Sunday, November 12, 2006

Beltane. The gang visiting Hori's grave to pay their respects. Jayne and Vera have an interesting experience in the graveyard. Sexing up later on.


SO LONG AS THE SKY SHALL FEED THE STARS * [POLUS DUM SIDERA PASCET] Motto of RAF 692 Squadron * I'll make love to you in all good places under black mountains in open spaces. By deep brown rivers that slither darkly through far marches where the blue hare races. Come with me to the Winged Isle --- northern father's western child. Where the dance of ages is playing still through far marches of acres wild. * Acres Wild – Jethro Tull * [This goes a little off-piste from the 'verse we've been shown so far, but Joss isn't averse to showing spiritual realities, so maybe...] [The characters aren't mine, I'm just taking them out into the sandbox for a while] * Serenity came into land just outside Hine Moa. Mal stood on the apron at the rear of the cargo bay, apparently just enjoying the sunshine. “Seems like half a lifetime since we were here last.” Vera popped a modest bag of clothes and vital bits and pieces down nearby, “I know what you mean,” she smiled, “Been imprisoned twice, shot at and fought with so many times I've nearly lost count, nearly burned to death and several of us got married to each other.” Mal rubbed his jaw and his lips twitched into a smile, “Was even co-President of the 'verse for a while.” Vera chuckled, “Don't envy you *that task.” Jayne appeared, bristling with weapons as per usual and toting a larger canvas bag, “Betcha *I could do it!” Mal chimed in, “You heard what I said about the palace being a prison? Sure, we had all the food we could eat and servants at our beck and call, but Inara and I were trapped.” “Woulda shot my way out!” “Trust me, we tried. We never even got as far as the front or back door.” “Not even with grenades?” Mal managed to bite back most of a smile, “No, Jayne; not even with grenades.” “Don't sound like much fun.” “Trust me; it wasn't.” At that moment, a familiar looking mule drew up nearby. * Vera smiled, “Cliff!” He got down from the mule and gave her a hug, “Kia'ora, Vera.” “Hey!” Jayne was firmly in Cliff's space automatically, even though he knew they were only friends. Cliff's smile didn't dim one bit, “Kia'ora, Jayne; all of you.” At that moment, Zoe appeared, leading Sarah by one hand. The light in Cliff's eyes warmed, “Zoe.” She nodded quickly by way of greeting, “This is Sarah.” Cliff looked at Sarah with tenderness, “*His daughter.” “Yes.” The warmth tinged with regret, “Now I see why I didn't stand a chance with you.” “Nothing personal, Cliff.” “I know,” Then he switched back to his enthusiastic welcome, with typical Kiwi good grace and charm, “Anyway; we've got the mother and father of hangis coming up, starting tomorrow and going on till the last person drops! Thought that some of you might like to keep vigil with Hori tonight.” Vera nodded, “I would at least; thanks Cliff.” Jayne frowned at her, “Keep vigil? Ain't he in the ground?” She nodded, “He's buried six feet under. But the Maori custom here is to sit by the grave and say your goodbyes to an old friend as soon as you are able, if you want to. Hori's been my friend ever since I got to Beltane and since I'm adopted into the whanau, it's the least I can do.” “Want some company?” Vera smiled, “That would be a generous gesture, since you're not a Maori. It'll be pretty boring, just sitting and talking and I expect quite a few tears along the way.” “Wanna keep you safe.” “Well, having you for company and to keep me warm will be enough. It's pretty safe in the Maori resting place.” Cliff touched Jayne's arm, “Technically, since you wed Vera, you're adopted right with her; if you want to be.” “Dunno about bein' Maori; don't know your language 'n stuff. Hori was okay. Had some good talks with him and he fought well. Reckon I could say a piece too.” This was praise indeed from Jayne. * Mal walked back to fly out Serenity's mule. Everyone had apparently collectively decided not to mention the slight limp he'd had ever since Osiris and Ariel. The leg had healed well, all things considered, but there was still an interesting mix of old bone, new grafted bone, prosthetic knee and metal all stuck together with medical cement under the skin and re-built muscle. Plus the extensive exterior scarring; that made by the explosive dart, the older ones from the previous break and the newer re-build operations. Only Mal, Inara and Simon knew the full extent of those. Simon picked up Sam, who was attempting to toddle off, then