Title: Helpless
Author: babies stole my dingo (agilebrit)
Fandom: Firefly
Rating: R, for Jayne's potty mouth and rape themes.
Length: Short story (around 4500 words)
Disclaimer: Joss is the genius behind these characters; I am but a lowly follower. I make no money from any of this, so please don't sue me.
Written for: A rabid plot Rottweiler that wouldn't let me go. Jayne and Kaylee are captured while they're planetside getting parts for Serenity. Their captors try to use Kaylee to get information out of Jayne...by abusing her terribly and threatening to do more if he doesn't tell them what they want to know. Many thanks to Aeneas, SirStephen95, and HonorH for helping this not suck.
Jayne scanned the junkyard while Kaylee pottered about, ooh-ing and ahh-ing over various mechanical objects. Mal had sent them down in the shuttle while Serenity stayed in orbit, because some part or other needed fixed, and the ship couldn't land without it. He was supposed to keep an eye on Kaylee and make sure she just got what they had to have and didn't go nuts with Mal's money.

"C'mon, Kaylee, ain't you found that part yet?" Jayne grouched.

She looked up from whatever widget she was examining, a little shamefaced. "Oh, I found it ten minutes ago. Are you in a hurry to leave?"

His eyes drifted around, picking out hiding places for imagined enemies, and he fingered his gun. "Place just makes me itch, is all. Somethin' ain't--Shit!" How had he missed the three men who now surrounded them? He grabbed Kaylee and shoved her behind him just as a bolt from a sonic rifle hit him in the chest and sent him flying backwards over her head. Immobilized, he had time to think, Where in the hell did they get those? They're not Alli-- before he was butt-stroked into unconsciousness.


He came to slowly, lying on the cement floor of an anonymous, windowless cell with cinderblock walls. Holding his aching head and fighting nausea, his first thought was for Kaylee. He stood up just a little too fast and had to sit right back down again, his head between his knees. Damn, they'd hit him hard.

But he'd seen enough to know that she wasn't in the cell with him. The door was barred and provided the only way to see out. A toilet and a sink were placed along one wall, and a one-piece bed was bolted to the floor, with a metal chair fastened to the wall right beside the head of the bed. They'd taken his weapons from him, of course. He wondered how long he'd been out.

Well, it weren't the first time he'd been in a cell, and it probably wouldn't be the last. Only thing he was really concerned about was what they'd done with little Kaylee, but he figured answers on that front wouldn't come any time soon, so's best just to set awhile, attempt to soothe the pounding in his head, and plot revenge.

He still had his handkerchief in his back pocket, for a wonder. He ran some water over it, leaned back in the chair, and put it over his eyes.

He startled awake from a doze a little while later. Catcalls and wolf whistles sounded around the cellblock, the noises getting ever closer to him as whatever it was came down the hall. Two men stopped at his cell door; one of them had a pistol out and aimed at Jayne, while the other supported a very naked...

"Kaylee? What did you chusheng xai-jiao de xiang huos do to her?"

"Stand back or I will shoot you down," the armed one said. Fuming, Jayne did as he was told while the other unlocked the door, shoved Kaylee in, and slammed it shut behind her. She fell to her hands and knees, gasping and crying, while their captors gave him a nasty grin through the bars. "Hope you have as much fun with her as we did."

Jayne leaped to the door and made a grab for one of them, intending damage, but they walked away, laughing. He slammed his fist into the bars, once, then resolutely put them on "ignore" and knelt next to Kaylee. He touched her shoulder, but she flinched violently, then stared up at him with wide, uncomprehending eyes. His lips tightened dangerously when he saw the state of her face. They'd been...rough with her. Real rough.

"Kaylee? You recognize me, bao bei?" He'd often fantasized about seeing Kaylee naked. But not like this. Never like this. In his dreams, she'd been a willing, wanton, joyful lover. Now she was a broken little girl. "C'mon, Kaylee." No one would ever describe him as "gentle," but he did his best. "Let's get you cleaned up some, huh?"

