Salvage - Epilogue
Thursday, February 8, 2007

Maya. Post-BDM. Mal and Jayne have a little talk (quite near the airlock) ... just finishing off this story here. There is a BIG angsty arc coming up, but not quite yet. Fluff to come first.


Jayne grunted, lowering the bar to his chest then raising it again, exhaling as he did so. His muscles strained, and the sweat stood out on his face as he pumped the weight, once, twice more, before even his body was screaming enough. He managed to get the bar back in its cradle and sit up, his arms trembling with the effort. He wasn’t stupid – he knew he shouldn’t be doing this without a spotter, not with the kind of weights he was using, but there wasn't anyone he could ask. Leastways, not someone who wouldn’t want to talk to him about … things.

“Can’t sleep?” Mal asked, having watched the big man for a good minute before speaking.

“Looks like I ain't the only one,” the mercenary pointed out, glancing up at the captain standing on the catwalk above.

“Not me,” Mal said, walking slowly down the stairs. “Frey’s finding it a bit difficult to drop off at the moment, with Ethan and all. She asked me to get her a soother from the infirmary.” He didn’t add that she’d suggested he go and speak to Jayne on the way, give the big ox a chance to talk.

“She okay?” Jayne asked, pausing as he pulled the towel from around his neck.

“Still getting used to it,” Mal admitted. “Ethan’s good, sleeps through the night, but she’s finding it trying with all the feeding and everything.”

“My Ma had the same with Matty,” Jayne offered. “Used to make my Pa sit up with the baby so she could get some sleep instead of worrying all night.” He wiped his hands and grinned. “Though I’m surprised, now you can get sexing again, that she still can’t sleep.” He paused then added, “If you like I’ll take a turn watching him.”

“Um, thanks,” Mal said, surprised. “I might take you up on that.” He perched his buttocks on a nearby crate. “And sex don’t come into it.” He paused, thinking for a moment. “Well, not much. Mainly she worries she won’t be a good mother.”

“Freya’ll be fine.” Jayne stood up and stretched. “Ain’t never seen one so good at taking the lost under her wing.”

Mal laughed. “Not sure she’s ever seen it quite like that.”

“Well, I'm off to my bunk,” Jayne said, turning to the stairs. “If you wanna work out for a while, be my guest.”

“No, don’t think I feel the urge right now.” Mal watched him go up one step. “Though, before you go, I think we might need to have a quiet chat.”

The big man stopped. “What about, Mal?” he asked with a sinking heart.

“You and River.”

Jayne sighed, a sound that seemed to be dragged right from the soles of his boots. “There ain’t no me and River, Mal.”

“Not sure you’re telling the entire truth there.” Mal moved around enough so he could look at his crewman. “Not with you thinking Zoe said River when she actually said Vera.”

“It ain't what you think.”

“Then why’ve you been growling about like a moose that’s lost its momma ever since Jethro came on board?”

Jayne sat down heavily on the bottom step. “I can’t rightly say.”

“Can’t or won’t?”

The big man looked at his captain. “Mal …”

“Only it seems to me you’re the one who’s finding it difficult not having her about.”

“I got used to her, Mal,” Jayne said, shrugging deeply. “She was always there, whatever I did. Once or twice I even woke in the night to find her in my bunk, just watching me. Got me real creepified, that did. But now she ain't there, ‘n’ I hardly ever see her, it feels like … like a piece of me’s missing.”

“You have any idea how that sounds?” Mal asked softly.

“I know.” Jayne looked down at his hands, the big hands that had killed so many people he could never number them.


He glared back. “I'm more’n twice her age, Mal. I can’t even begin to think of getting involved with her, not like that. But she’s done something to me, put some kinda spell on me, and now I can’t get her outta my brain.”

Mal crossed his arms. “Seems to me age don’t have much to do with love.”

“I ain't said anything about love,” Jayne said quickly, shaking his head hard. “Love don’t come into it. I just … got used to her, is all.”

Mal looked at the big man and sighed inwardly. He hadn’t realised it had gone as far as this, and he should have, but lately all he’d been thinking about was Freya and Ethan. Quite rightly, too, but as captain he should have noticed … “And Jethro?” he asked.

A flash of hostility crossed the other man’s features. “Don’t know what she sees in him,” he grumbled. “Just a panty-waist idiot with a pretty face.”

“I thought that was how you described Simon.”

“Well, the doc’s proved himself once or twice,” Jayne admitted grudgingly. “But that just means now we got two of ‘em. He ain't good enough for her, Mal.”

“He saved our lives.”

“No.” Jayne was unyielding. “Freya did that. If she hadn’t been so all-fired certain 'bout not letting you die, he’d never have come after us.”

“You’re sure about that?”

Jayne looked down at the towel twisted in his hands, like a neck he’d broken once. “Can’t help it if’n I don’t like him.”

