The dress
Thursday, April 27, 2006

A Jayne, Inara friendship fiction. Jayne wants to help Kaylee so who does he ask?


Originally written for the ji_beyond_this community at LJ. Jayne/Inara interaction Challenge #1 Prompt : Unrequited _______________________________________________


“Jayne, you startled me.”

Inara watched as he emerged from the shadows outside her shuttle, the big man could be remarkably unobtrusive when he wished.

“Wanna talk to ya.” He looked everywhere around but at her, “ask ya somethin’.”

She was mildly surprised at that. Jayne rarely even spoke to her directly and he had certainly never asked her anything important. His queries, which it was her policy to ignore, were generally client related and usually rude.

He had changed, as had they all, since Miranda and this query appeared to be different, it was certainly making Jayne uncomfortable.

She gestured to him to follow her into her shuttle. He sat down gingerly on her couch, giving the room a visual sweep as he did so. Unlike the Captain, who fiddled with everything within in sight, Jayne despite his nervousness, sat calmly and did not touch anything.

Inara poured some tea and handed him a cup. “Now would you like to ask your question?”

“The dance comin’ up at the Opera House.”

“Yes,” Inara prompted him.

The dance was an annual affair to which they had all been invited by an old friend of hers. Jayne and River had refused to attend, Zoë offering to stay and keep the girl company.

Mal had actually agreed to go and had offered her his escort all without any smart or hurtful comments. Consequently she was more excited than she thought proper, and was hoping that Simon would ask Kaylee to accompany him in order to dilute the atmosphere between herself and the Captain.

“The Doc asked Kaylee to go.” Jayne echoing her thoughts surprised her.

“You know this how?” Inara asked.

He shrugged expression as usual unreadable. “She’s gonna say no.”

Inara didn’t ask again how he knew. The aggravating man only answered questions when he wished to, but she was curious as to where he was going with this conversation.

“She ain’t got anythin’ fancy enough to wear, sent all her money home last job, so she’s got no coin to buy somethin’.”

He’d found her cryin’ her heart out in the engine room, worried ‘bout lookin’ good for the doc. Too proud to tell him or anyone but Jayne that she needed money, which she probably wouldn ‘t take anyhow.

Jayne took a deep breath; Inara was sittin’ there waitin’ patiently for him to finish his story. He needed to get this over with.

“I’ve got coin. Will ya buy Kaylee somethin’ fancy with it ‘n’ tell her some story. Like it’s ya lending it to her?”

Inara was taken aback. Jayne’s request was not what she had expected. “Have I heard you correctly? You want me to buy a dress for Kaylee, lie to her about where it came from so she can attend the ball with Simon?”

“Yeah, that’s right.”

“Why me?”

He rolled his eyes at her as if the answer was self-explanatory. “Zoë ‘n’ River ain’t near enough in size to swing it, even if they had fancy enough stuff. ‘N ya and Kaylee are good friends; she won’t question ya wantin’ to lend her somethin’.”

That Jayne had thought about their bodies didn’t surprise her, his recognition of the relevant clothes sizes and suitability did.

However there was one thing the man had probably not thought of. “A gown suitable for the ball will be considerably expensive.”

“I ain’t stupid ‘Nara. I got plenty of coin.”

She looked inside the well-filled box he held out to her. There was more than enough money to buy what Jayne required.

She glanced up toward the mercenary ready to ask where it came from, but realised from the blank expression in his eyes that he wouldn’t tell her.

She sighed, “I’ll do what you ask Jayne.”


“We’ll be leaving soon Jayne.” Inara found him in the dining area, “are you going to come and see how everyone looks? Kaylee accepted the dress and it suits her perfectly.”

Inara discreetly handed Jayne’s money box back. “You even have a small sum left over.”

“Thanks ‘Nara, guess that means I owe ya.” He’d surprised her again with his genuine thanks. “Don’t think I’ll come watch.”

“I was happy to help, I consider you all part of my family.” The first time she expressed that notion out loud and it was to Jayne. Who would have guessed?

“However,” she paused delicately, “how long have you been attached to Kaylee?”

He looked down at the table, “since the fed shot her.”


