Jayne lounged back on one elbow, narrowing his eyes as Chriss went by with a smirk on his face and a customer on one arm – this made yet another one who hadn't chosen him, and he was doing his best to show that he didn't care. Miss Fran was givin' him that look that said he'd better start earnin' his keep, but what could he do about it? Seemed like whoever came in these days wanted one of those gorram sissy boys, or one of the girls.

He slid his eyes over to where the prairie harpies were gigglin' together and frowned as Celia made some smartass comment 'bout him not bein' picked again. Funny how such a meili girl could be such a saobi. She got up and swayed on over, unlacin' her top just enough to show what the saohuo thought he was interested in – he was, but he knew enough by now to know she was just tryin' to tease him by showin' off what she'd bought last year. "Hey, Jaynie. You all by your lonesome again?" Celia fluttered her fake eyelashes at him tryin' to make him think that she'd take him to her bed.

Yeah, right. Like he was gonna fall for that again. He'd never gotten over the trick she'd played on him right when he first came to The Shanghai – she'd made him believe he'd get to sex her, and then when he went up to her room just like she'd told him and she threw herself at him, Miss Fran came in an' she'd started actin' like he'd been tryin' to rape her. It still stung that anyone thought him capable of somethin' like that, but all the girls'd believed her and they still acted like he was the lowest scum that weren't fit to be on the bottom of a shoe even after realizin' what a lyin' si san baCelia was. Guess that's what he got for bein' so big.

Only one who didn't believe Celia's lyin' mouth was Suriah, a bitty lil' thing with hair red as flames an' a temper to match. When she got hired out, men always came back limpin' – he figured Suriah was the only one could get away with such a thing, and she just laughed at him when he told her to take care. From the corner of his eye, he saw her bright hair as she came down the steps and smiled he looked up at Celia. "Y'know, if'n that jibai of your'n is anything like the rest of ya, I'd be needin' to go for shots at the med clinic inside of three seconds… so whyn't you just take your piguback over where you came from so's I don't get infected by whatever it is that you got at the moment?"

She gasped like she always did, unable to believe there was a man alive who actually learned from his mistakes, and turned round and skittered back to the other side of the room.

"Hey there, baobei – you causin' trouble again?" Suriah said, comin' up behind him to kiss his cheek.

"I got nothin' but time to cause it in, so yeah," Jayne grumbled.

"You get passed up for them fancy boys again, doll?"

Jayne sighed. "If'n I don't get picked, that just means I gotta ride out my contract longer an' I want the hell outta here. Been a gorram age since someone picked me…hell, I'd gladly take on one of them old biddies who like to come in here for a real man to give 'em some attention."

This was true enough; most of 'em were older than Earth That Was but they always seemed to enjoy themselves an' he could always pretend he was sexin' someone a damn sight younger. The men who came lookin' for tail of their own kind always chose the prettier ones, which made Jayne confused – the way the boy whores gussied themselves up they were more like girls than the girls were, so why not just pick a woman? He didn't have no complaint against sly sex; a hole was a hole no matter where the hell it was an' he'd taken it more'n a few times, no big deal. 'Course, on the occasions he was chosen, he was usually the one doin' the fucking 'cept if the john thought he had somethin' to prove – long as they were halfway considerate, Jayne even enjoyed it.

To 'earn his keep', as Miss Fran put it, he was in charge of goin' down to the market for food and whatever fancy trinkets the other whores wanted, and fixin' whatever needed to be fixed. Then, if'n any customer gave 'em trouble, it was Jayne who was called on to toss 'em on their ears.

It weren't a bad life – he got fed and sometimes got sexed if'n customers were in the mood for a man like him, but lately he'd been thinkin' on how nice it would be to buy out his contract and maybe sign on down at the docks on some passenger freighter. He was plenty strong, an' his momma always said he had a good head on his shoulders, so he figured he could do all right out in the black…but he'd made a deal with Miss Fran and figured he needed to abide by it.

