BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - DRAMA

MEAHRA

The Prodigal Mother 15/?
Thursday, June 7, 2007

eventual Rayne. 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...Mal has an interesting conversation with Lady Vera.


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 1603    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

Mal sat in an easy chair across from Lady Vera and her companion, who he thought was named Joon-mei. Jayne's brother, Mattie, was pouring tea for everyone, while Mr. Cobb was rubbing gun oil onto the shotgun. His movements were almost identical to Jayne's, even though Jayne didn't look a'tall like his pa. There was no mistaking he was Jayne's father. Mal figured Jayne probably took after his grandaddy in his size.

“So uh, you're a lady, huh? How's that working out for you?” Mal asked awkwardly.

Lady Vera gave him a wry smile. “Very good. I'm accustomed to it, being that I was born into nobility.”

“Right. 'A course you was... You got any kids?” He asked hesitantly.

Strangely, her face pales. “Yes. I had two sons.”

“Had?”

“Yes. My youngest son was killed at the Battle of Serenity during the war,” she said quietly.

Mal nodded. “I'm sorry to hear that”

She nodded. Another uncomfortable silenced ensued. Mal couldn't stand it any longer. “I'm sorry, but I gotta know,” Mal leaned forward. “Why the hell are you here? I mean, if you was here for the doc and his sis, you'd a brought more than that... scary looking little girl there. And even if you did free Jayne's parents out of the goodness of your heart years ago, you don't seem like the type to venture out here to the border planets, just for a cup a' tea.”

Joon-mei gave Mal a glare. Mattie said nothing but looked almost as offended as his father did. Mal figured it didn't sit well with them that he wasn't showing the fine lady the proper respect. Well, he never was one to make friends, so it was no never mind to him. Oddly enough, Lady Vera chuckled.

“Captain Reynolds, you are quite a man. Are you married? If not I would be interested in making an arrangement for Joon-mei. She is in need of a proper husband,” she motioned to the shocked young woman.

“My Lady!”

“What?! No!”

“So you aren't married. Does fifty-thousand credits sound good? For a dowry, I mean.”

“Yes! I mean, no! I mean...” Mal rubbed his eyes. How did he get himself into these situations?

“Lady Vera, I'd be a fool to want to turn you down for such a sum and such a pretty lady, but a fool is what I am. I ain't lookin' to get married. 'Specially to a girl who's young enough to be my daughter.”

Lady Vera chuckled again. “I wasn't being serious. But, yes you are a fool. Joon-mei will make a man an excellent wife one day. Of course, I won't be arranging any suitors for her, unless she asks me to.”

“That common in you circle?” Mal asked, desperately trying to change the subject.

Lady Vera took a sip of her tea. “Do you mean arranged marriages? Yes. I myself was in an arranged marriage.”

“Don't that bother you none? I mean being forced to marry someone you don't love?”

“Core marriages are rarely about love, and more about business arrangements. I'm sure you've heard of the Colbert-Jiangyins, even this far out in space,” she smiled.

“I know you own half the 'verse and then some,” Mal snorted.

“Quite. But what you probably don't know is that the name is fairly new. Oh, our families are old and aristocratic yes, but the name Colbert-Jiangyin was a product of my marriage,” she explained.

“What you make up a name or somethin'? Is that what you're tryin' to say?” Mal asked.

“Well, no, not exactly. You see, my unmarried name was Jiangyin, and my husband's family name was Colbert. We were the two richest families in the core and the most influential. My father had no male heirs to carry on the name, so a deal was struck to change both of our family names once Adam and I were wed. So, anyone in our family with either name changed their name to Colbert-Jiangyin. There aren't many of us left. I was an only child, as was Adam. We both have a few cousins that use the name, but they have no power and hardly any money to back it.”

“I see what you mean by business arrangement. But, what about love?” Mal challenged.

Joon-mei stood. “Your insolence may be tolerated by her ladyship, but not by me! Show some resp—”

“It's all right, Joon-mei. Please sit down,” she tugged at the young woman's arm.

