Title: Fixings (third part in 'A new day Dawning'
Disclaimer: Not mine
FYI: This story was developed before Serenity, so it won't involve the movie. Some small
things migt be used i.e. River's fighting skills and security feeds (thing I already planned
on using before seeing the movie).
Wash waits until Kaylee has most of the tools and parts prepped before he confronts her. They are waiting by the hatch that Jayne and River are making their way to. It will take them a few; they have to move slowly since Serenity is still moving. “Kaylee, can I ask you something?”
“Sure.” Kaylee sets the tools on the chair and turns to face Wash.
“Why didn’t you say something to me about what Early did? I always thought we had a bond of sorts.” Wash asks.
Kaylee folds her hands and looks down at them before she answers. “I was ashamed, I guess. I gave River up to em. I gave everybody up cause I was too scared. It’s the second time I’ve failed to help cause I was afraid. I’m thinkin maybe cap’n was right, maybe I should go home. I ain’t no help here.” Kaylee whispers. She likes talking to Wash; he makes her feel comfortable. They have a lot in common. Their home planets are very similar, as is their families.
“Kaylee, look at me.” Wash reaches out and pulls her chin up so she is forced to look at him. “I don’t know what Mal said to you, though I know he didn’t tell you to leave. And I don’t ever want to hear you say you don’t help, ever. Do you understand me?”
Wash’s tone shocks her a little. He sounds so serious, nothing like his normal self. “But I’m not. You know what happen’d on Niska’s. I froze, could’n help.”
“I have to agree with Mal on this one. I’m okay with the idea of you not killing anybody. But just because you can’t use a gun doesn’t make you useless.” Wash assures her.
“Sure, that’s what you guys say but look at you. You don’t use guns anymore than I do but you still helped. You wasn’t scared.” Kaylee protests.
“Wasn’t scared!” Wash practically yells. “I was terrified. I always thought askin Zoe to marry me was going to be the scariest thing I’d ever do, but that was nothing compared to going into Niska’s.”
“But you did it.” Kaylee says back.
“I was tortured Kaylee. I wasn’t thinking straight. I think I was half insane when we went in there. Believe me, I am not a fighter, sure I can use a gun when I need to, but it’s not something I’m comfortable with.” Wash explains. “I’ve never told Zoe this, don’t know if I ever will, but I still have nightmares about it. Not the torture, those went away a long time ago. I mean the people I shot.”
“What?” Kaylee asks.
“I never really thought about it before, the people we kill. Mal, Zoe, and Jayne go out on jobs and half the time it ends with them shooting somebody. They never talk about it, so I never realized how much it sticks with you. I can still see their faces, what they look like when they died. It’s not something I would want to see a lot.” Wash answers. “Don’t think you don’t help just because you’ve never killed anybody. You keep this ship going; hell you keep most of us going too. You’re like the heart of Serenity, we can’t function without you.”
“You don’t think it bothers Mal that I don’t help that way?” She asks.
“I know for a fact that doesn’t bother him. He doesn’t want Simon, River, or us helping in that way. Him, Jayne, and Zoe are the one’s that protect us, keep us from having to do the gun fighting. Don’t think they’d be very happy if we took that away from them, do you?” Wash says with a grin.
“You’re probably right. He’d have himself a heart attach if I grabbed a gun and tried to join him on a job.” Kaylee says with a smile. She starts to say something else when they hear a tap on the hatch door, indicating that Jayne and River had made it over. Grabbing her tools and handing the alarm to Wash, she walks over to start working on installing the alarm.
“Sir, what haven’t you told me?” Zoe asks Mal once they make it onto the bridge.
“Huh, what’r you talkin bout?” Mal asks guiltily. He should have known she would figure out he hadn’t told her everything. She knows him to well.
“I have known you for years, I know when you are not telling me everything. I figured either you didn’t know how to say it or didn’t want to in front of Wash.” Zoe replies calmly.
“Hao ba, why do you have to know me so well.” Mal runs his fingers through his hair and drops down in the pilot chair. “I wasn’t completely honest earlier, or more actually I failed to tell ya everything.” Mal then proceeds to tell her what he walked in on earlier. “Jayne says nothin happen’d but it still makes me all kinds of nervous.”
Zoe didn’t say anything, which made Mal a little apprehensive. He figured she’d either tell him he was being paranoid or go find Jayne and shot em. Didn’t think she’d go quiet.
“Well, ya gonna weigh in?” Mal asks.
“You say anything to Jayne yet?” Zoe asks back.