She reached up and grasped the side of the mattress, and he put his hand under her arm to help her onto it. She twitched at his touch and scrambled away; once on the bed, she immediately curled protectively around herself on her side, back to the wall, still shaking. Gritting his teeth, he ran his handkerchief under the tap again and sat in the chair. Channel this, he told himself. Won't do her no good to see you mad. "Kaylee." Could she even hear him? "Let me have your face, girl. We'll start there." She hunched her shoulders, and he said a word that rarely passed his lips. "Please."

Her eyes flicked up at that, then back down. He stretched his hand out ever so slowly, like she was a skittish wild animal, and bathed a cut above her eyebrow. "Okay?" he asked. She nodded with quick little jerks. "Lemme see the rest of your face, xin gan."

"Okay," she whispered. She lifted her chin a little, staying curled in a semi-fetal position...but at least she was looking at him now.

Blood and...other fluids...caked her cheek, and he had to rinse the cloth twice to get it all off. He tried to keep his gaze on her face, but couldn't help but note the rope burns around her wrists and ankles, and the larger bruises left by rough hands on her upper arms. Fingertip bruises on her breasts and thighs, and bite marks around her nipples, completed a picture that left him enraged and helpless all at the same time, and the trickle of blood running down between her legs was not helping his damaged calm.

"Kaylee. I ain't gonna touch you anywhere you don't wanna be touched, dong ma? But you'll feel better if'n you're clean. So, you wanna do it, or you want me to?"

"I'll do it." He barely heard her, but he rinsed the handkerchief again and handed it to her wordlessly. "Could you turn your back?" she whispered. "I mean, I know you've already...but could you?"

"Sure, little Kaylee." His voice was husky. He sat on the toilet facing the wall, then had a thought. Taking his T-shirt off, he tossed it behind him toward the bed. "Whyn't you put that on when you're done?"

"Thank you." He wondered if they'd hurt her voice box while they were at it. Jayne needed to beat something, anything, up, but scaring her worse was the last thing he wanted to do. He silently vowed ugly death to whoever had stolen the smile from Kaylee's face. What kind of man did that to a girl? He'd never taken a woman into his bed that weren't perfectly willing to be there; forcing one, when there was so many that'd be more'n happy to share a romp, was out of the question. His brain wouldn't wrap around the concept.

She was crying now. Should he go over and hold her? Did she even want him to look at her yet? A man of action, he was getting real frustrated with not knowing what to do. "Kaylee?" He looked over his shoulder. She was sitting up jammed into the corner, wearing the shirt, her knees tucked up under it with her arms wrapped 'round them.

He shifted himself over to the chair. For the first time in his life, he was afraid of something besides Reavers. He was scared of setting her off worse, he was afraid that if he tried to touch her again she'd cry more...he was terrified that she saw him as one of them what'd done this to her. "Try to get some rest, bao bei. I'll watch over you. If they want to take you out of here again, they'll have to do it over my dead body. Dong ma? They will not touch you again unless I'm dead." She gave him that quick jerky nod again. He wanted to wrap her in his arms and take her to a place where nothing like this happened, ever. He settled for just being there for her as she lay down, shivering. He crossed his arms and fixed his gaze on the cell door.

Bastards were gonna pay.


A man stopped outside the cell, leaning against the wall opposite, wisely out of Jayne's reach. "You've seen what we're willing to do." He lit a cigarette and blew a stream of smoke in Jayne's direction. "You ready to give us some information?"

"Depends." Jayne didn't uncross his arms or get up from the chair.

"Where's your ship?"


"Now, see, that's the attitude that gets people hurt. Do we need to take your little friend out again?"

Jayne stood up and stalked over to the door. "Touch her and I'll ruttin' tear your nethers out by their roots and shove 'em down your gorram throat."

The man gave him a pitying smile. "You can try. Now. Your ship?"

