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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Jayne faces the fight of his life in hopes of recovering Vera along with another dream he’s left behind.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 979 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Rating: PG-15 for graphic violence and multilingual adult language
Characters/Pairings:Crew, OMC. Implied S/K, potential J/K.
Disclaimer: All belong to Joss. I got nada.
A/N: Written for the LJ Firefly Fanfic Fest prompt: “Jayne meets an old flame in port”, and cross posted from my LiveJournal. Hover for translation. Comments and feedback are always appreciated. If you read and enjoy it, please let me know.
Even If The Odds Are Lousy
By the night of the fight, Jayne was psyched and nervous as hell. Spontaneous bar brawls between honest folk were one thing and the lethal style of fighting he would face that evening at the arena was something else entirely. He’d managed to acquire the gear he needed and sat restlessly on the training table in the holding room backstage at the arena while Simon taped his wrists and hands.
“I’m no athletic trainer, Jayne, and have no idea if I’m doing this correctly.” Simon carefully overlapped the turns of tape over Jayne’s hands the way he’d been told, then studied the man before him. The idea of one man brutalizing another for money frankly horrified him. He tried once again to reach the mercenary. “I know you really want that gun back, but no weapon’s worth risking your life for.”
Jayne looked at him matter-of-factly. “You clearly ain't never loved a gun, Doc.”
“No, Jayne, I can’t say as I have.” Simon held out the gloves and Jayne slipped his hands into them one after the other. “Just – just use some common sense out there. Please?"
Jayne pretended to tap Simon on the jaw and fluttered his eyelashes at him. “Aw shucks, Doc, I never knew you cared.”
Simon rolled his eyes and pushed the rubber guard into Jayne’s mouth – at least that would shut him up. “I’ll be waiting in your corner, just in case.” Simon hesitated. “And Jayne… good luck.” He studied the big man for a moment longer, then turned and headed for his station by Jayne’s corner of the fight cage.
Jayne jogged nervously from foot to foot, shifting and stretching to keep himself warmed up. Staying in motion kept him from thinking too much about what he was about to do. The announcer could be heard giving the pre-fight pitch and before Jayne quite knew what was happening, he found himself jogging up the ramp and into the octagonal cage. Interlocked panels of coated chain-link mesh rose six feet above the canvas-covered bed of the ring and gates opened at opposite sides to allow the competitors entry. As he stepped off the ramp, Jayne nodded at Simon. He could hear his shipmates behind him cheering him on, so he squared his shoulders and stood tall, jaw jutting pugnaciously, a slight swagger to his step.
“This evening’s competitor, Jayne Cobb, hails from the iron-producing world of Sunderland, and weighs in at 242 pounds,” the announcer proclaimed, raising Jayne’s gloved fist high. Then he turned and gestured to the other gate. “And here’s our star of the evening, The Kalisto Kid!”
There was a huge roar from the crowd and the powerful lamps suddenly flooded the cage with harsh light, momentarily blinding Jayne. Instantly wary, he blinked, allowing his pupils to adjust. Across from him stood his opponent. He blinked again and it occurred to him that indeed, he’d made a serious error in judgement. The Kid, who was at least fifteen years younger, looked to have a good four inches in height on the merc and easily outweighed him by at least fifty pounds.
Sweet Jesus, that boy is fuckin’ huge! Jayne thought to himself with a sinking feeling. Behind him, his shipmates looked on in shock.
“Kinda big, ain't he, sir?” Zoe asked Mal.
Mal nodded. “More’n kinda, I’d say.”
Kaylee and River clung to one another. “Tianna!, River. That guy’s gonna kill Jayne,” Kaylee’s voice quavered.
“Not trained to be a weapon. Tactical skill may not be sufficient to overcome youth and stamina.” The younger girl’s dark eyes reflected concern. “Also, he fights with his heart, not his head.” She glanced at Kaylee matter-of-factly. “He’s going to get battered.”
Jayne and The Kid appraised one another as the announcer proclaimed the terms of the fight. “This is a no-hold barred fight, held in three rounds of five minutes each, with a one-minute break between each round. Either man can tap out, in which case his opponent will be declared the winner. If either man is unresponsive for a count of ten, his opponent will be declared the winner. The last man standing will receive a prize purse consisting of a whopping two thousand credits!”
Once again the arena echoed with the deafening roar of the crowd. Jayne wasn’t often inclined to be a praying man, but as he began to understand what he’d committed himself to, he silently asked his Maker to cover his ass.
