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Extra Cargo Chapter 4. Back into a Box
Sunday, January 15, 2006

Continuing the introduction of another female onto Serenity.


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 2261    RATING: 10    SERIES: FIREFLY

Chapter 4

Safe, some place safe to hide, someplace where she could be warm again. Someplace where the cold that was in her bones would go away. That was all she needed. Caroline narrowly missed Wash and Zoë as she left the bridge trying to find someplace safe. Running pell-mell through the passage ways she paused when she saw Simon; and managed to duck behind a bulkhead before he saw her. He went into the infirmary, and she continued. The ship seemed to go on forever; the “tour” Kaylee and River had given her wasn’t helping her. Everything had seemed to vanish from her mind except for the need to find someplace to hide.

Jayne finished his dinner bugged Simon for a little while as he did dishes. Then he headed down to the cargo bay to lift weights. Lifting helped Jayne think things through – and this short person who looked just like Mal, a Mini-Mal was something that needed some thinking about.

Caroline was close to hysterical when she came into the cargo bay, she saw the hole in Serenity’s bulkhead that she had hidden in right when she had come out of the box. Zeroing in on the hole she sprinted across the open floor not looking left or right and crashed right into Jayne.

Jayne grabbed hold of squirming body and then looked down. He looked down at a child who was trying to get away by squirming, kicking, biting, anything. She finally looked up enough that Jayne caught a look at her eyes, they were terrified; instinct from taking care of his brothers and sisters back home kicked in and he growled out “shh, shh, xin gan. What’s wrong?”

“Let me go, you chsheng xai-jiao de xiang huo, fancy pants.”

“Ain’t a bastard; knew both my ma and pa. And I ain’t no fancy pants.”

“You’re here.”

“Yep, they pay me to be here. I do their dirty work. Will you calm down? I ain’t gonna hurt you.”

“I wan my ma.” And with that Caroline’s brave front dissolved and started sobbing into Jayne’s chest. “Sh – she’s not here. He said she’s not here.”

“Shh, shh, sshh” grumbled Jayne picking Caroline and Zoey up, carrying them over to the nearest ladderwell and sitting down. “I don’t know where your ma is.”

“I wan my ma. She said she was comin’.”

“Coming where?”

Still crying Caroline hiccupped out, almost unintelligibly “Boros, going on a trip. I ain’t never been off-world before.”

“In a box?”

“Cheaper that way.”

Understanding a lot more now; passage for one adult was much cheaper then passage for two people, even if one of those was a child. Jayne rocked Caroline and gruffly asked “Tell me about her.”

Caroline was starting to feel less frightened. This big lion of a man didn’t talk like other fancy people; and from what she could see of his wet T - shirt he didn’t dress all zang shang liu like the other ones. Sniffing, she burrowed deeper into Jayne’s chest seeking warmth, something to warm up her bones.

“It’s going to be ok.”

“I miss my ma. She was nice, .., most of the time, except when she was having a spell. I didn’t like it when she was broken. She screamed and broke things then. Two-Snouts said she was like a race horse, fragile. He said that she was all used up and needed to be put out to pasture. Said the ‘Liance broke her. I don’t like the gorram Alliance. I don’t like night, days were good. When ma had good days we would go for walks in the market and make up stories and eat fruit. That was fun. I like fruit; blueberries are my favoritest. Kaylee likes strawberries, Shepard said so.”

“I’m sure when we get back to Persephone; we’ll find your ma. Don’t want cha worried bout her. Tell me more mei-mei. Tell me about Two-Snouts” Jayne growled, and Caroline could feel his chest rumble like a cat when they purred.

“I don’t like Two-Snouts. He’s ma’s boss. He says he has a stable full of flesh. And he dresses all gorram jian jiu xiu shi with lots of smelly stuff in his hair. It looks wet all the time; and he smells bad. He gives ma ice drops keep the screaming away. Says he can’t make no money off a woman screamin’ her head off.”

