Friday, July 8, 2005

"It comes as something of a surprise to realise that the Captain isn't the only one who needs to heal."



SUMMARY: "It comes as something of a surprise to realise that the Captain isn't the only one who needs to heal." 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

* * * * *

The Captain woke slowly, the light sluggishly pulling him up from the darkness. Everything felt kind of stretched and yawing, his focus wandering before he could get a grip of it. The warping of the infirmary around his Iris's slowing then coming to a stop. He blinked a couple of times to wash the grit and almost concussive effect of induced sleep from his eyes. The infirmary. Right. That meant... the *tamade baichi* had shot him! *Wode ma* when he got his hands on that lying, cheating, back stabbing *heisheoudang liumang*...

"Good to see you awake, sir."

He blinked again. Zoe. "Where's Jayne?"

Her expression darkened, a murderous rage barely concealed behind a dark wall of control now showing dangerous cracks around the edges. The only thing that held that wall in place was the fact that he hadn't died. When she didn't answer immediately Mal frowned.

"You kill him already?"

She shook her head. The flash of regret in her eyes real enough to cool him down a little. "No, sir. Figured that was your job."

Right. Fine. Just what he needed. More decisions to make. "I wanna see him."

"I don't think..."

"Not askin'. Wanna see him here, now. *Dong ma*?" Zoe nodded and left. Simon remained silent, watching the Captain as he fussed around him. River got up from a chair in the corner and danced over to him, her pale moon face shining down on him with a quiet happiness that stirred an echo of content in own fractured soul. "He's sorry." She informed quietly. "Tried to go back but already burnt his bridges. Had to try to find out."

"River, I in no way got a clue as to what you're sayin'."

She smiled. The Captain turned his head and looked at Simon. "What she say?"

"I think she's saying Jayne regrets shooting you."

Before he could respond to that fun little comment Zoe came back into the infirmary with Jayne and Book. Jayne looked like he was doing some kind of penance. The Captain glanced at the others. "I wanna talk to Jayne alone."

"Not a good idea, sir." Said Zoe.

"Ain't askin'. I'm still the Cap'n. Now go, shoo!"

Zoe glared at Jayne, gave the Preacher a nod then waited for Simon and Book to go first. River leaned down and kissed the Captain's cheek. At the surprised look on his face she gave him a happy smile. "You won, be grateful. To the victor the spoils."

Then she danced out, closing the door behind her. A painful silence filled the space between the two men. "Crazy girl." Murmured the Captain.


All of sudden the Captain had an image of Jayne holding him in his arms. Tears falling down the big man's face as he cradled him. All the hurt and pain and confusion of what happened dimming in a flash of insight. River had been right. But he had to ask. To know. "Why'd you come back?"

"*Shenme*?" "After you shot me. Why come back? You had to know the others would come an' find me. Stood a good chance Zoe'd shoot you before askin' what the good gorram happened. Come to think of it, why didn't she shoot you?" The Captain paused a half-beat as if considering it. "Huh, might have to look for a new second in command."

Jayne blinked. "It was the money. I was gonna take it, start anew."

"Why didn't you?"

"I..." The big man paused and stared hard at the Captain. "You ain't mad at me?"

"Didn't say that." "I just, suddenly it didn't feel like the thing to do. After I left you, I counted it." Jayne got a far away look in his eyes but had moved closer to the infirmary bed. "More money than I ever had my hands on before an' all I could think as I looked at it was it wasn't enough."

The Captain thought he must have misheard. "Huh? Not enough? What you talking about, that was more than..."

A sad little smile tweaked the mercenary's lips, his eyes now fixed on the Captain. A suspicious moisture pooling in the corners of his eyes. "Then I got to thinkin' it wouldn't ever be enough."

Silence stretched between them as if in shock. The two men trapped in a tableau of truthsomeness that cast its' own kind of spell. "What you sayin', Jayne?" "I'm sayin' ya got to me an' good. Didn't even realise it. Thought I was still a free agent, could come an' go whenever I gorram pleased. Didn't wanna kow-tow to nobody. On'y I came to respect ya, like havin' a place on your boat, bein' crew. It was more than I ever had an' it was twistin' me up inside like I was all kinds of weak so I had to get out, make a break. But that needed money."

"So you decided to grab the money from the job. That the plan?"

Jayne nodded. "Yeah, on'y you never let go once you get ahold'a summat. They'd already passed me the purse of coin. Didn't tell ya but knew as soon as the job was done you'd ask, they'd tell ya an' my chance'd be gone. It happened in a split second, I saw my chance and took it."