“No, I was going to but Inara thinks it’ll make things all the more difficult.” Mal answers.
“You talked to Nara?” Zoe asks.
“Never figured you go to her for advise, though she is probably the must knowledgeable when it comes to feelings and the like.” Zoe comments.
“That’s what I said but then she got all huffy.”
“Did you happen to call her a whore at some point during this conversation.” Zoe questions.
“Oh. Probably she was surprised you weren’t being your normal, charming self.” As an after thought she adds, “Sir.”
“I beginning to think you’ve been round that husband of yours too much. Never used to doubt my character.” Mal complains.
“That’s not true. I just never said anything before.”
“Ha ha.” Mal replies sarcastically. “What’a think I should be doin bout Jayne.”
“I’m thinking Jayne’s not the one you need to be concerned on.” Zoe says.
“You too.” Mal says. “Inara thinks River is going to be the one doin the pursin, not Jayne”
“Yep, she’s lookin at Jayne the same way Kaylee is lookin at all the doc. Only River looks more feral, like he’s her prey or something.”
“You don’t think she’d hurt him again, do ya.” Mal’s not really that worried, Jayne’s a big guy; he can take care of himself.
“I think Jayne’s gonna enjoy anything River does to him.” Zoe smiles at the thought.
“You don’t think he’s too old for her?” Mal asks.
“She’s legal, that’s about all that matters out here. Sides, I’m a couple years older than Wash, you didn’t have a problem with that.”
“No, my problems had nothin to do with age.” Mal says. He doesn’t elaborate, Zoe knew all the issues he had when they got married. They talked them out a long time ago.
“What are you going to do?” Zoe asks.
“Nothin. There ain’t enough proof anything’s going on, but if you see something let me know.” Mal answers. They both continue to sit, taking in the stars. The room is silent, but it’s something they’re both comfortable with.
“You seemed trouble, son.” Book says to Simon. They had abandoned the cargo hold for the comfort of the mess hall. Inara is standing at the counter fixing them all a cup of tea.
“No, no I’m perfectly fine.” Simon says sarcastically. “My sister is solely communicating with that man-ape. As I speak, they are on the outside of this ship with nothing but some plastic keeping them from…well nothing. On top of that, she has become more comfortable being physically close to him than she is to me. Like I said, I am perfectly fine.”
“Simon, I think you’re overreacting to the situation.” Inara places a cup of her herbal blended tea on the table in front of the two men. She takes her own seat across from them, sitting her cup in front of her before continuing. “First of all, she does talk to the rest of us. Jayne is just able to understand her better. Secondly, she is perfectly safe out there. Mal would have never let her gone otherwise. On the last issue, I think she is starting to feel safer when Jayne is around.”
“Yes, I agree.” Book says as he folds his hands in front of him. “She seems to relax when he is around.”
“I saw that myself. I just don’t understand it.” Simon says. If anything she should trust him less than anybody else on this ship. He is the one that turned them over to the feds.
“Simon, I think you need to deal with the fact that she’s an adult. She is going to start seeking human contact, contact that she can’t get from you. It’s a natural thing.” Inara says.
Simon’s response is to drop is head to the table, banging it slightly. “I know. That’s what worries me. My sister is very stubborn when it comes to something she wants. If she was to decide she wanted a relationship with him, there’s nothing any of us can do to stop her.”
“Yes, she does seem to like things her way.” Book comments.
“I think I’m going to talk to her, see if she can tell me anything.” Simon says.
“Don’t push her or insult her decision.” Inara advises. “She is still fragile. She seems to be coming into her own, but you don’t want to destroy the progress she’s made.”
“Inara’s right. We may not agree with her decisions, but we should support her.” Book agrees.
Simon knows they are right. He may not want his little sister to be friends with that non-trained ape, but he wouldn’t be able to keep her from doing so. He would just have to trust in the fact that she would eventually grow tired of him. They have nothing in common, what would they find to talk about?
Jayne hates going outside when the ship’s movin. It’s too hard to move round, you have to be careful with every step you take. You move too fast and there’s a chance you’d slip and float away. Not that it’s too big of a risk, Wash can always bring Serenity round to get him, but just the thought of floatin in space without n’thing to hold on to makes him nervous. He glances down besides him and sees a huge grin on River’s face. “Wadda ya grinnin bout?” He growls through the com.
“Nothing.” River says, turning her smile to him.
“Why for ya grinnin then?”
