she broke away. "There ain't no one watching."

"Sure there is." He put his finger on her chin and directed her fact to the side. "You see 'em? Way over there? They's watchin' all over the place."

His mouth slid down the side of her face and down her throat. That was some mighty fine play acting she did, with the moan that rumbled against his lips and the way her fingers flexed uselessly against his chest between them.

***

She couldn't get it out of her head. All the walk home. All the long, uncomfortable walk home. His body, all around hers, his lips on her skin and the way he'd kept saying her name.

Like he meant it. Like he weren't pretending anymore.

And the way her knees had turned to jelly and her words had flown right out of her mouth. Kaylee had to work real hard to start breathing again, to put one foot in front of the other and guide him away from that damned tree.

Mal'd been right. He'd pulled her aside when she'd first started this and told her she was playin' a fool's game. Looked her straight in the eye and told her exactly what was gonna happen. That one or both of 'em were gonna get hurt.

And she was more confused than ever now. 'Cause one minute Jayne acted like he wanted her, wanted her most of all, the next he kept makin' sure she remembered it weren't real.

Had to keep bringin' that up.

Nobody told him he could do that, nobody said he could start throwin' her life in her face and makin' her feel bad just to keep up appearances for the others. She just wanted this whole thing to be over, get back to her normal life.

"You gonna slow down some?"

Even his voice made her shiver, all gravel and hardness tinged with just the smallest bit of real concern. As if he weren't sure he should worry, but couldn't stop himself.

"You gettin' fed up, too?" She threw the words back at him.

"What?" He ran the last few steps to catch up with her, hooking his hand into the crook of her arm to turn her around. "Kaylee, what's gotten into you?"

"I meant tired." She couldn't him in the eye as she pulled free. "I mean, are you getting tired? I think all this sun's wearing me out."

"Yeah." He frowned. "I thought that's what you were gettin' at."

But he didn't sound like he thought it.

Sure, it was alright for him, he did this all the time. She'd seen him. She'd seen him sit down with women at a bar, at a whorehouse, hell, he'd find 'em anywhere they landed. She'd seen him sit with 'em and be so gentle and how he'd make 'em feel so special just by spendin' time with them. He'd braided that whore's hair back at Nandi's, sat there when they was all plannin' everything and played with her hair like he had nothin' better to do.

And then he left 'em.

Turned away, flew off an' never thought once on 'em ever again. Kaylee'd seen it, she'd wondered about it before, had tried to figure out how one person could get attached one minute and be so free the next. It was alien to her, the thought of not taking with her parts of the people who'd touched her life.

And now Kaylee guessed she weren't nothin' more than one of his whores that he was gonna forget about, 'ceptin' this one was for show.

"Listen, Kaylee." There was his hand again, on the small of her back, sliding right over it like he was meant to be there. "I really wanted to ask you somethin' before."

"Stop it." She pulled away from him with a sigh. "Can you just stop touching me for five seconds?"

Kaylee didn't want to think about how hurt he looked just then, how he stepped back as if she'd slapped him. She couldn't think about it, so she just kept walking.

***

"Would you give it a rest, brother of mine?" Mike sighed. "You're just paranoid."

"I don't believe it." Mick set his jaw. "There's somethin' going on between 'em and it don't feel right."

"What?" Mike held his hands up. "What about 'em don't you like? That she likes him? That he likes her? That they're both happy? Oh, the humanity. The cruelty of it. Oh."

"She don't act like she used to." Was Mick's lame offering. "It's not like she was when she was with..."

"Oh." Mike broke in. "Don't you even. Are you tellin' me you're not satisfied that she's happy, just 'cause she's not acting like she did when we were ten years old? I can only hope she's not acting like that."

"But it was different then..." It was just too wistful, Mick's voice.

"Of course it was different." Mike tempered his sarcasm. "We can't go back an' she can't go back. Give it up, okay? She's moved on and maybe you should, too."

"You ever see 'em?" Mick suddenly asked. "They're all so happy and lovey dovey, you ever see 'em when no one is watching?"

Mike sighed.

"How the hell am I supposed to watch 'em when no one is watching 'em? One rules out the other, you know."

"Look." Mick gestured into the fields. "There they are now."

Mike turned, a gibe already on his lips. He was getting this close to just knocking Mick out and leaving him here. 'Course, he'd pay for that later, but it was worth it, just to stop Mick going on and on.

But he saw them, too. Lee standing there, lookin' like she was anything but happy and Jayne trying to reach out to her. The way she pulled away from him was far from what they’d all seen before.

"Trouble in Paradise?" Mike looked back to his brother. "I'll take the hero."

A small smile appeared on Mick's face, for old time's sake. It had been a long time since they’d done this particular routine.

"And I'll take the girl."

Too damn long.

***

“Hey Kay.”

Gorramit, but Jayne was gonna put a bell around these boys’ necks first chance he got. They was always popping up out of nowhere. He wasn’t anywhere close enough to tell if she said anything under her breath this time and, at this point, was nearly past caring.

“Lee.”

“Hey boys.” Kaylee put on a big smile. “How’d the job go?”

For his part, he was just glad she’d stopped snifflin’. Last thing he needed right now was for everyone to start looking at him like he was the devil incarnate, pick up a bunch of pitchforks and chase him outta town.

He had no idea what had gone wrong. One minute they was all snuggly up against the tree and she seemed into it. More’n into it, if he was any judge. And Jayne had thought he was, but he was fast beginning to think otherwise on that score.

