Call the Man [1] [repost]
Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Follows on from 'Bladud'. Reposted because someone other than me seems to have deleted it.


Call the Man * Close the door Shut the world away All the fight's gone from this wounded heart Across the floor Dreams and shadows play Like wind blown refugees

Needed in the chaos and confusion From the plains to city hall Needed where the proud who walk the wire are set to fall

Call the man Who deals in love beyond repair He can heal the world Of hearts in need of care Shine a light ahead When the next step is unclear Call the man He's needed here * [Call the Man – Celine Dion] *

[Moving right along from where 'Bladud' left off. Un-beta'd as per usual. I have some inklings where this is going. But for now, I'm just putting fingers to keyboard and seeing what comes out. Joss owns the 'verse; I'm just taking his characters and playing with them.]

Newhall [Jayne's home planet]; Burnham

Serenity flew into Burnham. Jayne was grinning through the windscreen. “Ain't been here since...well, not in a long time. Used ta skinny dip in the cove with Matty 'n Allison way back when Pa had full use of his legs. Was nuttin' but the end of the line fer ages with a wee village.” Vera pointed, “We scooped up water from the sea over yonder to help with that fire at the oast houses and distillery. Wasn't much to the place even then.” Junior stirred and made chuntering noises in the sling around her neck and waist and she petted him gently. Jayne shrugged, “The real fishin' is over on the other coast; got a nice natural harbour as well. Newhall folk have been too busy keepin' body and soul goin' along with everythin' else to worry about this coast much apart from puttin' in the rail road.” “Well it's coming on now,” Mal commented, “That new landing area will take pretty big flying craft and the house they've promised us is pretty swanky.” River smiled, “We're going to be happy here. Working, playing, growing...” “So; Hillary said they'd found oil off-shore.” Jayne nodded, “Way out past the reef. There's a line of platforms out there an' helicopters flyin' folks an' food out regular. Burnham's gonna be quite the place to be 'fore long.” * River steered them to the dedicated landing pad on the almost flat roof on top of their house and Serenity touched down. Everyone disembarked and took in the view. Sea, sand, rocks, stretching north and south as far as the eye could see. A saline breeze coming off the sea. The high pale stone parapet let them lean safely and look over Burnham. The small original village was still there, but surrounded by new roads, buildings under construction and forests of scaffolding. The children eagerly led the way to explore their new home. First down the access stairs was the penthouse apartment which Mal and Inara would occupy. Jessop and the other children had their own space, with Jessop firmly in charge and close to Mal and Inara with an emergency connecting door between them. Below that was River's condo next to Simon and Kaylee's maisonette. Cliff and Zoe's maisonette was half under River's place and half next to Jayne and Vera's home which was a split level affair on the ground and first floor. Clarry had a one-person mini apartment next to Jayne and Vera's condo with a connecting door. Elevators, internal phones and stairs served the building from top to bottom. Although each home had its own kitchen and bathroom facilities – and the younger children just had a bathroom- in the basement was extra joint recreation, washing and dining space and the guest maisonettes. Outside at ground level was an enclosed garden with space for growing vegetables and a whole fenced area decked out with all-weather play equipment and an all purpose court for ball games. Vera and Inara made a mental note to move the Serenity on-board growing activities to the outside as soon as possible. * Settling down in Burnham hadn't been too difficult. All the younger children apart from Junior were enrolled and attending the new local kindergarten or school. Junior himself would go to the nursery part time when he was fully weaned. Jessop and Clarry stayed with Serenity to work; although Mal, Inara, Vera and Jayne made sure that their respective charges got in learning via the Wave school around their chores. Mal was sitting with Inara on the roof of their sprawling new house in the evening. Serenity was docked just behind them and Mal was looking out over the sea of Burnham, enjoying a