Lessons (Part 1/11)
Sunday, April 15, 2012

Serenity's en route to Boros and everybody onboard is getting a little space crazy. (Repost).


A/N: This story's set post-series and pre-movie. Follows "Eagle" and picks up where it ended.


Kaylee hadn't meant to snoop. It had just been lying there in plain sight for everyone to see. Well, actually it had been lying under the eating table for particularly observant people to see, but still. And really, there was nothing wrong with picking up things you happened to find on the floor, was there?

She'd been the first one to enter Serenity's kitchen that morning, and as she turned on the lamps she'd seen the light reflected in something propped up against one of the table legs. Everything that glimmers ain't gold, she knew that, but it could be engine parts and when you were Kaywinnit Lee Frye that could thrill you just as much. So she'd bent down and picked it up.

It had turned out to be a lapel pin, a cross to be exact, and she'd recognized it as Shepherd Book's (and even if she hadn't, who else would wear a cross on this ship?). She was about to put it on the table for him to find when she saw the inscription on the back.

Adelaide, it read, and then the numbers 0012-0016-0999.

She hadn't meant to snoop. And honestly, that inscription didn't have to mean anything. But she still had that notion that it did, and Adelaide, that was a girl's name, wasn't it? The preacher and a girl, now that would spike anybody's curiosity.

Her first instinct was to just ask him. That was how she usually found the answers to her questions. She knew she had this aura of innocence about her that inspired confidence and could make even the most closed-off, hard-hearted people spill their guts, and the shepherd was neither closed-off nor hard-hearted (albeit a little secretive). But something in the back of her mind told her that this was a rather private matter and perhaps she couldn't or shouldn't ask him about an inscription she'd never been supposed to see. And besides, Book was otherwise occupied at the moment. He was downstairs watching over Jayne, who was still pretty sick.

Just as she was pondering her options the captain entered the room, and for some reason she hurriedly hid the pin in her hand before he got a chance to see it.

"Good morning, Cap'n," she smiled at him.

He looked tired. Not like someone who had been dragged out of bed too early, but like someone who hadn't been in bed at all. His face was haggard, stubs on his cheeks and chin told her he hadn't bothered to shave for days, and there was a haunted look in his eyes that made her heart sink when she saw it.

"Morning, Kaylee," he said. "You're up early."

"Not really," she said, still smiling, always smiling, hoping she would be able to put him in a better mood if she just kept smiling. "It's just everybody else bein' late."

He glanced at his watch. "Hm, you're right." He stretched and then rubbed his hands against the back of his head. "Well, it don't matter. It's not like we'll be incredibly busy the next couple a days. Any coffee?"

"Not yet. I'll put it on."

"I can do it."

"No, Cap'n, sit. I can see you been on the bridge all night." She eagerly gestured for him to take a seat and when he did, she went to the stove to put the kettle on. She put Shepherd Book's pin in the pocket of her overalls; she could give it to him later and then maybe ask about the name if it felt right.

The captain rubbed his eyes. "How long 'til we reach Boros, you reckon?"

"Well, your estimation's as good as mine, Cap'n. We're only flyin' at half speed to make the fuel last, so like a week, maybe? You should ask Wash, I'm not really sure which route he plotted."

"Yeah." He sighed. "S'gonna be a long trip anyways. And there better be work waitin' once we get there, 'cause we're all outta money. And this time I really mean it. No coin whatsoever."

"Oh, we'll find somethin'," she said as cheerfully as she possibly could. "Seems to me we always do."

"Yeah," he flatly repeated, his eyes fixed at something non-existent on the wall.

"Cheer up, Cap. There's food enough to last for a good while, and we're all still here. Coulda been worse."

She could have bitten off her tongue! What a thing to say! We're all still here? Judging by the shadow of gloom that fell across his already darkened face, he was thinking the same as her.

They weren't all still here. Inara was gone.

Way to go! Reminding her already clearly depressed captain of what was probably his biggest loss ever.

"I mean," she hesitantly began, "we got Jayne back, and Simon says he'll be fine, and… Oh, water's boiling! Coffee!"

Saved by the bell, she poured the hot water over the freeze-dried powder and placed the mug in front of him, smiling a little too broadly before she hurried out of the room.

The pin in her pocket was already forgotten.


"Your toes are in the sand."

That was River's voice.

Jayne frowned. What the hell was Crazy doing here? And besides, it was his face that was in the sand, not his gorram toes. Well, maybe they were too, what did he know, by now he couldn't feel much in his extremities. Except for the ever-present pain.

He had no idea how much time had passed, it could be hours, maybe days. He only knew the rough sand beneath his cheek, the dust that would whirl up into his nose and mouth every time he tried to speak, and the big rock he was clinging to. Sometimes it was really cold, sometimes the heat was unbearable, but the sand and the rock was there, and he clung to that rock as if he was clinging to his life, and maybe he was. And the pain was there constantly, and he kept breathing in that dust, and he was slipping and darkness tried to claim him.