"You shot me!"

"Yeah." Jayne paused, that one word dipped in so much pain the Captain had to wonder at it. Jayne drew a chair over and sat next to the Captain's bed. Not discomfitted in the least by the fact that he was now confessing for the second time. This was the one that mattered. "On'y once I'd done it - got clean away too - I knew I couldn't live with it. What I done. That's when I knew, the money would never be enough."

Mal stared at him dumbstruck. Jayne Cobb was not a man for fancy words. Crude but straightforward in most respects. Now he seemed almost eloquent if the Captain was any judge. It struck the Captain that the one thing he had always feared about Jayne - that he could never trust him because his loyalty would always be in question - had just been answered. "I could'a died, Jayne." He said softly. "Nearly did."

"*Wo zhidao*, Mal..." Jayne's voice broke. His eyes filled with tears but he didn't look away. Couldn't. He was leaving and he owed the man the truth. "*Duibuqi*."

The Captain stared at him a long minute. Jayne began to get up, time to say his goodbye and go. The Captain's voice stopped him in his tracks. "Hey, Jayne, where you goin'?"

"Figured you'd be lookin' to put me off on the next planet we came to. Figured I'd pick one with an atmosphere."

"Who says you're gettin' off that lightly?"

The mercenary turned his head and stared at him. "*Shenme*?"

Mal frowned, trying to look stern as all hell and hide the fact that he was pleased with the way things appeared to be turning out. "Still got jobs to do, a boat to run. Never thought of you as a quitter Jayne. 'Sides who'm I gonna get to lift those heavy loads an' drag me outta those Alliance bars on Uni Day?" He paused a half-beat. "You're still needed here, Jayne." He added more quietly. It was an olive branch and they both knew it.

Jayne didn't know what to say, the emotion almost too much for him. He hadn't been looking to make friends when he'd thrown his lot in with Zoe and the Captain. Figured ties like that just made a man weak. "*Wo bu dong*."

"Just go unpack Jayne an' send Zoe in on your way out."

Too stunned to argue the big man nodded and left to do just that. Mal was still the Captain. Not nothing gonna change that. The look on Zoe's face when Mal told her what had happened was priceless. The air close to turning blue until she was stopped short by the smile swallowing up the Captains' face. A smile that was getting bigger by the second. Her anger was only popped by annoyance. "What're you smilin' at? Is it the drugs?"

The Captain bit back a chuckle. Feeling weariness start to tug at him but happy too. "Ain't gotta worry about Jayne no more, Zoe." She frowned hard at him. Wishing he were well enough for her to shake him until his gorram teeth rattled. "Maybe we got you the wrong kind of doctor, should'a got a psychiatrist."

Sitting in the commons area anxiously waiting for news the rest of Serenity's crew lifted their heads at the unexpected sound of the Captain's laughter. River smiled then gave a smug little look of triumph. "Told you. Family's all mended now."

* * * * *

CHINESE GLOSSARY: (Mandarin - Pinyin)

*tamade baichi* = fucking idiot *wode ma* = mother of God *dong ma* = understand *heisheoudang liumang* = gangster asshole/bastard *shenme* = what *wo zhidao* = I know *duibuqi* = sorry *wo bu dong* = I don't understand


Friday, July 8, 2005 8:24 AM


Now, you usually flag a conclusion so I'm wondering ... if it IS the end, it's a sweet one and rings true.

I had a moment's alarm at Jayne saying the money wasn't enough but it was swiftly quelled with "Then I got thinkin' it wouldn't ever be enough".

And Mal's "Who says you're gettin' off that lightly?" was a perfect invitation to stay. It salvaged some of Jayne's self-respect by turning what was pure generous forgiveness on Mal's part into a chance for Jayne to redeem himself further.

Friday, July 8, 2005 12:41 PM


Excellent as usual Alison.

A real shocker about Jayne turning on Mal, but the repentance was so well written. And the explanation about it being a split second decision made it seem so much more likely.

I really could picture Nathan lying there and Adam by his side 'fessing up.

I'm guessing this isn't the end, as this all started with a chapter about River and her feeling for Mal....

Saturday, July 9, 2005 2:58 AM


Beautiful, and a beautiful end to a good story. You got another one like this?

Friday, January 12, 2007 4:38 AM


>She frowned hard at him. Wishing he were well enough for her to shake him until his gorram teeth rattled. "Maybe we got you the wrong kind of doctor, should'a got a psychiatrist."

I know EXACTLY what she means.


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