BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

ARTEMISPRIME

Lost and Found
Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Jayne goes to the Southdown Abbey. Set post-BDM.


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 1282    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

A/N: This is a "bridging" story for my Book series (God Indeed, Men of God, Something Unworldly and The Devil Lost) and my Jayne series (The Way, Judas and Mercy, Redemption of the Broken Vessel and The Return of St. Christopher).

This one can stand alone.

Disclaimer: all things Firefly/Serenity are the property of Whedon et al. I'm not making any money off this, just playing with his toys.

Not beta'd.

Persephone had never looked so good to Mal. He was hypnotised by it as Serenity took silent orbit around the planet. Truth was, he rather enjoyed seeing worlds from the Black. Everything was so simple, peaceful really. No politics, no bar fights. Just land and water. Really all a man needed.

“Sex,” River added.

“What?” Mal blinked and shook his head, leaning to the controls in the process.

“Man needs sex. So does Woman.”

The Captain scratched under his eye and cocked a grin. “Don’t think yer brother’d much care for this line of ponderin’.” He ventured a look to his pilot and was grateful that she didn’t seem to be implying that he sex her there.

She laughed. “Not you.” She flipped a switch. “Someone younger.”

Mal was unsure if he should be relieved or insulted. Relief seemed safer.

Twenty minutes later, Serenity was docked at Eavesdown and the crew was happy for the dirt, even if it was noisy and smelled...colourful. Mal marched down the ramp with Zoe at his side, while Simon and River remained on board. Until the Captain knew for certain if the arrest warrants were still active on the brother and sister duo, it was safer to hole up in the ship. Simon had given a specific list of medicines and other medical supplies that the ship was very much needing.

Mal scratched his ear. “Seems awfully long, Doctor.” He looked to Simon. “You sure we need all this expensive stuff?”

“If the anaesthesia is too much then you could just pick up a stick so you can bite down on it the next time I remove a bullet or repair internal bleeding.”

“Wasn’t lookin’ for sarcasm, Doc.” Mal huffed.

Simon pointed at the page. “I’ve written them in order of importance so if you can’t acquire it all, the first four are the most crucial.” He pulled back his hand. “Though I would be most appreciative if you could find number seven.”

Mal smirked. “I’ll see what I can manage. Zoe.” He turned to his first mate and the pair strode out into the market.

Simon turned from the ramp to see Jayne lumbering down the steps, his cane slowing him down to one step at a time. Doctor Tam wanted to caution the man to be careful, but Simon Tam liked having his nose just where it was, thank-you very much.

With a grimace, Jayne landed at the foot of the stairs and found Simon watching him. “Don’t aim t’be needin’ yer services. Ain’t gonna fall.”

“You’re knee is still vulnerable and fragile,” Simon answered. “I’d feel more comfortable if you were using the crutch. It’s take more of the weight off your leg.”

Jayne shrugged. “Ain’t goin’ far and the cane feels more on better.” And that was true, especially since Kaylee had quietly engraved a small flower around the handle, reminiscent of the one’s in the galley and over her bunk door. He never said anything on it, but he liked the idea of his hand wrapping around Kaylee’s design. Sorta like wrapping around her.

The mercenary shifted his stance. “Mal gone?”

Simon nodded. “Just now, with Zoe.”

Jayne grunted and pulled on the strap of the pack over his shoulder.

“I don’t know if you should be carrying that.” Simon pointed to the pack. “The extra weight might not be good for your leg.”

“Yer sister makes me carry more’n this up and down those stairs every day. This ain’t a problem.”

Simon’s eyes widened. Jayne was actually doing what he was told and doing regular physiotherapy? And let himself be ordered around by River? Yep, he was knocking on insanity’s door.

“Best close yer trap ‘fore the bugs get in.”

Simon closed his mouth then made for the infirmary, muttering something about ice and hell. Jayne had to smirk at the discomfort of the doctor, but didn’t think on it long. Simon had done a miracle on the big man and Jayne wasn’t ever going to forget it.

“Hey!” Kaylee called from the catwalk and bounded down. “You ready?” She pointed to the bag on Jayne’s back. “Whatcha got there?”

