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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
TITLE: Serenity Now: Onus - Part 8
AUTHOR: The Irish Cowgirl
PAIRING: Mal/River, Kaylee/Simon, Jayne/OC
SPOILERS: Post-BDM, also spoilers for "Serenity Now," "SN: After The Storm," "SN: Nightmares," "SN: The Thin Line," "SN: A New Life," & "SN: The Means To An End"
NOTES: NC-17! The seventh installment in the "Serenity Now" series. Mal and River have to deal with a wrinkle in their relationship, and the rest of the crew have to deal with saying goodbye to one of their own, until an old enemy comes back to exact his revenge. Feedback is ALWAYS appreciated!
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1147 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Jayne pulled back his arm, hurling a grenade towards the stronghold. As Clancey’s men saw it descend from the sky, they scrambled for cover, and Jayne used this to his advantage. He dropped down from the Mule and took off in the direction of an outcropping of rock. “Cover me!” he bellowed to River as he ran.
River lifted the rifle to her shoulder, a lightweight four-footer that Jayne had loaned her. She grimaced over the heft of it in her hands, but squared her jaw, closing one eye so she could peer through the sights. An hour ago, she would not have felt this confident with the weapon. When he had handed it off to her, she had gone outside the ship to take a few practice shots, get a feel for the kick. However, after five minutes, River was quite displeased to find that she was not the longmarksman she thought she would be. After missing almost a dozen shots, she had to admit defeat, and plaintively looked to Jayne for help.
He gave her a fair amount of grumbling, saying that giving her the gun was pointless if she didn’t know what to do with it. But at last, he offered a few suggestions on her grip and breathing technique. River, as always, was a quick study, and ten minutes later, the crew found her shooting the leaves off of a distant tree, one by one. It had taken her a matter of minutes to master what had taken the others a lifetime to learn.
And so Mal watched her as she surely pressed the butt of the rifle to her shoulder, picking off men from the ramparts as if she’d been doing it her whole life. Despite the current state of their relationship, Mal could not help but feel a swell of pride in her marksmanship. Adept at understanding people she may not be, but no one could face the girl with a weapon in her hand and live to tell the tale.
Jayne finally reached his cover, slamming his body back into the rock just as the explosion of his grenade could be heard. He darted his head out to view what remained of the stone building. His lob had been perfectly aimed: the front entrance was rent away, leaving a gaping hole framed by bits of rock and debris.
Gunfire forced his head back behind the rock, and he breathed hard as the bullets whizzed past, embedding themselves in the stone and dirt. This was going to take another explosion, and more luck than Jayne had been subject to in the past. All the same, he pulled the grenade from his belt, pressing the button on the side to arm it.
“He’s going in,” River called to Mal above the fray, taking down another mercenary as he trained his gun on the Mule. “I’ll follow.”
“What?!” Mal replied. He reached out to steady the controls of the Mule under one large gloved hand, then pulled his own gun. Balancing it against his forearm, he fired, and one of the men who had been foolish enough to come from behind his cover fell back. “River, that weren’t part of your brilliant plan!”
River sprang from the Mule just as she saw Jayne toss the second grenade in her mind. “Never goes according to the plan!” she called back over her shoulder, giving Mal a small smirk. She gripped the rifle in two hands, taking off after Jayne. The two made their way across the open space under the cover of the ensuing explosion, neither blinking for an instant.
Mal watched their backs carefully, shaking his head in frustration. “Shang-di, ni er biao-zi, ta zui hao hui-hai ru-tong yi bu-fen.” He flashed his eyes heavenward for a moment, then leveled his gun on a man who had crawled up to aim at River and Jayne. As soon as that moron was down, Mal reached up and used the side of his gun’s grip to tap the commpiece in his ear. “Kaylee! Ya hear me?”
“Yeah, Capt’n,” Kaylee’s voice crackled back through the comm. “We’re jus’ gettin’ into place now.”
“Shiny,” Mal replied as he saw Jayne and River disappear into the rubble that had once been the entrance of the stronghold. “But it’s lookin’ like we might have ourselves a change of plans.”
