The End of All Things
Saturday, October 22, 2005

Post-Serenity. Jayne, Kaylee and Mal are the only ones left.


It was dark inside Serenity.

The kind of cloying darkness that swallowed corners, regurgitated shadows and made her yearn for the warmth of sunlight on her skin. She crept through Serenity, careful not to stray from beneath the lights for fear that the shadows would leap out and grab her, pull her down into them and hold her prisoner.

It was dark inside Serenity, and only getting darker. Once, the ship was full of warmth and life and shone with sunlight borrowed from laughter and smiles and family. Bit by bit it faded and the shadows multiplied.

It started with Wash. Kaylee always thought he glowed brighter than any of the rest. Serenity loved him and wherever he went, she brightened. The bridge was never the same when he died. The darkness started there, bleeding into the edges and chilling the air.

They spent three days on Persephone, some two months after Miranda, and Zoe melted into the darkness one night. Kaylee had never dared imagine that she’d leave. She was tied to the Captain with bonds that were forged in the fires of war and couldn’t be torn asunder. They were supposed to need one another.

The shadows grew taller and deeper without a warrior to keep them at bay.

Inara was next, three months later. Kaylee cried when the shuttle was emptied of her things and filled with darkness. No trunks accident left behind for Possibility to linger. Kaylee closed the door and slammed the lock into place, trying to trap the dark inside so it couldn’t spread to the rest of Serenity.

She didn’t cry when Simon and River left only weeks after. Simon’s blue eyes filled with the darkness, trying to make her understand that they had to go. He didn’t need to explain because she already understood. River had whispered to her one evening a few days after Inara had gone, when they sat curled together beneath a blanket, warding off the dark, “Too dark, hurts the eyes. It hurts. He hurts, hurts us.“ She knew at that moment they would go, felt the knowledge of it feed the darkness and strengthen it.

That left Jayne to fight it back.

And he did. Seemed to her, that he wasn’t even aware of it most of the time.

They managed to keep Serenity going between the three of them, but just barely. The Captain arranged jobs and flew, Kaylee repaired everything just enough to move on to the next disaster that threatened to send them adrift and Jayne did everything else, helping her when and where he could.

For six months it was just the three of them. The three of them and the dark that dipped and danced through Serenity, just waiting to pounce.

She could feel it now, icy breath on her neck, and she quickened her step through the galley, her red-rimmed eyes avoiding the center of the room and the three chairs dwarfed by a table built for nine. Reaching the open hatch, she stood on the precipice a moment, until the inky black caught up with her and she slid down the ladder to the last place that held light. Where the dark couldn’t follow.

Closing her eyes, she released a soft sigh, free for a moment of the overwhelming weight that bore down on her. It took her a moment to register the tension in his shoulders where he sat on the bed, the tight lines etched on his face that weren’t there an hour ago. She watched, morbidly fascinated as he pulled Vera from the rack by his bed and dismantled her, wrapping each part with an article of clothing and putting it into a duffle bag.

“What’re you doin’?”

It was a dumb question, they both knew it. But it broke the ice.

“Can’t stay,” he replied, his voice rougher than she’d ever heard it.

She swallowed, moving away from the ladder, feeling the blackness above, waiting to encroach on her last remaining sanctuary. “Yes, you can, Jayne. You have to.”

“You were right,” he dropped his hands to his lap, his blue eyes haunted by that darkness she believed would never reach him. “All those months back, ‘fore Miranda, when ya said he’d drive us all off… you were right.”

“Just ‘cause the others--”

“It ain’t cause of the others.”

“You can’t leave, Jayne,” she insisted, her quiet desperation filling the small room, a monster just as deadly as the darkness. “Serenity is home. This is our home.”

A bitter chuckle escaped him, and shook his head, “This ain’t no home. Mighta been before, but…” he shook his head again. “There ain’t nothing worth stayin’ here for.”

Tears stung her eyes, not least of all because she agreed. “Cap’n needs you. I need you. Can’t run the ship jus’ the two of us, you know that. Please.”

“There ain’t nothin’ to run. We ain’t gettin’ jobs like we need ‘em. Only three of us now, and we barely feedin’ ourselves, let alone keepin’ the ship in fuel.”

“If this is about money, take my share.”

He closed his eyes against her, “Not about money either. You know I’d…if it came to it, I’d pay coin myself to have his back an’ yours.”

“Then what? Why are you leaving us?” She moved forward standing between his splayed legs, her hands cupping his face and forcing him to lift his eyes to her. “Leaving me?”

“He don’t want us here, Kayls,” her nickname a whispered apology on his lips. “Man has it in his head that he’s better off alone.”

“But he’s not!” She insisted, her vision beginning to blur. “You know he’s not.”

“Don’t seem to matter what I know.” He frowned, his large hands resting on her hips, “All that matters is what he believes. Been a year now, and it jus’ keeps gettin’ worse. I’m dumb, but I ain’t stupid. Fool man’s set on his course and nothin’ we do’s gonna change that.”

“You don’t know that,” she wiped angrily at her cheeks, and tried to move away from him, but his grip on her tightened.

“I do so. An’ so do you.” His tongue swept over his lips and his gaze shifted uneasily away from her eyes, picking a spot over her shoulder to focus on. “I stayed this long ‘cause…” he frowned, “Mal’s a good man. Or he used ta be. Best man I ever knew,” he admitted quietly.

“He ain’t dead, Jayne,” She sniffed.

“As good as,” he told her, the words aching between them. “Ain’t nothing left of that man no more.”

