BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

HISGOODGIRL

Old Warriors - Part Three: The Pokie
Tuesday, April 10, 2007

In the aftermath of their U-Day brawl, Mal and Jayne reminisce about times past and friends long gone. Set long after the Rebellion triggered by events in the BDM.


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 1249    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

Title: Old Warriors 3/4 Chapter Title: The Pokie

Author: hisgoodgirl Characters: Jayne, Mal (not slash), OMCs Pairing References to Jayne/Kaylee. Warning: Some characters have 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. A/N: This little tale started out as a one-shot look at reunion between a couple of BDHs, but took on a life of its own. Herein be some answers about what might have happened to whom… Mouse-over for Chinese. Please let me know what you think.

Cross-posted at LJ.

*~~~~*~~~~*~~~~*~~~~*~~~~*~~~~*~~~~*

Old Warriors Part Three: The Pokie

“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.

~ * ~ * ~

The old friends looked at one another, both beat all to hell, and started laughing, even ‘though laughing hurt. The deputy sitting at the desk down the cell row from them tilted his head and looked their way.

“We got us a couple of crazy old motherfuckers back there, you know it?” he observed to his boss.

“Might be crazy, “ the Sheriff replied, “but they ain’t short on balls, starting a bar fight with just the two of ‘em against a house full. Gotta wonder why they done it, unless they was itchin’ just to git the shit kicked outta theirselves for some unholy reason.”

“Didn’t think to ask ‘em at the time, Boss. We wuz just trying to break up the fracas before they destroyed Tony’s bar. The big one’s pushin’ sixty if he’s a day, but he’s strong as a gorramned ox. Finally had to knock ‘im out with a chair leg, and then it took four of us to git the heavy sumbitch into the mule to bring ‘im in.”

Back in the end cell, Jayne looked at Mal. “So that’s how come I got this ditch ploughed into the side a my skull.”

“Well, you can take considerable comfort in knowin’ it still takes four men and a piece a hickory to take you down.” Mal pressed his hand gingerly against his aching side and shifted again, trying to get comfortable. “An’ to think I used to gripe that you were too damn hardheaded…”

“Ya know, “Jayne observed, “It’s just like the old days…”

“Except everything hurts a lot more than it usta.” Mal gently probed his side. “I swear I got some cracked ribs.”

The floor was hard and the wooden cots were topped with thin mattresses that offered little by way of padding. Jayne eased his bulk back against the wall beside Mal. “Yeah, I was just thinkin’ what a shame it was we ain’t got the Doc around to patch us up. Much as I never liked ‘im, he sure saved our asses many a time.”

“Yeah, the boy knew his trade -- that was for sure. I really hated to see him leave us partway through the Rebellion, but I gotta say I admired his priorities. He saved a lot of Independents’ lives at that hospital on Paquin. Told me once in a letter that treatin’ that kinda carnage was what he’d been trained for and that he was glad to be makin’ a difference for our side.”

Mal solemnly studied his own bruised hands, his voice heavy with regret. “Real shame he didn’t make it. What kind a xiong meng de kuang ren orders the bombing of a ruttin’ hospital?”

The late afternoon light slanted in golden bars through the window at the end of the cell row, marching in slow progress across the concrete floor.

“I guess they’re gonna keep us over night,” Jayne speculated.

“Looks to be the plan, although I can tell ya I got no enthusiasm for spendin’ the night in this gorramned cell.” Mal thumped the hard, stained pad that passed for a mattress. “Might do just as well tryin’ to sleep sittin’ up.”

Jayne licked his split knuckles and shook his hand at the resultant sting. “You expect your folk to come lookin’ for ya, you ain’t back at the ship by nightfall?”

“I doubt it. I’m having some repairs done and gave everybody a couple a days leave. Ain’t none a them as sharp as Zoë was.”

The old Browncoat shifted again and winced. “It’s been fifteen years, Jayne, and I still catch myself, expectin’ to turn an’ see her backin’ me up. Came damn near gettin’ myself killed those first few years, ‘cause I was so used to countin’ on her.” Mal bowed his head for a moment and wiped his palm down his face. “My fault we got caught in that ambush. Shouldda done more recon ‘fore we set down on that barren piece a rock.”

“Don’t blame yerself, Mal. Like you said, a lot good folk die in wars an’ you had no way a knowin’ that Alliance squad was holed up back a that ridge.” Jayne understood Mal’s deep sense of loss; he carried his own. “She was a helluva fighter, I’ll say that. And damn easy on the eyes.”

“Yep.” Mal nodded in agreement.

“Guess we’re stuck with a lousy supper and Lord only knows how long a stay. Wonder what they’re gonna charge us with?” The merc raked his hand back through wiry, graying hair and kneaded at the back of his neck. “I’m gettin’ too old for this shit.”

They sat in companionable silence for awhile as the day wound down. About dusk, the deputy brought a pot of stew and some hard rolls.

“And here’s a couple of cups, a towel and a bucket a clean water. Drink it or wash up with it - your call.” He started to leave, then turned back. “Just so’s ya know, we’re holdin’ you overnight on a ‘Drunk and Disorderly’. Sheriff Hicks said he’d release you tomorrow mornin’ on your word ya ain’t gonna start no more trouble.”

“Shiny.” Mal smiled mockingly.

~ * ~ * ~

When the men had swabbed the dregs of the stew from their cups with the remaining bread, they each drank their fill of the water that the deputy had left.

“Lemme clean up that gash on your head, maybe cut down on the chance of it gettin’ infected,” Mal suggested, moistening a corner of the towel.

“Alright. Ain’t a bad idea.” Jayne swiveled ‘round on the bunk to make it a little easier. The captain carefully dabbed at the older man’s wound, and the merc hissed at the sting.