Kaylee rolled her eyes as she slid her finger over the power switch of her skillsaw, feeling it vibrate and hum to life in her palm. “When don’t we?”
Jayne and River had fought side by side once before, during the Reaver attack on Serenity a few months back. At the time, both had been so engrossed in the fight for mere survival that they hardly had the time to notice the other’s ability. But now, in the siege against Clancey’s stronghold, and the brawling against regular old men, both River and Jayne had to admit that they were an ideal pair.
Jayne was the brute force, of that there was no doubt. Being first inside, he hit the opposing forces like a freight train, throwing bone-shattering punches and the butt of his rifle into the face of every man that came close. Some tried to oppose him, separate or together. A few even managed to tackle him, but he threw them off like a rabid bear, growling and roaring and foaming in the like.
But for all he lacked in finesse, River more than made up for. She wove herself around Jayne, lithely dancing in his orbit as a flurry of small fists and feet. She had slung the strap of her rifle around her and let it swing, using its momentum and her innate knowledge of physics to smash it into the face of a man he had attempted to rush her from behind. She reached beneath her skirt and pulled her own pistol, and what she could not do with her body, she did with a bullet.
Truly, they were a brilliant symbiosis. When one of the mercenaries chucked a piece of rock at Jayne’s head, River shot it from the air like a stone bird. When another man, one of the swifter hand-to-hand fighters, had caught River’s foot in midair, Jayne simply picked the man up by the hair and sent him sailing into the wall. At last, through the tempest, they ducked into a corridor, and Jayne slammed the heavy metal door behind him. “Which way, Riv?”
She pulled her skirt up slightly, quickly holstering her pistol at her thigh. “Down that hall, two rights. Five hundred meters, you’ll see a steel door up ahead. Go get her.” She rattled off the directions quickly, then turned back to the closed door, reaching out to grip the handle.
“Ya ain’t comin’?” Jayne asked, spotting her activity.
“Have to get back to Mal. We’ll see you on Serenity,” she replied briskly, sliding the rifle’s strap over her head and bringing it out before her.
Jayne stared at her in disbelief. “Ya can’t jus’ go back out-” But his words came to a screeching halt as River backed away from the door, then launched herself into the air. She stepped lightly on the handle of the door, using it to propel herself around and further up. Quick as lightning, she caught herself with the rifle, clearing it into and across an open ceiling duct. Then she swung her legs up like a gymnast through the hole, disappearing into the darkness of the duct system.
“Hey!” Jayne called up to her. “Easy on the gorramn gun!” He shook his head, forgetting their moments of teamwork, and barreled down the hall, muttering to himself. “Ruttin’ crazywoman.”
Mal heaved a sigh of relief, though it was short-lived. He fired on another one of the men on the ramparts and watched him fall from the height, landing in the dust with a sickening crunch. Many of the men who had been firing on the Mule had been drawn away from the front lines. Mal figured that this was to combat the two warriors who had made their way inside the compound, which meant that River and Jayne were still alive. But it also meant that a couple dozen men were headed their way, and Mal could only hope that the two of them could fend them off.
After ten gut-wrenching minutes, a wispy figure appeared from the ruins of the entrance, sprinting towards the Mule with catlike speed. Mal gunned the engine out of idle, and sped the craft forward, firing wildly with one hand as he neared River. He swung the Mule in a full circle around her, pulling a one hundred-eighty degree turn as she made a leap for the back. “Talk t’me, kid!”
“Gas, Mal!” she screamed, swinging Jayne’s rifle up to her shoulder. She pelted the opposing men with bullets as he complied, gunning the engine hard enough for the hovercraft to groan angrily in response. After a moment’s hesitation, it started forward with a jump, and River had to catch herself against the rear panel to keep from falling out.
“What happened?” Mal shouted, glancing back at River. As he did, he caught sight of what she had been running from. Eight of the men she had been fighting were giving chase, speeding across the plain on two-man vehicles. “Oh, crap,” he muttered, bringing his eyes back to front.
