BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

JANE0904

Nice to Meet New People - Part II
Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Maya. Post-BDM. Jethro wakes up and takes a look at the crew ... Hope you like this - let me know!


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 1225    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

It felt … odd. His eyes were still closed, and he was pretty sure he was alive, but it didn’t feel like his room. For a start there was movement, just beyond the reach of his understanding. And a sound, a sort of hum, that vibrated through his chest. Very odd.

“He’s awake.”

It was a girl’s voice. At least, that’s what it sounded like. Not that he’d had that much to do with girls in his shortish life, what with going into the Abbey at a young age, and before that always being somewhat awkward …

“And he’s thinking about girls.” Now she sounded as if she were trying not to laugh.

That was too much. He opened his eyes into a brightness above him that made him blink rapidly.

“You’re all right,” said a man, his accent the same as the girl’s, but his intonation professional, caring. “Just lay still.” A face swam into view. “You have a slight concussion, but that’s to be expected.”

“They were kicking you,” the girl spoke again. “Jayne stopped them.”

The man moved back, to be replaced by … “River?” he said, his voice croaking.

She smiled. “Hello, Jethro.”

“What … where …” He struggled to sit up but the man pushed him back down.

“Not yet,” he said, smiling, his almost black hair a contrast to his blue eyes. “Now you’re awake I just want to run a couple of tests before I let you out of here.”

“Tests? Out of here?” He suddenly realised just how stupid he must sound. “Where is here?”

River, her dark hair hanging either side of her face, took his left hand in hers. “Serenity. You’ve been looking for me.”

“No, I … Serenity?”

“She’s a Firefly,” came a different voice, and he looked over towards it. A man stood in the doorway, his arms crossed. He was tall, wearing a soft russet shirt that looked old and comfortable. Dark pants, somewhat tight, were held up by brown leather suspenders over his shoulders, and tucked into workmanlike boots. He wasn’t wearing a gun, but the impression, overwhelmingly, was of one at his hip. “That’s her name, Serenity. My boat.” He stepped inside and glanced at River. “Frey told me he was awake.”

“Boat?” Jethro repeated weakly.

“A spaceship,” River explained. “You’re on a spaceship.”

“Oh.” He shook his head. “I don’t understand.”

“Don’t expect you do,” the man who appeared to be in charge said, moving closer to the bed. “I’m Captain Malcolm Reynolds. And you’re Jethro, according to River here.”

“Yes … yes, I am.” He held onto that, the only fact that currently seemed to make sense. “Why am I … what am I doing on this ship?”

“’Ppears you got yourself into a peck of trouble,” the captain said, his eyes twinkling. “River found you being the subject of your own little party.”

“They were kicking you,” River repeated. “Jayne stopped them.”

“I have to thank her,” Jethro said.

River laughed. “Jayne isn’t a her,” she explained.

“Jayne’s not a girl?” Jethro screwed his forehead up. “I don’t understand.”

“Not sure we understand the man sometimes,” Captain Reynolds said, smiling slightly. “Still, figure he saved your life, or at least your wits. Seems they weren’t intending to stop.” His lips twitched. “Any reason that you can recall why’d they want to do that?”

“I don’t …” Then the memories came flooding back, and he blushed.

“Anything to do with a girl?” the captain supplied, obviously somewhat amused.

“I …” Jethro swallowed. “There was a young lady serving, and they were … one of them had …”

The older man nodded sagely. “You went charging to her rescue, only there were more than you thought and you ended up on the floor.”

“Something like that,” Jethro mumbled.

“Gets more people in trouble that way,” the captain said, smiling now. “Still, looks like River got to you before they did too much damage.” He looked at the other man. “Doc?”

“He was lucky. The concussion is very mild, and the other injuries will heal quickly enough. Probably better if he gets his bearings rather than cluttering up my infirmary.”

Infirmary … something else clicked. “You’re River’s brother. You were at the Abbey too.”

“Simon,” River said. “His name’s Simon.” She pulled his hand. “Come on. I’ll show you around and then introduce you to the rest.”

“Better let her, Jethro,” the captain said, chuckling. “You really don’t wanna make her mad.”

River glared at him. “I don’t do that any more, Captain,” she said pointedly. She turned to Jethro. “Come on.”

Jethro nodded and swung his legs off the bed, then groaned as aches made themselves known, in particular around his chest. “Is this a good idea?” he asked.

“Just don’t do anything too energetic, give those ribs a chance to heal,” the doctor advised. “And no lifting with your right hand.”