The air horn sounded a strident blast to signal the beginning of the first round and Jayne and The Kid began to circle one another, each sizing up the other’s weaknesses and searching for an opening. Noting that his opponent tended to carry his weight on his back foot, Jayne led off with a sweeping kick intended to throw The Kid off balance and barely ducked a mean left jab. The Kid had a long reach and Jayne decided his best plan was to stay out of his range and try to catch him with a feint.
For the next five minutes both men tested the skills at their disposal, filling the octagon with a flurry of punches, kicks, moves and ruses. Jayne managed to get in once under The Kid’s guard and land a driving blow to his opponent’s solar plexus that would have felled another man. Toward the end of the first round, The Kid backed Jayne into a corner and caught the older man squarely under the chin with an uppercut that snapped Jayne’s head back against the mesh, splitting his scalp. Blood poured out, hot and slick, trickling down the merc’s neck and back.
It was all Jayne could do in his half-stunned state to slip free and move the action back out into the center of the octagon where he was safer. It seemed to him that the first round was lasting forever. He shook himself like a dog flinging off water and eased back into a defensive posture, increasingly aware of the danger of his situation.
Just as The Kid swooped low and swung a leg out to entangle Jayne, the horn sounded, indicating the end of the first round. Jayne headed for his corner and dropped onto his bench, spitting his mouth guard into Simon’s gloved and waiting hand.
“Drink this,” Simon told him, offering a water bottle, ”and let me see that cut.” He changed gloves and tilted Jayne’s head forward to blot the excess blood away. “Scalp wounds – they’re always messy. I’ll weave it later.” He tilted the big man’s head back and checked his pupils. “How’s your jaw?”
“Dumb question, asshole.”
“He’s got quite the reach, doesn’t he?” Simon asked.
Jayne snorted. “Yeah. But I got street smarts.” The merc stood up and Simon popped his mouth guard back in.
“Just be careful, OK?”
By the end of the second round, Jayne looked like he’d been through a meat grinder. His knees and shoulder were raw with abrasions from being ground against the mesh and floor pad and his left eye was swollen shut. A nasty cut split the flesh on the cheekbone just under it. Blood dribbled from his battered mouth. Twice The Kid had almost pinned him, yet somehow, Jayne had managed to worm free.
He’d given his opponent a number of powerful shots. It was pretty much like slugging a brick wall and apart from a broken nose and torn ear, The Kid was holding up well.
As Jayne sat panting on his bench, Simon did his best to convince him to yield to the younger man. “You keep this up, Jayne, he’s going to kill you.” He shook his head in horror at the state of the mercenary. This kind of brutality was incomprehensible to him, and he felt ill. “It’s just a gun, Jayne.”
The merc forced himself to stand. It seemed like his whole body was on fire and it occurred to him that if he lost, at least his friends would see him go down fighting. “Ain't just a gun, Doc,” he mumbled through swollen lips. “She’s mine an’ I’m gettin’ her back, gorramit.”
Had Simon not known better, he would have thought the mercenary was talking about a flesh and blood woman.
Zoe leaned in close to Mal and cupped her hand to his ear to be heard over the roar of the crowd. “I hate to say it, sir, but Jayne’s gettin’ the crap kicked outta himself.” Mal glanced her way and nodded. His grave expression only served to reinforce her concern. While Zoe didn’t always trust the merc and at times found him thoroughly obnoxious, she wasn’t interested in seeing him battered to death by a human killing machine.
On the other side of Mal, Kaylee and River huddled together, equally horrified by the bloody spectacle below.
The Kid landed a ferocious combo punch to Jayne’s midsection and the merc dropped onto one knee, his left arm clenched tightly against his side. “Cracked his ribs,” River observed in a small voice. She looked sadly at Kaylee. “He’s really hurting.”
Kaylee grabbed at Mal’s coat sleeve. “Cap'n, you gotta do somethin’ ‘fore that qingwa cào de liúmáng up an kills him.”
The very real possibility made Mal feel helpless and furious, and he vented his wrath on the girl beside him. “An’ just what the gorram hell you think I oughtta do, li’l Kaylee? Maybe ride right down there on some white charger and carry that damn fool away to safety? Ruttin’ idiot staked his life on gettin’ back that gorram gun. It’s up to him, now.” He whirled back around toward the fight, failing to notice the bright tears that welled up in Kaylee’s stunned eyes.
Again the klaxon sounded. Jayne lurched forward, thinking to himself, Just five more minutes… just five more minutes…He circled, hoping for an opening, his lungs burning as he sucked in air. With every breath came the burst of red agony from his injured ribs.
