Disclaimer: They're all Whedon's.

Author's Note: I'm simply thirsty for more Firefly/Serenity. This will be my dumping ground for all publishable fantasies about Mal and his crew. It will probably grow sporadically, unevenly, and with wild abandon.

"Life is eternal and love is immortal;

And death is only a horizon,

And a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight."

-- Rossiter W. Raymond

No one is there to grip Jayne's hand and cradle his neck as he bleeds out. No one begs him to get up, please, baby, we have to go. He was never fuzzy like that anyhow, and this--this dying alone, in lots of pain, over nothin' but a sack of platinum--well, it was what he always figured would happen. Don't make it any more pleasant when it does happen, mind, but he's got the script written up all pretty in his head and that at least is a comfort.

Though the mess of buckshot in his leg does hurt like a frog-humpin' sumbitch, and no mistake. Femoral artery, he figures. Ain't no fancy doctor, but that one he knows.

Seems all manner o' stupid to live through somethin' like Miranda and then die on one of Mal's milk runs barely a year later. But since when has Jayne Cobb made a practice of doin' the smart thing?

Mal and Zoe come to the rescue two minutes too late. Contorted and bloody, sightlessly contemplating a burnt prairie sky, their wayward mercenary becomes in their eyes another soldier they have failed to save: tragic, regrettable, inevitable. Mal passes a hand over Jayne's eyelids quietly, to silence the stare. Then they bring him back to Serenity with the respect accorded a dead statesman, give him to a somber Simon to clean up, and bring him home to his ma.

It's a raw deal, maybe, but the crew says some nice things at his funeral. Ain't nobody dancin' triumphant on his grave as he'd once imagined. In fact, Kaylee cries real hard and long and means it when she says she'll miss him.

And--well, that's somethin'.