Something From Nothing 4/?
Saturday, March 25, 2006

Sometimes you have to make the best of a bad situation and, sometimes, you find you're better off for it.


Ooooh, small chapter tonight. But important. This was what was supposed to be tacked onto chapter 3. A little truth, a little trouble.

Rating: G.

Disclaimer: Only one is mine, the rest belong to Joss.

Comments: A hint, just a little taste, but it in no way really explains anything. Why, yes, I am made of EVIL.

Feedback: Is crack. Comment here or email:

Previous Chapters: one, two and three.

*** Chapter Four: ***

“Shh. Come on, it’s okay, shh.” She brushes the hair off his forehead, runs her hands over the side of his face, her voice is whispering. And pleading. “Shush, James, it’s okay.”

He’s digging his hands, claw like, into her sides, and she’s got him wrapped under her clothes. Holding him tight, holding him like the lifeline he is. Her fingers press his lips together, slide against her own sweat slick on his face.

“Hey.” She jumps when there’s a voice near her, his breath rank and rotten. “You keep that brat quiet, you hear me?”

Kaylee nods, eyes wide.

“You shut him up.” He shoves something at her side and waits until her free hand closes over it. “Or I will shut him up for you, do you understand?”

She keeps nodding, closing her eyes so she can’t see anything. It doesn’t help. There are still screams on the outside, the horrible, tearing sound of flesh and terror.

“This ain’t a game, little girl.” They’re only whispers, but they feel like they’re going to scald the skin right off her neck. “Those’re reavers out there, you know it? They find us an’ we’re all dead, baby or not.”

Dead. Kaylee’s hand presses the cloth over James’ mouth. Dead, just like her daddy who pushed them into this vault and then turned back to fight. James struggles for several long, excruciating seconds. Dead, just like her momma who was stayin’ at home and too far to go back for.

Her heart stops the second James does.

He’s limp against her. His small, impossibly tiny body hanging loose in her hands. Her nostrils twitch with the acrid scent of chloroform, but she doesn’t think that’s why the tears stream down her face.

“Happy birthday, baby.”


"James?" Kaylee jerked straight up, hands patting herself down to check for him, before her head swung wildly and her eyes blindly scanned the room, searching for movement, some tiny little body somewhere. "James?"

"Kaylee, it's alright." Inara rushed over. "He's fine, I promise. You were just sleeping."

"But..." She forced herself to breathe, the common room coming into focus around her. "But... I..."

There was a blanket twisted around her, stilling her, making her skin itch. She tugged on it, needed to get it off her, away from her, needed to move. A hand came out to brush the hair out of her eyes and Kaylee pulled back sharply, threw herself backwards to escape it and her head hit the wall.

Inara blinked in surprise, but covered it quickly.

"You have to come and look at this, mei mei." Inara smiled calmly. "It's too adorable for words."

Kaylee stood up, dropped the blanket on the couch and walked over to the cargo bay. Her legs shook like jelly as she stood next to Inara. The two of them peered around the door and Kaylee stopped still. It hit her deep low in the belly, like a twisting of her womb.

"Oh, Inara." She couldn't find the right words. "Oh, just look."

There, in front of her, Jayne lay back on the weight bench, hefting a large iron bar with both weights removed, his legs were steady on either side and his arms bulged as he lifted. Lower on his chest, spread out over his abdomen, lay James on his back.

Lifting a wooden broom handle.

"They're so sweet together, aren't they?"

Her knees gave way and she felt herself sliding to the floor.

“Kaylee?” Inara knelt down next to her. “Are you alright, what’s wrong?”

“Nothing.” It came like a sigh. “Oh, nothin’, not no more.”


She leaned around the doorframe to catch another glimpse of them.

“Oh, ‘Nara, it’s so good.” She took a breath and looked back into confused brown eyes. “A boy oughtta get along with his daddy.”

“Kaylee!” There was a pause. “Kaywinnit Lee Frye!”


Sometime later, Kaylee found herself sitting at the common room table as Inara poured tea with trembling hands. She frowned as she watched them, Inara was always so perfect, so pristine in her rituals.