Jayne figured that keeping Caroline talking was a good thing. “How ‘bout your home?”

“I like feeling you talk. You feel like a cat, all rumbly.” Said Caroline trying burrow deeper into Jayne and shifting Zoey a little. “Home, we done had lots a places we stayed. Couple, times when ma was really sick and I couldn’t take care of her I stayed at the Abbey. I like Shepards, they’re nice. Where do you live?”

“I live here.”

That caused her to straighten up “With all the fancy pants? They let you? Zhen de ma?”

“Yep, here. They ain’t all that bad. I gots three meals a day, and my own bunk. People are nice. Captain’s a fair sort a’ guy.”

“Huh, he seems like a tamade hundan.”

“Nah, he’s a good guy; just kinda different. You can trust him.” He felt her begin to relax against him again; and figured he must be saying something right. “Whole crews right nice.” He added at the end thinking about Simon “mostly.”

Caroline was really starting to relax; and was starting to feel warm, tired, and safe. This big man, Jayne, they had called him at dinner was nice. He didn’t talk all fancy like the others, ceptin’ Kaylee, he talked kinda like her. He didn’t dress all weird either in tight pants with a stripe on them like that Captain guy, or prissy like the guy called Simon, or in weird looking shirts – he was normal. “Normal is good.” Caroline said out loud; but, very quietly. She heard a noise behind them on the upper floor of the big room, and tensed up, tightening her hands around Zoey, getting ready to go for her knife.

Hearing the footsteps, and realizing that it was just Kaylee; Jayne rumbled, “Don’t worry it’s just Kaylee. Can always tell the sound of her: little feet in big boots. River too.”

Looking down on what was unfolding below her; Kaylee’s heart melted. She had always known Jayne had a soft spot; but, it showed itself only rarely. She didn’t want to break up the peaceful scene; but, the Captain had sent her to find Caroline and help her get ready for bed. Kaylee had offered to give up her bunk; Shepard had said no, it would be better if she shared a compartment with Mal. They needed to get used to each other. Kaylee kept watching the two of them conversing in low tones until they looked up at her. She really wished she could hear; and she really hoped Jayne wasn’t talking about Vera, guns, or sexin’ up whores.

“Bao bei.” Kaylee said starting down the ladderwell. “It’s bed time, are you tired? It’s been a really big day. We’ve got a bunk all ready for you; Cap’n is puttin’ clean sheets on for you.”

Shaking her head vehemently, Caroline clutched Zoey and Jayne tighter. “No, don’ wanna go without him. Safe here. Warm.”

Holding her very carefully, Jayne stood up. “Come on little one, lets go. Can’t stay here all night. Go on Kaylee, we’ll follow.”

And so they went, another train forward past the passenger quarters, med bay, common area, down the corridor, through the dining room and to the crew quarters. Kaylee stopped in front of Mal’s room which surprised Jayne; but, what the hell if the Cap wants to give up his bunk for a rug rat that’s his problem. “Down you go. Can’t carry you down the ladder” he rumbled setting Caroline down on her feet.

Looking very uncertain and nervous Caroline asked “are you coming?”

“Not sure I can.” By this time Kaylee was standing below with Mal and the Shepard. They’d made up the bunk for Caroline and rigged Kaylee’s hammock up for the Captain.

“Not going less you come.”

“Ho’ k. I’m coming, you go first.”

Caroline went down the ladderwell and waited not moving for Jayne to come down. She was tense again, worried; clutching Zoey tightly and not liking the fact that everyone seemed to be in the room. Seeing how tense the number of people seemed to make Caroline; Book nodded at Kaylee and said “I’m going to take my leave now. Do some meditations. Kaylee doesn’t Serenity need some checking up?”

“Mmm…” she said looking over at Book, who gave her a meaningful stare. “Yes, good night everyone. Good night Caroline.” As they left the compartment, Caroline was climbing back into Jayne’s arms.”

