We Was A Family
Thursday, November 29, 2007

A mother’s letter to her son. Sometimes we don’t learn the truth about a parent until we’re grown.


Author: hisgoodgirl We Was A Family

Disclaimer: All belongs to Joss. Pairing: References to Jayne/Kaylee, Mal/Inara Rating: PG-13. Set long after the BDM; some characters have deceased. Word Count: 1,614

A/N: Dedicated to my twin sons and to my own dearest bigbadman who stepped into our lives and became such a wonderful husband and father. Consider it a sequel to “Flesh To Clay”, although it was written long before. Comments are sincerely appreciated. Thanks!

X-posted from my LiveJournal

*~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~* . . My Dearest Son,

I hope you can understand me on this recorder. It's old an’ I don't know how good the sound will be. Thanks for your most recent recording. I know writin' is sometimes hard for you.

I'm glad to know that you’re well an’ that the job is working out for you. It's hard for me to realize you’re eighteen now an’ a grown man. I'm sorry I wasn't with you to celebrate your birthday, but it sounds like you an’ your buddies had a rare good time.

To be honest, I wasn't surprised when you asked about your daddy. I'd always figured that there'd come a time when you'd ask about him. I hope you can forgive me for not talking more about him all along. Truth is, it was just too hard.

But you deserve answers, son, an’ it's time I gave 'em to you.

Do you remember him at all, Matthew? You was such a little fella when we lost him. I do wish you couldda knowed him, an’ that he was here to see what a fine young man you've become. He'd be so proud a you, son.

When I look at the capture you sent me, I see so much of your pa, especially since you stretched out. Same blue-gray eyes an’ thick, dark hair. When you fill out a little more, I think you'll be nearly as big a man as he was, too.

We met when I was just a slip of a girl, not much older than you are now. I was working as a mechanic on a cargo ship an’ our captain hired this great big hunk of a fella as a mercenary. We both took to each other right off, but it took awhile before we actually become sweeties. He was a lot older’n me an’ the captain threw a rare fit when he learned we was bunkin' together. Almost fired us both, but that didn't stop us. Guess we was just stubborn sorts, 'cause once we made up our minds to be together, wasn't nothin’ ‘cept death could part us.

Your pa held a lot inside himself, Matthew, an’ there were things about his past he never shared, not even with me. When he was younger, he was quite a ladies' man, as I've heard you're getting to be. I just hope you treat 'em as good as he did. He was a fine tracker an’ a crack shot. Never knew a man with such a skill with guns as him. That pistol I gave you was the one he carried every day. He loved a good fight, even if he got all busted up in the process, an’ was about the bravest man I ever knew.

He loved to drink, but weren’t never mean or hurtful when he did. He liked his coffee extra strong with lots of sugar. Loved anything sweet, in fact. Had a whole collection of silly t-shirts that was mostly too small, but he wore 'em anyways. Liked steak bloody rare an’ loved eggs, unless they was burned. He was tight with coin unless he got it into his head to make you feel special an’ then he'd buy you all kinda treats.

I reckon you've heard some of the bad stuff folks say about him - that he was a fugitive, a thief, a hired killer. The truth is, son, in hard times, folks do all sorts of things they might rather not have to do. That's how it was for your pa.

In time, all of us on Serenity got mighty close. We was a family, Matthew, loving an’ caring an’ arguing an’ looking out for each other the best we knew how. We flew together for almost five years. The time finally came for some of the folks to go their own ways, but we always stayed close. I know you've heard me talk about Shepherd Book. He was your daddy's special friend an’ left us to head up the colony here on Haven. Auntie 'Nara left, too, for a time, way back before she gave up being a Companion an’ finally married your Uncle Mal.

We went through some real scary times together. I know you heard me talking with Auntie Zoë about her husband, Wash, gettin' killed by reavers, an’ about the Alliance killin' the Shepherd an’ a bunch of our friends at Haven. Simon Tam, our ship’s doctor, was captured while helpin’ treat a cholera epidemic on Helena, and eventually died in an Alliance prison. His sister, River, is still pilotin’ for your Uncle Mal. Between the Alliance an’ the reavers, we weren't sure any of us would make it through, but somehow we did.