“I figured it’s gone past that into pretty much active hatred.”

“I ain't gonna space him if that’s what you’re worried about.”

Mal tried not to smile. “Only if you were planning on hiding from River for the rest of your days, no.”

Jayne looked back up. “Won’t hurt him. Not unless he hurts her.” Now his eyes were dark, certain.

Mal nodded. “Fair enough. And if she decides he’s truly the man she wants?”

“Then …” Jayne paused. “Then I’ll dance at their wedding,” he said unexpectedly. “Only don’t be anticipatin’ me to smile whilst I'm doin’ it.”

“That’s … generous of you.” Mal was taken aback somewhat and he took a moment to pull himself together. “You do realise River wants us to take him on. As a member of the crew.”

“Yeah. I figured that.” Jayne’s head sank deeper into his shoulders.

“And I've decided to give him a cut of the take from this job when we get paid tomorrow.”

The big man’s eyes flared for a moment, then dimmed again. “Guess that’d be fair.”

“Long as you know.”

Jayne nodded. “Look, can I go to bed now? Kinda sleepy.”

“Sure.” Mal watched as the big mercenary climbed to his feet and plodded up the stairs.

At the top catwalk, Jayne stopped. “Just so long as I don’t have to talk to him, I reckon a Shepherd on board ain't gonna hurt,” he said suddenly, his back to the captain. “Even if he ain't certificated.” He hurried through the upper hatch.

Mal was so surprised he sat still for a moment. As much as it pained him to admit it, he actually felt sorry for Jayne. What River had done wasn’t fair, for whatever passed for a reason in her pretty head, and now to turn her attention to someone else … well, Jayne was a man, and even if he didn’t look like it, he had feelings.

Mal stood up. Things’d sure happened oddly in the last few days, and he just hoped tomorrow would be less interesting. Hitching his thumbs into his pockets he headed for the infirmary and the requested soother for Freya. At least there he knew where he stood. Or lay down. With enjoyable regularity, he added to himself, grinning. ---


Thursday, February 8, 2007 11:06 PM


Shiny ending - I really like to see Jayne and Mal interacting like this. Mal as older brother/confidante to Jayne. Gotta admit, I'm a tad worried about the angst you've promised, but I look forward to it - almost as much as I look forward to the fluff!

Thursday, February 8, 2007 11:59 PM


Wow...gotta say I am mighty impressed with what you put down here, Jane0904! This definitely shows a significant evolution between Mal and Jayne if Mal ain't trying to smoke Jayne upside the noggin with a monkey wrench before trying a visit to the airlock when it comes to River...and it shows that both men are savvy enough to know that River's playing a dangerous game, but know that it's her call till something goes wrong badly enough to warrant assistance;)

Really feeling for Jayne right now, I must admit. He knows all the major reasons why hooking up with River is considered a no-no, and that she has interest in another man...but he still can't help but feel like not having her in his life means something is missing. I just hope Jayne can come to realize that Jethro never set out to be an antagonist to Jayne over River's affections...


Friday, February 9, 2007 1:28 AM


I loved this but can't believe this is the epilogue. There is so much still unresolved with River and Jethro, why he is really there for instance. It feels unfinished. And I have this niggling feeling in the back of my skull that while River is flirting and fussing over Jethro they won't end up getting paired together, something even River isn't sure about. So is this the end of this story but with another one starting to complete the tale or will we be left hanging? Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Friday, February 9, 2007 5:16 AM


Oh, darn! I'm getting that 'poor Jayne needs a hug' feeling again. :)

Saturday, February 10, 2007 4:46 AM


"He perched his buttocks on a nearby crate."

very nice.


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“What’s wrong with that?” the ex-mercenary demanded from the doorway.

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[Maya. Post-BDM. Hank's not out of the woods yet, and Mal has a conversation. Enjoy!]

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[Maya. Post-BDM. A seasonal one-off - enjoy!]

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“Did we …” “We did.” “Why?” As she raised an eyebrow at him he went on quickly, “I mean, we got a comfy bunk, not that far away. Is there any particular reason we’re in here instead?” “You don’t remember?” He concentrated for a moment, and the activities of a few hours previously burst onto him like a sunbeam. “Oh, right,” he acknowledged happily.

[Maya. Post-BDM. A little with each Serenity couple, but something goes bang. Read, enjoy, review!]

“Did we …” “We did.” “Why?” As she raised an eyebrow at him he went on quickly, “I mean, we got a comfy bunk, not that far away. Is there any particular reason we’re in here instead?” “You don’t remember?” He concentrated for a moment, and the activities of a few hours previously burst onto him like a sunbeam. “Oh, right,” he acknowledged happily.

[Maya. Post-BDM. A little with each Serenity couple, but something goes bang. Read, enjoy, review!]