"How the hell am I supposed to know?" Jayne asked, crossing his arms again. "I missed the gorram rendezvous. It's long gone by now. The Cap'n don't think much of me; he wouldn't stick around to find out what happened."

"I think you're lying. We'll find out soon enough." He tossed the cigarette down, pushed himself off the wall, and walked away.

Jayne clenched his fist for a second, then sat back down in the chair. "Kaylee? Wake up and get ready to move."

She blinked awake slowly, frowning. Her face crumpled as reality came crashing back. "I'm not sure I can walk..."

"I'll carry you," he said. She bit her lip; she probably still didn't want to be touched, least of all by him, but if they were going to get out, she had very little choice in the matter. "Just, be ready, 'kay? Can you stand?"

"I think so." She tried it. She was a bit wobbly, but not bad, considering.

"Good, 'cause if we have to fight our way outta here, I'll have to put you down to do it. 'F I have to do that, you watch our backs and make sure no one's tryin' to sneak up behind us."

"I can do that."

He smiled, although it didn't reach his eyes. "Good girl. You'll be fine, little Kaylee."


Weren't long before a pair of armed guards stopped outside the cell. The short one kept Jayne covered with a right pitiful little rifle, while the tall one unlocked the door.

Jayne was a big guy, and people often underestimated how fast he could move. Four strides, and he was across the floor and inside the arc of the popgun, his right fist flying out to connect with the guard's throat while his left hand grabbed the rifle barrel and shoved it back behind him into the second one's solar plexus.

The short guard collapsed, gurgling and letting go of his gun, and the other attempted to unlimber his rifle and bring it to bear...in vain. Jayne kept ahold of the first man's rifle and swung its butt hard into the second one's face, putting him down and out. Jayne's attention turned to the first one, and he smashed the rifle's stock into his head, enough times so that Kaylee'd never have to worry about him hurting her, ever again. Then he did the same for the other one.

The entire, brief battle had taken place in horrible silence. Jayne didn't want to alert anyone else to what was happening, and the guards hadn't had time to shout anything at all when the Cobb juggernaut descended on them. He grabbed the keyring the tall one'd had and slung the guns over his shoulder by their straps before striding back over to the bed and scooping Kaylee up. Damn, she didn't weigh nothin'. Stopping at the cell door, he looked up and down the hall. "Which way, d'you think?"

She pointed left. "That way. Ain't nothin' the other way except--ain't nothin' the other way."

He squeezed her a bit and headed left. Wanted to kiss the hurt away, make her forget, but he knew he was pushing things by even touching her at all, so he didn't try it. The cells in this direction were empty, for a wonder. The corridor took a right turn, then a left, and ended at a doorway. He cat-footed up to it, quiet-like, but it was unguarded. Either these people, whoever they were, were supremely confident in their security, or they were dumber'n rocks. Jayne wouldn't bet on the latter being so, but they certainly hadn't showed him that they were burdened with an overabundance of brains yet.

Wouldn't do to underestimate them, though. That was how he'd got caught the first time. Them and their gorram Alliance weapons. He guessed that arms smuggling was a long and honored tradition, but it sure made his life hard at the most inconvenient of times, even though he'd benefitted from it once or twice hisself.

He figured they wouldn't be able to just waltz on out of whatever place they was being held in, and he was right. But the guard on the next door was facing out, not in, and he was alone. Jayne set Kaylee down, snuck up behind the man, and cold-cocked him in the back of the head with a rifle butt. He went down like a felled ox, and Jayne gave him the same treatment he'd given the other two. He wasn't feeling over-charitable towards any of these people.

He picked Kaylee up again. "Okay?" he asked.

Her expression was hard. He never wanted to see her face look like that, ever. "Fine." She peered ahead. "I think we're gettin' close to the entrance."

