Judas and Mercy Chapter Two
Monday, April 24, 2006

Jayne's recovering on Serenity and the crew gets a little vacation time.


Judas and Mercy - by ArtemisPrime

A warm thanks to all who commented. You’ve no idea what that means to me. I would strongly recommend that you read the prequel The Way as some of your questions are answered in the five chapters of that series.

This chapter focuses primarily on Jayne. Hope that's okay with y'all...

Disclaimer: all things Firefly/Serenity are the property of Whedon et al. I’m only playing with his toys for a spell.

Rating: Teen and up

Chapter two He could see the smilin’ face clear as any he’d ever seen. He knew that smile and it gave him the shivers all up and down. He swallowed hard an’ wanted t’ask, but his voice left him. He felt Mattie clutchin’ his arm real tight, nearly pullin’ Jayne off balance. But he didn’t think on it. All he could see was his ma’s eyes gettin’ red and a smile to try to make it all better.

“Ma?” his voice finally returnin’. “What is it?” He didn’t know if the crack in his voice was from puberty or emotion. He didn’t much care.

“Take Mattie to the wagon, Jayne,” she instructed.


“Do as I say!” Her harsh words made her son jump. Draggin’ his brother, he hoisted him into the wagon bed then sat himself next to him. Somethin’ was wrong an’ his ma knew what. Why weren’t she tellin’ him?

He stared at Mattie who was now occupyin’ himself with gettin’ his shoes off. Stupid brother didn’t even know somethin’ was up. He scowled. “Put yer shoes back on ‘fore ma takes her hairbrush t’yer behind.”

Mattie only made a face at Jayne and returned his attention to his toes. “This little piggy went t’market. This little piggy went...”

“Jayne,” his mother called. “You come up front.”

Jayne nearly lost himself. His mother never, ever let him sit on the bench seat. That was for pa an’ her only. Now he knew somethin’ was seriously amiss. “But what about-”

Her glare gave him all the incentive he needed to scurry over the back and thump into the seat. She pointed to the reins lyin’ limp in front. Grabbin’ them, marvellin’ and smilin’ at finally bein’ able to use ‘em, he flicked harder than he should have. The horses jumped and jerked until he managed to pull ‘em back a little and get the animals to walk.

Jayne wanted to ask what was happenin’, but he didn’t want to ruin the moment. His first time drivin’ the team was not goin’ to be ended with fool questions. So he waited until they pulled up to the small house, clothes blowin’ heavy in the wind.

Mattie had jumped down in bare feet an’ ran into the house. “Daddy!” he called. “Daddy, daddy!”

That’s when Jayne saw his ma staring straight ahead and straight backed, her jaw workin’ to try to focus her attention on anythin’ else than what was playin’ through her head.

“Ma?” His knuckles were turnin’ white he was holdin’ the reins so much.

He heard her shaky breath over the wind. “You’re the man a th’house now, Jayne.”

Jayne couldn’t have smiled any bigger, nor coulda wished he hadn’t just smiled in front of his ma. The look on her face turned his heart t’ice. His brain finally caught up an’ started questionin’ why. “How come?”

She tossed a crumpled envelope to him as she descended the wagon. “Unhitch th’team when yer done. Then come in fer supper.”

He watched her walk dignified and purposely to the house, her own dress blowin like the clothes on the line. Opening the envelope, he read the enclosed letter, his heart meltin’ at th’heat now boilin’ up. No curse words could be enough for what his pa had done.

Balling the letter and throwing it violently, he jumped from the wagon. His anger was risin’ and he needin’ some kinda release. He punched the wagon, feeling the wood splinter. He punched it until he broke skin then kept punchin’.
Later... It was the itchin’ that first brought Jayne to something remotely like consciousness. Nearly his entire body itched somethin’ fierce and it was proving harder’n hell to scratch. Something was wrong with his arms that they wouldn’t move.

The pass-out style of pain was the second thing that brought him to near consciousness. He’d been shot, stabbed, punched, kicked and dragged, but none of that held a candle to the fire that was burnin’ inside and outside. He wanted to jump into a pool of cold water. Like his arms, though, somethin’ was wrong with his legs that they wouldn’t move.

About the only thing he could move were his eyes, and then really only one.

