Big Trouble, Little Package
Sunday, June 11, 2006

Something odd has happened to Jayne, and the crew has been working together to hide it from Mal.


Mal stared slack jawed down at the toddler in front of him. The kid stared belligerently back, the fuzzy knitted cap falling down over blue eyes.

The rest of the crew stood tensely, waiting for the Captain to say something.

"Think he can still carry Vera?"

Kaylee kneeled behind Jayne and pulling the little boy protectively to her chest, "Oh, Cap'n, you can't be serious. He's just a lil' thing."

"He's still Jayne."


Mal turned to Simon, "You got any idea how this happened?"

"This is...I..." The doctor ran a hand through his hair, baffled. "There is no precedent..."

"Well, do ya or don't ya. Haven't got all day," he growled.


"How long has he been like this?"

Simon didn't respond and no one else offered an answer. He shot a look to Zoe who avoided his eyes. He shifted his weight and pinned Kaylee under his gaze. The girl deliberately adjusted the knitted hat on Jayne's head. "Kaylee."

"Well, we don't know 'xactly," she finally offered reluctantly.

The toddler grinned, chubby cheeks bunching up to form dimples, "Kay."

"That's right, sweetie. Kaylee," She traced the curve of his cheek with her finger.

"Kaylee. I ain't asking."

She sighed, raising guilty eyes to Mal, "Been two days."

"Two days?!" His voice echoed off the walls of the cargo bay. "Two days!" His eyes flew wildly to each of his crew members in disbelief, settling finally on Zoe, who had the good sense to look chastened. "Two days and none o' ya thought to--!"

Was that a whimper?

Reluctantly, Mal drew his eyes back to Jayne. "Oh god."

Jayne’s chin trembled and big fat tears clung to his lashes, threatening to spill down his cheeks. He burrowed in closer to Kaylee and whimpered again.

"Don't you dare--!"

One tear leaked down his unscarred cheek and he let out a wail to rival anything Mal had ever heard in his life. He looked wildly to Simon, "Make it stop!"

"Me?!" He shook his head, taking a step back, "I--I don't--"

"You do now!"

Kaylee cuddled Jayne as best she could, glaring daggers at the Captain. He was pretty sure she was swearing at him, but he couldn't hear it over the cacophony that was Jayne crying.

Behind him, he could hear Wash struggling to contain his laughter. He turned and shot the pilot a deadly glare, "You ain't helpin', Wash."

"I know...but..."

"This ain't funny!"

Zoe cracked a smile, "Kinda is, Sir."

It was then that Mal noticed he could hear again and quickly turned to find River kneeling in front of Jayne and Kaylee.

"Shhh, lil' Jaynie," she touched his cheek, right where his scar had been. Or would be.

Mal pinched the bridge of his nose.

"Cap'n Daddy isn't mad at you." She soothed.

Abruptly Jayne's crying stopped and he looked hopefully up at Mal. "Daddy?"

"NO!" He yelped, backing a step up. And then, for good measure, another.

Both River and Kaylee glared at him.

"I, uh, mean no. I'm the Captain."

Wash stopped trying to smother his laughter and Mal smirked, "He's your Daddy."

The pilot’s laughter came to a sudden halt and his eyes widened, "Wha-huh?"

"Stop it, both of ya," Kaylee defended, "You're confusing him."

"He's confused?!" Mal gaped at her. "I'm confused. We were flying along just fine two minutes ago and the next thing I know my big bad mercenary is sucking his gorram thumb!"

Jayne took a deep breath, fixing to scream again and Mal braced himself for it, but River rested her hand on the toddler's neck and he calmed right down.

"Quit upsetting him, Mal."

He looked up at the catwalk to see Inara emerging from her shuttle, "You've known about this?"

"Where do you think he's been sequestered all this time?"

"'Nara!" Jayne's smile positively beamed up at the Companion as she descended the stairs.

He took a deep breath, letting it out a rush, "Lemme get this straight. All of you have know about this... problem for two days now. And none of you saw fit to inform me? The Captain?"

River smiled brightly, "Nope."

"We had hoped it would fix itself," Simon braved a look at Mal.

"Fix itself?" He echoed.

"Being that we don't know what instigated this...change, we can't know what to do to reverse it. If it can reversed."

He gulped, watching Jayne wiggle out if Kaylee's arms and run to the companion. He treaded over the hem of her skirt and Inara didn't seem care, bending down to scoop him up into her arms. "If?"

Inara brushed her hands over Jayne's tear-stained cheeks, "Did that mean old man make you cry, baobai?"

"He‘s older than I am!" Mal defended.

"It's an improvement, if ya ask me," Wash quipped.

"And I didn't, Daddy."

The pilot paled slightly.

"I need this fixed now people. We got a job in twenty-four hours and I need my gun hand back, dong ma? So you are going to find an answer and you're going to find it now. That's an order."

"Sir," Zoe stepped forward, "I don't think it's as simple as that."

"Well, make it that simple," he glowered as Inara set Jayne back on his feet, adjusting his fuzzy hat with a gentle smile.

"I'll continue doing what research I can, Mal," Simon ventured, trying to force a bit of certainty into his voice. "If there's an answer, I'll find it."

"I expect that you will," he responded gravely.

"You and I can handle the job alone sir, if it comes to that. We weren't expecting much trouble in the first place."

"That ain't much comfort, Zoe."

"But it's something."

"This is...he's just..." He sighed again.

The toddler appeared right as rain, slipping his hand into Inara's and walking back to the group gathered in the cargo bay. He knelt down at Kaylee's tool box and picked out a wrench and handed it to Inara, "Play."

Mal watched in disbelief as she sat down on the dirty floor and made a show of looking at the wrench and then pretending to take off Jayne's ear.

The giggles that rang through the cargo bay were a vast improvement over the crying.

Gathering what wits he had left, he focused on his crew. "Those of you got jobs to do, do 'em. The rest of you have babysitting duties. Work out a schedule amongst yourselves."

"Daddy play too?" Mal dropped his eyes to the toddler at his feet, looking pleadingly up at him through very familiar blue eyes.

"Kid, I ain't your..." The chin started to tremble again and Mal quickly backtracked, "Okay, okay, I'll play, I'll play."

Kaylee and Inara exchanged amused looks, which he ignored.

"Just for a few minutes."

He settled himself down across from Inara when a thought hit him. He looked at Kaylee with dread.

"He is potty-trained, isn't he?"


Sunday, June 11, 2006 4:31 AM


I enjoyed this before, and am loving it again. Baby Jayne! Sooo cute. I love the loud crying and Mal's reaction to it.

Sunday, June 11, 2006 6:21 AM


Okay, now you have GOT to tell us how this happened! Very funny, Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Monday, June 12, 2006 12:24 PM


Oh...ya gotta follow this up with an explanation/investigation of how Jayne reverted to his childhood self, RinnyPJ! This is just too hilarious!


Tuesday, June 13, 2006 6:28 PM


I absolutely adore this one! I love the references to his scar, very nice touch!

And that Inara is all maternal around him while Mal is very freaked! :)

Tuesday, May 8, 2007 7:39 AM


That was surreal. Amusing and hmmm... Is there more where this came from, because I'd like to see more. Also, watch the voices. There are some unreferenced quotes that I'm not quite sure who they belong to.

Fun idea.

Friday, January 4, 2008 4:13 PM


it's just!!!!!!!



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