The Kid glared down at him with blank dark eyes, his bloodied fists carried lightly before his chest. He could see how the old man guarded his side, struggled to breathe. It wouldn’t be long now and he’d have him down on the mat, ready for the kill. One more greedy sucker down.
Crowding Jayne backwards toward the mesh, The Kid snagged a heel behind his opponent’s knee and sent Jayne sprawling, quickly dropping to cover him and knocking Jayne’s mouth guard onto the mat. Together they grappled and tumbled, each man seeking leverage. Swiveling his body underneath so that he could gain access, The Kid slid a massive forearm across Jayne’s throat into an ‘arm bar’ and began to shut off his airway.
The merc strained and arched against the mat, striving to work an arm in under the one threatening to suffocate him. The pressure was terrifying and every second brought him closer to blacking out. Jayne’s heart pounded like a cannon. Don’t wanna die, he thought over and over. Don’t wanna… He was running out of time. His exhausted body knew it; his consciousness realized it, too. As his mind filled with building darkness he thought, Only got one chance.
He turned his head and bit down on The Kid’s forearm with all his might. Hot, coppery blood spurted between his teeth and he could hear someone scream. For the briefest moment, the arm across his throat loosened reflexively, allowing him to push through and up onto his knees. Got just one…Hooking one hand around The Kid’s jaw and bracing the other behind his occiput, he jerked sharply. Got just…
There was a sharp pop and the black eyes staring up at him went blank. Lurching free, he dropped his opponent’s body to the mat. The roar of the crowded arena was deafening and everything spun round him in a dizzying swirl. Someone shouted into the lowered microphone, raised his gloved hand, pounded him on the back.
Someone else came to lead him down the ramp into the holding room. He had no idea how much time had passed. Every breath was agony and he wanted to puke. Kind hands stripped off his gloves, gently removed the layers of tape from bruised knuckles. Someone handed him water, and then held the basin when he vomited. Someone helped him shower, patted him dry, wrapped his aching ribs, stitched the cuts on his scalp and lip and closed the lacerations on his forehead and cheekbone with butterflies.
Jayne found himself looking up from a gurney at a whirl of concerned, familiar faces: Mal and Zoe, and behind them, Kaylee and River, pale and subdued. Simon leaned over him to check his pupils again.
“How come y’r all wet, Doc?” the battered man managed to slur out.
Simon shrugged. “Somebody had to help you get showered and I wasn’t about to strip down to climb in with you.”
The thought of Simon helping to bathe him amused Jayne tremendously and he gibed, “Impressed, were ya?”
At his feet, Mal hefted a leather money pouch and gave him a wide, proud grin. “Got your prize money here for safe-keeping. Thought for sure I was gonna have to pay for your funeral and hire myself a new gunhand, so I’ll thank you for saving me that trouble. We’re gonna get you back to the ship now.”
Jayne waved his hand to get their attention. “Just so you’ll know – got ‘til 15:00 hours tomorrow to pay off Vera.” He motioned Zoe closer. “She’s down at Cheap Charlie’s, Zo. The receipt’s on my bunk. I still owe thirteen hundred creds on her. Could you take that money and get her back for me?”
The first mate smiled gently down at him. “Sure, Jayne. I’ll pick her up tomorrow mornin’.”
He waved her closer still and turned to whisper in her ear. "There’ll be money left over. I want you to buy Kaylee a fancy dress."
Zoe’s eyebrow went up but she didn’t say anything. Jayne continued, “Something slinky she could wear out to dinner someplace nice. You know what I mean.”
“Yeah, I reckon I do,” she answered softly, a wistful look in her dark eyes. She glanced toward Simon, now busily talking with Mal about how best to get their patient back to Serenity. “You’re sure about this, Jayne?”
He studied the little mechanic’s back as she and River stood near Mal. “It’s time,” he whispered. “I been patient about her and the Doc, but you know it ain't goin’ anywheres.”
Zo nodded solemnly.
“Comes a time a fella’s got to take a chance – even if the odds are lousy.” Jayne smiled as he struggled to keep his eyes open. Most likely the gorram Doc had sedated him.
Zoe’s response made it clear that she understood. “Life’s short, Jayne.” She gently squeezed his hand. “Go for it, Champ.”
Wednesday, July 30, 2008 10:18 AM
Wednesday, July 30, 2008 5:36 PM
Wednesday, July 30, 2008 9:51 PM
Friday, August 1, 2008 10:24 AM
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 4:20 AM
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