BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - ROMANCE

MEAHRA

The Prodigal Mother 3/?
Sunday, May 20, 2007

When Jayne's ma dies, he discovers that while he's described as man ape gone wrong, by Simon his blood might just be bluer than either of the Tams. Who are Jayne's real parents? Why did they give him up? And why does River keep talking about a prodigal son? ALSO IN THIS CHAPTER... more fun with the crew, and the crew discusses River's ability to see into the truth.


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 981    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

“So then Monty says to the Fed, 'Well sir, I ain't 'sactly sure how it happened, but those fur coats were ferrets when we put 'em in the crates!' The gorram Fed was so fuddled and turned about at what was going on he let Monty go with only a warnin'!” Mal snorted.

Everyone else joined him. That is save for River. All through dinner she'd stared at Jayne, hardly touching her own food. Not that she was missing out on anything. Next to Simon, Jayne was the worse cook on Serenity.

“Course them Feds ain't never had more brains than a chicken's pi gu, so's Monty coulda tole em they was cats nappin' and they'd believe em,” Jayne snickered and reached for his fork. His eyes swept the table as a habit and caught the girl's gaze. He scowled.

“What are ya starin' at?” He growled.

“You'll lose more than you expect and gain less then you need. The prodigal son returns, but only when the Reaper knocks on the door. Then, fate catches up with him and he is given too much but not enough,” she rambled.

The table was deathly silent.

“Right. Okay. Doc?” Mal turned to Simon.

“I-I'm not sure—”

“Doc, ya either find a way ta get 'er ta leave me alone or I'll do it for ya. That's the second time today she's done said something moon-brained to me. She keeps it up and I'll—”

“Have your testicles handed to you like in the Maidenhead?” Simon snipped.

“Now listen here—”

“I'm sorry.” River interrupted. “I don't mean to annoy you, but it's the only way I see things. I don't know how to explain it. But you'll know soon enough. You all will.”

She walked away from the table and left for the cockpit. The silence at the table was almost deafening. Kaylee swung her gaze at Simon.

“Whataya suppose she meant by that?”

“I have no idea. She hasn't spoken like that since... well since Miranda. She's been so much better lately, not like she was before the Academy, but still... she had seemed so normal,” Simon shook his head in confusion.

“If ya ask me, whatever she said sounded sorta ominous-like. More so for Jayne than t'anyone else,” he threw Jayne a funny look.

“Don't know what she meant by all that go-se. What the hell is she talkin' about a prodigal son? I ain't ever had no kids, made damn sure I always used a rubber. Don't want or need any little Jaynes running around,” he stabbed his spoon into the protein mush he'd cooked up.

“As... disturbing as the picture you just painted for us is, I'll ignore it to explain what a prodigal son is. I don't know how much anyone knows there biblical stories but—”

“Doc, I never really had an ear for sermons when the Shepard was on board, and I ain't exactly in the mood for one now,” Mal snarked.

“It's not a sermon, it's a story. I'm not exactly where in the Good Book it's mention but I'm quite sure I remember something of it from my theology classes. The story goes, a wealthy man with two sons was demanded of his younger son his inheritance, even though his father was still living. The man complied and sent his son on his merry way. The son chose to squander it away on drinking, gambling, and women—”

“Now this is my kind a story!” Jayne sat up straighter, wondering why he never paid closer attention to Bible studies as a kid.

“After he had no more money,” Simon continued as if Jayne hadn't interrupted. “He was forced to work as a swineherd. It's said that he came to his senses then and went home, hoping for his father's mercy but expecting the worse. Instead of turning his back on his son as many expected he would, he welcomed him with open arms, threw a party in his honor as a homecoming present and treated him with kindness and mercy.

“His other son, the one who had been dutiful, was angered at this and demanded from his father why he welcomed this lowly man back after the way he wasted away his inheritance. The father responds by telling him he is grateful for his dutifulness, but that they should rejoice because his younger brother was like the dead and lost but now was found and returned to them.”

Kaylee gave him a kiss on the cheek. “You are so smart. How did I get saddled with such a sweet, smart guy?”

“Now don't go gettin' all sappy on us. So what do you think this... story has to do with what your sister said about Jayne?” Mal asked Simon.

“I'm not completely sure, the story was of much debate in my theology class. For one thing, prodigal means to be wasteful not lost... or it could mean something else; it might have something to do with going back home. Whatever River meant, could be either of those. Do you have any plans to go back home?” he asked Jayne somewhat hopefully.