After Miranda, we decided to rebuild Haven an’ those of us that was left all pitched in. It was that spring I found out I was pregnant with you. When I told your daddy, he was so excited he 'bout had a full-fledged fit, an’ asked your Uncle Mal to marry us right then an’ there, him bein’ a ship’s captain an’ all. With a baby on the way, your Pa an’ I decided the time had come for us put down roots. It was hard for me, leaving Serenity, much as I loved her, but I loved your daddy even more, an’ we both knowed a spaceship weren’t no place to raise a family. The Great Rebellion was buildin’ an’ your Uncle Mal was itchin’ to be back in the Black, so he hired on a new mechanic. Your daddy’n me settled in at Haven an’ built us a cabin an’ a machine shop where we could do things like welding an’ engine repairs.

I come to term just before Christmas, not long after your pa’s forty-third birthday. You were a big 'un, near on to ten pounds, an’ I had a rough time birthin' you, but we made it. Right off, when he seen you was a boy, your pa wanted to name you Matthew, after his little brother who’d died, an’ Darriel, after the Shepherd, an’ so we did.

Honey, your daddy an’ I loved each other so much, nearly about as much as any two people can. It wasn't always easy for either of us, but it was good, an’ those six years we were together was the happiest in my whole life. Your pa loved you so, Matthew. He made toy guns for you an’ was always carrying you around on his shoulders. Every night, him an’ me'd come tuck you in an’ kiss you an’ make sure you was safe an’ warm.

He was good at that, at makin' a body feel safe.

Oh, there was things he was afraid of, like any man. He hated tight places, was afeared of getting spaced 'cause he'd seen what that does to a man, an’ had an mortal fear a reavers, cause he gorramn near got caught an’ et by 'em when we done a job on Lilac.

When you wonder about your daddy an’ why he wasn't there while you was growin' up, or you hear folk sayin’ bad things about him, think about this, Matthew. Your daddy had more courage than any man I ever knew, ‘cause when you were four, the reavers came to Haven.

We had safeholts way back into the mountainside where the mine tunnels ran, but somebody had to hold those monsters off so folks could all get into the shelters.

I was in the shop, working on a tiller engine, an’ you was playing near by, when he stuck his head in the door an’ yelled at me that the spotters had seen reaver ships incoming. Told me to grab you an’ go right then to our shelter an’ he'd make sure everyone was warned, buy everybody the time we needed to get underground. Your Pa weren't no fool, Matthew. We had both seen them creatures an’ knew what they was gonna do.

I had just the shortest minute to kiss him an’ he looked me right in the eye an’ handed me his pistol an’ said, "I love you, Kaylee. Keep the boy safe."

That was when I realized I'd never see him again. So I did what he told me to, an’ climbed down into the safeholt with you an’ bolted the doors, an’ waited until it had been quiet a long, long time an’ we knew it was finally safe to come out.

Son, he'd backed himself right up against the shelter door, with every gun he owned, even Vera, an’ there was a pile of shell casings around what was left of him near-on to two inches deep. He'd loaded an’ fired an’ loaded an’ fired until he just flat ran out of ammo an’ time, making sure those gorramn reavers didn't get his wife an’ boy… . .

Sorry, son. Even now, I miss ‘im and thinkin’ about it gets me all tore up, so I turned the recorder off ‘til I could get myself back together.

Anyways, that's the kind of man your daddy was, Matthew, an’ don't you ever forget it. Don’t ever forget you was born of love an’ courage, an’ that love an’ courage is what kept you alive.

Work hard for your Uncle Mal an’ tell River I sent her my love. Take good care of Serenity. Remember that catalyzer is prone to blow at the oddest times an’ keep an eye on her for me.

An’ son, if anybody asks, tell 'em you're the son of Jayne Cobb, the Hero of Canton an’ one hell of a man.

All my love, Mama



Thursday, November 29, 2007 11:50 AM


Damn near made me cry! Good job! Although I feel perhaps we need something to tell us why Kaylee didn't go back to Serenity after Jayne's death - which, by the way, was amazingly well described, particularly the mental image of shell casings two inches deep ...

Thursday, November 29, 2007 3:41 PM



Friday, November 30, 2007 3:07 PM


This was really one of the best Jaylee's I've read since joining this lil group. Wonderfully descriptive, really moving, and gotta agree one of the best mental visuals about Jayne and his brand of heroism. This rocks!..

..and yeah, sniff, made me wanna cry too....great work!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007 6:54 PM


I read this ages ago and I recognized it the moment I started reading, knowing how it would end. got me now like it did then.

Thursday, November 12, 2009 5:57 PM


damn... that was amazing

Monday, August 22, 2011 5:38 AM


hate it when a story makes me cry. 10 shinies for that one, brilliant writing.


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