Thursday, January 5, 2006

A flashback of Jayne as a teenager, and why he left his home so long ago. A touch of Jaylee on the side.


There ain’t ever been a lot of good in Jayne’s life. His days been mostly full of dirt and sweat and blood, a few moments of happy sprinkled about in between. When something good comes along, he doesn’t waste time questioning it like some fool Captain he knows, he grabs on and holds tight for as long as he can.

And he got a hold of something real good, here on Serenity. Or rather, she’s got a hold of him.

Kaylee’s got herself curled up on his chest, ‘cause there just ain’t room for her on the mattress with his body takin’ up space, sighing all happy like and Jayne can’t help but smile. He should be tired after the workout lil’ Kaylee put him through, but he aint ready to drift off just yet, didn’t make sense to waste his time with her by sleepin’.

Girl seemed to have similar ideas, she squirmed around a little, wedging herself in under his arm, her nice, soft thigh hugging his hip. Now, things’d be perfect if she’d just keep--


He rolled his eyes at the ceiling. This *thing* between ‘em only just started, but he figured out right quick that Kaylee had a habit of talkin’ after sex. Talkin’ during sex too, for that matter, but that he didn’t mind so much. The talkin’ after was harder on a fella. Shoulda expected it though, girl couldn’t keep that pretty mouth of hers closed the rest of the time neither.

“Hmm?” He grunted, hopin’ for the best. He cared about the girl, probably more ‘n he should. Her fingers slid over his chest, threading through the curling hairs. Oh hell, definitely more ‘n he should. But that don’t mean he gotta talk back.

Her fingers are drifting lower, and he grins a little, maybe he aint so worn out as he thought. “I’ve been wonderin’…” her words are whisper soft and hesitant. And that aint normal.

Wo de ma, he hated talkin’. “Well, spit it out.”

He braced himself, expectin’ a whole mess ‘o talk about his intentions and feelin’s and their future. Her hand stopped on it’s quest down his body, the pad of her finger smoothing over the raised ridges of skin below his belly button.

What came out was so much worse.

“Where’d ya get this scar?”


Her name was Taen Shan.

She was the most beautiful girl on Jericho. She was small and delicate, with wild hair and big blue eyes. She looked like she’d sprout gossamer wings any moment and flit away like the fairies from the stories his mama used to tell him.

He loved her more than he ever loved anything in all his seventeen years.

They grew up together. There weren’t much to their little corner of Jericho. Mining and farming mostly, and dirt poor at that. There weren’t a soul on Jericho that weren’t born there to begin with. Taen, her three brothers, Jayne and his half dozen siblings were neighbors. They were playin’ and fightin’ nearly every day of their lives.

Jayne couldn’t pinpoint when exactly he started lookin’ on her different, only that when he did… it was very different. He kept comin’ up with excuses to touch and tickle her whenever he could. Brought her pretty pictures torn from the magazines left at the shuttle depot. He made her a candle from leftover bits of wax melted together in the shape of heart.

She kissed his cheek once, and his feet didn’t touch the ground for a week.

He was fixin’ to tell her how he felt when Bryce Roberts came back from a summer off world. The other boy was just a little older ’n them and the son of the Banker, who could afford to send his kid on a trip ‘round the system. He was smart and charming and exotic now that he was back, nothing like the sniveling, uptight prick Jayne remembered. All the girls in town were itchin’ to get him to talk to them.

Grated on his nerves something fierce when he was all Taen ever wanted to talk about. Bryce had said she was prettier than Marylou Brenner and what did Jayne think? (Hell yes.) Bryce had squeezed her hand, but maybe on accident, did boys do those things on accident? (No, they didn’t, gorram it.) Bryce had dumped Claudia Yi, did Jayne have any ideas why? (No ruttin’ idea and he didn’t ruttin’ care.) Bryce looks so handsome in red, didn’t he think so? (He’d look better in black and blue.)

“Think he’ll ask me to dance?” She’s askin’ him all eager like, and he can’t help but scowl a little. The whole lot of them are walkin’ into town to the Harvest Festival. Biggest shindig on Jericho, near the whole town’ll be there, celebratin’ the end of harvest.

