BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

BARDOFSHADOW

Another Cobb in the Wheel-The Pooper And The Trooper
Monday, June 27, 2011

The Crew gets another short glimpse of what is Buried in Jayne's past. AU with OFC


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 1672    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

Disclaimer: Firefly is tainted: T'ain't mine... More Disclaimer: I dind't plan to let the Story get this far. Blame it on the Plotbunny!

Huge Thanks to BYTEMITE for having a look at it and once again pointing out "Mindreaders" I put in, untangling some of the mess I made, deleting what wasn't needed and making helpful suggestions or rewriting where I fudged up. If there's still a mess somewhere, I managed to sneak it past her and will get my butt kicked. :D I also know that a Mercenary ain't exactly a Trooper.

This story is AU, there are Dead Men Walking and there is an OFC, better steer clear if that ain't your cup of Sake. Don't say you haven't been warned.

The Pooper And The Trooper

Kaylee rigged a sort of crib from an old crate, a big, ugly, awkward thing that took up a lot of space in Jayne's bunk. Would do till they got something else figured out. Least it was big and high enough to keep the Short Stuff from falling out and gave her a place to sleep. Kaylee also donated a stuffed toy that now waited for its new owner in the makeshift bed.

Surveying her handiwork with a pleased smile, Kaylee turned to up the ladder, when her gaze fell on the old blanket hiding Jayne's arsenal and the nudiepics taped on the bulkhead above it. Ugh! That would never do with a little one around. But she trusted Jayne knew that himself. Especially after noticing the efforts to clean up his language around the baby.

Kaylee and Zoe returned to the galley, where Jayne still sat with the sleeping toddler, a half-eaten piece of hardtack in his hand and lost in thoughts.

Zoe spoke first. “What will you call her, Jayne? Don’t think you remembered gettin’ her name.”

Jayne looked at her with a blank expression for a moment, then blinked. Wash, going for more coffee, was really fascinated to see the tough mercenary redden. “Zoe, did you see that? Jayne's blushing! If I didn't know better, I'd even say glowing!” then he quickly moved back before Jayne’s hand caught him by the front of his T-Shirt.

“Maybe I'll tan your hide, little man!” he growled then remembered the baby in his arms. The little girl startled awake by his sudden movements and started to cry.

“Crap…” Jayne patted the small back and bounced her on his arm.

Simon blinked. “Have I suddenly turned into River, or… or is Jayne really…. humming?”

Wash sounded just as awed. “In that case, we’re triplets, coz I hear it, too…”

Giving them both a dirty look, Jayne reached for the cup of protein-milk Kaylee had given him earlier. Then he sat back down, propped the baby on his knee and held the cup up to her mouth. The little tyke stopped crying almost instantly, grabbed the cup and Jayne’s fingers and began to slurp hungrily, desperately, like she didn't trust that she would get another chance. Course, as small as she was, quite a bit of it dribbled down her chin and on to the filthy rags she still wore, but together The Pooper and The Trooper, as Wash dubbed them, managed just fine.

Eventually she pushed the empty cup away, then yawned again, snuggling back against the cotton-covered chest of her adoptive father. Half-asleep, she surprised herself with a loud belch. Everyone laughed at the look on her face, then the baby seemed to concentrate, little face turning red, and she grunted.

“Yīng bǎ.” announced River.

It was instantly clear that Jayne had forgotten to get more than just the baby’s name. Namely, assorted supplies necessary if one dealt with Toddlers and babies.

Everyone rushed out. Some to get away from the stench of a ripe diaper, the rest down to the infirmary, as it had large pieces of cloth that could be used as bandages or in this case, a diaper in a pinch. Simon wanted to start some doctoring. He didn't think it was normal for a guesstimated one year old to sleep quite as much as this one did, considering all the circumstances.

River stayed under the table for a moment longer, wiping her wet face with the hem of the ruffled, short skirt she wore today. “Loretta Vera Mae Shoemaker Cobb, born August 27. 2476, died July 19. 2505. Emerald Radiant Ruthie Cobb, born May 10. 2503, died July 19 2505. Jayne Virgil Cobb, born June 6. 2477, died July 19 2505….” She crawled out from under the table and followed the others.

******************

As the “Resident Expert” so to speak, it was decided that Jayne had to go out to buy the basics, Zoe went along to prevent him coming back with another pooper that needed rescuin’, Kaylee begged to be allowed along because she wanted to help pick out clothes and Wash joined them for the heck of it and get fodder for some ribbing when time between ports got a little long and was short on entertainment. Meanwhile Simon would give the little one a health check.