"That's good. Sooner we're shut of this place--" Shouts behind them; their escape'd been discovered. Fantastic. He sped up. Another hallway, another couple of turns, and they found themselves in a big open room with two men watching a door that apparently led outside. He swung her down, brought a rifle to bear, and opened fire before they had the chance to see what was what. Grabbing her up again, he stepped over their bodies and shouldered the door open. They found themselves outside, in broad daylight, in an unfamiliar section of town. "Any idea where we go?" he said.

"That way," she answered, pointing. Sure enough, a little ways later, they were out on a busy street in a marketplace where a shirtless man carrying a half-naked girl and two rifles weren't enough out of the ordinary to spare a second glance, apparently. "Think we gave 'em the slip?"

Jayne threaded his way through the crowd, twisting and turning this way and that, until he figured they were safe. He found a wave terminal and set Kaylee down, and she leaned against the wall of the building the terminal was attached to. "I don't reckon they'll want to make a scene in a crowd this big," he said. "Let's get on the Cortex and send our ship a wave." She gave him a relieved smile as he punched up Serenity. "Wash?"

"Jayne! Where are you? We've been worried sick about you and Kaylee since you didn't make the rendevous. Well, mostly Kaylee."

"I don't got time to banter with you, little man. Lock onto our coordinates and get our shuttle here, right the hell now. And have Simon ready; Kaylee's hurt."

"All right. Stand by." Wash worked his magic with his keyboard and some buttons and switches. "Your shuttle's headed your way. How bad is she?"

"She's--" Kaylee shook her head frantically. Of course she wouldn't want what they'd done to her broadcast all over the damn Cortex. Jayne clenched his fist again. "She just needs to have the Doc take a look at her, is all. Nothin' she won't recover from. Our Kaylee's tough for a little girl." He tossed her a proud smile. She'd done fine, just fine, back there.


The others took charge of Kaylee after Jayne docked the shuttle. They pretty much ignored him, which was as it should be. He headed to the kitchen to grab a bite to eat, but the memory of what those people had done to Kaylee hit him like a brick, and he lost his appetite. Which might have been the first time in his life that'd ever happened to him. He rested his hands on the counter, clenching and unclenching his fists and banging his head a bit on the upper cabinet.

Bruises. Rope burns. Bite marks and blood. And most of all, dear God, most of all, her expression. He snapped. Pounding his fist again and again into the metal door of the pantry, he growled wordlessly and didn't even notice when his knuckles split and sprayed blood around the room. Finally, breathing heavily, he stopped and threw himself into one of the chairs. Mal found him that way a minute or so later and dropped into the chair across the table, shoving a bottle of Kaylee's homemade hootch towards him.

"Jayne, I didn't know any better, I'd say you're looking rougher around the edges than our Kaylee. What happened down there, anyways?"

Jayne uncapped the bottle and took a swig. "What did she tell you?"

"Not much, truth be said. Which is why I'm asking you."

"It ain't my tale to tell. We got took, and they tried to use her as leverage to get me to tell 'em where the ship was. And that's about as much as I'm willin' to say." He took another drink and passed the bottle back to Mal. "You know, Cap'n, I know I ain't a nice man. Hell, I've made a career out of bein' a bad guy. But how in the gorram ruttin' hell does someone's brain get so wrong to where they're capable of somethin' like that? They had her for hours..." He slammed his fist into the table.

Mal's lips tightened. "Any idea who they were? Maybe we should go and do some damage."

"I could take us back to the place, but stormin' it would be a bitch and a half. I'd like some more revenge as much as you would, but I ain't sure we'd be bitin' off more'n we could chew. And they was huntin' us, no mistake."

Jayne could tell the Cap'n didn't like that none. Mal took another drink and said, "Well, you got her out before they did anymore. That's something."

Jayne looked at his bleeding knuckles. "Is it enough?"

Mal apparently didn't have an answer for that. But... "She wants to see you. And you'd better have the Doc look at your hand. Jayne." Mal stood up and grasped his shoulder across the table. "Thanks for takin' care of her."

