BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - ROMANCE

ITSAWASH

The Way of Jayne
Sunday, November 27, 2005

Jayne and the kindly older woman who initiated him into the ways of women. She's also who scared him off kissing, by the way. This part is a lead-up. More later.


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 2690    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

No, your eyes don't deceive you: This is a non-NC17 fanfic even though it comes from me. Future parts to this will creep right back to the pervy 'verse, but for now, it's just setting you up for the payoff. Feed me back. I'm nervous about being here.

The Way of Jayne, Part 1 (or it can stand alone)

Ma Cobb’s boy Jayne looked up from the one-room schoolhouse wooden desk to glower with all the hatred fourteen years of torture had writ large on his features. Girls. Always girls, scrawny authors of his destruction, demented perpetrators of misery. The little pig-tailed brat who acted as his whip most recently was a freckled urchin named Tawny who he’d had a crush on for weeks.

Although Tawny was winsome enough in just the rosy-cheeked dumpling kind of way he liked, his standards in liking a girl didn’t have much to do with how pretty they looked. Had to do with them not making fun of the biggest thing about the big boy Jayne: the huge barrier of his glorified girlified name. When she asked him why he weren't wearing a pretty dress today to match his pretty name, Tawny dropped slap-dab out of Jayne’s heart. With only a few words, one sentence, she'd joined the evil happy cadre of name-callers that were the bane of his short existence.

He could be grateful, he guessed, for the fact that he was large for his age, had known it since he was old enough to see his height and girth dwarfed even his oldest sibling. At 12 he had towered over ma, and this year he was nigh as high as pa’s ear, helped by his sire’s beginning to hunch over from too much work and even more toxic home brew that made the work bearable.

If not for his size, the painful teasing Jayne got as an unwholesome daily snack woulda been served by schoolboys as well as girls. As it was, the employing of fisticuffs upside the head or gut of any male child unwise enough to make fun had the good effect of letting him bond alright with other boys his age. The ones pummeled served as examples, sparking an admiration laced with healthy fear of the guy with a girl’s name, earning Jayne a big circle of non-taunting male friends.

Bitty kids who laughed when introduced got cut some slack by way of their bein’ too small to know any better. But let any kid over the age of ten let out a rippling snicker around the sound of his unfortunate moniker and he’d be on them like juggling geese after Junebugs.

But the girls, ohhhh, the evil, evil girls. At school their words found a field of Jayne ripe for stomping with sturdy boots that did a right thorough job for any reason a’tall; boredom, upcoming holiday, harvest time or just to add some bright red to the dull color of the schoolyard.

Jayne mighta taken it loads better, would, in fact, have walked a completely different path toward healthy attraction to all females if he’d only known a truth about the relentless teasing. Was a shame his crazy momma hadn’t taken him aside to tell the boy a thing that’d act savior to his budding ego. As it was though, no help for it, the flower of his ego where women was concerned withered dying on his young soul’s vine.

The truth his momma shoulda told him was this: A good number of girls who teased Jayne over his name (in fact most of them,) did it to get his attention riveted their way, to turn his blue eyes molten steel at a word. Riling him made his youthful countenance shadow into a look of early manhood, sent many a cruel maiden’s nethers whirling, shocking realizations at how handsome and large he was. How swai a man-to-be.

In addition to causing in them their first tender flutterings of attraction to men, it gave some their first look at the power they’d later have on suitors, on beaus that’d rush to their arms at a single tiny sneering glance or crooked finger beckoning to a tumble or, to the marriage alter, if the worm turned that way.

Unaware of the backwards compliments to his maleness the female beauties were paying him, Jayne languished in near-constant despair.

He was even more a helpless pawn to the parts of his existence that included school, especially on days like today when his twin sister Timmie was at home with croupin’ cough. Ordinarily she was protector against the other girls he wouldn’t, couldn’t strike back at. A bastion of power, she could and would apply bruising pinches in vast array on any would-be tormenter. Causing actual pincher-hurt was rarely necessary for Jayne’s twin since one withered glance from her cornflower blue eyes turned on any prospective lass was enough to stop a mouth in mid-harangue.

