Communication - The Epilogue
Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Maya. Post-BDM. Bitter-sweet conclusion, with Jayne telling River a little bit about his past ... oh, and PG13 for adult connotations. Author's note at the end! Read, enjoy, comment ...


“You ain’t the only one’s ever been in love and lost ‘em, moonbrain,” Jayne said, watching River finally eat some decent food.

“Tell me.” She put her fork down. “Or I’ll –”

“You keep eating,” he said. “Or I won’t say a damn word more.”

“Okay,” she said softly, picking up the fork and spearing a piece of protein. “Please?”

Jayne sat back. “We met in a bar. Hell, actually under a table. Wasn’t my fight but I was getting mighty pissed at the amount of time it was taking to end it. Might not be getting paid, but I was considering making a personal appearance. Then she slid down next to me.”

“Mind if I join you?” she asked, grinning at him.

“Find your own cover.”

“Now is that any way to talk to a lady?”

“You ain’t no lady.”

“And that’s downright insulting. How would you know that anyway?”

Jayne ducked as a bullet took a bite out of the table top. “’Cause if’n you were you wouldn’t be seen dead in here.”

She laughed, a deep throaty sound that made his blood tingle. “Got me there, cowboy.”

“Ain’t a cowboy.”

“You’re wearing a gun.”

“Don’t mean I’m one of those wo nang fei’s.”

“You don’t have too high an opinion of them.”


Someone screamed but the gunplay went on.

“You know, I come in here for a quiet drink and this is what happens.” She sighed theatrically.

“They fighting over you?” Jayne asked, surprised.


Suddenly he grinned. “Come on. Let’s get outta here ‘fore we get our asses shot off.” He nodded towards the back door.

Outside, in the daylight, he got his first good look at her. Almost as tall as him, broad shouldered and hipped, small waist, big tits that showed a little above the shirt she wore tucked into workmanlike pants. Her hair was long, tied back out of the way, and light brown, almost blonde. Her eyes, though, were dark, almost the colour of the night sky.

“Like what you see, cowboy?” she asked, her hands on her hips.

He smiled slowly. “Kinda.” The smile grew wider. “Course, I’d have to take a look at the full deal to really make up my mind.”

“How old’re you?” she asked, looking him up and down too, and apparently finding him not too repulsive.


“I ain’t so much into cradle snatching.”

“Thirty,” he lied glibly.

“Try again.”

Aw, hell. “Twenty six.”

“Closer.” She sighed. “Old enough to be your momma.”

“My momma never looked like you,” he said, feeling the first drops of rain fall onto his flesh, surprised it didn’t sizzle with the heat he was generating.



She wasn’t fat. There was softness, but muscles lay under it, and as she gripped Jayne between her thighs, the storm drumming against the window, he howled his release into the sky, like a wolf at the moon.

After, as he lay on her breasts, making patterns in the sweat on her skin, he asked her name.

“Charity.” She winced. “Don’t seem to fit right, does it?”

“I kinda like it,” Jayne admitted, running his calloused thumb around her nipple.

“Given to me by parents who had no idea how I’d turn out.” She watched him play with her, hefting the weight of her in his hand.

“Ain’t as bad as mine.”


“Jayne. Jayne Cobb.”

“With or without a ‘y’?”

“With.” He waited for her comments, maybe even her laughter.

“How come?” was all she asked.

“Family name, I guess. Ma told me I’d an uncle by that name once, only I never got to meet him.” There was something approaching regret in his voice.

“He died?”

“Well, I left home before I found out for sure, but I think so. Gunfight. They never really spoke about him.”

“Guess that’s where you get your talent from,” Charity said, her eyes closing as his free hand ran in circles down her belly. “Damn, but you got endurance.”

He grinned. “Pride myself on my recovery rate.”

“That’s what comes of being young.” She took a sharp breath as his questing fingers found the bundle of nerves between her thighs and tweaked it. “You’ll have me walking bow-legged.”

“That’s the plan.”

Charity laughed and pulled his face up so she could kiss him.

“You kissed her?” River asked, enthralled. “On the mouth?”

“You keep eating. And yeah. On the mouth. I didn’t know any better then.”

Jayne pulled on his boots and glanced at Charity laying on the bed, the sheets still damp from their last bout. “I gotta go.”


“Boss don’t like me being too late. ‘Sides, he wants to be off this rock ‘fore nightfall.”

