In A Flash

by Meegzi

Title: In A Flash

Author: Meegzi

Rating: PG-13, light R (ish)

Disclaimer: Yeah I own nothing - not even the theory behind the story, lol.

Spoilers: Serenity (pilot)

Summary: A different take on why Jayne can't stand Simon.

Dedicated: To my Sugarbear, because hell has truly frozen over. :P

Feedback: I'd really like to know what you think - so feedback would be great. I'm a first timer, try to be gentle. :)

A/N: Ok, so I got this idea after seeing a few posts about it on the official board earlier this week. I wish I could remember the names of the posters because this is really all their doing. So whoever you are, thank you! It was like a lightbulb going on and everything became so clear. Also, I MUST thank everyone who read it and told me what they thought: Pooh, Syn, Trix, Jenai, JessS, Ly and especially Celli - you must've been wanting to scratch your eyes out with all those tenses! You helped SO much. Thank you all!

All his fun. He could feel it all getting sucked away. Ruttin' bastard showing up and moving in on what was his. Least it had been his on those late nights when the rest of the crew was asleep. When he'd leave his bunk in a fit of insomnia and find her all sweaty from exertion, hair all a mess. The grease and dirt mixed with the sweat and smeared across her skin. The zipper on her overalls hung low, taunting him with what was underneath. Hell, it was begging him to make a move.

Yeah, those nights she was his. And he supposed he was hers too. In those moments when he was on his back, the cold floor scratching his skin, the dirt caking where it met with sweat. Now this prissy rich boy had turned up, ruining every damn thing. He saw the two of them at dinner. Couldn't miss 'em. Her all bashful and blushing, babbling like a baby. And pretty boy with his pretty smiles and pretty words. Oh he saw 'em all right. Put a stop to all that fawning right quick. Course, he got sent away from the table for his trouble, like a damned child playing with his food.

And now here he was, in his bunk alone, lying on his stomach, staring at the filthy floor. Full of food but not really full. He was restless, his hand clenching with the memory of every smile. His fist was aching to come into contact with that doctor's face, smack the ruttin' smile right off him. Then there was the other aching. The aching he'd become accustomed to after months of late nights in the engine room. The aching starting to get a mite too painful for his liking. He ground his teeth together, his fist closed as tight as it would go.


He pushed himself off the mattress, walked over to the ladder and climbed up out into the hallway. The hatch to Kaylee's bunk was open, but heard the clanking of metal on metal at the other end of the hall. Walking over, he saw the door to the engine room was half closed. He snuck in and closed it completely.

Her legs were hanging out from under the engine and he heard a soft moan escape her lips, fighting with whatever specific part was giving her trouble. His skin grew hot, flushed, at the sound of her. She seemed to still at the sound of the closing door and a moment later crawled out from under the machine, standing up. He took her in, a grin forming on his lips. The site of her all a mess and disheveled always did get him going. She just stared back, expressionless.

"Go away, Jayne."



"You heard me. Go away. I'm in no mood to deal with you right now."

She turned to the shelf beside her. He walked over, stopping a few inches in front of her, his shadow cast over her entire body.

"Aww, you're just mad cuz of what I said at dinner, huh? Dammit Kaylee, you were droolin' all over him. I wasn't just gonna sit through that." He threaded his fingers through her knotted hair, gently rubbing her head. "Come on, it don't matter now anyway." His voice was low and soft.

She abruptly pulled away, putting distance between them, stepping out from under his massive shadow. She seemed to hesitate, avoid his eyes. Looking at her face, her expression, he stopped grinning.

"Jayne you know we're not together, right? We never were."

"'Course I know that. What the hell are you talkin' about?" He swallowed, placing his hand on the shelf, confusion twisting across his face.

"Good. I just though maybe you got the wrong idea or somethin'."

Wrong idea?

"We've been screwin'," he stated flatly. Least that's the impression he'd gotten from their activities. Was she getting at something more? Jayne Cobb wasn't the type to get attached. Too risky. Too complicated. Better for everyone to do your business and get a move on.

"Yeah," she said, looking away again. "And it's been...great. It really has. But I just think maybe we shouldn't no more."

He knew it. Knew that gorram doctor was gonna muss everything up. So she was sweet on him, so what? That don't mean they had to stop having their fun. Don't mean they couldn't go on with their nights in the engine room, did it? Shouldn't have changed a damn thing. It just shouldn't have.

