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
Final Part, kids! Hope everyone enjoyed the ride. :)
After his talk with Mal, Jayne waited two more days before trying to find Kaylee again.
For one, he wanted to be sure she weren't still so mad she'd throw something at him.
For two, he needed to think.
He'd known for a while that Kaylee and courting would come up eventually. But he had always figured Mal would say no, or Kaylee would, 'cause of the Doc. So, when he had thought about it, it was always some day.
But, Mal said it was alright, and the Doc weren't in the picture no more.
Which meant it went from someday to now, which startled him some.
And he ain't never courted no one proper before.
He had taken a couple of girls out walking, when he was a kid. But that was a long time ago, and like Mal said, weren't exactly any socials to take her to on Serenity.
So that left simple stuff. Like, walking her to dinner. Or giving her pretty things. Or spending time with her somewheres other than his bunk.
Couldn't be starting that kinda stuff 'til they had courted a while.
Courting meant some kisses, including ones on the mouth, but mainly just spending time with her. Letting her know he means business. Talking, getting to know each other, that kinda thing.
He had written his momma a letter, after he talked to Mal. He was waiting to mail it 'til he had talked to Kaylee. Ma would be thrilled. She'd been after him for years to finally settle down.
She'd love Kaylee, too. Ain't nobody couldn't love Kaylee.
He'd take Kaylee there, one day, to meet his family. She'd like that. It ain't right, marrying into a family without knowing them.
He was hoping he wasn't going to have to ask her Pa, when it came time to be thinking about weddings. Talking to the Captain had been bad enough.
But he was thinking too far ahead. Wouldn't be good to make all the plans, and then have her laugh in his face the first time he asked to walk her to dinner.
So, he was going have to go about this careful like.
Problem was, he didn't really have any idea about what he supposed to say to her about it.
He'd asked Mal, as her Pa weren't around. Does the Pa usually tell the girl? Or was he supposed to?
He was hoping his Ma would have some ideas, but he couldn't wait for the time it'd take to get a letter back. If he waited, the Doc might come to his senses. Or Mal wouldn't be able to keep his mouth shut and would tell the whole crew, including Kaylee, and ruin everything.
Mal must have already told Zoe, as she had almost smiled at him this morning.
The moonbrain already knew, of course, but she just patted him on the head, told him something stupid about dreams and wishes, and went back to bugging her brother.
If she was gonna be keeping the Doc busy through this, he might even be nice to her. Maybe.
His mind was running in circles, trying to come up with some things he and Kaylee could do on ship.
He could make her dinner, easy enough. So long as she likes pancakes or dumplings. Those were 'bout the only two things he could make without help.
There were exactly two people on board who would know about courting, and he weren't' about to ask either of them.
The Doc wouldn't help him with it if Jayne were the last man left alive. Especially not for Kaylee's sake. The only person the Doc would get more het up about Jayne courting would be the crazy girl.
That left Inara, who had to know all that courting stuff to do her job.
But both of them know more about the fancy courting. With balls and fans and big frilly dresses. Jayne doubted they knew nothing about real world courting. Barn dances and sneaking up to the hay lofts are probably things neither one of them had ever thought of before.
Jayne was cleaning his knives at the table, still thinking things through about how to go about talking to Kaylee, when little sister plopped down next to him.
She had a whole stack of colored paper under one arm, and she was busy sorting them by color.
She shoved a stack of red at him. "Help her, please."
"Go away, girl. I ain't helping you with nothing." He tried to turn back to his knives, but she was busy shoving all of them out of the way. "Hey!"
"Is for horses. Help her, or she will let thistles grow in the hay." She slid over a couple of pieces of green paper to go with the red.
"Prickly. Make haylofts uncomfortable. She will want to keep her pants on."
Haylofts. Jayne's brain turned over this one. The girl was offering to help him somehow. What that had to do with colored paper, he had no idea. But, he put his knives to the side, and watched her.
The girl was leaning over the table, a piece of yellow paper in her hands. It looked like she was making a mess with all the creases she was putting in it, but gorramitall, if she didn't end up handing him a flower made out of nothing but paper.
He stared at it for a second. It looked awful fragile. And kinda hard to do.
And his hands were awful big.
The girl poked him in the side. "Perfectly practice. Takes time. And there are no bees."
"Alright, alright," he grumbled. "Do it slow this time, so I can see it."
He and the girl spent about a hour trying to do those flowers. At the end, his eyes hurt from squinting, and he must have gotten about forty paper cuts.
But he also had a small collection of flowers to give to Kaylee. You couldn't court a girl without flowers coming into it at some point, and it weren't like there were a flower shop anywhere nearby.
He grinned at the girl, and she grinned back. Then she handed him a paper handgun, patted him on the head again, wished him good pollination and disappeared.
And then it was time to find Kaylee.
He looked down at his ratty t-shirt, and figured it might be time to change clothes, instead.
It was about a half hour later that he finally found himself standing outside the engine room.
He had showered and changed clothes. He was wearing one of his nicer t-shirts, one without a nudie girl on the front, and he had a couple of those flowers tucked into his pocket.
He weren't one for admitting he was afraid, but somehow he weren't too eager to open that door. He muttered to himself what he had planned to say.
"Oh!" And there she was. Standing there with her hands full of engine parts and a surprised look on her face. If her hands hadn't been full, she probably would've run off the instant she saw him.
It was a good thing he was a little faster.
She gave a weak little laugh. "Heya, Jayne. I was just on my way down to talk to the Captain and.."
