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Powerful Weapons, Sexy Machines

by Jayne Leitch

Rating: PG

Disclaimer: It all belongs to Joss and Tim and, sadly, the bast--er, fine people at FOX.

Notes: big big thanks to Celli and MaryKate, for putting up with my whining about dialect ("Tarnation!") and for giving good beta.

Summary: Jayne is the luckiest man in the universe. For one thing, he still hasn't been keelhauled. Post-'War Stories'; pre-'Objects in Space'.

POWERFUL WEAPONS, SEXY MACHINES
by Jayne Leitch

Three apples left, of the twelve-pound crate he'd spent more than a quarter of his take on. Jayne hissed and stabbed his knife through the shiniest of the remains--a quicker way of knowing you weren't gonna bite into a grenade than Zoe and the captain's cutting habit, and less likely to lose you a finger, too--and took a healthy bite, all without breaking his stride toward his bunk. He still felt...something like guilty, but that didn't mean he had to pay for the others to eat the best of the bunch.

Another bite, and damn, it was hard to keep a bad mood when you had a fresh apple.

A couple steps up and a trek to the far end of the corridor, his boots clanging dully on the catwalk, and Jayne made sure to think of just how gorram lucky he was, at the bottom of it all. He had this apple he'd bought with his own money, he had a job that promised more exhilarating opportunities for cash down the road, and he was making his way to a bunk that happened to house some real nice pieces of deadly weaponry, and also happened to be all his very own. It was a damn fine arrangement, Jayne knew. A man needed his privacy, after all.

Clanking down the hall to his door, Jayne took another big bite of his apple and grinned. A man certainly did need his privacy. Especially when Inara was having other girls over for sleepovers.

Crunching enthusiastically, he toed the release on his door and pushed it open, then put his feet on either side of the rungs and slid down the ladder. One hand still holding a rung for balance, he reached out his other for the lighting control, blinking at the flicker of the worn-out bulbs--

And blinking again at the totally unexpected girl on his bed. "Kaylee? What the hell're you--"

And going slack-jawed when she smiled a very un-Kaylee smile and hefted Vera so she pointed right at him. "Why dontcha come in and close the door, Jayne?" she said, sounding a little sing-song and looking a little scary.

He took a step closer--not that there was a lot of room to move in--but didn't bother with the door, leaving it hanging open above him. "You shouldn't be touching that, girl, you don't know how she works," he warned, reaching out to take the gun away--but Kaylee flickered her fingers over the controls, and the little whine Vera made when she powered up to level six made him freeze.

"Oh I don't know, I think I've got her figured out." Steady hands--engineer's hands, Jayne reminded himself, of course she could work out something as straightforward as a gun--knocked the butt of the weapon against her shoulder, and Kaylee squinted up at him along the length of the barrel, still smiling. "Why dontcha close the door," she repeated, and this time Jayne did what she asked.

"Okay now," he said, very slowly, raising his hands in as non-threatening a pose as he could manage while he turned back to face his guest. A trickle of apple juice ran down the blade of his knife and onto his fingers, but he ignored it. "You wanna tell me just what the ruttin' hell you think you're doin' in my bunk? With my gun?"

"Why? Don't you like it?" The smile got wider, and Kaylee cocked her head to the side, letting her hair fall half-over her face. "Girl in your bed, holdin' your big, powerful weapon...I'd have thought you'd be happy to come home to that."

Jayne let out a disbelieving snort. Right now, he was just happy she was dressed. Although...squinting past the gun, he could see that she was wearing a short skirt and some kind of top that did real interesting things with her...girl parts. It didn't look bad--not bad at all, come to that, and why did she cover herself up all the time, anyhow? 'Cause this was about as far from her usual, shapeless overalls as that frilly pink thing Mal'd bought her for the ball a while back, and yeh soo ta ma duh, Mal... "D'you have any gorram idea what the captain'll do to me if he finds you in here?"

Kaylee crinkled her nose. "Why would you get in trouble? I broke into your bunk."

"So? The captain still won't like it. He's got...views. On girls. And me." The apple juice was collecting under his grip, making the hilt of his knife sticky. And he'd just cleaned it, too. "Jesus, Kaylee, you've got views on me. What're you doin' here?"