joined Kaylee and Lee behind Mal and Inara. Zoe and Sarah joined River, Zhang, Jayne and Vera behind Cliff. Happily his larger mule would carry six easily. They flew the modest distance into Hine Moa to settle in to their accommodation in the town's one hotel. Some hours later, Jayne and Vera took a small mule out to the Maori burial site. They had bedrolls, food and water on board. There was no need for a tent as the weather was dry and hot and there wouldn't be rain in this part of Beltane's desert for months yet. Some rather dusty-looking eucalypti and cacti grew around the perimeter of the cemetery, plus there were more cacti and palm trees inside to provide some shade. Jayne and Vera found Hori's grave. It was fresher than most of the others and there was a substantial wooden carving of a classic Maori head set up at one end. At the other end of every grave was a purpose built fire pit. Jayne and Vera laid the fire, but left it unlit for now. * Vera sat down and gently patted the earth over Hori's grave, “Sorry it's taken so long for me to say thank-you and good-bye, Hori.” He voice broke as the tears came. Jayne pulled himself close against her back, his legs on either side of hers and held her as she wept. “I miss him too. Don't remember him savin' us; but I had dreams about bein' lifted up.” Finally, Vera found her voice again, “I know.” She started singing, “Kia hora te marino, kia whakapapa pounamu te moana, kia tere te karohirohi.” “Huh?” “May the seas be calm, may the shimmer of Summer glisten like the greenstone, dance across thy pathway; Ma Io koutou e manaaki, e tiaki, i nga wa katoa; May your God bless you and protect you for all time.” “It's the sort of thing Book might 'a said. Not sure if he could sing, though.” “It's an old Maori farewell song from Earth-that-was. One of the very few I learned. Hori could do it better, my accent's pretty bad!” Vera wiped the tears off her face with her hand. “Yeah; he saved us. Wanna say thanks for that; for gettin' both of us out. Might have gone mad if 'n it'd just been me; mad as in angry and ragin', mi mei gui.” Vera smiled, turning her head to look at him, “I know; me too, most likely I'd have gone off the deep end without you. Something unusual's happened between us – more than once – and we're bonded deeply.” Jayne nodded, “S'like you're in my gut an' my bones an' my heart an' my mind all at the same time. Hori said we was probably soul mates, but I ain't had any God-type notions myself.” “I feel the same about you, sweet wan nao. Hori had a deep spiritual experience as a child, that's how he became a tohunga as well as a warrior. He told me that he and Jasmine found they were soulmates quite unexpectedly. He'd been fiercely single and definitely not celibate up to that point; if she'd lived, I think they would have stayed together for life.” “Ya think they're together now?” “Yes; don't know where that is or what it looks like, but their spirits or souls or joint energies are together.” “So, he's at peace.” “In his terms, he's taken the celestial canoe and steered it across the sea to heaven.” “Sounds okay to me.” They sat in silence for some time after that. * Towards late afternoon, they lit the fire and the rest of the crew tuned up to pay their respects. Vera toasted marshmallows while kumara roasted in the embers and Inara prepared meat and vegetables on skewers. Zhang and River had brought beer and distilled spirits of some description in an unlabelled bottle. Food was duly consumed, words spoken and fellowship enjoyed around Hori's resting place. River placed a flower on the grave before she left, “Thank-you for the silence, Hori. You helped me find healing and prepared me to find Zhang, though neither you nor I knew it at the time. I'm going to be the best warrior priestess I know how to be and fly through the stars.” Zoe, Kaylee and Simon left first with their little ones. The others drifted off gradually, with Mal and Inara going some time after midnight. Jayne and Vera finally bedded down and went to sleep by the fire pit. Just before dawn, Vera woke up. The light was streaking the sky with lemon and grey. She yawned and looked at Jayne. * His eyes slowly opened, “Morning!” They kissed briefly. “Morning! Shall I renew the fire?” “Mmm,” He stretched a little, “Yeah. Could do with some coffee.” Vera sat up slowly and encouraged the embers into new life, setting the billy can on to boil and rinsing out the tin coffee mugs. A subtle movement at the head of the grave caught her eye. “Jayne? Can you see something like a heat haze?” He