Exaggeration and Blank Verse
First Aid For Beginners
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It's a good thing, having a doctor around.

Not necessarily Simon- Simon is an annoyance and a danger and a risk; there is no percentage to Simon- but having a doctor on board, yeah, that's good. Jayne is aware of this. More than happy to admit it.

Without a doctor, Zoe would've died after the fire on Serenity. And Mal, too, from the bullet in his gut. Hell, without a doctor, Jayne himself would be dead or worse- paralyzed, a word that brings a shudder- after the cock-up with the Lassiter. Wash, too, after the thing with Niska...and Mal...hell, admit it, without a doc they'd all have been dead once or twice over.

So having a doctor around is good. But there's a drawback, too, one Jayne wouldn't admit to anybody in the 'verse, not even if they strung him up by his heels and started lighting things on fire.

Down in the engine room, in one of the little storage lockers that the designers of the Firefly sprinkled around like presents, was a banged-up, grease-covered little metal box with a flip latch. Kaylee's little first aid kit, a box of bandages and tape and skin-sealant for burns and the like. Common-sense stuff for the little injuries that you picked up in an engine room. Split knuckles, small burns, shallow gashes. Nothing big.

Now the fact of the matter was that while Kaylee was some kind of gorram genius with the machines, she wasn't that big a girl. Some stuff down in the engine room was heavy. Some of it was high-up. Some of it was just plain awkward, and she needed an extra pair of hands to hold things still or aim the flashlight or whatever. For the tall and the heavy, Jayne got drafted to help out, and after a while he wound up helping with the awkward as well. And after they finished patching up whatever part of Serenity was busted or bleeding that time, they'd sit down on the worn-out flooring with the little metal box between them and patch up each other. Didn't talk about it, just did it. What was Mal and Zoe's old army term- comrades. They fixed each other up like comrades.

With a doctor on board, especially a pretty-boy doc like Simon, Kaylee don't need no pressure bottle of skin-sealant or double bandage with tape. She can just go up to the infirmary and bat her eyelashes and he'll break out a skin-mender for her, or some fancy bandage that holds itself in place, or some other medical marvel he learned on Osiris. And she can giggle and tell him he's a gorram genius and they can make cow eyes at each other for an hour while the rest of the crew tries not to throw up.

Course that's the doctor's job, fixing up Kaylee's bumps and bruises. Jayne isn't no medic. Oughta be glad he doesn't have to mess with skin-seals and patching up wounds anymore. And when he gets banged up himself, it's better, being able to go to a real doc instead of having Kaylee try to get anything tight enough to do any good using only her tiny little hands.

Course he doesn't miss the feel of those little hands against his skin, or the way she would bite her lip while she lined up the angle of the skin-seal bottle so she wouldn't waste any by splashing it around the burn. Course he doesn't miss how soft her skin was under his own calloused fingertips, or the dizzy feel of concentrating half his brain on her breathing, so he can back off right away if she makes the littlest hiss of pain. He doesn't miss any of that at all.

And he's not relieved at all on that night when she comes tapping at the door to his bunk, or when she slides down the ladder and he sees that she's got that old metal box in one hand, and she's cradling the other carefully against her side. "Hey," she says, all casual-like but blinking her eyes like she feels shy. "Think you could help me out with this?"

It's annoying, that's what it is. Ain't his job. "Why don't you go see the doc?" he asks her, frowning at how sulky his voice comes out.

She shrugs, glancing all around his quarters but not looking at him straight-on. "Oh, Simon, he'd get all upset and give me stitches or something, and a lecture on being more careful. It ain't that bad, just a scratch. Just needs to be wrapped up good and tight, you know?"

"Lemme look." She holds out her hand, and he studies it without touching it. Deep, but not too deep. Not deep enough to worry about tetanus. "You clean it good?"

"Course." She sets the box down on his bed and hits her thumb against the latch. "But maybe you oughta put some iodine on it anyway."

She'd always cuss under her breath when he put iodine on her cuts, real quiet like she thought a few curse words would offend him. But she'd squeeze his free hand with her own just as hard as she could, cause she knew she couldn't hurt him. All her strength was still just a mild press against his palm.

He nodded at the bed next to him. "Sit down already." She smiled at him, bringing the sunshine into his bunk, and he turned to dig into the box before his face could say anything it shouldn't. "This ain't my job, you know," he muttered, pulling out the iodine and cotton swaps and bandaging tape. "Next time you take your little cuts and bruises to the doc, you hear?"

"Course, Jayne," she says, all sweetness. "I'm real sorry to bug you."

"'Sall right," he grumbles, bending his head over her hand so she can't see that he's smiling. "This is gonna sting, now- go ahead and holler if you want to, and take a good hold of my hand-"

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