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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
One month after the events of the BDM, Wash has one final message to deliver to Zoe. As usual, its messenger is not what the crew expected.A one-shot bit of fluff and ghosty-ness. Written with my wife, kudos for the idea, and bless her, and huge thanks to HisGoodGirl for the last minute incredibly high-toned beta! You rock!
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 825 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Jayne hunkered down on the bridge underneath the pilot’s chair, rummaging through the box of Wash’s dinosaur toys that Mal had left there in honor of the fallen crewmember.
He didn’t exactly know why he was doing it; in fact he had no clue whatsoever as to what drove him with alarming regularity to walk to the bridge, make sure no one was looking or heading his way, and go through the bin in a now futile effort to find something that was missing. So why the hell am I doin’ this? Jayne pondered for what seemed to be the fortieth time. A synapse fired, and the search continued.
Gotta find it, or it won’t make sense. He kept going through the box, but what he was looking for didn’t seem to be there.
After a few more minutes of useless searching, he raised his head out from under the pilot’s seat, a look of consternation clear on his face.
“Where the ta ma’s the ruttin’ dilophosaurus?” he asked to no one in particular.
The bridge was silent in its reply. It always was when he asked the question. He stood up, kicked the box back into its hiding place, and walked back down the steps to the main hallway. He jammed his left hand into the pocket of his cargo pants, felt around, and retrieved what he was looking for.
It was an ivory disc, bound on one side with a length of red silk cording in an intricate Chinese knot. He looked at it a moment, remembering when he’d found the item.
It had been the day of the Reaver battle on Miranda, when Wash had somehow miraculously landed Serenity, only to die, impaled by a spear launched through the ship’s vuescreen.
Jayne had the duty of retrieving Wash’s body by virtue of being the one who was the least injured. Mal was a mass of contusions and a broken rib, while Zoe was being sutured up from a Reaver sword wound on her back that had almost cleaved her spine in two. Kaylee was busy supervising the repairs, and Simon was recovering from being shot. As he eased the body of Zoe’s husband off the spear, taking care to not inflict any more damage than had been already done, he heard something clatter to the floor. Looking down, he picked up the object that had fallen from Wash’s pocket and without another thought, tucked it into his own.
Jayne snapped back into the present; he had been doing that a lot lately, going over memories. The problem was, he was a man used to not looking back on his past, and this was beginning to make him worry. He shook his head and walked on.
Mal, who had been looking on from his vantage point in the bridge’s forward staircase, saw Jayne stop, finger the off-white object while studying it at the same time, and walk on to his bunk.
Now what the Chung Bao Ho Tze tien Ah is goin’ on with him? The Captain wondered. Man’s going fong luh. He got up quickly, and walked down to where the mercenary stood outside his bunk’s door. “Hold on there,” he ordered.
“What is it, Mal?” Jayne asked, a slightly dazed look on his face. “I got stuff ta do.”
“How come you’re going through WASH’S THINGS ON THE BRIDGE?”
Mal hadn’t intended to raise his voice, but the very notion of anyone dishonoring the pilot’s memory was very irritating to him, especially if it was Jayne doing the plundering. The only downside to this moment was the shocked look on Zoe’s face when she came in from the galley, upon hearing the Captain of Serenity’s aforementioned outburst.
“Sir?” Zoe’s face was clearly concerned, but not understanding. “What’s happening here?”
Jayne looked at Mal, then at Zoe, then back at Mal again. “What?”
“Mister Lightfingers here was goin’ through Wash’s box under the console on the bridge.” Mal informed Zoe, indignation clearly written on his features in bold print.
“That so?” Zoe asked, her own expression matching Mal’s. They both stared at Jayne, trigger fingers itching.
“I was doin’ what now?” Jayne asked. There was no subterfuge, this was clear bafflement on his face.
“Jayne, this isn’t funny.” Zoe said, eyes narrowed. “It’s not been long enough, I’m still mourning, and you’re playin’ games?”
“Hand to god, Zoe, I don’t know what I was doin’.” Jayne replied, “Honest.”