"I wanna talk to you," he blurted. "I've been looking for you everywhere for over a week and you ain't nowhere to be found."
Kaylee ducked back into the engine room, dropping the parts onto a table. She wiped her hands off on her coveralls. "I've been real busy, you know, giving Serenity a good overhaul." She had her back turned and her hands was shaking a little. He could see it.
"Yeah, I'm sure." He stood awkwardly for a minute. Kaylee was doing everything she could to avoid him, even now. If he wasn't standing right in front of it, she would probably be completely under the engine by now.
"So, what did you want to talk about, Jayne?" She was trying to sound normal, but her voice was a little quivery. "You having any more trouble with your comm unit?"
"Comm is doing fine."
Looked like Kaylee had finally run out of little things she could do without turning towards him. "Then I'm not sure why you're here." She was facing him, but her eyes was scanning around the engine behind him.
"I wanna talk to you."
"You said that already." Kaylee was hitting the edge of her patience, he could see that. She reached up to rub at her eyes and he grabbed her hand 'fore she could. She looked up at him, really at him, for the first time since she showed up in his bunk.
"You got grease on your hands," he offered lamely to her shocked look. "You wouldn't want it in your eyes."
She was still looking up at him, and he was still holding her hand.
And he had just completely forgotten everything he had been practicing to say to her.
So, he took a deep breath, and hoped he weren't about to shove his foot in his mouth too bad. "You surprised me, showing up like that. It weren't right."
She flushed and tried to yank her hand away, but he weren't letting go.
"But it weren't right of me to say that kinda stuff to you neither." He hesitated. He weren't no good at this. "I'm sorry."
She blinked. They had been on the same boat for almost two years, and he knew she probably hadn't never heard him apologize before. She shook her head. "Don't be."
She looked down at her hand in his. "You were right. I'd had gotten into a fight with Simon, and I was planning on using you to get over it. It weren't right." She looked up, and he could see tears shining in her eyes. "I'm sorry too."
"Well, now." That part had gone better than he was expecting. She hadn't thrown nothing at him, and he weren't hanging out the airlock with the Captain laughing at him.
"Why you still holding my hand?"
He blinked at her, and then looked down. "Oh." He let go a little reluctantly. Her hand was warm and little and felt good. He tucked his hand in his pocket and felt the flowers in there.
They stood, still real close together. Her looking down, and him looking at her.
"Why you still standing here?" She was blushing a little, and he figured he might have been looking a little too long.
"I wanna ask you something."
"Alright." She looked up at him from under her lashes. Not flirty, like last time, but like she wasn't sure what he was gonna ask.
He tightened his fingers round the flowers tucked away and took a deep breath. He was stalling, and he knew it. He straightened up a little before opening his mouth. "You know, before the Doc got here, we was getting along pretty good, right?"
"Well, I was thinking that maybe..that you might like me some."
She opened her mouth to say something, but he rushed on.
"'Cause I like you. A lot."
Kaylee was caught with her mouth half open. She gaped at him.
"And Mal said it was ok, and the girl said the Doc done messed everything up with you, so I was wondering if.." He trailed off, trying to figure out the look on her face.
"If what?" Kaylee whispered.
"If you was minding..if you wanted..if I could..come and call on you." Jayne was floundering a little, but at least he was talking.
"Come and call on me?" Kaylee seemed to be getting a little stuck on repeating things.
She just stared at him with wide eyes. But she weren't laughing, and if he was a praying man, he'd be thanking God for that right 'bout now. Her mouth was opening and closing, like she wanted to say something. Instead, she was looking a little like a fish.
"You want to..call on me?" She finally squeaked.
He shrugged and studied the floor. "Yeah."
She was still staring. He could feel it. He tightened his hands into fists in his pockets. He hurriedly pulled out on of the flowers when he realized he was crushing it. "Here."
She took the fragile little thing from him. "It's beautiful."
He was getting all kinds of uncomfortable, standing there. She still hadn't answered.
She looked up at him. "Do you like picnics?"
"What, like, eating outside?"
She nodded. Her eyes was shining again, and he was worried she was about to cry. He didn't think he was that bad of a catch.
"Yeah, I guess." He squinted at her. He weren't real sure of where this conversation was going.
She smoothed her hair back and a smile curved her lips a little. "Pick me up in an hour."
He held his breath for a second. "What?"
"I need to go get cleaned up. Do you like potatoes?"
Hope was finally rising to the surface of Jayne's heart. "I love potatoes."
She tucked the little paper flower behind her ear careful like. "Pick me up in an hour," she repeated. She was grinning something fierce.
He realized he was grinning like a fool too, but he didn't care none. "Where are we going for our picnic?"
"How about the cargo bay? There's a private little corner down there where I think we could eat in peace." She touched the flower gently. "And where we could talk a little more about courting."
"Alright." He reached out and touched her hand. "I'll come and getcha in a little while. I got some things to set up while you're getting prettier."
Girl actually flushed when he said that. "I have to say, Jayne Cobb," she said when he was turning away. "I never thought I would see this."
"What's that, Kaylee?" One hand was on the doorframe, a little over her head.
"Never thought I'd see the day you would come a courting me." She laid one hand lightly on his shoulder.
He leaned down a little, not to kiss her, 'cause they was just starting out, but just to get a little closer. "My Momma raised me right."
Her eyes was glowing when she brushed her lips over his cheek. "I think she did, Jayne Cobb. I think she did."