Disclaimer: I do not own Firefly the crew of Serenity. But I do like to borrow them now and then.
Summary: Jayne is mad at Kaylee and she's determined to figure out why.
"Ain't Worth It"
Jayne was mad.
As soon as they hit atmo he was gone. He went straight from the cargo bay to the catwalk and down to his bunk without a word to anyone, unless you count grumbles and swear words under his breath as 'words' that is. No one seemed to care one way or the other about it. He was Jayne; it was a normal day in the 'verse when Jayne was pissed off.
But Kaylee cared.
They'd just gotten back from a job down on the surface. It hadn't gone to plan, as usual with the Captains plans, and there had been some shooting. Mal had taken a bullet to the thigh but Simon was quickly working to patch him up, per usual. Kaylee had also been shot, only her second time since she'd boarded Serenity as the ships mechanic. It wasn't bad though, not nearly as bad as the first time had been. She'd been grazed by a bullet on her left arm. The doctor had patched her up in no time at all and she wore a gauze bandage over the wound now, as she nervously approached Jayne's bunk.
She recounted the conversation she had with the captain while he was getting fixed up.
"But Captain, what if he's hurt or somethan? Maybe he needs doctoran'."
"Don't worry about Jayne Mei Mei, he's a hired gun. I pay him to be pissed off."
"For the last time little Kaylee, leave Jayne be. He'll come out of it by dinner time. Would' take the whole verse' exploding in on itself for that man to miss a meal."
And now here she was, in front of Jayne's bunk, nervously holding up her fist in case she managed to get up the courage to knock. She wanted to talk to him, but he had been so mean after they'd docked. Kaylee couldn't remember ever seeing Jayne so angry before, not ever. Not even that day that River had stabbed him, and he was real mad then. Somethan just didn't seem right and if no one else was going to care enough to check on him, well she felt she ought to.
So, she knocked.
"Leave me be." Was the response she got. She swallowed a thick lump in her throat and mustered up all her courage to open her mouth and talk.
"Jayne, it's me, Kaylee." She wasn't sure why that would matter, specially if she was the one he was mad at. There was a long silence and she got ready to turn around and accept her defeat.
"Yea, whadda ya want? He answered finally. His voice sounded both harsh and soft at the same time.
Kaylee turned back to the closed door. "Well, I was just wonderin' if you was ok. Are you ok Jayne?" When there was no answer, she spoke again. "Jayne?"
She was startled when the hatch opened and Jayne appeared in the doorway. "Ching jin." He spoke and walked out of sight at the same time. Kaylee took a deep breath and climbed down into his bunk. Jayne quickly shut the hatch door after she was in and sat back down on his bunk, continuing the process of cleaning his gun. She couldn't help but feel slightly nervous.
She forced herself to unwind and began to walk around, aimlessly observing different areas of his bunk.
"Some job huh? Captain thinks we's got enough payment to last us a while. Say's maybe we can even get us some real food! Why I could just die for some…"
"That ain't funny, dong ma!" He threw his gun cleaner down forcefully and it made a loud thud when it hit the floor. His face was stern and clearly upset. Kaylee had never heard him be so blunt to her before and it frightened her. She backed up against the wall again and she felt her eyes widen in surprise. Suddenly, Jayne seemed surprised himself and his expression quickly turned from rage to embarrassment. "Got somethan' to say then say it, otherwise you best get goin'."
He turned back to his gun and picked it up. She watched him search around the floor for the missing gun cleaning wand and get angrier by the minute when he couldn't find it. Looking down, she noticed the wand lying halfway under a chair that was next to her. She picked it up, hesitantly at first, and brought it over to him.
When she held it out to him he was still on the floor. He looked up at her and what she saw in his eyes was anger mixed with something else. She couldn't figure it out exactly, but he looked vulnerable. Kinda like a scared little puppy dog. Made her less afraid and more determined to fix him.
After a moment of awkwardness, he stood up. Kaylee was startled at first as he immediately seemed to be twice her size. Her eyes followed him up until he was fully upright, as she still held out the wand awkwardly. She watched his arm reach out to take it from her, but was surprised when he didn't and reached for something else instead.
He was touching her arm, the place where she had been shot. She prepared herself to feel pain as his fingers grazed over the bandaged up wound, but was surprised to feel nothing. She was amazedat how gentle he was. Such big hands that were meant to pull triggers and restrain people were so gentle when they touched her injured arm. She looked away from her arm and up at his face. He looked pained. Something she had never seen in Jayne before.
"Jayne?" It was all she could force out. All other words seemed to have left her. He heard it though. In fact, it seemed to have broken his trance. He took the wand immediately from her hand and turned back towards his bunk.
Then, he started yelling.
"Gorramit Kaylee! Why'd you go all fong luh out there, huh? Ain't your job to take bullets!"
She was stunned by the sudden change of atmosphere. "Shah Muh?" She responded. He turned to face her, gun in hand. He seemed frustrated by her lack of understanding and crossed to the other side of the room towards the gun rack.
"Ain't your job! Its mine!" He paused after hanging the gun up and turned around. He charged towards her and took her arm in his hand again. It was rough enough to make a point, but still gentle enough to cause her no pain. "Shoulda been me Bao Bei."
She looked into his eyes and immediately knew what the other emotion was. It was fear. Jayne was scared, or had been anyway. Scared for her. When she'd nudged him out of the way of that bullet she had possibly saved his life. In the process she had damaged her arm, but she hadn't thought twice about not doing it. It was Jayne, Serenity needed him around. She needed him around. She needed him more then he knew.
"Jayne I…" She began, but paused to get her words straight. "I won't say sorry. Didn't want to lose you is all. Sides, we're both fine, aren't we?" She gave her best 'every things fine' smile. He looked at her long and deep, like he was trying to figure out what she was really thinking. Finally, he loosened his grip on her arm and slid his hand down until it met hers. He played with her fingers a moment before dropping contact.
"No more of that hero business, dong ma?" She nodded weakly and he seemed to relax. He turned back towards the gun rack and she thought she heard him say something else.
"I ain't worth it."
He went about situated his guns, almost like none of the last few minutes had ever happened. Kaylee stood there a moment before deciding that she should leave him be. She moved to the ladder, but paused before ascending upward.
"Jayne?" He stopped his movements and looked at her sideways. "I…um…"
"Dinner's ready crew, come get your grub." Mal's voice came from the voice box on the wall, interrupting the moment.
Jayne turned towards Kaylee and smiled his usual forced grin. He strode up to her and put his arm around her shoulders. "Come on little Kaylee, lets go get our eatans."
She glanced at her arm, the spot he'd touched, and smiled. Jayne was worth it, he was worth it all, and she was going to show him just how much he was worth to her.