Something From Nothing 9/?
Sunday, April 2, 2006

Sometimes all you can do is make the best of a bad situation, sometimes you find you're better for it.


Chapter nine, I guess.

Rating: G.

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

Comments: I’m not a mechanic, I know naught about machines. Suspend disbelief and *pretend* it makes sense, please? For me?

Feedback: Of course, I am an attention ho, after all. Comment here or email:

Previous Chapters: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven and eight.

*** Chapter 9: ***

Kaylee ran all the way to the engine room. There was something in the feel of it, the way recycled air filled her lungs and how her feet knew the way automatically, that made her blood run faster.

"Jayne?" She heard Mal sigh as she got close. "Can you just grab the... twisty... thing?"

"The what? Gorram it, Mal, why ain't Kaylee in here?"

"'Cause she ain't." It made her grit her teeth. "And she ain't gonna..."

"I'm here." She said as she got through the door. "Cap'n, I ain't happy with you right now, so's you best stand right back and leave my engine to me."

It must have been in her eyes, because Kaylee had no idea why else he would step back and take orders on his ship. He didn't even try to claim ownership from her.

"Wash?" She asked the com unit. "I'm here, what do you need?"

"Kaylee?" It crackled back. "Thank god. Was wondering if you got anything to add to the burn, make her run faster?"

"Not gonna happen, hydraulics ain't up to it." Her eyes ran over the machine. "But I could ease out the jet controls, make her tail loose?"

"'Cause we really need to skid around right now. You sure you're...?"

"Wash?" Kaylee cut right in. "What've you got in front of you right now?"

"My life, flashing by. You?"


"Alright, alright, we're in the Rashaws, nothin' but a big scary ship behind us and a lot of big scary space trash to the left."

Kaylee grinned.

"You gettin' me now?"

She knew the instant he did.

"You wanna?" He sounded excited. "Gonna be risky."

"That's the way you like it. Now fly."

The engine was hot in her hands when she touched it. She'd spent the last day or so fixing her, bringing her back up to something that resembled the clean, smooth running machine she'd left.

She hadn't pushed Serenity to anything resembling a limit.

"You guys might wanna hold on." It was like a little thrill.

"Kaylee?" Mal's voice was hesitant. "You sure you're up to this?"

"Don't have much choice now, do we?" But she could tell he was serious and she nodded instead. "Cap'n, this is what I do."

"You need me to do somethin'?" She could feel Jayne at her side and knew, without doubt, that he trusted her to do what she had to. "I'm here."

"See this?" She pointed out a cross bar. "I need you to hold it and don't let go. It's gonna want to fly off in all directions, but you gotta keep it slow and steady, dong ma?"


She rolled up her sleeves.


"Look, Captain." There weren't no other way to say it and no other way he'd listen as she began loosening the pressure caps. "You wanna know what it was like for me down there? It was me, me and James, stuck in a tiny little vault with three other people for sixteen hours."

One of the caps stuck and she had to put extra effort into it.

"Not doin' nothin', barely enough room to stand, let alone sit. Not doin' nothin' but waiting." She wondered if they could see her hands shaking. "Waiting for reavers to finish killin' our folk, waiting for them to find us. Sixteen hours just waitin' to die."

A hiss of steam sounded and she leaned back.

"And all I could think about, was when I found out I was carrying my baby and how I'd wanted nothin' but to come back here. My daddy got real mad, spittin' mad, an' he was gonna come hunt you all down and shoot you, but I kept tellin' him we didn't know, none of us knew. By the time he calmed down and I knew that I really should come back, I couldn't barely move I got so big. And what good would I've been on board, big as a house and couldn't move nowhere? It was safer, for me an' even for you, just to stay where I was."

She could see Jayne's arms shaking as he held the starboard motor steady.

"Then I had James, I had my baby, an' I couldn't stop thinkin' about Wash and how right he was. Space ain't no place to raise a baby. Cap'n, there weren't a week gone by when one of us weren't shot at or stabbed or arrested or worse, not one. I couldn't do that to him. So I kept thinkin', when he got a bit older, just a little bit older, soon."

They felt the ship lurch to the side and then swing around again.