A tear slid down her cheek and she shook her head, “He’s there. You’ll see, he just needs us. Please, Jayne,” they fell hard and fast now. The darkness crawling into the bunk, oozing down the walls, and drifting across the floor like mist. Creeping ever closer to her. “Please, don’t go.”

His thumbs brushed back and forth over her waist, burning through her and lending the last of his warmth to fight off the chill. “Come with me.”

She almost didn’t hear him. “What?”

“Come with me,” he repeated, a little louder, a little clearer. “I want ya to come with me.”

“But… the Cap’n…and Serenity.” She shook her head, her lank hair falling around her shoulders. “He’d have nobody.”

Jayne swallowed, pulling his hands away from her, “Sorta the way he wants it, isn’t it?” He didn’t wait for a reply. “I know I ain’t exactly your first choice fer, well, anything, but I could take care of ya, promise you that. Been givin’ it plenty of thought, a good mechanic can find work anywheres and people’re always lookin’ for laborers. Ain’t my preference, but I can stick it out for a while, till we got some coin to our names. Then maybe we could try an’ find the others…”


“Come with me.”

“I can’t,” she shook her head, her whispered words thick with tears. “He needs me. Please, just stay…”

“Ain’t no secret I got feelin’s for ya, Kaylee,” he said, his voice wavered slightly before he plowed on. “I never expected nothin’ from you, and I wont ever. Girl like you don’t belong with the likes of me. But--”

She reached out to touch him, craving the feel of his skin beneath her fingers, the scratch of his whiskers against her palm. She felt the cold lick of darkness at her heels when he jerked away from her touch.

“But don’t ask me to stay here and watch ‘im break you.” His breath caught in his throat, “Cause I can’t.”

She whispered his name in the breath between his mouth and hers, her fingers sliding into his hair, refusing to let him pull away, even if he wanted to.

He didn’t.

His fingers slid over her skin, brushing away the dusting of shadows and she crawled into his lap, wanting him to surround her. The damp heat of his mouth over her parted lips, the callused palm cupping her neck, the softness of his chest teasing her bared flesh, each flicker of pleasure rekindled the parts of her she’d thought dead these long months.

The soft moans filling his bunk banished the darkness from the room, leaving them for one another. She clung to his shoulders, her nails digging into his back as his mouth and fingers and body found all the soft hollows of hers. He loved her and she desperately took everything he gave, locking pieces of him inside herself so she would always have sunlight with her.

They burned.

And for those few moments, Serenity was radiant again.

They landed on Dhea, one of the few moons left to them, the next morning. She was kept busy, readying Serenity for docking, but she knew he wouldn’t leave without a goodbye. Foolishly, she hoped Mal would come to the cargo bay too. She toyed with her hair, dropping her hands self-consciously when he appeared on the catwalk, bag in hand and weaons weighing down the belt at his hips.

“Where will you go?” She asked, watching him make his way down the stairs.

“Figured I’d start with the homestead,” he cleared his throat, “Ain’t been back in some time. Good a place as any t’ start.”

She nodded, lowering her eyes to the deck, “I wont ask ya to stay.”

“Wont ask ya to leave.” He reached out, tilting her chin up so she could meet his eyes. “Did all the askin’ I was goin’ to last night. I want you t’ know,” he shifted his weight uneasily, but held her gaze, “I aint gonna be nowhere ya can’t find me.”

She captured his large hand in hers, and tilted her face to graze her warm lips over his palm. “I know it.”

His fingers curled around the imprint of her kiss and he looked back into the ship one last time. Waiting for Mal, she supposed, darkness beginning to creep into the edge of her vision when he didn’t come.

Jayne met her eyes one last time and she wished she could see past the billowing darkness to read them, but she could only smile through the mist and watch him walk away. She stood there until she couldn’t see him anymore, feeling the darkness grow thick and suffocating around her. Tears welled in her eyes, and slid down her cheeks and she clung to those few moments of brilliance they’d shared.

Wondering how long the flame would burn before the darkness claimed her.


Saturday, October 22, 2005 6:06 AM


You already know what I think...:)

Saturday, October 22, 2005 9:16 AM


I think this expresses a feeling that a lot of Browncoats have these days.

Saturday, October 22, 2005 11:38 AM


While I don't see it going this way it is one possibility but talk about dire! I think if Simon and River left Kaylee would go with them no matter how much she loves Serenity and the Captain, she loves Simon more. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Saturday, October 22, 2005 4:59 PM


A beautiful, haunting fic. I have but one question. Is Kaylee loyal to Mal, or to Serenity?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005 5:07 PM


Now you made me cry.
Very very lovely. I wanted to scream at Kaylee to go with him. Don't suppose you would consider doing this from Mal's pov, watching Jayne leave?

pyrofalkon, I think it's both. :)

Sunday, November 20, 2005 7:50 AM


Yeah, RinnyPJ, I agreed with ya on two points, at least. Things could go just like this and this is your very best work.

I read it through twice and re-read certain lines more than that. Flows and routes me to places I didn't want or really expect to go, but ohhh, the trip was so worth it.

Destination there at the end needs some updating, don't you think? It's a great ending, fits well, but you know I'm needing more of such good fare so please get working on it.

Notes of specialness: Jayne's carefully spelling out to Kaylee where he'll be and what he's gonna do, telling her “I aint gonna be nowhere ya can’t find me.” Made me get a little verklempt.

Bits of Kaylee darkening as each of Serenity's family leaves the ship. So well played, RinnyPJ. Yeah, I'm in need of more of this fix. Hand it over.


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