Jayne finds Aubrey in the Sidecar, powered-up, visor on.
"Hey. What are you doing?" She can't tell because the overhead POV screen is blank.
He keeps doing whatever it is he's doing. He doesn't look toward her, and his fingers move across the controls fumblingly. "Teach is gone. Looks like we gotta teach ourselves anything we wanna know."
"You saw what that thing did to Mat. You're going to get yourself killed."
"Nah. This didn't do that to him. Roar-Sol did that. And I ain't goin' anywhere near Roar-Sol. No way. I can't even believe Teach would put us anywhere near them. He's smart about some things, but really, really stupid sometimes."
She doesn't say anything for a moment. "Why did you come here?"
"I was just foolin' around with the Sidecar."
"No." She stamps her foot. "I mean HERE. With Punter."
"I wanna be a cowboy, of course." He finally pulls the goggles off and looks at her.
"Your folks just let you come 'be a cowboy'? Don't they know how dangerous it is?"
Aubrey flushes. "Well, they don't exactly know everything. I just told 'em that I was going to be taking some classes and that I needed some money for the courses. They don't care what I do. The hard part was getting Teach to let me in."
"But why do you want to be a cowboy?"
"I dunno. What else am I gonna do? I don't wanna be like my dad, always pushin' papers around. I want to make stuff work and give people thrills and stuff."
"I dunno. Maybe." Aubrey seems unconcerned about his lack of focus. He grabs her hand in excitement. "No, more than that. I just want to live, I want some excitement. Don't you want to live?"
Jayne lets him hold her hand for a moment. She says slowly, looking at him or through him, "Yes." Then she pulls her hand away.
Aubrey has a reckless enthusiasm that builds and builds. It's kicking in now. "Hey, why don't you and me grab this stuff and take off. Teach ain't coming back. Rusty's a loon, and Marco's a geek. Let's get outta here and set up our own shop. We can stop being wannabes and get on with it."
So quiet, he almost doesn't hear it through the rush of whatever he's doing in there, she says, "I'm only fifteen." It takes him a second to realize that it's not an answer to his proposal. She's thinking about something else.
He knows she's smart, and he's realizing for the first time that he thinks she's pretty, even with that thing in her head. He doesn't want her to go away, now that he's finally got a chance to talk with her. He's only heard ridicule from her, a withering scorn had cowed the other guys into submission (and seemed to amuse Punter). Now that she's not biting his head off, he wants the conversation to last. "So what about you? Why do you want to be a cowboy? And what's that thing in your head?"