Timmie’s absence today was playtime for others of her gender at school with Jayne. He was a toothless clawless male cat who lay helpless as a mischief of mice ran to the half-open grain silo door at the news that the ace-mouser was penned up by the farmer's wife. Female tongues raced to tease, calling him “Jaynee-Girl” and worse, vying with pleasure in a game of one-upmanship to see who could get his face to profuse the brightest shade of red.

As the tinny school bell finally blessedly rang, he grabbed his satchel and headed for shelter on the small Cobb farm.

~~~

At home where Timmie was, in fact wherever Timmie was, life was easier. The work was hard, but the livin’ inside Jayne was calm. He lived to serve, liked to do good work for his ma and pa. Loved even doing for his siblings, turning his hand to cooking, diapering the babies when they were small, unafraid of anything if it would help his ma, especially.

The work-worn muscle and sinew on his growing body sang a paean of fatigue at the end of each day. He’d climb into bed on the top bunk over his younger brother Mattie bone-tired enough shut out thought-storms that clamored all over him during the day. Drifting off while listening to his brother softly snoring below and his twin sister's raspy breath in her cot in the same room he’d rest at last surrounded by the ones he’d supported, the ones who loved him.

The three of them had been increased last year to an even half-dozen by a set of triplets ma’d birthed with the aid of the rural midwife. Birthing expert, wisewoman, only unofficial doctor ‘round these parts, Missus Maeve Burlee was all things to all people who needed her. The night the Cobb triplets had been born, the buxom red-headed herbal expert had sat knitting on their front porch, saying she was there to admire ma’s lovely garden out front, although it was now hard autumn and most of the flowers had died.

Jayne knew she was there to await the birth in case she was needed, she couldn’t say it right out due to pa’s earlier drunken attempts to wave her away. “Don’t need no witchin’ from you, bitch,” he’d said. She sat down and proceeded to ignore him till he went back in the house to pass out, cuffing Jayne by way of raining down on somebody who had no choice but to obey if he wanted to stay. And the boy needed to stand guard over the little 'uns. Jayne didn’t cry out at the smack, he never did, and so Maeve didn’t hear. When the man was in his cups, which was most of the time when at home, his aim was poor and his arm had little hurting in it for his son. Besides, Jayne was wise and knew that his father’s quibbling and hitting had more to do with having no coin to pay for a midwife than any real desire to hurt anybody.

Maeve’s obstinate porch perching turned out to be a mercy beyond the Cobb family’s being able to ever repay even if they were rich, since the trio of new heirs came long, came hard and bloody, taxing their mother into a stupor so terrible that she hadn’t been the same in the head since.

“Ni shi bai chi, Cobb,” Jayne’d heard the midwife curse his pa as she stepped over him stretched out on the floor in the path to his laboring wife’s bedroom. “Planting a litter of brand new pups on a woman fifty years old ain’t no kind of wise, you chun zi.”

She had no sooner slewed on past than Jayne’d grabbed pa Cobb’s worn booted feet and dragged the dead weight into the living room out of the way, having some inkling that Missus Mauve might put a curse on pa, him being the cause of ma’s labor. Keeping him out of plain view might keep her from giving the evil eye. She had power to maim or even kill with only a glance, it was rumored.

Almost twenty-four hours later, Jayne, Timmie and Mattie heard the first cry of a baby that turned out to be a girl. Shortly afterwards two puny male siblings breathed air piling out almost atop one another, but no sound had come from ma for hours. Jayne was the oldest kid by the span of six minutes over Timmie, so he took it on himself to represent the clan and find out if ma was okay. Holding up one hand to the other kids and using his finger against his lips to silence their requests to come too, he approached the birthing room door and paused before looking inside. Wanted to give Mauve a chance to get mom decent. He knew where babies came from and wasn’t wanting to accidentally see ma’s nethers, no way in heck.

“It’s okay, Jayne-boy, you can come in. She’s decent,” came the smoky alto voice of an exhausted but satisfied midwife-doctor. “She’s dead to the world, honey, out cold with the effort of slinging life into three young ‘uns,” she wiped one hand across her white and sweaty brow, patting her chignon of fall leaf red hair back into place. Using a dry cloth she mopped ma’s wet forehead clear of moisture, then took her pulse.