But he could hear and the voice comin’ through the mists of his brain was soothin’ and warm, like honey in tea or a woman after sex. Didn’t know who it was or what she was really sayin’, but it didn’t matter. Showed he wasn’t dead, or if he was, then Book had put in a good word with the Lord. He would have laughed if he could have breathed proper.

A touch on his head burned his skin and he wanted to pull away, but he couldn’t move his head neither. All he could do was lie there, prayin’ that the devil would stop his burnin’ torment and let him be.

Ai ya, but that voice was so sweet! It couldn’ta been the Prince a Darkness himself, lessen he was actin’ like his ma told him he was want to do. He’d come in all shiny and pretty, whisper delicacies into yer ear and then steal yer soul ‘fore ya knew what happened.

Maybe it was time t’pay up fer all his misdeeds. Knock, knock, boy, the Devil’s come collectin’!

“Jayne? Jayne. Can ya hear me?”

Weren’t no daemon at his ear. Even half dead he knew that were an angel.

He wanted to wake up, look up and see her face smilin’ an’ cheerful, glad that somethin’ in the ‘verse still worked right. Wanted to reach right up and pull her into a lip kiss. Now he knew somethin’ was amiss seein’ as he never kissed ‘em on the mouth.

‘Course, he wanted to scream a blue streak for the pain his body was informin’ his brain on.

Then the firey touch was lifted and cold bit into his neck, a small relief, then nothin’ at all.

Simon put the smoother away and checked Jayne’s vitals. “It’s awfully late, Kaylee.”

Kaylee shrugged. “Couldn’t sleep so I thought I’d keep him comp’ny.” She blinked down at the large man on the small bed. “He doin’ better?”

The Doctor nodded. “Not much, but a little. Having him under will help his body heal faster and certainly helps keep the pain at bay.” He scratched his ear in his ‘I’m not sure what to say next’ gesture. He wasn’t used to having a former lover on a cramped spaceship.

“We’ll take what we can get,” Kaylee answered.

“What?” Simon’s thoughts distracted him from what she had intended. “Right. Jayne. Better.” When did he lose the power of speech? There was only the sound of the heart monitor for the longest time. “You don’t have to stay.” Simon’s quiet voice was loud. “I’ll keep an eye on him.”

Kaylee’s face betrayed her concern for Simon. “Yer tired yer own self and havin’ a doctor in such a way don’t do the rest a us any favours.” She went for his arm, but he took a slight step back. She stopped then smiled lightly. “Just get some sleep, okay?”

He nodded and watched Kaylee take one final look to Jayne before leaving. Leaning heavily against the counter, he wondered how he was going to interact with her on this new level. At least before, he hadn’t known her intimately and could pretend to fluff off her attentions. But now he’d known her in a way that his mother said was only reserved for married people.

“How do you do it, Jayne?” he asked the sleeping giant. “How can you make love to a woman and then forget all about her?”

Looking at the clock, he realised that Kaylee had been right - his lack of sleep was wearing him very thin. The past few days had afforded him little. The trek from his bunk to the medlab had been arduous and he had no desire to do it again. Pulling a blanket from storage, he draped it around himself and headed for the couch, its lumps never so welcoming.

Later... The planet of Ezra was better than most rim-type planets. The brilliant green was seen for hundreds of miles in space and offered passers-by an opportunity to touch real grass and climb actual trees. That the amount of phosphorous was a little high making the water greener than normal did little to dis-sway people from swimming.

All in all, Ezra was a nice vacation stop.

They had been planetside near on a day when their cargo bound for Bellophoron arrived. Four small crates were easily loaded into the hold and enough coin changed hands that Mal jingled the bag. Real money. How he missed the feel and sound of it, the heft of it in his palm. Maybe he’d reward the crew with some fresh fixins for dinner.

“I like tomatoes,” River commented from behind.

“Wha!” Mal whirled. “How many times I gotta tell ya ‘bout sneakin’ up on a captain?” He pocketed the money bag. “Don’t you got some piloting thing needin’ done?”

River grinned. “Nope.” She twirled around Mal. “Time to be a girl.” She bounced down the ramp, nearly skipping into town.

