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I Told You So

by Linaelyn

 

Fandom: Firefly    Rating: PG-13    Pairing: Jayne/Simon, Kaylee/Simon    Full Header

 
  The line of poetry: Time will say nothing but I told you so, Time only knows the price we have to pay; If I could tell you I would let you know. ~W.H Auden, Villanelle  


Simon stood behind the galley counter, chopping protein strips to go in the soup he was making for himself and his sister. Jayne sat at the table, picking his teeth from his earlier meal. Around the fingers, he garbled, "You got some of that Opiataste we picked up on that last job?" Jayne inquired.

"Yes," Simon eyed him warily. "It's in the ship's med stores. For emergency use only."

"How much?" Jayne grunted.

"Pardon me?" Scooping the protein strips into his hand, he delicately lowered them into the simmering broth. It was a challenge to make palatable meals with the subsistence rations. Simon thought he might be developing a knack for the task, however.

Jayne made a snorking noise at the back of his throat, then spat something gelatinous onto his empty plate. Simon was glad to be far enough away that it was only a shiny smudge on the far side of the room. "How much is there? 500 grams? A kilo?" Jayne asked.

"Close to two kilos. Why do you want to know?"

"Just keeping track is all," Jayne's grin lit his face. "Just in case."

"I'm not giving you any for recreational purposes. It's known to cause cardiac damage, and with prolonged use it can lead to chronic pulmonary edema."

"I know that. Sheesh, can't I be interested in the ship's medical supplies without you thinking I'm looking for a cheap buzz?"

"In a word, NO. I don't want to have to go back to locking the infirmary, and I don't want to find any more of the drawers and cabinets have been forced. I've already spoken to the captain."

"Nobody likes a tattletale, doc," Wash interjected, entering the dining room.

"Nobody likes not having painkillers when I've got to pull shrapnel out of them, either." Simon added one more sprinkle of some of the blackish powder, gave the pot a final stir and took a dainty slurp from the spoon, nodding in self-approval. "All set. Wash, will you watch this pot for a sec, and make sure Jayne doesn't steal my supper? I'm going to go get River."

"Wouldn't put that gou shi in my mouth, anywise." Jayne sneered. Wash moseyed over to take a defensive stance before the galley stove, and struck a bold pose of comic vigilance. Simon rolled his eyes and left to collect River. She was having one of her bad days. Lately, it seemed like they were all bad days.

As soon as he was out of sight, Wash was tasting the soup.

"Hey, Wash." With a long-bladed knife, Jayne pared his nails onto the same plate that still held the gobbet of his phlegm. "What's a Deema?"

"It means you swell up 'til you're dead, Jayne."

Jayne gave a smiling sneer. "I known he was lyin'."

~~~~~~~~

Dear Mother,

Thank you for the hat. It fits nice. I guess my head has not grown none, hah hah. Wash says it makes me look like a man who is very brave.

I forgot to tell you last time that there is a new doctor on the ship. He seems to know his doctoring but he's a idiot about every other thing. Time will tell if he is too stupid to live out here.

I miss your soup.

Love,

Your Son, Jayne Cobb.

~~~~~~~~

Dear Mother,

Last night, I realized that I can never send you these letters I've been writing. I know that R. and I will forever be fugitives of the Alliance, and I will never see you again. Still, I find that writing them gives me some small comfort, so I will continue.

Today I made your bouillabaisse, although I lacked any of the original ingredients save stale bread, salt and pepper. Truly, I'm not sure that pepper was actually pepper either. If there's one thing I miss out here, it's the food we get at home. R. praised my approximation, though.

I've mentioned most of the officers and crew already, and given my assessments of how well we shall get along. There remains only one to explain, and I've left J. for last because he is -- he is a barbarian, Mother, pure and simple. I've hesitated to worry you with his description, but now that I've realized that this is more of a diary than an epistle, I'll just say it bluntly. The man is an uncouth brute. He's nearly a giant, hands like enormous hams, and he seems incapable of significant cognition. I doubt he's even fully literate, though he seems to be able to count his wage adequately. He's been rifling through my effects, both in my quarters and in the infirmary, and he seems to have no regard for personal property or even vague courtesy.

He is a bit larger than life, really.

I thought men like J. existed only in storybooks, legends of a long-forgotten era of history. He's an anachronism, and only time will tell if he will give in to his animal instincts and simply begin some sort of killing spree. Perhaps he will merely desert the rest of the crew in a moment of need.

R. is improving. I hope to bring her ... That was a lie. R. is worsening, and there will never be a day when I can bring her anywhere. Oh, Mom. I'm lost, and I don't know what I can do with her.

