Onus Portamus: (Latin, "We Carry The Load") [1]
Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Junior Cobb developments. Jayne gives Vera an expensive present. Ma Cobb and Matty start womanly plotting. Serenity & co on Newhall. Jayne and Vera meet the new young member of the Cobb clan. Who, of course, is hiding something.



THE ENDLESS ROAD, ENDLESS ROAD SOMETIMES IT'S HARD JUST TO CARRY THAT LOAD DELIVERED WHERE WE'RE GOING TO ENDLESS ROAD, ENDLESS ROAD WHAT'S THE DESTINATION, I DON'T KNOW BUT I'LL FIND OUT AT THE END OF THE ENDLESS ROAD Endless Road – D.L. Byron * Sam Cobb didn't know for sure about the identity of the person on her doorstep, but he or she had the trademark blue eyes which ran strong in the Cobb family, plus was very close to fainting. Motherly instincts took over. “Come in child, do.” The figure collapsed in her arms. Sam managed to get the child to her sofa, then she went for water. Long dark brown eyelashes finally fluttered open, “Ma Cobb?” “Hush, child. I'm Sam Cobb, you've made it to a safe place and you seem to be family. Now; drink first, questions later.” “Name's Bethan.” Sam cast a concerned eye at the thin, lanky frame. She guessed Bethan was about eleven or twelve years old and hadn't seen a good meal in some time. Tousled, dirty and curled brown hair and not looking a million miles away from a younger, undernourished version of her big, grown up son. Determined chin, rather similar to Vera's. “Named after your grandpa? I know the name, Bethan.” “I'm a boy!” “Drink some more and rest. I'll get you some soup soon and then you can have a bath.” Bethan groaned with pleasure, “Haven't had a bath in *years.” “First things first; you arrived, you're a guest and looks like you're family. Details can come later, Bethan.” * Ares had adapted to live in space without a single demur. Right from the moment they'd left atmo from Euridice, he'd made a bed for himself in the back left hand corner of the cargo bay, as if he'd been going there for years. Vera found an old duvet for him and he was even happier in 'his' corner. The first time he needed to do his business, Ares had gone straight for the waste disposal in the cargo bay floor, opened the inner flap and got on with it. Consensus was that he'd been on at least one Firefly before; he certainly knew his way around. Even Mal accepted him, which was saying something. * About a month after quitting Ariel, Jayne and Vera were lying on the futon in the early morning after their arrival on Avalon. Serenity was parked on one of the bluffs overlooking the private bay and Ares was asleep on the porch outside, nose and ear slightly cocked for rabbits or other small things to chase. They'd slept really well last night and now Jayne wanted to give Vera something he'd picked up on Ariel. Whilst Mal had been negotiating with Todd and Vera's half sister Jenneth, some of the others had done a little fortuitous looting nearby. He fished in one of the pockets on his gunbelt and brought back something wrapped in white tissue paper. “What's this?” Jayne smiled, “Present. 'Liberated' from a jeweller's shop on Ariel.” Vera was fairly used to receiving what might be termed stolen goods as presents. She smiled, “Oooh, expensive paper!” She peeled it open and there were long gold chains, delicately studded down their length with small pink diamonds. Vera gasped, “Wow. It's amazing; exquisite!” “Looked like some kind of long necklace. Grabbed it real quick. Thought ya might like to wear it if we dress up.” “It's absolutely gorgeous,” she paused to kiss Jayne, “But it's not a necklace, sweet wan nao. You must have raided a jeweller that deals in high class erotic jewellry. It's a hip chain and these two extra fine strands go down and underneath, fastening at the rear.” Jayne's interest and a certain other part of him started to perk up, “Ya mean it's like a thong?” “Well, it won't cover anything much, but yes. More like a G string, really. Probably designed for use in expensive exotic cabaret or for a *very lucky lady like me to wear at home for her fella.” Jayne was staring at her hotly, contemplating, “Oh God. Put it on for me, mi mei gui.” Vera fastened the hip chain first, then took the two extra strands down and between her legs. At the back, these fastened beneath slightly larger diamonds at the back. It was superbly comfortable and had obviously been made by a master jeweller. It lay flat against the skin and had been specially designed not to impede with any intimate functions. Vera looked down, “Wow. I'm all sparkly!” She swirled her hips experimentally. Jayne was just staring with his mouth open. The blood continuing to rush downwards was interfering with his speech functions, “I...erm... Sweet Buddha, that is the hottest thing ever.” He tore his eyes away and back up to hers with an effort, “Could you...erm...if it's comfortable...could you accept that as a wedding ring 'n wear it all the time?” Vera put her hands on his chest, smiling, “Yes, I will, except when it might get lost; like going swimming or something.” Jayne tumbled her back onto the