Family (Part 2/14)
Friday, December 30, 2011

Simon and Kaylee discuss literature. Jayne receives word from home.


Serenity, corner of No and Where...


The tone in Kaylee's voice – a mixture of concern and annoyance – made Mal increase his speed as he came down the stairs into the commons. He rounded the corner and popped his head inside the infirmary to find his giant-sized mercenary hovering over Simon Tam. The doctor was cornered at the far end of the little room and looked rather intimidated under the bigger man's angry glare. Kaylee was standing next to Jayne, one hand raised as if she considered putting it on his arm to try and calm him. She didn't, though, which was probably a good thing.

Mal decided to make his presence known. "Jayne," he warned, because he knew that regardless of what the situation really was, Jayne was the one he needed to stop.

Jayne spun around. "He called me fragile, Mal! And meek, whatever the hell that means."

Mal raised an eyebrow. "Clearly he can't have been talking about you."

"I wasn't," Simon said tiredly from his position in the corner.

"He was!" Jayne protested. "I heard 'em. He said 'Jayne' more'n once. 'Jayne is just fragile,' he said. Then she" – he pointed at Kaylee – "called me a push-over. And then the doc said I was just a product of my time or some such."

Kaylee rolled her eyes. Mal shifted his attention to Simon, who was now – to be honest – looking more impatient than afraid. "I was talking about Jane," he admitted.

"See?" Jayne exclaimed.

Simon grabbed his reading pad off of the counter next to him and waved it around. "As in Jane Eyre!"

Jayne only looked confused as Mal suppressed a sigh. "Yeah, that would explain it," he said. Simon nodded, as did Kaylee, crossing her arms.

Jayne looked from one to the other, frowning. "I don't get it," he muttered. "Who's this Jayne Eyre fella?"

"This Jane Eyre girl," Simon corrected him. "She's a fictional character from Charlotte Brontë's book by the same name. It's one of the most famous works of literature in the history of mankind. Don't tell me you've never heard of it?"

The confusion in Jayne's eyes disappeared and was replaced by the angry glare that had been there before. He scowled at Simon, who surely would have taken a step backwards had his back not been against the counter already. "Maybe I got better things to do than readin' books," he snarled. "Where I'm from we spend our time learnin' useful skills. For instance how to whup pasty-faced fancy pants such as yourself."

"That's enough, Jayne," Mal said, though a part of him had to agree with the mercenary. Reading books was for rich people.

"But, Cap!" Jayne protested.

"Walk away."


"Walk away." Mal emphasized the words this time, and with a disapproving snarl, Jayne stepped away from the doctor. Simon opened his mouth to speak, but Mal spun around and poked his index finger at him. "And you, don't push it!"

Wash, the pilot, chose that exact moment to enter the room, something that probably in greater capacity than Mal's words stopped the whole situation from escalating any further. "What's up?" he asked, standing in the doorframe.

"A little discussion on literature," Mal replied.

Wash looked a little confounded, but was experienced enough not to ask further questions. "Right," he nodded, sweeping his gaze across the room. "There's a wave for you on the Cortex."

Mal started walking towards the door.

"Not you," Wash clarified. "Jayne."

This even surprised the big man himself, who raised his eyebrows in a quizzical frown. "For me?"

"Yup, just ticked in. Text only."

"Hm." Jayne seemed to have forgotten all about Simon now and headed straight for the door.

"You know how to…?" Wash began as he stepped aside to let him through.

Jayne glared daggers at him as he passed by. "I can read!"

Wash instinctively shied away from him. "To operate the Cortex," he finished the sentence and kept a vigilant eye on the mercenary until he'd disappeared around the corner. "Whoa, touchy."

Mal suppressed another sigh. "Please, by all means, go back to your book club," he told Simon and Kaylee, before he stepped out of the infirmary. He gave Wash a nod as he passed him in the doorway but wasn't in the mood for talking, so he continued out into the cargo bay and to his favorite spot there, up on the catwalk.