River lowered herself into the backseat, leveling the rifle against the rear panel of the Mule. “He’s inside, on his way,” she called back, drawing a bead on one of the overland drivers. A shot rang out from her gun, but the ATV swerved around it, sending it to a quick death in the dust. “Hold it steady!”
“Easier said than done, darlin’,” Mal mumbled, but he tried to keep the bucking Mule in reign all the same. River fired again, this time hitting her mark. The driver fell limp from the vehicle, a burst of red on his shirt. The gunner behind him dropped his weapon and slid forward in his seat, trying to regain control of the swerving craft. But it buckled over into the dirt, crushing the live man beneath it as it toppled to its side.
The remaining three vehicles were far smaller than the Mule, but a great deal quicker. River aimed carefully for the driver of the next ATV, one that was closing in on them quickly. But before she could pull the trigger, the man’s gunner fired on her instead, and she had to duck quickly to avoid the shot.
Mal heard the bullet breeze past her and clank metallic into one of the front panels. “Ai ya!” he shouted, instinctively pulling away, should the bullet ricochet. Instead, however, it penetrated the steel hide of the Mule, and to Mal’s horror, a hissing could be heard from the engine. “Oh, that don’t sound good.”
Another shot blew past, just over their heads. River dropped her rifle onto the backseat and crawled forward across the center console. “The main fuel line,” she said, instantly communing with the machine. “It’s hurt.”
“We ain’t gonna get far without fuel, River,” Mal panted, sneaking a quick glance to the four men who still followed them, and were closing the gap by the minute. His face was forced back again as another bullet whizzed past his head. “An’ I don’t think they’re like to postpone this while we fix her up.”
River slid smoothly into his lap, forcing his hands aside so she could take the controls. “Switch!” she ordered. Mal stared at her openly, wondering if she had finally lost what was left of her mind. “Think mean things later,” she spat back at him. “Now, switch!”
Mal furrowed his brow and removed himself from under her, and River thumped down into the driver’s seat. Immediately, she leaned forward, fiddling with the instruments before her as she held the craft steady. Mal watched her a moment, then crawled into the backseat with significantly less grace than she had.
Picking up her discarded rifle, he brought it to his shoulder and aimed at the remaining men. Flinching away from stray bullets, he peeked through the scope, settling the crosshairs on the chest of one of the drivers. Holding his breath to steady the gun, he pulled the trigger. But the shot went low, driving into the craft’s engine. It did the trick, though, and the ATV’s hood shuddered, then exploded. The men aboard threw themselves from their vehicle, rolling in the dirt to beat the fire from their clothes. Mal grinned in satisfaction as they began to fade into the distance.
The remaining men let loose a barrage of gunfire, and Mal ducked down form it, using the opportunity to check his young pilot’s progress. She had pulled away one of the panels under the driver’s side, and was flat on her back, shoulders-deep in the mechanical workings of the Mule. To steer, she had wrapped one of her long legs around the joystick, securing it behind her bent knee. Mal almost grinned, the sight was so unlikely.
But his vision jerked up suddenly, and he saw a sheet of rock loom just ahead of the Mule. “River!” He called, dropping the rifle and stretching over the driver’s seat.
“Done!” she called, then scurried out from under the front panel. Mal quickly took hold of the controls, and River raised her hip slightly from the gas pedal. Between the two of them, they managed to turn the hovercraft quickly to the right, avoiding the outcrop.
As they braced themselves against the turn, the rifle slid from the backseat and across the floor. River drew it up into her hands, stretching it over her head for the impossible shot. She pulled the trigger, using her mind to see the target, and the bullet exploded from her gun. The bullet tore into the front tire of one of the ATV’s, sending it into a tight swerve. It crashed into its partner, sending the other vehicle, as well as its riders, flying through the air. The two machines coupled together, their engines sending a rush of flame into the desert air.