futon, intent on seeing if christening the present was going to be as pleasurable as it looked, “My wife!” Vera chuckled, “Have to see about getting you a wedding ring as well!” He began stroking and nuzzling, “I ain't wearing pink diamonds; not even for you!” * Bethan got on the outside of a pile of food after having enjoyed a bath. Sam had contacted Matty and Bethan was now wearing clean castoffs and looking a lot healthier. After food, Bethan retrieved three ID cards from the discarded clothes. “I managed to keep these safe. This is Ma's card, Dad's card and mine. Ma was Bethan Cobb's daughter and she had me very young. Gramps put a message on there for you 'fore he died.” Sam gasped slightly and put her hand over Bethan's “You're an orphan?” Bethan nodded, “Dad was killed 'fore I was born and Ma got real bad smallpox five years ago. Gramps and I; we were solid, but he was in a landslide three years back. There was just me and the cabin; not much money. He'd spoke about his brother, so I scraped together what I could to find my family. Been travelling over three years just to get here. Mostly hiding on transport ships.” Sam punched the ID cards into the machine later when Bethan was asleep. She and Matty looked at the screen. “Here we go; Clarry Cobb. My goodness, she was little more than a child herself when she fell for Bethan there.” “Looks a lot like Vera.” Sam nodded, “Paler hair, no fringe; much slighter build too. Not as tall, look.” “And Bethan's Dad.” “Good grief. Could be a blonde member of the family, even if he's a Horowitz. Took his lady's surname. Teenager as well.” “Just like Valentine. Started very young,” Matty commented. Sam smiled, “More 'n a few Cobbs been made that way! Ah, now Bethan. Some damage to this ID, says he's eleven. Bethan Clarry. We normally use Clarry for girls in the Cobb family.” Matty shrugged, “There was great-great uncle Clarry about five generations back.” Sam grinned, “And we've *all seen the pictures of him wearing dresses!” Matty chuckled, “Settled down with that sailor boy. They were blissfully happy, remember?” Sam commented dryly, “I've read the diaries, same as you.” “Well, I'm more than happy to add another place setting at home; at least Bethan will have other kids to play with. But I have a feeling he's not meant to be here on Newhall.” Sam smiled, “Bethan looks powerful like he might a child of Vera and Jayne's. Given that he's a cousin to both of them, that makes sense.” Matty looked back at the screen, “And Clarry looked like Vera.” The two women looked at each other. Sam smiled, “I'll show Bethan some pictures of Vera and Jayne in the morning. Since they can't have kids of their own, I think Bethan could do them some good.” “One step at a time. Don't want to promise something that doesn't happen.” “Maybe it's time to find a job for Serenity to do on or near Newhall. Let them meet each other, see what happens.” “Harvest soon; looks like a bumper one as well.” * After a week of rest, restocking and relaxation, Mal picked up a wave from the Cobb homestead on Newhall. It was Hillary, “Hello, Malcolm,” He was one of the few people who used Mal's full name, “We've got a bumper harvest here on Newhall. Could do with an extra ship to take produce to Deadwood and other planets in the system. You'd get a cut of the crop of you want it, or the equivalent in coin, all fuel bills covered; the steel yards would probably welcome an extra transport as well. You could likely find enough work to keep you all busy for at least a sennight and probably over a fortnight.” So Mal and the crew packed up and set off across the black to Jayne's home planet. * Bethan looked at the photos of Jayne and Vera. There was a tiny gasp, “She looks a lot like my Mum.” Sam saw an attachment form for Bethan just like that. She proceeded without commenting, “Well, she's your cousin – of a sort – it's not totally surprising.” “And Jayne looks a lot like pictures of Gramps when he was younger, 'cept Gramps had a big bushy beard.” Sam nodded, hearing the unspoken hope in Bethan's voice, “Jayne favours the big side of the Cobb family *and Bethan, Hillary's brother.” “An' he's my cousin too, like Matty and her kids.” “That's right.” “You said they can't have kids of their own.” More unspoken hope. Bethan had fixed on Vera and Jayne. Sam hoped the new tender feelings would be reciprocated, “No, Bethan; plus Jayne and Vera live by the gun a lot of the time. Having a small baby around could be dangerous for them *and the child. Although Kaylee and Simon on the ship have twins and Zoe has a daughter. They've *managed to keep them safe so far. With central government in a mess due to the Reavers, it's both a bit easier and a bit harsher out here in the border worlds. Easier *and harder 'case neither the Alliance nor the Browncoat parliament won't come snooping for a long time. More opportunities for lawlessness whilst no-one's looking.” “I can shoot a gun!” “Well, if you're half as good as Jayne or Vera there, maybe you could try to catch a rabbit or two. We've got enough carrots, fruit and greens to last all