The Birthday Gift - 1
Monday, March 27, 2006

A little Jaylee frolic that heats up as it moves along. It's coming up on Kaylee's birthday and she's in a funk.


Disclainer: Ain't mine, no pay.

Thanks: To Jacqui for beating my commas into submission and to Rion for the best ideas.

Rating: This section is a wholesome G - it goes downhill from here.

Feedback: Oh yes, kind readers. I grovel nicely, do tricks even. Praise or gripe, it's appreciated, especially if you like a particular bit.

The Birthday Gift

Kaylee wasn’t her usual cheerful, playful self. Inara was the first one to notice. The little mechanic had been subdued during meals and was spending more than the usual amount of time alone, back in Serenity’s engine room, alternately tweaking the ship’s systems and reading in her hammock.

Jayne was, well, just Jayne, a merc on standby, by turns restless, funny and abrasive. When Kaylee got quiet and began to keep to herself, he figured that maybe she needed some space or was going through some sort of ‘female thing’ and decided to leave her alone for awhile.

After several days, concerned by the girl’s withdrawl, Inara finally decided it was time to check on Kaylee. From a cache of treats in her shuttle, she put together a small basket that gave off a delicious fragrance of fruit and chocolate, then gracefully made her way through Serenity’s corridors back to the engine room.

She knocked softly at the open hatchway and asked, “May I come in?”

Kaylee, all curled up in her hammock, looked up from the book she’d been reading.

“Oh, hey, ‘Nara.” Her voice sounded sad and she looked like she might have been crying, not her usual sunny, shiny self at all.

“We’ve missed you, mei-mei. I thought something yummy might help cheer you up.” Inara handed her the basket, but Kaylee didn’t even lift the embroidered napkin to see what goodies were underneath.

“Thanks.” Kaylee’s voice was soft and solemn.

This was certainly not the bubbly girl Inara knew and she asked. “Mei-mei, are you sick? You need to let Simon know if you are.”

Kaylee shook her head. “That ain’t it.” She sniffled softly.

“Did Jayne do something to hurt you?”

As Kaylee’s confidante, Inara knew that she and the big mercenary had become occasional lovers. While she frequently questioned Jayne’s motives and personal style, she could see his attentions had been good for Kaylee and did her best to be supportive.

The girl scooted over on her hammock to make room for her friend.

“Jayne ain’t done nothin’.” Kaylee sniffled again and rubbed her nose on her sweater cuff.

Inara studied the girl’s sad face. “So what is it, Kaylee? What’s bothering you?”

“I guess I’m feelin’ homesick, ‘Nara. I been on Serenity the best piece of a year now, longest I ever been away from my folks. Day after tomorrow’s my birthday and I been thinking about how it would have been back home. My Ma’d always bake me a big strawberry cake and a bunch a neighbors’d come over to celebrate.”

“I just really been missin’ my kinfolk. It’s just been kinda hard lately, not knowin’ when I’ll see ’em again. Except for you, nobody on Serenity knows about my birthday and the thought of it goin’ by with no celebration just got me down some.”

“You mean you haven’t told Jayne?” Inara looked surprised.

“Ain’t told nobody but you. I figured if I told him, he’d feel obligated to do somethin’ and I just didn’t want it to be that way between us. Things is complicated enough as it is. You understand.”

And the Companion certainly did understand. Her own role aboard Serenity was difficult at best, a delicate balancing act between her professional life and her friendships with the crew, most especially Malcolm Reynolds himself.

Inara put her arm around Kaylee’s drooping shoulders and hugged her. “Mei-mei, I’ve got an idea. We’ll be landing on Beaumonde in two days and I’d like to find a special way to celebrate your birthday. You know, something you’ve really been missing from back home since you came to work here on the ship. Just a special treat from me to you.”