beer. Cliff, Zoe, Kaylee and Jayne were playing some kind of loose ball game with the children down in the yard whilst Vera umpired, Junior in a carrier on her front. “So... It's going okay, I think.” Inara nodded, “Bob hasn't talked yet, though. Poor mite's still traumatized by what happened on Cairo.” Mal sighed slightly, “Well, at least he's eating and sleeping at night. Kaylee, you, Zoe and Vera have done sterling work trying to mother the little chap. The fellas have all tried to get him to join in ball games and the like. See; there he is, standing on the sidelines just watching. Ah; and there's Jayne picking him up and making like Bob's a soccer ball or summat.” * Jayne ran across the court, “Whee! C'mon, squirt; we gonna get the ball!” Bob was a stiff lump of non-compliance. Jayne scooped up the real ball and held Bob up with one hand whilst he made a goal with the other, “He shoots; he scores!!” Bob wriggled free and ran to the fence of the court and just stood there, staring at nothing in paticular. Jayne padded over, frustrated, “Gorramit, kid. I know them Reavers are scary an' ruttin' evil. What they did to your family and friends...well, I've seen 'em up close and personal too many times. I *know.” He shook Bob gently, “But ya gotta be a man now. Pu 'em ruttin' bastards in the past where they belong and make like sane folk.” Both Vera and River came over. River crouched next to Jayne, “Let me.” She looked at Bob, one pair of brown eyes to another and gently held his chin, “Your mind hurts. I can feel it. I've had screaming inside my head too. So much that I thought I'd explode if I let it out. It's scary. I had the secret of the Reavers in my head for *years before I found resolution and got a whole lot better. There are still cracks in there, but they're filling up with love and good stuff. I can help you.” Bob glanced at her, then looked at the ground, “No.” His voice was husky from disuse. River gently lifted his head, “Yes. Hit *me if it helps. You won't hurt me, promise. I'm too quick.” Bob threw an awkward, inneffectual punch and River caught, blocked and absorbed it gently. Bob tried again and River was there ahead of him. Suddenly something inside Bob broke and River almost disappeared under a hail of thrashing limbs. Jayne moved to help River, but Vera held his arm. * “River's fine. She's absorbing the impacts and letting Bob's emotional pain run through her. Bob needs this.” Jayne frowned a little, “Hungh. Guess doing weights or havin' sex works out my kinks for me. Hell, a good tussle in a bar...” He paused, joining the dots, “Bob's having a bar tussle.” Vera smiled, “Something like that.” Jayne analysed Bob's technique, “Actually, he's got the makings of being pretty good in a fight, even though he's only five.” Everyone else on the court drifted over, including Simon. “Don't you think we should...stop that?” Kaylee put her arm around him, “Sweetie, he had to let it out sooner or later. It was driving him crazy.” “But River...” “Sliced and diced a room-full of Reavers. One five year old isn't much of a challenge.” Lee pointed, “They're wrestlin'.” Kaylee bent down to him and Sam, “Bob's hurtin' inside. Sometimes people need to get the hurt out by wrestlin' a little.” Sam nodded, understanding a little bit, “I punch my pillow.” Kaylee mussed Sam's hair, “Punching a pillow is good.” “Is River okay?” “She's a good fighter. I don't think Bob's hurting her one bit; and she'll be making sure Bob doesn't hurt himself either.” Sarah got in on the act, “'Member when you was crying an' it was dark an' I held you till you went to sleep?” Zoe smiled with motherly pride. Sam frowned, “Think so. Ma put us in a cupboard to keep us safe.” Sarah nodded, nearly two years older and apparently wiser, “You both screamed a lot. Bet Bob will scream in a minute.” * The fighting stopped. Bob looked at River. “I didn't hurt you.” River shook her head, “I'm too quick and I know how to fight. You won't ever be able to hurt me physically.” Bob's lip wobbled, “They hurt my friends. My Ma and Pa.” River gently held his shoulder, “I know.” “You killed a room full of Reavers?” River smiled, “And a whole bunch in the desert on Cairo.” Jayne nodded behind her, indicating 'us too'. Bob's control broke fully and he threw himself into River's arms and sobbed and sobbed. The crying went on for nearly ten minutes until Bob had let it all out. River finally scooped him up and they all trailed back inside the house. * Now Bob was unstoppered, so to speak, he