Mal quickly swung the Mule back around the pass, placing the line of hills between them and their pursuers. As the craft disappeared from their line of vision behind the crest, the remaining riders shouted and cursed, firing wildly into the wall of rock. But the sounds of their fury faded in Mal and River’s ears, and then disappeared altogether. And then they were simply beating their way across the open plain, no one left to give chase as they widened the distance.
“Wooooooo-hoooooo!” Mal shouted in exaltation, looking down at the River where she lay on the floor. “That was some damn fine shootin’, kid!”
She pushed the rifle away, then grinned and laughed back up at him, taking as much joy in their daring escape as he did. “You, too,” she commended.
She waited patiently, pressed back against the gas pedal, as Mal maneuvered himself over and into the driver’s seat. “Goddamn, I ain’t felt a rush like that in a good long while. Hoo-rah!” he called into the wind, like a boy atop a galloping horse.
River smiled brightly up at him, still lost in the excitement herself. Finally, when the toe of Mal’s boot could replace her shoulder against the gas, she placed her hands on each of his knees to steady herself, squeezing up between his legs. In their moment of jubilation, the recent past was forgotton, and they leaned into each other, placing a peck of congratulation on the other’s lips.
Halfway through the kiss, they paused, realizing what had just occurred. Slowly, nervously, they parted from each other, gazing into the other’s eyes. River glanced away first, running her fingers through her windswept hair to draw it back from her face. “Sorry,” she murmured, and Mal watched as she drew thoughtlessly ran her tongue over her lips, remembering the taste of him. “I shouldn’t have... I’ll just...” She started to climb over Mal’s knee, into the passenger seat.
“Aw, hell.” Mal grunted, then gripped the back of her head passionately. He pulled her mouth to his again, this time with unabashed want. Her eyes opened wide with surprise as his tongue delved past her lips. His foot eased off the gas pedal, and his other arm let loose the controls to wrap around her small body, tearing the commpiece from his ear then pressing her chest to his.
At last, River succumbed to her desire, and she let herself be squashed into Mal’s body, sliding her hands to his upper arms. Using his biceps to balance herself, she drew the rest of her body up, straddling her knees on either side of him. The Mule guttered to a stop, and rested idle in the blazing sun as the lovers caressed.
There were no words, nothing spoken between them. They had no need nor want for them. Words would only get in the way, and would ruin this perfect moment of celebratory lust that they had given in to. They only breathed hard against the other’s lips, letting their hands roam over both their bodies, exploring the landscape they had denied themselves out of scorn.
Mal thrust his pelvis into River’s center, and she gasped against the sensation, feeling his length rock hard under his trousers. Her lips wandered across his jaw and down his neck, feasting on the warm and stubbly flesh she found there. Mal hissed with pleasure, shaking off his gloves to run his hands roughly up her thigh and over her firm buttocks. He grasped hard at the soft flesh, pushing her groin to his as he thrust again.
River bit down on his clavicle until it bled, filled with the same fire as he. She quickly moved her hands to the opening of his pants, fumbling over the buttons, then at last whisking the sides away, freeing his manhood from the darkness. Mal’s fingers closed around the side of her underwear, and he tore them apart in a single motion, casting them over the side of the Mule.
Crying out as the elastic snapped against her flesh, she growled like an animal, squeezing her fingers tight around the base of his penis. She opened her warm and waiting center over the head, and Mal took her hips in his hands, burying himself inside her severely. Unsatisfied, he pushed himself deeper into River’s folds, tensing his head back against the seat and closing his eyes in concentration.
She leaned back, digging her fingers into the sides of his thighs. He was filling her body to a dizzying degree, and yet it felt as if it could never be deep enough. She wanted it deeper, harder. She wanted to feel Mal in every bone, in every muscle, wanted him entirely inside her. She ripped her blouse over her head, basking her naked breasts in the glowing sunlight.
Mal opened his eyes and grinned mischievously, then lifted her hips from his, slamming her back down again. She screamed as his manhood penetrated her, craning her neck back and singing her lust to the ‘verse. Again, Mal pierced her swollen folds, and again, and again, fucking her with all the strength he possessed. Her short nails bit through his pants and into his skin as she pushed against his thighs, driving herself against him, reeling at the sound of their wet, slapping flesh.