“Not unless someone's died or somethin'. And only if it's my ma. But I ain't heard nothing from them in a while so... it's business as usual for me,” Jayne shrugged and gave a loud burp.

The rest gave him disgusted looks but said nothing else.

“Well your sister is a Reader, so I ain't about to ignore her thoughts on something so ominous sounding. We won't be picking up any mail from the Shang-yi Skyplex for a while. Till then, it's like Jayne said, business as usual. Kaylee get back to the engine room, Doc you can lend her a hand seeing as we ain't got any patching up that's needed, but don't go distracting her. Jayne, gets this place cleaned up,” He stood up and dumped his dishes in the sink.

“Well what'll you be doing?” Jayne asked defiantly.

“Me? I got Captainy things to do,” he smiled and headed for the bridge.

Mal climbed into the cockpit and opened his mouth to say something, but again River answered his question before he could ask.

“Our ETA is eighteen hours, thirty-six minutes and twenty-nine seconds, give or take ten seconds,” River said calmly.

“Uh, thanks little one. Any purple bellies about?” Mal asked.

“If there are, they're well hidden and no where near my perceptive powers of precognition,” she said smoothly.

“Huh. Must be a busy week. Usually have to chart a pretty creative route to Harvest in order to avoid the Alliance,” Mal held on to the overhead bulkhead.

“Too many riots on the Core planets and a few of the border ones. Since they gave up looking for Serenity, we've been left alone. For now,” River responded and re-checked their trajectory.

There was no need. She'd not made one mistake since taking over Wash's job as the pilot. Of course she hadn't the magic touch Wash had to make Serenity dance, but River was learning the steps. Dancing was after all her favorite thing in the 'Verse.

“I'll need—“

“I've already sent the WAVE to Inara and patched it through to your bunk. There is a small short in the co-pilot screen. Do you want me to have Kaylee come fix it? She isn't needed in the engine room right now and Simon is distracting her from rechecking the cooling systems,” River said with a crooked smile.

“Gorramit, I done tole the Doc to not distract her! Have both of 'em up here. He can hand her the tools or something, while she's fixing that shorted screen,” he grumbled and walked over to com.

“Kaylee! Simon! Stop groping each other and get up here. River needs you to fix somethin'. That oughta keep them busy.”

“Not to mention Simon wouldn't dare lay a finger on Kaylee while I'm here,” River teased.

“That too,” Mal admitted. “I'll be in my bunk, if anythin' comes up you holler for me.”

He strolled out of the bridge and towards his bunk.

“Aye-aye Captain.” River responded not removing her eyes from the star strewn black.

A rumpled but content looking Kaylee entered the cockpit. A red-faced Simon entered a few moments after.

"So where's this shorted out co-pilot screen the Captain wants us to fix?” Simon asked uncomfortable.

Kaylee rolled her eyes from next to the co-pilot's station. She'd already pulled out a few tools. “Silly, this is the only co-pilot screen there is. Come on over here while I scoot under here. I'll need you to hand me a few things. She didn't wait for him to answer but scooched under the console.

“Oh right of course.” Simon walked towards the console feeling a bit useless.

“Here take this and set it down somewhere,” she handed him a covering she'd removed. He leaned it awkwardly next to the co-pilot's seat.

“Here take this screwdriver and hand me that small socket wrench—no that's a monkey wrench bao bai. The socket wrench looks like you'd use to scoop out your eye socket,” she said cheerfully.

“Oh... that's an... interesting description,” the Doc made a face. It wasn't the idea of scooping out an eye socket that bothered him, he'd done that plenty during his medical training. It was the idea that his beloved used such a graphic description towards something she worked with.

“All right here take it back,” Kaylee said a couple of minutes later. “I won't need anything for a bit until I can figure out which wires need to be replaced.”

“Of course I'll just—”

“Anyone seen Mal? I'm done cleaning up y'alls go-se in the mess. I need ta ask him if he's gonna want me to clean out the mule. Damn thing's muddier than a pig's snout,” he snorted.

“The Captain is currently in his bunk having an argument with Inara about their return to Serenity. It's a pretty interesting one too,” River said amused,

“Well put it up, girlie,” Jayne gave her a hearty slap on her back. “Can't waste no time! We already done missed the beginnin' of the argument.”