“You ain’t surprised, Inara, you can’t say you are. I know you can count.”

“Well, no.” It was the first thing Inara had said since she’d helped Kaylee up off the floor. “I can’t say I wasn’t expecting that. What I am surprised about is that you would lie so blatantly, you stood right there and told him outright that James wasn’t his. And you’ve been lying ever since.”

“I had to.”

“Don’t you think you’re being awfully unfair? To Jayne and to James?”

“Fair?” It rose bitter in her throat. “There ain’t nothin’ fair about any of this, Inara, nothing at all.”

“No, I don’t suppose there is.” She could see the disproval in Inara’s face. It surprised her that it didn’t hurt, surprised her that it didn’t even hurt not to hurt. “But you have a responsibility, at the very least, to Jayne.”

“It ain’t about Jayne. And it ain’t about me, either.” There wasn’t any other way she knew how to explain it. “Everything I do is about my son, Inara, this is all for him.”

“Well, then, wouldn’t it make sense…?”

“To what? You’ve seen him.” It was hard, sometimes, not to slip right into defensiveness. “Inara, he can’t even hear Wash laugh without bursting into tears. Wash! The man plays with plastic toys, Inara, he don’t scare anyone.”

She waited for Inara to interrupt, but that didn’t happen.

“What do you think would’ve happened? I come back on board, hand Jayne a baby and say ‘here’s the boy I been keepin’ from you for near on two years. How’ve you been keeping? Just dandy, me too’.”

It came out, like releasing infection from a wound.

“I couldn’t do that. I couldn’t let the first thing James see in him, be Jayne yellin’ at me. Or takin’ his anger out by punchin’ the wall or whatever else was close. He never woulda gone near Jayne again.”

“I understand that, I do.” Inara paused. “But don’t you think you’re underestimating Jayne a little?”

“I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t risk it, Inara.” The tea was warm in her hands. “An’ it might hurt Jayne, I know it’s probably gonna hurt me, but I couldn’t risk messing it up for my son. I already did that plenty.”

“You do realize that Jayne most likely assumes you were with someone straight after you left? Simon too. The timeline…”

Kaylee shrugged.

“The timeline don’t work any other way, ‘Nara, hell, even Simon knows that. I think he does, anyway. I couldn’t’ve been any more’n three months when I left, though I didn’t know it, ‘cause that’s all that me an’… well, anyway…”

Thinking back that far brought back memories she’d tried hard to bury.

“I had James not five months after I’d been planet side, he was early. Doc said he was real tiny, but he’s caught up now. Fact is, he’s mighty smart for bein’ fifteen months.”

There it was again, she couldn’t help it, that spark of pride that welled up in her voice whenever she spoke of him.

“And hell.” She sighed again. “Jayne can think what he likes about me, he can accuse me of sleepin’ with the whole gorram ‘Verse, as long as he treats our son the way he is now.”

Our son. The words should have stuck in her throat, they didn’t.

“I still don’t know…”

“You look at them, Inara.” She pointed back into the bay. “You look at Jayne with his son and you tell me I done wrong.”


“Aw, hell kid.” Jayne wrapped one arm around James and anchored him down as he sat up, bringing the two of them upright. “I think that’s enough.”

“Buildin’ muscles?”

“Yeah.” He laughed as he picked the boy up and spun him around so they were face to face. “Big, strong ones. Like me.”

They were bright, clear eyes, those little ones that stared back at him.

“I don’t care what your mama says, kid, she’s gotta have her reasons.” Jayne leaned forward, nudged the small brow with his own. “That right there is your granddaddy Cobb’s nose. There ain’t no mistakin’ that.”

*** more to come...


Saturday, March 25, 2006 5:59 AM


You sure know how to wring out every drop of emotion! I laughed, I cried, I dug at the screen trying to dig out just a little more...hurry, write some more!!!! Hope you're doing better. As always, love ya! D

Saturday, March 25, 2006 7:37 AM


More, more, more please. I just love little James. And although Jayne is by far not my favorite guy around, I think Inara is right - Kaylee is way underestimating him!