“Get to your supper.” Mal instructed. “Don’t go up on the bridge unless someone of the ‘me’ variety is there, got me?”
“Yessir.” Jayne walked into the galley and headed straight for the dinner table, grabbing the chair and pulling it out, he sat down unceremoniously.
“Jayne, get up,” Kaylee warned, “before Zoe sees you.”
“What?” Jayne replied, curious. “How come?”
“That’s Wash’s seat,” she explained quietly. “No one sits there now.”
Jayne got up without a fuss, wondering why he’d sat there in the first place.
Jayne sat on his bunk a few hours later, thumbing the ivory knot again, remembering the wedding. It had been just weeks after he’d joined the crew. Mal had not been pleased, but knew that he’d lost his Corporal to an age-old need; the need to be loved. He watched as Zoe laughed, Zoe kissed, but somehow the angles of his memory were all wrong, as if….
He thrust the knot back into his pocket, rolled over, and tried to take a nap. He’d not been sleeping well, the last few days of memories had robbed him of the normally peaceful rest he typically enjoyed. A few minutes later, he was snoring.
Later, Zoe stood back in the galley, cooking. It had pleased her during this trying time to try her hand more often at cooking for the crew. So she stood there, fixing something she had made before; it was simple, almost basic, but it recalled what seemed to be for Zoe to be a better time.
Jayne woke in his bunk, a familiar scent wafting through his mind, a scent he was familiar with: homey, filling, and satisfying. It spoke of many things to him, and he would answer its faint but undeniable call.
Without a sound, he got off his bunk and headed up, a strange smile on his face. Closing the hatch, he walked into the galley, his nose following the scent as it wormed its way through the ship and into his brain, coiling through his grey matter, begging, no, ordering him to follow it…You want this, his mind said to him. It’s so very, very good… He walked into the galley still smiling and, not making a peep, grabbed a spoon from the bin of silverware and walked up behind Zoe.
Kaylee, chopping vegetables for dinner, watched with amazement as the towering gunhand stood behind the First Mate, as if waiting for a taste.
His head peered over Zoe’s left shoulder. “Mmmmm,” he savored cheerily, a quirky grin on his face. “Wife Soup?” he asked, a strange lilt in his voice.
Zoe slammed the lid on the pot, and turned her head slowly at Jayne, giving him a looked that could have incinerated the mercenary. Without a sound, she put the stirring spoon on the counter and stalked from the galley.
“Jayne!” Kaylee was aghast. “How could you?”
Jayne blinked. What the hell was he doing here in the galley all of a sudden, he was sleeping in his bunk last he knew. “ Juh shi suh, mo go dohng shi?” He blinked a few more times, as if clearing his mind. “Kaylee? What’s goin’ on?”
“You unfeelin’ hundan,” she continued her chastisement, angered at the gunhand’s rampant insensitivity. “How could you say somethin’ like that? You know Zoe’s hurtin’… That was Wash’s name for it.”
“For what, gorramit?” Jayne asked, irritated that he still didn’t know what was done.
“Zoe’s soup, you ri shou gou shi bing,” she retorted, shaking her head and going back to chopping. “You better get outta here before she comes back and shoots ya,” the mechanic said softly.
“Hell yeah.” Jayne said to no one in particular, and left. There was something going on, something that he could not put his finger on yet.
The intercom crackled to life, and Mal’s voice shot out of it. “River, get your narrow pigu up to the bridge, Beaumonde is coming up in 20 minutes.”
Jayne walked out of the galley down to the bunks, passing River along the way. The young girl said nothing to him as he walked by, but turned as she stepped, and watched with interest as he went to his bunk… or what he thought was his bunk.
He swung the door down on Zoe’s room while River looked on, a strange but knowing smile on her face. The gunhand stopped right there, looked down with dismayed horror. He lifted his foot from the hatch, turned and walked away, passing River again.
“It’s under the copilot console. Fell there,” she said calmly.
“What’d you say, Moonbrain?” Jayne asked with rising anger. Was he beginning to lose his mind? “What’s where now?” He turned to face her.
