Summery: Kaylee ain’t the kinda girl you just mess around with. She’s the kinda girl you court proper.
A/N: Massive thanks to rinalin, zoe_jayne, and thegranddewru for the encouragement, the kicks in the pants, and the listening to me whine. And the random lines of dialogue.
This was supposed to be fluff. It isn’t. Jayne got mad, and now its angsty. There will be a happy ending though. Promise!
For sirkpega, with love.
Part One / Part Two /Part Three / Part Four
The next day weren't no better.
He sat in the mess, grunting when anybody bothered to talk to him.
Barely anybody did.
Zoë came in, got something, and left. He didn't even think she saw him sitting there. She's been awful tore up. She was grieving. Still, you gotta keep your eyes open, and she didn't seem to be doing that. Would get her in trouble one day soon.
Mal spared him a nod.
The doc wandered through, but he was hiding behind all of his medical crap, and he was looking a mite stressed anyway. His sister was right on his heels, and her expression at her brother weren't the nicest thing ever. She probably was mad 'cause Simon had made Kaylee cry.
Crazy girl looked right at him and crossed her eyes.
He growled at her. But she just giggled at him, one hand covering her mouth like she knew something he didn't.
'Course, she probably did. Gorram reader.
He still weren't sure what the hell had been going through Kaylee's head when she showed up in his bunk last night, but it sure as hell hadn't been a dream. He had woken up in the wreck he had made last night, a little hungover and a lot tired.
He spent most of the day sitting in the mess, waiting for Kaylee to come through so he could find out what the hell she had been thinking.
And maybe apologize some. He hadn't exactly been nice. But he had been surprised, and she hadn't been acting normal. It weren't his fault.
She never did show up.
He didn't once hear her voice, or see her, or nothing.
Eventually, he got tired of sitting there. And hell, if she didn't want to see him, he weren't interested in seeing her neither.
It weren't like he was worried or nothing.
He figured he'd see her tomorrow, sure enough.
But he didn't.
Nor the next day.
He knew she hadn't disappeared. He had heard her voice telling Mal about a problem Serenity was having, and he had seen her back once when he was headed out of the infirmary after dropping a crate.
But everytime he tried to hunt her down, she pulled some kinda disappearing act and was off into thin air.
The crew had even had a couple of meals together, and she was there, but it was like he was invisible, 'cause she weren't even so much as looking at him. She weren't just ignoring him, 'cause when she did that, she tossed her hair alot and muttered stuff under her breath to let a body know she was mad. It was like he weren't even on her radar.
It was making him a mite grumpy, to tell the truth.
So, he decided he was gonna find her, and they was gonna have a talk about all this. 'Cause he mighta hurt her feelings some, but this was getting out of hand. 'Sides, he weren't the only one who was in the wrong of this.
He'd lock her in the engine room, if he had too.
He spent the next day and a half trying to hunt her down. He was one of the best trackers there was, but that was mostly on land. Here on ship, things got a mite more interesting. There weren't anyway to see footprints, for one, less a body stepped in engine grease.
But there still were no sign of her.
He was only seeing her at meals now, and peoples was starting to notice something was up. Kaylee weren't speaking to him at all, and wouldn't even answer a direct question. It were pretty easy to see that Mal was starting to come up with his own list of things to ask, starting with You need a trip out the airlock?.
It had been near a full week since Kaylee had shown up in his bunk, and he ain't seen hide nor hair of her at any times but meals.
She was even talking a little to the doctor now.
Guess they had worked out their spat, whatever it was. Although they wasn't near as lovey dovey as they was when they first got together.
It would probably amuse him some, if he weren't so frustrated by the whole thing.
But she was still freezing him out completely, and finally, after another dinner of him talking to her and her ignoring him, he stayed slumped at the table, glaring at the mush in front of him.
Natural like, that was when Mal settled across from him.
Jayne was already in a bad mood, after Kaylee completely passed him over when she was handing out potatoes, so it weren't the best time, to say the least.
And Mal had that look on his face, the one that said that Jayne had probably screwed up again, and Mal was just waiting to hear the damage.
Jayne scowled down at his half empty plate. He weren't gonna be helping the Captain with this one.
"Something going on with you and Kaylee?" Mal's voice was awful calm, which is usually when you gotta start worrying about your gun and whether your ass was still attached.
Jayne just grunted.
"Don't think you heard me." Mal's voice went even flatter, which left Jayne itching to put hand to pistol. "Something going on with you and Kaylee?"