“Yeah well, girl’s still got t’pilot spaceships!” he called after her. “Don’t be makin’ me...” He waved a dismissive hand. “Guess the girl can take a herself.” He scratched his jaw and felt the stubble. Maybe this would be a good time for a proper trim and haircut. Seemed as likely that the town would have a barber.

“This is gonna be fun,” Kaylee said with a lightness that Mal hadn’t heard for what felt forever. “Blue sky, fresh air, shoppin’.” She stopped to breathe. “Don’tya just love it, Cap’n?”

“Shiny. Now remember what I told ya.”

Kaylee batted her eyes. “Ain’t gonna be alone.” She looked behind her to indicate her compatriots. Mal cocked an eyebrow upon seeing Inara and Zoe joining the little mechanic. “Girl’s day out.”

“Zoe, tell me they didn’t get t’you,” Mal pleaded. “Tell me ya ain’t buyin’ inta this.”

His first mate shrugged. “Sacrifice for making sure everyone comes home safe.” She continued walking with the other two, right on past Mal. “Don’t worry, Sir, we won’t pick out anything too frilly for you.”

Mal gaped then turned, catching a glimpse over his shoulder of Inara’s walking grace. Focussing once again, he went to the infirmary and found Simon at his usual place. “Doc, I do think that you could use some time.” He motioned towards Jayne. “I’ll watch him fer a spell.”

“That’s all right, Captain,” Simon answered, “I don’t mind.”

“Well, I do.” He took the pad from Simon’s hand. “Yer lookin’ pastier’n normal. The sun is shiny an everyone else’s gone.”

Simon was about to protest, but stopped. “River, too?”

“This ain’t Alliance friendly, so don’t go worryin’ on yer sis. Now get outta here.” He dropped the pad on the counter, leaned on it and crossed his arms.

Simon knew when he’d been beat. “I won’t stay away long. An hour, at most. And call me if his condition changes. I’m not too sure about that last repair. It’s still-”

“Now, Doctor!”

The Doc jumped, but made no argument.

Finally alone, Mal checked Jayne’s vitals, though he wasn’t entirely sure why seeing as he was a captain and not a doctor. Satisfied, he slid into the lounge and into a chair, propping his feet up on the table. Glancing around, he found an old magazine and began flipping through.

For the first time in a very long time, Mal felt the solitude of the ship. Even Serenity was quiet as Kaylee had shut down the engine to make repairs. He recalled the last time it had been this way, but felt no same fear. This was a good alone-ness.

With each turn of the page, Mal’s eyelids grew heavier. Before long, he was dozing in the chair, the magazine fallen and his mouth open a little.

A strained cough brought him back to the ‘verse and he was immediately on his feet and in the infirmary trying to help Jayne. The big man was trying to cough something up, but was struggling. Mal had no clue what to do other than offer an “Easy does it”, weak as it was. Jayne coughed up the problem and Mal used a cloth to wipe it away. He placed a hand at the top of the bed. “Feel better?”

Jayne grunted softly, barely able to distinguish the world around him. The Doctor had been using less medication to keep him under and it was beginning to show. Jayne was having more time awake, though not entirely coherent, to help Simon diagnose the man’s problems.

Mal looked around for some water, found a cup and filled it. Carefully raising Jayne’s head, he let the man drink some. It wasn’t easy and much of it ran down the front, but enough made its way in to help soothe his throat. Wiping away the spill, Mal looked at Jayne again. “How d’ya feel?”

With his one eye, the merc slowly scanned the room. “Doc ain’t here. We’ve set down on Ezra and the crew’s on vacation. Just you an me.” He smiled. “‘Course, I seem to be th’only one keepin’ good company about now.” His smile stopped at the pained expression on Jayne’s face. “You need me t’fetch the Doc?”

Mal was rewarded with another grunt and a slow close of the patient’s good eye. “Mayhap best if I do.” He went to turn, but found fingers clutching his sleeve. He stopped.

“Tired-” Jayne croaked.

“Simon can get ya somethin’ t’help ya sleep.”

“-a... sleepin’.”

“Okay, Jayne.” Mal patted the man’s fingers as he lay them back onto the blanket. “You just stay good an’ awake then.”

Inara couldn’t help but laugh as Kaylee nearly ran from vendor to vendor in the market square. Every piece of pretty was a marvel to her and she made sure the other two women knew it.

