Leaps of Faith - 16
Monday, April 24, 2006

Jayne and Kaylee struggle to resolve their relationship and Shepherd Book listens, comforts and counsels.


OK Folks, It’s Jaylee. It’s a ruttin’ Jaylee Epic. Not your cuppa? Keep on walkin’.

Disclaimer: Not mine, no pay.

Thanks: To Jacqui, Josh and to Rion, my own personal BDH. You guys are the greatest. Also to those folks who have the decency to include their names when they comment.

Rating: PG-13

Remarks: Set after “Objects in Space”. Inara has departed from Serenity and the crew has been through a rough stretch. Click on my name to read the backstory. They’re all backstory.

Feedback: It only takes a minute and is genuinely appreciated. What did you like? What doesn’t work? You can post below or email to

Leaps of Faith

Chapter Sixteen

Shepherd Book always awakens early, a discipline left over from his days back at the abbey when all rose at 4 AM for first prayers. He turns on a soft reading lamp and reviews a passage of scripture, then meditates upon it for some time.

Rising early means a better chance of no line at the shower, so he pulls on a robe over his pajamas, grabs his towel and shaving kit and heads the short distance to the common head near the medbay to ready himself for the day. He knows the young mechanic and Jayne talked late into the night, heard her sobs as she left that conversation and suspects his counsel will be needed today.

After dressing, he glances in and finds Jayne sleeping, notes the absence of young Kaylee or any sign of breakfast dishes. In the galley, he makes oatmeal, and dishes up a generous serving, adds a little precious cinnamon and a big spoonful of brown sugar, as he’s seen Jayne do in the past, pours two mugs of steaming tea and loads everything onto a tray to carry back downstairs.

As he’s leaving the galley, Mal wanders in, rubbing his eyes and still half-asleep.

“There’s tea and oatmeal, Captain. I thought I’d take some breakfast down to Jayne. Let the girl sleep in this morning. She’s had a rough week.”

“Fair enough, Shepherd. Been a chou san ba of a week for everybody.”


By the time Book returns to the medlab, Jayne is awake. The merc is still gaunt and sallow and the intensity of his confessions last night haven’t helped his state.

The Shepherd puts the tray on a small rolling table and slides it up over Jayne’s lap. “Figured you might be hungry and ready for a little breakfast. I gathered you and Kaylee had a tough night.” He notes Jayne’s questioning look. “The child’s exhausted and just needs to sleep for now, I think.”

Book pulls the chair over near the med table and blows on his tea to cool it.

Jayne stares at the tray blankly, then sighs like a broken man.

“I think I’ve lost her, Shepherd.” Jayne rubs his big palm over his face as if to wipe away the image of Kaylee’s horrified expression.

“I decided it was time I told her the truth about some things, stuff that was long overdue. Probably gone a mite better if I’d a told her a little at a time, but once I got started, it just all came out in a rush. Guess that comes from keepin’ so much stuff to m’self for so long. Cap’n’s always tellin’ me to see to my gorram mouth and, for once, he’d a been right.”

“I shoulda paid attention to what you said about lettin’ Kaylee make up her own mind about things, just told her how I felt and then let her be. Instead, I got to thinkin’ about what was safer, maybe better for her. Ya know, Shepherd, that gal don’t take worth a damn to others tellin’ her what to do.”

The preacher does his best to curb a smile. “That wouldn’t happen to be one of those things you two share in common, would it?”

“Some of the stuff I told her sure upset her.” Jayne shakes his head, his regret almost tangible. “I know she feels like I lied to her, betrayed her trust in some ways, and maybe I did.”

“I told her I wouldn’t push her. She can have whatever time and room she needs to sort things out. I just hate to think she’s having to do it all alone, especially now that Inara’s gone. She’s young, Shepherd, an’ I hurt her mighty bad.”

The big man looks up from his thoughts and asks, “Would you check on her for me? Please? I don’t want her to know I asked ya to, but I’d surely take it as a kindness if you would.”

“Of course, son. You don’t need to worry.”