She sat up and swung her legs off the bed. “You think you might be by again?”

“Probably. Eventually.” He wasn’t looking at her, couldn’t, not without his body reacting again.

“Yeah.” She smiled sadly and stood up. “See you around, Jayne.” She walked into the bathroom and closed the door. The squeal of rusty hinges indicated he’d gone.

Half an hour later she walked back into the bedroom, the towel wrapped around her from the shower, and stopped.

“I thought you’d left.”

He was sitting on the bed, a large bag at his feet, dampness radiating off him.

“Seems I came over all crazy,” he said. “Told my boss I was retiring.”


“Yeah. Collected my guns, kicked the ship’s cat once more and left.”

“You violent towards animals?”

“Damn thing kept sleeping amongst my ammunition. Got a death wish or something.”

She put her hands on her hips. “So what’re your plans now?”

He shrugged. “Well, long term not sure I got any. Right now, though …” He stood up, facing her, hooking his finger into the towel. “Kinda figured I might like to find out where you got that scar on your back from.”

“Cat house fight on Nestor, almost before you were born.”

Jayne tutted. “Now, see, that’s taken all the fun out of it.”

“Oh, you wanted fun?” She moved half a step closer.


“Why’re you here, Jayne?” Charity asked, her breath quickening.

“Not sure. Just got the feeling I should be.” He tugged and the towel came loose, catching only on her hands.

She let it drop. “I just got clean.”

“’N’ I got soaked to the skin getting my gear. So after we can wash up.”

“After what?”

For answer he leaned in and kissed her, feeling the smoothness of her skin under his hands, pulling her towards him. She ran her fingers through his hair, her tongue battling with his as she felt his hardness against her.

“Love at first sight?” River asked, pushing her empty plate away.

“Don’t believe in that,” Jayne said.

“Yes you do.” She stared at him, her head on one side. “Well? What happened next?”

“Girl, you can see it in my brain. You don’t have to have me tell you.”

“I like you telling me. And I haven’t looked. Please.”

“Well, our deal was I talk while you eat. And you ain’t got no food left.”

River quickly put two more spoonfuls of stew onto her plate and picked up her fork. “Well?”

Jayne’s lips twitched.

“You know,” Charity said, her head on Jayne’s belly, looking into the ceiling and twisting the hair on his chest between her fingers, “if I didn’t know better I’d think you were just after an easy ride.”

“Oh, you ride easy,” Jayne muttered, his body finally exhausted.

“I mean, I got that sweet little boat out in the dock, and no-one to share it with me.”

Jayne looked down at her. “You got a ship?”

“Mmn. Not big, but enough for one. Maybe two. And a list of people who want jobs done.”

“What kinda jobs?”

“All sorts. Cargo. Maybe a little thieving here and there. Some smuggling.” She glanced up. “You be okay with that?”

“Legal or not, long as I get paid.”

“That it? All you want to be is a cowboy all your life?”

He gently tugged her hair, tangled across his hips. “Told you, I ain’t a cowboy.”

“No, guess not.”

“Charity, you don’t know anything about me,” Jayne said slowly. “And you’re offering … what? To make me a partner?”

“No. Not yet. Not for a while.” She sighed. “But I’m lonely. Out there in the black, no-one to talk to for weeks on end. Could send a body crazy. Just as like to open the airlock just to make a change.”

“Then what?”

“I guess I want to try it for a while. We fit. Damn good, despite you being too young for me ‘n’ all.”

“Ain’t that young. And you ain’t old. Not with what you just did to me.”

Charity smiled. “So, you wanna?”

“Can I think about it?”

“Sure. Just don’t take too –”



“Okay. Let’s try it for a while. We don’t like it, no hard feelings.”

She lifted herself onto her elbow and grinned at him. “Exactly. Although when it comes to hard …” She put her hand around his ji ba, and he groaned. “Ain’t the only one’s gonna be walking outta here bow-legged,” she promised, turning so she could lower her mouth onto him.

“Gorramit, Charity, you wanna kill me?”

“What a way to go,” she said, her voice muffled.

“Five years.” Jayne wasn’t looking at the girl opposite him, but into the past. “Five years we were together. Five years of jobs and sex and …”


“No.” He closed his eyes. “Yeah. Love. She made me feel like I was the only one in the ‘verse.”

River nodded, food forgotten. “I know.”

