BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

HISGOODGIRL

The Contract / Revenge 1/5
Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Jayne and Kaylee are planning a little revenge on Badger for accepting a contract on Kaylee's life. The preparations involve guns and shopping...


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 1656    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

The Contract / Revenge 1/5 Author: hisgoodgirl

Disclaimer: Joss's toys, my make-believe. No money changed hands and all that. Paring: Jayne/Kaylee Rating: PG-15 for language

Dedicated to BlueEyedBrigadier for challenging me to figure this one out. Thank, BEB! To read the other stories in this long Jaylee story arc, check out my earlier fic by clicking on my name, above. This falls between "RED" and "Too Little, Too Late", post OIS, pre BDM. Compliment to my story, THE CONTRACT.

Technical assistance from my very own bigbadman, with beta by the lovely ArtemisPrime. Italics represent internal dialogue.

Nothing so pleases and inspires a muse as thoughtful and insightful feedback. Thanks!

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“Kaylee, darlin’, ‘lessen you at least know the basics of handlin’ a firearm, I’m gonna keep on worryin’ about ya, ‘cause even I can’t keep you safe every minute.” Jayne was tired and frustrated and his voice held a tang of exasperation that was growing stronger by the minute. He put down the revolver he’d been cleaning and laid the swab on the old towel he had spread on the galley table.

Women. Why do they always gotta be so squeamish about simple things, yet don’t go wobbly when it came to the really scary things like birthin’?

Kaylee poured them each another cup of tea. It was late and Serenity was dark and still. As the rest of the crew slept, Mal kept company with his thoughts up on the bridge, affording some privacy for this awkward conversation.

The pretty mechanic was frustrated, too. “I know you think if I can handle a gun, then I’ll be okay, but Jayne, that ain’t kept you and Zoë and the Cap’n from getting’ shot up various times. I ain’t never liked guns and would just as soon not use one.” Kaylee crossed her arms over her bosom and just shook her head.

Lord God, but the woman was stubborn.

Jayne sighed in an effort to calm his rising temper.

“I ain’t sayin’ you gotta go around killin’ and maimin’ folk, ‘cause you got me to do that if need be,” the big man reassured her, deliberately lacing his fingers together behind his head so that the breadth and mass of his muscular chest and massive biceps were handsomely displayed.

The mechanic struggled to suppress a grin at the man’s smugness before responding, “Nope, Jayne, I don’t wanna carry a gun.”

“I’m just sayin’,” the merc shook a screwdriver at Kaylee, “that I’d rest a lot easier, especially since this fei oo with Badger and them gals on Persephone, if I knew you was comfortable enough with a pistol to use it.”

Kaylee still looked uncertain.

“Look, babygirl, we’ll find something you feel comfortable with, fits yer hand real sweet and don’t kick like a mule. Please?” the big man pleaded.

Ever since the ship hit dirt on Helena, delivering an illegal drug shipment for Badger, the mercenary had been fixated on two things, neither of which involved sex or whisky. One was getting his sweetheart comfortable with using a pistol and the other was figuring out a way to get even with Badger for accepting a contract on Kaylee’s life. It was becoming very clear that neither goal would be easy to accomplish.

++++

On the floor of her cavernous cargo bay, Serenity’s crew was gathered in a loose circle around Mal as he handed out pay shares from their latest job. Pay time completed, he gripped his suspenders with his hands and settled back on his boot heels, surveying the motley group around him.

“For any of you as don’t know, Helena’s got some curious local laws, mostly regarding folk bein’ rowdy and about, late of the evening. Two drink limit per person per night and they track it electronically. Curfew’s nine o-clock, and they take it real seriously, so best get your minds around the idea that if you aren’t back aboard Serenity by then, I am not bailing you outta the local pokey.”

Mal looked pointedly at his mercenary, who was preoccupied with counting his pay and stuffing it away into his wallet. “Jayne, you listenin’?”

The merc scowled. “How come you’re always lookin’ at me when ya say stuff like that?”

Mal ignored Jayne’s grousing and continued, “Zoë, how about you and me go work on pickin’ up a little business to keep the money rollin’ in? An’ Wash,” Mal pointed at his pilot, “you got the boat.”

Pulling on his well-worn leather duster, the captain advised, “Enjoy your wanderin’, people, but step lightly, dong ma? These are orderly folk.”

With that, the group broke up, heading off in several directions. Jayne winked at Kaylee and she wandered over to him. Once again the man was struck by how beautiful she was.