It’s a long walk to town from their homes and there‘s a whole line of Cobbs and Shans strung out along the dusty road. He and Taen have fallen back behind their brothers and sisters, all ‘cept for Lil’ Maddy, who’s only three and huggin’ his leg, and the reason they‘re so far behind.

“Hell, Tae,” he squints against the fading sunlight, “Boy’d be fool not to.”

She loops her arm through his, not minding their leisurely pace at all. “You’re just sayin’ that, Jayne. Plenty of other girls prettier ‘n me.”

“Not a one,” he kicks at the dirt and clears his throat. “You’ll save me a dance? Jus’ one is all.”

“’Course I will,” she bats his arm lightly and he knows she didn’t get it. He can feel Maddy gettin’ tired when they get in sight of town, and he scoops her up, settlin’ her on his shoulders, rewarded by her squeal of delight and a grin from Taen.

Aint much to Jericho. There was only one town on the whole gorram moon, and that was if you were bein‘ generous. They passed the school house with it’s clapboard siding and bell tower without a bell first off and Jayne would be glad to be shut of it after this next year. Then the bank with it’s flickering halo of security lights and he couldn‘t help but scowl a bit seeing Bryce‘s inheritance staring him straight in the face. People were startin’ to gather in the town square, the crowd surrounded on four sides by the Hall, jail house, Rosie’s bar and the shuttle depot. On the far side of town, they could just make out the roof of the general store that also doubled as the post office.

The promise of a dance with her buoys Jayne’s spirit’s the rest of the way into town. Mentally, he practices the dance steps his Ma taught him before he left, hopin’ he wont make a fool of himself and step on those tiny toes of hers.

Just as soon as they step through the doors though, she’s wisked away by Bryce, askin’ her for a dance and she doesn’t even look back. Suddenly the weight of Maddy is too much to bear, and he swings her down to the ground, watching as the other boy pulls her just a mite closer than is decent.


He frowns, tearing his eye away, to look down at his little sister. “What?”

Her little hand reaches up to grab his. “I’ll dance you.”

“Sure ya will, sweetpea.” He scooped her up, settling her on his waist, with their hands clasped together. “Let’s go show ‘em how real Cobbs dance.”


It happened in the dark of night.

Maddy had long since fallen asleep with the other children, curled up on coats and blankets like a litter of kittens. And Jayne lost track of Taen some twenty minutes ago. The meeting hall had gotten too hot for him, too crowded, and he escaped through a side door for fresh air, leavin’ in propped open so he could get back in.

He’s outside a while, lookin’ up at the stars, tryin’ to imagine what else was out there, when he hears the faint mewls of distress. Glancing back to the door, he moves along the outside of the building, the music fading away as the pleading cries got louder.

Icy fear like he ain’t never felt before crashes down on him when he’s able to pick out Taen’s voice. “No… please… stop.”

Everything else is a mad chaotic blur. Ripping that ruttin’ hun dan off or her. The punch to his mouth that he doesn’t even feel. Her teeny, tiny fingers clutchin’ at his shirt. The sobs wracking her body. Her face red and wet with tears.

Screaming. There’s screaming when he attacks that se mi mi d ren hump. Screaming when he’s ripped away, and all he sees is her terrified face, illuminated by the torches being held above himself and Bryce. All he can hear are her hysterical cries while she’s clutching her dress closed, shaking like a leaf.

He tries moving to her, but he has to struggle against the arms holding him back, and he can’t break free. It’s over the screaming and the shouting that he hears the words that condemn him from that lyin’ piece of guo cao de sch.

“It was Jayne. I saw him with her and tried to stop…”

And then he can’t hear anything over the rushing in his ears. He surrounded by a sea of unfriendly faces. Not one of his brothers nearby. Not no one.

He fights to break away, but they just get more hands to hold him down. Keeps fighting. Tryin’ to explain only to be ignored. Don’t take long for someone to break into the jail house and fetch the iron rod. He glimpses it, white hot from the bon fire in the square, only moments before they pull his shirt up and press it into the skin just above his groin.