Kaylee had stopped her work and dragged herself out again. She was nodding vigorously at River. Simon on the other hand did not look so convinced that it was a good idea.

“River, I don't think that's a—”

She ignored him and pushed the necessary buttons. She'd not just placed Inara's picture on a screen, but she'd split the screen with an irate looking Mal on one side and a very annoyed looking Companion on the other.

“—further more, while you are the Captain of your ship, you are not my superior when I am gone. You cannot order us to return to Serenity, just because it suits your little exploits.”

“Woman, those little exploits put a roof over your head and food in your belly for the past six months since you stopped whorin—”

“Here we go again. You just had to say it didn't you? No matter what I do, Malcolm Reynolds, I'll always just be some fancy Core whore to you, won't I?” she said, her voice beginning to tremble.

“Now come on darlin' don't go and do that! I can't—I'm sorry. Come on don't start cryin',” a panicked looking Mal reached a hand out towards the screen.

“How can you expect me not to cry when you say such horrible things?” Inara wiped away a furious tear.

“Look, I'm sorry. We both let our tempers get to us, and then I went and said somethin' stupid—”

Inara snorted mirthlessly.

“Ya gotta meet me halfway here, girl. I'm short one first mate and a cook. We just had to put up with Jayne's mystery mush for supper and—” “Hey!” Jayne said grumpily.

Simon shushed him.

“River's done said somethin's real strange and crotchety. Jayne's ready to throw her in the air lock for sayin' funny stuff to him, not that we'll let him of course,” Mal rolled his eyes when Inara's eyes widened.

Jayne shifted uncomfortably away from River, while she sneaked a look at him from the corner of her eye.

“Is she saying—does she think the Alliance is after Serenity again?”

“Nah. It's mostly to do with Jayne. From what I gather, it's got something to do with his family. Which is why I wanted to swing by for you two earlier than planned, in case anything funny comes up, I want us all to be together,” Mal said pointedly.

Inara said nothing. “What if you allow us twelve days instead of fourteen?”

“Three days, We'll be needing Zoe as soon as we pick up the cargo on Beaumonde.”

“Ten days. Beaumonde is four days away from Harvest. It will take you another two to reach us,” Inara countered.

“Five days, River's found a shortcut through the Bengari system,” Mal smirked.

“Eight, the Bengari system is flooded with Alliance right now. There was a major revolt on one of the more populated planets. Don't you read the cortex news WAVEs?”

“Seven, Alliance hasn't been after us in a long time. Plus I don't think I can stand another one of Jayne's meals. That's my final offer or so help me I'll have that little girl turn this ship around right now and we'll be there by tomorrow.”

“Fine. You needn't get so tetchy. I'll inform Zoe of the change in plans. I must admit she'll be glad to leave earlier. As relaxing as living here is, she misses Serenity. We miss Serenity,” she admitted.

“So... what did Zoe end up naming the tots?” Mal changed the subject quickly.

“I'm not allowed to say,” She smiled mysteriously. “You'll know soon enough. We'll see you in a week's time.”

“Oh right, yeah. You probly got Companiony things to do, huh? See ya soon,” he grinned stupidly.

Inara gave him one last mysterious smile and disconnected.

“They seem to becoming a bit more amicable towards each other I believe,” Simon was the first to speak in the cockpit.

“I think it's sweet. The Captain and Inara being nicer ta each other will help em get together quicker,” Kaylee smiled.

“I tell ya what I think—”

“Yes please do, we're waiting on the edge of our seats to hear Jayne Cobb's theories on romance,” Simon said sarcastically.

“Ya wanna shut up or do ya want me to shut yer mouth fer ya?” Jayne sent him a threatening look. Simon gave him an unconcerned shrug.

“As I wuz about to say, before I was interrupted; I think Mal's just let her have them seven days just ta stay on 'er good side so's he could get some trim when she's back on the ship. Girl like Inara's bound to know all sorts of fun positions and what not. Hell my John Thomas is getting rowdy just thinkin' on it,” Jayne chuckled and adjusted his belt.

“Could you possibly show a little more decorum?” Simon looked disgusted.