Affectionately,

S.

~~~~~~~~

"Whupsies," Kaylee smiled to take the sting from her words. "You got yourself a spill on your pretty shirt there, Simon."

"I know. I was careless when pouring the soup yesterday, I suppose," Simon replied with chagrin. "I'll have to buy a new one at our next port of call."

"Buy a new one? For a stain?"

"Well, it would hardly be appropriate to wear stained clothing, would it?" Simon grinned at his own joke. Maybe he was getting the hang of this "talking to girls" thing, after all. Self-deprecating humor seemed an effective method of...

Kaylee's mouth hung open. "You mean to tell me you're so rich, you don't even wash stuff?"

"I... ah..." Simon was unsure how to respond. Was there something he could say here that would be less damning than any of the responses that immediately came to mind? His jaw worked in various nearly-speaking motions, but no coherent sound came from him.

"Oh! I understand!" Kaylee laughed. "You poor thing. Nobody showed you how to work the sonic cleaner, and you're afraid you'll look a fool if you have to ask."

Simon sighed in relief. "Oh, yes. Yes, that's it exactly. I don't know how to... er..." What had she said? Sonic cleaner? "The sonic cleaner, yes. You're so good with machines, and I thought that maybe you could... I guess unless it's equipment I've used in the course of my work, I'm a bit lost when it comes to mechanical things."

"Well, come on then," Kaylee tugged at his sleeve, leading him down the corridor. There, just before the entry to the crew bunks was a door that Simon had assumed was a storage closet of some sort. Kaylee kicked and it swung inward, making a ladderway down to the utility hold. Hand on her chest and gesturing with the other, Kaylee bowed slightly. "After you, my dear sir, and I shall instruct you in the proper functioning of the Sona-Kleen Four-Sixty."

Simon went hand over hand, down the steep passage. Jumping down off the penultimate rung, he surveyed the room behind him. The machines were already in use. On the tall folding table sat Jayne Cobb.

Naked as the day he was born.

But a damn sight hairier.

Simon squeaked.

"Hey, Jayne," said Kaylee.

"Hey, Kaylee." Jayne only glanced up briefly from the synthpaper on which he was laboriously writing.

Simon's mouth hung slightly ajar, and his eyebrows seemed to be attempting to leave his forehead by traveling up and over his scalp. The hair... it just seemed to go on... and on... down to...

"Simon here needs someone to show him how to work the cleaner. I thought I might..." She smirked a corner of her mouth and gestured towards the door with her head.

"What?"

"Well, maaaaaybe," Kaylee drawled, "you could go and find some fresh skivvies in your quarters and I could have a chance to show Simon how to Put Things In and Take Them Out Again?" She gave an exaggerated wink behind Simon's back.

"Can't. They're all in the cleaner." Jayne noticed Simon's discomfiture, grinned, and jumped down from the table, facing the two of them full frontal. He was proud of his prodigious equipage.

"Well, go wear mine, gorramit!" Kaylee stuck her fists on her hips and just barely refrained from stamping her foot. Jayne surely was the densest idjit this side of the black.

"Alright, don't go all testy. I'm goin'." Jayne shouldered his body past them both in the narrow confines of the laundry room. As he passed Kaylee, he leaned in and stage whispered to her, "Seems to me that your boyfriend might be a bit sly for me. You should watch out I don't steal him away from ya."

Simon glanced down in horror at the slight tenting of his trousers. "I'm not... I didn't... I mean..."

Kaylee stuck her tongue out at Jayne. "He was like that, before. When it was just me talking him up."

Jayne just smiled with all those millions of teeth, and climbed away up the ladder. Simon's eyes stayed on the sight a bit longer than they strictly should have.

"Excuse me?" Kaylee interjected. "If you're finished examining the ass-pimples on your furry-cheeked boyfriend, Dr. Tam, I can show you how to get rid of that annoying ring-around-the-collar."

"Hmmmm?"

Eventually, after much technical explanation of the machinery's workings, Simon allowed her fingers to quest after the buttons on his shirt.

And eventually, his laundry was made clean.

~~~~~~~~

Mal stood behind Wash at the pilot's seat, gazing out at the stars. He twitched as a clank of metal on metal resounded through the ship. "Zoe," he asked, "What's eatin' our mechanic?" Another crash of tools into a bin was heard from the far end of Serenity. Zoe, seated next to her husband at the con, gently took her booted feet off the control panels and curled them under her. Another clang; she sighed a little.

"Simon," was her terse reply.

"The word 'eating' is here in the rarely-used sense: 'not choosing to eat,'" Wash interjected.

Mal snorted. "Kaylee's a nice enough morsel, but the good doctor do seem to suffer from a serious case of girl-blind. I s'pose time will tell."

Zoe shook her head, "If I had a crystal ball that could tell me where this one will end, I'd let you know, Captain."

"I'm just hopin' there ain't too high a price for it."

~~~~~~~~

Dear Mother,

I have begun to find a rhythm to my work here. The companion was the only one to have had a reasonable medical history with which to begin. I've finally got everyone up to date on their immunizations, dental hygeine is improving, and my rudimentary attempts to accomplish full bloodwork on the entire crew have shown them to be in remarkable health, considering the conditions out here. I just may manage to keep them all alive, at least until they blow themselves up or something.

I have even learned how to work some of the basic housekeeping devices on board this ship. So much for my prized surgeon's hands. I actually broke a nail, yesterday. It seems not to have become infected.

I seem to have attracted the romantic interest of the young lady who is the ship's mechanic

I have become enamoured of a girl here

Kaylee likes me. I think.

Affectionately,

S.