She turned the back of her hand to test the new mother’s temperature, smiled in relief. “She’ll be okay. Breathing is shallow but it’s regular, and there wasn’t no bleeding to speak of. She’s so small and thin it’s no wonder about the lack of blood flow, probably dehydrated.” She checked under the closed eyelids when Mrs. Cobb stirred, put a cup of water with straw to the woman’s mouth and dribbled the littlest bit in, watching for her to swallow. “Built to have babies, though. These three and you, Jayne Cobb, are exhibits A through F of that fact!”

“Ya mean I’ve always been big? Came out that way?” Jayne asked the woman he knew had helped birth him too. “Pa’s always saying it’s on account of me eating so much.”

“Hell, honey. You were big as a bull calf and twice that loud, squallin’ and kicking me in the bosoms when I bent to pull you out by the leg. Breech birth, harder on her than these three kittens, but my, was she proud to have you!” She smiled at him, then her eyes went back to his ma’s slack face in nostalgia.

“She was almost too sleepy to be lucid by the time you came, but still managed to stretch her arms out and snatch you from me, planting you to her breast as soon as you got within reach, before I could even get you cleaned up.” Ma’s habitual birthing woman walked on down memory lane, “When twin-Timmie came head-first six minutes later, your mom was so in love with your existence that I had plenty time to clean your sis off proper before clamping her on the other tit.”

Jayne shifted from foot to foot at the bottom of the bed where the midwife was busy sponging the waifs with warm water from a basin. “Aww, I didn’t mean to damage your calm, boy. It ain’t nothing to be embarrassed about, a loving momma nursing her babies. Natural as love can be. Stay a little and help me clean up the other two and she’ll provide milk for them, sure enough.” She pointed to more cloths in the basin and Jayne rolled up long wool sleeves to start in beside her.

She smelled good. Like cinnamon and cloves and…wacky tabacky smoke. As he wrung out a warm cloth and wiped down one of the boys, he smiled at the picture of her lolling in a comfy chair in her cabin, pretty red hair wreathed with wispy gray vapors, goofy smile on her usually placid happy face.

“None of your business what I do when I’m not working.”

“Shumma?,” Jayne started, caught like a deer in the headlights of her regard. “I didn’t, I wouldn’t think anyth”-- “You would and you did, Jayne Cobb. You smelled angel weed on me and wondered. But now that we got us an understanding between us about what is your business and what's mine, we’re all good, neh?”

He nodded vigorously, working ever more thoroughly at his task so as to keep his hands busy and his brain quiet. Was she fey like everybody said? Maybe she read his mind and just said the thing about him smelling smoke to cover up. Before he could think more thoughts that she could comment on, he tightened down hard again on wayward gray matter when it tried to return to unruliness at Maeve’s putting one, then two babies to ma’s breasts, propping pillows on both sides of her to bolster the children as they sucked.

Looking quickly away and changing the subject, he asked, “Ma’s really gonna be alright? You sure? ‘Cause she looks awful still. Didn’t look like that after Mattie came.”

“I wasn’t here for Mattie, but your mother told me it was an easy birth. And hell, it was only one kid, not three like this, not two like you when you were breech and Timmie came tumbling after.” She took out a rudimentary stethoscope, so old that no self-respecting core world doctor would put it anywhere but the rubbish bin, but it served her purposes fine.

Jostling the third child in her arms in an attempt to keep it quiescent until a chair fell vacant at the dinner table of Mrs. Cobb’s chest, the woman put the stethoscope extensions into Jayne’s ears, tugging the bell and him attached to it over to the bed.

“Here, Jayne. Listen to how strong and reg’lar her heart is beating.” Silence in the room only disrupted by rosebud lips smacking up nourishing colostrum, Jayne pressed the device to just above their little heads on his ma’s chest.