The injured man stares at his breakfast and finally picks up the spoon and stirs the sweetening into the bowl of hot cereal. “This was good of you, Shepherd, and so was that fine chickenish stew you conjured up last night. Kaylee brought me a big ol’ bowl and I couldda probably et another’n.” He quickly gobbles down the oatmeal and chases it with a big swig of tea.

Book smiles. “Looks like your appetite’s recovered, at least. How’s the leg?”

“Doc said yesterday afternoon I could probably get up and shower today if I take it easy. Sucker still hurts like hell, but it’s better’n yesterday.”

“If you decide you want to try getting up once Simon’s given you the all-clear, I’ll be glad to help get you down to the shower and back. In the mean time, I’ll take those dishes back up to the galley and look in on Kaylee for you.”


The first thing Kaylee is aware of is the smell of cinnamon. She stretches and turns over in the hammock, opening bleary, sleep-crusted eyes to find the source of the aroma.

Shepherd Book stands in the engine room doorway with a tray in his hands and a gentle smile on his face.

“Good morning, child. Since you didn’t make it down for breakfast, I thought I’d better grab something for you before the ravening hoard devoured it all. I checked your bunk and figured you might be up here, instead.”

Kaylee sits up and rubs the sleep-sand from her swollen eyes. “Gee, thanks, Shepherd. This was real thoughtful of ya.” The girl smiles and glances around. “I’d tell you to pull up a chair, ‘cept’n there ain’t one. I can slide over and make room for you on the hammock, if ya want.”

Book hands Kaylee the tray of oatmeal and tea. “I think that might just be a ticket to disaster for us both, Kaylee.” He smiles and gestures. “I can sit on that housing, instead, if you and Serenity don’t mind.”

While Kaylee eats her breakfast, he takes a few minutes to study the ship’s engine room, taking note of the masterful way Kaylee has patched and jury-rigged aging parts and the care with which the young mechanic maintains the ship. It can’t be easy with such limited resources and the events they’ve been through have taken their toll on the Firefly and her crew.

“You know, Kaylee, you really are an exceptional young woman.”

She looks up from her oatmeal, surprised by Book’s comment. “What makes you say that, Shepherd?”

“There’s not one mechanic in a hundred who could maintain Serenity as well as you do with so little to work with. Your understanding of her is remarkable. You really know the subtleties of her structure and operation and sense intuitively what she needs without even having to ask.”

“But there’s more than just that, child. You’re so kind and generous with all of us, quick to smile and laugh, the love inside you just shining out like a beacon. You make this life a lot better for all of us on board Serenity.”

Kaylee blushes and looks down at the empty bowl in her hands.

The preacher leans toward her, elbows resting on his knees, his fingers interlaced before him and goes on gently. “I know that you’ve been awfully concerned about Jayne’s injury and recovery, and before that, we’ve all been through some difficult events."

He continues, "With Inara gone, you might not have anyone you can go to with things that trouble you and I just wanted to offer. After all, there’s more to being a Shepherd than saying prayers and cooking oatmeal.” He smiles and she nods in acknowledgement.

“I was up late last night, reading, and couldn’t help hearing you crying as you left the medbay. I just thought you might want someone to talk to.”

The girl breathes a deep, shaky sigh and asks, “Have you ever really cared about someone and then found out they’d done something awful, somethin’ that could have hurt other folks you care about.”

“That would be a painful and difficult discovery, I imagine,” Book responds. “Did you give the person you care about the opportunity to explain why they took such an action?”

Kaylee’s feet dangle over the side of her hammock and she swings them like a little child. “Well, sorta. I mean, he told me and gave some reasons and even apologized, but I was mostly too shocked to take it all in.”

“And that person you’re referring to wouldn’t happen to be Jayne, would he?”

“Yep. It’s him.” She squirms, obviously upset and fighting back tears.

The Shepherd hands her a clean handkerchief, and Kaylee senses that this is something he always carries, just in case someone will need it.

“There, there, child. Why don’t you start at the beginning…”


“It wasn’t so much the stuff he done before hiring on with Serenity. Most a that’s pretty much what I expected. I mean, I seen him when Mal first hired him and he was rough. Swai, but you could tell he was a mean hundan – oh! ‘scuse me, Shepherd!” she blurts out.

Book waves his hand, dismissing her expletive.