“Told ya. I got something needs doin’.” He paused before reaching a hand to touch her hair. “You go have fun in yer junk pile and I’ll meet up like we said.”

The mechanic eyed him, but said nothing more. They’d had this discussion days earlier, when the Captain had said that they would be stopping off at Persephone for a new job. She had wanted to know why she couldn’t come along, but Jayne had been adamant, something that surprised the woman. Sometimes, he was more stubborn than her. She sulked a bit, half-heartedly played a game of cards with Inara, but found herself smiling again when he said that she needed to trust him and just let him be on the subject of what needed doing.

“Don’t forget,” she whispered as she reached up for a kiss.

They walked together out into the hustle of the docks, but split shortly after, Kaylee finding her way easily and quickly to the local junk yard.

Jayne walked the opposite direction, his knee sore, but not painful. He noted, with a bit of sadness, that folks didn’t move quite as fast nor further enough out of his way. Had been like that the last four places the ship landed. It seemed that a man with an obvious physical impediment didn’t warrant the same respect of personal space that a looming mercenary did.

Though the large red gash from brow to jaw did give a few looks of revulsion and side steps.

Shutting away the self-pity, Jayne stood straight at the gate before him. He scanned the small walkway beyond it and the heavy door at the end, an entrance to a building Jayne hadn’t seen the likes of.

The building had an awesomeness to it. Made of thick stone, it was only one storey, but commanded respect. It was immaculately kept with gleaming, coloured windows and a tower with a huge, iron bell that sounded the hour. Intricate metalwork adorned the outer walls and was slowly being covered by some type of climbing vine.

Swallowing, Jayne pushed open the gate and ambled to the door. The walkway was surrounded by flowers and bushes. A light scent of something blossoming caught Jayne’s nose and he wondered if Kaylee would like it. A bird chirped causing Jayne to look to the bright sky, the sun not yet hitting mid-day. It was going to be warm.

Climbing the five steps, Jayne repositioned his pack, banged on the door and waited. He fidgeted some when there was no immediate response. He opened his left hand and closed it again, feeling the familiar design imprint into his palm.

He was about to bang again when the door opened. “May I help you?” an old man inquired.

The merc cleared his throat before beginning. “Uh.” His eyes darted around. What in gorramn hell did he want to say? Fuck. He’d practised this all night and now his brain was scramblin’ again.

The wrinkled face of the man was calm and patient. “Why don’t you step inside and let me carry your burden? Perhaps then you can tell me what I can do for you.” He reached for the bag, a warm smile full on his features. It reminded Jayne of Kaylee more than a little.

Jayne coughed again. “No. Uh, that’s okay.” He hiked the strap higher onto his shoulder. He didn’t want the old man to take his burden just yet.

“Then come in.” The man stepped away from the door to allow Jayne to pass.

The door closed and the sound reverberated through the hall.

“Please,” the man now stepped forward, “this way.” He headed towards the centre of the building. “Are you sure I can’t take that from you?”

Jayne shook his head, feeling suddenly reverent and a small boy at the same time.

“My name’s David, by the way.” His smile returned. “Resident door man.” He laughed, his face wrinkling further.

The men walked on until reaching the common area. “Welcome to the Southdown Abbey.” He tilted his head slightly. “Mister...?”

Jayne lowered his pack, staring open-mouthed through the large windows into the centre courtyard. He’d never seen anything of the kind. Such lushness and colour. A shaft of morning light focussed on the largest of the trees, its leaves reflecting their shine. Sorta like what he thought heaven’d be. He smiled. Seemed a treat to get a glimpse of heaven seeing as he reckoned on visiting Lucifer in the end.

David smiled again. “It is beautiful. That tree is over two-hundred years old. And the stained glass has been with us almost nearly as long.” He looked to this big stranger. “Would you like something to eat?”

Jayne barely heard the words and hadn’t realised that he nodded a yes. The space was intoxicating with its purity of spirit. It was wild and well-tended. Filled with life and solitary. He felt an ache in his heart, the same as when Kaylee first came to him that morning some time ago, filled with want and desire for him. He wasn’t a broken mercenary to her. He was someone who took her breath away then gave it back again. All he could do was stand.