Mal slid his hands up to the sides of her naked torso, pushing down hard enough on the curve of her hips to bruise. He dragged her forward and ran his tongue up between the valley of her breasts, tasting her salty sweat. Letting her body fold over his, she wrapped her palms around his shoulders, and they continued their untamed pulsating, River riding up and down on Mal’s shaft with unbridled need.
After a few long minutes that seemed like hours, Mal felt her body begin to tighten around his cock, and he sneered, driving her even harder over his body. River could feel her muscles contract, and she enveloped Mal’s head in her chest, pressing his face close to her heart as it beat nonstop within her. She felt the slow rise of heat within her, pulling her towards the edge, threatening and teasing her all at once. With one more thrust, her body exploded, and she squeezed her eyes shut, screaming with sweet release.
Her climax only impassioned Mal more, and he quickened his pace, using the lubricant of her juices to probe her even deeper. His teeth closed around one of her nipples, and he bit down, tasting the vibrations from her chest as she howled in passion and pain. “Oh, God!” she cried in the haze of fire. “Mal, it hurts!”
He gave no response as he thrust against her endlessly, feeling her come over and over. Her body twisted and writhed in his grip, but he held her firm, not ready for her punishment to end. She shuddered, feeling her body betray her once more. “Malcolm!” she screamed again. “Please, Malcolm! Come!”
“No!” he growled at last. “Again!” And she did, coming for him again, swept away in the torrent of her orgasms. At last, she surrendered to the drilling of his cock, and to him, all at once. Over and over, she burst against the heat of his groin, flooding him with her pleasure. Mal felt it run past his hips and over his skin, sizzling to the touch.
Finally, their bodies could take no more. Mal’s heart stopped, and his sack tightened, filling her with a scalding rush of semen. They cried out together, not words, only sounds that made no sense and all the sense in the world. His come swarmed deep into her center, coating the walls, dripping from her like blood. His fingers dug deep into her flesh and she forced her heat against him, pressing themselves together as one.
At last, they collapsed against each other, their minds going black. Had they opened their eyes, they would not have seen. But they did not, they only heaved against each other’s bodies, quivering and drained. Their breath came fast and ragged and their throats opened and closed, emitting soft sounds that they didn’t realize they were making.
And like that they rested, soaked with sweat and near-death, unable to remember what life had been like before this moment. Before they had been of one flesh, before they had emptied themselves into each other, before they had felt so complete that they didn’t care.
There was no Aegina, no Serenity, no war or Academy. There was no Jayne or Cara, no Zoe or Kaylee or Simon either. There was no Badger, no Reavers, no crime and no Alliance. No Gabriel, no Osiris, no murder or betrayal of trust. There wasn’t even a Mal or a River anymore. This was all that was left.
And it felt wonderful.
One long hallway and two rights later, Jayne turned around the corner, spotting the steel door that River had promised would be there. But past his relief, Jayne found himself far more interested in what he saw between himself and that door. The short man in the musty old clothes, a tattered bowler resting jauntily atop his head, slinking down the hallway with a gun in one hand. Badger.
Jayne let out a howl of fury as he charged forward, his voice echoing near and far down the stone corridor. It reached Badger’s ears a second too late, and as he turned to bring his laser pistol up for defense, Jayne slammed a crushing fist into his chin. Badger flew back like a cast stone and dropped to the ground, counting the stars as they danced around the edges of his vision.
Jayne tromped forward and reached down, gripping the man by the throat. He closed his large palm around it and lifted Badger from the floor like a dog, then pinned him against the wall at his side. Badger struggled weakly against the man’s hold, trying to lift the pistol that was still in his grasp. But Jayne moved quicker than he had anticipated, using his free arm to bash the back of the other man’s hand to the stone. The gun clattered to the ground, safely out of Badger’s reach. Jayne crushed it under the heel of his boot, then leaned in close, his eyes narrowing.