The door chime sounded and they all looked over to see a tall man walking in. Jayne sighed to himself when he went straight over to Celia, who started actin' so shy that Jayne felt like goin' over and smackin' her one even though he didn't believe in hittin' womenfolk. But then, he was reasonably sure she weren't even human, so it wouldn't make much of a difference.

The two went upstairs and Jayne was just turnin' to Suriah to ask her something when the door opened again and gorram if there weren't two girls comin' through the door! They were both teeny lil' things, but one of 'em was wearin' greasy lookin' coveralls and had long brown hair, and the other had some sort of weird-ass getup that included big combat boots, and had even longer black hair. They both were gigglin' somethin' fierce, so he figured it was their first time in a whorehouse – wasn't too often they had girlfolk comin' in, so Jayne guessed that they were either drunk, or daring each other.

"How can we help you two young ladies?" Miss Fran asked, lookin' 'em up and down with a smile as she came over. "We're sure to have someone to strike yer fancy… in the market for a nice young man" Jayne gritted his teeth when she pointed towards the sissy-boy couch "or perhaps a girl as lovely as yerselves?"

The one who had all the weird stuff on looked around dreamily; she was toasted half outta her mind for sure, he thought with a shake of his head. "They're rotten inside," she said seriously. "Closer inspection is required." Yep, stoned.

The other one was lookin' around, and Jayne straightened up as soon as her eyes fell on him. C'mon, pick me. I'll do ya right, girl… pick me She was a looker and a half, even if she seemed kinda dirty. Had a real shiny smile to her, too. "I dunno, River – the boy whores are kinda…well…girly," she finished in a whisper that Jayne's sharp ears picked up right away. What the? She thought he was girly? Gorrammit, now they was leavin'! He slumped back against the seat as they went back through the doors whisperin' together, and Miss Fran came on over to tell him that he'd scared away customers again. She was just openin' her mouth to give him a talkin' to, when he heard the door chime again and the pretty one came back in to point tentatively at him. "Is… is he one of your boy whores, too?"

His pa was probably spinnin' like a top in his grave back home, but Jayne shot to his feet so fast he nearly knocked Suriah on her ear. "Yes'm," he answered quickly before Miss Fran could say anything different. Women customers were different from the men an' usually wanted to talk first, so he walked over and pulled out a stool from the bar for her. "Like somethin' to drink, miss?" The other sissified fools were glarin' at him, but he didn't give a crap – he had work, an' they didn't. See how they like it for a gorram change.

She chewed her pretty lil' lip. "Oh, I dunno – strong drink don't never agree with me," she apologized, then looked around to recoil slightly at the looks bein' aimed at them. "Can we go somewhere else?"

Jayne blinked. "Sure. I gotta room up there, if'n you wanna talk." By now, he knew better than to cut to the chase – 'sides, most womenfolk wanted to do was have someone who'd listen to 'em. He sure hoped it weren't the case with this one, though… aiya, she was wearin' at his calm. She nodded and took the arm he offered, then walked with him up the stairs past the door of the room Celia was loudly fakin' an orgasm in. "Mine's just through there."

When he'd held the door open for her and closed it behind 'em, he lit the lamp and sat down on the edge of his bed. She walked around the room curiously, lookin' at everything. "I thought you mighta been a customer or somethin'," she said with a shaky laugh.

"You ever been to a whorehouse before?" he asked curiously.

"That obvious, huh?" Her cheeks reddened slightly and she plopped down into the only chair in the room.

"No, you just seem too sweet ta be comin' in here, is all… was it on a dare or somethin'?"

She giggled. "Kinda, yeah." Sobering, she looked straight at him even though he could tell it made her nervous. "I, um, don't know how much… I didn't even ask the woman down there."

