TEMPTATION SERIES: 13. "Mistaken Mercies"
Wednesday, July 27, 2005

"Jayne gets more than he bargained for when he goes a-whoring. The Shepherd tries to come to terms with what happened and put things right."



SUMMARY: "Jayne gets more than he bargained for when he goes a-whoring. The Shepherd tries to come to terms with what has happened and put things right." 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

* * * * *

He thought he had died and gone to gorram heaven. All the cravings his lust filled mind could imagine and then some. Jayne moaned, the lips and hands on him showering him with bittersweet delights that made him weep into the mouths that worshipped him. Spilling his fecund seed had never been such sweet torture. While his mind and body writhed in bliss the twin agonies that excess had unleashed had him crying out. Greta was merciless and gifted. Shauna gentle but no less demanding. And Frith was so eager that what had been blatant unleashed lust on his part was quickly torn away from him until everything spiralled out of control taking more than his willpower with it.

Gorrammit, he had never had so much tasty all at once before. Waking was a novel experience in their hands. The drain on his energy bringing him a smile of deep satisfaction as his smile turned into a happy grin. Once they had finished they left him to recover in his own time. The bedcovers were strewn all across the floor, the bed empty of all but the mercenary's sated bulk. Jayne lay back in an undisciplined sprawl and scratched his belly. Slowly acclimatising himself to the notion of getting up, washing then making his way back to the ship. Rutting *diyu*, he couldn't remember the last time he had enjoyed himself this much. Then the second agony hit him and with a wrench he drove himself up off the bed and lurched towards the bathroom.

* * * * *

Shepherd Book was feeling more than a mite anxious. He felt responsible not only for the Captain but the situation they found themselves in. Why oh why had he not remembered the strict adherence to the ancient rules that Abbot Mathias had once expounded at an ecumenical seminar he had attended as a young man? Only Mathias had not been an Abbott then and his own name had not been Book. So long ago. Years had passed and both men had parted ways, each exploring the letter of their faith to the seeming glory of God. It came as something of a shock to realise that not all observances of the articles of that faith were benign. Some took no prisoners for not all enlightened men were enlightened. Knowledge without understanding could not make men wise. And understanding without compassion made love a rod of iron with nothing to break the fall from grace but the oblivion of being cast out. So much Book had learned. He sighed, head bowed. Yet so much he had forgotten. Six and a half years out of Southdown Abbey and he was as lost as any he tried to save.

The tap on the door was soft but he heard it. Alert to every sound however slight. As loud to his heart as his conscience pricking. He barely turned his head. "*Qing jin*."

The tall broad figure of the Abbott entered Book's temporary quarters. He moved quietly and did not speak until he stood next to his old friend. "Ga..."

Book looked up and the expression on his face made the Abbott change tack.

"Brother Book, you are troubled."

"I wanted you to talk to him," Said the Shepherd. "Not..."

"Chastise him?" Said the Abbott softly. Book bowed his head and nodded. The Abbott sighed. "I thought it was that which troubled you, my friend. You always were the sensitive one."

"I never meant for this to happen." Something in the Abbott's demeanour hardened. "What about the child? Was that meant to happen? Or is it to be forgotten? Brushed under the carpet with a few Hail Mary's and a promise to fornicate no more?"

Book raised his head and looked at the Abbott. "I never asked the Captain what happened, Mathias."

"You told me you saw the girl come out of his room. The hour was early. You said she was damaged, vulnerable."

"That is true."

"What would you have had him say?"

"I would have known why the girl was there, what had happened between them."

The Abbott paused to watch the shadows move on Book's face, the flickering candlelight casting him like a shape upon the wall. "And if the Captain had refused to tell you, what then good brother?"

"I would have had my answer."

For a moment neither spoke.

"Rest a moment longer." Said the Abbott kindly, a large hand resting on Book's shoulder. "Then break your fast with me and be joined in prayer. Trust us to finish what has been begun for in the salvation of the immortal soul mortal flesh must bear the burden of redemption. Have faith brother, believe and His will shall be done."