"Yeah." He didn't feel like he deserved thanks, but if Mal wanted to thank him, he guessed that was a Cap'n's prerogative.


He stuck his head into the infirmary. Kaylee smiled at him shyly and sleepily from the bed. Doc had apparently sedated her. "Hey, you."

"Hey, yourself."

She still looked pretty brittle. Her Brave Little Toaster act wasn't fooling him none. But it wasn't his place to call her on it, neither. If he'd been doing his job, none of this would've happened. He felt like he should apologize, but he didn't have no pretty words like Simon would use. Doc was over in the corner, doing...doctor-y things. Jayne shuffled his feet a little. "Mal said you wanted to see me?"

"Just wanted to thank you for gettin' me out, and bein'...understandin'. I know that wasn't easy for you."

"Wasn't easy for...Gorramit, Kaylee, you're the one's been--" He was at a loss for words. Again. Why'n'thehell was everyone thanking him? Didn't seem right; he hadn't done nothin' anyone else wouldn't have done. She flinched a bit at his harsh words. You are dumber'n a sack of hammers, he berated himself. Suck up the thanks and at least try to be graceful about it. "I'm sorry, little Kaylee. You just took me by surprise, is all. I don't expect no thanks for what I done."

"Well, maybe you should," she said as Simon walked over and injected her with something or other.

Jayne made a dismissive gesture. "No one's grateful to a guard dog for doin' what it's trained to do."

She frowned at that, then noticed his hand. "Oh, hey...what happened?"

"What, this? Got in a argument with the pantry door. Mal said I should have Simon look at it."

Simon spoke up for the first time. "Let me see." He lifted an eyebrow after examining it. "I don't think it's broken, but you did a real number on it." He sprayed some foam on it, which stung a little and then felt all manner of soothing.

"Can I talk to you out in the hall, Doc?"

"Yes, of course."

They moved around the corner. "Tell me straight, is she gonna be okay?"

"Physically, she'll recover. Mentally...she's been through a terrible thing. Some women never get over something like that. I think she'll be mostly okay eventually; she's stronger than she looks. But it'll take time." He paused. "You know, when River started having hysterics, I thought she was just having another one of her episodes. I didn't think--" He swallowed. Weren't often Jayne saw Simon truly disturbed. Not that he could blame him. Bad enough that River weren't right in the head. If she'd felt everything Kaylee'd felt, that was more than a little distressing.

"Maybe 'Nara can help. Surely they give Companions trainin' for stuff like this. Or the Shepherd."

Simon's expression turned pensive. "I've done all I can for her. Maybe talking to Inara or Book would help. And it might help River too." He blinked. "That was actually a very good idea."

Jayne shrugged. "Every once in awhile, one bubbles to the surface."


Everyone was kinda quiet over the next several days. Zoe had her I'd-like-to-hang-some-scrotum-trophies-in-the-cockpit face on, and Kaylee spent much of her downtime in Inara's shuttle. River actually acted like she wanted to hang around with Jayne, which weirded him out plenty. Even more so when she referred to him as a "noble protector." He yelled at her once, and she got the saddest kicked-puppy look and made a dignified exit. Jayne didn't do that again.

They headed to a different planet for the part they still needed, and he kept an eye on Kaylee. He noticed little things, like how she never joked about sex no more. How she generally found an excuse to leave the room whenever Simon entered. He knew Simon noticed too, and that it cut the other man to the quick to think she was avoiding him. She couldn't really be blamed, though. All that sexual tension between her and the Doc probably gave her the willies, just thinking about it, now. He wondered if she'd ever get over it, and nearly boiled over with rage at the thought that taking joy in sex was one more thing those people had stolen from her. He hoped the Doc was a patient man.

He also noticed that she didn't go out of her way to avoid his own self. He guessed that it was because he'd been there, and they shared something that the others, with the possible exception of River, couldn't possibly understand. Sometimes, she even tried to comfort him, which was a laugh and a half. She'd walk behind his chair and just trail her hand along his shoulder, or give it a little squeeze. It was really too bad, he reflected, that he was too scared to do that to her. He still remembered her twitchiness in the cell, and he wouldn't bring them memories back onto her for all the gold in the 'verse.