Don’t matter if it’s coveralls she’s wearin’ or that damn-fool party dress, the gal just shines. Don’t know why she puts up with the likes a me, but thank the Good Lord she does.

“Whattcha got in mind, Handsome?” Kaylee tucked her hands into her pockets and grinned up at him.

He chuckled, the expression on his face smug and devious. “Oh, just somethin’ ta make ya love me forever.” He savored the quizzical look on the girl’s face. “C’m’on, gal. I’m takin’ you shoppin’.”

++++

Wash had parked the Firefly a half-klick out from Troy, the two-bit town that passed for Helena’s capitol. As the couple followed the well-worn gravel road that led from her port into town, Jayne whistled a familiar tune and Kaylee did her best to match his pace. “So what’r we shoppin’ for?” Kaylee chirped with excitement as she bounced along beside Jayne, trying to keep up with the big man’s long strides.

Jayne slowed up his step when he realized the girl was getting winded and clasped her hand in his own big paw. ‘Somethin’ purty. Just special for you. Want to find somethin’ you really like and fits just right.”

Envisioning a pretty dress or some other romantic garment, Kaylee beamed up at him, and rising on tip-toes, gave him a quick smooch.

“Why Jayne, that’s real sweet a you.” Apart from a necklace he’d given her and occasional fruit or chocolate that Jayne had purchased to please her, the merc was notoriously tight with his cut, and Kaylee was more than a little surprised by his sudden generous turn.

Naturally curious, Kaylee studied the lush landscape they were walking through. A lot of the moons and planets on the rim were too recently terraformed to have developed the mature ecosystems associated with regular rainfall, and many tended to be arid or covered in prairie. Helena was blessed with regular enough rainfall for agriculture, and much of the surrounding countryside was devoted to fields of soybeans, sorghum and some grain Kaylee didn’t recognize. Neat windbreaks separated the well-cared-for fields.

“Cap’n wasn’t kiddin’ when he said Helena folk likes things orderly.” Kaylee observed.

The densely planted crops were interspersed with white farmhouses and red barns, their eaves tucked low against the wind. As they entered the outskirts of Troy, the fields gave way to fenced, well tended yards decorated with fluttering laundry and flowerbeds.

Like most other middlin’ small Rim towns, Troy’s main street was a mixture of businesses: mercantile and dry goods stores, dress shops and a small scattering of chop houses, saloons and the odd craftsman’s storefront. The local residents were reasonably friendly, speaking when passing, but held themselves with a measure of formality that made Jayne a mite uncomfortable. Too gorram much like “Church Manners”, he decided.

A group of brightly embroidered blouses in a display window captured Kaylee’s attention and while she was gawking, Jayne stopped a working-class fellow wearing a sidearm on his hip and asked directions to the local gunsmith.

The man looked the mercenary warily up and down, knowing right off he wasn’t local. “You’ll want Samuel Lee. His shop’s up two blocks and take the first left. He’s right past the livery stable. Does good work, reasonable, too.”

“Thanks.” Jayne looked around for Kaylee and found her still enraptured by the blouses.

“Ain’t they pretty, Jayne?” the girl grinned and hinted broadly.

He slipped an arm around her waist and steered her away from the beckoning garments and up the street. Ain’t gonna take that bait, he thought as he told her, “Not half so purty as you, Kaylee-girl.”

++++

When they turned down the side street into an area that seemed to be dedicated to mechanical services and repair shops, Kaylee was puzzled. No dressmakers here. Yet Jayne clearly had something specific in mind, and Kaylee trusted the big man. The morning was pleasant and it was especially nice to be out and about, exploring a new place in the company of the man she loved without having to contently be on guard for eavesdropping shipmates or a nosy, overbearing captain.

They passed the stables and the gunsmith’s shop was marked by a small sign over the glazed door. Jayne stopped to study the contents of the shop’s display window, Kaylee’s hand gently clasped in his own.

“Aw…” he exhaled softly. The noise was involuntary, a sound of longing.

Next to saloons and whorehouses, there were few places Jayne Cobb had loved more through the years than gun shops, and in the midst of a wide assortment of handguns and a few rifles, two items immediately caught his eye.

One was a beautifully engraved little derringer with hand checkered mother-of-pearl grips. The other was a magnificent antique shotgun, the blued barrel gleaming dully and the walnut burl stock lustrous from long handling and loving care.

The big man tugged on Kaylee and opened the door. “C’mon, darlin’. I wanna look at somethin’.”

A bell jingled with the opening of the door, and the gunsmith looked up from the pistol he was repairing and removed his magnifying loup. “Something I can do for you folks?” he asked as he pushed himself away from his workbench and stood.