Less than three weeks had passed since they'd dropped Book off on Haven, the moon back in the Blue Sun system where the shepherd was planning to make a new life for himself, and just like with Inara his departure had affected the crew in unpredictable ways. Especially Jayne, though Mal wasn't sure if it was the preacher's absence alone that had brought on the change in his mercenary.

Jayne had been… different for a while now.

Ever since the incident on New Lafayette three months ago. Or maybe even before that.

Maybe since Ariel. It was difficult to tell.

But the change was there; there was no denying it. It was just hard to pinpoint exactly what the change was. Jayne was… No, he wasn't going to use the word 'compliant', because he wasn't. Not really.

'Quiet', maybe? But somehow that sounded wrong, too.

Jayne was…


Yes, that was it. The man seemed to be spending a lot of time by himself these days, working out in the cargo bay or locked inside his bunk doing God-knows-what. He socialized less with the rest of the crew, which of course meant fewer fights and confrontations, and yet Mal had felt a surge of relief when he'd heard Jayne and Simon argue.

Because one thing he knew for certain: This new Jayne scared him a lot more than the old one had ever done.

He shook his head, trying to rid himself of these gloomy thoughts, and just then he spotted River in the bay beneath. She was moving in between the mostly empty crates stored there, silently as a ghost and gracefully as a ballerina, and he quietly observed this strange dance of hers until she abruptly stopped and disappeared from the room.

And then he thought he'd better go and do some captain-y stuff.

But he was still standing there when Jayne came to find him a short while later. "We'll be on Beaumonde in two days, right?" he asked.

"That's the notion," Mal replied without looking at him. "Why?"

Jayne hesitated, again something that was unlike him. "I'm disembarkin'."

You too? were the first words that flashed through Mal's mind, and it surprised him more than a little that it actually hurt him. Out loud he just said, "Any particular reason?"

"Some business I need to take care of."

Only now did Mal turn to look at him and he eyed him closely. "This has something to do with the wave you just received?"

Again Jayne hesitated, but seemed to come to the conclusion that lying would be both futile and unnecessary now. "It's from my sister," he said. "I'm needed at home." It didn't look like the prospect of going home brought him any joy, though.

Mal nodded. "Your home world's Paquin, right?"


"It's a long way from Beaumonde to Paquin."

"I'll find a ride."

"I'm sure you will. So," Mal straightened, "what's the deal?"

Jayne's eyes narrowed just a little as his face turned into a mask of suspicion. "Nothing special," he answered. "Just a low-life scumbag buggin' my mother. I have to deal with him."

"And how are you planning to deal with him?"

Jayne shrugged. "Shoot 'im."

"Right," Mal nodded again, then went down the stairs to the control panel by the bay doors and pushed the button on intercom. "Wash, plot a new course. Head for Paquin."

"Hey!" Jayne shouted from up on the catwalk. "This is my business, stay out of it!"

"No worries," Mal called back. "I'm just giving you a ride. Not plannin' to get caught up in your family affairs." He headed up the stairs again. "I'm lookin' for work. Might as well look on Paquin."

"Well, you ain't gonna find nothin' in New Inverness," Jayne gloomily said. "Ain't nothin' there but junk, blood and brawls."

"Sounds exactly like my kind of business," the captain grinned. "Now, why don't you go and tell the crew to join us in the galley? Might wanna inform them of the change of plans."


Zoë knew her captain better than to believe him when he said he was simply giving Jayne a ride. This was his way of offering Jayne a hand, and Zoë suspected even Jayne knew – at least on some level. She silently agreed with him though, as they were all sitting around the kitchen table listening to Jayne's story – the mercenary was part of their crew (and on good days she might even say that she liked him), his problems were their problems, and it was important to help him. But it was equally important to be discreet about it.

"Name's MacHaig," Jayne told them, "and my folks's homestead's next to his. He's had his eyes on it for years, and now he's worse than ever. He's lookin' to have it auctioned off so he can buy it for next to nothin'. My pop died 'bout ten months back, and the hundan knows my mother's strugglin' to pay off her debts now that she ain't got his income no more."