“Young man?” The sound was distant, foggy. The touch of a hand to shoulder brought Jayne to the here. “Young man, I would most certainly like to provide you with something to eat, but I’m afraid these bones are too old to carry you over.” He laughed.

“Huh?” Jayne looked down at the small man. “Yeah. Right.” Taking another look through the windows, he hitched his bag again and scowled a bit at himself. Ruttin’ trees made him go all soft.

He followed David into the kitchen and sat where instructed. Fresh fruit was set before him and he felt his mouth water. How long had it been since he’d had a real vittles? He dove into the food without thought to etiquette.

Looking up with a bit of juice falling from his fingers, Jayne hastily dropped his pear and wiped his mouth with his hands. “Sorry,” he muttered. “Forgot my mama’s manners.”

David’s face wrinkled yet again. “No shame in showing joy of something delicious.” He handed over a napkin. “And by the way you tore into that helpless pear, I’d say it’s been quite some time since you’ve had something delicious.”

“Weren’t food that’s as tasty as this. Got me a girl more’n delicious fer my appetites.” He stopped, remembering that he was speaking to a man of God. “Oh, uh, sorry Reverend.” He motioned to his head. “Brain’s a bit fritzed.”

The old man stifled his snort behind a gnarled hand. “Please, just call me David.”

“I’m Jayne.” He reached his hand across the table to shake it with David. “Jayne Cobb.”

David’s eyes lit up. “This is a pleasure. Brother Derrial told us so much about you and your crew.”

Jayne’s eye narrowed. “Yeah?”

The old man nodded. “Oh yes. He wrote us often during his space travels.” He looked away in remembrance. “Hmm. I can still remember when he came to us. That night is as clear as day.” He laughed at his light joke. “The man was a soggy mess.”

Jayne pushed out his leg and resumed eating his food as he listened to David recount the life of Book at the Southdown Abbey, finding comfort in the man’s voice.



Jayne eyed the now empty plate before him, letting David’s last words bounce around in his brain. The man had told a wonderful story about Book’s life at the Abbey that Jayne had felt himself absorbed into it. Looking up and around, he could understand how a place like this might transform a man into something better.

“The Shepherd,” Jayne began, “he, uh...” The suddenly fascinating stone ceiling had various religious figures carved into them. Jayne worked his jaw and scratched at his scar. “He was a good man.” He looked to David.

The old man nodded. “We were all saddened to hear of his passing.” The man waited a moment. “But he’s with God now, of that I’m sure.”

Jayne nodded. “Couldn’t reckon him bein’ no place else.” He looked to his plate and the remains of the light meal. “Me and him, we was friends.”

David smiled. “I’m not surprised. The way Derrial wrote of you, I think he found something of a kindred spirit.”

“A what?”

The Shepherd took a breath. “A kinship. Someone he could understand without words.”

Jayne huffed. “Words an’ me ain’t ever got along. Not the smartest in the ‘verse.”

David laughed. “It’s not about intelligence, Mr. Cobb.” He leaned back into his chair and Jayne swore that the man “grew”, filling the seat with a presence that Jayne couldn’t rightly describe. “It’s about acceptance. Knowing who you are, what you’ve done and what you can do.” He crossed his arms. “I expect that Derrial saw a bit of you in himself. And saw you for what you could be, if you desired it.”

The room was silent, save for the birds’ chirping echoing in the large room.

“I got his stuff,” Jayne finally said and hefted the bag from the chair next to him. “What we could find leastways.” He laid it on the table. “Didn’t know who t’give it to. Figured you guys was as much family as he had.”

David leaned forward, grasping the pack gently. “Thank-you.” He opened it at the gesture of Jayne. It wasn’t much, actually, just a spare Shepherd shirt and collar and a small box that had survived the Operative’s attack on Haven.

“He went down fightin’,” Jayne added, thinking it appropriate to say. “Them hwoon duns didn’t get away.”

David nodded, fingering the white collar.