“Bao bei” Mal uttered walking over to the odd couple “I brought your stuff down, your Buddha and the cross are on the shelf at the top of the bunk. That’s where you’re going to sleep tonight. Kaylee and River found you a night shirt and a toothbrush. Drawer under the bunk has your clothes in it.”

Jayne put down Caroline “Go on, go over there. I can’t stay here all night. Got my own bunk. You’re gonna be fine. Caps a good guy. You can trust him.”

Walking over to look at the things on the shelf and under the bunk Caroline just stared at them with wide eyes. It was very odd that everything was all together, neat-like, and not hidden.

Mal ran his fingers through his hair “I put them there for you. Is that ok? We’ll find someplace better for them tomorrow.”

“Are they safe?”

“Yes, everything is safe in here.” He pointed at the bunk, “You’re going to sleep there. Uhhh… I’m going to go and get Kaylee; she’ll help you get ready for bed. Ok?” Mal went to the comm box and called for Kaylee.

When Kaylee popped down the ladder and started to talk with Caroline Mal went up the ladder and sagged against the bulkhead thinking about how he was supposed to raise a child, his childhood, how the man he sought counsel from on the topic of parenthood had never had children, the person on Serenity with the most experience with children was Jayne. Jayne, that didn’t make sense? That thought just made him sit down on the floor with his head in his hands. How was he going to raise a child? His daughter? He had a daughter? Qin aide wo de ma, what was next Zoë and Wash having a gorram baby? He’d have to nip that idea in the bud – but, in the morning.

Kaylee’s head popped up in the hatch. “We’re done; Caroline is ready for a story.” She climbed all the way up; and said “Tell her a nice story, no reavers, or gun battles. Tell her something from your childhood on Shadow.

Mal lifted his head and hauled his weary body up, and waited for Kaylee to pass by. “Thank you. Good night.” And down the ladder he went, slowly and very apprehensively not quite sure what he was going to find or what he was going to talk about. He grabbed the chair at his desk, ducked under the hammock, and sat down. Trying to sound comforting he started “you ready to go to sleep little one? It’s been a long day.”

“Yeah.” Kaylee had told her that Mal was as scared of her as she was of him. She had Zoey tucked in with her. Holding Zoey made her think of her ma. “Do you think ma’s ok?”

Mal reached over and touched the bed. “I’m sure she is. We’ll send a wave to Persephone tomorrow. Shall we have a story?” He didn’t want her to start screaming again. Horses he would talk about horses; she had Zoey, and she liked her so they had to be a safe subject. “My mama always told me ‘you treat your horse right, it'll do right by you.’” He looked down at her and saw that she had her eyes closed. This might not be too hard he thought to himself. “Mama’s ranch was on Shadow; it’s a rim world. We had a lot of horses there. Needed them to work the ranch. Some of them we used for riding; some of them pulled wagons, or plows and the such.” He looked over again and noticed that her breathing had evened out and her grip had stopped being a complete death grip on the stuffed horse; figured that he should go on just a little more while he got ready to sleep. So he kept going as he got ready. “My favorite horse of all was a brown horse, her name was Apple; because she would eat apples right off the tree. She could run like the wind forever and ever.” He climbed into the hammock and ended with “We had some good times Apple and me. Good night, little one. We’ll figure this out, you and me. Good night.”

Bao bei -- precious/treasure Chsheng xai-jiao de xiang huo -- animal f***ing bastard Gorram – Damn Jian jiu xiu shi – dandy Mei-mei -- Little sister Qin aide wo de ma – Dear mother of God Tamade hundan -- fucking bastard Xin gan/ai ren – sweetheart zang shang liu – filthy rich (upper class) Zhen de ma? -- is that true?

COMMENTS

Sunday, January 15, 2006 8:24 AM

HUMBUG


Awww! Bless!!!!

Jayne and that little girl.......

Jayne being the most experienced with children...... (ha! ha!).......

Mal and his little daughter......

This is the sweetest fanfic ever, Guenever! Shiny!!!!


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