ensemble; Rated G
Difficulty was a euphamism for trouble, often the shootin' or otherwise violent kind. Takes place toward the end of the pilot episode. What if Jayne had decided the money was enough.

The Fed was dead, his body fodder for the buzzards on Whitefall. Mal had the money from Patience. Wash -- with help from Kaylee, Jayne and Shepherd Book -- had outmaneuvered the Reavers. It seemed the crew and passengers of Serenity would live to see another day.

Simon tucked in River, Inara was doctoring the Shepherd, Kaylee was still recuperating from her gut shot, and Zoe was busying tearing Wash's clothes off.

In the cockpit it was a stare-down between Mal and Jayne. The captain finally broke the silence.

"You shot me!"

"I weren't tryin' to kill ya," Jayne explained. "If I'd wanted to kill ya," he shrugged his shoulders, "you'd be dead."

"So you decided the money was worth it?" The blood on Mal's lawman-white shirt had dried a dark crimson: there hadn't been time to change. Shoot, there'd barely been time for Simon to declare his wound a "nick" and determine that stitches weren't needed.

"Well, it was a lot of money," Jayne confessed. He thought again of the figure the Fed had offered him. When he realized Mal remained silent, he hurriedly continued, "I was just tryin' to put ya out of commission for a spell."

"Your aim is off."

"It wasn't 'Vera'."

"So while I was out of. . . commission, you said, the Fed would escape with the girl and her brother."

"Somethin' like that." Jayne smiled friendly-like, knowing by the captain's stance he wasn't out of the woods yet. "'Sides, I was gonna split the money with ya."


"More like 70-30."

Mal pointed to himself. "70?"

Jayne shook his head. "Nah, 30."

Mal stood there for a moment, thinking. "Hunh."


Copyright September 2005 by Cait N.

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