After the brightness of the street outside, the shop seemed cool and dark apart from the well-lit display cases filled with various guns, parts and cleaning kits. It smelled of metal and gunpowder and gun oil, a scent Jayne inhaled like a fine perfume.

Never having been in such a place, Kaylee was a bit nervous, but she reckoned that working on guns wasn’t so awful different from working on engines. Intrigued by the unfamiliar objects and setting, she wandered away from Jayne’s side and began to peer around.

Jayne nodded at the gunsmith. “There’s a couple of pieces in the window I’d like to take a look at -- the shotgun and that li’l ladies’ gun.”

Samuel Lee smiled. “I can see you have an eye for quality, sir.” He laid a long fabric-covered pad on the glass countertop, then unlocked the small door behind the window display. He carefully removed the two weapons, closed the door and placed them gently on the pad.

Jayne’s hands itched to take up the shotgun, his fingers almost twitching with desire, but he restrained himself, hooking his thumbs into his belt. He looked Samuel Lee in the eye and asked, “What can ya tell me about ‘em?”

Lee’s dark hand lovingly caressed the stock of the shotgun. “This piece was made by Hillier Arms close on to a hundred years ago and brought to Helena from Beaumonde by one of the original settlers to emigrate here. It’s been kept by his descendents and immaculately cared-for.”

Jayne could no longer restrain himself and he took up the heirloom. He opened the breach to make sure the chamber was unloaded, then closed it and checked the firing mechanism. It operated like silk. The blued steel of the barrel and chamber gleamed with a soft luster. Turning the elegant old weapon in his hands, Jayne admired the sensual shaping of the hand-carved stock, smiling to himself as the burled figure in the grain of the wood caught the light, gleaming chocolate and dark gold.

He raised the gun to his shoulder, feeling the butt of the stock nestle into him and laid his cheek against the cool steel as he sighted down the shotgun’s length. The thrill he felt was almost as sweet as handling a woman.

With a sigh, the merc reluctantly lowered the gun and replaced it on the pad, his hands unable to resist a final caress as he asked the gunsmith, “How come you know so much history on this ol’ gal?”

The gunsmith smiled somewhat sadly. “Because it was my grandfather’s. To be honest, I’d rather not have to sell it, but this moon’s getting mighty civilized and there’s not much call for a gunsmith on Helena these days. Makes for tight times for a small businessman, to be honest. If you’re interested, I’ll let you have it for a hundred and seventy-five credits.”

“Huh.” Jayne gnawed his lip as he picked up the little derringer. “An’ how ‘bout this ‘un?”

He turned the elegant little pistol in the light to admire all the lacy scrollwork carved into the chromed steel frame. The pearl grips gleamed softly and the small gun had a nice, crisp action. The chamber was made for a single 38 caliber bullet, so, a lady’s gun but with some punch.

“I made her myself. Turned and machined the parts, checkered the grips, did all the engraving.” Lee smiled and his narrow, brown face lit up. “Looking for the young lady?” He leaned toward Jayne and discretely inclined his head toward Kaylee. “You couldn’t do better.”

Jayne waved the mechanic over from across the shop where she’d been studying Lee’s lathe and machining equipment. If ever there was a gun that the girl might take to, this was it.

“Kaylee, this here’s Mr. Lee and he made this little pistol himself.” The diminutive gun was dwarfed in the mercenary’s huge hands as he presented it for inspection. “He done every bit of the machinin’ and workin’s on her, made them pretty pearl grips, even fancied her up all shiny. Ain’t she a dandy?”

Kaylee’s mouth dropped open and she gently took the derringer into her own hands to study the workmanship. Jayne had never done a lot of fishing, but he could tell when a fish had taken the bait.

“You made this?” the girl asked with genuine admiration. “Tell me how you done it…” And off Samuel Lee and Kaylee Frye went into a long and technical conversation that left Jayne just shaking his head and glancing with longing at the old shotgun.

++++

“Jayne. Jayne?” Kaylee tugged on his elbow. “Lookee how perfect it fits my hand. Ain’t never thought a gun was pretty before, but seein’ all the work Mr. Lee put into the makin’ of her, well, she’s a right beauty. You been sayin’ you wanted me to get comfortable with a gun of my own, and this here could work.” Kaylee reluctantly laid the little pistol back on the counter. The girl was almost glowing, and that was, indeed, what Jayne had wanted.