He looked down at his wrist, surprised to see a rigid support on it. “Did I …”

“I think someone stamped on it,” Simon said, putting his equipment away. “But it will heal well.”

“Is there anything else I need to know?” he asked, unable to keep the frustration out of his tone.

“No, not that I can think of,” the doctor said equitably.

“Good.” He stood up carefully, then put his bad hand to his belly.

“What is it?” Simon asked, concern on his face.

“My stomach’s rumbling,” Jethro admitted.

The captain laughed. “It would appear that this young man needs some food inside him,” he said to River. “Best start showing him around via the galley.”

“It’s time to eat anyway,” River said, taking his left hand and tucking it under her arm. “Then you can meet everyone.”

“Right,” Jethro said, a little weakly. “Good.”

As they left the infirmary, into an area that was warmly if oddly decorated with bits and pieces of furniture, Jethro heard a voice from over the com.

“Mal, got Badger on the vid. He’s got more info on that job.”

“Be right there,” the captain said.

“This way.” River led the way up a series of stairs. “Kaylee’s cooking.”

“Kaylee?” he asked. “Is that a boy or a girl?”

River laughed, a sound that seemed to sooth him. “A girl. Simon’s wife.”

“Is that … was she at the Abbey too? A bit …” He mimed a bulge at his waist.

“That’s Bethany,” River said. “The baby, I mean. Not a baby any more, though. And they got married six months ago.”

“I’m sure that would please Shepherd Delrani no end,” Jethro muttered.

“He doesn’t count.” There was a dismissal in her words that intrigued him. “Not worth getting angry about.”

“Were you?” he asked softly.

She turned a brilliant smile on him. “Here we are!” she announced, leading him down a few steps.

The room in front of him was homely, friendly somehow, mismatched chairs around a large wooden table, with a small alcove set with more easy chairs. Cupboards lined most of the walls, and there were flowers and trailing vines painted up the support beams and along the pipes. A counter filled one side, and a young woman stood behind, stirring a pot.

“River, you got that – oh.” She stopped, and smiled. “This the young man Jayne was goin’ on about?”

“Kaylee, this is Jethro,” River said brightly.

“I’m pleased to meet you,” Jethro said, holding out his right hand automatically.

“Don’t look like you can shake that right now,” the woman called Kaylee said. She was pretty, her brown hair falling below her shoulders, waving softly, and what he could see of her figure inside her coverall was shapely.

“Ah, no.” He lowered his hand, ashamed of himself for thinking of her form.

“Ya know, Simon said people shake hands to show they ain’t got a weapon in 'em,” Kaylee went on conversationally. “Though what happens if you’re left-handed …”

“You get stabbed in the back,” River said.

Kaylee laughed. “Reckon perhaps you do. River, you got that yellow spice you said we could use?”

“Oh, yes. I’ll go and get it.” She turned to Jethro. “You sit here.” She patted a chair. “I’ll be right back.” She ran off back the way they’d come.

Jethro stood awkwardly, wondering if he should attempt to make conversation. Not that he need worry. The young woman at the counter was happy enough to chatter.

“I remember you from the Abbey,” she said, pulling plates from a cupboard. “Not that we got to speak, but I saw you watching us when we left.”

“I met River,” he said, then held out his hands. “Let me help.”

Kaylee waved him away. “No, no. I’m sure my husband’s told you not to use that hand, so you just sit down like River said and tell me something about yourself.”

He watched her put plates around the worn wooden table top. “Nothing much to tell.”

“Well, where were you born?” She smiled at him, her soft brown eyes encouraging, friendly.

“A small moon no-one’s ever heard of.”

“Try me.”

“Eos. It’s close to -”

“Bernadette.” She grinned. “We did a drop off there once.”

“I didn’t think anyone ever actually visited,” Jethro said in surprise. “I’ve only ever met people who came from there, never went to.”

“We been all over.” She dumped a handful of mugs on the table. “Here. I think you can do this without Simon getting all doctory about it.”

“I don’t know who -”

“Don’t much matter,” she said, and went back to her cooking.

“That smells good,” he said, parceling the mugs one to a plate.

“Thanks.” She looked over her shoulder at him. “So if you’re from Eos, how’d you end up at the Bathgate Abbey?”

“When I finally got up the courage to tell my parents I wanted to be a Shepherd, the biggest obstacle was that there wasn’t an abbey anywhere even close. So I had to work my passage on a freighter. Bathgate was the first one I came to.”

