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HOPE SERIES: 17. "Biting the Hand that Feeds You"
Friday, October 30, 2009

"Jayne realises he is in deep trouble while waiting for the Captain to return. Meanwhile Patience is convinced that Malcolm Reynolds is double crossing her."


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 2125    RATING: 10    SERIES: FIREFLY

TITLE: "BITING THE HAND THAT FEEDS YOU" AUTHOR: Alison M. DOBELL FANDOM: "FIREFLY" PAIRING: Simon/Kaylee. RATING: PG-13. STATUS: Sequel to "THE DEAL". ARCHIVE: Yes. Just let me know where. FEEDBACK: Welcomed. EMAIL: AlisonMDobell@aol.com WEBSITE: None. All Firefly stories archived at Fireflyfans.net

SUMMARY: "Jayne realises he is in deep trouble while waiting for the Captain to return. Meanwhile Patience is convinced that Malcolm Reynolds is double crossing her." The usual disclaimers apply. The characters and 'Firefly' are the property and gift of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. No infringement of copyright is intended.

"BITING THE HAND THAT FEEDS YOU"

"Firefly" story

Written by Alison M. DOBELL

* * * * *

The big scarred man who was the obvious major domo of Patience's little outfit returned looking as if he had swallowed a cockroach. A whole gorram nest of them on second thoughts. Jayne's eyes narrowed. The other six hired guns had been ranged around him in a fairly relaxed circle, guns holstered but keeping a wary eye on Jayne all the same. He wasn't fool enough to drop his guard for a second, especially with being outnumbered. Paul and Natalie had retreated as soon as the Captain had followed Patience to talk about the deal. Jayne turned his head a fraction and spat at the ground, his eyes taking in more detail about the men surrounding him while the brim of his hat hid his eyes. The scarred man was talking softly to a couple of the men who straightened, looked up then glanced at him. Well, what the *diyu* was that all about? The big man turned to face him. Jayne heard one of the others call him Carl.

"Your ship's taken off. What kind of gorram stunt you pullin'?"

Jayne blinked. "Huh? What makes ya think I've got anythin' to do with it? Pilot's crazy."

The men that had been lounging around him stiffened and all of a sudden Jayne had a bad feeling that things were going to *diyu* in a hand basket.

"What's it got to do with you anyway? Ain't like me an' the Cap'n can go anywhere 'til it returns."

To Jayne's consternation a big grin slid over Carl's face adding a new level of ugly, the smile twisting not only his lips but the half of his face folded by badly healed scar tissue. Looked like someone had tried to slice his face in half and almost succeeded. "I ask the questions, you answer. *Dong ma*?"

Jayne's eyes narrowed. "Since when did you run this outfit?"

A harsh laugh set off a rash of dark humour among the men. The big man went to draw his gun but Jayne wasn't going to give the *hundan* that much of an edge. A sound in the distance rang a bell of recognition in his head and with a fluid ease born of long experience he twisted his body as he rolled to the ground, gun in hand and blazing before the men closing in on him could react. Took out four of them before a bullet caught his left shoulder. Gritting his teeth, Jayne cursed the lack of cover and knew he had seconds, minutes at most before the remaining hired guns killed him.

* * * * *

"What if I say no?"

The look on the old woman's face sent a chill down his spine. The disingenuous smile like a knife sliding between his ribs. "You don't leave White Sands alive, Mal."

He blinked. Huh? Did Patience just threaten to gorram kill him? He heard a loud click and turned his head, then stared with disbelief at the shotgun in Chin's hands. The Captain gave Patience a sour look. "You payin' 'em to murder folk now? Thought that was what your hired guns were for."

"Mal, Mal, you still don't get it. This is my world. This piece of dust, grime an' rock. Every last ruttin' speck of grit an' dust on it an' that includes the people."

Instead of backing down the Captain crossed his arms, an annoyed stubborn look settling on his face. "You kill me, then what?"

"I take your ship an' deliver the goods myself."

To her surprise the Captain laughed. Chin shot his boss a confused look but she was ignoring him, her eyes narrowing on Malcolm Reynolds and wondering what in the nine hells was so gorram funny.

"Good luck with that."

"What're you sayin'?"

"Patience, the one thing I can count on with you is a double cross." Her frown deepened. "You really think I'd walk into this lion's den without a plan?"

"Could still shoot you."

"An' waste good ammo? That don't sound like you."

She eyed him for a long minute then waved a hand at Chin who lowered his gun. "How we gonna do this, Mal? I still got goods to transport, you got a ship."

"First, I don't want no more threats with guns, *dong ma*? You put up half the funds up front, no fuss. An' when I return after deliverin' your cargo you pay the rest. No need for..."

Whatever else the Captain was intending to say was cut short by the sound of gunfire outside. Immediately Patience drew her gun and pointed it at Malcolm Reynolds' head, Chin following her lead and cocking the sawn off shotgun. "This your plan, Reynolds?"

