Title: ...And One Time He Didn't
Author: michmak
Rating: PG
Word Count: 372
Notes: I wrote this several years ago as an addition to Rinalin's fantastic Firefly fic "Five Times Jayne Walked Away from Serenity". It's posted over on livejournal - just search for Rinalin - and I highly recommend it. Still one of the best Jayne fanfictions out there, even if it is almost five years old.

The last time Jayne left Serenity, he wasn't walking.

The others watched him leave, all serious and somber-like. Mal's face had been stern and his eyes barren. Jayne wanted to tell him things was alright but didn't know how. Inara was beside him, composed and pale, clasping Mal's hand tightly in her own.

Kaylee was cryin' a'course. He had to admit, he would have felt badly 'bout himself if she hadn't been. It made him feel good, knowin' he was worthy of her tears. Made him ache in the gut a little, too, truth be told - little Kaylee weren't a woman born for grief.

Zoe watched, like she normally did, stoic and expressionless, but Jayne saw her flinch when the bay doors opened. The flinch told him everything he needed to know.

Doc watched bleakly. Weren't much more he could do anyway. He'd done his best to get Jayne to stay, but sometimes his best weren't good enough and Jayne had been tired of fighting.

River knew. She was the only one who was happy for him. Her serious brown eyes glimmered with tears but she was smiling. When she'd kissed him goodbye, on his cheek just above his beard, she'd whispered that she would miss him and that she understood why he had to go.

"A heart as big as yours need some rest."

They'd given him one of Wash's dinosaurs, Book's Bible and Vera. The dino was in his shirt pocket and the tail was stickin' into his chest, but it didn't bother him none. Book's bible felt warm and comfortable in his hands; he swore he felt the older man's presence just beyond the doors. Vera was a comfortable weight against his legs. His orange hat was on his head.

Simon had made the pine box they'd put him in; had the blisters and splinters to prove it. Jayne thought it was fine - finer than anything he had the right to.

He watched as they carried him off the ship and towards the cairns of the others. Saying goodbye was hard, so he hung around for a bit longer watching them, shoring up his memories.

Later that day, after they'd left, he went in search of Book.