“And you’d been there … how long?”

“Nearly eight years. I was almost ready to take the white.”

“Take the …” She looked at him quizzically.

“Become a Shepherd.”

“I didn’t think it took that long.“

“It doesn’t. But I couldn’t … they wanted to make sure I really wanted to be a Shepherd.”

“So why didn’t you?”

“Because he wasn’t meant to be,” River said as she stepped back down into the galley. “Sorry it took so long. I couldn’t remember where I’d put it.”

“You?” Kaylee said, smiling.

River grinned. “Even I forget sometimes.” She looked at Jethro. “Having a nice talk?”

“Jethro here was just telling me how he came to be at the Abbey.” Kaylee handed River a large dish of bread in exchange for the small jar of spice.

“More important that he left,” the girl said, carrying it round and putting it into the middle of the table.

“Ain’t we eatin’ yet?” asked a big man as he stepped over the threshhold. “You know what happens when I don’t get fed regular.” He glared at Jethro, almost as if he were daring him to say something. “Ain’t you dead? Figured you were, the way them guys were pounding on you.” There was more than just annoyance in his voice.

He was big. From his blue t-shirt with a regrettably naked lady on the front, to his combat pants, everything about him was just shouting big. Including a fragrance that was at once off-putting and familiar. Jethro remembered it from his youth, when his father was cleaning his gun after potting rabbits for supper. It was the smell of gun-oil and black powder. It was also familiar from a lot more recently. Something about being slung over a shoulder and getting a faceful of … “Are you Jayne?” Jethro asked, not able to keep the surprise out of his voice.

“That’s me,” the big man agreed, pulling a chair out. “Jayne Cobb.” His eyes narrowed, the dare becoming more aggressive. “Got a problem with that?”

“No, no,” Jethro stammered, eyeing the large knife thrust into this giant‘s belt. “It’s just … I gather I have you to thank for my rescue.”

“Weren’t my doing,” the man called Jayne said. “I was happy watchin’em take you apart. River here was the one who made me drag you outta there.” He sat down, and even then his size seemed to dominate things. “Not my idea at all,” he muttered, smoothing his goatee beard.

“Well, I’m sorry about that,” Jethro said, earning another hard look.

“Ignore him,” Simon said, coming in from the direction of the infirmary. “He’s always like that.” He went and stood next to his wife, putting a kiss on her cheek. She smiled sweetly at him.

Jayne was about to make some comment when an elegant lady entered. “And who’s this?” she asked. “A new member of the crew?” She was stunning, her dark hair caught up in a jewelled clasp that reflected the lights. Her clothes were expensive, a gold top and loose black skirt, while her necklace alone looked as if it could buy this ship three times over.

“My name is Jethro McCall,” he said, bowing slightly. “I am … was … going to be a Shepherd.”

“But it’s still important enough to you that it’s how you introduce yourself,” the woman said astutely, her voice soft, mellifluous.

“I …”

She took pity on him. “I’m Inara Serra. I used to be a Companion.”

He smiled gratefully. “Miss Serra.”

“Inara, please.” She smiled at him and headed for the chair at the end of the table. He sat down again.

“Just saying that Badger’s not exactly one for being trustworthy,” said yet another voice.

Jethro looked to see a man in a blue one-piece step into the galley followed by a dark woman.

“And I ain’t disagreeing with you,” she said. “But it’s been a while since we had a decent job, and if this gets us the coin, then –” She stopped, looking at him.

“This is Jethro,” River said quickly, standing behind him with her hand on his shoulder. “He’s a friend of mine.”

“Hi there,” the man said, his face open, his brown hair sticking up every which way. “I’m Hank. I pilot this ship, keep her out of the way of pirates, conmen and dread Reavers.” He glanced at the woman by his side. “This is Zoe. She’s first mate. Don’t go annoying her else they’ll never find your remains.” He leaned forward a little. “And she’s taken.”

“Right,” Jethro smiled a little shakily at the Amazon at his side. As tall as the man who laid claim to her, she wore a leather waistcoat like it was armour, and, like the captain, gave the impression of being armed all the time.

“Jethro,” she said slowly, little expression on her face.

“Ma’am.”

“Don’t think anyone’s ever called her that and gotten away with it,” Captain Reynolds said from the doorway. “You’re privileged, Jethro.”

Jethro’s jaw dropped. As the captain stepped down into the galley, the mishmash of different people miraculously became a crew, a family, and it was this man’s doing. He was their leader, the glue that held them together. Though the man Jayne was bigger, physically more powerful, even he was dwarfed by the strength the captain had. And this was a man carrying a baby in his arms.