Lady Vera turned to Mal. “Some people are lucky enough to marry for love in the Core, others are lucky enough to fall in love with their spouses after many years of marriage. Most, carry on as roommates who just happen to share offspring. I was lucky enough to have fallen in love with my husband after we were married.”

“And your husband, did he fall in love with you after you were married?” Mal continued to push.

“No.” She said quietly.

Mal smirked as if he was proving a point.

“He was already in love with me before we were married. As I said, I was very lucky,” she smiled.

The captain frowned. The conversation wasn't going as he had planned. He'd hoped to mess with the Alliance power-hungry, money hoarding, core lady, but she seemed too clever to fall for it. In fact, she was far too clever for a Core lady in Mal's opinion. And he'd wanted to find out why the hell she was here. Somehow, she'd maneuvered him and the conversation away from his original question.

Jayne stomped down the stairs. Mal looked to him relieved. He always figured he'd be uncomfortable meeting with a family that had bred out someone like Jayne. Of course, he'd thought it'd be because they were just as ruthless as he was. No where in his mind did he see an educated brother and fancy Core-bred family friends.

“Doc's with ma. Says it'll only take a second,” he announced. He frowned and looked at the room at large. “Why you all staring at Mal like he done shot your dog?”

“It's nothin', Jayne. Do you think... your friend... could he help her? Maybe she might survive?” His pa asked hopefully.

Jayne stared at the floor before answering quietly. “Doc took one look at her and shook his head. Don't need to go to some fancy Core school to know what that means.”

He grabbed a nearby chair and sat in it facing backwards. Mal handed him his gun wordlessly. He grunted a thanks.

“You think you might need to stay a spell longer? We can extend our stay to two weeks if you like,” Mal suggested.

He shook his head again. “Naw. If I need more time, just go on without me. I'll find a way to Persephone if it comes to it. I'll send you a WAVE... if I need to.”

Mal nodded. The rest of the room sat in silence. A very uncomfortable silence. It was Lady Vera that broke it.

“So... Jayne. You work on a cargo ship? As a...?”

Mal smirked and answered, hoping to shock her. “A mercenary.”

“Oh.” Lady Vera had known this fact already, but she'd hoped he had a more... politically correct title.

“And... uh do you enjoy it?”

Jayne grunted and shrugged. “It's a livin'.”

“I'm surprised your family takes it in stride. Your line of work is looked down upon quite a bit,” Lady Vera tried again.

Jayne scowled at her. “Pays a hellavu lot more than workin' at the iron mill. Course only pa and Mattie here know about my real job. Ma thinks I work for 'an honest and respectable Captain that transports goods to all the needy border planets'.”

“Jayne, I didn't know you felt that way about me. I'm truly touched,” Mal said mockingly.

Mattie and his pa snickered. Jayne sent both of them glares.

“Don't you think perhaps you should tell your mother the truth? She isn't long for this world,” the fancy lady suggested.

Jayne growled. “Listen here lady, you don't know me from Adam. And just 'cause your old friends with my ma, don't give you the right to butt into my life. So I'll educate you a little bit on me; I ain't a smart man, but I'm bright enough to know there are only three things sacred in this verse, your ma, God, and a man's gun. So don't you go tellin' ma anything. That's the last thing she needs right now, dong ma?”

She pressed her lips together, looked at her intertwined hands in her lap and nodded.

Joon-mei narrowed her eyes at him. This was her ladyship's son? He didn't even show her proper respect. Had she not noted the physical resemblance between Lord Adam and this... man, she would have doubted he was Lady Vera's true son. It took every ounce of self-control she had to keep from hurting this... thing.

Luckily, Simon clambered down the stairs at that moment. He pulled out a bottle of pills, handed them to Mr. Cobb before turning to Jayne.

“Your mother is truly a courageous woman, Jayne. I don't know anyone that can seem so calm and in so much pain at the same time. I've given her some medication that should cease the pain until... she doesn't need it anymore. Giver her two of those every four hours, sir. They'll make her mostly groggy and she'll not have much time awake, but at least she won't be in pain,” he pointed to the medicine he'd handed to Mr. Cobb.

“There's nothin' else you can do, then?” Jayne's father asked.

