BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

CANTONHEROINE

Shatterproof
Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Tiny little fic set between the BDM and my story "Seeing the Light". Shades of Jaylee.


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 1278    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

Oh look, I wrote another little snippet. Shiny! This one’s set between the BDM and my story “Seeing the Light”. Maybe Kaylee wasn’t the only one that noticed something was up with Jayne…

SHATTERPROOF

Inara Serra walks Serenity’s narrow passages with fresh purpose these days. In the wake of recent tribulations, the ship feels like her home now - again - welcoming and warm, a place where her heart truly is.

Of course, that feeling may have more to do with the captain than the vessel herself. While it’s a certainty that she and Mal continue to dance around each other in an eternal pas de deux, it’s a familiar rhythm to them both and they know the steps so well that they only occasionally step on each other’s toes. He actually apologizes when that happens now, which is a new and surprising development.

Almost as big a surprise is what she sees when she takes the stairway down into the common area.

Jayne Cobb is perched on the edge of the saggy old sofa. Aside the fact that she’s never ever seen the big mercenary sit there before and he doesn’t seem the slightest bit comfortable, it’s the expression on his face that shocks her.

‘Haunted’ is the only word she can think of that comes close to describing it. He’s pale to the point of ashen, cheeks hollowed and gaunt as he chews on a ragged thumbnail and stares intently through the infirmary window. He doesn’t turn and leer at her, or make a single crude remark. In fact, he doesn’t acknowledge her presence at all.

Inara wonders what in the universe could garner such a reaction. Or lack of reaction, rather. Of all the crew, Jayne’s the one who comes across as virtually indestructible. Hardly anything ever manages to penetrate that thick veneer of blunt and bluster, be it word or weapon. He’s the hard man among them: tough, strong. Shatterproof. It’s not like him to show weakness like this.

Then again, that’s not entirely true, either. She has seen hints of a childlike vulnerability lurking beneath that unyielding surface. There is an endearing tenderness present when speaking of his mother - or his guns. Perhaps someone’s dismantling one of his prized firearms in there…

She takes a second to glance over in the infirmary’s direction as she reaches the bottom of the steps. No. Nothing’s being dismantled, but on the other side of the pane Simon and Kaylee are smiling at each other in that smitten, new-lovers way and a sickening realization begins to dawn on her.

Oh dear, why hadn’t she noticed this earlier? She’d been trained to be observant, and there must have been signs - Jayne’s not capable of being that subtle, is he?

“She looks happy, right?”

Jayne’s gruff voice startles Inara enough to make her jump, she swings back, hand at her throat. “What?”

“Doc makes her happy,” he says, punctuating the statement with an emphatic nod. “That’s good.”

“Oh. Yes, yes it is.”

He grunts in agreement. “She needs somethin’ ta smile about. Reckon we all do. ‘Specially nowadays.”

Jayne ducks his head, finally managing to drag his eyes away from the window. His long fingers are twisting themselves together in his lap now and Inara finds herself staring at this unexpected display of emotional distress. She really doesn’t think Jayne will be smiling any time soon.

The hand-wringing is nothing compared to the depths of despair apparent when he glances up and catches her eye. In that moment he is stripped bare before her, naked in a way that none of her clients have ever been. She holds his gaze for only a second before he stands abruptly and heads for the exit.

“Jayne?” Inara takes an involuntary step toward him, compelled to offer comfort and slightly appalled by that. “I, uh… Are you… alright?” She says it carefully, afraid that he might suddenly turn on her. She doesn’t quite know how to deal with this incarnation of the man.

“No.” He walks out, never once looking back.

“No, I don’t suppose you are.”

It seems that he’s not so shatterproof after all. At least, his heart isn’t. She stares after him, torn.

What should she do about this? Should anything be done at all? Can anything?

Kaylee skips into her line of sight, cheeks flushed and grinning from ear to ear, completely oblivious to the devastation she has just caused. “Hey you.”

“Hey you.” Inara can’t help but return the smile. Jayne’s right. She looks happy. Very happy.

Mal’s irritated voice reaches her ears. He’s yelling at Jayne in the cargo bay for some reason and his inventive Chinese curses cause her smile to curve even wider.

Yes, she thinks, maybe it’s best for her to leave things as they are for a while.

END

COMMENTS

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 2:09 AM

BOOKADDICT


I like Inara's observation of Jayne as almost indestructible but with tenderness for his mother and his guns.

Inara's instinct to comfort is so her, as is Kaylee's happiness in Simon's love. Great story and good to see you back!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 4:35 AM

ARTEMISPRIME


Good job here. I like how you have Jayne open up a little by answering Inara's question of are you alright and then stopping it from continuing. He might not be completely shatterproof, but he doesn't want the cracks to spread.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 6:17 AM

SQUISH


Oh very nice prequel to the other story! Inara might have missed his reactions to Kaylee at first, but she couldn't miss this!

It was all very nice! I hope you write more soon!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 2:21 PM

HISGOODGIRL


CH - great to have something from you again. This paragraph really got to me:

<The hand-wringing is nothing compared to the depths of despair apparent when he glances up and catches her eye. In that moment he is stripped bare before her, naked in a way that none of her clients have ever been. She holds his gaze for only a second before he stands abruptly and heads for the exit.>

I agree with AP above - Jayne's not a man who readily admits others into his core. Painful and powerful!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 2:47 PM

KITTYKAT26


love it ! PLEASE write more !

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 3:27 PM

MORDSITH


Squeee this is awesome! It's good to have more fic from you!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 7:53 PM

RAVENHAIR


loved Inara's observations of Jayne! Well done!

Thursday, July 13, 2006 7:45 PM

BLUEEYEDBRIGADIER


Oh...I really have to sympathize with Jayne, cuz unrequited love really sucks sometimes:(

Lovin' what you're doing here, CantonHeroine! Just can't wait to see more;)

BEB


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