“I mean nothing. There is nothing out here. No noise to filter, feelings to ignore, thoughts that poke like needles. There is nothing here. It feels smoothing.” River explains. She loves the silence out here. It makes it her feel calm. The only place that feels as safe and calm is Jayne.
“Wadda ya mean no thoughts. I’m here ain’t I?” Jayne asks.
“You don’t hurt me. Your thoughts don’t poke.” River replies.
“They don’t? Why?”
“Don’t know why, they just don’t.” River says. “Everyone else’s poke, trying to get in and out till it feels like I’m a pin cushion. Yours don’t. They feel like steel, protecting me from those that would hurt me.”
Jayne doesn’t know what to say to that, so he doesn’t say anything. He keeps walking towards the hatch door, hoping this won’t take long. He doesn’t want to be around her more than necessary, doesn’t like how she makes him feel. It takes a long time, maybe about 10 to 15 minutes for them to make it all the way from the door they exited to the hatch door.
“What’r we supposed to do?” Jayne asks her. He gots no idea how this alarm thing is supposed to work, Mal just told’m to put a suit on.
River takes the alarm from him and squats down as much as she can in the suit. He squats next to her as far as he can get while still being able to see what she was doing. He watches her attach the part to the door hinge. It’s a small part, bout the size of his thumb. She then taps on the door so Kaylee will open it enough so she can slip the wires through the side. “We have to wait for Kaylee to do her part.” River tells him. He nods in response.
River returns to staring out at nothin and Jayne takes the opportunity to think about her. She’s small, probably too small for him. He’s usually real careful bout makin sure the trim he picks ain’t small. Not big, but sturdy enough so’s that he can get out all his stress. With her he’d be too afraid she’d break. She ain’t really got no tits, from what he can tell they’re pretty gorram small. Normally small tits don’t do a thing for his Don Johnson, but for some ruttin reason he don’t understand, hers get him all hot and bothered. Though he’s got to say she’s got the best legs he’d ever seen. They’re long and soft lookin but the way she moves says they’ve got some strength to em. He can imagine them locked tight round his hips as he pounds into her, his hand fisted in her soft hair, his mouth bitin at her throat, as she scratches his back tryin to find release. Just the thought makes him harder than he’s been in weeks.
Jayne’s little fantasy is stopped short when he hears River moan through the com. He looks over at her and almost swallows his tongue. She’s still squatting on her knees next to him but now her body is arched so far back her helmet is almost touching the ship. Her eyes are closed and she’s biting her bottom lip. Her breathing is completely erratic, like she’s just got done runnin. “Tzao-gao you’re readin my ruttin mind, ain’t ya?”
River doesn’t answers, just stays in the same position. After a minute or two her breathing slows down to normal and she sits back up. “Sorry. Got swept away.”
“Doc was right weren’t he?” Jayne asks. “You can’t help but feel r’thing.”
“Yes, most of the time.” River says. “Most of the time I can block everyone out, but you caught me off guard. I wasn’t expecting what you starting thinking about. Couldn’t help but feel it too.”
“Do ya feel when people are sexin?” Jayne asks out of morbid curiosity.
“Used to. Every time. That’s why it took me so long to find myself. I felt every feeling, every desire. No matter how hard I tried to dig myself out I would just get pushed back down.” She said.
“Ya don’t now?”
“Not very much. Only unexpected emotions.” She clarifies.
“What changed?” Jayne asks. Somethin had to of. A person just don’t stop somethin like.
“You.” River says simply.
“Jien tah duh guai. What the ruttin hell did I have to do with ya comin decrazified?” Jayne yells.
“Already told you. You’re steel. Being around you keeps everything at bay. Emotions can’t get through, thoughts are stopped, and I can find myself. When there is nobody but you around, everything is quiet. No chaos to sort through, no thoughts but my own.” River says.
“That why ya’r not soundin so crazy out here?” Jayne was starting to wonder why she sounded so normal out here. Inside the boat she been talkin all crazy like.
“Wait a gorram second, If my thoughts don’t bother ya, how’d ya know what I was thinkin bout earlier?” Jayne asks.
“You pushed them at me, couldn’t not feel when it was about me.” River answers.
“It weren’t bout you.” Jayne says, unconvincingly.
“Were too. I could picture what you want, could feel it.” River replies.
Before Jayne could reply, Kaylee taps on the door indicating she was ready for them to test the alarm. Kaylee closes the door completely and they can hear the door latch as it closes. River waits a few seconds then she opens the hatch. The alarm is going full blast. It sounds almost like the alarm that goes off when they are being hailed, only higher pitched.