The boom and subside of a heart pumping strong and true gave ma’s eldest boy a beaming smile of hopeful satisfaction. Gave almost the same level of satisfaction to Maeve Burlee who gazed on the manchild’s look. ‘My, but his smile makes him swai. Swai as a stallion in a spring field of clover,’ she thought. As the dusky rose at the tips of her own breasts pulled in his direction across the bed, she started in surprise at her physical reaction. ‘Good thing he ain’t a reader and Maeve? You are a gorram tchen wah.’

Having a stern and quelling talk to her pleasure-centers, the woman tamped down, reminding herself he wasn’t even, what? Thirteen? Fourteen? Counting back on her fingers, she came to it. ‘Yeah, thirteen, fourteen next May.’

Verifying her math, she asked, “Jayne? You’re fourteen when?”

“May first next year, Ma’am.”

“That’s right. Mayday gift, you were. Bright and strong and pretty as spring, Jaynee.”

He colored in anger at the diminutive she used that made his already femme name downright ludicrous. Jayne pulled the stethoscope outta his ears and handed it to Maeve who looked at him oddly, bringing another surprised thought to her fizzling brain, ‘Lord, the boy’s handsomer when he’s het up.’

“Now Jayne, don’t be mad at me. I didn’t mean nothin’ by calling you that. Won’t happen again. Promise, okay?”

Mollified somewhat, Jayne girded himself up to ask a question he’d been saving ever since he knew she’d had a hand in his being born. A question about his biggest problem in life. Hearing shuffling noises at the door, he saw Mattie and Timmie standing hesitantly. They looked to Maeve who beckoned for them to come in as she simultaneously nodded at Jayne, “Ask me, if you got a question.”

He sat down on the bed near the girl triplet, hovering a hand nearly twice the size of her downy head to stroke her hair. “I know I was supposed to be named Timothy and Timmie was supposed to be Jayne,,” he blushed as he voiced his life’s disappointment. “And I know it got muddled up ‘cause he got confused when he first saw us, thought she was the boy and me the girl, us being indistinguishable all balled up in cloths, nothing but faces showin’. But why didn’t someone make it right oncet he sobered up?”

Maeve took a deep breath in answer, “Your pa’s a mean drunk, Jayne. You know it, I know it and the townspeople know it. Nobody crosses him if they can help it.” She plucked at a loose thread on her bodice. “Once he sobered up and found out his mistake, him bein’ too proud to admit he’d even made one, he insisted he meant to name you both just as he had, and everybody just decided to live with it.”

When it turned out her words only told him what he already knew to his disgust, she tried again. “Honey, I did try to make him see reason, far as I know I’m the only one who did. Caught him sober as he was going into the saloon and I asked him to fix it. Only help I could get him to agree to was adding a “y” to your name to make it a tad less…”, she hesitated, eyeing him, “Err, more boy-like.”

She heard him mutter archly, “Some help that was.”

Maeve bustled her supplies into her trademark woven tapestry bag and walked around the bed to where he sat. He was so tall that when she hugged his seated form as she spoke his head came to her shoulder. “It’ll be all right, honey, you’ll see. It’ll make you tough. And a guy like you, all swai and strong, having a name that’s out of the ordinary will be a big plus with the ladies, you wait and see.”

Jayne laid his bowed head into Maeve then pulled away as she did. “Ain’t helped him none with girls so far!,” Timmie burst out in controlled and quiet outrage. “They torment him somethin’ awful at school. I HATE ‘em.”

“It’s okay, Timmie. I can handle myself.”

Maeve looked from one twin to the other, noting the bond they had, the protective admiring family love that shimmered off the whole Cobb clan with the exception of their sperm donor. “You’re a good group, my lovelies. Keep on being there for each other and you’ll do just fine.” With that, Maeve handed a note of post-natal instructions to Jayne’s oldest sister, quietly underscoring the part about feeding her water when she regained consciousness.

She took one last look at the man in Jayne that was peeking out from under his boyish good looks. Lingered in the doorway to watch his hand stroke the little boy child beside the new girl across from him as he crooned an ancient lullaby she herself had taught his mother when he was born.

‘Lord, but I’m getting old. Too gorram old to be courting a yen toward that boy, even if he is the handsomest thing I’ve ever laid eyes on, and sweet as sorghum to boot.’ She counted her own years, found them to be thirty-seven and mentally kicked herself out the door for criminal thoughts.