winter out there in the fields! I'll watch you shoot targets later. If I'm sure you're gonna be safe, I'll let you go hunting.” Bethan's eyes shone, “Thanks! I want to do something to say thank-you, Ma Cobb.” Sam clasped Bethan's shoulder, “You're family. There's no need.” * Serenity came into land on Newhall in front of the Cobb farmstead after two weeks in the black. Hillary was on the porch in his motorised wheelchair as Sam came out to greet them. Matty and Bethan were with her. Bethan was all eager puppy, eyes wide at the Firefly. Several of the younger members of Matty's adopted brood played and ran about nearby. Valentine's two teenage siblings slouched on the porch rather grumpily. They'd been working in the fields getting in the crops for the last week and were bored rigid, even if they could see the necessity for it. Mal stepped off Serenity's ramp, closely followed by Zoe and Inara, “Sam Cobb. Always a pleasure.” He had his best smile in place, thumbs tucked in his gun belt. Sam moved forward, “That son of mine behaving himself?” Mal's lips twitched. “Just fine, Ma.” Jayne strode into view, answering for himself. “Wow,” Bethan commented, “Sounds like Gramps.” Sam leaned into Bethan, “And those guns are all loaded, so take note.” The children were next; Sarah running and Lee and Sam following after. Ares joined them, playing a ramshackle game of tag. Kaylee and Simon pursued their twins and the rest of the crew followed. Vera linked her arm through Jayne's. “Oh!” That was the only noise Bethan made, but it was pregnant with emotion. “They ain't perfect, Bethan. And extra folks on board Serenity will have to be agreed with Mal.” Vera's gaze landed on Bethan and there was a significant unspoken moment between them. Vera gently touched Jayne's bicep and he looked in the same direction. Sam saw the whole exchange of glances and was pretty sure a family had just been started. Baby steps, though. * Jayne and Vera walked over to hug Sam. She made introductions. Bethan was grinning widely and almost bouncing with pleasure. “I want to know *everything about life on Serenity!” Jayne frowned a little, “Long hours, danger, coin from time to time, lots of shootin'. Ain't nothin' special.” Bethan grinned at him, “Gramps used to do that!” “Hungh?” “Say things weren't special when they were the dearest things to him.” Jayne tried very hard to glower but failed. Vera grinned, “Seems Bethan's got *you pegged!” Jayne arched a brow at Vera, “And this is Vera, who, according to your reckonin' I hate summat powerful!” “You're married, right?” “Hand fasted,” Vera amended, “ But that's enough for us, Bethan.” “I spent the last three years in space. Loved being there, but it was lonely. On Serenity it must be like having a ready made family.” Bethan almost sighed. “A bit crowded sometimes. And that danger Jayne spoke of; lots of that. Criminals - and we often come under that category – living on protein bars when deep in the black, people with guns and bombs, taking on dubious jobs, killing people sometimes when we have to.” “I can shoot pretty good; ask Ma Cobb.” Vera smiled and touched Bethan's arm. She could hear the unspoken question just as loudly as Sam Cobb, “Let's get to know each other better, hmm?” * A long week later, Jayne and Vera were in his old bedroom in the early morning, snuggling in bed. “So?” “So?” Vera giggled, “We know what we're skirting around, wan nao. We like Bethan and he likes us. A lot. He's a smart, handy youngster. Good with a gun. The kind we might have had if things were different.” Jayne sighed and a slow grin crept across his face, “Are you going to ask Mal; coz I'm not sure he'll listen to me!” Vera mock growled and pounced; then everything dissolved into tickling and giggling. Mal looked up as Vera approached him later, holding up his hand for silence, “I know what you're going to ask. Bethan's been bending my ear in every spare moment! He's agreed to clean the common areas weekly, water the crops every other day, do his share of the chores and babysit from time to time.” Vera grinned, “Thank-you so much, Mal. I'll start on drawing up adoption papers with Jayne.” Mal smiled, “You're about to guide someone through puberty. You'll need all the luck you can get!” * Jayne was heading to the shower in Serenity about a week later. He opened the door, thinking the room was unoccupied. There was Bethan, scurrying under a towel, but not before Jayne had noticed something very particular about his new adopted child. In fact two small, new, but perfectly formed somethings. He crossed his arms and leaned against the lintel, “Okay Bethan. Wanna tell me what a boy is doing with *breasts?” *


Thursday, February 22, 2007 10:01 AM


Hmm...Bethan's got girl parts, eh? Hmm...gotta wonder why she would dress as a he. 'Less Bethan's like Sam or Lee (embarrased to admit I have forgotten which Tam twin has both genitalia :S) and has double the equipment;)


Friday, February 23, 2007 6:29 AM


You'll get an answer on Bethan soon. Not giving the game away here!




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