Friday, July 8, 2005

"Jayne considers his get-rich scheme and comes to the painful realisation that the only one he short changed was himself. Zoe is still processing his treachery."



SUMMARY: "Jayne considers his get-rich scheme and comes to the painful realisation that the only one he short changed was himself. Zoe is still processing his treachery." 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.


"Firefly" story

Written by Alison M. DOBELL

* * * * *

It was a lot of money. More than he had ever seen in his own hand before. Had seen others pawing through a pile like this but always, by the time it got to his share, the coin was so low in his palm it was almost an insult. This though, this covered both his palms, had the weight of a lot of coin. Money he could go anywhere he gorram pleased with. A quiet almost holy silence gripped him, stunned almost that he had actually done what he had done. A wide grin spilling over his face before another image filled his mind and squashed the happy in his lungs. One he was less proud of. Mal. The Captain. Moving, turning, too late to field the treacherous bullet and too slow to send its' doppleganger into the man he had finally called friend.

It hurt. Shouldn't'a done. Not really. He was a mercenary, gorrammit. Wasn't Mal's lap dog nor some *chun wangba dan* needing to be told not only what to do and when to do it but how. Sometimes he felt like he was treated as some backbirth, too dumb to question, too slow to be anything but a man walking in another's shadow. He'd got sick of it. Wanted to step out and stand in the sun. This coin would do it. Prove for once and for all that Mal hadn't tamed him. That he was still his own man. But another thought impinged on his consciousness, one that stirred up the kind of emotions he always avoided. He couldn't prove nothing if the man he wanted to impress was dead. *Diyu*. Was that what he had done?

Jayne stared for a long time at the coins now spilling from his hands as if they were melting, turning into water. Only that was just an illusion caused by the tears in his eyes. Anger sparked behind his weeping lids, furious at himself for getting attached, for being weak. Then in his mind's eye he saw Shepherd Book, the man's wise old face and mild knowing voice telling him that this wasn't him. He was looking back at who he was, trying to reclaim the rough edge through violence but it didn't change what he had become. He'd grown, almost without meaning to. The crew of Serenity had altered him but not as much as its' Captain. And look what he had done.

* * * * *

The fury in Zoe was a brittle fire. The others could feel its' heat and were wary of getting burned but Book could not remain silent. As worried as he was about the Captain he could not stop feeling concerned about Jayne. And more specifically what Zoe would do to the man before the full facts were known. "It may not be as bad as we think." He temporised.

No response. Simon opened his mouth to say something reassuring then realised he had nothing. River was silent, thoughts a jumble, struggling in her brain for the oxygen to spin out more than vowels or disjointed constonants. Wanting to stitch together whole sentences of meaning before it all fell apart. They were losing him. "Hurry!"

Zoe's knuckles whitened as she gripped the controls harder, the little mule already going flat out only now she wasn't dodging potholes or even people. Anyone got in the way that was their lookout. Not slowing down. Not deviating for no one.

* * * * *

He was hardly aware. Too out of it to realise the moisture on his face was not rain nor even perspiration. That the warmth that cradled him was not his mama's arms. That the rumble and murmur going through his body wasn't Serenity's sweet and cherished heartbeat giving ease to his tormented soul. Perhaps he would have been shocked. Surprised, certainly. Jayne had gone back, rolled the Captain over and felt a sick dread as he realised anything he tried to do to put this right would come too late. "Gorrammit Mal, don't you die on me!"

Strong arms dragged the Captain's body across the dirt then Jayne was sitting, legs splayed out in front of him, cradling the bloody body as best he could. His huge paw-shaped hands trying to stem the blood oozing up out of a wound he had caused. Tears blinded him so he shook his head, his voice low and gravelly, angry and pained, frustrated and filled with fear. "No quittin' ya hear me? Ain't gonna let ya give up, Mal."

A bubble of fluid leaked from the Captain's mouth. Jayne stared at the clear fluid wondering why it didn't turn red. Like all his world was stained with the blood of this man. He could feel little shudders jerking through Mal at random intervals and with each one Jayne held him tighter, head bent lower, tears rolling off his lashes like the wave of his regret.

"I don't know what to do," Said Jayne in a small voice. He sounded almost like a child. Lost. Alone. And hurting. "Tell me what to do, Mal."

For a long long time there was nothing. Jayne felt numb. Wished he had turned the gorram gun on himself instead. His head filled with all the moments shared with this man, the Captain's words bouncing round the inside of his mercenary's head with a whole ton of subtext revealed. Hadn't seen it before. Hadn't understood. Huh. Why hadn't he seen it before? Man had showed him enough times that he thought of him as more than just a hired hand. He was one of the crew which made him as near as damn it family to Mal. Even when he had sold out River and Simon the Captain had forgiven him. Was mad as *diyu* at him for the longest time, even came close to spacing him. But he surprised Jayne by letting him live, then by not telling the crew what he'd done. It was almost harder living with his shame than facing the gorram threat of being sucked out into the atmo. No air in his lungs, the cold of space ready to crush him, and no one to blame for the dying but himself.

Sitting there in the quiet, head bowed, the clouds lowering in the fitful sky, Jayne was immune to the falling temperature. The breeze picking up hardly registered. He was lost in his thoughts, trapped in the past. Six years of memories peeling back with images, scenes flickering in his mind's eye like a film being rewound and cranked by hand. But instead of being replayed backwards he was reliving it scene by scene but from a new perspective. One huge hand brushed the fringe from the Captain's face, his eyes not really focusing, his mind now skipping back to the first time they had met. The conversation looping over and over in his head as impossibly, the man he was thinking of killing gave him a deal he couldn't pass up. And the man had been true to his word. No jettisoning the mercenary as soon as the danger was gone and that had surprised and impressed Jayne. Now he had to wonder whether it was as adhoc as it had seemed. Whether the Captain had perhaps seen something in him worth the saving. He liked to think that had been it.

