BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

JANE0904

Dead Man's Chest - Part VI
Monday, January 19, 2009

Maya. Post-BDM. The fight ends badly - well, how else would it, and our heroes end up in jail. NEW CHAPTER


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 2104    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

“You’re all bound by law and required to stand down!” The man in the doorway, shotgun held in both hands, smiled faintly.

“You stay out of this,” one of the Golden Dragon crew snarled.

Another shell was ratcheted noisily into the chamber. “That ain’t gonna happen.” He nodded and four men brandishing rifles ran through from the back, taking up positions around the room, covering everyone with their weapons.

Mal stood straight, very slowly so as not to invite a bullet. “It’s just a brawl,” he said, eyeing the badge on the man’s vest. “A misunderstanding at most.”

Gideon, however, apparently looked at things differently. “A brawl?” he complained loudly, clutching his belly. “Do you see what they did?”

“Are you pressing charges?” the sheriff asked.

“Try and stop me! Coming in here, breaking up my place, threatening the girls and attacking me … just look at the damage!” He pointed to a table reduced to matchwood, the result of someone who might have been Jayne dropping one of the opposition onto it from a great height.

“And can you point out the people mostly responsible?”

“All of ‘em!”

The sheriff tried a reasonable tone of voice. “Gideon, I doubt they all started it right at the same moment.”

The bar owner was having none of it. “I want them all locked up!”

“Now, see here, we were just –” Mal stopped as the shotgun swung his way, holding up his hands in a submissive manner.

“He’s the man making the formal complaint, so I don’t see any alternative. We have to take this some place more official.” The sheriff glanced at his men. “Anyone on the floor, got blood on them or busted knuckles, we take them in, dong mah? And make sure we don’t lose any stragglers on the way.”

His deputies moved forward, ready to escort their prisoners.

“Wait a minute,” Gideon called, his face going an unnatural shade of puce. “Why ain’t you handcuffing everyone?”

“Mainly because I don’t have enough, and since you aren’t capable of pointing out the ringleaders, I think we’ll let it pass this time.”

“Not enough handcuffs? Why not?”

The sheriff turned a suddenly unfriendly eye on the bar owner. “Because the good folks on the Port Town Council, of which I seem to recall you being a member, turned down my request at the last budget meeting.”

“Yes, but that was unreasonable.”

“Whatever. Point is, I still ain’t got enough, and I don’t feel in the mood to send someone over to Gilford’s to get some rope.” He smiled. “Even if Jason wasn’t one of those I was about to lock up.”

“He wasn’t involved,” Mal put in quickly. “Stood back, the entire time.”

One of the deputies looked at Gilford, checking him over. “He’s right, Dan. Not a speck of blood on him.”

“Then he can stay.”

Gilford relaxed visibly. As much as he’d wanted to back up his stepsons and their friends, the thought of being locked up had his heart pounding unreasonably fast.

“Now look here –” Gideon began, then backed down at the sheriff’s glare. “Fine. But you put in for that increased allocation next time round.”

“Thanks.” The word should have withered the bar owner on the spot. “Okay, folks. Time to get going.” He pushed the door open with his foot. “Gorramit, I hate politics,” he added quietly, stepping back out into the night.

Mal glanced at Gilford, who nodded that he’d let the relevant people know, then followed the sheriff outside.

As they walked along the street, there were a lot of different thoughts going through the minds of those under arrest. Hank and Simon’s were almost identical, worrying what their respective wives were going to say. Matty was entertaining the possibility that Jolene might just call off the wedding, while Mal was noting that the head of the Golden Dragon crew didn’t appear to be one of those who’d been bound. More and more he was coming to the conclusion that Jayne had been right, and that there was something familiar about the tall man with Chinese features.

The big ex-mercenary, on the other hand, was trying to remember where he might have seen the sheriff before. “Who the hell are you?” he asked finally, trying to focus out of the one eye that was still open.

The man smiled slightly. “I’m the Sheriff. Dan Jefferson.”

“No you ain't. He’s older.”