Jayne smiled at how nervous she was, and reached out a hand to place on her knee lightly as he named the usual price. "Kissin' is a lil' extra though, just like always." He gave her the price for that too, and waited to see what she wanted to do.

The girl took a deep breath, and pulled some credits from the oily pockets of her coverall. "This enough?" she shoved the wad at him, and he counted it before slippin' his fee from the roll – he reckoned he could give her a discount on the kissin', just this once.

She seemed surprised when he gave the rest of the money back, but crammed it back in her pockets. "What's your name?" he asked softly.


"That's a real pretty name, Miss Kaylee. I'm Jayne." He sighed suddenly, pullin' a trick that always worked on the ones that got nervous. "Kinda hot in here, ain't it?" Jayne unbuttoned his shirt partway, seein' how her eyes followed his hands.

Miss Kaylee fanned herself slightly. "Yeah, a bit. Listen, um, Jayne? Can we just get down to it? All this talk's makin' me even more nervous."


"I mean, it ain't like I never sexed a man before; I do all the time and it ain't no big deal," she said hurriedly. "But it's kinda been awhile an' a girl's got itches that need scratchin', dong ma?" Jayne nodded, and she flushed again. "So… how do we…?"

Jayne tried not to smile. "Well, first you gotta decide if'n you want me to come over there or if'n you wanna come over here to the bed. Then we just…get down to it, like you want."

"Oh. Okay." Miss Kaylee stood up and came over to sit beside him on the bed, and to help her relax he reached out slowly to run his fingers through her hair. Shortly she was closin' her eyes a bit and rollin' her head toward him, so he bent to brush his lips over hers. Her eyes fluttered all the way closed, and her arms slowly slid up around his neck. "Kiss me," she said softly.

He kissed her real gentle, likin' how soft her skin was and how she didn't taste like grease at all – his John Thomas was tryin' its best to get his attention, but Jayne ignored the demanding pulse 'twixt his legs. He'd get there soon enough, Tien willin'. Between kisses, he got the rest of the buttons undone and slid his shirt off completely – Miss Kaylee's eyes grew real wide and appreciative, and it looked like she'd gotten over her shyness judgin' from the way she tried to get her own clothes off. "I'll get 'em for ya."

Jayne worked on the buttons of her coverall slowly, kissin' her throat and swirlin' his tongue over her collarbone while murmuring how meilishe was. Her hands rubbed over his shoulders and down his back; soon as he carefully folded the grease-stained fabric past her hips, she wiggled out of the rest of it. "Oh! You ain't got nothin'… catchy, do ya? Forgot to ask earlier."

He pointed towards the bedside table, where his health certificate was sittin'. "I get my shots regular an' all – you got nothin' to worry on," Jayne reassured her as he pushed his boots under the bed and unzipped his jeans to pull'em off. Her eyes got kinda big again when she saw he weren't wearin' no unders and they just about popped from her head when he got totally nekkid. Jayne guessed that the men she sexed 'all the time' were a little bit more average than he was, by the way she was starin'. "I ain't gonna hurt ya," he said softly, and reached for her real slow until his fingers closed round her arms and he gently pulled her closer. Kissin' seemed to get her fired up just fine, so he did that some more while he rubbed her through her panties.

When she was gaspin' against him, Jayne eased her bra off and moved his mouth down her body. He felt her go rigid in his arms and saw the expression on her face that told him she weren't ready for that yet. Yeah, like she's gonna be comin' back, he thought to himself. Probably get back on whatever ship brought her here an' won't look back once. Too bad she didn't want koujiao, though – most womenfolk he'd serviced were eager enough for it, but he rarely had a customer quite like Miss Kaylee. Actin' like he'd just been kissin' on her skin seemed to ease her mind on it, so Jayne moved back up and slid a hand 'twixt her nethers. "Jayne," she moaned out, so he rubbed on her a bit more before settlin' between her legs and pushin' in carefully.