* * * * *

River had tried to make herself small. To not intrude upon the thoughts of the others knowing how her friends valued their privacy. Curled up in a ball she sat in a corner of the commons room and tried to distract herself so she would not feel the lift and swell of the baby in the womb or the thoughts the parents shared in the cradle of each others' arms. Likewise she had not wanted to be close enough to experience Simon and Kaylee's passion. She knew the anniversary her brother had planned was special and would most like not come again. Remaining on Serenity had therefore been the logical decision to make.

It was only when she dozed, fading into a light trance that got deeper as she slept that River was able to float between the metal panels of the ship, to drift down through the floor into the cargo bay, her thirsting mind yearning to stretch further afield. Unconsciously needing to reach out and touch each and every one of her makeshift family. All of them precious in their way. Touching Jayne's mind was like dipping her mind in mud: good for the complexion but leaving her feeling grubby and dirty afterwards. He was happy and that pleased her though she did not linger. Inara was actually resting. Her exertions had been almost poetry in motion and flowed effortlessly into the period of rest that followed. Mind and body absorbing all that had gone before, her client sated and satisfied. The Companion's thoughts did not dwell on the man in her bed, already planning ahead the details of her next assignation. Though the client list on New Dunsmere would be smaller she had already made a few calls which she would confirm once the ship's itinery had been confirmed. Working kept her busy, independent of her friends while dependent on strangers to ply her trade. The irony not lost on her. The need to be in control of her own destiny the one imperative that ruled her. River knew. Understood the freedom Serenity gave Inara was an illusion the Companion would gladly die for.

River cast further. The journey harder now and not just because the Captain and Book were farther away. She frowned but kept her eyes closed, her search hampered by thick walls of stone and passages and heavy doors, the murmured minds of the truly enslaved joined in one thought, one purpose, one dream of salvation. It was the break in that harmony that alerted her, gave her the signpost she needed to find that which she was seeking. Him.

* * * * *

Shepherd Book returned as soon as he was able. The Captain's door was not locked, the man within too pained and exhausted for flight. Book shut the door softly behind him then carefully woke the Captain. Malcolm Reynolds moaned softly. He was lying on his stomach and where Book touched him caused him pain. Book snatched back his hand in alarm but when the Captain did not waken decided perhaps he ought to take a closer look. Carefully he pulled the cloak up so that he could get his first good look and almost dropped the coarse material with a startled cry. The Captain's back was a mess of angry weals and cuts, scars forming even as the salve across his back eased the pain and helped to heal his wounds. The Captain stirred, heavy lids blinking slowly until he was wide awake. Book froze where he stood and stared back.

"*Wei*, seems you've had a *zhenjing* your own self, Preacher."

"Captain, I didn't expect the Abbott to sanction this kind of treatment. *Wo neng wei zuo dianr shenme shi ma*?"

"I'm thinkin' you done enough."

Book flinched slightly. "I was only trying to help, Captain."

The man in question snorted softly. "The road to *diyu*, Shepherd."


A bitter little smile twisted pained lips. "Don't they say it's paved with good intentions?"

The Shepherd tried to shake off the mantle of guilt plaguing him. "We have to go, Captain, get back to Serenity."

The Captain picked up on his subdued sense of urgency. "What you not tellin' me? An' don't think of lyin' Preacher."

"The Abbott wants to keep you here until you confess, Captain." A brief fire flared in the Captain's eyes. "You mean beat me until I tell him what he wants to hear, *dui*? Well I'll see him in every one of the nine hells before I confess to somethin' I didn't do."

Feeling a flush of shame, Book hung his head. When he looked up he was surprised to see hurt not anger in the Captain's eyes. Somehow that felt ten times worse.

"Why did you do it, Book?" Said the Captain softly.

"I saw River come out of your bunk."

The Captain just stared at him for a moment. "*Wo bu dong*. What you sayin'?"

"It was very early. You emerged shortly afterwards, still dressing." Book could not go on. The words sticking in his throat like chicken bones.

"So you put two an' two together an' made five?"