“But we argued sometimes. Good job we were out in space, ‘cause if we’d been anywhere near a planet they’d’a heard us down on the ground. Big fights, claws out, scratchin‘, yellin‘, swearing we were gonna kill each other …” His face softened. “Then we’d fall into bed and not come out for a week.”

“What happened?”

The softness hardened again. “The war. Damn war erupted all around us.”

“I didn’t think you fought in the war.”

“Never did. But it was an opportunity we couldn’t pass up. Started running stuff for the Independents, guns mostly. And it was fun, too, getting through the Alliance lines. Even did a little work for them once in a while, just to sociable.” He stopped talking.

“How did it happen?” River prompted, her fingers walking across the table to his hand, touching just the tips of his own.

“Got boarded. Some scumbucket crew heard we were carrying and decided we were easy pickings.” He shook his head. “Started shooting as soon as they got on, and it took me a few minutes to get to my guns, take ‘em out. Only by then it was too late.”

“Charity?” Jayne called, pushing the body away from him, ignoring the blood on his shirt. “Charity!”

“Jayne …”

He ran into the small cargo hold, seeing her boots behind one of the crates. Dropping his gun he went down on his knees next to her.

Lao-tyen, boo,” he moaned, trying to stem the flow of blood from the wound in her chest.

“Jayne?” She forced her eyes open.

“I’m here, darlin’,” he said, moving the hair from across her face. “Get you patched up quick. Ain’t more’n’ a flesh wound.”

She smiled, then groaned as his fingers pressed harder. “Flesh wound. Sure,” she ground out.

“You lie still, darlin’. Ain’t no call to be fussin’ so.”

“Since when did you tell me what to do?” Charity asked, finding it harder to breathe.

“Since you decided to take pity on me and force me into your bed.”

She tried to laugh but it hurt too much. “Thought it was the other way around.”

“Lie still,” he begged. “Let me get –”

“No!” She grabbed his hand, her grip surprisingly strong. “Don’t go. Nowhere to go to, anyway.”

“I need to get the emergency kit –”

No need.” She coughed, and a thin trickle of blood appeared at her lips.

He wiped it away, but it kept coming.

“Charity, please.”

“Ship’s yours now, Jayne.” Her vision was clouding. “Treat her well.”

“Don’t talk that way.” There was too much blood. Too much, and it was soaking into his pants. “Get you fixed up and you can –”

“Can’t do nothing now, Jayne.” She spasmed, her body contorting with pain.

“Charity …” He held onto her, trying to stop it for her, and only feeling it shuddering through him.

The spasm finally stopped and she lay still, panting, trying to take just a few more breaths. “Say my ... name again, Jayne. I like it when ... when you say it.”


She smiled. “That’s nice. I …”

He looked down into her face, but she wasn’t there. Reaching up he closed her eyes gently with his calloused fingers, then took one last kiss, tasting her blood on his tongue.

“What did you do?”

Jayne shrugged. “Finished the job. Sold the guns. And the boat. Got drunk for a month then signed on with someone else.”

“Didn’t you want to keep it? The ship?”

“Too many memories.” He looked at her. “What’d I want a boat for? Ain’t no mechanic. Charity’d taken care of all that. Probably have run her straight into a moon if I’d tried.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Weren’t your fault.”

“And Jethro isn’t yours.”

“Don’t think that, River.”

“Your heart says differently.”

“Ain’t got no heart no more,” Jayne said. “Died that day. It weren’t much anyway, just a little thing, but it got eaten up by the pain.”

River nodded and her fingers crept onto his. “We know. We understand.”

“Yeah. Guess we do,” Jayne agreed, holding tight to her.




Author's Note:

Thank you for everyone who's read and commented on COMMUNICATION. It has been by far the longest fiction I have written, coming in at over 53,000 words.

We're heading back to some fluff now, but I assure you normal service will be resumed soon. Probably best to bear in mind my fluff sometimes has bite, though!

And BEB? The number of the safety deposit box was entirely intentional!



Thursday, March 29, 2007 5:30 AM


Okay, it's not that I'm needy (well, I am) but doesn't anyone have anything to say?

Thursday, March 29, 2007 7:51 AM


Amazing end to this arc. I think your explanation of Jayne's backstory was more than fitting and I really liked Charity. Poor Jayne - mercenary with the shriveled heart of gold.

So, fluff you say? Hmm, well, what about River's grief? I still feel we haven't fully dealt with it ... still, I'm eager to see what you have next!