Aiya, she felt good. Jayne took slow, deep breaths as he concentrated on Miss Kaylee's pleasure – she was rubbin' her head back into the pillow with her mouth workin' soundlessly, so he figured she was havin' a fine time already. He drew out and thrust his cock back inside her ni yin slowly, bitin' back a groan as he felt her muscles tighten around him. "You alright?"

"Y-yeah," she sighed up at him, reachin' to put her arms round his waist.

"This fine, or ya want me to go slower?" his eyes nearly rolled back in his head as her walls clamped down on him again. "Renci de fouzu"

"Faster," Miss Kaylee purred, hookin' her fingers into his skin to try to pull him closer. "Quwo de."

"Yes'm." Settlin' her legs up around his waist, Jayne braced his arms on either side of her and started to give it to her faster. A soft cry was forced from her throat as he sped up, but soon after he'd settled into his rhythm her voice rose to wail. Yeah, they'd probably even hear her downstairs. Miss Kaylee was wrigglin' under him like he'd never seen, so Jayne figured she was near to comin' and reached down to rub his thumb over her clit. The bed was shakin' as he fucked her harder, groanin' from behind tightly clenched teeth. Miss Kaylee's yells got more frantic, then she let out a shriek that nearly deafened him as she came, thrashin' around so violently that she fair to threw him off of her altogether. Jayne kept movin' until she calmed down a bit, and then looked down at her dreamy expression. "Miss Kaylee, may I…?"

She nodded, so Jayne closed his eyes to thrust a few more times before his orgasm began to surge through him in a rush of pleasure, and he pulled out to spill on her belly with a satisfied sigh. Rolling off her, he lay on his side and ran a hand down her body lightly, reachin' for a cloth to clean her with.

"You musta had a lotta practice, to rut that good," Miss Kaylee sighed, pushin' her face against his chest to cuddle up. Jayne curled his arms around her, strokin' her hair like he did with all his customers – somehow it felt different with her, though. The way she pulled away an' gazed up at him with that look in her eyes was makin' him feel all weird inside. It was a relief when Miss Kaylee decided that she needed to go but at the same time, he also didn't want her to leave. "My captain'll most like be lookin' for me if'n I don't go now." She reached up to draw his head down to hers and gave him a sweet kiss. "It was real shiny meetin' ya, Jayne."

Jayne helped her back into her clothes, wantin' to ask 'bout all the grease on her overalls… but it was none of his business so he didn't. "Take care now, Miss Kaylee. Anytime you're around an' needin' company, I reckon I'll be here… walk ya down if'n you want," he offered.

Miss Kaylee just smiled and said she'd be fine, surprisin' him by wrappin' her arms round his middle in a hug before she left. He quickly moved to straighten up the room, changin' the sheets like he always did and shovin' 'em down the laundry chute before goin' for another shower and gettin' dressed. When he came back down, feelin' pretty good about himself, he just got more dirty looks for some reason an' Miss Fran came right over to make him pay up. "You sure made her holler, didn't ya?" Suriah teased.

"Guess so," Jayne grinned proudly.

Wasn't like he really expected her to show up again, but he was still kinda disappointed that Miss Kaylee didn't come back – she did say she was leavin', after all. Jayne settled back into the routine of doin' all the chores and gettin' ignored by all the johns when one day Miss Fran handed him a list and sent him off to East Market to pick up some special cloth or whatnot that Celia wanted.

'Riah was busy with some customer, so he changed into his tattered work clothes and headed out – looked like a fair amount of ships were at the south landin' field, so maybe The Shanghai'd get some business from it. Jayne walked on to the market slowly, lookin' about at the ships like he always did to see which were takin' on crew. If'n it was up to me, I'd get on one right now, he thought wistfully. But it wasn't up to him, so he couldn't… he'd signed a contract, an' given his word that he wouldn't skip out on it.

