Author owns no rights what-so-ever to Firefly, nor the universe in which it lives. He writes solely for his own amusement. It's okay not to sue him.

FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF This tale occurs during The Last Spartan. A short talk/interlude

between Zoe and Jayne/Janos, during the trip to Londinium.

"Jayne?" He looked up at the sound of Zoe's voice. She was

standing on the stairs above him, looking down into the cargo bay.

"Hey, Zoe," he smiled. The woman didn't return it, exactly, but she didn't look hostile. Mostly. She walked on down the stairs, coming to a stop right in front of him.

"I got questions," she said bluntly.

"Okay," he nodded. "Let's sit." They did, and Zoe took a minute to decide how to approach the subject. Jayne waited patiently. He knew what was coming, or thought he did.

"If you can sometimes catch people what are dyin', maybe save'em, why didn't you try and save Wash? Or Book? I know you and him was close." Jayne sighed slightly. He had been right.

"Zoe, it don't always work," he began slowly. "And, it takes days. Days, Zoe, not hours. And," he hesitated, "I can't help someone what's already passed. In Wash's case, had he still had a slip o' life to him, and been willin', I'd o' tried. I swear it to you. I liked him, too." Zoe nodded, fighting tears.

"As for Book? Jayne shook his head. "Book knew what I was. He'd met someone like me before. He wouldn't have taken it. Had already told me so. I can't. . .I won't turn someone who hasn't agreed to it," he told her bluntly. "Who done said they don't want it. It's not right. That's why I didn't reveal myself to you on Haven, and try to save him."

"And Wash?" she asked, even though he'd told her already.

"Wash was already gone, Zo'," Jayne told her kindly. "Like I said, there's a point, even before death, where nothin' I might try would help. And again, without Wash's permission, I wouldn't have done it, anyway."

"You didn't have River's permission," she pointed out. "I know that you couldn't have saved him. I'm just sayin', you didn't have her permission." Jayne looked at her for moment.

"Simon begged me, Zoe," he looked at the floor. "And River had. . .she had already asked, in a roundabout way, about herself. Between those two, I said yes."

"And yes," he went on, before Zoe could say anything, "for you, had you known, and asked, I would have risked Wash hating me, to try. Had he had any life left, and there had been time. I would never have told you no, Zoe. Never."

Zoe didn't say anything for a moment. Then she looked at him.

"Would you have told me, had there been time? I mean, had there been time to do it, see if it would work, would you have offered?"

"Yes," Jayne said at once. "I would have. I. . .I wouldn't have been able to help myself. And had it been you, I would have done the same for him, even if I'd had to kill Mal to do it. I never make friends much, Zoe. I've learned better. They. . .they die, and leave a hole that takes a long time to close."

"But for either of you, I would have done it, had I been able. I never seen two people so dedicated to each other. And I had a ton of respect for your husband, his wardrobe selections aside, course," he added with a grin. Zoe laughed in spite of herself, wiping at the tears now trickling down her cheeks.

"I'm really sorry, Zoe," Jayne added. "More so than I could ever tell you."

"Me too," she nodded. Suddenly she hugged him tightly. He hugged her back, wishing he could make her feel better.

"I appreciate you telling me this," Zoe said, as she pulled back. "I know you don't like to talk about it."

"I always got time to talk to you, Zo'," Jayne smiled. "You're one of the most fascinating people I've met in many a long year. I think Wash was one of the few men I was ever envious of. He was lucky to have you, even for a while."

"I was too," she almost sobbed.

"Yeah, I'd say so. He was a remarkable little fella. One in a million. And I say that as someone who's known millions, over the years," he smirked a little. Zoe laughed again, and this time it reached her eyes. She stood.

"Thanks," she said again, and left. He watched her go.

"I wish I could have helped," he said softly.