“Ah, you’ll be thinking about my father. The Judge.” They reached the jailhouse.

“What?”

Mal closed his eyes. Things weren’t exactly looking up, what with their being arrested, and now Jayne seemed to be known to the local law.

“My father,” Jefferson repeated. “He used to be the Sheriff, only when he retired I took over and he took up sitting on the bench on his backside, dispensing justice. Just keeps getting re-elected, too. Folks round here must like his brand. But I wouldn’t worry,” he added, jingling the keys in his hand and opening up. “You’ll be able to make his re-acquaintance when you go up a’fore him in the morning.”

“Won’t that be shiny,” Mal murmured, silencing Jayne with a look.

Inside the jail, Jefferson led the way to the cells in the back. “Now, as you can see, we only got the two rooms. So you might wanna decide which side you were on and make sure you don’t get put in with the wrong group.”

Mal immediately led the way into the right hand cell, his crew and Matty following him inside. With far less grace, the Golden Dragon crew filed into the opposite cell, the odd obscenity floating out behind them.

Jefferson closed the doors, locking them securely. “Well, you might as well make yourselves as comfortable as you can. I can probably rustle you up some breakfast before you go to court, but it won’t be anything special. Not that you can complain, seeing as you’re somewhat unwilling guests.”

“We didn’t start it!” Hank insisted, pointing through the bars. “It was them!”

The other crew, jammed together, growled, and he snatched his hand back quickly.

Jefferson shrugged. “Ain't my call. That’ll be up to his Honour to decide.”

“It was just a fight,” Jayne stated. “Can’t have a bachelor party without a fight.”

“Oh, I think you can,” Simon murmured, checking to see if his ear had stopped bleeding. “And I think I might need a tetanus shot.”

“Not the only one,” Mal added quietly, knowing the stitches in his shoulder had broken, and he could feel his shirt was sticking to his skin.

“Any of you likely not to survive the night?” Jefferson peered in through the bars. “Only we ain’t got a doctor in the neighbourhood, and I’d have to call on –“

Mal shook his head. “I think we’ll live. And my own medic happens to be locked up in here too.”

“Lucky me,” Simon muttered.

Jefferson tried not to smile. “Shiny. You know, it’s a good job it wasn't tomorrow. My Pa never sees anyone on a Sunday, so you’d be here all weekend otherwise.”

Matty paled. “Jolene’d skin me alive if I missed the big party.”

“Zoe’d do the same,” Hank agreed.

“Hell, all of our wives’d hang our pelts up for all to see if that happened,” Mal added. “That’s one of the joys of being married.”

“Now you tell me,” Matty muttered.

Jefferson grinned. “Aw, Matty, you know it ain't that bad. If the worst comes to the worst, we can arrange your wedding to take place in jail.” He chuckled at the look on the other man’s face. “Ain't like I wanna miss it, do I? Seeing as my invite is sitting at home on the mantel.”

“Dan, can’t you just –“

“No. You know I can’t. You broke up the place, and Gideon’s gonna push this as far as he can.” Jefferson straightened up. “Now, I can let you make one com call a piece, so who do you wanna know you’re in this sorry predicament?”

The men exchanged glances, but no-one seemed anxious for their nearest and dearest to find out they’d been bound. Mal sighed.

---

“You know, this is nice,” Jolene said, pouring another healthy amount of wine into each of their glasses. All except Kaylee’s, of course. She was sticking to fruit juice on account of being just a little bit pregnant. “You could’ve brought the kids, though, then that Zoe of yours could have come.”

Freya laughed. “You have no idea what you’re suggesting. At the moment they’re not exactly the best of friends, and I don’t think an evening of listening to their mothers gossiping would make things any better.”

“Are we? Gossiping?” Carmen, one of Jolene’s oldest friends, pushed at her black curls from where they’d escaped onto her forehead and tutted. “Only I don’t think there’s been much in the way of anything juicy for a while.”

River took a sip of her wine, and was amazed at its ability to make all the sharp edges in the room slightly fuzzy. “I could tell you about Simon’s fetishes, but Kaylee wouldn’t like it.”

