Persephone

Ni ta ma de. Tianxia suoyoude ren. Dou gaisi. Kaylee's lying on the operating table before him, having metal pulled from her belly, and all he can see is the moment that Alliance bastard, that tah-mah-duh huun-dan, had shot her. He keeps seeing her crumpling to the ground, slow then quick, like a length of fabric.

Jayne's crouched outside the window, hunkered down for a long wait. He knows Jayne'll wait until he sees Kaylee open her pretty eyes, knows it from the way Jayne reacted to Kaylee's interest in the big-shot rich boy. He can't believe he sent Jayne away when it's the doctor who ended up hurting her, using her life as a bargaining chip.

He holds her hand. He wants her to wake up and smile at him and make him forget that there's not only a shepherd on board, but an Alliance officer as well, staining his lovely Serenity, mocking his delusions of independence. He wishes she would wake up.

He watches the doctor's fussy movements, hating him like hell for being so detached. Doesn't he remember the way she smiled at him, admiration lighting up her face? Didn't he see the way her fall had galvanized everyone else into action?

Evidently not. The closest the doctor comes to looking emotional – or human, really – is when he smirks proudly at each bullet fragment he retrieves from her ripped abdomen. He watches the boy root around in her soft flesh. It'll be a pleasure to throw him from the airlock.

Jayne was right; just because they'd acquired plenty of provisions from Prospector, they didn't have to take on passengers. But he'd insisted, and now he and Jayne were watching Kaylee die by inches while Zoe stood guard over a murderous huh choo-shang tza-jiao duh tzang-huo and Wash tried to outrun the law.

He'd doped her himself but she's moaning and trembling under his hands. He knows this can't be a good sign. The doctor's beady eyes stay on the bullet wound, ignoring her pain. He thinks he might let Jayne have a few minutes with this boy in one hand and Raji in the other before pushing him from the airlock.

His body is practically humming with tension and he watches the doctor, sewing Kaylee up, like a hawk. He's savagely grateful that it is Jayne, not Zoe, who will be behind him. The moment the doctor's done with his task, he strides out toward the cargo bay, knowing Jayne will have the boy in a bruising grip. Mercy, reason, compassion – these are all far from his mind. It's not even curiosity that makes him tear apart the box the boy's been so jumpy about; it's just the beginnings of revenge. He needs to know what this lizard-faced brat thought was worth Kaylee's life.

He kicks off the lid and looks down. He sees the box's secret. "Huh."

"Ni ta ma de. Tianxia suoyoude ren. Dou gaisi." "Fuck everyone in the universe to death." / "tah-mah-duh huun-dan" "mother-humping son of a bitch" / "huh choo-shang tza-jiao duh tzang-huo" "animal-fucking bastard"