Saturday, March 25, 2006 7:57 AM


Oh my god. I so LOVE this story.
This is too awesome for words.

Love that Jayne realizes the kids his. Just because sometimes he's not the sharpest tool in the shed doesn't mean he's not observant. He has to be to be such a good tracker/merc.

Just such an awesome job.

Saturday, March 25, 2006 8:22 AM


His and I just read this over lunch - touched us both. Give your muse a big ol' smooch for us, and keep this beautiful story unfolding.

Saturday, March 25, 2006 8:46 AM


OMG, the first part. Poor Kaylee! I've always thought that Kaylee was stronger than most people portray her in fics, even when she's worried and unsure of herself there's a strength there, and you've brought all that out perfectly.

And the weight lifting! Just perfect. And I knew that Jayne knew! I also love your Jayne, but you already know that you write him so perfectly. Kaylee knows that Jayne's emotions are always on the surface and if he didn't know James would be scared, he might have lashed out a bit.

One thing I've been wondering, how is it that Jayne knew how he'd have to treat James to get him to be comfortable? Is there a story there?? I mean none of the other men picked up on it, so is there a background to Jayne you might explore?

Thank you so much for writing this whole series! It is truly the best fic I've read.

Saturday, March 25, 2006 11:14 AM


Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you and infinitum!!!!
I really do love you Jacqui, I really do! Oh Gee, that warmed me so much!!!
Of course Jayne knew, he just had to look at the kid to know.
Yo can't fool a tracker...
Now, I understand Kaylee's reasons but they both know. She should tell him anyway, she must find the courage.
The kid is very fond of his daddy now, and Jayne would never never yell in front of him or treat Kayle bad.
Jayne understands, Kaylee must know this!
I love you Jacqui, GRAZIE!!!!!

Saturday, March 25, 2006 12:41 PM


It just gets better!

I'm checking every morning just for this - you have me, hook, line and sinker.

Pleeeeease, keep it up!

Saturday, March 25, 2006 2:44 PM


I like what squish asked about how Jayne realized what made James timid. MORE FAST PLEASE-I am so addicted!

Saturday, March 25, 2006 4:28 PM


Yep....can't fool Jayne when it comes to the little things;)

It's interesting how Jayne's more capable than Kaylee seems to think he is, even after living with him on the same ship for a while....knows his son needs a calming and friendly influence rather than being P.Oed (though I am awaiting the bust-up, sedate as it may seem, when Jayne informs Kaylee of his observations).

Keep it up, have the audience in rapture;)


Saturday, March 25, 2006 4:57 PM


*grabs Jacqui and squeezed til her eyes pop* OH MY GOD! I LOOOOOVE YOU!!!!

Jayne's always been more observant than he lets on, I just KNEW he knew. And I could tell from Simon's reaction when she arrived that he knew. Heck, EVERYONE knew - don't rightly know why she bothered lying. By the way, the weightlifting scene was too cute for words.

More, as soon as you can get it out. I still wanna know what really happened planetside.

Sunday, March 26, 2006 10:56 AM


I love it! I go away and come back to the next chapters!

It was your earlier work that hooked me on Jaylee and you just keep proving that you are the queen!

In the last chapter, with Jayne knowing exactly how to talk James into letting him carry Kaylee to the common room and him closing his eyes when her hand trails down his arm...sigh, your Jayne is the ultimate.

Then Jayne and James working out, yeah, I can see why Kaylee would collapse, what a wonderful scene...

I love that Jayne knows and gives Kaylee the space.

In reference to a current thread on the boards, you show why Jaylee works!

Monday, March 27, 2006 4:08 AM


Wow! Super well done! He knows, he knows, SQUEEEEEE!

And the next chapters up already, off I go!

Monday, March 27, 2006 6:52 AM


Ha, well, that blows the Mal theory out of the water. (*grin*)

I thought Jayne's comment about Jason's nose was perfect. Loving the story and the character development. Keep up the great work.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006 2:23 AM


the weight-lifting was just too cute for words!!! and yay, jayne knows james is his baby!!!



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