~~~~~~~~

 

Dear Mother,

I hope you are well. I think on you often and hope Maddy has gotten better some.

I have found the hat to be quite comfortable and I wear it lots.

I did Kaylee a favor and so she folded my laundry for me but she didn't fold it like you. It made me think on how nice it would be to have you here to fold my shirts for me. It ain't safe out here though. You best stay downside. Better for Maddy's lungs too.

Love,

Your Son, Jayne Cobb.

~~~~~~~~

Simon was crossing the catwalk to return to the infirmary, when he was struck by the tableau below him. Jayne sat on a metal crate in the cargo hold, polishing an enormous weapon. Each loving stroke seemed to bring him pleasure, as if he were stroking something more than cold, hard steel. Slowly, Jayne's head rose from his task, and his eyes met Simon's.

"What are you lookin' at?" Jayne growled.

"Oh! Oh, nothing" Simon hurried on his way.

Jayne grinned.

Kaylee ducked away, back into the dining area.

~~~~~~~~

Inara's couch was soft. Inara's dress was soft. Inara's shoulder was soft.

Kaylee cried, surrounded by soft things.

Everything about Inara was soft, except her eyes. "No, it's not fair, honey. Yes, he should have told you. But it's possible," she drew a deep breath, "...no, it's likely that he hasn't any idea of it, himself."

"How can you not know how you fancy folk?" Kaylee was a mess of snot, eyes red-rimmed and puffy, lip trembling.

"Some people just take a long time to understand themselves. Some people spend their whole lives listening to what other people tell them they are, and they never listen to their own voice inside."

Kaylee sniffed mightily. "My voice inside tells me you're a good friend, 'Nara."

Inara smiled, and her softness lifted into her eyes. "You are fortunate. "You are the sort of person who has never had much trouble hearing that inner voice, Kaylee."

"Oh, I've made a mess of your dress!" Kaylee cried. "Oh, and this is awful, I'm sorry..." She dabbed at the red and gold fabric with the sleeve of her filthy coveralls. "Oh! I've made it worse!"

Inara grinned with mischief. "Maybe you should take me down to the utility hold, and see if we can't get the stain out." She waggled her eyebrows suggestively.

Both women laughed.

~~~~~~~~

Dear Mother,

I was sorry to hear tell of Maddy's dog. Least it won't fart under the dinner table no more. Give Maddy a punch from me, and say I said get over it. Gorram cur bit me last time I was home anyhow.

If I stop sending you credits, it's cuz that crazy doc has finally cracked and done killed me and the whole crew in our sleep with some medical drug thing. He's been following me round the ship and looking at me in a funny way for near a week.

Love,

Your Son, Jayne Cobb.

~~~~~~~~

Dear Mother,

I am a homosexual.

I hope you aren't too disapppointed. I know you wanted me to have grandchildren for you.

Apprehensively,

S.

p.s. I think this is the first time I've been really glad that you'll probably never hear from me again.

~~~~~~~~

Simon lay back on his bunk, reading the entry on foot parasites. There were so many obscure little diseases, out here on the rim. The door was flung open, and Jayne entered.

"I think maybe you got something to say to me." Jayne boomed.

Simon's mouth hung open and after a moment's pause, he said, "Do you know, there's this thing that humans do, something customary when entering private quarters? It's called a knock. Have you heard of it?"

"If I do some knocking, it's gonna be your head," Jayne replied, and shut the door behind himself.

"To what do I owe the honor of this visit, pray tell?"

"Why you been acting all creepified and strange? I've just about reached my limit with the sneakin' and peekin'."

"Peeking? I..." Simon stammered, "I... I don't know what you mean."

"Every gorram time I look up, there's your little beadies, staring me down. It's enough to disconcert a feller. You gonna kill me in my sleep, or do something else?"

"Uh... something else, I suppose." Simon's eyes were wide.

"Good. Cuz I'll squash you like a bug in a fair fight."

"I don't want to fight you, Jayne." Simon steeled himself. Now or never. "I don't want to hurt you at all."

Jayne cocked his head to one side. "Well, what in hades do you want?"

"Promise not to laugh?"

"No."

~~~~~~~~

River's bare feet made barely a sound as she tread like a cat over the dining room floor. Her head tilted left and right, as she listened to something in the distance.

"That's right.
...pad pad pad...

"That's good.

...pad pad pad...

"That's the way.

...pad pad pad...

"Yes."

Book watched warily from the galley. "Everything all fine with you, River?"

"The wages of sin is the Little Death, did you know?"

"That's not quite how the scripture reads," the shepherd replied, "but I know the passage to which you refer, yes."

"But the gift of God is that Eternal Life seems to go on... and on... and on..."

"Your interpretation of the passage is... interesting."

"Somewhere on this ship there are people having sex."
 

 

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