“Ooh, wouldn’t this look shiny in yer hair, Zoe?” She held a bright clip next to the dark hair. “Whaddya think, Inara?”

“It’s very pretty.”

Zoe waved Kaylee’s hand away. “Nowhere in the job description does it mention me getting sucked into your world of cheeriness and jewellery. Besides,” she pointed to another, “that one is nicer.”

Kaylee laughed and felt good. For the first time in a long while, she let herself feel happy. Jayne seemed on the mend and they were on a planet that offered a bit of shininess. Thinking on the merc lying in the medlab for so long had made her want to enjoy this trip that much more. She’d be no good in cheering him up if she weren’t cheered her own self.

“Feel the air dance upon the skin. The sun enters the soul. Banish the evil and welcome the good.” River circled lively around the trio of women. “I like that one.” She pointed to another broach. “It’s lively.”

Inara eyed the piece. “It is indeed.” She examined it closely. “Excellent craftsmanship. From Sihnon, I would say.”

Kaylee’s eyes popped. “Really? Must be full and pricey.”

Inara smiled. “No doubt.” She replaced the item on the table and continued her stroll. She had to admit that the time away from her shuttle was welcoming. Though Inara preferred her living space to be full of the richness and texture reflective of her upbringing, there were times when all she wanted was some fresh air and clear blue sky.

As the day wore on, the women had decided that Zoe needed something a little more feminine in her wardrobe and had convinced her to buy a locally crafted pair of gemmed earrings. Though not of high quality, the azure stones set off her complexion quite nicely. Even Zoe had to admit that they were “acceptable”, though she would likely not have cause to wear them and would most assuredly lose them in a fight.

“Combat earrings are last season,” Inara jested.

The first mate did smile then checked the time. “We best get back to the ship.” She scanned the group to ensure that all were accounted for. Seeing River with an ice planet on a stick brought bitter memories of Tracey, but she shoved them aside. This was to be a happy day. “Where’s Kaylee?”

“I’m here,” she announced, holding a small parcel. “Just gettin’ a little somethin’.” Her grin was wicked.

“Kaylee,” Inara began slowly, “what have you got there?”

“Oh, nothin’ in particular.” She walked ahead, her grin still all over her face.

Inara said nothing more, but did give a knowing look to Zoe. She had begun to sense a change in the mechanic that the Companion was uncertain on. The last few months had been a roller coaster ride for the young woman’s emotions and Inara wondered just how well Kaylee was coping. The return of Jayne seemed to have initially continued the wild ride, but had calmed of late. Simon’s prognosis of a decent recovery seemed to have signalled a period of happiness in Kaylee that Inara hoped was not misplaced. When the young woman wasn’t in the engine room, she was prattling on to Jayne or in her bunk sleeping. The sudden affinity for the mercenary was something Inara was going to keep a close watch on.

Later... Simon’s probe made Jayne want to throttle the doctor. He’d spent the better part of a waking week in the infirmary until he’d threatened Simon with imminent violence if he didn’t get out. Simon had been adamant, though, that Jayne was in no condition to be violent in any manner. “You can’t have any weight on that knee for at least two weeks,” he told Jayne. “And I don’t want to jeopardise those internal stitches. They’ve been good so far, but I’m sure that you don’t want me to have to re-do them.”

The big man’s voice was still gravelly, but gaining in strength each day. “I’m goin’ nuts in here, Doc.” He clenched his good fist.

The Captain had suggested moving Jayne to the guests bunk and Simon agreed. It was nice having his infirmary back to himself again. He groaned to himself. It was his desire to be alone in the lab that had contributed to Kaylee’s departure.

Jayne winced as Simon pulled on medical tape holding the bandage down. “Gorram it, Doc, ain’t ya got all th’-” He stopped. What word was he lookin’ for?

“I’m only checking on your progress.” He examined the wound across Jayne’s shoulder. The skin slice had been clean, but deep. He wanted to see how the graft was responding.

The merc huffed, about the only thing he could do these days.

“Well, that looks good.” He studied Jayne’s facial scar. “It’s healing up nicely, as well.” He pulled out his pen and pad to make a note. “How does your head feel?” He looked up when Jayne made no reply.