sat up and peered where she was pointing, “Yup; summat like that.” The heat haze phenomenon swirled and coalesced, stretching itself into a recogniseable face. Vera gasped, “Hori?” His reply was felt by both of them rather than heard, 'I'm fine. No pain, no worries, eh. Jasmine's with me. It's bloody beautiful here! You'll see, one day; open house for all. Your Mum, Sally and Dad say, 'Hi' and Allison says, 'It's okay, I understand and don't worry' to Jayne.' “How in the ruttin' hell does he know about that?” Jayne turned to Vera, “You tell him?” Then he saw the fresh tears on her face and stopped. She shook her head, smiling and crying all at the same time, “No; Hori's come back to say good-bye.” “Wuh de mah!” Jayne turned back to the apparition, trying to hide sudden tinges of fear and uncertainty under a heap of bluster, “You a ghost or summat?” The only answer was Hori's familiar big, warm laughter, which felt like they were being engulfed in the biggest bear-hug they'd ever known. Vera was laughing now, along with Hori, “It's...Love. Hori's showing us the Love which goes on forever.” “I feel it,” Jayne said in a very small voice, now tinged with something approaching awe and wonder. Then Hori was gone. Vera quietly poured the strong black coffee and handed one mug to Jayne. They said nothing, still attempting to assimilate what had just happened. The sun came up, washing everything with lemon yellow light. They tidied, packed up and went back to Hine Moa. * Jayne and Vera dumped their bags in their room. Vera got out her wash-bag and put it in the small en-suite along with her sponge. She tucked a nightdress under the pillow, not so much as to be wearing it, but in case they needed to get out in an emergency in the middle of the night. Jayne rummaged through his bag without getting out much of anything. Vera could read tension and a heap of denial coming off him in waves; he was blatantly doing his best to ignore the mutual spiritual experience they'd just shared. It wasn't easy for her, either, but she was *trying to get her head around it. Maybe it would be best to stick to familiar territory for now. “Would you like to go on a hunt for early breakfast?” “Hmmph.” Jayne was in teenage grunting mode, not wanting to speak actual words. This was going to be more difficult than she'd anticipated. “I'm heading downstairs. If they haven't yet got food available there I'll have a poke around the main street.” “Uh-huh.” Vera took a deep breath and went into the small bathroom. She brushed out the plait she'd been wearing all night and redid her hair in a simple ponytail. Then she brushed her teeth. “Okay, Jayne. See you later.” She picked up her room key card and left. * Jayne's head flicked up the second the door closed behind Vera. “Hey!” He wasn't at all sure that he wanted company at the moment, but Vera leaving so blithely had rattled him. He flung open the door and ran after her, catching her in the corridoor. He held her firmly by the arms, with a whole heap of unspoken words in his head and heart. Vera saw the swirling emotions in his eyes and face under the guarded look he was trying to carry off, “Breakfast?” He shook his head, still unable to reach any kind of coherence and pulled her back to the room, closing and locking the door. Jayne gently yet purposefully pinned her to the wall inside the door. “Need.” Vera could see that in the tension in his face, “Yes. What do you need, Jayne?” There was stillness for maybe five seconds, then he was ripping her clothes off and carrying her towards the bed. Vera gasped as his mouth found her breasts. “Gotta. Need this. Make it good.” His own clothes went flying and then he spread her and his mouth and tongue on her were enough to pin her to the mattress in a rising spiral of pleasure. With a rush and a shock of pleasure, the orgasm overtook her and she realised, not for the first time, that Jayne's particular focussed cave-man tactics were devastatingly effective on her libido. He spread her wider, as wide as she could go, pushed down his pants and was in her, robbing her of breath for several seconds. Then he took her flawlessly to a second peak before completely losing control. It was a wild, animal and hard ride, pounding fiercely inside her. Finally with a roar, he joined her. Lying in the afterglow, in a tangle of limbs and torn clothes, Vera knew she'd have to sit down carefully for several days. She was used to that and in fact she enjoyed it, that Jayne sometimes needed to have sex with her with such urgency and intensity. Plus, Jayne