“Guess it works then, don’t it?” Jayne says. He pulls the door open all the way then starts down the ladder into the ship, not sayin a word to her. He walks past Wash and Kaylee, pulling his helmet off at the same time. Wash starts to say something at him, but Janye never stops, just keeps walking toward the cargo hold.
“Kaylee.” Mal’s voice came over com.
“Yeah, cap’n.” Kaylee calls back.
“They back in yet?” He asks.
“Y’wanna ask River how to shut this gorram alarm off?” Mal questions.
River reaches over to push the com button herself. “When your miracle comes, just call us back.”
Nobody says anything, they’re just trying to figure out what she means. Then Wash remembers saying something like that to Mal back on the doc’s birthday when the captain made them leave the ship. Wash had rigged up that button that would call the shuttles back. “Hey Mal, I think she might mean that red button that I rigged up so you could call us back. But I took that apart a couple days after installing it.” Wash says over the com.
The alarm that had been blaring since River opened the hatch suddenly stopped. “Good job, Wash. You’re right. That button is back, right where it was before. Wonder when she did that?” Mal replies. “If you’re done settin up that alarm, I think you’re wife wants ya back up on the bridge.”
“Be up in a second.” Wash releases the com button and asks Kaylee if she needs help packing up the tools. She just laughs and tells him her and River can handle putting some tools away. He pats them both on the head then turns to go spend time with his wife.
Kaylee picks the tools up and puts them back in her toolbox. Grabbing the toolbox she follows River to the cargo area where River puts her suit away. The two girls then go down the engine room to put everything away.
“River.” Kaylee says to the smaller girl. “Thanks for tellin the cap’n what happened ‘fore. I just couldn’t do it. He’d been so mad and feel ev’more guilty then he already does. And for the alarms, you don’t know how much safer they make me feel, well ya probably do, since ya’re the one who came up with em. It’s gonna be so shiny sharin a bunk, don’t ya think.”
“Like camp. Stay up late telling ghost stories and giggling.” River agrees. Kaylee just smiles and gives the smaller girl a quick hug. River doesn’t return the hug but she doesn’t shrink away from it like she would have a couple months ago.
“Ya hungry?” Kaylee asks.
River nods and the two girls make their way to the mess hall to get something to eat.
Wash walks onto the bridge and is confused by what he sees. Mal is sitting in the pilot’s seat and Zoe is sitting in the co-pilot’s. Neither is saying a thing, just looking out the window in front of them. He just doesn’t get it. Every time he sees them sitting in silence like this it just stumps him. The only time he’s quiet is when he’s sleeping, flying the ship out of some dangerous situation, or when he’s making love to his wife. And even then, he still makes some noise. He just doesn’t understand how they can be so silent. “You two keep this up nobody else is gonna be able to get a word in.” Wash jokes.
“We just can’t help ourselves, ya know how talkative we are.” Mal says, getting up from the chair. He moves to stand in the center of the helm, letting Wash take his seat back. Wash moves his dinosaurs back into the order he’d had them in. Every time Mal takes the helm from Wash, he moves the dinos all around. Wash knows he does it just to annoy him.
“It’s okay, Herbert. That mean old man just doesn’t understand or respect you.” Wash says, patting his T-Rex on the head.
“You are an extremely abnormal man, you know that?” Mal rolls his eyes at his pilot. “Where’d Jayne go?”
“Don’t know. Him and River came in, and then he just stormed off, not saying a word. Looked mad, which I guess for him is normal.” Wash answers. He spins his chair around to face the captain. He motions to his wife, who comes over and sits on his lap. “Why?”
“Just wonderin. He’s supposed to finish getting River’s bed ready. I’m gonna go make sure he’s doin it.” Mal replies, leaving the bridge. When he arrives at the girl’s bunk, he finds it empty. Kaylee’s bed had already been lowered and the frame for River’s had been attached to the wall. But that was it. The rest off the bed still needed to be assembled and the mercenary was nowhere to be found. He turns to leave but hears the door open. Expecting Jayne, he is a little shocked to see Kaylee and River.
“What are you two up too?” Mal asks the girls.
“Not much cap’n. We just had a snack and came to see how’re room’s comin.” Kaylee answers.
“Probably be goin better if Jayne were down here actually workin on it.” Mal says. “You didn’t happen to see him on you’re way here?”
“Nope, sorry cap’n. Only person we saw was the Shepard.” Kaylee replies.