“I don’t think anything’ll go wrong now, but you know where to find me if you need, me Jayne. Timmie.” As she walked out the door down the hall, she stopped to look at pa Cobb’s filthy booted feet almost hidden behind the couch. The boy musta pulled him outta her path. Thoughtful of him. She walked on out to the porch, grabbed up her knitting she’d tossed when ma Cobb’s first screams had hit and strode down the steps to the packed earth of the garden.

Maeve Burlee walked assuredly across several acres that stood between the Cobb place and her little cabin in the cottonwoods. She liked to walk and knew it was good for her. There was half a moon out that night so she didn’t worry about getting there with her ankles unsprained.

There was a briskness in the air, but her pace kept her plenty warm. “I’m due for a nip of mulled wine,” she said aloud to herself as she watched the ground she was covering at a good clip. “And maybe a bit of, what did Jayne call it? ‘Wacky tabacky.’” She let out a hoot of pleased laughter at the memory of what she had read in his fecund mind.

“That boy is gonna be quite the man one of these days. And it’ll prolly show up sooner than later, I’m thinking.” She felt a tingling pleasantness in her underneath, inside the layered petticoats she wore. “Suo-yo duh doh dhr-dang and by all that’s holy, Maeve, you’ve not been without a man THAT long. Not so long’s you needta start lusting after a boy not yet fourteen summers old.”

Her long thoughts had carried her far. Before long the gas lamplight of her cabin’s front window glowed in welcome, distracting her and her nethers from thoughts of the way of Jayne.

Maeve let herself in through the always-unlocked door, dropped her bag in the stationary basket nearby, ready for any emergency to call her out again. She stroked the piebald cat that leaped to the counter mewing in ecstatic welcome by the hotplate stove, using her other hand to pull a pottery mug toward her, then used both hands to pop a cork and spill some hard cider into it. Adding a cinnamon roll speared on a handy bodkin, the weary woman retired to the embers in her banked fireplace for a meal and a nip to end the night.

Fast broken, belly warmed by warm wine and bread, Missus Burlee who had never married but adopted “Missus” for the sake of respectability headed off to bed, shedding clothing as she went.

A massive wolfhound dozed at the four poster’s foot, his best talent serving to warm her toes as she snuggled down beneath the counterpane. Piewicked the cat leaped up all grace-incarnate to meet her arms, digging at the covers by her side with claws obligingly sheathed. The feline burrowed his pussywilllow head against her, “meearr-umph-ing”, demanding entrance. When she lifted the covers to him the mole-kitty settled in there, fur-bearing motorboated purr against her side.

Maeve relaxed her body starting with the feet and moving her way up, preparatory to falling into the arms of Morpheus with one hand cupping her own breast.

Her last thought as she slipped her own hardscrabble day’s existence in favor of Morpheus’s domain was of Jayne Excelsior Cobb. His tough tenderness had touched her heart and other parts south today. Keeping a weather eye on him to help if he ever needed her was going to be a priority for the town’s not-so-wise woman. She had a feeling, wu de tyen ah feng du, she had a strongish feeling she was going to be hard-put to quell her growing regard, but she was gonna have to ruttin’ try.

End Part 1

Feedback is desperately needed. Got some? Give some, you can even be anonymous.

P.S. Since the national average for becoming sexually active is 14, cut me some slack at what you’re likely intelligent enough to know I’m rambling toward in this fic. You probably did it then too, so ease up, dong ma?

ni shi bai chi – you are an idiot chun zi - moron shumma? – what? tchen wah - slut gorram – god damn or gosh darn suo-yo duh doh dhr-dang – by all that’s proper wu de tyen ah feng du – dear god in heaven or hell dong ma? – do you understand

COMMENTS

Sunday, November 27, 2005 1:42 PM

STORMWOLFDAWN


Wow! I love this story! I can't wait till the next part! I always love to read Jayne as a child stories, seeing how our mercenary became the man he is. Good job!

Sunday, November 27, 2005 3:42 PM

NYKEGYRL


Very good!! Can't wait for the next installment!

Sunday, November 27, 2005 5:12 PM

LILKRISTY


Huh, so Jayne's first was a reader, like River. Wonder what effect that has on Jayne's attitude toward River.

I'm liking this. I love young Jayne stories. I like seeing where he came from and what shaped him.

Can't wait for more.

Sunday, November 27, 2005 6:17 PM

SAMEERTIA


