Practice Makes Perfect
1763 Words
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prompt from comment_fic: Firefly, Jayne, babysitting was the hardest job he'd ever agreed to


"Why do i have to watch the gorra -" Jayne caught himself before he actually swore, largely because out of the corner of his eye he could see Zoe lifting her hands to her hips, ready to yell at him. "Gosh darn... why do I have to watch Kaylee and Simon's 'gosh darn' kids?" He shifted the twins to more confortable positions in his arms.

"You're a big strong man Jayne. Surely you're not afraid of two," Zoe leaned in and cooed at the babies, "little, itty bitty, cute, nine month olds?"

Jayne straightened his shoulders. "O' course I'm not afraid of 'em. They're just irritatin' is all." He sniffed, "and like you said, I'm a big strong man. This here is women's work." He moved his shoulders towards Zoe, offering her the chance to take the babies from him.

"Ohhh, no!" She stepped back. "Kaylee asked you to sit for them while she and Simon have a night out. I'm gonna go sit over there," she pointed to the dining table, and clean my guns."

Jayne opened his mouth to protest but Zoe stepped back in towards him, her scent overwhelming him, and the glint in his eyes making him wary. "And if you make another crack about babysittin' being woman's work, you'll be bunkin' in the corridor tonight." She turned her back and headed to the table when she saw him gulp. "Takes a man and a woman to make a child, I figure both men and women can share the responsibility of raisin' and watchin' that child."

Jayne grumbled under his breath, something about women having better caregiving equipment than men, making them the better - natural - caretakers, but he was wise enough to keep his grumbling low and quiet. Zoe wouldn't doublethink kickin' him out of their quarters. She'd done it before, and while, he was pretty positive he'd do somethin' at sometime to warrant her doing it again... this... the little critters he held in his arms weren't the thing to be kicked out over.

He sighed. "Okay, first things first lil Tam's... your ma said you were ready for a nap, so... let's get that taken care of."

Carefully lowering baby Adelaide and baby Scott into their respective carriers, he gave a small sigh of relief and backed a step away. Glancing up at Zoe, who'd removed all of the ammunition from her guns and was now starting to take them apart, he wondered, briefly, just how much she'd hurt him if he quietly ran out of the room. And didn't come back.

He wasn't afraid of the babies. Not really. It's just that they were small. And kind of soft. They looked, and felt kind of breakable. Zoe had soft hands. Despite all the gun handlin' she'd done through the years, her hands were still smooth and soft. Whereas his? He glanced down at his callused and fight worn hands. The babies would definitely be better off in Zo's hands. He smirked to himself. He KNEW how gentle they could be.

Glancing over his shoulder, he judged the distance to the door.

"Don't even think about it Cobb." Zoe spoke without lifting her eyes from her task.

"Hades woman! You should be a mom, you got eyes in the back of your head just like one!"

She simply smiled.

Jayne looked back down at the tots who were wiggling in their wicker carriers. "Well aren't you two gonna sleep?"

They stared up at him wide eyed, all pink and chubby and ... yeah like Zo' had said... cute.

Zoe spoke up from her spot. "Might want to consider feedin' them something first."

Food. Right. E'erybody slept a might easier on a full stomach.


A half hour later found Zoe sitting at the table, laughing outright at Jayne who was covered in spit up - Adelaide, and rice cereal - Scott.

He'd finally settled them both into their carriers again, and was now wiping furiously at the mess that covered his favorite t-shirt.

"Go 'head, laugh it up Zo', you aint the only one who can withhold favors for a night or two."

This statement sent her off into further peals of laughter.

He looked at her "Could you stop laughin', I'm tryin' to get the babies to sleep."

She bit her lower lip, a smile still lacing her face, "You're doing a good job."

"Everything I do, I do well." He offered with a cockiness that she'd grown to appreciate.

Zoe stood up and walked over to him, wrapping her arms around his waist, disregarding the cereal and baby puke that covered parts of his shirt.

His arms wrapped around her, and he added, gruffly, "Although, I'll admit, babysittin' is the hardest job I've ever agreed to take on. I mean," he looked down at the babies who were wiggling and settling down, their eyes fluttering open and closed, "look at 'em. They're so small."

"Mmm hmm."

"One wrong move and I could... I mean. Guns I can handle, they're made of metal and they're predictable... you take care of them A B C and you know how they'll react. Babies..." He closed his eyes and rubbed his head along the top of Zoe's head. "Babies don't have a set of rules that point blank work no matter what. And," he repeated, "they're so gorram small."

Zoe let his quiet swear go unnoticed. "You've done a good job with them. You always do a good job with them." She took a deep breath, and added, "And you'll do a good job with our baby."

"Well I'll -," he paused. Our baby? They'd talked about her and Wash tryin' for a baby. They'd talked about her wantin' a child. They'd talked about his comin' from a large family. But they'd never, actually, talked about the two of them, together, having a child. "Our baby?"

Zoe looked up at him, her eyes big, but her emotions hidden. "Looks like your pieces and my pieces work. I went to the doctor on Terra Bayle yesterday and..., I'm, we're... guess you'll be getting more practice at holdin' small, non-gunlike things."

Zoe was havin' his baby. Parents. He and Zoe were gonna be... He lifted his hand to her face; his thumb rubbing along her cheek. "For real?"

"Wouldn't lie to you 'bout somethin' like this."

A slow smile spread across his face. "I'm gonna be a dad."

She smiled back.

"You're carrying my child."

"Mmm hmmm."

A spark lit his eyes, and he looked over Zoe's head to the little Adelaide and Scott. "Once these two go to sleep? You and I are gonna have a big... on the table... celebration."