"*Shenme*? You crazy? I got one man, ONE, an' you got how many? Seven, eight? More? If'n you're gonna shoot me go ahead but I got a feelin' we've both been set up."

Startled at the notion, Patience hesitated a moment too long and in the blink of an eye Serenity's Captain had run up the tunnel towards the exit. Patience gave Chin a grim look. "Soon as I go outside, lock the place down. No one in, no one out. You don't open up for anyone but me, *dong ma*?"

Chin nodded. *Wo dong, laoban*.

* * * * *

Hope was vibrating with excitement. River had been unsure just how athletic the girl was but recognised a quick study when she saw one and Hope had heard every one of the crew's stories at least a dozen times. Every job, every rescue and every time they had to run from the Alliance, former contacts or even Reavers. The harness was tightened to fit her slim frame then River went through what she must do for the last time. Handing the girl a blocky com unit River ran back to the bridge and began to descend, the view coalescing beneath them as the dust swirled around the ship's thrusters gave a glimpse of just how close they were cutting things. River yelled into the com. "Open the bay door now! Jayne's down."

It was all Hope needed to hear. As the door beneath her swung open Hope leaned through the opening, the harness bracing her as she started shooting. River's goggles protecting her eyes from all the dust and grit. Below her the rapid gunfire became uncertain and sporadic, her aim getting better as she settled into the slight sway of the harness and the ship's downward thrust. A whoop from below brought a smile to her tight lips. Jayne was alive!

Carl Thomas was livid. That gorram rutting ship was gonna spoil his plan. With four, no five men down and not getting up again, this ambush was turning in a rout with him and his men on the losing side. When Serenity appeared over their heads the noise and dust had deafened and almost blinded them but once the inital shock was over he began firing wildly in the general direction of Jayne Cobb. The second surprise was worst than the first. No sooner had he begun to creep forward on Jayne's position than gunfire rained down on him. Swearing he looked up but couldn't see properly, went to fire up at the ship when a bullet whistled past his face leaving a streak of red alongside his right ear.

"Gorramit Jayne Cobb, I'm gonna skin your ruttin' hide off you!"

Jayne didn't answer, Carl's angry voice doing what his eyes couldn't in all the dust. Pinpointing that ugly *chusheng xai-jiao de xiang huo* and firing off a volley that drilled a hole in the man's skull you could put a fist through. Within seconds the fighting was over. River told Hope to close the bay door and get out of her harness while she set Serenity down. As all the dust settled Jayne felt a sting in his leg and realised he had been shot in the thigh as well as the shoulder. Shouting reached his ears just before he passed out, wondering why in the nine hells the Captain and Patience were fussing over him and arguing like an old married couple. *Wode ma*, that was not an image he wanted to take with him into the next gorram life.

* * * * *

The wave from Zoe alarmed Inara. Worried that something terrible had happened to little Hope she could not concentrate properly on anything else though what she could do about it was unclear. Then Zoe became distracted, turning away from the cortex screen. Frustrated, Inara could only hold her breath until the first mate came back into view again. "Inara, sorry to worry you. Serenity's comin' in to land, I'll call you back when I know more."

Inara nodded, opened her mouth to answer then realised she was staring at a dark screen. *Renci de fozu*, she just knew it had to be Malcolm Reynolds fault.

* * * * *

There was quite a crowd waiting by the time Serenity touched down on Carousel. As soon as the ramp lowered Zoe was striding up it, her face like thunder. No one tried to calm her down, just giving the furious first mate a clear run. The Captain opened his mouth to speak then watched in amazement as Zoe stomped passed him like he wasn't even there. Confused he stared at the others. "What in the sphincter of *diyu* was that about?"

Kaylee opened her mouth to explain but the Captain held up his hand, a mite impatiently. "Later. Simon, need you in the infirmary *mashang*."

Immediately Simon let go of Kaylee's hand and followed the Captain back up the ramp. Mr and Mrs Frye exchanged confused looks. Kaylee gave an apologetic shrug. "Milk run."

Not knowing what that meant but realising something was obviously not right, the Frye's followed their daughter on to the ship, the cousins, uncles, aunts and other relatives staying behind with bemused looks upon their faces. When no one came out to explain what was going on they broke up and went back to their houses and farms. No doubt Kaylee would explain later.

In the infirmary Jayne Cobb was drifting in and out of consciousness. His gorram leg was on fire and his shoulder ached like a *pofu*. River darted around and tried to avoid being anywhere Zoe was. Fortunately, the woman in question only paused long enough to stick her head through the door, see that Hope wasn't there then march off to continue her search. River would have warned Hope but it would not have done any good. Sometimes the only thing you could do was stand still and face the music.

When Simon got to Jayne's side he paused, a look of surprise on his face. "Natalie, what are you doing here?"