River who at this point had just been listening to them talk, walks over to her half-finished bunk and runs her fingers down it. She turns to say something when they hear someone else come down the ladder. They see Jayne’s lower body come down, along with something he is holding in his hand.
“Where the ruttin hell you been Jayne? I believe I asked you to get River’s bed set up.” Mal glares at the large man.
Jayne doesn’t say anything, just walks past Mal to River’s bunk. He holds the thing he was carrying up the side of the bunk, giving the rest of them a good view of it. It was two long pieces of leftover piping, about the length of River’s bunk. They were connected by five smaller pieces of piping, only about a foot long each. It was something that had just been welded together; you could still smell the melted metal from where the joints had been connected.
“What’s that Jayne?” Kaylee asks.
Jayne sits on the ground to finish putting the bed together. “It’s a guard rail. Keep her from fallin out if in case Wash’s drivin gets bumpy.” Jayne tells them, not looking up from the pieces he was assembling.
Mal stands there in shock. He himself had never really thought about that. River’s bunk was about 8 feet off the ground. If she happened to fall out in her sleep, she could do some damage. The fact that Jayne realized the danger before he or the doctor had and done something to keep her safe was startling.
“Ohh…that’s so sweet Jayne.” Kaylee says, smiling down at the mercenary.
“Yeah, well, don’t need her scramblin her brain more than it a’ready is.” Jayne mutters, uncomfortable with Kaylee’s praises.
Mal’s about to say something to his hired muscle when River places her hand on his back and gently pushes him sideways. She then walks over towards the large man on the floor and squats down so her face is level with his, causing him to look up towards her. “Wadda ya want, girl?”
River doesn’t answer him just places her hand on his chest, right over the spot she had once cut him. She then bends forward and kisses him on his right cheek, near the corner of his mouth. Straightening, she moves around him and goes up the ladder out of the bunk.
Jayne doesn’t say anything, just sits there with his mouth hanging slightly open. He wants to bring his hand up to touch the spot she kissed but knew that would upset Mal more than he probably already was. Instead he reaches for a wrench and stands up to finish assembling the bed, ignoring the way his hand was slightly shaking.
“Jayne, what the hell was that?” Mal asks.
“Hell, I don’t ruttin know Mal. Girl’s crazy, why she do anythin.” Mal grunts out, not really believing what he was saying. He knows they girl ain’t as crazy as everyone thinks, hell she proved that when they were outside of Serenity. But there’s no way in hell he’s tellin Mal what she told him. Mal most likely think he’s done somethin to the girl and throw him out the airlock.
“Cap’n, I think she’s just thankin’ Jayne for lookin’ out for her is all.” Kaylee says.
Mal doesn’t respond to her, just turns to the mercenary. “How long’s it gonna take ya to finish her bunk?”
“Bout an hour.” Jayne answers.
Mal nods, then turns to leave the room, Kaylee following him. He doesn’t say anything until he finds River. She’s in the mess hall, where the rest of the crew, besides Jayne had gathered. Mal walks past all of them to stand in front of where River was sitting on the floor. Her eyes are closed, her hands out in front of her, palms facing up. “Yes, captain?” River whispers, not opening her eyes.
“What the hell was that?” Mal asks, a little startled that she knew it was him without opening her eyes.
“Hmmm.” She responds.
“Gorramit, ya know what I’m talkin’ bout. Why’d ya kiss Jayne on the cheek for?” Mal growls out.
“What?” Simon questions from behind him.
“Saying thank you.” River replies.
“I get you wanted to thank him for makin ya that rail, what I don’t get is why ya felt kissin him on the cheek was the right way to go about it.” Mal says.
“Had too. Jayne’s not ready to kiss on the mouth now.” River answers.
“Now? River, what do you mean by now?” Simon asks.
“Now, at the present time.” River answers.
“Ma`de, River I know what the word means. I meant why did you use it.” Simon practically yells. The rest of the crew turns to look at him in shock. Simon almost never yells and rarely uses foul language.
“Ni bu gan kai ni de hwang chiang.” River chastises her older brother. She abruptly stands up, causing the captain to step back quickly. She then reaches up and kisses Mal, Simon, Book and Wash all on the cheek. Smiling widely, she grabs Kaylee’s arm and they both exit the room, giggling loudly.
“Why’m I suddenly getting the feeling them two sharin’ a room wasn’t the best idea in the verse.” Mal groans.
Hao ba: okay
Tzao-gao: Oh crap
Jien tah duh guai: Like hell
Ni bu gan kai ni de hwang chiang: You must not talk so nastily