“He don’t have fetishes!” the young mechanic in question maintained. “Least, nothing bad.”

Her sister-in-law looked at her. “Chainwave,” she said quietly, and Kaylee blushed.

“Now, now,” Freya said. “Play nice. And that was your doing, Mrs Cobb.”

River sighed happily, running her nails over the tattoo circling her ring finger. “Don’t care. I am an old married woman. I'm allowed to try and embarrass the young people.”

“No, you’re not. And Kaylee’s older than you.”

“Not that much!” Kaylee put in.

“No, but in the old married women circle River’s pretty much a stripling,” Freya finished. “So unless you want me to tell everyone about what Mal caught you and Jayne doing on the bridge that time …”

River glared at Freya for a moment, then shrugged. “True.” Then she glanced across towards the pile of coats. “Need to answer that.”

Jolene looked puzzled. “Answer what?”

There was a buzzing from Freya’s jacket. “Excuse me,” she said, getting up to retrieve the comlink from her pocket, flicking the switch and asking, “What is it, Zoe?”

“Uh, ain’t Zoe.”

“Mal?”

“Hi, ai ren.”

“Why are you calling? Is there a problem?”

“No. No, there’s no problem. Least, not what you’d really call a problem.”

“Mal, what are you talking about?” She focused, trying to see where … “Mal. You’re not. Tell me you’re not.”

“Well, I could, but I've the notion I’d be lying.”

“How?”

“Well, this nice man decided we’d all be better off some place safe, and as he was so polite we accepted his –“

“Mal.”

“Fight.”

“Oh, Mal.”

“Hey, weren't my fault! The other guys started it.” There was mutterings in the background which suggested at least one of the ‘other guys’ was fairly close. “Anyway, seems we’re locked up until morning.”

She closed her eyes, trying to control herself, to stop herself saying anything she might regret. “And then?”

“We go up before the judge. Only I'm hoping it’s just gonna be a slapped wrist, since we were on the side of the righteous.”

“Mal, you of all people know that being on the right side doesn’t mean you can’t still lose.”

“I know.”

She could feel the eyes of the other women on her back, and she took a deep breath. “I’m coming, now.”

“You don’t have –“

“Now.”

“Um, shiny.”

The com clicked off just as there was a knock at the door which Jolene hurried to answer.

“Jolene?” It was Jason Gilford. “Jolene, I've got some bad news.”

“They’ve been arrested,” the bride-to-be said, her arms crossing tightly in front of her breasts.

“Uh, yeah. How did –“

Freya held up the comlink. “We just found out.”

“Ah.”

“Indeed.”

“Are you … going to get them out?”

“From what Mal said, it doesn’t look like we can. They’re going up before the judge tomorrow.”

“Warren Jefferson?” Jolene glanced at Deirdra.

“All right,” she said, sighing. “I suppose I could have a word.”

“A word?” Freya looked at her.

“He’s my father-in-law. My husband’s the sheriff.”

Considering they had just been discussing the possibilities – yet again, to Jolene’s ears – that Dan had been playing away from home, Freya wasn't all that hopeful. “I’m still going down to the jail, see what’s going on. At the very least I’ll be able to find out what they’ve been charged with, although I imagine it’s affray and malicious damage.”

“You sound like you’re experienced in this kinda thing,” Carmen put in.

Freya sighed again. “I wish I wasn't. I honestly wish I wasn’t.”

---

Matty had made himself as comfortable as he could on the end of the bench, Jayne on the floor at his side.

“Well, it’s better’n some jails I've been in,” the big man observed. “Been one or two where the rats were so big you had to fight ‘em for the food.”

“Oh, great.”

Jayne hit him good-naturedly on the side of his thigh. “Come on. Jo ain’t gonna call off the wedding just ‘cause of a little dust-up.”

“I don’t know about that. She’s very particular. Likes everything just so.”

“She’s a woman. They’re all like that.”

“Even River?”