A woman followed him, a child on her hip, watching the captain with eyes that spoke so surely of love that Jethro had to remind himself to breathe. He recognised her from before, from the Abbey, but this was a side he’d rarely seen in anyone. A bit scary, if he admitted it, but strangely appealing at the same time. With her short brown hair and sandy coloured shirt and pants, there was something about her that complemented the captain so perfectly he wasn’t at all surprised when the man said, “Don’t think you’ve been introduced. This here’s Freya. My wife.”

She smiled at him and he got a little warm.

“Jethro. At last. River’s told us almost nothing about you,” she said, with just a hint of amused blame.

“I’m … very boring.”

“I doubt that.” Freya grinned and he had to smile back. She turned to Simon. “Here,” she said, passing the child to him. “Your turn.”

“Daddy,” the little girl said, hugging his neck.

“Hi, sweetheart,” he said, his face softening. “What have you been doing today?”

“Playing with Ethan.”

Freya laughed. “Bethany had a tea party,” she explained. “Ethan was guest of honour.”

Mal pulled out her chair so she could sit down. “That why he’s got crumbs in his hair?” he asked, looking down at the baby he held.

“Damn, thought I’d got all of them,” she said, leaning forward and brushing the baby’s head.

Mal sat down and looked at Jethro. “In case you were wondering, this one’s mine. Name of Ethan,” he said, indicating the baby. “Bethany over there is Simon and Kaylee’s.”

Jethro watched Simon put the child into a sort of high chair. “Right.” More names. He felt like his head was spinning.

Suddenly River was at his side. “Come on,” she said softly.

“What? Where?” he said, bewildered.

“The common area. We’ll eat there.”

“Will we?”

“Yes.” She made him stand up then quickly heaped two plates with food and bread. “Come on,” she said again, leading the way back.

As they turned the corner to the stairs, he heard voices.

“I think we were too much for him.”

“Hey, I didn’t hardly say a word.”

“No, Jayne, of course not. Just sat and glowered at him.”

“Watch it, little man, or the next time we work out –”

“Jayne.”

“Aw, hell, weren’t gonna damage him permanent like.”

“It’s probably the concussion.”

“There are quite a lot of us.”

“And some of us are harder to take than others.”

“What’re you lookin’ at me for, Mal? I told you, I weren’t saying a word …”

River sat him down on the yellow chair and looked at him, her head on one side. “I’m sorry. I didn’t realise,” she said softly. “All of them, in one go like that.”

He managed to smile. “It wasn’t your fault. And I’m not usually as bad as that.”

“Put your head back.” She waited. “Put your head back,” she insisted.

“Okay.” He laid back.

“Now close your eyes.”

“Why?”

“Just do it.”

He obeyed. “Now what?” he asked.

“Just listen to my voice.” She spoke quietly so that he had to concentrate to hear. “The captain of the Firefly Serenity is Malcolm Reynolds, known as Mal. He’s married to Freya and they have one child, a son called Ethan. He was born three weeks ago. His first mate is Zoe Washburne, who is…”

He listened as she explained who the crew were, their relationships, and around the time she was telling him about Kaylee’s wedding, he fell asleep.

-

COMMENTS

Wednesday, January 31, 2007 12:27 PM

GIRLFAN


Really sweet. I'm very intrigued.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007 1:46 PM

AMDOBELL


Well, we know who wears the pants with Jethro and River. Poor boy doesn't stand a chance! I love the easy going mesh of all the characters that you have achieved here and I like Jethro, quite often a new character grates but you have such a deft touch. First into bringing us to love Hank and now looks like you will do the same with Jethro. Good myth! Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Wednesday, January 31, 2007 2:08 PM

BLUEEYEDBRIGADIER


Ahttp://www...hope River takes Jethro's sudden descent into the Land of Nod the right way;)

Still...definitely a brilliant bit of character exploration and interaction, Jane0904:D

BEB

Thursday, February 1, 2007 8:48 AM

TAMSIBLING


I love watching River interact with Jethro and noting the way a newbie handles being introduce to the whole motley bunch, it's very cool.

Of course, I already like Jethro, because River likes him ... can't wait to read more!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008 11:31 AM

WAKEUPSOON


OMG I've only just realised you posted on here first.
This is where you're up to on fanfiction.net (where I've been reading them) so now I get to read more.
xDDDD


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