Badger gaped at him, struggling for breath as he attempted to push his words past Jayne’s fingers. “’Owdy, Cobb,” he rasped innocently. “’Ow’ve ya been?”
Jayne pulled back the arm that held the man aloft, slamming Badger’s head back into the wall. “Shut your yap, ya chang gao-wan tian shun lu zi-diao.” Badger nodded slowly in response. He was having no trouble with keeping his silence, considering he could hardly breathe in his current position. Jayne pulled his upper lip back, growling deep in his throat. “You’re gonna wish ya never thought t’look at Cara.”
Badger’s eyes widened at the remark, and the gears in his mind began to turn. He was quickly struck with a way to weasel his way out of both of his current troubles, and he licked his lips, trying to choose the right words. “Oh, it’s ‘er you’re after. Thought you two mighta had sumthin’ goin’ on, back when I seen ya on-OW!” Jayne had impatiently throttled his head back into the wall again. “Christ, Cobb!”
“I’m gonna tear ya apart, lil’ man,” Jayne seethed, the veins in his neck throbbing through his skin. “An’ when I’m done, the rats wouldn’t eat what’s left.”
“Well, no need for that!” Badger gasped, his hands flying up in surrender. “Ya want your girl? She’s in that there room, down the ‘all.”
“I know it, ya limey dicklick,” Jayne spat. He pulled back his opposite fist, letting it hover ominously. “That’s my very next stop.”
“Well, I’d get on it, if’n I was you,” his captive squealed quickly, eyeing the man’s knuckles. “Saw me cousin ‘ead down there a bit ago, armed with a knife an’ a stiffy. Lookin’ like ‘e meant ‘arm. ‘E’s got ‘is ‘eart set on makin’ that gal of yours ‘is new ‘special friend,’ if ya get my meanin’.”
Jayne’s eyes flashed quickly to the steel door, then back at Badger. He ached to pound the man into a pulp here and now, but theoretically, if what the man was saying were true, there was a more pressing matter to attend to. Voicing his frustration with an irate grunt, he choose the best of both worlds and drove a rib-cracking punch deep into Badger’s middle. Feeling the satisfaction of the man’s air rushing from his body, Jayne let him headfirst into the ground and stalked away.
As he neared the closed metal door, he could hear muffled voices coming from the other side. Without hesitation, he gripped the lock and pulled it back, throwing the door open so hard that it rattled against its hinges, pounding against the wall of the egg-shaped room. The sight he was met with was the most infuriating he could ever imagine. There Cara lay, her chest nude, her pants strewn from her bound ankles like so many scraps. A skinny man straddled her on his knees, still in the shock of the sound of rage Jayne had made against Badger in the hall.
“Hiya, Jayne,” Cara breathed, her eyes dancing about in delirium. She swung them over to the man who perched over her, threatening her nude torso with his long knife. The thin man stared at Jayne as he loomed in the doorway, eyes wide with surprise. Cara pointed her forehead to her captor, her words slurred against her busted lip and gushing blood. “Me an’ Clancey was jus’ talkin’ ‘bout you.”
Jayne raged towards them, and Clancey lowered the knife closer to Cara’s belly. “Stop right there, or I’ll gut ‘er like a fish, I swear!” His words were meant to be a threat, but they barely squealed past his throat, shaking with fear.
Jayne never faltered in his step, reaching out one long arm to grab the man by the hair. Clancey forgot about Cara in his terror, swinging his knife wildly through the air towards Jayne instead. The blade cut shallowly into the flesh of his side before the mercenary slapped it away, sending it flying. Jayne dragged Clancey by his skull from Cara’s body, across to the opposite end of the room.
Kaylee stared down at the scene from the grates above. It occurred to her that Jayne had not seen her up here in the blinding light, so she called down to him. “We’ll have ya’ll out in a tic, Jayne!”
“Jus’ cut the ruttin’ grates, Kaylee,” Jayne grumbled, never looking her way. Instead, he whipped Clancey up, pinning him against the wall with his forearm. He looked back at Cara, watching as she rolled to her side, curling up her body in pain, and then back at his prisoner. “Didn’t your mama ever tell you not t’play with other people’s things?”