"I kept holding my son, cowering in this little room, waiting for reavers to come find us and I kept thinking, it didn't count for nothing. Not a thing. Bad things are gonna happen, even planet side, nobody can stop 'em. Only difference was, on the ground I couldn't do anything, weren't nowhere to run, nothin' to do but wait. I felt so helpless and useless and weak."

The hydraulics began to scream in protest and she took a lubricant to them.

"I promised myself then, that if we got outta there, that we were gonna get back in space, on a ship somewhere. Anywhere, if'n you wouldn't take us back."

An explosion rocked the ship, making the walls shudder and gravity lurch sideways as the lights flickered. A moment of silence and then everything righted itself.

"I promised myself down there, that if somethin' bad were gonna happen to my son, it weren't ever gonna be because I just stood there and waited for it. It was only gonna happen in spite of me tryin' everything I knew how to stop it in the first place."

Kaylee caressed the heated metal.

"And this? This is what I know how to do. This is how I protect my family." She turned to meet Mal's eyes. "So I don't need protecting and I don't need to be shut away like some doll that's gonna break."

"Uh..." The com crackled to life. "We're good, people. Serenity and space trash one, reavers nothing."

"I gotta go see to my son." She walked to the door of the engine room and waited for several seconds before turning back. "Jayne?"

"Uh, yeah." He blinked. "Mal? You're a bad man. And I gotta see my son, too."

If she wasn't using all her strength to stay upright, Kaylee would have smiled when she felt him walking beside her.


Zoe squeezed her husband's shoulder.

"Did you get all that?"

His face shone a brilliant orange as they watched the wreckage of the reaver ship implode.

"Yeah." His hand came up to cover hers. "I think I did."


Jayne kept pace with her as they walked back to the shuttle. His hand couldn't stop itself from reaching out to steady her, guiding her at the small of her back. He was surprised to feel her shaking.

It burned in him, a deep glow of satisfaction, seeing her step up and run the engine room like that. He wished he knew how to say that, to tell her how good it was seeing that side of her.

Since she'd come back, all he'd seen, all anyone had seen, had been the scared Kaylee, the weak and broken Kaylee. He should've known the old Kaylee was in there, somewhere, just waiting to break out and yell at them all.

He wanted to see more of her.


Inara met them at the door.

"It's over." He said. "Where's...?"

Kaylee had already started walking to the middle of the shuttle.

"He asked if it was time to hide." Inara rushed to explain. "I thought he wanted to play, so I said yes. Now he won't come out."

"Huh?" Jayne frowned.

"James, sweetie, it's Mama."

Kaylee knelt by the trunk and opened the lid. Jayne felt his mouth fall open.

"Why's my son locked in a box?"

"He wouldn't..." Inara twisted her hands together. "He wouldn't let me leave it open. He wouldn't..."

"It's okay." Kaylee gently rubbed James' back. "Come on, Mama's here, it's okay."

Jayne felt useless. It hit him like a blade stabbing into his chest. There weren't no way he could ever do that. The way Kaylee looked right into James' pale face and stayed still as he launched himself at her, crawled into her arms and held on tight.

He could play as many games with his son as he wanted, but James wouldn't ever need him like that, wouldn't ever grip so hard that his fingers left marks on his skin like it did Kaylee's, wouldn't ever look at him like he could chase away monsters.

"No hiding?"

Something hitched in Kaylee's throat and it sounded an awful lot like laughter.

"No baby." But it wasn't funny, Jayne saw it cross her face. "No more hiding, it's over."

He saw the melt down seconds before it happened, saw her crumble down and around their son, shaking as she did it. Even as he watched, James took his little chubby hands and crept them around her neck.

"'Cause of daddy." The little voice sounded so sure. "Daddy's gonna be big an' daddy's gonna be strong an' daddy's gonna save us."

Jayne felt the corner of his own eye twitch.

"No kid." He crouched down next to them. "I reckon your mama was strong enough to save you all by herself."

They were a bundle, all mixed up as one, but Jayne wrapped them in his arms and brought them up to his chest. He felt Kaylee's hand wrap around his waist and her head burrow into the side of his neck.