Thursday, March 29, 2007 8:10 AM


So I guess we'll be looking at Mal and Freya finally getting with the nookie, some Silee fun, or Zoe and Hank plotting parenthood...cuz I can't picture Inara, River or Jayne being in the right state o' mind for warm and fuzzy right now.

Really can't wait to see what you come up with next, Jane0904..if only to see what kind of angst and tension and drama you will cook up next. Have one idea of where you could go with things...but I will wait and see how you decide to move things along before dropping the notion;)

So..on to the story feedback: beautiful work here, it truly is. Love how we get to see Jayne meeting and falling for someone in the middle of a massive bar fight, and how Jayne's emotional background is fleshed out with the knowledge he had something significant for longer than some marriages last. Just hope Jethro can go all Obi-Wan and haunt Jayne till the latter finally starts pursuing River;)


P.S. I knew the number was intentional. Guess our BDHs thought the Guild wouldn't think that ironically...


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Now and Then - a Christmas story
“Then do you have a better suggestion? No, let me rephrase that. Do you have a more sensible suggestion that doesn’t involve us getting lost and freezing to death?”

[Maya. Post-BDM. A little standalone festive tale that kind of fits into where I am in the Maya timeline, but works outside too. Enjoy!]

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"I honestly don’t know if my pilot wants to go around with flowers and curlicues carved into his leg.”
[Maya. Post-BDM. The end of the story, and the beginning of the last ...]

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Mal took a deep breath, allowing it out slowly through his nostrils, and now his next words were the honest truth. “Ain’t surprised. No matter how good you are, and I’m not complaining, I’ve seen enough battle wounds, had to help out at the odd amputation on occasion. And I don’t have to be a doc myself to tell his leg ain’t quite the colour it should be, even taking into account his usual pasty complexion. What you did … didn’t work, did it?”
[Maya. Post-BDM. Simon has no choice, and Luke comes around.]

Monied Individual - Part XIX
“His name’s Jayne?”

“What’s wrong with that?” the ex-mercenary demanded from the doorway.

“Nothing, nothing! I just … I don’t think I’ve ever met a man … anyone else by that name.”

“Yeah, he’s a mystery to all of us,” Mal said. “Even his wife.”

[Maya. Post-BDM. Hank's not out of the woods yet, and Mal has a conversation. Enjoy!]

Monied Individual - Part XVIII
Jayne had told him a story once, about being on the hunt for someone who owed him something or other. He’d waited for his target for three hours in four inches of slush as the temperature dropped, and had grinned when he’d admitted to Hank that he’d had to break his feet free from the ice when he’d finished.
[Maya. Post-BDM. The Fosters show their true colours, Jayne attempts a rescue, and the others may be too late.]

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[Maya. Post-BDM. A seasonal one-off - enjoy!]

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Jayne hadn’t waited, but planted a foot by the lock. The door was old, the wood solid, but little could stand against a determined Cobb boot with his full weight behind it. It burst open.

[Maya. Post-BDM. The search for Hank continues. Read, enjoy, review!]

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He slammed the door behind him, making the plates rattle on the sideboard. “It’s okay, girl, I ain't gonna hurt you.” The cook, as tradition dictated, plump and rosy cheeked with her arms covered to the elbows in flour, but with a gypsy voluptuousness, picked up a rolling pin.

[Maya. Post-BDM. Kaylee finds the problem with Serenity, and Jayne starts his quest. Read, enjoy, review!]

Monied Individual - Part XV
“Did we …” “We did.” “Why?” As she raised an eyebrow at him he went on quickly, “I mean, we got a comfy bunk, not that far away. Is there any particular reason we’re in here instead?” “You don’t remember?” He concentrated for a moment, and the activities of a few hours previously burst onto him like a sunbeam. “Oh, right,” he acknowledged happily.

[Maya. Post-BDM. A little with each Serenity couple, but something goes bang. Read, enjoy, review!]

“Did we …” “We did.” “Why?” As she raised an eyebrow at him he went on quickly, “I mean, we got a comfy bunk, not that far away. Is there any particular reason we’re in here instead?” “You don’t remember?” He concentrated for a moment, and the activities of a few hours previously burst onto him like a sunbeam. “Oh, right,” he acknowledged happily.

[Maya. Post-BDM. A little with each Serenity couple, but something goes bang. Read, enjoy, review!]