"Really," he grunted. He shifted his weight from the shelf and stood tall. Towering, intimidating. Defensive. "And this wouldn't have anything to do with that puny runt breathin' below us, now would it?"

"Simon? No, Jayne, that's not it. And would you please stop implyin'--"

"Implyin'? No, I'm sayin' it Kaylee. You should've seen yourself earlier. I mean hell, you just met the guy."

She looked up at him. Her voice came out softly, a hint of awe in her speech. She sounded like a small child peering through a telescope and seeing the moon and stars up close for the first time. Discovering the universe and realizing it's great infinity.

"He's just so interestin'. He's been places and seen things. He's done somethin' with his life."

"What about all of us? We haven't been places and seen stuff? Believe me, we've seen our share."

"He saves people, Jayne."

Well that certainly was a kick in the gut. This was definitely not how he'd expected all this to go. Ruttin' doctor! But this would've happened sooner or later. He was just hoping for later. Fooled himself right good into thinking they'd always be able to go on doing what they'd been doing. Real life didn't have to get in the way of it. No need to.

"And I kill 'em right? That's what you're sayin'. Tradin' in the trash for the shiny new treasure, I get it."

"No! I...." She seemed to have trouble finding the words.

They were both quiet for a moment. He watched her. She seemed so small to him then. So little, so young. She had that quality to her, child-like and innocent. Only he knew she was anything but. Not when her legs were wrapped around him, squeezing, pressing into his sides. Or the way her wet tongue slipped over his skin just the right way, that made him feel so damn good it had to be wrong. Certainly not when she was wailing, crying out his name between shallow breaths.

He supposed in certain ways, though, she was innocent. Innocent in the ways of killing and pain. Ruthless and cutthroat were most definitely two words that did not come to mind when he thought of Kaylee. But he was all right with that. He reckoned it was probably one of the best things about her. His outrage faded some and he moved forward, closing the space between them. He tried to shake off the awkwardness that hung in the air, clinging to his skin.

"Look, I never expected nothin' outta this. You know I'm not the type. Gets mighty lonesome out here in the black. People got needs. We're just helpin' each other out is all."

His grin was back, his eyes glazing over with want, need. His right hand came up under her chin, pushing her head forward, up to meet his eyes.

"Little Rich Boy don't have to change that, right?" The tone of his voice was low and soothing, barely above a whisper.

His head came down slowly, testing her. Daring her to pull away. But when she closed her eyes instead, he knew he had her again and smiled with satisfaction. He pushed his lips against hers, rough but not hard. His tongue forcefully invaded her mouth, tasting her. Savoring her. Instinctively his hands brushed through her hair, meeting at the back of her neck and massaging the muscles. The kiss grew stronger and just as she started to respond he broke away.

"I know you want it. Your skin's itchin' for it." His mouth was still on hers as he spoke, his breath hard, rushing against her wet lips. He was still smiling. "Hell, most nights you can't get enough..."

He kissed her again, harder this time, and she resonded by wrapping her arms around his waist. One hand found its way up under the back of his shirt. His skin was hot and a thin layer of sweat was already starting to form. He knew they shouldn't be doing this now, it was too early. Everyone was still awake. The door was closed but that didn't mean a damn thing. He sure as hell wasn't going to stop now, though. He had just slid his tongue over her neck, leaving a slippery wet trail behind when they heard shouting from beyond the closed door.

"What was that?" Kaylee pulled away. The sound was muffled but they could both tell it was voices, yelling and frantic.

"Don't know. Sounds like it's comin' from the cargo hold."

Those sounds, of course, had turned out to be a damn Fed sticking a gun in Mal and that doctor's faces. A gorram Fed on the ship! Calling on the Alliance and shooting up the crew.

Shooting up Kaylee.

He heard the blast echo through the open space. Echoing in his ears. Ringing. He didn't see her at first. He caught her out of the corner of his eye, sliding down the cool, harsh metal of the doorway. Saw the surprise on her face, the sheer shock. Her eyes so damn wide. Her mouth open, gaping at the intrusion to her body. But only for a second. All just in a flash.

No sooner had she gone down than his gun was drawn, ready to kill the bastard. Not right away, of course. No. It was going to be slow and torturous. And so fucking painful he'd be screaming for death.

