1. Homeland Security
Jayne never actually felt useless on board Serenity. He served a purpose and he served it pretty damn well if he did say so himself.
But on days when he’s not feeling at his best, he relives the time that gorramn Fed shot Kaylee and he’d had to help in the engine room. He hadn’t known his ass from the g-line but he’d helped and they’d gotten away from those Reavers without a second to lose.
He always protected the crew; he was the muscle, that’s what muscle was there for. But that time, it hadn’t been just the crew he was helping, he’d been helping Serenity, too. His home.
It’d felt damn shiny and when those Reavers had eaten their dust, he’d put everything he had into his triumphant shout.
2. Heroics is Heroics
Jayne had a bad feeling about this planet. As usual, Mal wasn’t takin’ him serious and all he’d said when Jayne had voiced his concern was, “That’s why we’re going to do this job fast and get the hell off this rock. Sooner you get to work the sooner we can leave.”
Sure enough, he heard voices coming from the bay.
“Okay, these Fireflies have lotsa cargo holds. My dad told me about ‘em, there should be one over there.”
“Hey, look how much stuff’s in here! We could make a fortune!”
“Keep it down, I think some of the crew’s still here. We’ll just take a little bit at a time and-”
Jayne stepped out on the catwalk and aimed Vera down at the would-be thieves. “How’s about you two get gone?”
The thieves turned pale and bolted for the door. They collided with Mal and Zoe and squeaked. The Captain was so surprised he didn’t make a grab for them and they got away.
“Why the hell were kids roaming around my ship?” Mal asked, bewildered.
“Tryin’ t’ find something worth more than a bit o’ piss,” Jayne said and added with more than a hint of pride in his tone, “I chased ‘em off, though.”
Mal and Zoe shared one of their smirky looks. “You were able to handle ‘em all by your lonesome, Jayne? My, what a hero you are.”
Jayne scowled. “Even runty bandits is still bandits! Weren’t for me, they woulda taken the ship apart!”
Mal rolled his eyes. “Fine, you want a medal?”
“Would be nice.”
3. Save the Reader, Save the Ship
River slumped back against the pilot’s seat. “Mmmph.” Her head fell to the side, eyes staring sightlessly forward. “Oh.”
Her hands tightened their grip on the steering and she screamed.
Jayne popped out from under the console, his mouth glistening. “Dammit girl, someone’s gonna hear you!”
She shook her head helplessly, panting. “Apologies.”
His features softened into a smile. “That take the edge off, pretty girl? You’re not gonna crash us into the first rock we find?”
Through the afterglow, she gave him one of her looks. “My sexual frustration will not be the end of us, no. You just saved the ship, Jayne.”
Jayne wiped the back of his hand over his mouth and dropped a kiss on her forehead before leaving the room. “Shiny.”
4. Hero by Default
Mal’s plans usually went south. That was no surprise. But this time, it didn’t so much go south as go crashing and burning downwards in a fiery wreckage of good intentions. How the hell were any of them supposed to know that the town had been taken over by that gang liked to rob honest smugglers?
But River had known. She’d sensed something was off the second they’d landed. And she’d been the first hit. Then Mal, then Zoe. Jayne had taken a bullet to the shoulder but he’d dragged River back on board, Zoe supporting Mal though she’d been hit in the stomach herself.
Doc was seeing to all of them right now. It looked bad for Mal; he’d been hit right through the eye, Zoe would probably live and River… she’d been shot right through her chest. He could see it happening again and again in his mind’s eye: One second his girl was standing there looking around with those big, worried eyes of hers, the next she was flying backward as the bullet met its target, hair in her face. Had she looked surprised? Frightened? Pained?
All those injured and needing Doc in the infirmary and Kaylee in the engine room, it was up to Jayne to fly them out of there. Had to save everyone and the ship from the gang outside trying to force their way in. He had experience flying, yes, but he wasn’t River and he sure as hell wasn’t Wash.
Despite the pain in his shoulder and his rusty pilot skills, Jayne flew them to safety despite losing consciousness a few times. When they were safely out in the black, Jayne set the autopilot (it took a few tries to find the right switch) and stumbled out of his seat to have Doc fix his shoulder.
“Saved the gorramn day,” he muttered. “Who’da thunk it.”
He made it to the infirmary in time to watch Simon close River’s eyes, a look of deep sorrow in his face.
5. You're a Hero in Her Eyes
“You’re getting better at braiding my hair.”
“Well, I been practicin’ some with your dolls.”
“I don’t have any dolls!”
“I know, I’m just teasin’ ya.”
“Well… I don’t play with dolls!”
“I know, little bit, now hush. How’s that look?”
“Your ma did it better but I-”
“You’re trying, I know. It’s been five years now.”
“Do you still want bloody vengeance and all that?”
“Yeah, but… it don’t seem worth it anymore.”
“Don’t look at me like that! I aint saying she isn’t worth it, just that you got a lot t’ lose if I took up that kind o’ mission and failed.”
“You wouldn’t fail.”
“I ain’t as young as I used to be, bit.”
“And you may think you’re all grown up, Serenity, but you still need your daddy.”
“I do. It’s just sometimes… Daddy?”
“When I grow up, can I go kill the hundans who killed Mommy?”
“Long as you take your brother with you for backup and don’t let Mal plan nothin’.”