River was gone, already on the bridge. Shaking his head, Jayne muttered, “Nuttier than a bughouse.” He turned and went back to his bunk until they landed. He needed to buy something once they hit dirt. It was imperative that he buy it.
Once on the ground, Jayne got himself dressed for going out, his prototypical T-shirt and jeans, and surly expression. He had coin saved for this, knew just where he was going and what needed to be done. He was sitting on his bunk, counting out his saved cash when a knock sounded on his bunks hatch frame.
“Got a moment?” Mal asked, and Jayne couldn’t help but notice a terseness in the Captain’s voice.
“Yeah, c’mon down Mal,” Jayne called up by way of response. “I got time.”
Mal climbed down the ladder, and Jayne instantly noticed the hard look on his face. Typically, the Captain pulled no punches with his gun hand.
“What is your ruttin’ malfunction?” he asked, no nonsense in his voice and slow-burning anger in his eyes.
“Outside of a breath short of life, not much, Sir.”
Mal blinked. Jayne never called him Sir, much less use that kind of phrasing in his speech. And his voice sounded… different, not so gruff. Trying to gain his upper hand, he went on. “Kaylee tells me your upsettin’ my First Mate?”
“Nothin’ new there, Mal.” Again, there it was, that tone. Almost as if… “Been upsettin’ her since she said ‘I do’.”
Mal couldn’t believe what he was hearing. It was like he Jayne was using Wash’s own words in the answer.
Mal grabbed Jayne by the collar, shoving him against the bulkhead. “I’m giving you one chance… What in the fei fei pigu are you on about?”
Jayne suddenly blinked at Mal, not knowing what was going on. “Huh?”
Mal was not impressed. “You’re makin’ Zoe a mite more upset than she’s needin’ to be at any time, Jayne, let alone given what she’s feelin’ now.” Mal got closer, inches away from Jayne’s face. “ ’Bout two steps short of my last nerve on this as well. So got your choice, leave her be, or take a walk in the Black with no suit, dong ma?”
Jayne was confused, he didn’t really understand what Mal was talking about, let alone why he was so mad, but it wasn’t wise to press his captain when he was in a mood, so he acquiesced. “”Don’t know what I gorram did, but, uh… yeah, I get it.”
“That’s all I got to say then.” Mal finalized the conversation, let go of Jayne. “Have your usual time on Beaumonde, don’t get nabbed,” he said casually, ascending the ladder as if the last few minutes had never taken place.
Jayne grabbed his hat, and headed up himself. “Everyone’s goin’ gorram buggy on this heap,” he grumbled to himself. “Like to go as fong luh as Moonbrain myself.”
Don’t forget what you’re going for… his mind told him; it was a demand, imperative. He had to find one, it had to be right, and he could afford no mistakes.
He found himself later in a clothes store along one of Beaumonde’s more refined areas, searching for what his mind told him was more important than whoring, more than ammo or guns. Kaylee tagged along, Simon had decided to brave the more public areas of the planet by taking River to have a quiet dinner with his tormented sibling. So far, Jayne had not found what he was searching for, until he came upon it he stood there, a slow smile of satisfaction creeping onto his face.
They were arraigned by sizes, like most clothes, but the colors and patterns beggared any form of formal order. Loud, to the point of becoming visible from space, was an entire rounded rack of Hawaiian shirts.
“Oh…yeah.” Jayne said quietly to himself, walking towards them with undisguised glee.
Kaylee grabbed him by the arm. “Jayne, no!” she hissed quietly, “you can’t be serious!”
“Just what I was looking for, Kaylee, m’dear.” He said. “Been wanting a new one for some time.” He reached the rack despite the smaller mechanic trying to drag him back away from the rack. He began going through the shirts, ignoring most of them, until he came upon the louder ones, color combinations that beggared the imagination, finally finding two. He pulled them off the rack and held them to his chest, on either side, looking around for a mirror.
Mal and Zoe rounded the corner, having picked up River and Simon from their dinner, and saw Kaylee inside one of the men’s shops, standing still in horror. The quartet exchanged glances, and moved inside the store, walking through the racks and mannequins towards her. Then, to Mal’s utter dismay, he saw the source of Kaylee’s fear.