Finally dropping that eerie-ass smile, Kaylee rolled her eyes. "Come on, you whoo dahn ox, what does it look like I'm doing?" And without shifting her grip on Vera even an inch, she slid off the bed and slunk right up to him--or as close as she could get without lowering the gun, anyway. Jayne noticed she wasn't wearing shoes, which meant that the top of her head was several inches below his shoulder--but Vera's quiet, high-powered whine as Kaylee prodded his chest with the end of the barrel kept him stock-still. "I'm tryin' to seduce you. Didn't think it'd be quite this hard, to tell the truth."

Jayne stared down at her, flummoxed, and tried to find something to say. He'd never had to do that before, in this type of situation; it took him a minute. "Well, uh. In my experience, seducin' tends to go off better when the person being aimed at can be sure the person doin' the aimin' knows how to work the safety on the gun." And is in her right mind enough to know what the hell she's doing in the first place, he thought, as Kaylee glanced down at Vera's controls with a puzzled frown.

"This has a safety?"

"Oh, for--" Jayne moved to lower his hands, but Kaylee glanced back up and poked his chest again, sharply, and he glared. "Well if you're tryin' to get me in bed, you gotta at least let me move around!" She held firm, and he glared harder. "I still ain't heard nothing about why you're so all-fired willing, all of a sudden."

"Why, Jayne Cobb." She smiled again, and rolled her shoulder so the gun wasn't blocking his view so much. Not that he was looking, 'cause he wasn't. "If I didn't know better, I'd think you were worried about my intentions."

"Well, sure," he growled, manfully resisting the urge to make a rude--sharp--gesture with his apple. "When folks've got my best gun for turning people into little puddles of slime aimed at my head, I get worried 'bout whether they intend to pull the trigger." As he said it, he realized another thing that didn't quite make sense, and shuffled his feet to brace for the answer to his next question. "And when the hell did you pick up a twist for gunplay, anyhow? You ain't never even held one before--"

"Sure I have." She adjusted her grip, her smile fixed like her eyes on his face, and suddenly it felt like the room was huge, with her on the far end and him having to squint just to make her out. "Guns and me get along just fine. They're just machinery, get right down to it. And machines can be...sexy." And now--Jesus Christ, now all the distance had gone away, because she'd started running the tip of Vera's barrel over his chest like a finger. Damn unsettling, no matter what everything that wasn't his brain was telling him. "I know you think they're sexy. The way you clean 'em, the way you hold 'em. The way you collect 'em and hang 'em beside your bed."

And, well...she had a point, even though it looked kinda like it was making her sweat to have to say it. "You like...machines," he said, a little doubtfully, and watched her readjust her grip again--were her hands slipping that much?--and let her eyes roam all over him.

"I'm a mechanic, ain't I?" When he didn't make an effort to look any less dubious, she tossed her hair and narrowed her eyes. "Remind me later to tell you how I got Mal's first mechanic fired, okay? But for now..." Another shoulder roll, and Jayne was not looking, he'd swear to his death by keelhauling he hadn't so much as peeked--because just 'cause Mal hadn't figured out how to do it before didn't mean he couldn't figure it out given a bit more incentive. "...Why don't you just take my word for it? I like machines." And that smile was back as she wedged Vera against her shoulder and ran one hand over the barrel and looked at him from far too close and said, all husky and, okay, seductive, "I like your machines, Jayne. Dong ma?"

"Oh, Christ." He couldn't help it; he shuddered. There was only so much of a pretty girl stroking his favourite weapon and smiling at him that Jayne could take, no matter who the pretty girl was or where the weapon was pointed, or how gorram disturbing the whole thing was. He let his arms sag, intending to relieve himself of his apple so he could have both hands free to maybe, just maybe, see about getting out of his bunk without ending up vaporized or tied to the outside of the ship--but again, Kaylee gave him a sharp look and a sharper jab with Vera, and he rolled his eyes. "Now see here, darlin', you keep on with that rifle the way you are, I'm gonna start thinking you don't really want me touchin' you."

"That ain't it!" But her face screwed itself up for a second, and Jayne watched, even more confused, as she shifted her weight, one foot to the other and back, before coming to a rest and plastering her smile back on, all in the space of a heartbeat. "That ain't it at all," she said again, real firm, and suddenly, with a flick of her fingers and a twist of her wrist, she disarmed Vera and tossed her away, toward a heap of dirty clothes in the corner.

Jayne's eyes widened, his gaze following the gun's path through the air, and he lunged forward, dropping his skewered apple as his hands went out to try to catch his prized possession before she could hit something damaging. He hadn't even gone a foot before he felt small hands clamp on his shoulders and a thin leg catch behind his knees; already off-balance, he stumbled further, tripping and tumbling onto his back on the bed, landing with a startled grunt and the warm pressure of Kaylee straddled across his middle. She grabbed his wrists before he could get his bearings and pinned his hands on either side of his head, leaning down so her hair brushed his face; it smelled like some kind of girly soap and engine grease.