was bound to want to 'make it up to her' fairly soon and the resulting slow, tender lovemaking would wring every possible molecule of pleasure out of her in a wholly different way. * Jayne gently lifted himself from on top of Vera, then out of her torn clothes and removed his. He pulled her into his arms with a soft, satisfied grunt of pleasure. He turned, leaning tenderly over her, fingers slowly tracing the white scar lines in her flesh where the surgeons had joined the new patches of skin together. “Mi mei gui.” It was a statement of love and a kind of apology, although he knew she'd enjoyed the wild ride as much as he had. “What is it, darling wan nao?” That was Vera, accepting both of his unspoken messages and telling him she loved him. His eyes flicked up to hers, “Don't have the words. Least, I do, but they're all jumbled up inside.” “Okay.” Jayne kissed her shoulder in silent thanks and folded her closer, fingers still stroking gently. There was contented silence for a while. Eventually Jayne found *some words. “Did we see...God?” Vera shook her head, “Just Hori; I think!” “It felt...bigger than that.” “I know.” “Wanna know what it was. Don't like things that don't make sense and that I can't touch.” That would explain some of the need for the very specific kind of touching that they'd just shared. Vera understood that, “I know. I've met enough people who believe in God – or Goddess – or Something and they all seem to have had some kind of personal experience which went beyond words. I *think that's what happened to us.” “I ain't becoming a Shepherd!” Vera chuckled, “Nor me; least definitely not one of the celibate kind! Maybe God – or Whatever it was – is happy with us just as we are. Hori seemed to think that was the case, he said there'd be a welcome for us when it was our time.” * “Hmm. Pa used to read to us kids out of a book with holy words from all sorts of places 'n people. Jesu and Buddha and the Prophet and the Hindoo; bit of everythin'. Lots of talk about love and bein' kind to folk and bein' willin' to fight 'n struggle. Was even some words about how a gun can be holy.” Vera nodded, “'In the hands of the righteous, or of those with good cause, the bullet is a piece of mercy to those who would otherwise die slow and hard'.” Jayne smiled, “Yup; them's the words! Used them as a talisman; knowin' if I take a man out, he's gonna die quick, and mebbe if I'd spared him he might have died slow or with some terrible disease takin' him off.” “And if someone's being grabbed by the Reavers, it's definitely best to put them out of their suffering as quickly as possible.” Jayne nodded, “Done that more 'n once; Mal too. The Reavers come for me, you can try thrillin' heroics, but if it's all lost for me; please, one to the heart or the head and I'll thank you after.” “It'd be soon after, because I'd be taking as many of those Reaver bastards down as possible and then joining you. Speaking of which, would you consider being a Reaver hunter?” “Tyen shiao-duh! As much as I hate the ruttin' bastards and as much as I'm a good shot, I'd rather not! If it comes to it, I'll do it, but they're the one thing in the 'verse that spooks me. Nah, make that two things; t'other would be losing you, mi mei gui.” Jayne rolled gently over and pillowed Vera on his chest. Vera snuggled closer and pulled up the covers. Breakfast could wait until after an hour or so's sleep. **


Sunday, November 12, 2006 7:49 AM


I thought the muse was going for a lie down. Obviously not <G>. I have some vague and indeed not so vague plans for this, but if regular readers want to suggest plots and/or sub-plots, I'd be grateful.


Sunday, November 12, 2006 12:43 PM


Uh...offspring sometime down the road for Jayne and Vera? Encounters with govt. officials looking for Presidents Reynolds to return to their duties? Exploration of River's warrior-priestess duties? I am just tossing some obvious ideas;)


Sunday, November 12, 2006 10:29 PM


Well, J&V can't have kids of their own and they've already got the teeshirt in babysitting with a current strong mutual aversion for more <G>. There might be other fostering type activities with older kids though.

I wouldn't be surprised if the new PTB come looking to take ex Pres Reynolds x2 back <G>.

I've got another direction bubbling on the back burner, but it'll need a heavy dose of cross/double cross/bluff and similar because of the identity of the person that the crew will be after. Haven't 'seen' enough to start writing that yet.



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