Fruit ain't for target practice

Kaylee's in the kitchen, arranging the quinces in a bowl to put on the table, when Jayne walks in. He spies the fruit, and before she can stop him, grabs one, asking, "Who brought the apples?" just before he bites into it.

It's kinda funny to see his eyes bug out when he tastes what's in his mouth. Almost funny enough to make up for him spitting the mouthful on the table. The table Kaylee'd just wiped down and set up nicely.


"What the hell is this?" He's looking at the quince like it's some kind of evil he ain't never contemplated before.

"It's a quince. 'Nara sent them." It'd been real exciting for Kaylee to have a package waiting for her at the mail drop, especially when she'd found fruit inside. And a letter. It's been months since Inara left Serenity, and this is the first letter she's sent. At least, the first one Kaylee actually got.

"It tastes like shit. Why'd 'Nara go and send us somethin' like that?"

Kaylee just sighs. "They gotta be cooked. Said so in her note. Cooked with sugar, first. Otherwise, they're too sour." Inara had sent the sugar too, and Kaylee knows this is 'cause sugar's expensive. A real treat. Kaylee's got that sugar hidden away good, 'cause she don't trust the others not to use it for tea, or anything else. Jayne'd probably just stick his hand right in the bag and grab some.

She ain't going to cook the quinces until tomorrow, when it's her turn to make lunch. Mal, Zoe, and Wash should be back by then from the crime they're doing right now. Delicate crime, Mal'd said, so that mean Jayne couldn't go. She figures stewed quinces and sugar will help make lunch real special, a way to celebrate the job going well. 'Cause it will go well, it's gotta.

Simon's sitting in the corner, reading, but he looks up long enough to say to Jayne, "Quinces are considered a delicacy on Sihnon. Inara was just being nice."

Grunting, Jayne looks down at the quince still in his hand, and then – Kaylee can almost see what he's thinking before he does. But she ain't fast enough to stop him. He throws the quince, and it hits Simon square on the forehead, then falls to the floor, rolling until it hits the wall. And that ain't right. Jayne might not like Simon none, but – "Jayne! We don't waste fruit!"

Maybe her voice tells him how annoyed she is, 'cause he kinda looks sorry, maybe, for a couple of seconds. But he says, "That ain't a fruit. Fruit's apples or oranges. Not some ruttin' sour rich folk thing. Next time, you tell 'Nara to send apples."

Then he turns, walks out the door, and Kaylee's glad. Least he won't try throwing any of the ones that are left. But he walks back in almost right away, long enough to look at Simon, and say, "Yer head makes for good target practice. Anytime you want, come on down to the cargo bay, I got other things I could throw at it." And then he's gone again.

Kaylee turns to Simon, suddenly feeling pretty bad. She forgot all about his head, in her worry for the quinces. And them quinces are hard.

But they'll make a real nice finish to lunch.

Characters: Kaylee, Jayne, Simon
Summary: Quince-fic.

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