The Snake in the Apple Tree

by belasera

[Story Headers]

The Snake in the Apple Tree
by belasera
A vague disclaimer is nobody's friend: All recognizable characters, etc. belong not to me, but to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and Fox, and no money is being made here. The story, however, is mine. A sequel to the Apples series, Kaylee knows...something. A post-coital story of tension told from the wrong point of view, with a dirty little twist near the end... PG-13

Kaylee saw. She didn't know what she saw, but she saw it alright.

The strangeness started with breakfast. Wasn't nothin' she'd ever thought of much, but Jayne was always in the dining room before anyone, makin' a racket along with his breakfast.

"Man food," he always said, lots of protein, lots of whatever he could get his hands on. Kaylee found him there before her, most every morn, bein' an early riser her own self gave the two of them a chance to be affable, `out anyone else around tensin' things up. She always figured he woke up real hungry, but the more she got to know more she thought he liked havin' a little space to himself, first thing in the day. Jayne took up a lot of space, but he always made room for Kaylee. Always seemed to shrink a bit when the others showed up, sleepy eyed and hungry, bringin' in noise and warmth, and everything that made Serenity home. The others would find Jayne and Kaylee half way to done, and coffee ready and not near all drunk. It was good to have Jayne there with her, stretching his legs under the table and eating off her plate when she'd let him, his company lettin' her pretend she wasn't waitin' there for Simon.

So she tried not to take it personal when he stopped bein' there. Or rather, when he started bein' there earlier and earlier. There'd be nothin' but a damp ring on the table left by his cup those days. Kaylee couldn't help but think maybe it was her, maybe he got up earlier now to be by his lonesome. T'was a man's right, of course, to eat breakfast alone if he wanted, but it made her mornings less cheery somehow, waiting for Simon there on her own felt a lot more like waiting for somethin' that wasn't gonna come.

But it didn't stop with breakfast, and even though his mornin' company was missing, Jayne still came and sat with her now and again in the engine room, fiddlin' and teasing in his crass way that she hardly ever minded. Maybe it wasn't her so much, then. He started eating quicker at dinner, trading chores with Shepard Book to get out of dishes, stomping off to his bunk while the others were still taking seconds. Cap'n threw him a glare or two, but Jayne'd never brought much that was good to the dinner table anyway, so no one seemed sorry to see him go. Simon in particular seemed relieved, more than was normal, like someone just lifted an anvil of his chest and he could breathe and talk again, every time Jayne walked out the room.

Kaylee saw, she wasn't sure what she was seein', but she saw alright.

Then Simon told everyone that River was in need of more quiet, that they'd take their meals in their rooms for a spell, and Kaylee saw that River rolled her eyes at that. They stopped comin' to meals and it was about that time that Jayne started coming back. Somethin' wasn't right, and it was Kaylees's favorite thing goin' wrong, mealtime, together time. She didn't ever say it but she considered it family time. And Jayne had done something bad to it, made it all odd.

The oddity had been goin' on `bout two weeks when Jayne came to Kaylee in the engine room, a roll of bandages in his bleeding hand. Asked her to help him patch up, didn't look her in the eye when he did.

"Jayne, I don't mind none but you should have Simon do this for you."

"Its nothin' but a cut, I just can't get the bandage on right is all."

"But it could be..."

"Damn it, girl, you gonna help me or we gonna wag tongues about the humpin' doc all day?"

She'd wound his hand up with an impatient scowl, only glancing briefly at his face, lookin' away again when she saw the pink flush creepin' up his throat.

Kaylee saw. She didn't like what she saw, but she saw alright.

Maybe they'd fought, it seemed most likely but it wasn't that thought that twisted a knife in her belly. Maybe it was nothin' though, maybe she was goin' all addlepated bein' on the ship for weeks without nothin' new. No one else seemed bothered, wasn't no rule `bout them all eatin' together, after all. But then it was more than just that, when they finally did get off the boat Jayne got himself shot right quick in a bar and Cap'n went hollarin about Jayne's head bein' ten moons away from the job. Simon stitched him up with a closed expression and Jayne didn't look once at him. Kaylee knew this because she watched. Under pretense of kind concern, she held Jayne's hand while that bullet got dug out of his shoulder, and he didn't seem to mind her hand too much, even surprised her by squeezing a bit. So she knew.

It was somethin' hard to see, it hurt to see it, but there it was. It was as if she'd known the sky was blue her whole life without ever seein' what blue was. And when she did see it, it couldn't be denied. Jayne and Simon were blue, Jayne and Simon were blue sparks every time the other was near. Kaylee saw it for sure, there in the infirmary. That tension she'd felt for weeks wasn't `bout her in any way and it wasn't about no fight. It was `bout sex. She felt stupid as a damn cow when she saw it there, watchin' Simon stitch him up, feelin' Jayne squeeze her hand probably out of frustration more'n pain, felt like she'd had pie for eyes when she thought `bout how she'd been with Simon, how she'd thought she had with him what she saw in that room.