Jayne stood there, in front of a mirror, admiring what were arguably the two ugliest shirts anyone had ever seen, and even given Wash’s sartorial misfires, that was saying something.
“Jayne, I thought I told you - ”
The mercenary turned around, saw the First Mate, and beamed. “Hey hon,” he called out, holding up the shirt in his left hand. “Do you like ‘Festival on Boros’,” then, raising the right hand aloft, “or ‘Night on Sihnon?’”
Mal knew one thing. This is gettin’ gorram serious. And I’m gonna stop it, once and for all.
Zoe walked away in disbelieving fury.
River walked up to Jayne without a note of worry on her face, and pointed to the shirt in his left hand. “That one,” she said with certainty.
Simon and Kaylee exchanged worried glances as Jayne left them to go pay for his shirt. The smile on the mercenary’s face never broke.
Dinner that night was tense. While a fair amount of meaningless conversation floated around the table, one person was conspicuously absent. They all noted it, either in curious glances at his chair, or at each other, noted it also in the amount of food that was still on the serving plates. Normally, Jayne was a prodigious eater; most of the food would be gone by now. This time was different; food was not only plentiful, Jayne’s plate was completely empty.
“Where is he?” Mal asked to those gathered at the table.
A collection of ‘ain’t seen him’s’ and ‘no idea, Cap’n’s’ surrounded him. Zoe doled out the dinner; passing plates had become another one of her ways of coping with her loss. The talk resumed, more of the same meaningless babble, then suddenly everyone fell silent, Kaylee’s singular gasp the only thing breaking that pernicious lack of sound.
Jayne Cobb walked in, dressed more or less in his usual manner. Cargo pants, check, crudely expressed Chinese-splattered t-shirt, check, boots, check.
Neon-red, green, orange Hawaiian Shirt, more than a size too small, not-check.
He sat down at his place, next to Zoe, taking the plate from her outstretched hands.
“You saved me some!” he exclaimed, pecking her on the cheek. “Thanks, lambytoes.” And settling the plate down on the table began to eat but not with his usual gusto, but controlled, with… Mal could not believe it… manners.
All Hell Broke Loose at the dinner table.
Mal’s lengthy list of Chinese swearing was put into overdrive. Zoe could not take it any longer and began to tear up, and the others, save for River, simply yelled at Jayne, all at once.
“How could you?” came Inara’s indignant reprimand.
“Jayne, are you plain fong luh, or what?” This from Kaylee.
“In the name of Merciful Buddha, are you completely mad?” was the admonishment from Simon’s lips.
Everyone was talking at once, and Jayne kept right on spooning dinner into his mouth. Then suddenly he sat bolt upright, and yelled in disbelief. Zoe had jammed her fork into his right thigh.
“What the ruttin’ hell did you do that for?” came his shout. “Why the hell am I sittin’ here, what ya all yelling at me for…” The he looked down at himself. “An’ why’m I wearin’ this gorram ugly shirt?”
Mal had had enough. Getting up without a word he walked behind Jayne, and jerked the fork out of his thigh, eliciting a second yelp of pain from the gunhand. He then grabbed the back of his shirt collar and hauled Jayne to his feet in a surprising show of strength and force.
He dragged the still-complaining mercenary out of the galley and down the main corridor towards the bunks. Reaching Jayne’s bunk, without ceremony or warning he shoved the hired help into his hatch chute, closed the door, and locked it by keypad.
Walking back to the bunk, he called out, “Stay there ’til you learn some manners.” Satisfied the problem was taken care of, Mal walked back to the galley, sat down at the table and began eating. Zoe, understandably, had lost her appetite.
“Eat up now, Zoe. Food’s gonna get cold, and this is gorram good.” He said softly.
The group at the table tried to return to normal, but the spell had been broken by Jayne’s insensitivity once more. The expressions on the faces of the crew told Mal different versions of the same thing; they simply could not believe what was going on. They all knew Jayne to be a lout when it came to people’s feelings, but this was beyond the reckoning of anyone.