“No. I'm sorry to say, she'll live no more than a week, maybe two,” Simon admitted.

Jayne leaned his head forward on the back of his chair. Mattie closed his eyes and rubbed his temple. Both Mr. Cobb and Lady Vera had gone extremely pale. Only Joon-mei sat stoically.

Mal reached over and patted Jayne on the shoulder. “I'm sorry Jayne.”

Jayne shoved his arm away and stomped out of the house. Simon sighed. He hated this part of his job.

“Well... I suppose we better head on back. It's getting a might dark outside. Looks like it'll storm soon,” Mal noted.

“It will. May I suggest you stay a bit? These storms can come up on you suddenly and violently. You don't want to be caught in one,” Mattie said.

“I'm sure we'll be fine. Be more worried about these ladies getting to their hotel or wherever they're stayin',” he indicated Joon-mei and Lady Vera.

“We'll be fine Captain. We're staying in our shuttle behind the house. So there's no need to worry,” Lady Vera answered politely.

Mal smiled blandly. “I was more worried about you putting the Cobbs out, than your comfort, my lady.”

“It's starting to rain. I better go make sure Jayne didn't do anything stupid,” Mattie headed out the door.

Jayne stomped to the barn and climbed up the ladder to the loft. He opened the latch door, which his father rarely used anymore to throw hay outside. The loft had a few tufts of hay left over from the years, but other than that it was empty.

He leaned against the open door and stared out at the gloomy landscape. Rain fell suddenly in big glops. Lightning flashed and thunder followed. The rain splattered Jayne's face but he didn't care and didn't move. He saw the mule zoom off into the storm. A small bit of satisfaction climbed into his stomach, knowing the doc would be utterly soaked and cold to the core by the time they got the ship.

Even when he heard Mattie climb up the ladder, he did not move. His younger brother said nothing but simply stood next to him and watched the downpour. It was Jayne that broke the silence.

“You remember when we used to sit out here and listen to the rain? We never talked, just sat next to each other and... listened.”

Mattie smiled gently. “Ma used to tell us we'd catch ourselves a cold. We never did get sick..”

Jayne snorted. “I never got sick, you were never healthy a day in your life.”

Again, his brother smiled. “I didn't consider having the damp lung being sick. It was just the way of life for me. And it didn't bother me while I was away.”

“Yeah and you still went and got yerself sick the very first day ya came back,” Jayne grunted.

“Jayne...”

“Don't Mattie. Just don't. I know I should a' been here or at least dropped by more often... I never was one to writin' letters too much either—”

“That wasn't what I was going to say. It's not say I don't agree with every word you say... but it's in the past. What matters is that you're here now. And if you hadn't sent that money last time... it might have been me as well,” he admitted quietly.

Jayne tore his eyes away from the rain. “You sayin' what I think you're sayin'?”

“If you're asking me that I'm glad that it's not me that's dying then, no. But I am saying that I'm very grateful. I don't want to die anymore than the next person, but it doesn't mean I wouldn't give up my life to save the one of another.”

“What's that fancy lady really doin' here?” Jayne asked suddenly. Mattie looked at him startled. Then he averted his eyes again towards the rain.

“It's something you'll have to talk with ma and pa about. I can't say.”

“Can't or won't?” Jayne demanded.

“Both.”

COMMENTS

Friday, June 8, 2007 6:54 AM

BLUEEYEDBRIGADIER


Always shiny to see Jayne interacting with his family, especially the mysterious Mattie. The mirroring of the two Cobb boys (and yeah, Jayne's a Cobb till you have him go completely OOC from trying to live up to his birthright;D) is all kinds of awesome:D

BEB

Saturday, June 9, 2007 12:15 PM

WYNTER


I liked how easily Jayne and Mattie fell back into their "routine", their closeness reads easily off the page. It'll be interesting to see how they interact once Jayne finds out the truth, though.

Mal made me laugh, with his ever-present assumption of being right, and then his confusion when he wasn't. Sorry to say though, Joon-Mei is beginning to annoy me a bit, she just seems so uptight. I hope she loosens up at some point otherwise I see my dislike growing, haha.


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