Pairing: River / Jayne, Simon / Kaylee
Disclaimers: not mine
Summary: "He would no more harm River than he'd throw Vera out the airlock. And, if'n it came right down to it, I'm thinkin' he'd be more likely to toss the gun."
A/N: my email is still all FUBARed, so once again, this is unbetaed. This is number 8 in the series-with-no-name, following : Expert, Slippers, Letter Home, Gifts, Rats, In Dreams and Holes, all of which can be found here.
Mei-mei, what's wrong?" Simon frowns at his sister in concern, even as he reaches out to smooth her hair from her face. She is petting the little kitten sitting on her lap absently, papers and pencil crayons strewn around her bed.
"Jayne is sad," she murmurs.
Simon looks at the animal, absently rubbing it between the ears. He smiles when it starts to purr. "She sounds pretty happy to me."
"Not Junior," River rolls her eyes in disgust at him, "big Jayne. You broke him, Simon. That wasn't nice."
"You mean he broke you," Simon retorts. "I trusted him to keep you safe and what happens? He brings you back to the ship bleeding and shot. He's lucky I didn't kill him."
"He's trying to be the Tin Man again, because he thinks he shouldn't try to be anything else. Your words sliced him open. "
Simon sighs as he looks at her wound, carefully lifting the weave to check for infection. "Look, mei-mei, I highly doubt that. His skin is thicker than his dialect."
"But he's not here."
"Why should he be?" Simon frowns again, looking around her small room. "This is your room – he's got no business being here anyway."
River scowls at him, "Go away, Simon, you fei-fei de pi-yan. You broke my Jayne. You make my heart hurt."
"She's right, Simon. You hurt his feelings." Kaylee peeks out at him from under the engine, waving her wrench around for emphasis. "You know he would never do anything that would harm River."
"What are you talking about?" Simon is squatting to the left of her, voice slightly raised so she can hear him as she works. "I can think of a couple of times we know about where he tried to turn her and me in for the reward."
"Once. Only the once. And that was then. He's changed, Simon. Can't you see that? He would no more harm River than he'd throw Vera out the airlock. And, if'n it came right down to it, I'm thinkin' he'd be more likely to toss the gun. Jayne likes River."
"Are you implying that big ape is sweet on my sister? My little mei-mei? That is just so…wrong. She's just a little girl!"
Kaylee slides out from under then engine and leans forward, elbows resting lightly on Simon's knees. "She ain't a little girl no more, and I'm not sayin' nothing of the sort. I'm only sayin' he likes her is all. Mayhap he feels guilty about what he did before, but she's grown on him. He got her a kitten, after all. And he had his ma make all those socks and that hat for her."
"His mother just made them, he had nothing to do with it," Simon protests. He stops when Kaylee gives him one of her looks. "What?"
"You honestly think Jayne's ma just decided to make socks for a girl she don't even know? And guessed at the size of her feet? I'm figuring Jayne, at the very least, hinted very strongly that his ma should make socks. And he woulda sent her the credits for the wool as well – his family ain't rich, you know. His ma can't afford to just be making socks for some stranger. I think it's kinda cute, myself."
"Nothing Jayne does is cute," Simon retorts. "How can you say that?"
Kaylee shrugs, "Because it is. I don't think Jayne is used to having friends. Sometimes, if'n you watch close enough, you can see him tryin' to figure out what's goin' on. He never used to do nothing for no one, unless he were ordered by the captain. Now he's building swings and buying kittens and getting his ma to knit stuff. It makes him uncomfortable and twitchy."
"It makes him uncomfortable and twitchy? What about me? I can't figure that guy out, lately. He's got to be angling for something."
"Why can't you just accept the fact that he and River are friends? She enjoys being around him. You want your sister to have friends, right?"
"Yes, but Jayne? They don't have anything in common." Simon's hand is sitting on Kaylee's shoulder now, thumb stroking her collarbone. He's always amazed at how warm she feels; how alive she is. He smiles as she leans further into him.
"They got a lot in common," she murmurs, "just not on the outside. River is the only one on this ship more deadly than Jayne is. No – now don't be like that," she sighs as Simon stiffens and tries to pull away, "you know it's the truth. For whatever reason, they seem to understand each other. It's not Jayne's fault she got shot, no more'n it's his fault she jumped in fronta him. You need to let this go, Simon."
Simon leans back against the bulkhead, making himself more comfortable as Kaylee slides against him. "I'll try," he agrees as she leans forward to kiss him, "but I won't make any promises."
"Hey, I've been looking for you." The sound of Jayne's voice makes Simon jump. The larger man is standing in the doorway of the medbay, scowling at him.
"Sorry, I was helping Kaylee in the engine room," Simon replies smoothly, even as the back of his neck heats up. Jayne just rolls his eyes at him.
"Whatever. I don't wanna know. I just wanted to give ya this, for ya to give to your sister." Jayne holds out a small silver derringer and a box of ammunition. "Figured she needs a gun of her own if she's gonna be a part of this ship."
"Uhm…I don't really think she should have her own gun," Simon replies, "It' too dangerous."
"Jian ta-de gui! What are ya, stupid? She needs a gun. If'n she had her own gun, mayhap she mightn't a gotten shot."
"What makes you think that?" The younger man is, frankly, shocked.
""Cuz the girl is fast," Jayne snaps back. "She's got good reflexes and she's got deadly aim. If'n she had enough time to jump in fronta a bullet headin' at me, she had time to pull a gun and shoot. She needs something to protect herself with."
"I thought that was your job," Simon replies. He watches Jayne's face for any display of emotion, and is amazed when he sees a flinch.
"Yeah, well obviously, I ain't good enough," Jayne's voice is bitter.
Simon reaches out and picks the gun out of Jayne's hand, examining the shining silver barrel and the inlay on the handle. It's lighter than he expected it would be and the metal is warm from the heat of the larger man's hands. "This is a very nice gun," he states, "not that I'm an expert or anything. Where did you get it?"
Jayne shrugs and shifts his weight a bit, "It's one-a mine – name's Gertie. Thought it might work for your sister. 'Sides, she's too delicate for my big hands – always been afraid to touch her in case I break her. Can barely get my finger on the trigger." There's an uncomfortable silence for a moment as the two men look at each other. Simon wonders if they're still talking about guns.
Sighing, he hands the small derringer back to Jayne. "I don't think you could break her even if you wanted to," he finally admits. "But I can't give her this gun."
When Jayne starts to protest, Simon holds up his hand, "Go give it to her yourself. She's in her room and she's been asking about you."
"Yeah?" Jayne looks at Simon as if he doesn't believe what the doc just said. "You ain't mad at me no more?"
"What's to be angry about? You didn't make her jump in front of you – that's something she decided to do on her own. I'm sorry I yelled at you about it. You did a good job, getting her back to the infirmary as quickly as you did. You probably saved her life." Simon smiles tentatively as he says this and Jayne smiles back, almost. "So, are you going to take this down to her? I'm sure she'd love to have a visitor right about now."
"Will do, Doc," Jayne replies.
Simon watches the big man leave, before shaking his head and getting back to the inventory, wondering if Jayne even realizes he's in love with River.
fei-fei de pi-yan baboon's ass crack
Jian ta-de gui like hell