Jayne didn't hear the mule pull up, the anxious shouts as four people jumped off it and ran over to them. Simon knelt beside them and tried to release Jayne's hands so he could see to the Captain but the mercenary was hanging on as if two lives hung in the balance not one. Maybe they did. Zoe wanted to kill him there and then but even she had been stunned to see how upset he was, how that mask had been peeled back to reveal the man beneath. The mercenary a crude but efficient alter ego that got things done and did not have to suffer the consequences. The man beneath bore every scar.


She blinked and turned her head slowly to look at the Preacher. "*Shenme*?"

"Help me with Jayne so that Simon can work on the Captain."

Then they were parting them and it was possible to see how close the timing, the last beat of a flagging heart, they had come. Zoe could not speak but knelt the other side of Mal, her eyes on the too pale face, hardly registering River's presence alongside her. Simon was worried, he needed to get the Captain back to Serenity but feared the journey back would kill him. He told Zoe as much. Slowly she blinked, the meaning of Simon's words percolating through a brain that was only working in fits and starts. All the important parts seemed to have holes in it.

"The Captain needs Serenity." Explained River.

That seemed to penetrate the mental fog. Zoe nodded but River hadn't finished.

"Captain can't come to the ship, ship has to come to him, *dong ma*?"

In a daze Zoe stared at Mal's face for a long moment then looked at River. She gave a stunned nod. "*Wo dong*, Serenity."

River smiled, one hand resting on the Captain's shoulder. "Serenity."

Seconds later Zoe was instructing Wash to bring the ship in as close to their location as possible. Simon worked to stabilise the Captain, Shepherd Book trying to do the same for a traumatised Jayne Cobb. When the ship landed, two patients were taken aboard. Confused, Wash gave his wife a puzzled look as Mal and Jayne were whisked off to the infirmary. "What happened to Jayne?"

Before Zoe could explain River piped up. "Conscience caught up with him. Almost fatal."

Then River was gone, darting off in her brother's wake. It was just him and Zoe left to lock up then he would lift off, back into the safety of the Black. Reaching out he drew his wife close enough for a gentle kiss. Noting that she looked to be in some kind of shock her own self. "It'll be alright, *bao bei*. Mal's tough, he'll pull through."

Zoe didn't answer but accepted the kiss in silence. Then Wash was hurrying for the bridge. Zoe considered her husband's words. Mal was tough, he would pull through. She looked in the direction of the infirmary. Yes, Mal would pull through. Wasn't so sure about Jayne.

* * * * *

CHINESE GLOSSARY: (Mandarin - Pinyin)

*chun* = stupid *wangba dan* = fucking bastard *diyu* = hell *shenme* = what *dong ma* = understand? *wo dong* = I understand *bao bei* = precious/treasure


Friday, July 8, 2005 8:09 AM


"I don't know what to do," Said Jayne in a small voice. He sounded almost like a child. Lost. Alone. And hurting. "Tell me what to do, Mal."

*sniff* That is just so poignant and so very true. Kinda sums up their whole relationship in a nutshell.

Monday, July 25, 2005 5:58 PM


I agree! At least 2 box tissue for this chapter alone.

Sunday, October 23, 2005 7:34 AM


AGH! I love your Jayne! This chapter was so poignant and frantic, but it didn't feel rushed. There was a sense of urgency without the feeling that you were rushing through the important parts to get to the end. love it!

Friday, January 12, 2007 4:29 AM


>She looked in the direction of the infirmary. Yes, Mal would pull through. Wasn't so sure about Jayne.

I love your Jayne, but I really love your Zoe here.


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His head still ached from the rutting probe but after the men had satisfied themselves that his story was true a thousand questions peppered the air like machine gun fire.

The vessel was shiny, sleek and black with nowhere near the bulk of an Alliance ship. Something about the way it moved through the Black was more than a little creepifying.

Personally she didn't care if Serenity was towed off to a junk yard and stripped into spare parts. She had promised the ship to Jer and his crew as a bonus but it looked like scavengers had beaten them to it.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS: 2. "Counting Chickens"
The fact that her eyes were hard and sharp with intelligence kind of chilled him. Smart women always made him uneasy, it just weren't natural.

What in the nine hells were they so afraid of? Then he remembered Tracy. The body mailed to them by their old war buddy and all the trouble that had brought down on them.

If it was too gorram wet to hunt for rabbits what in the nine hells was his son really hunting? And was it something on four legs or two?

The man was in a terrible condition, his pulse weak, and for some reason he was soaking wet which did nothing to staunch the blood soaking through his clothing and seeping from the poorly tended wound where he had been shot.

THE DICHOTOMY SERIES: 9. "All The King's Men"
The man sighed like the weight of the of the 'Verse was on his shoulders but unlike anyone else he looked like he could carry the weight.

THE DICHOTOMY SERIES: 8. "All The King's Horses"
Without warning something came through the opening and rolled with a metallic clang across the ground before exploding.

THE DICHOTOMY SERIES: 7. "Friend or Foe"
Then he found himself falling, the whole world silent as in slow motion the hordes of *diyu* came to swallow him up and everything disintegrated in fire, blood and pain.