A familiar voice hailed him as he turned his back on the landing field sharply. "Jayne? That you? Jayne!" He turned, and there was Miss Kaylee wavin' at him from the ramp of a Firefly. Jayne lifted a hand in greeting, and she skipped over to him as he quickly wiped all traces of bitterness from his expression. "Thought I recognized ya," she said with a bright smile.

"Hey there, Miss Kaylee," he greeted, forcing himself to smile down at her. "That your ship?"

She beamed up at him. "Yeah, I keep Serenity flyin'."

"Oh – you're the mechanic?"

"Yep," Miss Kaylee said proudly. "Ain't she a beauty?"

That wasn't the word Jayne was thinkin' of, but he nodded anyway. "Real shiny boat you got there, ma'am." A few men were gatherin' on the ramp to look at them, and suddenly Jayne felt a powerful urge to get out of there. "Well, I gotta git," he said, lifting the boxes he held in his arms.

"Oh! I'm sorry, didn't mean to be keepin' ya," she said apologetically. He nodded and touched his fingers to the wide brim of his hat in farewell, but she stepped forward and laid one of her tiny hands on his arm. "Do…do ya think I can stop by tonight?"

Warmth spread through his whole body from where she was touchin' him. "I'll be there, less'n ya wanna try someone else," Jayne said a bit shyly.

Miss Kaylee grinned at him. "Nah, liked you just fine. You'll do okay." When she came later, just like she'd said she would, she stayed a bit longer than she had last time and told him all about her job as a girl mechanic. She told him to start callin' her Kaylee, too. "After what we was just doin', it's kinda silly to call me Miss," she giggled.

"Sure, M-Kaylee."

She winked at him when she was sittin' up to find her clothes. "Cap'n says we'll be on Persephone for a spell, gettin' new passengers and all… maybe if'n you ain't too busy…" Jayne hastily told Kaylee that whenever she wanted to come visit, he wouldn't mind a bit. And it ain't just 'cause I get a lil' bit closer to freedom whenever you stop by, neither.

Kaylee came to see him several times during the two weeks her ship was down at the yard, sometimes just for kissin' on the mouth. It was foolish of him, but every time he lay with her, Jayne held her in his arms and started just pretendin' that he was her nánpéng you, 'stead of the whore he really was. He knew better than to get attached to a customer but Kaylee was such a sweet lil' thing, he just couldn't help it. Celia and the others just got meaner 'bout the whole thing, whisperin' together whenever they saw him, and he knew they were thinkin' up yet another way to make him miserable… he just wished he knew what it was.

He found out sooner than he thought he would when one of 'em, a bottle-blonde named Alina, sauntered up to him an' holdin' out a piece of paper with a sly look in her eyes. "I need this from East Market… couldja get it for me, Jayne? Be much obliged," she cooed. "Already asked Miss Fran an' she said it's fine for you to go get it."

"Sure," he agreed, quickly workin' out that they meant for him to get gone an' stay that way so if Kaylee came around, he wouldn't be there. "I'll take my time an' make sure they don't try to cheat me on nothin'." How stupid do ya think I am? He'd just hurry to get the cheapest case of kohl sticks he could find, and be back before they knew it. No skin off his nose. Smilin' to himself, he left and circled round to the shipyard to warn Kaylee away from comin' by just yet – she was twirlin' a colorful umbrella over her shoulder as he walked up. "Hey, girl," Jayne greeted.

Kaylee grinned up at him. "Jayne! They send you out for stuff again? Whatcha shoppin' for?"

He held the list out for her to look at. "Stuff to get gussied up with – saobi who wants all this is always puttin' it on so thick, I think she must got a chisel to chip it all off with at night," he joked, droppin' to a crouch beside her chair. "Looks like y'all are ready to ship out soon, huh?"

"Yeah, I'm rustlin' us up some passengers." Her brown eyes fixed on his, and she got real serious. "Be nice if'n I could find a passenger like you," Kaylee hinted.