Must've gone bad, though. Well, how could it not, two o' them? Simon livin' life like a block of ice, and Jayne...it wasn't to be believed, that he would be anything near human `bout sex. Kaylee found it easy to think of them with no little meanness. She left the infirmary not carin' how Jayne's shoulder healed, not carin' `bout anything bad he might have done to Simon. She nearly made it to her hammock before she started to cry, before she started nearly hating them both. It ached to know Simon might want Jayne over her, and there was even enough ache left over for the thought that Jayne might want Simon over her, too.

Kaylee couldn't believe no one saw it, not even Inara. She would of thought she'd gone `round the bend, weren't they so obvious about things. For a while after the gunfight things were the same, one'd walk into a room and the other'd walk out. Then it got to be something more, when they settled back into both eating at the same table. They glared secret, gazed even more so. Simon seemed to fold in on himself and Jayne twitched near constantly. It was absurd. One night, out o' the blue, Jayne slammed back his chair and snarled at the doctor to "Cut it the hell out." Simon held his own, looked back at Jayne like steel while the others gaped.

"There a problem here?"

Mal asked in his law-layin Captain voice, but Simon and Jayne answered in unison. "No."

Kaylee was relieved to no longer be the only one knowin' something was wrong, but she dreaded the others knowing just what it was. S'long as it was only her that knowed, wasn't quite a fact yet, but it was getting harder and harder to convince herself she might even be wrong `bout the two o' them. Then it was damn near impossible.

She'd gone to see Simon, still couldn't resist bein' near him some o' the time, but then she saw that maybe she wasn't the only one. She saw them before they could see her, Jayne standing in front of Simon, she could only see his back but he was leaning in, saying something close to Simon's ear and Simon was looking at him in a way he'd never looked at Kaylee, like a man who might be dyin' of hunger. He moved his head and seemed to disappear into Jayne's body as Jayne pulled him close, one arm around Simon's waist as Jayne buried his face in Simon's neck...

Kaylee had the sense to go, to just turn around before they saw her. She didn't want to hear Simon's stuttering aplology, nor see Jayne smirk at her like he'd won some gorramn game. She crossed paths with Mal going down the stairs as she went up and she hurried past him with a strained "Cap'n," hoping like hell he'd catch them groping like teenagers in the infirmary. Jayne surely heard him coming though, Kaylee heard their voices as she moved away and the Cap'n didn't sound near peeved enough.

No one was gonna get spaced then. Kaylee sighed fitfully, tweaking Serenity's engine hours later. She would be pretty content, she thought, to never leave this room, no reason to. She had a hammock, and sure Shepard Book would bring her some food and company. Maybe even Inara would come visit her. It could be like a nunnery, maybe she'd even get somethin' to hide most her face. The Cap'n might have words, though. Anyway, wasn't Book or `Nara she wanted to converse with at this particular time. Kaylee threw down her wrench and gulped. Set her face smooth best she could and walked out of the engine room, right to crew quarters. Not to her own bunk, not yet.

His bunk was locked, but it was no trouble to override it and punch the hatch open. She moved down the ladder before her floppin' stomach had time to follow and punched the hatch shut again even as Jayne sat up in bed, gave a half shout at her.

"Hey! Ya wanna be knockin?"

She didn't answer him, just barreled on ahead.

"Jayne, I'm needin' to talk to you."

"Now?"

He was nervous, she could tell. It nearly choked her, the realization that he knew why she was here. He got up out of his bed, stood up to face her and she had to bite back tears as her anger was joined with the shame of feelin' tricked, betrayed.

"You knew how bad I wanted him."

He twisted his lips, but didn't answer.

"Didn't you? You knew I wasn't just playin?"

He nodded then, looked down at her and moved a bit closer.

"I knew, but you never woulda got him, Kaylee"

He moved a bit closer, like maybe he meant to give her a hug or some fung loh shit. She stared at him hard a moment, and then his bunk was filled with the crack of her hand on his face.

"Gorramnit, Kaylee, I didn't do nothin' to you!"

She was crying now, and ready for this ill notion of a fight to be over, but words came pouring out her mouth unstoppable like the turnin' of a world.

"Oh, you surely did somethin', Jayne Cobb, even knowin' how I felt for him."

Her voice wobbled but she didn't stop, just croaked out real small,

"What did you do to him?"

Jayne pushed at her, pushed her rough against his ladder and held her at arms length, like she might go for him again. He spoke low, not angry just tense,

"You don't want to know nothin' about that, Kaylee."