Clancey couldn’t move. He had built his entire syndicate on his malice and cold-blooded determination, but never before had he been faced with the dangerous madness that burned in this gargantuan man’s eyes. “I... I.... She-”
“She what?!” Jayne roared. Now his shoulders were tensing, his muscles twitching along every nerve. “She had it comin’? She wanted it? What’s your ‘xcuse, buddy, for beatin’ the hell outta my girl?! For draggin’ her into this mess, when all she wanted was t’get away from folk like you an’ me?!”
He never got an answer as he threw a punch into Clancey’s face, instantly breaking his jaw. Jayne grit his teeth and punched again, this time through his eye socket, feeling the fluid of the man’s eye burst against his knuckles. Then again, beating his nose back into the wall, hearing it crunch as it gave out under the blow. And again and again, until the only sound that could be heard over fist meeting flesh was the buzz of Kaylee’s skillsaw.
Kaylee dared not look as Jayne pummeled the man, concentrating on her work instead. She knew what sight would meet her if she looked away from the grates, and the thought made her shake. Jayne had once told her that he had no qualms about killing a man if there was a woman involved, but this wasn’t just any woman. This was Cara, and even if Jayne couldn’t make his feelings for her evident with his words, she knew that he would make them more than clear with his fists.
And so he did, drawing back his arm to free Clancey, only to drive another punishing blow across his cheek. All the other sounds and sensations faded away, and he became as an animal, protecting with a ferocity he had never known he possessed. Jayne didn’t remember losing control, but it didn’t matter. He had already snapped, and as he watched Clancey slump to the floor, he threw his boot into the man’s stomach. He steadied himself against the curve of the wall with both hands, kicking the man in his face, his chest, his arms, any place that Jayne knew from experience to hurt. All the while he was silent, eerily so, giving over his every brain cell to his vengeance.
Then he backed away from Clancey as the man coughed weakly over the white floor, groaning in pain. Jayne reveled in his anguish a moment, then drew his gun from his hip, firing once. Clancey shut his eyes, preparing for the inevitable, but instead, felt a pain unlike any he had been subject to in all his life. The bullet ripped through his groin, rending apart the flesh he had been so eager to use against Cara.
Clancey could not scream hard enough to properly represent the torment he felt. Jayne closed his eyes, letting the echo of the sound reverberate in his brain, treasuring it. He lifted his lids again, then raised his gun, this time aiming for Clancey’s head.
“Jayne!” Kaylee called again, for the third time. Jayne’s trance broke apart, and he glanced back up at the grates. Kaylee was gone, already scaling her way back up the rope ladder into the shuttle. The area of the grates she had been working on now lay on the floor. Jayne hadn’t even heard it fall. As soon as Kaylee reached the craft, she and Simon began lowering a makeshift rescue net through the hole. “Come’n!”
Jayne looked back down at Clancey, then holstered his pistol. He cleared his sinuses and spat on the man’s face, covering his bloody features with mucus and spittle. “Ya ain’t worth it,” Jayne muttered, then turned and walked to Cara, removing his jacket.
He knelt down beside her, pulling his knife to cut away her ties. Tossing away what remained of her trousers, he gently lifted her arms, sliding them through the sleeves of his coat. It was large enough to cover her upper body, leaving her underwear to protect the remainder of her modesty. At last, he cradled her into his arms and started towards the swaying net.
“Jayne,” she whispered, and he paused, looking down into her good eye. It fluttered open, and he could see her fight through the haze of her suffering, searching for clarity. At last, she pursed her lips and swallowed, giving a faint nod. “Yeah, he is.”
Using what had to be the last of her strength, she slid her hand down past Jayne’s hip, taking hold of his pistol. In one fluid motion, she pulled it, and fired a single shot that drove through the top of Clancey’s head. The life of the man who had prided himself on all that he had accomplished, both in crime and in sexual brutality, ended in a single moment. His body twitched, then lay motionless on the floor.