“’Specially River. Sometimes it makes her hold on things not being crazy just that little bit more solid.”

Matty considered this. “She don’t seem that crazy.”

“You ain't seen her bad days.” He chuckled deep in his chest. “Although I think you might when she finds out where we are.”

“She can’t be that bad. I mean, she’s just a slip of a thing.”

“Yeah. Right.” Jayne adjusted the front of his pants at the memory of her grabbing his man parts in that bar. He looked up to see Simon still fiddling with his ear. “Doc, you keep doing that, it’s gonna come off. And we ain't got the equipment no more to fix it back.”

The young man glared at him, but put his hand down.

There was silence for a moment, then Matty said, “Oh, Meg Wilkins asked me to remember her to you.”

“Little Meg?” Jayne had to smile, remembering the girl he’d had something of a crush on back in the day, before things went ever so slightly to hell.

“Not so little anymore. She’s got eight kids, another on the way. Says she’s hoping her old man’s gonna get lost in the crowd.”

Jayne laughed again. “There’s better ways.”

“That’s what I told her. Anyways, she asked, and I did.”

“Thanks.” Jayne put his head back against the wall, the day he’d put his hand on her knee drifting back to him. Then he stilled. Gorramit, those beads in the box. They’d been meant for a gift for her, and there’d been a tag attached. Oh, well. He made himself relax again. Bethie probably wouldn’t understand what it meant, not at her age.

The door opened and Mal stepped through, followed closely by the spokesman for the Golden Dragon crew. Jefferson brought up the rear, but he stepped past them quickly to open the cells. “Gentlemen.”

They filed inside, the locks clicking shut with a doom-like sound of finality. Mal slid down the floor to sit next to Jayne.

“How’d she take it?”

“Not … the best I've ever seen.”

“She coming?”

“Mmn.”

“Think she can do something to get us out?”

“Nope.”

“Me neither.” Jayne sighed.

Mal leaned closer, lowering his voice until it was little more than a susurration of breath. “Jayne, you heard of Chester Lau?”

Jayne didn’t whip his head around, but that was only because his body was under the iron control of his will. “Heard of him, Mal,” he murmured back.

“And his brothers?”

“Them too.”

“Anything good?”

“Not a gorram thing.”

“Me neither. Which is something of a pity, since half his crew’s locked up opposite.”

This time Jayne turned his head enough to see Mal out of his good eye. “That hwoon dahn in the bar who got away was one of the Lau brothers?”

“I heard enough of their conversation to figure that much out.”

“No wonder he looked familiar.”

“You ever met any of ‘em?”

Jayne shook his head slowly. “Nope.”

“Me neither. So we just make like we’ve never heard of them, dong mah?”

“Gotcha.” He glanced at the rest of the crew. “Think they might’ve?”

“Hank, maybe. I don’t think Simon’s travelled in low enough circles to have, but we can’t afford to take chances. I’ll speak to ‘em.”

“Good idea.”

There was silence for a good five minutes, and most of the crew had begun to doze off. Until the door opened again and Jefferson grinned at them.

“You got a visitor,” he said, stepping to one side.

Mal got to his feet. “Hi, ai ren.”

to be continued

COMMENTS

Monday, January 19, 2009 9:45 AM

WAKEUPSOON


So, Freya'll either slap him or kiss him ... funn times :D lol
Anna.x.(:

Monday, January 19, 2009 10:17 AM

ANGELLEMARCS


Ooooo...I don't think Frey is gonna be too happy with Mal. I'd hate to be any of our crew when the girl's get there. Nice writing.

Monday, January 19, 2009 10:24 AM

NCBROWNCOAT


Nothing worse than a wife visiting her husband in jail after a brawl.

And who are the Lau brothers?

Monday, January 19, 2009 12:48 PM

AMDOBELL


Uh oh, the Lau brothers? Why do I think getting slung in jail isn't the bad part? Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 11:42 AM

KATESFRIEND


What fun awaits! Where did we hear of the Lau brothers before? Have you written a concordance for all your stories yet, or could you give us a hint?


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