“Shouldda been stitched up. You’ll probably have a scar.”

“'Guess that makes me a ‘decorated veteran’, don’t it?” the big man smirked, then went on, “Stew weren’t half bad.” He sounded surprised and a little nostalgic.

“Kinda reminded me of that stuff Kaylee usta make when we was down to dried vegetables and protein powder.” His voice tightened and he took the wet towel from Mal and wiped the worst of the dried blood from his face and neck, then took a moment to scrub his split knuckles. The activity gave him a moment to collect himself.

He rinsed out the towel in the bucket and wrung it half-way dry before passing it over to Mal. “Ya oughtta put it on that shiner. Shame we ain’t got no steak…”

There was a long, thick pause, then Jayne sighed deeply.

“God, I miss her, Mal. Ain’t a day goes by, I don’t think of her.“ Naked sorrow rode his features. “You understood why I couldn’t stay on Serenity any more?”

He glanced at Mal, seeking absolution.

“When that hydraulic pump exploded an’ took her from me, it was like… like the ship’d killed her. Kaylee loved that boat damn near much as she did me, maybe more, an’ it just seemed so wrong, her dyin’ that way.”

He bowed his head, struggling with the flood of grief. “I tried, Cap’n. I know you needed me, an’ Serenity’d been my home for thirteen years. But I just couldn’t handle always lookin’ for her smilin’ face, lyin’ there in our bunk at night, wonderin’ when she was comin’ down…”

The yellow light from the far end of the cell row limned the merc’s scarred, haunted face. Mal gently rested his hand on Jayne’s shoulder, realizing that night had fallen, unnoticed, as they sat talking. “I know. I hated to lose you, but I understood.”

Jayne struggled to pull together his lifelong veneer of callused bravado and changed the subject. “You ever hear from River? Wasn’t too long after Zo was killed that she disappeared. Jumped ship on Whitefall, or was it Three Hills? Hell, it all runs together nowadays.”

Mal shook his head. “I always figured she’d try to make her way back to the doc, but Simon wrote that he never heard from her. Guess she went underground, maybe died in the Rebellion like a lotta other folks. I’d like to know what finally happened to the girl, but I don’t know as I ever will. She was remarkable.”

“I’d go with ‘crazy as a bedbug’ but she sure had a knack for bein’ good at an awful lotta things.” Jayne leaned his head back and Mal could see the bemused smile that stole across his features. “Sneaky l’il chou san ba, she was, too, an’ fast as hell.”

Mal stretched gingerly and leaned back against the bricks. “I guess that brings things back around to the two of us, don’t it?”

“I guess it does.”

“Let’s try to get some shut-eye.”

“Fair ‘nuff.”

~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~

Three of four.

COMMENTS

Tuesday, April 10, 2007 6:26 AM

NEWOLDBROWNCOAT


soft and sweet and sad. I like it very much.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007 9:24 AM

AMDOBELL


I am really glad that Mal and Jayne are friends and that seeing each other again renewed the bond they had been forming aboard Serenity before Jayne left. So sad that they are the only two left apart from a MIA River. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Tuesday, April 10, 2007 11:57 AM

HISGOODGIRL


Thanks for commenting, folks. I'm dealing a lot right now with my own father's aging and how time grinds away our sharp edges. Guess it's made me a bit reflective.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007 3:14 PM

ARTEMISPRIME


Seems age has made the BDHs more introspective. A nice moment here, HGG, between two old friends. I'm glad that Mal hasn't lost his sense of humour and has found a level of respect for our merc. I'm also glad to see that Jayne has grown to accept Mal as a friend rather than a competitor.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007 3:15 PM

ARTEMISPRIME


But curse you for killing off almost everyone else...

Tuesday, April 10, 2007 9:48 PM

VERASAMUELS


Oooh, can I play nursie <EG>? Good development here; shame there ain't a handy doc around on the ball of dirt to patch them up. Cracked ribs could turn nasty. Keep this coming!!

Vera

Saturday, April 14, 2007 6:03 PM

BLUEEYEDBRIGADIER


And Inara...Inara is still officially left till you say otherwise, HGG;)

Still...not sure if I want to call Kaylee's death due to an exploding hydraulic pump ironic or just mighty saddening. The idea kinda conjures up the imagery of a faithful pet suddenly up and biting you one day because they contracted rabies or something. And I can't imagine how hard it was for Jayne, even with the glimpse we get through his admission about unconsciously waiting for Kaylee to arrive, even after her death. Rather surprised Jayne didn't try to kill himself to join her...

Gotta say though that I am mighty glad that Mal and Jayne have been able to reach this level of camaraderie and acceptance about their pasts and the various moments where life just didn't seem worth much due to the loss. Still, having River pop up when they are released would be mighty nice;)

BEB

Sunday, April 15, 2007 3:41 AM

HISGOODGIRL


Sorry BEB, dream on about Inara if you will, but I wrote about her unfortunate demise back in Part One:

“You hear from ‘Nara lately?”

Mal looked startled, fresh pain behind his eyes. “Then you ain’t heard?”

Jayne’s brows knotted and he shook his head. “Uh-uh. What the hell happened, Mal?”

“I got a wave from Sheydra about six couple months back. Cancer. Musta been pretty far gone before they caught it. Said she went real fast.”

Monday, August 22, 2011 4:26 AM

BARDOFSHADOW


Makes me think of Grandpappy, telling bout people that are long gone and a lot of them I never met.
He was a rascal and loved the ladies as much as Jayne.
He was a tarheel from Roanoke Rapids and he was reunited with his beloved wife near three years ago.
So yeah, this chapter really struck a chord.
Thanks for sharing.


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