Everyone was waitin' fer the job that night, so there wasn't much ta do. Kaylee an' Jayne sat in the little room off the kitchen most of the day. They changed position every once in a while. Mostly they were just… tagether.
The crew, 'ceptin the doc, were pretty acceptin' 'a the stuff goin' on between Jayne an' little Kaylee. Nobody really said much, 'cept Inara, who only said she was glad they was happy.
Jayne was happy. He liked ta think Kaylee was, too. He'd thought about holdin' Kaylee, kissin' her, playin' with her hair, all that, fer so long he kept expectin' ta wake up. He was in a haze—on a high a thousand times better thn' kosu weed. Kaylee. Kaylee weed.
Gorram, he was happy. Felt off ta be so happy. But for Kaylee… he'd allow it.
She had her head in his lap. Her eyes were closed. Jayne thought she might've fallen asleep until she sighed.
"I oughta be doin' somethin'."
He brushed her hair off her forehead. "Ship ain't runnin'. What do you reckon you've got ta do?"
She sighed. "I dunno. Somethin'. Don't feel right ta be just sittin' here bein' all happy an' warm with you. I feel like Mal's gonna come in here an' yell at us."
She opened her eyes. "Not that I'm complainin'." She smiled.
Jayne put his hand along her jaw an' traced her lips with his thumb. Strange, how he couldn't help touchin' her.
"Yer ruinin' my reputation, Little Kaylee."
"You have a reputation?"
"'Course I do. I'm a womanizin' hard-assed mercenary. I ain't supposed ta cuddle."
She sat up. Jayne could see she was holdin' back a laugh. She got up an' dusted her lap off. "Maybe I can see if Inara's busy."
Jayne growled an reached out fer her. He grabbed her around the waist an' pulled her onta his lap. He jabbed her in the ribs, makin' her squirm an' laugh like anythin'.
Someone cleared their throat. Jayne stopped ticklin' Kaylee an' looked up.
Mal was standin' with his arms crossed. "Hate to interrupt, but I believe we got a caper to pull off."
Kaylee sat up an' tucked her hair behind her ear, grinnin' an' lookin' more thn' a little sheepish.
"Now? What time is it?" Jayne looked toward the window. It was black outside.
"Time to go. Get a move on. We're leaving in five minutes and I want you armed."
Jayne watched 'im go.
"Told you he'd come in an' yell at us."
Jayne turned ta Kaylee an' smiled. Leaned over ta kiss her nose. "Gotta go arm myself fer the caper."
He stood up. Kaylee grabbed his hand an' held on fer a bit. Jayne looked down at 'er.
"I'll miss you." She smiled her sweet little smile.
"Yer comin' too, baobai. Condition of the plan." Jayne smiled.
Kaylee raised her eyebrows. "Yeah?"
Jayne nodded. "Yeah.
They took the mule this time. It was just Mal, Zoe, Kaylee an' Jayne. The doc hadn't wanted ta revisit the past an' of course Crazy stayed with 'im. Said she had ta keep an eye on 'im. Inara said she "wasn't fit for looting," but she smiled at Mal when she said it. Jayne was startin' ta think maybe there was somethin' goin' on between the two of them.
Mal stopped the mule a good distance away from the compound.
"Zoe and Jayne, you go in first. Check things out. If things look level, you come tell us. If things don't look level… you come tell us."
"Good plan, Sir."
Jayne winked at Kaylee. She smiled. Then he jumped off the mule an' followed the Zoe-shaped figure toward the blazin' lights of the compound.
"I did what you said."
"I talked to her."
"Did more than that, I reckon." Jayne could hear the smile in Zoe's voice. "Not that it's any of my business."
"Anytime. I was part of a functioning marriage for a while, as you may recall."
She never talked about that. Her sayin' somethin' stung Jayne more than he thought it would. Not that Zoe meant it ta be hurtful. Jayne just didn't like thinkin' about… It'd been almost a year. But he still didn't like thinkin' about it.
Zoe changed the subject. "So should we sneak in or should we just walk in the door?"
"You askin' me?"
"This is your plan, Jayne."
Jayne smiled. His plan.