Jayne turned his head over his shoulder, watching the steady flow of Clancey’s blood and brain matter flow from the gaping wound in his crown. He felt Cara draw her hand back against his side, the gun still gripped tight in her palm, and resting it over her belly.
He looked down at her, smirking his approval, then jostled her body closer to his chest as he turned and sat back into the net. “That’s my gal.”
The sound of a gunshot awoke him. Badger shook his head, trying to clear the fuzziness. He could hear the thundering of boots coming down the halls, as well as the fading hum of a craft drifting into the sky. He pushed himself to his knees, glancing around for the source of the sounds.
But something else caught his eye, the bright flash of red against yellow walls. He rose slowly to his feet, leaning against the corridor wall as he stumbled towards the open torture room door. He nearly swooned, both in disgust and excitement, at the sight before him. It was his cousin Clancey, lying prone on the white floor, twin rivers of blood streaming from his head and crotch, and most assuredly dead.
“Holy shit,” a voice behind him said. Badger turned at the sound. One of his cousin’s mercenaries had spoken. It was the stomping of their boots he had heard, and now a whole group of them lingered in the hall, staring at their former employer’s corpse. One of the men brushed past, cupping his hand to his bleeding shoulder as he gazed in abject horror at his fallen boss.
“This is all your fault!” one of the men cried, shoving Badger from behind. It was the same mercenary who had lead the assault on Cadence’s home. He and the others followed Badger into the room, swarming around him. “You’re the one brought that ruttin’ crew here!”
The men shouted their agreement, but Badger stood tall, one of his hands moving up to rest at the back of his pounding head. “Now, boys. Is that any way t’treat your boss?”
“That was our boss!” another mercenary yelled, pointing back to the mass of flesh that had once been Clancey. “He’s dead, thanks t’you! Now them’s of us ain’t dead’re unemployed!”
“Ah-ah-ah. Not so,” Badger replied coolly. He nodded over at the dead body. “Seein’ as me poor cousin ‘as passed into the sweet by an’ by, all ‘is earthy assets would fall to ‘is next of kin.” He straightened his jacket collar, smirking. “Includin’ each an’ ev’ry one o’your contracts.”
That quieted the group, and they looked around at each other, wondering if this was true. They were mercenaries, after all. Their loyalties lay with whoever’s signature was on their check. Badger smiled over their murmurs of confusion, seizing the opportunity. He lowered his voice to a patient lull. “Don’t worry yourselves, boys. I understand you’re all angry, an’ I sympathize. After all,” he added, now playing the part of the mournful cousin. “Look at what them bastards did t’me own flesh an’ blood.”
The men conferred a few moments more, but their only option was clear, and Badger knew this. After the group reached a consensus, the ringleader stepped forward, clearing his throat. “What’s the order, sir?”
Badger smiled, giddy at hearing the sound of the title once again. “’Ow many we got still able t’old a gun?”
The leader glanced back at his men. “No more’n fifteen.”
“More’n ‘nough,” Badger nodded solemnly. “Ya wanna get your revenge? Ya wanna see t’it that them that attacked you an’ me get theirs?” The men nodded, another communal grunt coming up in response. “ Then get on your skiffs, follow the trail. We can catch ‘em up if’n we ‘urry.” He glanced back at Clancey, but only to hide his grin. “I wanna look the bastards in the eye what did this.”
“Yessir,” the leader nodded, then gestured his men back out into the hall. After a second’s pause, they shrugged, then sprinted back the way they had come, filled with the promise of a new battle to win. Badger listened to them file out, sighing in completion, then followed. He grinned evilly, ready to finally make Malcolm Reynolds pay for his trespasses. Really, he only needed one more thing.
“An’ someone get me my gorramn ‘at!”
Tuesday, December 05, 2006 3:48 PM
Tuesday, December 05, 2006 4:23 PM
Tuesday, December 05, 2006 9:02 PM
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Wednesday, December 06, 2006 6:14 AM
Thursday, December 07, 2006 5:23 AM
Monday, January 01, 2007 2:52 AM
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