"But I reckon I'm here now an' she don't have to be so strong, no more."

When he looked up, Inara was gone.


James wouldn't leave Kaylee and Kaylee wouldn't leave Jayne.

There was no way in any hell spinning Mal was ever going to understand the workings of his crew. Dinner that night was an empty, quiet thing. He hadn't even noticed how much noise the little kid made until he wasn't there anymore.

"You should've seen her." He insisted. "Inara, she took that engine and she..."

"We heard." Volunteered Wash.

"Loud and clear." Agreed Zoe.

"She was all..." He gestured. "With the... and then she..."

"The roof was gone." River said. "And there were no boundaries."

He could see Inara smile and it was the kind of smile that said she agreed with River, the one that said they knew something he didn't. That smile irked him.

"It sounds like a very charged atmosphere." She said instead.

"It was." He agreed. "But that don't explain why she's gotta go shut herself up now."

"Mal." Her voice was soft and so were her fingers as they rested over his. "I don't think she's been allowed to feel powerful for a long time."


Kaylee's fingers run around the inside of the hole. It's so small, barely the size of her fist, right through the door of her daddy's shop. Her home now. It lies too low to be from anyone but a child. It could be her imagination, but she thinks she can hear the light sound of a giggle in the distance.

She bites her lip.

"They don't understand, Miss Frye."

He still won't call her anything else, so desperately hanging on to that last little bit of politeness, after everything.

"Geoffrey." She straightens up, stands and blinks up into the sun. Something catches her eye. "What happened?"

His face flinches back from her, but she catches it anyway, angles it so that she can see the florid bruise that's sprouting there. So many colors over a pale, timid face.

"It ain't nothin'." But he won't meet her eyes. "Some of the guys just got rowdy, is all."

"C'mere, sit." She guides him into what's left of the shop. "Now, you tell me what happened."

Geoffrey eyes the room, the bare walls, the shelves that have been stripped bare, everything gone, used up, bartered, leached of any meaning. There's nothing left that resembles a mechanic work shop, not even the forgotten carcasses of machines. Everything has a possible use and she's found it.

The only color left is that found in James' bed, his blankets and pillows and whatever clothes she'd found. Kaylee made that trek once and once only. Hauling James all the way out to the farmhouse, picking through the remains, loading up a bag of his things and a small bag of her clothes.

She hasn't gone back and she hasn't thought about it since.

"They was just talking, is all."

"Really?" She knows she should stop there, should just leave it, but it eats at her and she can't stop pressing it. "About what?"

His face screws up.

"They say he's got secret rooms under the ground." It's a hot, boiling rush of gossip. "That he's got a working a cortex link and could've had ships out here a week ago, that he keeps them away on purpose. That he's got rooms and rooms of food that he won't share. A mule and enough gas to ride over the desert to the next town."

"And he breathes fire!" She whispers back. "He's got horns on his head and he eats little babies for fun. Geoffrey, he ain't nothin' but a man, a bully of a man who lost his wife and sons. He don't have secret rooms or cortexes. He wants to get out of here, same as you and me."

"But he's got things!"

Not even Kaylee can deny that.

"You got in a fight over this?" She sees him blush all the way down his neck. "What else did they say?"

"They don't understand, Miss Frye." He's pleading again. "I tried to tell them, I did. But they... they just don't think. They don't understand why you just won't give him what he wants. Even for your boy. Everything would be easier, better, for everyone. Why don't you just do it?"

He's so very careful to distance himself from the speakers, she can hear it, but they're questions she knows he's asked himself. He must have. Kaylee's asked herself that over and over again.

"Would you?" Two soft words and he gasps at her.

"But I'm a boy! He don't want..."

"I know that, Geoffrey." She looks him in the eye, forces him to look back at her. "But would you? To put food into other peoples' mouths, to make it easier on them? Would you do it?"

He turns to look at James, sitting towards the back of the store, hands gripping his toys, but eyes never leaving them.

"No, Miss Frye, I wouldn't."

She lets it out in a breath, a sigh of relief. It doesn't matter how many holes they kick in her door, how many whispers she hears behind her back, or how many faces turn away when she steps outside, it doesn't matter one whit.