“Now listen here, Doc. Just cause you're all in twiddle about what yer sister hears, don't mean she don't already know more than you. Girl's a reader and no doubt 'seen' or 'felt' or whatever the hell it is she does more than any of us. She been on this here ship more than a year listening in on Wash and Zoe going at it, Inara servicing her client, and probly listenin' to you and Kaylee, and don't you go forgettin' she spent a coupla days at the Heart a Gold too. So don't go actin' like—”

“He would have given her the two weeks if she'd kept up her crying face and she would have accepted the three days he offered to begin with. They are both playing a game of 'Catch me if you can,' but are letting each other win. The ape-man is right. Mal will no doubt expect 'trim' sooner than any of us think,” River announced.

“Whoa! I don't think I want ta hear such a thing come out yer mouth again little witch. Jayne watch what yer sayin' in front of virgin ears,” Mal's own ears reddened at the 'v' word.

“Virgin? I don't see no—”

“The Captain assumes I have innocent ears, but he forgets that I can see and hear all. Although he is right in assuming I have never copulated, he should not assume I am not informed about it. May I take a break, Captain?” River asked almost like a normal eighteen year old girl.

“Yeah sure little one,” Mal gave her a strange look before she left the cockpit. “Kaylee get back to fixin' that console. Doc why don't you go and make sure you ain't overdosing yer sister on any of them fancy drugs she's on.”

He turned to Jayne and gave him a fierce look. “I don't care what that girl's heard or seen, she's still innocent in physical form at least. So's I appreciate it if you not talk so plainly in front a her.”

“Mal—”

“I don't wanna hear it. Just watch your tongue or I'll be cuttin' it off a ya when ya least expect it, dong ma?” he warned darkly,

”Fine.” Jayne gritted his teeth and left the cockpit.

“Do ya really think she's watched us... you know?” Kaylee asked the room in general.

“Not in a literal sense, just as she sees our minds, she sees what we do and feel at almost every moment,” Simon explained clumsily.

“God, every moment? How does she sleep? I can barely keep my own thoughts inside my head, how can someone that hears and feels everyone...” Kaylee trailed off and shook her head.

“The way I see it, is we all know what she's capable of doing. Ain't no point in keep talkin' about it, when there ain't nothing we can do about it. Just make the girl more uncomfortable around us and I ain't about ta make my pilot uncomfortable. I says we leave it alone and just try not to think about River knowin' what we're... thinkin',” Mal frowned.

“Perhaps you're right. My sister's had enough unhappiness these past few years. Treating her as normal as possible could be the kindest thing we could all do for her,” Simon nodded solemnly.

“Good, now get on outta here and let my mechanic do her job,” he jerked his thumb towards the door.

COMMENTS

Monday, May 21, 2007 4:47 AM

WYNTER


Oooh, I predict more tension between River and Jayne than usual, if she keeps up the cryptic comments. I did find it amusing that the rest of the crew were trying to work out what she meant though! And I like the Biblical parallels, I hadn't thought of it like that before *mental headslap* Yeah, I can be slow on the uptake :-P

Good scene with the crew watching Inara and Mal's conversation, it was a nice echo of the movie :-) And good dialogue too, it captured the essences of the characters. I'm looking forward to the return of Zoe and Inara, yay!

Monday, May 21, 2007 3:01 PM

BLUEEYEDBRIGADIER


Some fabulous work here, meahra, especially concerning Jayne's dialogue...all kinds of crude and self-interested - as it should be at this stage in the game - but I do like how Jayne stood up for River when he inferred that River didn't have virginal ears in a circumspect way;D

Though the re-introduction of Inara has made me wonder something: Inara's social circles as a Companion would cross the same ones that Jayne's real parents occupy. Due to that fact, I have begun to wonder if Inara has ever noted a physical resemblance between Lord Adam Colbert-Jiangyin and Jayne...

BEB

Monday, May 21, 2007 3:25 PM

MEAHRA


Lord Adam and Lady Vera rarely venture farther than Sihnon. And to that, he's been ill for a few years so he hasn't really been in society for a while.

They may have seen each other in passing years before, but Inara meeting Jayne may have thought he looked familiar and then dismissed it once she got to know him.

Because seriously, why would a backbirth mercenary seem familiar to her? Oh but she will get quite a surprised when she finds out.

I had planned for her to mention something about thinking Jayne looked familiar to her when she first met him.

Good eye on that. no one else has caughr on. And here I thought i was going to surprise people. ;)

Monday, May 21, 2007 3:27 PM

MEAHRA


sorry i meant they don't go further than the central planets not further than Sihnon, they live on Osiris.

*smacks head what was I thinking?


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