The big man frowned at the Doctor’s stare. “What?”

“Your head. How does it feel?” He frowned. Had there been some hearing damage as well? He pulled a scope from his bag and examined Jayne’s inner ear.

“My head hurts same as always. What are ya doin’?”

“Checking for hearing loss.”

“Can hear just fine, Doc.” He jerked his head away and regretted it. The sudden motion caused a neck cramp and brief seasick feeling.

“Mm.” Simon stepped away and made another notation. “Sometimes blows to the head can damage the ear canal and drum. But I can’t see anything.” He put flipped through his notes, stopping at a scan. “Doesn’t seem to be anything on here...”


He turned to see Kaylee’s bright face in the doorway. “Hey.” Simon felt a sudden awkwardness, though he knew he shouldn’t. Kaylee had visited Jayne every day since his return so he should have been used to her presence.

But he wasn’t. He looked over to the man, his head and shoulders propped up on pillows and felt the jealous twinge once again. She was here for Jayne, not him.

“How’s the patient?” She now stood at the foot of the bed, her question directed to its occupant rather than its healer.

“Doc won’t let me out,” Jayne growled.

Simon scowled. “Maybe in another week.” He closed his pad and red bag. “I’ll come by after dinner.” He paused, glanced at Kaylee, then left.

Simon wasn’t the only one feelin’ a mite uncomfortable. Jayne was nearly squirming under the happy glare of the mechanic. “What d’you want?”

“You oughta be nicer to Simon,” she said, her face falling a little. “He done a lotta work patchin’ and fixin’ you up. Nearly wore himself out doin’ it.”

Jayne turned from her. He knew he should be more grateful to the Doctor, but he was just doin’ his job, weren’t he? But he’d been told the heroics the Doc had done, the near exhaustion just to pull a man he detested through the torture he’d endured. Still, it was hard to break a habit and annoying the Doctor was a dandy habit in the mercenary’s mind. Seeing Kaylee, though, he found himself saying “Fine. I’ll be good.”

The silence in the yellow-orangey room was maddening. “Somethin ya wanted?”

“Just t’see how you’re doin’. Anythin’ I can get ya?”

Jayne’s eye glazed over as he thought on some bits of tasty he wanted right then. “No,” he finally answered. “Nothin’ on ship anyhow.”

“Cap’n says we’ll be on Newhall in about a week. Maybe you can get out some.” She looked to the crutches leaning against the far wall.

“I want t’get out now!” He banged his right fist on the bed and Kaylee jumped. “Cain’t you talk some sense inta that boyfriend a yours?”

The mechanic smiled lightly. “Doubt that. Sides, it’s only another week.”

“Hell with that.” Jayne threw the blanket aside and swung his legs over, not realising how difficult the task would be after having been operated on not so long ago. His gut burned from using muscles that had been cut and he felt a little lightheaded from breathing hard. Gripping the sides of the bed, he steeled himself.

“Jayne, I don’t think this is a good idea,” Kaylee warned.

Ignoring her, he took a deep breath, pushed himself up and promptly collapsed back onto the bed, his head smacking into the wall. He howled and cursed at the same time.

Kaylee was immediately there, wanting to help lift him up. Forgetting the dislocated shoulder, he jerked his arm away from her and nearly screamed again.

Seeing his pain, Kaylee went to him again and he didn’t push her away. Carefully and gently, she helped him to a sitting position, his back against the wall and his legs hanging off the mattress. His breathing was rough, but calming down. “Feel better?”

He glared. “Go t’hell,” he wheezed.

She shrugged. “Okay, but you won’t get the present I picked up for ya back on Ezra.”


With a broad smile, Kaylee stepped off the riser and pulled out a package from around the bed. “Hope you like it ‘cause I can’t take it back.” She handed it to him.

Holding the brown package in his right hand, he stared long and hard at it. The last time he received something from anyone, it had led to a series of bad events. He wasn’t looking to repeat that. But then, he’d never received a gift from any of the crew either.

“Here, let me help you,” Kaylee offered, sitting next to him.

Jayne didn’t move. The smell of clean soap and light strawberries assaulted his brain. He couldn’t remember anything smelling nearly so perfect. His vision was squiggly.

“Hey, you still here?”