"Zoe's been teachin' me some fightin' moves," she explained seriously, and kissed him.

Instinctively, Jayne tried to pull back, but with his head flat on the mattress there was nowhere to go. Luckily, the piece of action must've winded Kaylee; she pulled back after only a few seconds, and Jayne thought he saw a flash of something less than pleased cross her face--but it was gone again so quickly, he wasn't sure if he'd been seeing things. "See?" she said, wriggling enough to make him swear to every god he knew of that from now on, he was going to wear pants with more give. "I ain't afraid of touchin'."

Jayne cleared his throat. "'Course, that ain't exactly what I said," he pointed out, a little hoarsely.

Kaylee's brow furrowed, and she tightened her grip on his wrists. He tried not to laugh when he realized that her fingers didn't even reach all the way around. "Well I don't really care what you said. Damn it, Jayne, I'm not here for talkin'." And then she was pressing down again, and that top really did even better things up close--and Jayne gave up all pretense of not looking, because at this point that was pretty damn impossible, and he might as well resign himself to being keelhauled. Or maybe, if all he did was look, and otherwise played possum as best he could, she would get upset and leave before getting to anything that would make him really worthy of keelhauling, and he could plead Mal down to being blown out the airlock again--

--And suddenly his train of thought was forced right off the tracks as Kaylee sat up again, squirmed a little lower--just low enough to make any hope of a reprieve disappear completely--let go of his wrists and skimmed her hands to the hem of his shirt. Before he could move, she'd slid them--warm and clever and a little damp--under the fabric and onto his belly; he sucked in a surprised breath and felt her flatten them on his skin, rubbing up his chest in hard strokes just like the way she'd stroked Vera. The thought was enough to make him bark. "Ruttin' hellfire, girl--"

But she'd already stopped, her hands frozen roughly on the middle of his chest, her eyes gone wide as she stared at his shirt as if she could look through it if she tried hard enough. It took Jayne a second to realize what had stopped her. "It's all healed, the Doc sewed it up real good--"

"What?" Kaylee started, glancing up and focusing on his face for a split second before giving a fierce frown and looking back down at his shirt. "No, that's not--that's fine, I'm just--" And, biting her lip, she moved her hands again, grabbing at the fabric and rucking it up, bunching it under his chin while she stared at the red line that River's knife had left, slashed across his chest.

It was just a scar. Jayne had a few of the things, a couple in pretty interesting shapes and even more interesting places. Granted, none of the others were as big as this one, but still--there was no reason for Kaylee to be staring at it with that look on her face.

Especially if she was as into this whole--whatever--as she kept saying she was.

Jayne gave a heavy sigh--the breath he took deep enough to jostle Kaylee where she was perched on top of him--and sat up without any effort at all. Ignoring her efforts to push him back down, he grabbed her wrists in one hand and clamped the other on her hip to keep her from tipping backwards; she squirmed a little, but he just tightened his grip and arched an eyebrow, and after a second she settled into his lap, pouting.

"What?"

"You tell me." She opened her mouth, but the look in her eye made him cut her off. "And I don't want to hear about no newfound gun kink, or sexy machines, or whatever you're callin' it. This here's disturbin' me, Kaylee, and it don't look like you're havin' much fun your own self. I don't care if you didn't break into my bunk to talk; you're gonna get damn chatty damn fast, or--"

"Or what?" She set her jaw, and Jayne knew this look; he was used to feeling it drill into his head when he said--well, practically anything, usually. "You won't hurt me. You said it yourself, the captain'd send you through a turbine as soon as he knew you'd touched me. So go on, tell me what you'll do."

He stared at her, stony-faced. "I'll take me down to the infirmary and have me a chat with the doctor 'bout your sexy machines, that's what I'll do." He couldn't stop a grim smile when she blushed and looked away. "Get talkin'."

"I ain't got a whole lot to say," she said, her face still turned toward the wall. Jayne rolled his eyes, but before he could repeat himself, she continued. "I know you don't wanna hear it, but this--" she half-shrugged in a way that could've been meant to indicate their position on the bed or Vera's on the floor "--wasn't a situation I thought was gonna include much discussion. Y'know?"