The next minute, she was huffin’ away and tellin’ him to stop pawin’ at her. Maybe he was comin’ on too strong. Maybe she weren’t feelin’ things the way he was.

“Oh, you know.” Mike brushed off her question. “A job’s a job. Nothing special.”

Jayne nodded at them and they nodded back.

“Kay.” Mick took her elbow and lead her off to the side. “I passed that letter on.”

“Really?” Jayne heard her whisper, he had to struggle to hear the rest of it. “What’d Stan say?”

Then they was gone and he couldn’t hear them anymore.

“Stan?” He turned back to Mike. “Who’s this Stan bloke?”

Mike frowned a little, as if he was trying to remember.

“Oh, Stanley Mullins.” A shrug. “Just somebody across town. We used to know him a while back, but nobody really knows him now.”

“Used to…?” Jayne couldn’t help it, couldn’t help the stray tooth of thought. “You grew up together as kids, huh?”

“What?” Mike was being deliberately evasive. “Oh, I guess. I mean, he was about a bit, but nothing special.”

Nothin’ special, Jayne thought. Sure, nothin’ special. S’why there’s carvings in a tree out front, s’why Kaylee’s face had gone all red when Mick’d told her he’d passed on her letter. And, come to think on that, what letter?

“So.” Mike gestured to the table on the porch. “You want a drink?”

“Yeah.” Well, it was hot. “Sure.”

“How’s things going?” Mike grinned. “Between you and Lee, I mean?”

Jayne sighed. That was a good question.

***

They met in the middle a little while later.

“She thinks he thinks she’s no better than a whore.” Mick said.

“He doesn’t understand why she’s upset.” Mike added. “She’s acting weird and he doesn’t know why.”

They grinned.

“A whore?” Mike raised his eyebrow. “She really said that?”

“You know Kay.” Mick smiled. “She don’t say much, but I know it anyway. Apparently our man here used to visit said ladies of repute before they got together. She’s not sure if she can trust his affections don’t mean any more to him than what he felt with them.”

“Huh. And she’s okay with that history?”

Mick shrugged.

“Don’t seem to bother her none.”

“Okay.” Mike looked back at the table where Jayne sat fiddlin’ with the glass in his hand. “Well, he’s just the usual sorta confused. Won’t take much on your end.”

And then they switched teams.

***

Kaylee smiled, small and wistful, when she felt someone sit down next to her.

“Mike.” She leant her head on his shoulder. “You guys still doing this trick?”

“Trick?” He went with forced innocence and she had to laugh. “What trick?”

“Oh, you know. You’re here to remind me what a good couple Jayne and I make and Mick’s over there now, tellin’ Jayne exactly what he has to do to get back on my good side.”

“Well.” He reached his arm around her back and gave her a squeeze. “We’ll stop tag teamin’ you when you stop makin’ us do it.”

“Things just got so complicated, didn’t they?” She couldn’t help but ask it. “Why can’t things be simple, like when we were kids?”

“It is simple.” He said and Kaylee twisted her neck so she could look up past his chin, over the plane of his cheek to see as much of his eye as she could. “Lee, we might as well be kids. Somethin’ as silly as this. He might as well’ve just pulled your hair.”

“This isn’t in the script.” She gave him a gentle nudge. “You’re supposed to be telling me how great we are together.”

“I don’t know that.” He slid his hand up her back and ran it through her hair. “I don’t you guys. Tell you what, why don’t you tell me what makes you so great?”

“Oh.” Kaylee sighed. “You guys got good while I was away. Huh?”

***

More to come...

COMMENTS

Thursday, December 29, 2005 3:11 PM

DIANASPR


Thank you Thank you Thank you, I've been waiting fot this one, this is my first time commenting on a fanfic, even though I read them daily, I know (bad Diana). Well I just wanted to let you know I love your stuff Cant wait for the rest. Thanks again.

Thursday, December 29, 2005 4:19 PM

GWENFREWI


Yeah! More. More. More!
I like this story and where it's going.

Thursday, December 29, 2005 5:30 PM

CANTONHEROINE


*sigh*
I LOVE this story. Have I mentioned that before? I think I have. Bears repeating, though.

Mick and Mike double-teaming our muddle-headed couple is great, hopefully they can get them to see what's going on under their gorram noses. Nana's prodding of Jayne worked a treat, too.

Honestly, I think Kaylee needs a good slap upside the head, and Jayne... *double deep sigh* He's so good with Ivy. Just that image of our big man being all gentle with a tiny baby, gets me...right...there. ;P

MORE SOON!

Friday, December 30, 2005 2:05 AM

BOOKADDICT


I love Nana Kent, and Jayne holding the baby. Mick & Mike's tag team act is great too. In fact I just am enjoying the whole series. More please?

Friday, December 30, 2005 3:39 AM

HUMBUG


Brilliant!

I've just been away for a few days and I come back to this loveliness!!!

Keep going, Jacqui, it's fabulous!!

Wednesday, January 4, 2006 10:08 AM

BELLONA


aww, jayne with a baby is just precious. and the staring competition was just too cute for words!!!

b

Friday, January 6, 2006 6:36 PM

ZOESBACKUP


loving these characters! I can't even decide which one I want you to work on..."Pieces..." or this one! I love love your presentation of Jayne, earthy kind passionate smart and damn sexy!


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