"I reckon we can go right ta the door. My girls'll be good on their word. Plus I've got Vera."
Turned out Jayne didn't need Vera. Stella an' Marie was standin' right outside the main door waitin'. They came runnin' over. Slowed down when they saw Zoe.
Marie crossed her arms an' looked Zoe up an' down. Then she turned ta Jayne. "You brought yer wife?"
"She ain't my wife."
Stella looked from Jayne ta Zoe an' back ta Jayne. "I don't think I get it."
"Is she a twin? I bet she's a twin. Stella, she's a twin."
Stella gave Marie the kind of look Mal was always givin' Jayne.
Marie shrugged. "What?"
"I don't think she's a twin, honey."
Marie looked back at Zoe.
"I'm not a twin."
"My name is Zoe. Zeek here's real name is Jayne."
Marie looked at Jayne an' narrowed her eyes. "I thought the sly doctor's name is Jayne."
Zoe shook her head. "His name is Simon."
Marie turned ta Stella. "The sly doctor's name is Simon. Jayne's really Zeek. Er… Zeek's…." She trailed off.
Stella looked at Jayne. "So you're Jayne. The sly doctor."
Zoe sighed. "No. The sly doctor's name is Simon. And he's not sly. This is Jayne. There is no Zeek. I'm Zoe. And we're not married."
"So you're… I don't… so he… ni ta ma de tian xia… look at that gun." Marie was starin' at Vera.
Stella let out an' appreciatin' noise.
Marie looked up at Jayne. "Can I touch it?"
Jayne grinned. "Sure. Be real gentle, though."
Stella an' Marie both crept forward an' held out a hand ta touch Vera's side. Marie moaned.
Zoe cleared her throat. "Can we talk about the job?"
Marie looked over at Zoe an' pouted. Looked real ornery ta have her moment ruined like that. "Yeah, it's set up. Wife or not, you're still bossy."
"And holding a gun."
Stella cut in. "It didn't work out exactly as we planned, though."
Jayne looked at 'er. "What happened?"
Stella scuffed her foot. "Well… ya see… the plan was, we were gonna get the guards real good an' liquored up. Get 'em so they was real tired-like."
Marie chimed in. "So they'd fall asleep."
"So they'd fall asleep. But ya see… there wasn't as much liquor as we thought there was, seein' as there was that big shindig last night."
"An' the guards take an awful lot ta even get tipsy."
Stella nodded. "Big men."
"An' ya see, Stella an' me, we're real… yanno… desirable. Popular with the wrong type of man."
"So we keep some Belladonna around. Makes anyone fall asleep like nothin', if ya put it in wine. Even the wrong type of man."
"Even big men."
"So we put it in the whisky. All of it."
"All've the whisky er all've the Belly… whatever?"
Stella smiled at Jayne. "Both."
"An' then everyone started playin' this drinkin' game. It's called… Stella, what is that game called?"
"Right. An' what it is is there's a deck've cards an' you say 'neg' er… what is it?"
"Yeah. An' then they flip the card over an'—"
"What happened with the Belladonna?"
Stella an' Marie both glared at Zoe.
Stella turned away real slow toward Jayne. Marie kept on glarin'.
Stella cleared her throat. "They're all asleep."
Jayne lowered his eyebrows. "Thought that was the point."
Marie pried her eyes away from Zoe. "Nah. The point was ta make the guards fall asleep."
"You know how long it's gonna take ta move half a mil in platinum? We was gonna have the girls help us."
Marie chewed on her lip. "But they're asleep."
Stella nodded. "They're asleep."
Marie stood on her tiptoes an' tried ta peer over Jayne's shoulder.
Jayne looked at 'er, then turned ta make sure there was nothin' behind him. He turned back. Stella an' Marie was lookin' at 'im.
Mal an' Kaylee was both leanin' up against the mule when Jayne came toward 'em. Mal straightened up as they neared. Jayne could see his hand stray toward his gun.
"It's alright, Sir. Everything's clear."
Mal turned toward Zoe. "Then what're these?" He tipped his head toward Stella an' Marie.