Gorram Preacher man got in his way right quick. Trying to save the son of a bitch, even after what he'd done. Ruttin' fool. Didn't much matter though. He'd kill the preacher too if he had to, to get to the Fed. Whatever he had to do. Wasn't worth a second thought.

But Zoe put a stop to all that. Seemed killing a Fed might not sit well with the Alliance. Might bring some trouble to the ship. Even with Kaylee over in the doorway, crying out in pain from the hole in her gut.

He can still hear it, even now, crouching outside the infirmary window, looking down on her body lying there, limp and lifeless. That gorram doctor with his hands all over her. Helping her. Saving her life, just like she said. Even though he'd let her bleed some first, to show who was boss. Jayne most certainly can't save nobody's life like that. All he's good for is pain and suffering. That's all he's ever been good for. And probably for the first time ever in his miserable life he wishes that weren't so. God help him, he wishes he could be the one doing the saving. Saving her. And it pains him something fierce. And he'll be damned if he'll ever admit it.

He can't get the sound of her out of his head. Out of his ears. Now instead of the gunshot ringing in them, it's her strangled cries. It's like the whole damn thing was on a loop or something, playing over and over in his brain. Flooding his ears and flashing across his eyes.

The shot. Her eyes. Her mouth. Gun drawn. Preacher's voice. Zoe's voice. Tugging the rope around the bastard's wrists as tight as it would go, then tighter still. And a kick in the balls for good measure. The two men yelling. Her voice screeching.

Mal and the Doc had already picked her up and were carrying her off to the infirmary, Inara with them. He couldn't seem to move for a minute. Almost rooted to the spot. Truth be told, he didn't really know what to do. Couldn't kill the asshole. Didn't know the workings of medicine. Couldn't fly the ship away from the Alliance. Would've liked to have given that Preacher a swift kick in the ass, but Zoe wouldn't have it. What was left?

Just the pain and suffering.

He looked over at the Fed, laying on his side with his hands behind his back and his legs secured. He grabbed the back of his shirt and dragged him out of the cargo hold, past the infirmary to one of the spare rooms, and threw him in. Hard. That Preacher had followed him and said something about staying, keeping him safe. He rolled his eyes and went upstairs.

He can see them all down there, through the small windows by the floor. Mal, Inara, and the doctor, all scrambling around in a hurry. Damn straight, they better move their asses. All that wasted time from before, no thanks that sonuvabitch doctor.

All this brought him here. Crouched down by the window, arms around his knee, thoughts whirling around his head. There's this nervousness rushing through him. Adrenaline? He swipes at his mouth. Sweat. He picks at his thumb with his index finger, scratching at the rough, calloused skin around his fingernail. Wishes that finger could be scratching at something else right about now. Wrapped around a trigger and squeezing.

He tries not to think about Kaylee maybe dying on that table down there. No, he don't even begin to entertain that thought. That Doc won't let her die. If she does he sure as hell won't be able to stop himself from shooting the bastard full of holes this time - not that he'd want to stop himself, of course. Zoe can point her gun at him all she wants, telling him not to try anything, won't make one bit of difference.

She won't die. She's gonna be fine. Shiny and good as new. She'll be back in her engine room, tinkering around with her tools, fixing something or other. Covered in grease and dirt again. Hair a mess again. Smiling over at him. Again.

One of those genuine smiles she pulls out so often. Truly happy to see him there in the doorway. He likes when she smiles at him like that. Makes him feel worth a damn. He knows he ain't. But when she smiles that way he can't help but smile back, knowing she's glad he's there. Does something to a man. And for a second he's better.

She'll ask him to grab a certain wrench or screwdriver or whatever. Ask him to lend a hand, cuz the two of hers are two too few at the moment. He'll get under the contraption next to her, the strong scent of grease and oil tickling his nose. She'll scold him for making the wrong move. Take his hands and show him the correct way. He'll catch her eye, their faces barely and inch apart, their arms entangled. Bodies too close for comfort. And she'll give him that look. That damn look, powerful strong, that makes him forget all about wrenches and screwdrivers. Forget all about guns and bullets and pain and death. And all the blood. He'll grab her and it'll be just like all the other times.

Yeah, she's gonna be just fine.

The End

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