"Hell, girl – you couldn't afford me," Jayne teased, but couldn't keep the smile from his face at knowin' she wanted him around her. "You leavin' today, or later?"

Kaylee sighed. "Tomorrow, I guess. Never rightly sure when Cap'n will tell us we gotta go." She leaned closer and Jayne felt his stomach do a funny little swoop as Kaylee gave him that look that told him she wanted a kiss. He'd never had a customer want kissin' outside of the whorehouse before, so maybe this meant she really did like him outside of what she paid him for. Jayne knew he weren't s'posed to give out favors he wasn't gettin' paid for, but he really did want to kiss her. Leanin' in, he touched his lips to hers in a kiss that made him feel all tingly and weird inside and she slid her arms round his neck. "Wanna come down to my bunk?" she whispered. His pulse thundered in his ears as he nodded silently, and then Kaylee took his hand to lead him inside the ship.

This time, she took the top and Jayne held her above him, starin' up at her as she took her pleasure. She'd given him koujiao so good, he'd nearly blown soon as Kaylee wrapped her lips around him – it was like they'd never done none of this before, Jayne marveled. He surged up into her, and they both were cryin' out each other's name when they came together. Jayne combed his fingers through her hair slowly as she slumped across his chest, and ran a hand down her back. "Your skin's real soft," he rumbled. Kaylee snuggled against him and made little purrin' sounds like a cat as he touched her.

"You ain't gonna get in trouble for comin' down here with me, are you?" she asked, sittin' up and puttin' her tiny hands on his chest as she looked down at him.

Jayne reached up and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. "Nah, they're all waitin' for you to show up an' find me gone," he laughed. Pullin' her down to him, he kissed her again and rolled over on top of her while she giggled and slid her arms around him. After another satisfyin' round, he finally disengaged from her and looked around for his clothes while she rolled onto her stomach and watched him dress. "Guess I'll see ya whenever," he said regretfully as he pulled his boots on.

Kaylee crawled over to rest her cheek on his thigh. "Wish I knew when we was comin' back… I'll miss you," she said softly. "I…I really like you, Jayne." Sittin' up and lookin' into his eyes, Kaylee took a deep breath. "You could come with me. You know, leave Persephone and crew with us," she blurted out.

"Don't think that'd be a good idea, baobei."

She looked hurt. "Why not? Thought we liked each other… or is the reason you're still here that you want payment?"

It was Jayne's turn to feel bad. "No, that ain't it at all – you know it ain't, Kaylee. I like you just fine; maybe a lil' more than 'just fine'… but I got obligations I just can't skip out on, much as I want to." Kaylee still looked mightily offended, so he explained the terms of his contract with Miss Fran. "…whorin' wasn't somethin' I meant to get into anyway; my Pa trained me as a tracker an' a welder just like him. It just kinda happened when I got stuck here without no money."

"So every time I been comin' by, you're that much closer to bein' free again?" she asked curiously.

He knew what was on her mind, though, and he didn't like it. "Don't even think on it, girl. I can't take any money from you – not no more," Jayne warned.

She just grinned at him. "You ain't got no choice in the matter, way I see it."

"Way I see it is that I'll make sure your captain knows you're goin' to get sexed at a whorehouse," he teased back. "I'm bettin' he's the type of man to put a stop to that ma shong."

Kaylee stuck her tongue out at him. "You try it an' I'll tell him you're the biggest liar in the 'verse, Jayne Cobb. Now git, I got stuff needs doin'," she said, scowlin' at him playfully.

"Yes, Miss Kaylee."

"Get on with you!"

She walked him out just as some of her crewmates came back - a tall beautiful woman, a real short man with the craziest shirt he'd ever seen, and some man with tight pants and suspenders. He couldn't help but admire the woman, who had skin the color of cocoa and an attitude that would make just about anyone think twice about gettin' into a fight with her. He just nodded and kept goin' after tellin' Kaylee goodbye.