She looked at him, horrified, knowin' his meaning, and it wasn't nothin' like what she'd meant, but now he'd said it....her face was flushed and it matched his, his eyes were tight on her and he looked...pained, somehow. She nodded, spite came up from her belly horribly unfamiliar and left her chin at an angry tilt.

"I do, Jayne."

His breath left his mouth in a tight little huff as he shook his head at her. Shook his head, but pressed into her, his body a clear threat.

"You wanna know?"

She didn't answer, though the answer was no, she didn't want...His voice was a rasp, and more, it was edged with a honey she'd never heard from him as he spoke in her ear.

"You wanna know...was me started it, that what you want to know?"

His hand was gripping one of her hips now, and she knew he wanted to tell her things she didn't want to hear. Had his own reasons for doin' so, like maybe he needed to hear it his owns self.

"He kissed me, I let him kiss me, you wanna hear that?"

She didn't of course, she choked on a sob when he said it but there was no stopping now. Jayne pressed his cheek right against hers, his voice filled her ear and she thought for a flash how Simon had looked in the infirmary. Thought she probably looked something the same.

"I gave him a hand job, like a two bit whore, and he came right away, like he was dyin' of it."

Jayne was talking fast, his body pressing against hers for no sensible reason, and wuo de ma! He was makin' the room spin as his fingers rubbed circles at her hip.

"I, we..."

He drew breathe hard, she felt it against her face and she knew without it him sayin' the rest, sweet Buddha she didn't need to hear it. He didn't say it, just stilled, her tears drying on her face and his as he wrapped both arms around her, and she thought of him and Simon, wrapped together in the infirmary like two drowning men.

When Jayne moved a bit she thought she might breathe again, but before she could hardly think to get out of his arms his mouth was crashing down on hers. She gasped in surprise and he snaked his tongue into her mouth, the force of his kiss pressing her head against the ladder until it hurt. She couldn't think one single thought, and then one came to her.

(He kisses Simon like this. Just like this)

That little thought was like a live wire in her brain, it sent heat and lust straight to her belly and she pulled Jayne closer, ran one knee up his thigh and gasped when he ground his hips against her. He was hard and she was dizzy from it.

(Just like this)

His lips were trailing down her neck, it took a moment for her to realize that he wasn't kissing her there, that he was whispering against her skin.

"Sorry. I'm sorry."

The room slipped back into focus, Kaylee looked down at his dark hair as his shoulders heaved against her. She pushed him back gently, her arms shaking as she did.

"No, no, don't do this Jayne."

He yanked away from her fully, looked down at her and she couldn't help but thinking he looked lost when he was only an inch's distance from her.

"I'm sorry Kaylee, you never could have had him, but I didn't mean it to be this way. I sure knew you wanted him, but I didn't know I..."

He stopped, he couldn't say it, and Kaylee couldn't hate him for it, not when they was both bangin' up enough on themselves without her addin' to it. She could never take what Jayne was tryin' to offer her, even if she wanted it, she didn't want it as payment for Simon.

"Jayne, you don't owe me nothin' for it, and I won't hate you for him wanting you back when he didn't want me. I don't know, and I don't want to," she stressed, "But you `d better straighten this out with him before you start makin' other people offers o' sexin."

Jayne seemed to slump, but he smiled a bit at her words.

"Aw, Kaylee, you're the sweetest little thing."

"Not another word, Jayne, I'm skedaddlin' the hell out o' your bunk before we make a mess of this whole damn ship."

She was true to her word, went up his ladder and ignored his hand on her hip, shut herself tight in her bunk before she could remember the feel of Jayne's mouth and change her mind. They hadn't meant to hurt her, neither of them, and she wasn't one for revenge anyhow. And she didn't hardly envy the two of them nohow, they had a ways to go before figuring out how to get what they wanted. It would be interesting to watch, and maybe even a bit easier, not to be always waitin' on Simon. Kaylee stripped off her overalls before opening the little fridge she kept in her bunk. This thing wouldn't keep her down for long, and she never was one for the nunnery. She grinned and pulled out one of Jayne's apples she'd stolen weeks ago, kept hidden in the cyro chamber until today. She'd meant to share them with Simon as a treat, but looking at the red perfect fruit she was glad after all to have them all to herself.

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Title:  The Snake in the Apple Tree
Series Name:  Apples
Author:  belasera   [email]
Details:  Series  |  PG-13  |  gen het  |  15k  |  10/17/05
Characters:  Kaylee, Jayne, Simon
Pairings:  Jayne/Simon Jayne/Kaylee
Summary:  A sequel to the Apples series, Kaylee knows…something. A post-coital story of tension told from the wrong point of view, with a dirty little twist near the end…

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