Sign Up | Log In
BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - HUMOR
Jayne... has a secret. It's a good 'un. Get him in a turrible fix someday...
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1232 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
"So... does this door have a long-standing vendetta against you?" Simon tended to Jayne's black eye with precise care, his face almost entirely dead-pan. "Or did it just snap and attack you without warning?" The mercenary merely glowered at the doctor from beneath the one unswollen eyelid, and silently pouted. "Not that I'm one to pry into your... affairs. I probably don't want to know what happened."
Jayne shifted his glower to where the opposite infirmary wall met the floor. "Don't see why a man's gotta answer a hunnert damn questions about a simple accident. And! I was doing fine on my own."
"Rummaging through the galley, looking for the closest thing to a steak? Even had you found some natural food on this ship, a steak would do you no good whatsoever. You're lucky I found you; you could have permanently damaged your good looks. And had to rely on your wit and charm." Finishing his examination, he turned to a drawer and removed a small white package.
"Heh, my money'd still be good enough for some pretty curvy thing." The mercenary flashed a shit-eating grin, and chuckled low. "Ain't like any of the women-folk round here are any useful in that regard anyhow."
"Yess... I'm sure any of *them* would've punched out both your eyes."
“Look, you said you was gonna be helpful.” Jayne snatched the small pack out of Simon’s hand. “This what I put on my eyeball?"
“Or as close to it as is comfortable. Until the swelling goes away. And stay away from any shifty-looking doors. Doctor’s orders.”
“Yeah well… it’s already paining me a bit less, so there . So... I’ll... just go get me some chow or somethin’, normal and boring.” The sing-song element to his voice created an awkward moment before he ducked out of the spotless infirmary. Simon sighed, shook off trying to ever understand a Jayne, and went back to taking inventory.
Jayne escaped into his cabin, relieved at the man’s relentless mockery. That was a close one; how could he have been so reckless? Maybe he should just go find another job, start all over…
20 minutes earlier
As Jayne left Inara’s cabin, he felt a sudden shock to his jaw, and reeled to the floor. His vision soon cleared, but he wished it hadn’t; he saw a very peevish Malcolm Reynolds looming over him, ready to clock him again if he even squinted funny.
“How many times you think you could keep coming here, without I’d find out, huh? Do you really think I don’t know what goes on in my own gorram ship?” Mal leaned over, hauling Jayne to up close and serious. Jayne was too stunned, in several ways, to come up with an appropriate response.
“Mal--” Inara stepped closer, her palms forward in a calming gesture. Mal spun his head around to face her, eyes narrow and a nasty grin across his lips.
“Well. When did you start servicing crew then? And you said Nandi’s taste was appalling...”
“I… it’s been so long between actual clients. I was lonely. And weak. I was going to—“
“It’s alright Inara. You don’t have to lie for me. ” Jayne straightened up, gently placed the astonished Mal’s hands at his sides. He took a deep breath. “I might as well come clean to you after all, Captain.”
Two months earlier
Jayne paused outside the cabin’s hatch, just before taking the irrevocable step of knocking. Did he really want to do this? He had a pretty good gig here, and didn’t want to blow it. But the pressure of living a lie was getting to him, making him crotchety. He just had to confide in someone -- and who better than a person whose very job included listening to confessions, and keeping them in confidence? And who could carry on an intelligent conversation. And not be a bitty baby in a fight. A person would have to listen to some strong opinions, but what the hey. Someone like Shepherd Book was a good choice. But… Inara was better. He knocked on the door to her shuttle.
“Mal, you’re knocking, I’m touched… Jayne. I am more shocked than I thought I would be.” Inara allowed a wary smile. “I never dreamed it would take you this long to show up at my door, hoping I’d change my policy.”
“Naw, it ain’t nothin’ like you think. But kin we talk inside? It’s a mite drafty, and by that I mean public, out here.” Jayne glanced warily all around, listening hard for any potential observers.
“I don’t know if inviting you into my shuttle is the wisest course of action I could take. This time of night the dining area is usually empty, let’s go chat there.” She started out the door, then paused as Jayne didn’t budge.
“Can’t risk it all the same. Please? I’m desperate here, of a talkative kind of nature. I swear on every gun I love I won’t lay a paw at all near you. Someone’s gonna catch me…”
Inara felt real concern at his nervousness. What on Serenity could possibly make him so nervous? “Fine. Come in. But be aware I can protect myself.” She stepped aside, and let Jayne pass, in a kind of half crouch. She guided him to her least sensual couch, moved aside a curtain revealing a small but elegant tea service, and poured him a delicate cup of chamomile jasmine tea. She watched him sniff at and then glug down the first cup, poured him a second, and waited calmly for him to speak when he was ready.
“OK.” Jayne stared miserably into the tiny cup in his huge hands. “This ain’t easy. But I know you’ll keep what I tell you to yourself, right?”
“Not having heard it, it’s hard to say. But unless it means someone will get hurt, I think I can say I will be as discreet as possible. Oh, discreet means…”
“…judicious in one's conduct or speech, esp. with regard to respecting privacy or maintaining silence about something of a delicate nature; prudent; circumspect. Yeah I know. That’s muh problem.”