The girl had the cheek to grin at him as she wrung out the cloth she dipped in a bowl of cold water. "Just makin' him comfortable 'til you got here."

"No, I meant..." Simon sighed. "*Mei shi*, I need to check him."

Natalie nodded and moved out of the way. On the other side of the bed Mal was looking down at his mercenary with concern. Simon looked at the Captain while he busied himself taking Jayne's temperature and his vital signs. "What happened? Drop a milk crate?"

Scowling, the look Mal sent his way should have turned the doctor to stone but it quickly changed back into one of concern. "It was a set-up. While I was talking to Patience her men decided to cut a new deal. One that didn't involve Jayne an' me leavin' the planet alive."

Simon blinked. "Patience? Did you crack your head? Patience is dead, Captain."

"No, no she ain't."

Kaylee looked confused. "But you shot her, Cap'n. In the chest."

"I know little Kaylee an' normally a body wouldn't be gettin' up an' walkin' away from somethin' like that but it seems Patience was wearin' a vest."

"You mean like the one Zoe has?"

"That's about the size of it."

Jayne began to stir and would have tried to sit up but Simon put a hand on his good shoulder and held him there. "Don't try to move Jayne, you've been shot. I'll need to give you a blood transfusion."

"Mal, where's Mal?"

"Here, Jayne."

The mercenary calmed down when the Captain appeared in his line of sight.

"Mal, they ambushed me. Those gorram *tamade hundan* tried to take me out!"

"*Rongyi, wo zhidao*, Jayne."

Jayne blinked. "Why ain't ya dead?"

The Captain blinked. "*Shenme*?"

"They jumped me, figured Patience had someone in wait for you too."

"She did but when the shootin' started we both came runnin'. I thought she was double crossing me an' she thought we were doin' the same to her. Truth was we were both right."

"Huh?"

Mal gave Simon a look as he set up a drip. "What d'you give him?"

"I haven't given him anything yet, Captain. Like I said, he's lost a lot of blood."

"Seems the men she hired were tryin' to cut their own deal, Jayne. They wanted to take us an' Patience out, steal Serenity an' the stones. Make themselves rich."

The mercenary was trying to follow the conversation but was fading fast. Simon straightened. "You all need to leave now."

"You take care of him, Simon." The Captain ignored the surprise on the doctor's face and gently patted Jayne's good shoulder, the big man fighting to stay conscious but losing. "You did good, Jayne."

"I'm a gorram hero." The mercenary slurred.

"That you are."

Kaylee took the Captain's place as he left and patted Jayne's foot. "Aw, that was mighty brave of you, Jayne." The big man didn't hear her. Simon gave Kaylee a look and she held up her hands. "Alright, I'm goin' just, you know, like the Cap'n said - take care of him."

As she went to walk out of the door the Captain stuck his head back through it and frowned at Natalie. "You too! Now. There's words we need to be havin', young lady. You an' that lyin' boyfriend of yours."

Once the infirmary emptied, Simon shut and locked the door. Sometimes trying to provide any kind of medical care on this ship was next to impossible. Out on the catwalk Kaylee hung around, wanting to hear what the Captain had to say to Natalie and Paul while wondering where her parents had disappeared to with the twins. The Captain caught her eye and raised an eyebrow. "Don't you have babes to feed?"

It was on the tip of her tongue to have a go at him but the Captain looked worn down with worry, the dust thick on his jacket and boots, his hair messy with dirt and a look in his eye almost too bleak for comfort. Swallowing down her frustration Kaylee nodded, glad she wasn't going to be on the receiving end of that Captain-y tongue. Though given what he and Jayne had been through she couldn't blame him.

* * * * *

CHINESE GLOSSARY: (Mandarin - Pinyin)

*diyu* = hell *dong ma* = understand? *shenme* = what *wo dong* = I understand *loaban* = boss *chusheng xai-jiao de xiang huo* = animal fucking bastard *wode ma* = mother of God *pofu* = bitch Renci de fozu* = merciful Buddha *mashang* = at once/on the double/immediately *rongyi* = easy *mei shi* = it doesn't matter *tamade hundan* = fucking bastard *wo zhidao* = I know *hundan* = bastard

COMMENTS

Friday, October 30, 2009 1:09 PM

ANGELLEMARCS


I loved Jayne in this one. He was so brave as Kaylee said. Patience is surely a piece of work. always wondered if maybe she was Badger's mom. They sure got a lot in common. I definitely would not want to be Natalie or Paul though. Bring on some more of the good stuff.

Friday, October 30, 2009 3:31 PM

JANE0904


Badger's mother? Now there's a thought I don't want to sleep on! But I do want to be a fly on the wall when Zoe finds Hope. And Jayne's line about Patience and Mal arguing like an old married couple? Priceless!

Friday, October 30, 2009 6:12 PM

BYTEMITE


Interesting. Well, they made it through, but I suspect Paul and Natalie are bringing plenty more complications with them.


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