When she's alone with her son, she makes him laugh and he does the same for her. When there's no one else about, she makes voices for his toys, she tickles his belly, she chases him around the tables and listens to his squeals of delight.

And when James looks into her eyes, Kaylee doesn't flinch.


"You wanna tell me what that was all about?"

No, Kaylee really didn't think she did.

James had fallen asleep, fingers curling into her hair, tugging gently, claiming her as he always did. Cheek creased as he pushed it into her collar, little limbs clinging tight even in sleep.

They laid him out in his bed and she’d made sure that Serenity was in easy reach, made sure they never left his sight were he to wake up.

For his part, Jayne had been quiet, letting her cry herself out. She had to stop breaking down in his arms, it was getting embarrassing.

He’d been nothing but patient and she owed him for that. Couldn’t ever tell him how much. There was something achingly good about having him there that she hadn’t thought about in years, hadn’t let herself think about.

His body was large and solid and she felt safe with it.

“It was hard…”

“You said that already.” She didn’t want to look in his eyes, she knew he deserved more than she’d given him. “Kaylee, our boy has his very own box for hidin’ in, you wanna tell me why?”

It wasn’t Inara’s shuttle, there wasn’t furniture and silk draping and decorations. There was just blank walls, James’ bed and her own. She looked at her hands as they sat down on the bed.

“It was safer that way. To keep him out of sight.”

She didn’t need to look up to feel him tense next to her.

“You told me no one hurt him, Kaylee, you said no one hurt you.”

It weighed down on her, the terror of the attack, burying bodies upon bodies, faceless corpses of people she knew, the months after, the feeling of eyes watching her, of people feeling betrayed by her choices, people resentful of everything she did or didn’t do.

How could that not hurt her? But it wasn’t what he meant and she knew it.

“I said I didn’t let them.”

The silence grew between them, billowed out and threatened to crush her.

“Jayne?” He was shaking when she looked up. “Jayne? Say something?”

Her eyes couldn’t move away from his neck, the tendons stood out through his skin. Clear and marked, they pulled out, stressed the tension in his shoulders and jaw.

She didn’t want to let her eyes drop down, didn’t want to see his hands clenched in fists, the veins of his arms popping out. Large, strong hands that could hold her up, that had touched her once, traced patterns on her body, pushed her hard when she’d asked for it, gentled her when he’d thought she was asleep.

Large, strong hands that could wrap around her throat, forearms so thick they could crush her windpipe.

Kaylee felt safe with Jayne. She didn’t want to look.

“You tell me.” He managed. “You tell me what happened.”

*** more soon...


Sunday, April 2, 2006 3:47 AM


Kaylee being so strong...and Jayne helping her...and everyone hearing the conversation....Wonderful!

"James wouldn't leave Kaylee and Kaylee wouldn't leave Jayne" gave me shivers.

Sunday, April 2, 2006 4:12 AM


Kaylee should have never left Serenity.
It's evident that she has always been in love with Jayne.
Was too weak, too scared to admit that to herself.
It's relieving to know that now Jayne's never going to let her leave again, that he's going to be there to protect her and to protect his son.
And I'm sure that little James will grow fond of his daddy and will look out for him for love and protection.
Jayne doesn't have to worry about that.
Little James is so lucky.
Holding my breath until the next chapter...Jacqui your talent never ceases to amaze me!

Sunday, April 2, 2006 4:37 AM


So, I read this part:
"Wash?" Kaylee cut right in. "What've you got in front of you right now?"
"My life, flashing by. You?"
And I'm chuckling away to myself, 'Oh Wash - he's so funny', and then Kaylee started talking...

Needless to say, it went downhill from there. It don't want to get into it, but there may have been some crying involved.
*sniffle, watery smile*
Damn, girl. Ain't no one able to stir the emotions quite like you.

I need to restock on tissues before the next part, so there's no rush. Oh, unless Jayne's gonna kill that creepy guy, then you post as quick as possible, dong ma?

Sunday, April 2, 2006 5:31 AM


Girl, you just keep amazin' me.

