Learning to Lie - Chapter One: Tempest
Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Very AU. Where it begins for Jayne.


Ysandra smiled beatifically at Bethany Cobb, accepting the warm tea and taking a sip from the cracked mug, “Thank you.”

Bethany wrung her hands in her apron, fluttering about the room full of mismatched and worn furniture. The rug on the floor was faded and did little to hide the scarred floor from the Companion’s eyes. “You’re welcome. Wish I had somethin’ more to offer.”

“That you’re willing to speak to me is more generosity than I’d expected.”

Ysandra had always liked traveling to Kennedy. Two days from the heart of Sihnon, it felt both foreign and familiar to her. There was nothing pretty about Kennedy. The buildings were worn and used, the sidewalks stained and dirty. Factories spit dark smoke into the air, casting a dreary smog to hang over the heads of the men and woman who lived there. Men and woman who worked hard for every credit they earned. Or stole.

It was a world away from the affluence of Rosetta.

Bethany’s blue eyes slid to the Companion’s and there was an unexpected fire in their depths, “It ain’t generosity. You know it.”

Ysandra’s smile faded and she nodded tightly. “I can’t promise that you wont regret the decision, but I can assure you he will not.” She studied the woman for a long moment; she was younger than the lines on her face made her look. They were probably of an age.

Making a reckless decision, she spoke candidly. “I never did.”

Bethany sank into the chair across from the Companion, the bone deep weariness weighed heavy on the woman’s shoulders and Ysandra knew then that the boy was already hers.

“Do you…do you ever see them? Your family?”

It wasn’t within her to lie. “No.”

Bethany exhaled sharply and met her eyes. “How long you been watchin’ my boy?”

“Since his tenth birthday.” She replied smoothly, “We like to thoroughly observe prospective students before making an offer. We’ve had access to his academic and disciplinary records for some time. Jayne…” she trailed off, smiling enigmatically, “has a lively spirit.”

His mother responded with an indelicate snort, “You’ll not tame him.”

“Oh,” she shook her head, “We don’t seek to tame him. He is a tempest; wild and unpredictable. To tame him would destroy the vitality that makes him so ideally suited for the Guild.”

Bethany couldn’t hide the pride that steeled through her spine, not from a Companion, and she played upon it.

“He is a perfect fit for the Guild and highly valued for it. He will have a home there.” She smiled gently, “I grew up in the streets of Kennedy, I know as well as you what becomes of those who survive until adulthood. What I offer is a world from this existence--be it better or worse--that’s for him to decide in the end, but it is a life.” She set her teacup down, “Can you say that he’d have as much if he stayed?”

“And it’ll cost ‘im his mother and brother.”

Ysandra nodded. “That is the price. Yes.”

“He wont wanna leave us.”

“I am prepared for that.” She leveled her gaze on Bethany, “Are you?”

She shook her head, dashing her fingers beneath her eye, “Knew comin’ in what you were askin’. Knew the answer ‘fore you even opened your mouth. Don’t make it any easier.”

The door burst open and Ysandra turned in her seat to set eyes on the two boys standing there. She’d not met him yet, she was merely the Guild’s emissary, but he had no difficulty distinguishing which of the Cobb children was Jayne.

The moment he recognized a stranger in their home, he’d taken a protective step in front of his younger brother. And those eyes, stunning despite the fine film of dirt darkening his face, flashed bright with enmity. “Who’re you?”

“My name is Ysandra deMontreve.” She rose from her chair to greet the children, performing an elegant curtsy. “I come from Rosetta. Do you know where that is?”

His mouth, and that was very fine too, curled into a sneer, “I ain’t stupid.”

“No, I can see that you’re not.”

There was a flicker of apprehension in his eyes, and she saw him look to his mother for guidance. Bethany’s smile wavered a moment before sticking in place, “Miss deMontreve has come to see you, Jayne.”

“Oh.” He shifted his weight, and Ysandra noted that he could do well to gain some. He tried to squelch the curiosity and she was gratified to see him fail in it, “Why?”

Bethany beckoned the younger boy to her side and wrapped an arm around him. “I’ll let her tell ya.”

Ysandra inclined her head to Bethany and smiled kindly at Jayne, “I’d like to take you to Rosetta with me. To the Companion Training House there.”

There was a distrustful spark that shifted the color in his eyes to smoky cobalt, “Why?”

“You’re a very special boy, Jayne,” she replied, taking slow, even steps until she stood before him. “Courageous. Intelligent. Passionate. Capable of great things, by the Guild’s reckoning. We’d like to make you a Companion. Would you like that?”

“I ain’t gonna be a whore.” The fire in his eyes pleased her.

“Jayne!” They both ignored Bethany’s horrified gasp.

“No, child,” Ysandra brushed her fingers through the lightly curled strands of his hair. “You’re going to be so much more than that.”


Wednesday, June 14, 2006 7:36 PM



k, I'm hooked.

Thursday, June 15, 2006 5:30 AM


<And those eyes, stunning despite the fine film of dirt darkening his face, flashed bright with enmity.>

Oh yes, those amazing, incredible eyes...

Thursday, June 15, 2006 6:35 AM


Jayne, a Companion? Well, that's different. Can't wait to see what happens next. I do feel sorry though for his poor ma. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me


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