Inara could hear Kaylee’s voice punctuated by occasional murmurs from Jayne. She hesitated and paused to listen before entering the dining area.

“It was great Jayne, all the beautiful people and shiny clothes. Lots of fellas asked me to dance but Simon wanted to dance every dance with me.”

Inara entered before Kaylee could wound the man again.

The girl’s whole face lip up when she saw her. “Hi ‘Nara I was just tellin’ Jayne all about what he missed.”

“Seems like a pack of trouble just for a dance.”

The words were careless, his smile amused, Jayne glanced at her warningly..

Unexpectedly Inara found herself admiring the strength of mind that enabled Jayne to care for Kaylee in spite of his knowledge that he would probably never be with her.

Smiling gently she turned, and left Jayne to watch over his girl.


Thursday, April 27, 2006 4:53 PM


Oh, my poor merc! To have unrequited affection is something we can all identify with and you've done a good job here. I can see this moving into small vignettes of Jayne offering of himself to Kaylee without her ever cluing in. The tragic hero...

Thursday, April 27, 2006 4:54 PM





(Can you tell I've had a rotten week? Plus, I commented on two other stories already and that utterly used up my quotas of suave, erudite, and...dangit, I forgot the word.)

But. Wow.

Very subtle, deft, straightforward, unmistakeable. A simple stated bedrock-truth. Very well written!!!

Thursday, April 27, 2006 5:01 PM


Aww! I love this! Unrequited love and Jayne? What a combination! And Inara knows Jayne's secret and interrupts Kaylee to save his feelings...I'll say it again - Aww!

Thursday, April 27, 2006 6:41 PM


The only thing in this 'Verse better than Jaylee is unrequited Jaylee.
I loved this. Great job. 10

Thursday, April 27, 2006 6:57 PM


He was so sweet and tragic. And just so Jayne. *sigh*

Inara being protective was unexpected, and yet so welcome. The rest of the crew are always so disparaging of Jayne, and so weirdly supportive of Simon and Kaylee's relationship. He needs somebody on his side, whether he's willing to accept it or not.

Loved it.

Thursday, April 27, 2006 7:48 PM


Strangely, unrequited Jaylee is the version I prefer better;)

And this was some great work here, bookaddict! I love how you had Jayne and Inara find a friendly connection over wanting to help Kaylee out without directly calling on the fact that she's not wealthy or in possession of a faboo wardrobe. I hope this leads to more Jayne/Inara friendship pieces:)


Friday, April 28, 2006 5:19 AM


That was shiny.

I usually get upset when people write Jayne fics because they wimp him down, but somehow you seemed to find just the right tone and make him do something nice for Kaylee without her knowing it was him, which is so like Jayne.

Awesome job.

Friday, April 28, 2006 10:55 AM


I like this a great deal. I must admit I've never been a fan of that pairing, but It works out well. Jayne has so much depth that no one ever realizes...

Friday, April 28, 2006 11:01 AM


I liked this very much... I love the care Jayne shows for Kaylee, and I completely believe that he wouldn't want her to know the dress had come from him... Inara may think she has pegged Jayne, and more often than not she'd likely be correct in her assumptions, but every once in a while he'll surprise even her, which is great to see! Well done!

Sunday, July 2, 2006 5:38 AM


ohh, my heart is just a little achey from all the unrequited love-ness...absolutely beautiful.



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Recurrent verse : part seven : Weary
Kaylee has to cope on the crashed ship while the crew of Serenity search for her.

Simon has concentrated his whole life on his sister

Wash and River get to know each other better a friendship fic.

Recurrent Verse : Part six : Crash
Kaylee meets unexpected problems while flying with Monty.

Them that choose it : Part two : Loss
Kaylee meets someone from home.

Recurrent Verse : part five : Dreaming
A meeting with Monty and Jayne and Kaylee sort some things out

Jayne tells Kaylee something she doesn't want to hear

To heal
River is still healing as she and Jayne learn more about each other

Things that can happen in darkness - a Jaylee drabble.

Recurrent Verse
a collection of four stories exploring the beginnings of something for Jayne and Kaylee