"These are Marie an' Stella Johnston, elite gentleman's escorts. This one's Marie." Marie ambled over ta Mal. "You an elite gentleman?"
Mall looked at Jayne. "These your whores?"
Jayne nodded. "Them's my whores."
Marie was eyein' Mal like she was starvin'. "Can we pretend you're an elite gentleman?"
"This is Stella. That one's Marie." Jayne gestured at Marie with Vera.
Mal was tryin' ta ignore her. "Gathered that."
Jayne turned ta Stella an' nodded in Mal's direction. "That's Mal."
"Mal. Bad. Have you been bad, Mal?"
Mal looked at Marie. Then he turned ta Zoe.
"I know, Sir."
Kaylee was lookin' at Jayne from behind Mal like she was afraid ta come out.
Stella spied her anyway.
Kaylee backed up against the mule as Stella lunged toward her an' threw her arms around 'er. She let out a nervous kinda laugh an' gave Jayne a look.
Jayne just smiled.
Stella pulled back an' held Kaylee at arm's length. She turned ta Jayne. "I like 'er. She's got a good face, Zeek."
"I like Zeek better."
"Oh! Look at that smile!" Marie left Mal alone an' joined Stella in appreciatin' Kaylee. She turned ta Jayne. "I could just spread 'er on a buiscuit an' gobble 'er up."
"Thanks." Kaylee sent Jayne another look.
"Ya know, if you weren't sa gorram cute, I reckon I'd have ta kill you."
Kaylee's eyes got real big.
"I thought we were here for platinum."
Stella turned ta Mal. "Right! Follow me."
Marie grinned an' pulled Mal along by the hand. "Reckon you should be up front with us, should somethin' happen."
Jayne wated Stella an' Marie herdin' the captain toward one of he outbuildings. Zoe followed with her gun.
Kaylee came up beside Jayne. Jayne looked down at 'er.
"She threatened ta kill me."
"Nah. She said she WEREN'T gonna kill ya."
Kaylee nodded slow an' stared forward, pressin' her lips together.
"I'd snap 'em in half if I thought they was a treat. Just got ya. Ain't even sick've ya yet."
Kaylee smiled up at him. "That's sweet."
There was a bunch of crates in the buildin' with Chinese labels sayin' suff like "ginger" an' "beans." Zoe, Mal, an' the girls was standin' in front've a case labled "corn seed."
Jayne ain't never seen platinum corn seed before.
There was a stack've guns next ta Zoe. Jayne reckoned they'd come from the guards he'd stepped over at the door.
"All these crates full of platinum?" Mal nodded toward the crates linin' the far wall.
Jayne caught the look Stella gave Marie. "Well… we… ain't sure." Stella offered a weak smile.
Mal turned ta her. Her smile flickered, then went out all together.
Marie stepped in. "We ain't ever allowed in here. It's Pink's men who come in an' out."
"Sometimes they come out with platinum, sometimes they come out with…" Stella gestured at the crate. "Corn seed."
Marie turned ta Stella. "What is corn seed?"
"It's like plantin' corn."
"Oooh." Marie nodded.
Jayne could see Mal's jaw tense. "So we're going to have to open all these crates and check what's in them?"
"And move them out."
"Before the guards wake up and kill us."
Stella nodded again.
Mal nodded. Then he turned ta Jayne. "This may just be the best plan ever."
Zoe cleared her throat. "We can always back down, Sir."
"And not get paid."
"There is that chance."
Kaylee stepped forward. "Maybe I could go back to the ship an' get the rest to come help us."
"And leave the ship lyin' there empty for anyone to come steal?"
"We could bring the ship here, Sir."
Mal stood with his hands on his hips, lookin' at Zoe. He nodded after a while. "Fine. Kaylee, Zoe, go get the ship. Put it down about twenty meters north of this building." He turned to Jayne. "If I lose my ship, I will sell your ass to buy myself a new one."
Zoe turned around at the door. "Sir, you couldn't even get another firefly for that mangy hide. Sell his guns."
Jayne tightened his grip on Vera.
Jayne turned toward Mal, clutchin' Vera ta his chest.
Mal gestured at the boxes.