“I mean, well, he went down protectin’ folk. Did all he could.” Jayne pushed a hand across the back of his neck, feeling the emotion of Book’s death over again.

The old man nodded again as he opened the box, hoping to find something in it. It was empty. He slumped.

“Lookin’ fer somethin’ in particular?”

David lifted his head and smiled lightly. “Just hoping, really.”

“Maybe we got it on the ship,” Jayne offered.

The man’s face softened. “Oh, I imagine it’s long gone now. Besides, Shepherds aren’t supposed to have material possessions.”

Jayne lifted a sceptical brow.

“It was a necklace,” David said. “Of St. Christopher. It was a parting gift by one of the Brothers to Derrial.” He chuckled. “It’s silly, I suppose. It’s just a bit of silver.”

Jayne swallowed hard. “He gave it to me. It’s my fault, Shepherd, that it’s gone.” With the quizzical expression on the old man’s face, the mercenary relayed how the necklace was lost. For a moment, David’s features darkened and Jayne swore he heard a curse, but it passed quickly.

“I’m sorry it didn’t protect you.” David motioned to Jayne’s scar and leg.

“Well maybe that one didn’t, but this one sure will.” Jayne rolled up his sleeve to reveal the tattoo of St. Christopher on his right shoulder. “Pretty good, huh?” He beamed with pride.

David smiled once more. “Not that I approve of tattoos, but it does seem appropriate.” He gazed down at the effects. “Thank-you for returning these and telling me of what happened to our Brother. You don’t know how much we appreciate it.”

Jayne shrugged, not much caring for the praise. “Weren’t nothin’.”

“No, son,” he clasped Jayne’s hand with a strength that surprised the mercenary. “It’s everything.”



The men parted shortly afterwards with a promise to visit the next time Jayne was at Eavesdown. Taking a backward glance, the merc felt as though something was filling inside him, giving him a lightness of spirit. He knew the feeling. It was there every time Kaylee spent the night with him and his arms enveloped her. It was there when she grinned across the dinner table. It was there when she touched his face, her eyes threatening to break on remembering how he’d been so close to dying.

Breathing deep, Jayne left the Abbey grounds and made his way to the small café he was to meet Kaylee at. As he approached, he could see Kaylee with her arms crossed over her chest and an expression of worry and anger heavy on her features. She looked over and spotted him. He came to the table and sat with a groan, his knee not liking the walking mixed with extended sitting.

“You alright?” Kaylee asked.

He nodded. “Yeah.”

“Good.” She pushed against the table. “Don’t you ever be late for me again, Jayne Cobb! You hear? A body gets all sorts a notions about kidnappings and killings and the like. And this body’s had quite enough. Dong ma?”

Jayne tilted his head. This wasn’t like Kaylee, getting all yelly and irritated. “You worried ‘bout me?”

“‘Course I was worried.” The woman sighed and sat back. She bit her bottom lip and softened. “That so hard to believe?”

“Just ain’t used to it is all.” Jayne shifted in the small wooden chair, feeling mighty awkward.

Kaylee grinned. “Ya should be by now. Whole ship worried plenty on ya when you come back.” She lightly held his fingers between her own. “Somethin’ you know very well.” Her expression changed a little.

“Maybe ya gotta remind me some. The brain... it comes an’ goes.” His eyes narrowed into that look the woman knew very well.

“So.” Kaylee smirked and settled back into her seat. “Where’d ya go that took away your sense of time and left me here all alone?”

Looking to her eyes, Jayne felt the rush of lightness. Taking a deep breath, he began.

End

COMMENTS

Tuesday, August 29, 2006 6:36 PM

DESERTGIRL


I am not a big Jaylee fan but this is a great story. Jayne and Book were kindred spirits. This is something a friend would do. I got just a touch teary.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006 7:13 PM

JAYNEISNOTAGIRLSNAME


Really great, i loved the imagery (if thats the right word)

Thursday, August 31, 2006 6:07 AM

HISGOODGIRL


A beautiful tie-in, my friend. and very poigniant. Clearly, Book's respect for the merc was a deeply healing force, as is Kaylee's unconditional love. My favorite of all your stories.


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