“I am afraid I am at an utter loss.” She wrinkled her dark, perfectly trimmed eyebrows together, expressing puzzlement.
“ ‘Satire's my weapon, but I 'm too discreet/ To run amuck, and tilt at all I meet.’ That’s Alexander Pope. Not entirely irrelevant to this situation, either. “
Inara gave him a level stare, demonstrating the depth of her training for grace in the face of surprise. “ ‘It is the discreet man, not the witty, nor the learned, nor the brave, who guides the conversation, and gives measures to society.’ Addison. Tell me more.”
“No one wants to hire a smart merc, Inara. Planet I came from, there wasn’t much in the way of schooling. You were either a farmer, a soldier, or a criminal. I grew up farming, had my fill. Don’t much like taking orders, as I’m sure you’re surprised to hear. So I took the criminal route. Had natural talent; got damn good at it, went mercenary.
“Eventually I spent some time in a candy-pop bleeding-heart jail that had a library for bettering ourselves. Outta pure boredom, I set to reading a book of all things. And… it was like… my brain could stretch out its legs for the first time ever, not even knowing I’d been cramped. I picked up one next without any pictures at all, didn’t even know what it was but it was Immanuel Kant, and even though I hadda learn to use a dictionary that man had some rutting interesting points to make. Before I finally busted outta that place, I’d read every single book, even the dictionary; waited in that hoosegow longer than I strictly had to, to get through ‘em all, to be right honest.”
“You… read several… many books?” Inara found herself at the edge of her seat, eyes wide. “But that’s wonderful! The world must have become such a larger place, the information to which you had access—“
“Just you wait. I had humped myself big-time, I just didn’t know it yet. I started having trouble keeping work, and still getting some self-schooling done on the sneak. I liked calculus the best; numbers’re so clean n’ pure. Bounty o’math in organic chemistry too, plenty to chaw on there…” Jayne reluctantly dragged himself away from his bliss, and back to his troubles.
“A dumb mercenary, folks just figure he’s doing all he has the brains for, and a certain amount of animal cunning and vulgarity is endearing. But someone who has the brains to help starvin’ babies or something but does what I do —folks don’t usually care much to have someone like that around. I’m under no delusion that I’m a Nice Guy. Plus, a boss conjures that an idiot of a merc may be able to win a fair fight, but if you can outsmart him then if it comes to a fight it doesn’t have to be fair. A Captain likes to like his crew, or at least feel like he is better than each of them somehow.”
Inara leaned back, sipped her tea knowingly. “So you started to play dumb. “
“And it was fun at first. A big game. I sure as hell felt like the smartest one on the job, but it wears thin. Wasn’t so hard when I worked for someone who was actually cleverer than me…”
“…But Mal of course is a whole new challenge, I’m sure.” Inara looked down, managing in her way to look both demure and mocking.
“Damn straight.” Jayne leaned over and daintily clinked his tea cup against Inara’s. He grinned a sly grin, which soon faded.
“But you’re lucky. Found a line of work you can be yourself at, and still succeed. I’m not sure you’ll understand. But thanks for listening to me jabber all the same… guess I’ll be toddlin’ off now.”
Inara stood as he did, and chanced a hand on his arm. “You’re right. I can’t completely understand what it’s like for you. But while I can indeed be myself as a Companion, it is only a part of my being, and it can be almost impossible to find a place to express the rest. I can imagine what it must be like to only live the tiniest shred of one’s own truth.”
They looked at each other, sharing a moment of that truth.
Inara seemed to reach a decision. “I have educational materials from the Guild, as well as access to libraries and academic journals through the Guild’s entrée to the Cortex. If you’d like to stay and peruse it a bit, or even come back, you’re welcome to do so. I’ll keep your secret. “
“I shouldn’t, really… but… dang, there is this one long-ass equation I been working on, don’t dare write anything down, so’s it’s all in my head. Sure would like to check it against someone else’s work, see if I got it right.”
Inara allowed not a trace of disorientation to show. “I know just the person, a former client of mine, who has won major awards in mathematics. He’s utterly discreet, and we needn’t even mention you…”
Jayne approached the draped console to which she gracefully gestured and paused, speaking indirectly to her over his shoulder. “I shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth, but I don’t rightly understand why you’re helping me.”
Inara shrugged genteelly, and gathered up the tea things. “Perhaps I feel regret at having made fun of your ignorance, when I was the ignorant one all along.” She laid the tea service in a small cleaning area. He couldn’t see the whiff of darkness that then passed over her features, but not through her voice. ”And I hate seeing people have to allow others to define who they are.” She briskly walked past him and accessed the Cortex.
Two months later
Mal slumped against the bulkhead of the hallway. His gaze shifted a few times between Jayne and Inara, his face otherwise slack.
Just then, Wash’s voice could be heard, announcing too smoothly ,“Mal… You wanna work bridgewise in your least time-wasting way.”
Mal shook some clarity into his head, and took off to the bridge with some haste.
Inara watched Jayne for a beat then said “Um… Go.” And Jayne followed the captain only a coupla steps behind.