Last thing he sees is Taen’s eyes wide with terror, her voice gone hoarse from screaming, too hysterical to make any kinda sense to put a stop to it.

He doesn’t even wait for the scar to heal before leaving Jericho on the first transport out. Never looks back.


“Jayne?” Kaylee’s voice brings him back to the present, her calloused fingers drawing an outline of the scar.


“You gonna answer me?”

His voice is thick, “Ain’t a story you wanna hear.”

“Sounds more like maybe it’s a story you just don’t wanna tell.” Ruttin’ girl was too smart for her own good. Her voice is pensive, “Got a good look at it while I was down there earlier, almost looks like the symbol for ‘monster’.”

He grunts, “Maybe ‘cause it is.”

Shocked, her eyes fly to his, “But…that’s… that’s what they put on…”

“Yep.” He smiles darkly, expectin’ her to trip over herself on her rush to the door. But the feng le girl doesn’t move.

The corners of her mouth turn down into a scowl as looks down his body, “Well, I don’t know who put that mark on ya, but they was wrong.”

“You sure o’ that?”

“Sure as the sky is blue.” She starts to slither down the bed some, “Ya might be a lot of things Jayne Cobb, but you ain’t a rapist.”

He has to swallow before he can speak, “That so?”

“It is,” she brushes her mouth over the raised scar, tilted her head to meet his eyes, smiling‘ in that way that makes his whole world shine. “But that don’t mean you ain’t a monster of some kind or another.”

He growled, just to prove her right.


Thursday, January 5, 2006 8:29 PM


I really liked this. It was so simple and sweet.

Thursday, January 5, 2006 10:04 PM


I can't believe how clearly I could picture this, how perfectly you captured both Jaynes (older and young) and Kaylee...not too fluffy, not too romantic to be believeable...
you are amazing:)
Thanks for sharing this with us!

Thursday, January 5, 2006 10:05 PM


not to romantic to be 'UNbelieveable'...meaning that is has just the right amount of believeability...
(real word? I don't care!)
oh well, since I can't spell at least I can rate it again!

Friday, January 6, 2006 1:16 AM


I always like stories of the characters' early lives. This one was great. Love that Kaylee believes in him.

Friday, January 6, 2006 1:53 AM



more to say? i think not!

Friday, January 6, 2006 1:59 AM


Love how certain Kaylee is of him. She knows -as we all do- that Jayne doesn't hurt innocents. He only harms those who are capable of fighting back and/or deserve some form of punishment.
Simple, and yet not.
Great writing.

Friday, January 6, 2006 2:11 AM


This is beautiful. Nothing less than what I'd expect from you, of course, just...

Ya done good.

Friday, January 6, 2006 4:05 AM


Wonderful!! Put a big smile on my face.

Jayne's past being exorcised by Kaylee's complete faith in him........

So sweet..... They're besotted with each other.

Lovely! Thanks!!!

Friday, January 6, 2006 6:56 AM


This is Jaylee at it's best.

Love the flashback, very true to Jayne.

I love how Kaylee just knows, it's perfect.

:;sighs:: I needed this. Thanks.

Friday, January 6, 2006 12:58 PM


poor jayne!!!! for some odd reason, i actually feel physically sick thinking about him being branded a rapist...


Tuesday, July 11, 2006 9:22 AM


I've been making my way through your catalog this summer and have found piece after piece of wonderful stuff.

This really touched my core. Dear Jayne, who is so often dehumanized and written off as just a rude killer. Takes deep wounds, and not just those made by bullet or blade, to make a man the way he is.

And I,like CH and others before me, am profoundly moved by Kaylee's absolute sureness in the reality of the man she loves.

Tight, haunting, wonderful voicing and sweet. I agree with Jacqui, ya done good.

Saturday, September 30, 2006 1:36 PM


This was frakking great! I feel so inspired now!

Sunday, February 4, 2007 12:41 AM


So sad and sweet.


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