“How much?” he asked the gunsmith, thinking of his pay and how long he might have to stretch it. He had enough for the shotgun and a little more, but seriously doubted he could manage to purchase both firearms.

Lee thought for a minute and answered, “I’d need to get one hundred credits on the derringer, on account of all the engraving.” He’d seen the longing on his customer’s face as Jayne ran his hand over the walnut stock of the shotgun. “You folks need a minute or two to talk things over, it’s no problem. Just let me know.”

And with that he turned discretely back to his work.

Jayne’s forehead furrowed and he clenched his lips together in concentration as he did the math. Let’s see…a hundred an’ seventy-five credits fer the Hillier plus another hundred fer the derringer… that’s, uh…damn. Two hundred and seventy five ruttin’ credits.

That’d take every coin of his pay plus the money he’d been holding back to send home, too. Quite a dilemma he was facing. He’d hoped Kaylee would find a suitable pistol that she felt comfortable with and she had, so that part had been successful. But he hadn’t anticipated finding that magnificent shotgun. Lee’s price was more than fair, and Jayne knew it. Why, a firearm like that was a once in a lifetime find and could hold pride of place on his wall right up there with Vera. But he’d also told his girl he planned to buy her something special. Maybe if he bought ‘em both, he could find a poker game or some pool and make his bank roll back up that way.

Kaylee stood watching the shifting emotions on the merc’s face as he struggled with what to do. “When you said you wanted to take me shoppin’ and buy me something pretty that suited me an’ fit, you weren’t meanin’ a dress, were you?”

Jayne looked down at her and made a rueful face. “Nope.”

Kaylee patted the derringer and smiled up to him. “She’s pretty as a fancy dress, Jayne. You’ll show me how to use her and take good care of her like I oughtta?”

“O’course.” Goodbye, Hillier.

“Uh, Mr. Lee?” Jayne took out his wallet. “I’ll take the pistol.”

Kaylee beamed.

“Not the shotgun, also, sir?” Samuel Lee knew how to fish, too.

The big man sighed heavily and looked away, finally reluctantly acknowledging, “Can’t rightly afford ‘em both, ‘though I wish the hell I could.”

Kaylee watched how Jayne ran his hand down the barrel as lightly as a feather, sweeping over the firing mechanism tenderly before caressing the sleek rich curves of the old shotgun’s beautiful stock. It was plain he really wanted that gun.

Lee urged, “Take them both and I’ll bring the price down to one hundred eighty. I’d rather see them in the hands of folk who’ll appreciate them and care for them properly. You and I both know that’s a steal.”

“It is.” And will still take every credit I got. The mercenary struggled to master his desire with common sense.

Kaylee laid her hand lightly on top of Jayne’s and squeezed so that he looked at her, then spoke softly.

“Jayne, I know you want that gun. I got money, too, probably lots more’n you do. I’ll pay half and that way you can still send somethin’ home to your ma.” Before the big man could protest, she nudged him in the ribs and whispered out of the side of her mouth, “It’s part of your pay for taking care of Badger, okay?”

At first hesitant, Jayne’s somber face broke into a huge grin.

She turned back to Samuel Lee. “Make it one sixty-five and throw in ammunition for both and you got a deal.”

Kaylee Frye grinned to herself. If Jayne was gonna take her shopping, the least she could do was teach that man of hers how to haggle out a proper bargain.

(To be continued…. 1/5)

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COMMENTS

Tuesday, September 5, 2006 4:37 PM

REENIE


And it's back! Your readers will be pleased, I'm sure.

Interesting setup you have here. I'm confident Jayne will find a way to meet his objectives and possibly pull off a two birds kind of thing.

I especially enjoyed Kaylee & the shopkeeper getting engrossed in the making of a gun. And I liked that Jayne was smart enough to play to that in her.

So, do we get to see target practice? How cute would that be...

Thursday, September 7, 2006 6:24 AM

JANE0904


I like it ... you have a great way with dialogue, both internal and verbalised!

Thursday, September 7, 2006 6:24 AM

JANE0904


I like it ... you have a great way with dialogue, both internal and verbalised!

Saturday, September 9, 2006 4:20 PM

BLUEEYEDBRIGADIER


Oh...is it egotistical of me to be mighty thankful I opened my trap to ya, HGG? Cuz I do;)

But enough about my pride! To the obviously biased review!

Brilliance! Sheer literary genius you have crafted here! The amount of spot-on dialogue and situational reponses make me wonder if you don't have Joss tied up in your basement:D

BEB

P.S. Can't wait to move on to parts 2 through 5;D


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