Old Warriors - Part Two: The Tussle
Friday, April 6, 2007

A man walks into a bar on U-Day, sees an old friend, and all hell breaks loose. Set long after the Rebellion triggered by events in the BDM.


Title: Old Warriors - Part 2: The Tussle Author: hisgoodgirl

Characters: Mal, Jayne (not slash), OMCs Pairing: References to Jayne and Kaylee in later chapters. Warning: Some characters are deceased; PG-15 for profanity. Setting: Long after the Rebellion triggered by events in the BDM. Disclaimer: All belong to Joss. They just come play in my head.

Author's Note: When I wrote "Old Warriors", I intended it as a one-shot. I left it very open-ended, which apparently hooked some folks and annoyed the hell out of others. I'm not typically a "write on demand" sort, and initially declined the requests for more story and more answers. I LIKE being a tease. However, it's become clear that my muse is a SLUT.

So, for those folks who asked for the tussle, the aftermath and some answers -- They're coming. Mind you, you may not like the answers you get.

Cross-posted on LJ. Comments are appreciated.



Part Two: The Tussle

Jayne ran the palm of his left hand over the knuckles of his right as if dusting ‘em off and cocked his head at the trio of Alliance “grunts” bellied up to the bar. “How’s about we have us a li’l tussle for ol’ times’ sake?”

Mal stood and smiled at his old buddy as he cleared his coat behind the antique revolver still strapped against his thigh.

“Shiny! You wanna start it?”

The aging merc shook his head. “You’re the one’s got the grudge against the bastards, Cap’n. Wade on in and I’ll keep ya covered.”

“Like old times?” Mal asked.

Jayne smiled smugly. “Just like old times.”

~ * ~ * ~

The three young men in Alliance uniforms drinking at the bar had no clue that they were about to get a lesson in history, up-close and personal.

Not a one of them had been born when the War for Unification took place, and they were all still in grade school when the Rebellion occurred in the aftermath of Mal’s broadcast about Miranda.

Still in their early twenties, those boys were in the prime of their youth, much as Mal had been during the War. They were strong, quick, healthy young men. They were also cocky and about half-lit, and the approach of a couple of old geezers seemed to pose no threat.

The Browncoat veteran bellied up to the bar on one side of the ‘purplebellies’ and calmly propped his elbows on the well-worn dark wood, awaiting the attention of the bartender. Then Jayne edged in, his stature and armament causing the crowd at the rail to give way as he eased himself into position at the other end of the trio.

Mal casually glanced left, his blue eyes clicking with Jayne’s, and both men grinned and nodded, as if they were casual acquaintances greeting one another.

“ ‘Scuse me, but you seem to be takin’ up my space,” Mal informed the ‘grunt’ to his left and stepped close, crowding him.

From the other side he could hear Jayne’s voice, low and tinged with an edge of threat as the big man used his bulk to intimidate. “Shove over, kid, an’ quit crowdin’ me!”

The young soldiers glanced at one another and bunched closer together. Just two old men wanting a place at the bar, right? What problems could they pose?

Mal bumped his shoulder hard into the kid next to him, shoving him into his buddy, and the ‘grunts’ both cut him a sharp glance.

“Hey! Watch it!” one barked in annoyance.

The bar was crowded enough that the jostling could almost be taken for accidental, until Mal spoke up.

“Oh, excuse me…”

The captain looked down his nose at the guy he’d bumped. “Were you under the impression it was okay for you to be takin’ up my space?”

Again, he emphasized those words. His face was smilin’, but his eyes weren’t.

The Alliance boys glanced at one another, trying to suss out how to respond. No way two old men would push their luck against uniformed Alliance soldiers, right?

Mal calmly held the ground he’d taken. “Gimme a beer,” he told the bartender, and tossed back a deep swallow from the still-foaming mug handed to him. On the far end of the trio, Jayne was slowly crowding them toward him.

“Wanna join me in a little toast?” Mal provocatively asked the soldier next to him.

The kid eyed him warily. “I guess… Depends on the toast.”

Reynolds smiled and raised his mug. “How’s about us drinkin’ to Independence and all them good folk your precious ruttin’ Alliance has killed?”

The soldier was first dumbstruck, then quickly scowled and snapped back, “Best watch your mouth, Mister.”

“No, son. You best watch that big man back behind you all, ‘cause he’s gonna whip your ass!”

Before the ‘grunt’ could turn, Mal cracked him square in the face with the heavy mug, shattering his nose, and Jayne grabbed up the startled guy closest to him by his uniform, heaving him onto the other two.

The threesome went sprawling, and all hell broke loose.

A rawboned farmer who had been standing to Jayne’s left jerked him backward by his coat and sucker punched the side of his head.

”Chùsheng xai-jiao de xiang huo!” the merc spat out and doubled his assailant over with a stony fist to the gut.

Mal had his hands full with the two uninjured ‘grunts’ as they lurched to their feet. He ducked a wild roundhouse swing from one and tripped their bloodied squad-mate as he attempted to stand.

The merc tossed one of the soldiers hard onto a table, shattering it beneath him, while someone else caught him sharply in the jaw.

”Gan ni niang!” Jayne spat blood and cold-cocked the man.

Fists and bodies and pieces of furniture were flying in all directions and the place had taken on a rather apocalyptic feel. Between punches, Mal hollered to his old friend, “Kinda bracing, ain’t it?”

Jayne ducked a chair swung his way and heaved another at one of the ‘grunts’, now mad as hornets. “I guess you could think of it like that…”

The soldiers split up, with Broken Nose determined to get his revenge on the old bastard in the brown coat.

His squad mates went for the big fella, charging at Jayne along with several of the bystanders who’d gotten sucked into the brawl. As they pressed the graying mercenary to the floor, Mal could hear Jayne calling out, “I ‘preciate yer confidence in me, Cap’n, but ya might have gone a bit overboard tellin’ ‘em I was gonna personally whip their asses.”

~ * ~ * ~

“Well, that went well.”

Mal chuckled and then groaned. “Ow, that hurts” He braced one hand against his side to support his cracked ribs, then shifted, trying to ease his battered frame into some semblance of comfort against the hard brick wall of the jail cell. His left eye was swollen shut, the color of a ripe eggplant, and his beloved brown coat was clearly the worst for the experience.

“Couldda gone a little better, don’tcha think?” Jayne asked skeptically as he gently explored his ear and the deep, swollen laceration above it. His lip was puffy, making his speech a bit hard to understand, and the front of his t-shirt was darkly crusted with drying blood, some his, some from his foes.

The merc looked at the knuckles of his right hand. Bone gleamed through the split bisecting the middle one. “Musta caught some bèn de hún dàn in th’ teeth.”

“More than one, I’m thinkin’.” Mal grinned and winced.


Chapter 2 of 4


Friday, April 6, 2007 9:16 PM


Nice little scene. Good action sequence.

Saturday, April 7, 2007 5:40 AM


Oooh, good. Glad to see there's more of this coming! Shiny!


Monday, April 9, 2007 4:10 AM


So now Jayne is an honoury Browncoat? I like! Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Thursday, April 12, 2007 4:39 PM


Hmm...for some reason, Mal and Jayne actively provoking the fight - past Mal's usual passive aggression like taking a drink in an Alliance-friendly bar wearing his leather duster on U-Day - strangely seems kinda wrong. Meh...maybe I am strange;D

Still...wonderful piece of work here, HGG! Really wanna know how Mal and Jayne are gonna extricate themselves when it seemed that the rest of the crew's dead or elsewhere;)



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