By Shakespeare's Girl

A/N: Kind of meant to be set during "The Message," but never specifically stated. There are other places this story could be set, even during or after Serenity.

That damn doctor had gone and made Kaylee hurt again, Jayne noted with displeasure. Wasn't fair. Not that he cared, mind, but to let someone that sweet and pretty get that tore up over your words was just not right. Jayne frowned at the door to Kaylee's bunk, wondering what she was up to down there, hurting like she was.

A few hours later, he made a trip to the engine room special, just to see that she was okay. He found her banging on a dented panel, flattening it back out so it could be put back into use.

"Uh, hey," he called over the noise of Serenity's engine. "Heard what the doc said earlier and--"

"I don't want to talk about it, Jayne," she shouted back, giving the panel an extra vicious strike with the hammer.

"Oh," Jayne nodded. "Right. Good. You jus' forget about--"

"What's wrong with me, Jayne?" Kaylee demanded, flinging the hammer she'd been using to bang out the dents across the room. "Aren't I pretty? Aren't I smart? Don't I make him laugh and smile?"

"Well, sure," Jayne agreed, knowing better to disagree with a woman who had an entire tool box at her disposal. "Yer the prettiest mechanic I ever saw."

"Is that all I am? Is that all anyone sees? Kaylee the mechanic? I don't wanna be a mechanic! I wanna be a woman! Is that so wrong? Why would that be wrong?"

"Not wrong!" Jayne shook his head vigorously. "Nothin' wrong with a woman mechanic! Yer the best one I ever saw! Jus', mebbe the doc don't see it that way? Was raised on a core world, after all. They got some strange ideas 'bout women on them core worlds."

Kaylee cocked her head at that. "Yeah?" she sniffed, and he realized she'd been crying before he'd interrupted her. "Like what?"

Jayne thought. "Like women is for raisin' babies and cookin' and lookin' pretty. For higher educatin' and teachin' and other gen'rally useless stuff."

"Simon thinks I should just look pretty?"

"I dunno," Jayne shrugged. "Mebbe."

Kaylee frowned. "Well that's just silly."


She frowned further. Then she looked up at Jayne, those big eyes freezing him in place as she asked, "Why doesn't he kiss me, Jayne?"

Jayne swallowed. "Fella who wouldn't kiss you if ya wanted is just plain idiotic," he said without thinking.

Kaylee batted her eyelashes at him, and Jayne knew he was in trouble. "Would you kiss me, Jayne?"

Jayne gaped. "Uh . . ."

"Oh, you don't actually hafta do it," she assured him, her smile shy. "I just wanna know."

Jayne shut his mouth. He stepped closer to Kaylee, and grabbed her shoulders, pulling her close.


"You wanna get kissed? Damn girl, I can kiss ya better than that citified doctor can," he declared, lowering his mouth.

He used every bit of finesse, every trick he'd ever learned, from the tiny laps of his tongue on her bottom lip to the harsh suck of her lower lip into his mouth. Lips and teeth and tongue, gentle and tender and harsh and rough and with every second that ticked by, some new sensation, some new sound escaped them. Mouths opened, tongues tangled, and neither one noticed the citified doctor in the door way, goggling at them as they kissed. It wasn't until he was gone that they parted. Jayne nodded firmly, pressed a more polite kiss to Kaylee's lips, then turned around and walked out of the engine room.

"Jayne!" Kaylee called out. "Thank you!"

Jayne turned around, stared, then grinned. "I'll be in my bunk."