And Crazy's voice.

"Jayne is a girl's name."

He wanted to yell at her. Tell her to help him. And why wasn't she? Why was she just standing there, seeing him in this sorry state, not doing a gorram thing to get him out of it?

"Also, I can kill you with my brain."

He could actually hear his heart starting to pound faster. Adrenaline rush. He was still alive then. He reached for the rock, determined not to let go of it.

He opened his eyes.

And saw pale yellow walls, a ceiling overhead, specks of rust on the molding. The sand was gone and so was the dust but his mouth remained dry, and the pain was still there but not even half as bad as before. He squinted a little, glanced around, tried to make sense of these new surroundings. He was in bed, lying down, covered by a thin sheet and a blanket, a soft pillow under his head, an IV bag hanging next to him…

"You're in the passenger dorm," a voice softly said and he turned his head the other way and saw Shepherd Book sitting there on a chair, an open book resting on his knee. "We moved you in here last night. Thought it would be more comfortable for you. Less windows and the bed's softer."

Jayne frowned at him and the older man smiled and added, "It's just that every time you wake up, you get that same puzzled look in your eyes."

Jayne wanted to speak, but his parched tongue was kind of stuck to the roof of his mouth and all he could manage was a raspy cough.

"You want some water?" the preacher asked. Without waiting for an answer, he put his book away and reached for a tin mug standing on the little nightstand. There was a straw in it and he bent it to Jayne's lips, allowing him to take a couple of good sips.

"Do you remember what happened to you?" Book asked afterwards.

"Bits," Jayne answered. "I think there was sand involved."

The preacher smiled a little. "Well, you were in a dessert when we found you. You've been shot and then fell and broke your leg."

Strangely enough, Jayne hadn't realized until now that his entire right leg was in a cast, resting on a pile of pillows, and he looked at it with great disapproval.

Things were slowly coming back to him, but he wasn't quite sure what was real and what wasn't, and it was all just confusing. But he could hear the hum of the engine now, and at least that was real, and it meant that he was really back on Serenity.

He closed his eyes.

"You been with me?" he asked Book, his voice slurred as sleep began to reclaim him.

"I have," he heard the answer, the voice gradually growing more distant. "Needed to keep an eye on you. You've been very ill, we almost lost you. Doctor says you're out of the woods now, though."


He wasn't sure if he spoke the word out loud or if he just thought it. But he really meant it.



Monday, April 16, 2012 11:36 AM


Sorry Markomi, the first half of your chapter is overlapped on the righthandside by a list of your other fic and sponsors. Ali D
"You can't take the sky from me!"

Thursday, April 19, 2012 3:57 PM


I liked this when I read it before, and I'm liking it again! Jayne's had a rough time, seems like his mind is still there in the desert. I was sad for Mal, he's putting himself through the wringer, isn't he? Looking forward to seeing the mystery of the lapel pin unfold.

Friday, April 20, 2012 10:07 AM


Looks fine from here, Ali :) I think it's just one of those many little hickups we're experiencing with this new site. That's why I had to repost in the first place, I was fooling around, trying to fix a typo and ended up deleting the whole thing. The new site still doesn't like me, it won't let me upload or comment or do anything at all...

Eb - thanks :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 10:35 AM


Wow...Jayne's near-loss is really driving home Mal's issues over Inara leaving, aren't they? Just hope that he gets some clarity soon or things may just take a sharp turn for the pear-shaped :S

Still..fantastic stuff!


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Angels We Have Heard (Part 5/5)
Mal teams up with Simon to search for some hidden crates on the ice planet of St. Albans. They find something else instead.

Angels We Have Heard (Part 4/5)
Mal teams up with Simon to search for some hidden crates on the ice planet of St. Albans. They find something else instead.

Angels We Have Heard (Part 3/5)
Mal teams up with Simon to search for some hidden crates on the ice planet of St. Albans. They find something else instead.

Angels We Have Heard (Part 2/5)
Christmas special. Mal teams up with Simon to search for some hidden crates on the ice planet of St. Albans. They find something else instead.

Angels We Have Heard (Part 1/5)
Christmas special. Mal teams up with Simon to search for some hidden crates on the ice planet of St. Albans. They find something else instead.

The Night Before (revised and reposted)
It's the night before Christmas and Jayne is having spiritual problems. Literally.

Book of Secrets (Part 8)
Mal drew a deep breath and exhaled slowly, closing his eyes for a moment. "Gorram preacher," he muttered.

Book of Secrets (Part 7)
Kaylee comes clean and River goes for a swim.

Book of Secrets (Part 6)
The captain dances, Inara's feeling out the new girl and the first secret is revealed.

Book of Secrets (Part 5)
Zoë and Inara have a heart-to-heart, and Mal discovers more shades of grey.