"Your poppa died?" Kaylee exclaimed. "You never told us that."

"Weren't none of your business," Jayne muttered. "Anyways, I need to go home."

"Of course you do," Simon said, warily and not unkindly. "In times like these a man's place is with his family."

"Yeah," Jayne nodded, after he'd studied the doctor a little, as if he tried to find out whether the young man was making fun of him or not. Then he turned to look at Mal. "So you can take me there. But you stay out of it." He eyed the rest of them. "All of you!"

"But of course we'll help you, Jayne," Kaylee, who did not possess the captain's tact and discretion when it came to lending a hand, insisted. "After all, we're your family too."

"The hell you're not!" the mercenary spat back, but his eyes flickered and he couldn't quite look at her as he said it.

"Sounds like a pretty bad situation," Zoë remarked, mostly to stop Kaylee from feeding the fire.

"It is. Jo wouldn't have waved me if it weren't so."

"Jo's your sister?" Mal verified more than asked. Jayne nodded.

Zoë felt Wash tense up next to her and when she turned to look at him, she saw something sparkle to life in his eyes. "Your sister's name is Jo?" he asked.

"Yes," Jayne replied, a little impatiently.

"Is that short for Joanne or Josephine or…?" There was a hint of amusement in the pilot's voice and Zoë closed her eyes for a second, sensing what was a brewing.

Jayne frowned. "Nah, it's just Jo."

Wash could barely contain his growing grin. "So your parents called their son Jayne and their daughter Jo?"

Jayne's eyes narrowed. "Yeah, what about it?"

Wash threw his hands up. "Nothing, nothing," he said, leaning back, but his amusement was more than evident now. Next to him, a small snicker escaped Simon as well. Jayne scowled at them both. Zoë poked her husband under the table, but she did have some trouble keeping a straight face herself.

"Anyways," Mal broke in, "it'll take us nearly a week to get there. Best go about with your business until then, people."

Jayne immediately pushed his chair back and headed for the door. Zoë, who still struggled to keep from laughing, turned towards Simon. "Ever been to Paquin, Doc?" she asked him.

"No," he shook his head, "I've never had the… pleasure." He threw a quick glance at River, who sat across the table from him, seemingly lost to the world, before he added, "Home of the Wild Dog, right?"

Jayne, who had reached the doorway, stopped and looked back at him over his shoulder, his eyes gleaming with re-found joy for teasing. "Yeah," he said. "Ain't no sissies growin' up there."




Friday, November 23, 2012 12:27 PM

BLUEEYEDBRIGADIER Jayne's not Kaylee's favourite person right now, what with that embarrassment-fuelled remark about family! Better have longjohns ready or expect his door to lock at odd times ;D


You must log in to post comments.



Angels We Have Heard (Part 5/5)
Mal teams up with Simon to search for some hidden crates on the ice planet of St. Albans. They find something else instead.

Angels We Have Heard (Part 4/5)
Mal teams up with Simon to search for some hidden crates on the ice planet of St. Albans. They find something else instead.

Angels We Have Heard (Part 3/5)
Mal teams up with Simon to search for some hidden crates on the ice planet of St. Albans. They find something else instead.

Angels We Have Heard (Part 2/5)
Christmas special. Mal teams up with Simon to search for some hidden crates on the ice planet of St. Albans. They find something else instead.

Angels We Have Heard (Part 1/5)
Christmas special. Mal teams up with Simon to search for some hidden crates on the ice planet of St. Albans. They find something else instead.

The Night Before (revised and reposted)
It's the night before Christmas and Jayne is having spiritual problems. Literally.

Book of Secrets (Part 8)
Mal drew a deep breath and exhaled slowly, closing his eyes for a moment. "Gorram preacher," he muttered.

Book of Secrets (Part 7)
Kaylee comes clean and River goes for a swim.

Book of Secrets (Part 6)
The captain dances, Inara's feeling out the new girl and the first secret is revealed.

Book of Secrets (Part 5)
Zoë and Inara have a heart-to-heart, and Mal discovers more shades of grey.