The crew ate in embarrassed silence, and left, Simon taking his turn at dishes that night.
Later than night, still on Beaumonde, Mal paid a visit to his brain-damaged gunner. Unlocking the door, he didn’t even bother to call down a welcome, but barged straight in, grabbing a stool from Jayne’s workbench and sat down in front of him. Glancing around, he noticed that some of Wash’s dinos had made their way into Jayne’s bunk, and were set up on a shelf, facing each other as if ready to charge. A plastic palm tree completed the scene.
That tears it, Mal decided, no more fun n’ games. He’s gone.
The mercenary sat on his bunk, staring at the dinos he’d just arraigned. He’d taken off the shirt and thrown it into a pile of rags meant for gun cleaning, and had tied a makeshift bandage around his injured thigh. Mal glanced at the wound, but wasn’t especially concerned.
“Might want to have that looked at, ’fore you get tossed off,” he said impassively.
When Jayne didn’t respond, Mal raised his voice slightly. “You just get out of the gorram bughole or somethin’?” he asked, a combination of disbelief and honest anger on his usually smooth features. “You’re certifiable. You conjure for one second you’re stayin’ on after what you just pulled; you’re more moonbrain than River ever was.” He eyed Jayne some more. “Got nothin’ to say on this, do ya?”
“Honest, Mal, I got no idea what’s goin’ on, or what’s makin’ me do this.” Jayne answered, and Mal could see in his eyes that he was telling the truth. “One minute I’m givin’ Vera her weekly polishin’, next thing I know I’m playin’ with dinosaurs. I don’t unnerstan’ it at all.”
He looked up at his Captain, his expression growing more pained. “An’ I been thinkin’ all manner o’ whatnot ’bout places I ain’t never been or seen. An’ I really got no way of wantin’ to know what I’m suddenly knowin’ ’bout Zoe’s nethers - ”
Jayne came to later, still in his bunk, with a sore jaw. Groaning, he got up and went to his basin; running the tap. He bent down and splashed his face with cold water, grabbing a towel to dry himself. He straightened up, to check the damage in the mirror.
What stared back at him made ‘calm, cool, never lose his head Jayne, the Hero of Canton, victor of a six men at once fight’, whimper like a schoolboy.
“Hey buddy,” Wash’s face stared back at him in the mirror, dressed in Jayne’s clothes. “Had enough?”
“God almighty.” Jayne exclaimed softly, staring in mute shock.
“I asked you a question,” Wash repeated, exasperation on his face. “Have you had enough? ’Cause I can keep this going as long as it takes.” He chuckled in the reflection. “Hell, I can keep this going for weeks.”
Jayne tried to get a hold of what he was sure was his slipping sanity, and tried to get tough. “Get outta my gorram, head, flyboy.” He said lowly, trying for mean, but failing in the face of a ghost.
“Not likely.” Wash replied, folding his arms. “Now are you gonna do what I want, or do I gotta get mean? Because I have to tell ya, I’m getting kinda comfy in here, got a real cozy feeling here with some of your former girlfriends… if that’s what you like to call them.” Wash winked at Jayne, snickering.
“How the hell are you here?” Jayne asked. “Mal must be - ”
“Mal isn’t doing this, you cabbage-brained lunkhead. I am.” Was replied evenly. “Now are you ready to do what I want, ’cause if not, well, I kinda like the part where Zoe stabbed ya in the leg… that was hilarious.”
“I felt it, you didn’t.” Jayne retorted, indignant.
“Exactly…” Wash agreed, “which is why it was funny.”
“I ain’t doing nothin for ya, Wash.” Jayne went back to trying for stern. It was a miscalculation. “An’ I don’t wanna know no more about you and her sexin’- ”
Immediately Jayne’s mind was barraged with hundreds of images and memories that he would have never wanted. All of them were from Wash’s P.O.V. Images of Zoe laughing, her backside, and her moans and cries as she --
“Stop it!” Jayne yelled, clamping his hands over his eyes, trying to blot it all out, but it was no use. The assault continued, unabated, unwanted, and most of all, unending. He fell to the floor.
