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Doe Eyes

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A "Firefly" story
Written by Alison M. DOBELL
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It was late.  The Captain was enjoying a rare moment of deep content sitting on the catwalk with Inara drinking tea.  Below them were several head of cattle they were shipping for Lord Warwick Harrow.  Mal smiled.  They spoke for a while, a wonderful feeling of peace and calm descending between the two with an easy if rare grace.  Finally it was time to part.  Mal said goodnight to Inara and walked into the commons area to wash out his cup before going off to his bunk.  The only one in the room was Jayne.  Everyone else had gone to bed.  Jayne watched Mal rinse out the cup and leave it upside down on the kitchen drainer.  As he turned to leave the mercenary smirked at him.

"Huh, d'ya have to fall in love with everybody who makes doe eyes at ya?"

Mal stopped in his tracks and stared at Jayne.  Surely he could not mean Inara?  "Who says I'm in love?  Ain't in love with nobody."

Jayne was not having any of it.  "Just 'cause she talks soft to ya."

The Captain sighed.  "Jayne, I ain't in love."  He paused.  "What d'ya mean I fall in love with everyone who makes doe eyes at me?"  He frowned.  "DOE eyes?"

Wisely, Jayne did not mention Simon.  Most of the crew thought Mal let the siblings stay because of River but Jayne knew better even if the Captain did hide his feelings behind a crusty curmugeony exterior.  At heart the man was just a plain old softy.  Not that Jayne would dare to say so.  "Ya know what I mean."

Mal was really confused now.  "Ain't in love with you."

Jayne snorted.  "Don't give ya no call to make fun a me."

The Captain stared at him.  An incredulous look on his face.  "Doe eyes, huh?"

"Yep."  Said Jayne, his smirk widening.

Before he could say anything further the mercenary waltzed off leaving the Captain watching Jayne go with an odd look on his face, eyes suddenly real soft and thoughtful.

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