It's Only a Shirt
Saturday, August 5, 2006

Kaylee ponders what happened with the arrival of Tracey. Set during "The Message".


Disclaimer: all things Firefly/Serenity are the property of Whedon et al. I'm not making any money off this, just playing with the toys.

Not beta'd.

Kaylee stared down at her shirt, her pretty white shirt with the colourful flowers that was now ruined. It sat on her lap as she sat on her bed, not more than four hours after her and Tracey had done the same. She had smiled at him, flirted a bit and thought he was real cute, but not real smart. Not Simon smart. She smirked. Tracey at least was honest and said that he felt something between them. All Simon could say were hurtful jokes.

Her shoulders slumped and she bit the inside of her cheek, still reeling from the emotions of the last day. It had started so well with Simon offering to show her a real alien and she in her best dress, the short one that she knew made the boys take a second look. Even Jayne’s orange hat had brought a little smile to her lips, silly as it was.

And then it went to hell and begged her to join.

Planting her feet, Kaylee took the shirt with determination. Dammit, she was going to get that blood out. Scrub it out, scrub it away. Never look on it again. She quickly climbed the stairs and headed to the kitchen.

It was strangely silent, the galley, and the mechanic was grateful. She wanted to do this in peace, to not have to explain to anyone why it was important to wash away the red.

Pulling a brush, she moistened it and the cloth and began a slow, circular rub hard into the material. Some washed away, but some parts were stubborn. They stuck in hard, not wanting to let go. She rubbed faster, harder, her arm beginning to burn with the motion. She pushed and pulled at the fabric, willing away the stain, but it wouldn’t listen. More water, more pressure, but it stayed, taunting her.

With a final jab, she gave a small yell and threw the shirt into the sink and rested her hands on its edge. Why did it happen? Why did she get herself into a situation that only showed her to be weak?

Those situations were getting worse. This time there was blood. Maybe next time, it might be hers. Or maybe something far more horrifying than blood.


She wiped her nose then looked up to see Mal at the doorway from the crew quarters. “Yeah, Cap’n?” She stepped back from the sink and wiped her hands on her coveralls.

“You okay?” He was now at her side, a hand light on her shoulder. “Heard ya yell.”

She nodded. “I’m fine.” Her voice was subdued.

Mal spied the bloodied shirt and looked to her hands, wrinkled and red. He grasped them in his own, with a gentleness that made her draw her breath in. “It don’t come out, mei-mei. Blood don’t ever come out.”

Kaylee looked at her hands enveloped by his and nodded again. “Knowed that.” She looked to his eyes and saw that they were a bit glassy and red. “It’s just...I didn’t want...” Her brow knitted tightly.

He smiled lightly then pulled her into a hug. “It’s only a shirt, Kaylee. Ain’t nothin’ but a bit of covering. Doesn’t mean a gorram thing.”

She breathed in, smelling the faint trace of his leather coat clinging to his shirt mixed with his own scent. She felt the worn fabric rubbing against her cheek, a small barrier to the heat radiating into her. It was comforting.

They both understood that Mal didn’t believe what he had said. It did mean something, for both of them. And he was afraid of what that was.

A/N: I only noticed the blood after just watching the episode again. The ending of this story was left purposely vague.


Saturday, August 5, 2006 7:46 PM


I really like it. I don't like any sorts of hints as to Mal/Kaylee, but the story is right nice.

Saturday, August 5, 2006 8:28 PM


Very nice. I especially like Mal's (pre)echoing of his overheard thoughts from OiS. He clings to that.

Saturday, August 5, 2006 10:52 PM


Very good and it felt completely natural for Mal to comfort Kaylee with a hug. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Sunday, August 6, 2006 6:09 AM


I really enjoyed this! And it could have hints of Mal/Kaylee or it could be just that brotherly comfort that their relationship definitely had. It's nice and vague, very Jossy!

Sunday, August 6, 2006 6:15 AM


Hmm, it could be hints to Mal/Kaylee but I dunno, seemed more like an older brother comforting his mei mei with maybe a hint of something else thrown in.

Nicely done at any rate.

Sunday, August 6, 2006 8:19 AM


Mal understands that the real stain that blood leaves is on your soul.

Beautifully done, my friend.

Sunday, August 6, 2006 5:43 PM


Oh...definitely loved this little missing scene, ArtemisPrime...especially Mal's "Doesn't mean a gorram thing" line to Kaylee. Like nosadseven says, Mal like to cling to that notion cuz it's easier to deluide yourself than get all deep in thought as to what it DOES mean:(


Monday, August 7, 2006 6:22 AM


Quite nice, exactly what I picture Kaylee and Mal would do here


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