“I have to make you understand, Jayne.” Wash said, stopping the images more out of compassion than need. “This is important. I have to talk with her.”
“Then haunt her ruttin’ mind!” the gunhand retorted. “I don’t want this!”
“Had to be you, Jayne.” Wash replied in his mind, his voice growing softer, but still accusatory. “You took it.”
“Took what, fer Chrissakes?”
“You know exactly what, Jayne,” Wash shot back, unfazed by his captive body’s lack of compliance. “It belonged to Zoe and me only, for no one else’s eyes.”
“Oh, the knot.”
“Yeasss, the gorram knot.” Wash’s tone was condescending, as it typically was with Jayne. “What did you think I meant, your pecker?”
Jayne sighed and straightened himself out. He’d been balled up in a fetal position since Wash’s mental assault, and now he felt he could get back up.
“No, I knew what ya meant,” he replied, standing back up and facing the mirror. He could see Wash’s face where his reflection should have been. The image disturbed him still but he could begin to tell that this was something Wash wanted for a reason other than just fun. “What do you want me to do?”
Wash just smiled. “Get a chair, and listen.”
Two hours later, Jayne banged on the hatch to his bunk. “Mal?” he called out, hoping someone would listen. “C’mon, Mal, lemme out. I’m sorry.” He tried a little louder. “Mal? I… I wanna apologize, ya know… to Zoe.”
A minute or so later - Jayne wasn’t exactly sure - he heard footsteps approaching, then Mal’s voice, quietly. “Can’t suss out if she wants to talk to you, Jayne, but I’ll ask her. Just a minute.”
Jayne paced nervously in his bunk, biting his fingernails while he waited on the decision.
Zoe sat on the sofa in the common room, Inara at her side.
River sat in the easy chair just opposite, saying nothing, a strange, sad smile on her face. Inara was consoling the First Mate.
“Why, Inara, why is he doing this?” Zoe asked, the pained expression on her face speaking volumes. It was odd in a way to the Companion that the warrior woman, who had seemed so battle hard and fighter ready just after he husband’s death on Miranda would have teary eyes now, even though it was only a month since he’d been gone. Inara had figured Zoe to be the type who had cried out all her sorrow by now. But it did not seem to be that way, especially in the face of Jayne’s merciless taunting.
Mal entered the common area, quietly, his face thoughtful. “Zoe, Jayne called out and said he wants to apologize.”
“So he can do it again?” was all Zoe could ask.
“You want him gone, he’s gone yesterday.”
Zoe sat there a moment, and uncertainty was not something he was ever used to seeing on her strongly beautiful features, but the feeling was there on her face, all the same. “I just don’t understand why,” she said finally.
“Don’t matter why,” Kaylee answered for everyone. “It’s just gotta stop.”
Simon walked into the room from his quarters, flipping through his encyclopedia. Mal caught his eye. “Doctor, there any reason why Jayne would not be acting normal... well, normal for Jayne?”
“I’d have to run a scan, Mal, but I’m not a psychologist.” Simon sighed. “I could say it might be a form of psychological trauma, post-traumatic stress, but like I said…” his voice trailed off; that was all he could say.
River spoke suddenly. “Can’t stop him,” she said quietly. “Can’t stop him ’til he’s finished.”
She was acutely aware of how the rest of the crew had trained their eyes on her, all with various stages of not understanding floating on their faces. “Unfinished business.”
The crew went from looking at River to looking at each other, to staring at Simon, as if waiting for an answer to the clue. “Doctor,” Mal queried, “what’s she going on about now?”
And as usual, Simon came up with the wrong answer regarding his sister. “I have no idea, Captain,” he said, looking at her. “She’s not been on meds for a month now. She hasn’t needed the ones I was using.”
River, petulant, stuck her tongue out at her elder brother. “All your schooling,” she said flatly. “Still a boob.”
Mal smiled at that, Kaylee just shrugged. Mal then turn his questions on the younger Tam. “Not that I’m finding comfort in tryin’ to suss out your mind, Li’l Albatross,” he began, and when she didn’t object to that statement, he continued. “But you’re meaning what by this, precisely?”