Book nodded. The Captain closed his eyes for a moment then eased himself up on to his hands and knees, the movement careful and slow like parts of him were broken. The Shepherd instinctively knew it was not the man's body that pained him right now. Book helped the Captain to his feet and straightened the robe. "We really do have to leave now, Mal."

"You think the Abbott would try to stop me?"

The level look the Shepherd returned him was answer enough, plus Mal could still feel where his wrists and ankles had been bound. The memory of it made him shudder. "Where are my clothes?"

"I think discretion being the better part of valor that's the least of our worries. Just follow me and keep your hood up, your hands tucked into the sleeves of your robe."

Book fussed until he looked right making sure the cowl of the hood left the Captain's face in shadow then quietly opened the heavy door. He paused and listened, the silence around them reassuring. Quietly they left the room, the Captain closing the door behind them. Book walked partway down the long corridor then cut through the cloisters, the Captain lagging until the Shepherd shortened his strides. "*Duibuqi*."

"*Fang xin.*"

They did not speak again until they had exited the Abbey and left the grounds behind them. An early morning mist swirling like grey ghosts clinging to their ankles. The Captain was tiring so Book slowed his pace but would not stop. It was some time before the Captain spoke again. "I'm thinkin' we should drop you off at Southdown Abbey."

The Shepherd almost stopped in his tracks but managed to keep going. "Can't say I blame you, Captain, and even that would be more than I deserve."

The Captain's breath was coming in short gasps now, only his bloody minded determination keeping him from giving in to the pain. "Said I should not that I would."

They were within sight of Serenity now. With weary relief the Captain raised a hand to open the door, pausing with hand half raised as Book queried him. "What do you mean?"

The Captain turned his head and looked straight at him. "I mean you're stayin' right here."

Neither of them seemed to notice the ramp lowering and door opening.

"Is this some kind of joke, Captain?"

"Nope. Ain't laughin'."

"*Wo bu dong*." Murmured Book, resisting the unexpected urge to cry. "Why would you let me stay after what I've done?"

The Captain leaned in close to the Shepherd, his eyes locked on his former friend. "Don't agree with what you done," He said grimly. "though I understand the why of it."

Book's voice was so soft only the fact that they were standing close enough to touch enabled Mal to hear him. "That still doesn't explain..."

The Captain cut him off. "Think of it as... penance."

Before Book could respond River seemed to float down to them, her thin dress flowing around her pale form. Her eyes bright and sharp as a bird. Her voice singing a siren call of home. "Time to go. Heal."

The Shepherd stared at her. A kind of ethereal wisdom staring back at him. River gave a sad knowing smile then tugged on the Captain's hand. In silence the three of them went up the ramp, Mal sealing the ship closed after them. Book wryly realised he was not on the wrong ship after all. He had wanted to walk in the world again, to find souls to save. But God had other plans. He had sent this ship and this crew to save him. Blinking back the threat of tears he would in no way allow to fall, the Shepherd meekly accepted this second chance, his mind humming in a quiet chorus of exaltation that sounded suspiciously like the strains to Amazing Grace...

* * * * *

CHINESE GLOSSARY: (Mandarin - Pinyin)

*diyu* = hell *qing jin* = come in *wei* = hey *zhenjing* = shock *wo neng wei zuo dianr shenme shi ma*? = can I do anything for you? *wei* = hey *shenme* = what *dui* = correct *wo bu dong* = I don't understand *duibuqi* = sorry *fang xin* = don't worry (lit. ease your heart)


Wednesday, July 27, 2005 10:25 AM


Shiny Salvations Bell-girl!! That was nicely done.

Keep flyin',


Wednesday, July 27, 2005 1:14 PM


Very cool so far, not sure I want to know whats happening to Jayne. :)

Thursday, July 28, 2005 3:59 AM


More than the usual number good lines - "independent of her friends while dependent on strangers". And it's good to see the plot move along. Thanks!

Wednesday, August 3, 2005 1:17 AM


Saintly, saintly Mal!

*breathes again*


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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.