“He told me enough for me to know he took on his line of work ‘cause he had to, to get by, and who am I to blame him for that? No, I guess what I been having problems with is how hard it is for him to talk to me about what he’s feelin’, about where this thing between us is headed.”

The preacher responds, “Relationships are often challenging and difficult, especially when one party is just learning how to open up and share with another. Jayne’s never really let anyone close to him since childhood and he doesn’t really know how to do it very well, yet, Kaylee. It does seem that he’s trying and you may have to be especially patient with him for awhile.”

The Shepherd stands and takes Kaylee’s hands in his own. “Why don’t you start with one basic question: Do you care enough about Jayne to continue to work at your relationship?”

Kaylee’s eyes are wide and earnest as she answers, “Yes, sir, I do. But what about him tryin' to sell out Simon and River back on Ariel?”

“So Jayne told you that he intended to turn the young doctor and his sister in for the reward money? That’s rather what I suspected had happened.” Book shakes his head and muses, “Interesting that the Captain has kept that quiet.”

“Now Kaylee, I’m not condoning what Jayne did, but I suspect there was more to his action that we might not know about. While he’s certainly prone to being impulsive and may even have been acting out of greed or jealousy, things still don’t add up. I’d encourage you to give it some time, keep the communications open between you, even ask him about that if it bothers you so much.”

“Do you think that you can let go of feeling betrayed enough to find out more about what was in that boy’s thick head?”

“I’ll try, Shepherd, I’ll try.”

“Sounds fair enough to me. You know, child, there are times in our lives when we don’t know what’s around the bend, what’s up ahead. Sometimes we just have to trust and move forward. That’s what faith is all about.”

(To be continued...)


Monday, April 24, 2006 4:41 AM


The Shepherd is just great...he never really gets enough air time, and you've done him proud. I like how he's honest and direct with our wayward pair.

I really enjoy the little asides, Jayne liking cinnamon & sugar, Book always having a hankerchief, Kaylee's careful engine maintenance they all add up to a wonderful story.

Ignore the naysayers, they know not of what they speak. (Sorry too much Shakespeare!)

Monday, April 24, 2006 5:15 AM


Well, another fine chapter that makes my excitement over seeing the update worth it. Like the others, I am glad to see the Shepherd in this. His non-judgemental behaviour is exactly what Jayne needs and his honesty is what Kaylee needs.

I can see that this is going to build into some angsty stuff, if you're going the direction I'm seeing. Kaylee's going to quite a bit of time, I think, to deal with the bomb Jayne dropped.

Looking forward to seeing how this continues.

Monday, April 24, 2006 6:09 AM


Non-Jaylee-shippers should make with the non-judgemental like our beloved Shepherd Book does. Goes against my Browncoat grain...

Speaking of Book, I'm glad he's able to guide our wayward babes through the angsty parts, and I'm even gladder that Kaylee wants to work on the relationship. Gives me hope for the next chapter. Which should he up soon, right? *bats eyelashes*

Monday, April 24, 2006 6:58 AM


I like your Book, I could imagine him giving Kaylee just this advice! Now if they would just talk!

Monday, April 24, 2006 7:42 AM


Excellent! Book as agony aunt, helping Jayne and Kaylee talk about and sought out their feelings for each other.......

Now all they need to do is be honest and talk to each other......

I've love this fic from the start......

Good job, hisgoodgirl!!!

Monday, April 24, 2006 12:22 PM


Another wonderful chapter, hisgoodgirl:)

I really like how you used Book as the focus point for this entry, as he probably the best to be the "agony aunt" or spiritual counsel for the two of them. And I do hope that communications stay open between Kaylee and Jayne, even if you have angst galore for the next while;)

Though I do wonder how Kaylee's gonna react if she talks with Simon and finds out he and River were aware of Jayne's misdeeds before she did. Not gonna really make things better, but I wonder if a disguised talk about Jayne's actions might help Kaylee out, feelings-wise.


Monday, April 24, 2006 4:06 PM


I always liked Book and Jayne's conversations in the BDS. Really liked how you used Book to bridge between Jayne and Kaylee.

Good work!

Saturday, July 1, 2006 3:04 AM


see, listen to book! book is wise, he knows what he's talking about.



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