River spoke quietly, to Mal only, moving away from the crew. “Zoe’s been ill lately, mornings mostly. Tears… from a warrior, more than there even would be.”
Malcolm Reynolds heard two and two being put together, and came up with four. “She’s - ”
“Waiting on someone small.” River confirmed, smiling. “Not sure, though, has doubts… worries, feels alone… and afraid.”
Mal looked back at Zoe; saw her in a different light for the first time in years. She wasn’t going to be a warrior any longer, he felt. She would be a mother. He spoke so softly, she couldn’t help but notice. “Zoe, Jayne wants to apologize. Will you let him?”
Her face hardened for a moment, then went smooth. “I’ll let him try. Just once. But if he does it again, Sir, I’m gonna have to shoot him.”
Mal nodded in complete agreement. “Fine with
Moments later, per the agreement, Jayne and Zoe sat alone in the unclaimed passenger dorm, the former with apprehension and the latter in undisguised anger.
“Well Jayne,” Zoe said, arms folded. “You got something to say to me?”
Jayne stood there, unsure of where to begin. Once Wash’s spirit had explained things to him in a manner he could understand, he knew he needed to do the right thing, but had made conditions of his own, the first being that Wash would never haunt him again. He took a deep breath, let it out slowly.
“There’s a reason, well, that I’ve been actin’ so gorram weird.” He began, running a hand through his hair. “See, I found somethin’ while I was takin’ care o’ Wash after the crash… and, well…” the mercenary pulled something from his pocket, and his expression somehow, changed. It became softer, more… Zoe couldn’t put her finger on it, but he looked different.
But what he said right after that took the former Corporal completely by surprise.
“Hey, honey…” the voice said, but not Jayne’s voice. No, not his at all…
Zoe’s mouth dropped open in utter shock. “No. No, it… can’t be.” She said, staring at Jayne in wondrous bafflement.
“You can’t sound like him. Not like…” She swallowed, and tried to regain her composure, but it was almost pointless in the face of what she heard. “Wash?” she barely whispered his name.
“Yep, it’s me, lambytoes.” Wash/Jayne replied, and the mercenary’s face smiled, the expression was so full of sincerity, humor, and boundless love that she knew at once this was really happening.
Her reluctance to listen melted away. He continued from within Jayne’s body. “I can’t stay long and no, you’re not crazy, but sweet Whu de ma, you should see the inside of Jayne’s mind - ”
“Wash,” Zoe pressed, “Why… how… are you here?”
“How doesn’t matter,” Wash told her gently. “And as for why, well… I wanted to be the one to tell you.”
“Tell me what, honey?” Zoe asked, tears beginning to well up in her eyes. She had tried to suppress all that feeling, her loss, how much she just missed not having him around, but with this revelation, the wall was crashing down.
“Well, it’s a boy.” Jayne/Wash smiled, the look of happiness incongruous on Jayne’s face, but Zoe paid it no mind. She’d suspected the reason she’d been ill those mornings and sometimes during the day was because of this; the beautiful child that she and Wash had always talked of but never experienced together. And now, there he was, albeit through Jayne as an interpreter, telling her what was going to happen to her.
Motherhood. The one thing Zoe had longed to share with Wash, was still going to be. Wash had found a way to bring happiness to her again. And hearing her beloved confirm it was nothing short of a miracle.
Jayne/Wash looked forlorn for a moment, then spoke softly again. “I’m so sorry that I can’t be there to help you… but I know you’ll do great.” He smiled again, and then continued. “You’re going to be just fine, Zoe. You’ll be a great mother.”
“Boy needs a father,” she said wistfully.
“Well, he’ll have three of the best uncles you could want.” Wash smiled again, Jayne’s eyebrows rising. “Er, ah…well maybe not Jayne…”
“Husband, he’s good for one thing.” Zoe chided, then “sometimes.”