Once, without thinking, he reached up and almost touched her in return, but his hand froze before it got to hers. She froze, herself, and then they both relaxed. "Jayne. It's all right for you to touch me. Honest, I won't go all bibbledy on you."

They were alone in the crew lounge for once. His hand completed its journey, seemingly of its own accord, and he squeezed her fingers gentle-like. "You know, it's okay for you to cry, little Kaylee. No one expects you to be all Warrior Woman like Zoe would be. This ain't somethin' you get over in a day or three."

She sat in the chair next to his and put her chin on her fist. "Just don't seem right to blubber all over everyone. Simon, in particular. He makes me all weak-kneed, and then I go all stiff and gotta leave the room and work on the engine. Even if there ain't nothin' wrong with it." She stared at a stain on the table. "I wonder if he'll even want to touch me after this."

Jayne was startled. "Hell, Kaylee, the Doc is a lot of things, but he ain't stupid. He still likes you just fine." And I never thought I'd be defending him, he thought. "But you ever need to talk, you know any one of us'll lend a willing ear."

"I know." Her lips went trembly. "I know."

It tore him up plenty to see her like this. Damn if he didn't want to kiss the hurt right off her face. He knew that'd freak her out, though, so he settled for changing the subject. "We're going planetside tomorrow. I think you'll be surrounded by people with guns while you find whatever part it is you need." He bared his teeth in a gesture that wasn't a smile.

"I should've--"

"What? Fought them off with your bare hands? This ain't your fault," he said fiercely. "And don't you never think it is. Dong ma?" A thought struck him. "You need to learn some self-defense, bao bei. I bet Zoe'd teach you some stuff you could do. Maybe even Inara or Mal. Though Mal ain't much of a fighter. But, hell, findin' out how to kick someone where it hurts and then run away would put you miles ahead of where you're at right now."

He was pleased to see her face light up with interest. "You think I could learn that?"

"I think you can learn anything, you put your mind to it enough."

"Shiny." Now that was the expression he wanted to see on her face.


They landed the shuttle in the lot of the scrapyard. Mal and Zoe got out first, guns drawn, looking for trouble. A few moments later, they gave the all-clear signal, and Jayne escorted a nervous Kaylee out. She hesitated in the doorway, but Jayne gave her an encouraging smile and a little nod, and her posture stiffened. "I can do this," she whispered.

"Yeah, you can," he told her, squeezing her shoulder.

She took a deep breath and continued on out. Once in the junkyard, he was glad to see her relax more. Every once in awhile, her lips'd tighten and she'd look like she wanted to run, but she shook herself out of it each time and went back to drooling over various pieces and parts. Time she got through, Jayne thought Mal was gonna have a conniption fit over what she'd gathered up.

"Kaylee, you really need all that stuff?" he protested.

"Well, not need as such, Cap'n. But this synchronizer's a real bargain. Never hurts to have more'n one compression coil. And I been tellin' you for weeks about the primary buffer panel. We can really use one. Or--" She glanced down at the parts in her hands. "Three?"

Mal flinched, and Jayne just knew he was thinking about his wallet. "Can you make do with two?"

She broke out with a sunny smile, bounced up to him, and kissed him on the cheek. "I love my Captain."

She still had a long row to hoe ahead of her. But, at that moment, Jayne thought to himself that maybe, just maybe, she would come out the other end of it whole.

And that meant he would, too.


Author's Notes: I really didn't want to write this. Rapefics are done to death and 95 percent of them suck. I was afraid this one would suck too...and now I'm not sure if it's the best thing I've ever written, or the worst. Feedback, good or bad, rocks my world. Like it? Shiny; tell me why. Hate it? Oh, even shinier! Please tell me why.