When he got back to The Shanghai with the gorram things Alina wanted, Jayne was surprised to see the smirks on the whore's faces and the frown on Miss Fran's. "I hear you've been sniffin' 'round that girl's ship."

"No, ma'am," he said automatically. Well, he hadn't been sniffin' around anything – just happened to see her there. Jayne slid his eyes over to where Chriss was sittin' with a smirk on his prissy-boy face, and knew that somehow, the sly hundan'd seen him with Kaylee. "Already told ya that I'd bide by my contract, didn't I?"

Miss Fran looked up at Jayne, then across the room to where Celia had a mean smile aimed right at him. "That you did – but I been hearin' things said 'bout you forgoin' payment. When you do the chores I ask, that covers the expense of keepin' ya but if you decide you want a trick on the side, well. That I can do somethin' about."

Jayne felt a cold chill run down his back. "What're you talkin' 'bout? I ain't done nothin' you need to be concerned on."

She held up a capture, and Jayne's eyes narrowed as he saw that it was video of him leanin' in to kiss Kaylee while she put her arms around him and invited him to her bed. "I'm guessin' you gave it out free of charge, if'n you weren't smart enough to steal the rest of what she's been spendin' on you," Miss Fran said calmly. "You just got your contract extended, boy. Your momma raised a genius, that's for sure."

He bit back his anger as the rest of 'em in the room started gigglin' quietly except for Suriah, who looked ready to chew nails. He knew for a gorram fact that Celia an' a fair amount of the others gave it up free when they thought they found a john who'd buy out their contract from The Shanghai an' keep 'em as rut-pets, and he'd never said a word 'bout it. 'Course, he couldn't say nothin' since Miss Fran would never believe it. Fuck. "Extended by how much?" he asked, nearly afraid to hear the answer since he knew he wouldn't like it at all.

He was right. "Six patrons," she said, pointing to the stairs. "You got work waitin' up there, so you best get on."

Arguin' about it was no use, so Jayne simply turned to climb the stairs to get on with the daily chores. He ground his teeth in anger when he heard the door chime sound behind him, signalin' a new customer that wouldn't get the chance to even reject him because he weren't allowed to be down there. He didn't realize just how thorough those pofu's had been 'til the next day, when he was fixin' up the scuff marks their high heels'd left in the floor and he heard Miss Fran greet somebody who'd just come in.

"What d'you mean, he ain't available for choosin'?" Hearin' Kaylee's voice made him startle and look up from behind the ring of couches. "He's right back there!"

Jayne rose to his feet, but Miss Fran motioned him away angrily. "He ain't entertainin' no one today, or the day after that."

Kaylee's eyes narrowed. "Exactly why is that?"

"I don't take kindly to any man or lil' girl who marches in here an' thinks they can bat their eyes at my whores an' get laid for free," Miss Fran said, not soundin' too nice. "You just be off, and let Jayne earn his livin' with those who'll pay. I expect if I ask, I'll find out you been stealin' your captain's credits."

He wasn't sure he'd ever seen anyone as angry as Kaylee got. She got in real close to Miss Fran and even though she weren't even as tall, the older woman backed right off. "You foul ol' biddy, how dare you talk at me like that? I know exactly what you been tryin' to do to keep Jayne around so's you don't gotta hire a handyman or a guard – you step aside ma shong or we'll see how you like havin' broadwaves circulatin' about how all the jinu's here have got the green fever," Kaylee snarled angrily, namin' one of the worst – and most catchable – sexin' diseases in the 'verse.

"Well, I never…!" But Miss Fran stepped out of her way.

Kaylee came up to him, still red-faced. "Just came to say good bye," she said, then flung herself into his arms. "Soon as Cap'n gets another job here, I'll come see ya if'n you're still here." Before he knew what she was about, she slipped somethin' into his back pocket and hauled his head down to hers so she could kiss him soundly. He came up from it gaspin', and she grinned at him before she turned to go. "See ya, baobei."