Wash’s humor took control of Jayne’s face. “I can’t believe what it’s like in here, Zoe.” Wash’s voice informed her with disgust. “His mind is… filthy. Smutty, I don’t mind, but this is truly disgust - ”
Jayne’s own will surged through momentarily. “Hey, now, ain’t fair!”
Wash came to the forefront. “I have something for you, honey.” And Zoe watched Jayne reach into the left pocket of his cargoes, and then pull it out.
Jayne held it up to her as Zoe’s shock of recognition registered on her face. She stepped forward, taking it gently from the mercenary, and cupped it in her hands.
It was the ivory Wedding Knot, tied with red silk cord, confirmation of the union she and Wash had shared. She raised it to her lips and kissed it softly.
“One last thing, then I have to go, Honey.” Wash informed her through Jayne once more.
“What is it, baby?” Zoe asked through her tears. “I love you, Wash…I miss you so damn much.”
“I know, I miss you, too,” he replied, smiled again. “But we’ll be together again, I know it.”
“And I believe you,” she rejoined. Her crying had now changed from tears of grief to ones of joy.
“But if you name that poor child ‘Hoban’, I’ll haunt you and this whole gorram ship until the end of your days.”
Zoe laughed out loud, even through her breaking heart. He could always make her laugh. “Wash… I - ”
“No more time, honey,” Wash/Jayne said with the soft voice. “Gotta go now. I love you, and I’m waiting on you.”
She looked down again at the symbol of their union, and realized that the cord might be cut, but their union would never be broken. She smiled at the thought, and looked up again to say one last thing, but she saw Jayne’s face go slack, and then the mercenary dropped to the floor of the passenger dorm, and she knew that Wash was gone, for good this time.
Zoe cried a little longer, sitting in the dorm, and when Jayne recovered, he sat with her, an arm draped around her shoulders, while she cried into one of his.
Zoe walked out of the dorm, to the waiting, expectant eyes of the crew. She looked at Mal firmly, resolved.
“I’ll handle this, Sir.” She said to the Captain.
“Meaning?” Mal asked. He and the rest of the crew were curious, and no one had dared eavesdrop on the two crewmembers while they talked.
“I’ll take care of Jayne,” was all she said. She left the room and headed downstairs to the cargo deck.
Jayne was waiting there, arms crossed, waiting for his judgment.
“Well, after all I did for ya, you’re gonna toss me?” he asked, somewhat incredulous .
His mind had been shanghaied by a dinosaur toy playin’ crazy man, and he was none too pleased with it.
Zoe walked straight up to him, saying nothing. Without a sound, she balled up her right fist, and wordlessly belted the mercenary straight in the jaw, Jayne’s head snapped back, and he staggered for a moment. Zoe stood there, shaking her right hand slightly.
“No.” she answered, tone even, back to business. “But that’s for wearing his shirt.”
“I didn’t wear his ruttin’ - ”
Then again without warning she stepped up to him, grabbed his face, and in a gesture of appreciation, kissed his cheek. “That’s for carrying the messenger.”
She turned and walked out of the cargo bay, never looking back. She passed the crew and said nothing. They would know soon enough, and for once, she liked having some mystery about her. Past the galley, nothing. She made it to their bunk, and Zoe slid down the ladder, getting ready for some shuteye. As she sat down and began to pull off her boots, she saw the final gift.
Jayne had arranged the dinosaurs Wash was most fond of on the night table near their bed. The T-Rex, the Stegosaurus were there, even the palm trees.
But something was not right with the scene, it wasn’t typical of Wash’s playing.
The missing dinosaur, the dilophosaurus, was placed on its back, next to the Stego, and just slightly under the plated-back sauropod. To Zoe’s untrained eyes, it looked like it was a baby, nursing off the Stegosaurus.
Zoe smiled, laid back on the bed, and cupped her belly with both hands.
“Hoban Jr.” she said quietly to herself.
Chung Bao Ho Tze Tien Ah-monkey raping motherless hell
Juh Shi Suh mo go dhong shi?- What the Hell's this Crap?
Ri Shou gou shi bing- sun baked pile of dog poo
Tuesday, January 06, 2009 8:27 PM
Tuesday, January 06, 2009 11:59 PM
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