This ALL works for me!
Bring it on.

And I think you've captured the angst of a boy with a girls name perfectly. (I REALLY can't see our Jayne being a Tim!) :D

"But let any kid over the age of ten let out a rippling snicker around the sound of his unfortunate moniker and he’d be on them like juggling geese on Junebugs."

Juggling geese on Junebugs! I laughed out loud right there!

Monday, November 28, 2005 12:25 AM

CANTONHEROINE


Brilliant work, my friend. But then, I love all your stuff.
Now begins the impatient wait for the next part...
*perches on edge of chair and nibbles fingernails while staring unblinking at screen*
Update, gorramit. UPDATE!!!!
*sigh*

Monday, November 28, 2005 8:59 AM

JENCALA


Like it, my friend, like it a lot!!
Please update soon!

I love the part about the alchoholic father and how Jayne handles his rants...great job.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 3:49 PM

CUB


This was an interesting character study. You have a very professional writing style, and you obviously know the character inside and out.

Love the use of "Jaynee."

Tuesday, December 6, 2005 4:56 PM

YEMINQUON


I thought it was really good. A bit long, though. Personally, I like shorter chapters because it's on the computer and you can't mark your place, but it's always interesting to read about the history of a character. I liked how Jayne got his name!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006 6:23 AM

BELLONA


14? jeez, over here it's 13...guess that makes us a bunch of sluts, eh?

b

Monday, March 13, 2006 6:15 PM

JAYNESBUNKWOMAN


First bit of Fanfic i've read and i liked it. Will be back for more!

Thursday, April 20, 2006 10:42 AM

SILLYLITTLEDUCK


whoa, he's like thirteen and she's ready to pounce. almost worried to see where this is going.

I really like it though "Girls. Always girls, scrawny authors of his destruction, demented perpetrators of misery"

I honestly laughed out loud for like ten minutes. this is the best inside of jaynes head sentance i've ever read.

Thursday, April 27, 2006 10:04 AM

RIVERISMYGODDESS


I am so looking forward to the continuation.completion of this story. It looks good and I am sure it just gets better and better from here.

Thursday, May 25, 2006 12:04 PM

SPACEFULLOFOBJECTS


I love how you weave descriptive words together so intricately, the tapestry becoming, the exact picture you aim for me to see.

The Jayne - Timmie connection is beautiful, the names being switched an added treat.

A massive wolfhound dozed at the four poster’s foot, his best talent serving to warm her toes as she snuggled down beneath the counterpane. Piewicked the cat leaped up all grace-incarnate to meet her arms, digging at the covers by her side with claws obligingly sheathed. The feline burrowed his pussywilllow head against her, “meearr-umph-ing”, demanding entrance. When she lifted the covers to him the mole-kitty settled in there, fur-bearing motorboated purr against her side *Her creature bedfellows giving her comfort as she slides off to sleep, wonderful!

On to Part 2.....

Sunday, June 11, 2006 3:41 PM

THECOWBOYFROMHELL


Heheh, i like the story about Jaynes name Washie, very cool. yeah he'd deffinti;y be that kinda kid, good to his moma and lookin after his brothers and sisters. Love the cat too. Tumbs up Washie :)

Monday, August 7, 2006 7:42 AM

LEIASKY


I have to give you props first off for writing a story surrounding one specific BDH where there isn't any interaction with the rest of the characters we've come to know and love.

Jayne isn't in my top few of favorite characters from the show at all but even the introductory paragraph drew me in with a good laugh.

>Girls. Always girls, scrawny authors of his destruction, demented perpetrators of misery.

I'm at work woman and I'm sitting her giggling over this!

I actually like the direction that this is going in that its an older woman that's taken a liking to Jayne as a young boy.

Very supurb piece of writing. Descriptive and able to pull the reader in almost instantly.

Tuesday, August 8, 2006 1:49 AM

ITSAWASH


Hey Leia! I just woke up on my birthday this morning to find a plethora of lovely feedback from ya on my The Way of Jayne series. First bday present of the day is seeing these! Jeeze Louise, Babe! You do me even more honor than I felt last night when we talked in fff. net chat and IM. Thankee sai, my Friend! Feedback from a fellow-author, and such a shiny talented one as you, goes many many miles with me. Walk in beauty, Love. I know you and your stories certainly do!


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