"I don't think that's true." Mal settled back against the chair. "Seems to me that she has a problem of some sort with you. And seeing as its Kaylee, I'm figuring you stepped outta line somewhere."
"I didn't do nothing." Jayne tightened his hands round his chopsticks.
"Something tells me that ain't the truth."
Jayne smirked. "Why don'tcha ask Kaylee what happened? I think she could shed some interesting light on the subject."
Mal leaned forward, resting his elbows on the table. His eyes were real flat. "She ain't talking."
Jayne snorted. "I noticed."
"Why ain't Kaylee talking, Jayne? I suggest you get real communicative, real fast."
Jayne studied the man across from him. He pushed his dinner away. "It might have something to do with that fight she had with the doc a while back."
"And why would you have anything to do with that?"
"Jayne." Mal's voice held a warning. "You need to be telling me everything you know, right now."
"I threw her outta my bunk."
Mal blinked. "I'm sorry. I think I misheard you." He leaned a little closer. "Do what, now?"
"I threw her outta my bunk. She didn't have no business being there, and I wanted her gone."
Mal scratched his head. "I'm getting the feeling I'm not getting the whole story."
Jayne shrugged. "I told you, if you wanna know what happened, you gotta ask Kaylee."
"I'm asking you."
Jayne was getting frustrated. He didn't think it was any of the Captain's business, but he kinda knew this was coming. Its not like Mal made a secret that Kaylee was his favorite of the crew. And with Jayne being at the bottom of the list most days, after the crazy girl and the a/c unit, it weren't like he was gonna be getting out of this situation.
"So," Mal said conversationally. "You kicked her outta your bunk."
"What I'm having trouble with is, what the hell was Kaylee doing in your bunk?"
"Good question." Jayne growled. "But she never told me. I came downstairs, and there she was."
"And what was she doing?"
Mal was starting to look more confused than pissed. "Is there some reason you don't wanna tell me what she was doing there?"
Jayne just shrugged again. He was suddenly real interested in the table top.
"Jayne?" Mal looked very serious. "I'm getting worried here."
"Well, she.." Jayne hesitated. "She weren't interested in talking, that was for sure." He traced the edge of the bowl in front of him with a finger. He could feel Mal's surprise when the Captain figured that one out.
"So, she was..." Mal was making some weird faces over there, trying to figure out a way to say it tactful like.
"And you...threw her out?"
"And she's mad because of that?"
Mal sat back. "Huh." He studied the big merc across the table from him. "So, can I ask what stopped you?"
Jayne snorted. “What, you looking for a reason to kill me?”
Mal grunted. “No. Just..you ain’t known for your self control.”
“Ain’t never cared.”
“So, why you care about your self control where Kaylee’s involved?”
Jayne looked down at the table again. “It wouldn’t have been right.”
“’Cause I’d kill you?”
The big man shrugged. “That too.”
“And the rest?”
“Kaylee ain’t the kinda girl you mess around with, is all.” Jayne said. “She’s the kinda girl you court proper.”
Mal blinked. “Sorry, I must have misheard you.”
“No, you didn’t.”
“You wanna…court Kaylee.”
“I don’t think there is a maybe involved here.” Mal shook his head in amazement. “This ain’t the kinda stuff you’d normally be telling me. Am I missing something?”
Jayne crossed his arms defensively. “Well, I can’t talk to her Pa. Figure you’re the closest thing she’s got out here. ‘Sides,” he added, “If you found out I was doing anything with Kaylee without you knowing about it first, I don’t think I’d be able to explain it with a bullet in my gut.”
Mal had to accept the truth of that. “So, courting. What are we talking here?”
Jayne stared. “I ain’t thought about it too hard. She’s been avoiding me like hell, and ‘sides, she’s got the doc.”
“No, she don’t. That fight they had seems to have ended things.”
Jayne’s head came up sharp. “Yeah?”
“That’s what he said.”
“Then, I guess..courting.”
Mal shook his head. “I’m still not understanding this idea. It ain’t like we got socials or anything for you to take her to.”
“I’ll figure something out.” Jayne was watching Mal careful like. Mal still ain’t said how he felt about the idea of Jayne courting his mei mei.
Mal studied him for a second. He blew out his breath. “Alright, court away. I won’t stop you.”
“Yeah?” Jayne’s voice was hopeful.
“Yeah.” Mal chuckled some. “I can’t believe I’m agreeing to this.”
“If it makes you feel better, she could always say no.”
“Well now,” Mal grinned. “That does make me feel better already.”
END PART THREE