Kaylee’s eyes widened and she even managed a little grin. “Oh wow, ‘Nara, You’re such a sweetie!” She gave Inara a smooch on the cheek. “That’s so great of you. I just never figured anybody on Serenity would know or care.”

“Of course we care, Kaylee. You’re very dear to all of us.”

In a softly conspiratorial voice, the Companion prompted, “So what from home have you missed most since you’ve been Serenity’s mechanic?”

“Gosh, I don’t know where to start - I ain’t never celebrated my birthday anywhere but home.'’ The girl's voice began to resonate with some of her usual enthusiasm and Inara could swear that Kaylee's apple cheeks even got a little rosier.

Nibbling her lower lip for a minute, Kaylee mused aloud. “Well, I know we can’t bring my Ma and Pa and folks from home, so that part’s right out.”

Inara brushed a stray lock of chestnut hair out of Kaylee’s eyes and laughed. ”Sweetheart, if I could manage that, I’d do it for you. Is there something that would make you feel really pampered and special?”

Kaylee studied her grubby hands for a minute and picked at the ground-in engine grease around her nails. Inara could almost see the gears turning in her head.

Kaylee looked up, her eyes all wide. “I want a bath - an honest-to-god big ol’ bubbly bath that I can soak in ‘till my fingers plumb wrinkle up. Not some teeny, cramped-up space-ship shower where you can’t lay down and there’s always a line a people wanted to get in and rushin’ ya to finish up.”

Now she was grinnin’ from ear to ear.

“And I want to sleep in a real live bed again, a nice big soft one with a featherbed on top, not my hammock or these lumpy little mattresses we got here on Serenity. I want a bed big enough that I can spread out anyways I want and sleep ‘til the next day, noon if’n I wanna!”

The Companion laughed out loud. She completely understood her friend’s desire to relax and feel pampered for a change. Their routine on Serenity didn’t lend itself to the finer things in life, even the simple ones like long, hot baths. With her generous resources, Inara could easily arrange such a treat for Kaylee and was pleased that she’d been able to determine why the girl had been unhappy.

“I know just the place, Kaylee, and I’ll make all the arrangements.”

Already cheered by what lay ahead, Kaylee settled the small basket that Inara had brought into her lap and lifted the napkin to peek within, her face filled with the glee of a small child on Christmas morning. “I thought I smelled chocolate!” She squeaked excitedly.

Kaylee was on the mend.


(More to come...)


Monday, March 27, 2006 4:40 PM


Kaylee didn't mention a certain mercenary to share that aforementioned featherbed. An oversight I'm sure, right?

Can't wait to see this all pan out...

Monday, March 27, 2006 4:42 PM


Yep. Good start. I'm interested - though mostly in finding out what Jayne's gonna do when he finds out about Kaylee's birthday. Is Inara gonna tell him, or is he gonna hijack the whole thing himself?

*checks for update*
No answers yet? Huh.

I suck at waiting. Write more.

Monday, March 27, 2006 10:16 PM


You're such a tease! I hope there's lots of Jayne in the next one! Keep it comin!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006 12:06 AM


MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, Chocolate, Bubble Bath, and a Big Feather bed.......

Now there's my idea of a perfect Jaylee moment!

You're not going to be a big ol' tease, are you? You're gonna make it happen...... pretty please!!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006 1:44 AM


I 2nd, 3r, 4th & 5th all of the above and also tell you I enjoyed this chapter...liked Jayne's obtuse 'female thing.'

Tuesday, March 28, 2006 3:11 AM


Hey Guys,

It's nice to see some familiar names up there and know that you are following my work. Thanks for the feedback. Trust me, I won't leave Jayne hanging <wink!> or Kaylee alone for long. Keep comin' back!

Wednesday, April 5, 2006 12:17 PM


despite that i'm a Kaylee/Simon type of girl at heart, this is really cute. *warm fuzzies*

Wednesday, May 31, 2006 4:28 AM


*snuggles fic* mmm, now that's how i wanna spend my next birthday



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