didn't pause. He went on and on about the nasty scary Reavers with sewing in their flesh and sharp teeth, then the explosions, his teachers dying, seeing his parents getting eaten, then the blood and the mayhem. Then he went back to the beginning and started again. Jayne frowned, “He's plain disturbin' my calm.” Vera put her hand over his, “I know; but Bob needs this. It's like lancing a boil or getting pus out of a bad wound; the whole lot needs to come out.” Jayne sighed and let Melissa sit on his knee, “I know. I've had one or two wounds that got worse afore they got better.” Bob sat on River's knee while he spouted. Kaylee went with Lee and Sam to their part of the house and came back with ice-creams for all the children. *That shut Bob up pretty quickly. Later on, River and Inara quietly moved Bob's bed into the living room of River's apartment and he stayed with her at night. * In the middle of the night, Vera woke up. She was sure she'd heard Junior crying. There was a dim light near the crib in the ante room next to their bedroom. By it, Vera could see Jayne in the rocking chair next to the crib, with Junior held safely in one of his large hands on his lap. Junior was making slightly uncomfortable chuntering noises and Jayne was holding something so that Junior could chew on it. Jayne was talking very softly, and the baby was fixated right on him, “Hey, squirt. Yer Ma's sleepin'. You ruttin' had a feed a couple 'a hours ago. Mmm, are those new teeth of yourn givin' you jip? There's some stuff on this chew toy as'll make it better; doctor Simon said so. He sure was surprised ta hear you got teeth comin', but I told him yer a Cobb. We git ahead of all the rest! You go right back ta ruttin' sleep, ya hear? Got lots of growin' to do yet.” The baby suddenly yawned extravagantly and his eyes drifted closed. Jayne tenderly placed Junior back in his crib. Vera smiled, heart full of emotion, and pretended she hadn't noticed. But when Jayne got back into bed, she snuggled up and let her hands drift slowly down. Jayne chuckled as he turned to her, “Thought you was asleep, mi mei gui.” “I woke up and you weren't here in bed with me, then I started to get hungry for you.” Vera's hands were making the nature of her hunger pretty plain. Jayne's nostrils flared, “I can smell it. An' feel it,” he pressed her back, getting into place, “Yer all ripe and needy, huh? I got a cure for that!” Vera hooked her leg around his hip, “Ohh! Please, doctor Jayne!” Jayne's chuckle turned wicked, “One big slice of medicine comin' right up!” * In the morning, Vera got up and dealt with a wet and hungry Junior whilst Jayne got some tea and coffee. He came back trailing Melissa. “Hey, Melissa,” Vera greeted the little girl, “Didn't you want to sleep with Jessop and the others?” Melissa looked nervously at Jayne and then at Vera and removed her thumb from her mouth, “Bob was allowed to go with River, so I thought ya wouldn't mind if I slept on your couch.” Jayne gestured at Melissa whilst he relieved Vera of Junior, “Gave me a gorram fright when I clocked her!” “Jayne said bad words.” Vera laughed softly, “We're not quite used to having small ones in our house yet. And Jayne knows a *lot of bad words in English *and Chinese.” “C'n I stay?” The huge brown 'puppy dog' eyes could not have been better deployed if she'd had fifty more years' practice. Vera crouched down, “Well, we've got Junior here and big almost grown Clarry. I know I liked reading to you back at the farm.” “I liked that too.” “We're pretty busy with Junior being so small and needing everything done for him, but I'm willing to give it a try.” Melissa looked at Jayne, “Could you be my pretend Pa; if only for a little while?” Jayne moved Junior to rest on his shoulder, as he took in the pleading, “What the hell, why not?” he looked at Vera, “Are we growin' our own kindergarten now?” She grinned, “Looks like it!” Melissa ran to Vera's arms and she pulled her up onto her hip, “Don't worry; I'll pick out the other children for you.” Jayne frowned, “There's gonna be others?” Melissa grinned, “Auntie River said you'd bring up *lots of kids. Lots 'n lots 'n lots!!” “Wuh de mah! Well, I hope they don't all come in a bunch, or my calm will be *severely disturbed! River give you any idea of how many these lots of kids are gonna be?” “Think she said twenty.” Vera chuckled, “That's a few!” “Could'a been thirty.” Jayne's language at that was totally unrepeatable.



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