He jerked his head, over turning so he could get a look at her as she sat to his right. “What?”

She smiled again and reached a hand to the package on his lap, grasping the string. “You hold and I’ll pull.”

He felt her body pressing against his and his mind was turning to jelly. Other parts were not.

“You got t’hold it,” she scolded lightly. “There. That’s it.” Moments later, the package was de-stringed. “You manage the rest?”

He nodded and proceeded to unravel the paper. He stopped when he realised what it was he was looking at.

“Do you like it?” Kaylee was nearly bouncing on the sagging bed. “I know it ain’t perfect and the colour’s a bit different, but it’s close, dontya think?”

Jayne’s brain recalled his mother telling him that you should always say thank-you for anything you received. “It were the kindness of someone t’give ya somethin’ so ya better return that kindness,” she had said. “And I didn’t raise no ingrate.”

His brain also recalled words from his father. “Somebody give you something, boy, you best be wondering what they want in return. Ain’t no free rides in this ‘verse.” He could feel the belt slice across his backside. “So next time someone offers you something that seems too nice for the likes a you, you just give it on back. Won’t have no son a mine keeping stolen goods from the town store.”

The confusion in Jayne’s brain made him completely paralysed. The same feelin’ of bein’ too long in anti-gravity was bombardin’ his head, makin’ it dizzy, wasn’t helpin’ much either.

“You don’t like it, do ya? I just thought that with what yer ma had done-”

“Kaylee,” Jayne interrupted then hesitated. He looked to her face through the nausea and good eye and God help him he didn’t want to be the cause of any disappointment.

Staring back down to his lap, he gently touched the knitted scarf then pulled it up. Even he could see that this was hand made and most likely a first-time effort by Kaylee. She had gone and learned how to knit so he could have a matching scarf for the hat his mother had sent.

He didn’t know if he should sex her there or be sick.

He passed out instead.

To be continued...


Monday, April 24, 2006 3:21 PM



I love it! So very sweet! And adorable. And Jayne not able to make heads or tails of anything.


Monday, April 24, 2006 3:48 PM


Sweet! Confused Jayne is adorable. Can't wait to read the next one!

Monday, April 24, 2006 3:51 PM


Oh, how I loved this. Let me count the ways... first off, I like how you write Simon. He's human, and still sorta naive with girls. Even after Kaylee. I particularly like this line: “How do you do it, Jayne?” he asked the sleeping giant. “How can you make love to a woman and then forget all about her?”

Next, I loved grouchy groggy Jayne with Simon, Mal and Kaylee. I don't see him as being a good patient at all. This seemed to fit. My favorite part was the simple: He glared. “Go t’hell,” he wheezed.

Then, the sweetness at the end and the passing out. Perfection.

Monday, April 24, 2006 5:40 PM


This is so good! You really have a way with description, I could imagine it so clearly. *is envious*

I liked this one: "He didn’t know if he should sex her there or be sick."


Tuesday, April 25, 2006 12:09 PM


Hoo boy....I can just imagine the angst that's gonna pop up once Jayne's back in saddle with being a mobile, grumpy and horny merc;)

Still...loved how you had the flashbacks to Jayne's past. And the confusion between Mrs. Cobb's "thank people for gifts" vs. Mr. Cobb's "reject anything you ain't worthy of" is both a human and realistic balance:)


Wednesday, April 26, 2006 1:37 AM


You've got Simon's confusion down well, and his devotion to his patients...even the ungrateful ones!

I like Mal looking after Jayne and the girl's day out.

I love the present and Jayne's reaction to it. Passing out! *giggles*

Wednesday, April 26, 2006 2:52 AM


I was right smack dab in the middle of commenting on this when the site went down - how weird is that?

I can't rightly remember what I wrote last time, but it was somewhere along the lines of: this was great!

You got that funky muddle-headed feeling described so well, I got all queasy on Jayne's behalf. I almost passed out my ownself! *grin*

I'm glad Kaylee's looking out for him, and her present was just perfect.

More please.

Thursday, May 11, 2006 4:26 PM


Oh wow. I just *heart* that Kaylee/Jayne interaction. Your story is rocking my socks.

Saturday, July 1, 2006 3:51 AM


he's awake!!!!!!!! *gentle bear hug*



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