He had to wait til he'd finished his chores under Miss Fran's watchful eye, then he went up to bathe an' look at whatever it was that Kaylee'd slipped him. Jayne started to smile when he read it – it was a note tellin' him about vendors in the market who needed goods hauled to the rich customers in the city. Seems there was a shortage of men that thieves were too afraid of messin' with to bother stealin' their cargo. It looked like with this, he could easily make enough credits to pay off his debt to Miss Fran and buy his freedom… and he could do a couple jobs a week when he got sent to the market anyway.

Jayne was sorry he never wrote down the name of Kaylee's ship anywhere – he'd always been bad at rememberin' certain things . Now he had now way to contact her to say thanks; or even goodbye, for that matter. Workin' steadily for two months in the whorehouse (most customers were still bein' warned off of him) and sellin' transport service in the marketplace left him tired enough to drop at the end of the day, but he finally got enough credits to buy out his contract from Miss Fran. She weren't too pleased at it, and once Jayne moved his things out of the bitty lil' room he'd been in for goin' on two years, he was mightily tempted to buy Celia for a night just to see what she'd do.

He decided against it in the end and gave Celia's bed-price an' then some to Suriah, who he knew needed the credits and deserved a lot more than what he could afford to part with. "Be a good boy, Jaynie," his friend said, wipin' her eyes so he wouldn't see she was cryin'.

He caught her up in a hug and kissed her cheek. "I ain't the one needs to be good, 'Riah. Take care, girl." Jayne left The Shanghai for good with Celia's outraged screams echoin' in his ears . 'Parently someone'd switched her favorite perfume for a bottle of cat piss and that same someone forgot to buy more soap at the market. He wondered just who that could be, and stepped out on the street with a grin on his face as he jammed his broad-brimmed hat down on his head.

There were several ships for the choosin' down at the yard, so he took his time strollin' about until he found one that didn't seem too bad. Kaylee'd told him to stay the hell away from anything with a Capisson engine, so he kept that in mind as he paid his passenger fee to Beaumond . From there, he hired onto a boat that needed security an' when that contract ended, Jayne took a job as the hired gun on the crew of a man with a weird moustache named Monty. He liked that fine, an' got along well with 'em but Monty had to cut him loose on Paquin when the man he'd been replacin' came back from a leg injury.

He was workin' as a tracker and whatnot on Paquin for a while when he met up with Marco, who seemed alright til Jayne realized he was fulla gos se. He ended up havin' to share a bunk with a crazy idjit who never seemed to take a bath, an' they always seemed to get jobs that didn't pay worth a turd… Marco always acted like seven percent of the haul was good, but Jayne didn't exactly have no other options . There was a whorehouse in town, but he wasn't gettin' into that mess again.

One day when he was sittin' and cleanin' a gun he got off of a bunch of men that'd tried to kill him back on Harvest – he called her Vera – Marco yelled at him that they had a situation so he stowed her under his mattress an' picked up Boo. "Be right there," he yelled back.

Jayne tracked the two who Marco said had stolen his cargo, and was covered in dust when he finally caught up with 'em. "Which one you figured tracked us?" the man at the top of the ramp asked the woman with him.

Somethin' about those two was mighty familiar, but Jayne couldn't for the life of him think what it was. "The ugly one, sir," she said.

"Can you be more specific?"

Marco started spoutin' nonsense, but Jayne just held Boo on 'em while he tried to remember where he knew these two from. It came to him in a rush just as the man started offerin' him a place on his crew as well as his own bunk an' ten percent . "Private room?" he asked.

Marco made some noise that Jayne was too fed up to listen to and when the other man agreed, he dropped Boo and shot his former boss in the leg. "Shut up." Pointin' the gun at the feifei de piyanhe had to share a bunk with, Jayne looked back at the man Kaylee called captain. "How big a room?"