<Large, strong hands that could hold her up, that had touched her once, traced patterns on her body, pushed her hard when she’d asked for it, gentled her when he’d thought she was asleep.>

This sums up so beautifully the depth and strength of their relationship. In reading kaylee's struggles to keep Jame's safe, I am reminded of the terrible decisions faced in "Sophie's Choice".

This is an amazing series and I continue to be awed by your talent and honored by your friendship.

Sunday, April 2, 2006 7:07 AM


Outstandingly good, as always. I love the strength you're giving Kaylee now. Healing is a pretty important thing, and all of these steps along the way are good and necessary.

I really hope there's a meeting between Kaylee, Jayne, and the scumbag coming up. A rejuvenated Kaylee, with a vengeful Jayne by her side, would be wonderful to see. I just never know what you've got up your sleeve though.

I bow before your talent! Please keep 'em coming!

Sunday, April 2, 2006 8:57 AM


Love strong Kaylee! And Wash and Zoe, "My life, flashing by. You?" (heehee), "You're a bad man", Kaylee telling her story as she works, Jayne taking Kaylee and James in his is good!

Sunday, April 2, 2006 10:33 AM


You just left it there! There?! I need more. NOW!

Okay, calming down, deep breaths.

Well, I have to say it, Kaylee was brilliant! It was just perfect to have her giving that little speech to Mal and Jayne while pushing Serenity to her limit. I believe it might have been a stroke of literary genius.(and the engine stuff sounded really good too!)

I loved the paragraph where she talked about finding out she was pregnant. I think Jayne needed to hear that. And this line of Jayne's: "Uh, yeah." He blinked. "Mal? You're a bad man. And I gotta see my son, too."

After reading this, I have a feeling that strong-Kaylee took care of the creepy-guy all by herself. Can't wait to find out though!

Sunday, April 2, 2006 11:06 AM


Oh oh oh oh oh OH! This is some mighty good fic, Miss Jacqui. Make a man mighty hooked on fic like this;)

The emotions portrayed in this chapter just prove that Joss, Fox, and Universal need to get you to write stuff for them to keep us Browncoats happy for a while:D

And I kinda have to disagree with squish's comment about Kaylee dealing with the manipulative asshole herself, I think a...conversation...between Jayne and Mr. Creepy could just be the kind of catharsis everyone needs....but that's just me.


Sunday, April 2, 2006 12:17 PM


"why's my soon locked in a box?"

OOOh...teehee at that line. I'm trying to think of something clever to say, but I haven't eaten today and the brain is lagging so I'm just gonna go with Superb job! I, of course rate a 10.

Sunday, April 2, 2006 6:34 PM


you're killin me here!!!

i can't wait for the next chapter!!

i want jayne to beat that guy into a bloody pulp for the stuff he pulled with kaylee and the rest of the people there.

can't wait for the next bit!!!

Sunday, April 2, 2006 8:51 PM


omg i dont think i can think of anything that aint already been said.
god i love your brain, wish i had me one!!!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006 3:28 AM


"Uh, yeah." He blinked. "Mal? You're a bad man. And I gotta see my son, too."
heehee, i can see the expression on mal's face now...NOW FOR GOD'S SAKE!!! LET JAYNE HURT THE FLASHBACK MAN!!!! ooh, i'm a violent little bugger sometimes.



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The Best Deceptions: Ch 9
The crew of Serenity touch down on Kaylee's home planet. Hi-larity ensues. Jayne/Kaylee.

Something From Nothing 12/12.
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Something From Nothing 10/?
Sometimes all you can do is make the best of a bad situation, sometimes you find you're better for it.

Something From Nothing 9/?
Sometimes all you can do is make the best of a bad situation, sometimes you find you're better for it.

Something From Nothing 8/?
More story, more backstory, the usual...

Something From Nothing 7/?
James talks some more, maybe his parents can learn from his example?

Something From Nothing 6/?
Nightmares, truths and comfort, oh my.

Something From Nothing 5/?
A little confrontation, a lot of truth, the usual.

Something From Nothing 4/?
Sometimes you have to make the best of a bad situation and, sometimes, you find you're better off for it.