"Well, all things bein' ordinary, you'd've thought right." Jayne let go of her wrists, but kept his grip on her waist in case she tried to wriggle away again. "'Course, all things sure ain't ordinary when I come home to find you acting like a two-nickle hump. Understand?" She nodded, and he felt all the fight--and all the showy play at sex--go out of her. He couldn't have been more relieved if he'd just dodged a horde of Reavers. "Good. Glad somethin' makes sense around here."

It got her to turn her head back and smile a bit, but she still wouldn't look at him. She shifted a little in his lap, more to get comfortable than away; then, keeping her eyes down like she was trying to see through his shirt again, she asked mildly, "Jayne...you ever done somethin' you're ashamed of 'cause--'cause you were scared?"

He jumped a little; couldn't help it. But...Mal wouldn't have said anything, would he? He watched Kaylee closely, but she looked nothing but miserable, and still wouldn't raise her eyes. "You mean like breakin' into somebody's bunk and playin' with his guns before givin' him a gorram heart attack?" he answered, a little harsher than he meant. When Kaylee's whole body flinched under his hands, he sighed. "Oh, don't take it like that. All I'm saying is, you sure didn't go to all this fuss 'cause you were bored and lookin' for a new kinda thrill."

"Doesn't mean I'm scared of something," she muttered, her fingers twisting his sheets.

"Okay then. You ain't scared." Jayne had some serious doubts on that score, but decided to keep them to himself. For now. "What about the ashamed part? And don't roll your eyes at me, you're the one who brought it up."

"I just--" Squeezing a handful of blanket so tightly her knuckles turned white, Kaylee shrugged. "I just meant...hypothetically..." She trailed off--then started a bit, as if suddenly remembering something. Glancing up at him through her lashes, she said hesitantly, "Or what about Canton? You're ashamed for what happened there, right? The people who got hurt 'cause they thought something about you that wasn't true?"

Jayne narrowed his eyes. "People've got hurt worse 'cause of things about me that are true," he answered evenly, "like that I've got a bunkfull of weaponry nasty enough without takin' into consideration my unnaturally good aim."

She paled at that, and her gaze fell again to his shirt. "Hard to get hurt worse than dead," she pointed out, but before he could think of what to say to that, she went on, "It don't bother you, does it. That you've killed people."

"It'd bother me a lot more if they'd've killed me." Jayne growled; this was just getting more and more confusing, and he was losing patience with the whole gorram thing. "Dammit Kaylee, you do what you have to do to keep yourself breathin'--"

"I just wanted to see if I could be like that," she blurted, finally raising her head and meeting his eyes. Her voice wavered; her face was flushed, and her fingers worried and twined like snakes between her belly and his. "If I could do something--be something--and not be ashamed or scared or--" She broke off, and glanced over his shoulder to where Vera lay. "I wanted to know what it was like to hold a gun and like it."

A few of the pieces fell into place in Jayne's head. "This is about the firefight? Savin' the captain from Niska?" When Kaylee nodded, he heaved a rumbling sigh. "Well, Christ. You didn't have to be in on that action, Kaylee, you coulda stayed out of sight with River--"

"No, you don't understand, she--I--" Pressing her lips into a tight line, Kaylee shook her head. "I just wanted to help," she said finally, and she sounded so sad that Jayne took pity on her.

"Look here." Letting go of her waist, he slung one arm over her shoulder, using it to support his elbow so he could splay his hand on the back of her head and make her look at him. "You ain't never had reason to need to kill anybody before, not face to face. It never comes easy the first time. And to tell you the truth, I never really figured you for bein' the kind it should come easy to, neither." He tightened his grip, making her head nod a little closer. "You ain't done nothin' to be ashamed of, Miss Kaywinnit. 'Less of course you wanna count the events of this here evening in my bunk."

It got a smile, and, a second later, a wretched chuckle. "Don't tell Simon," she asked softly, and damn it to hell, those were tears brimming up. Jayne let go of her head and pulled his arm away, a little too quickly for the casual movement he'd wanted it to look like.

"Don't touch my stuff," he rebutted gruffly, and pretended not to notice the thankful expression on Kaylee's face as she pulled out of his lap and slid off the bed. "Now scoot. If you're lucky, you can get back to your bunk without anybody seein' you in them...clothes."

She left. Jayne made sure the hatch was locked tight behind her before he rescued Vera from the floor and took her to his bed; checking her over for damage, he breathed a long sigh of relief.

He really was one of the gorram luckiest men in the 'verse.

End.


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