Mal strode into the bridge. “So you wanna tell me why my engines ain’t running?”
“Not really.” Wash replied. “But we’ve spilled some fuel; not a lot, problem’s fixed now, but I didn’t want to waste more while you decided what to do. Getting to Beaumonde was a close thing already, and now we’re not going to make it on what we’ve got left. There’s a small moon here,” he pointed at the screen, “newish settlement, but they’re already open for an amount of fueling needs. Nothing else near enough.”
Mal stared at his pilot, and spoke dangerously lightly. “You recall perhaps that cargo we were going to sell on Beaumonde, to get money to buy fuel and suchlike fripperies?”
Jayne’s eyes glazed over, and he stood unnoticed just inside the hatch, lips moving silently.
“Oh… yeah…” Wash looked down dejectedly but then brightened. “Hey, maybe we can sell our cargo there on Rockhole?”
Mal looked drawn and worried, and deep in thought. “It’s highly unlikely they’d be interested in something this high-end. Even could we find a buyer, we’d get a pittance, limp to Beaumonde broke, back at square one. With bills still to pay…” He rubbed his jaw, trying to work a day’s worth of the intuitive math of survival, in precious seconds. “Still, no choice I reckon. We risk it. Wash, plot…”
“Wait Mal…” Jayne interrupted. “I gotta nuther way. Get us to Beaumonde fine, just a bit tricksy. Wash, I’m guessing we got all kindsa numbers like how far it is from us to both places, how far between ‘em, their rate of orbit, and how far we can go on the fuel we got, stuff like that?”
Wash leaned back, eyes wide, as Mal’s narrowed. “Uh, we do…”
“That rock big enough we can use it for a gravity boost, and point ourselves to Beaumonde?”
“Well, yeah… “ Wash leaned further away from the horror before him. “But we’ve gotta hit two moving targets just right. One bit wrong and we’re drifting, we’re archaeology. We don’t have that astrogation in our computer… you know how complicated those equations would be?”
“Yup. I done figgered ‘em out while ya’ll was yappin’. Here’s the variables for which I need values….”
Mal interrupted, brief and low. “Wash, get off the floor and back in that seat, now. Do what the learned man says.” Then leaned against the wall out of the way and watched the show.
“Don’t tell the others what I done.”
In spite of the ship being out of crisis and safely on its way to a rich and toothsome reward, Jayne looked all manner of poorly. “I know I weren’t hired for my brains, so kin we just forget this ever happened?”
“Are you kidding?” Wash was still just getting control of the hysterical laughter engendered by release from certain death mixed with cognitive dissonance at the new revelation. “I gotta tell Zoe! She’ll kill me if she hears it first from… I mean *ahem* I can’t keep secrets from my dear wife, Cap’n.” A last snigger escaped his sincere expression.
“C’mon Mal, I saved the whole gorram ship, didn’t even ask for no monetaries first! That oughta be worth somethin’.”
Mal looked at him as solemnly as he could. “Well, you like math so much, how about this equation. Here’s who knows: Inara,” He paused as Wash hooted anew, despite Mal’s glare. “Me, Wash, and of course you. You gotta plan on River knowing, seeing into things as she does. Even assuming she didn’t tell Simon, or told him only in some wacky and entertaining way that he couldn’t fathom, that’s five. That’s more than half of us on the ship. How long you think this is gonna stay a secret? Assuming it even still counts as one at the moment, that is.”
“Mal, this is justa good…. I mean, a good gig, and I don’t want to have to go elsewhere, should folk start resenting me.”
Mal looked at him long. “Well. Someone on my ship ain’t what they seem. What a ching-wah tsao de niao se de shock. But what I reckon is, you’re still on my crew. You do the job I hired you for, you can play chess and discuss fancy wine in your off-time to your heart’s delight. Just, “ He sighed and rolled his eyes to the ceiling. “Keep it to yourself. Unless you're saving us all from a horrific death or something.”
He turned to leave the bridge, accompanied by renewed giggling from Wash. “And you!” Mal stabbed a finger in the pilot’s direction. “You… don’t get any ideas about being no secret… agent or… goose juggler… or… you stay what you are!” He stomped off elsewhere, to find some sort of equipment to fix and soothe him. One thing he knew he could count on; Serenity told him no lies, would never keep secrets or let him down.
* ching-wah tsao de niao se de : frog-humping piss-soaked
Wednesday, February 25, 2009 2:20 PM
Wednesday, February 25, 2009 4:36 PM
Wednesday, February 25, 2009 9:42 PM
Wednesday, February 25, 2009 10:56 PM
Thursday, February 26, 2009 5:55 AM
Thursday, February 26, 2009 2:44 PM
Saturday, February 28, 2009 9:39 PM
Tuesday, March 03, 2009 7:41 AM
You must log in to post comments.
OTHER FANFICS BY AUTHOR
All FIREFLY graphics and photos on this page are copyright 2002-2012 Mutant Enemy, Inc., Universal Pictures, and 20th Century Fox.
All other graphics and texts are copyright of the contributors to this website.
This website IS NOT affiliated with the Official Firefly Site, Mutant Enemy, Inc., or 20th Century Fox.