“But, please, clean her up first?" Simon asked, hoping to maintain the sterile environment of the infirmary, and also trying to breathe through his hand, covering his mouth. "I wish we could open a window or something.”

The infirmary had a big basin that got filled to near the brim with warm, soapy water and everyone crowded in to see how the big Merc would deal with a dirty diaper. Even Mal came down from the bridge to have a look, but wisely stayed outside. Jayne went about cleaning the Short Stuff with the same precision as he did his guns. First laying out the supplies in the order needed and beginning with the most unpleasant part first to have it out of the way. Which, in this case, was to get off the dirty rags and clean up the mess…

And in awe, the Crew of Serenity watched the dirty-mouthed, hard-ass Mercenary they all knew, but not all necessarily loved, turn into a complete stranger. As Wash put it later: “Was much like seeing Daddy Jekyll and Mercenary Hyde, real…. creepifying.”

Jayne hummed and made faces, talked to the little girl and even tickled her, whilst carefully peeling off the dirty clothes. Zoe quickly bundled everything up and dumped it in the small incinerator receptacle of the Infirmary. They all looked at the soiled diaper, then the baby. The baby stared back.

“Is that what you once called a ‘Time for some Thrilling Heroics’?” asked Wash.

Jayne gave him a short, annoyed glance and cracked his knuckles. One big paw kept the Short Stuff from getting up, the other made short work of the fasteners and everyone held their breath.

Dirty diapers ain’t pretty and not every man is strong enough to handle them. Wash gagged and ran out and even Simon retreated to the door. Gangrenous wounds, amputations and such, yes, but a diaper was a whole different minefield. “Bunch a whey-faced poltroon” growled Jayne a favorite insult of his Grandfather after them.

A bit rusty from lack of exercise, Jayne went about the stinky business. A warm, soapy rag gently cleaned everything up and the stench lessened considerably.

Simon made a face and Kaylee gasped, when they saw the raw patches on the skinny rump. By now even the dumbest Alliance grunt would have realized that nobody had been willing to take proper care of the child. The layers of grime Jayne washed off the little body revealed more of the nasty rash and sores, ribs sticking out more noticeably.

“Da-shiang bao-tza shr duh lah doo-tze!” whispered Simon. “I’m surprised she’s not screaming bloody murder all the time! I can’t imagine the pain she must be in from the diaper rash alone!”

Jayne gave him a short look then sat the loudly protesting child in the basin. Water splashed and her little face turned red from crying. “I know, bǎo​bèi​ , smarts your heinie a bit, but trust yer Papa, you’ll feel better cleaned up.”

“Papa?” mouthed an unbelieving Wash to Zoe behind Jayne’s back, but she ignored him. He put a hand up to his forehead. “I’m seein’, but not believing…”

Water in the basin, least what was left of it, turned murky very quick and got replaced. The screams of outrage and discomfort got louder as Jayne carefully washed the filth off the little head. Beautiful, soft curls the color of a freshly minted penny from Earth-That-Was framed her sweet, tear-stained face

Wrapped in a big, fluffy towel Kaylee helpfully provided, the “Short Stuff” leaned against Jayne’s shoulder once more, hiccupping and sniffing. “See? That wan’t so bad? All done now. Aaaall clean and shiny.” Sucking on her thumb again, she snuggled against his neck for a moment then cautiously looked around. Everyone smiled, even Zoe, and her eyes went wide.

“We better leave now, Jayne, so Simon can check her out and we get the supplies. She’ll need them.” Clearly reluctant, Jayne nodded, but held on a moment longer when Inara reached up to take the baby. Simon watched them leave and when they were out of earshot, he said, while fitting the earpieces of the stethoscope in: “That’s why I never wanted to go into Pediatrics. Anxious parents. So much harder to handle than sick children…”

******************

Simon hung the stethoscope on its hook and turned to Inara, who was a very capable assistant and now tried to console the crying little girl. The inoculations and vitamin shots the young doctor gave her produced new screams of outrage. “Well,” he said, while washing his hands, “a blind man on crutches can tell she’s malnourished and in a great deal of discomfort from diaper rash and such. A bit small for her age. I’d say she is about one, one and a half or thereabouts. Not walking yet, but that is not surprising. I am quite confident she will catch up soon. Just have to keep an eye on her heart, there seems to be something off… Nothing showed on the scan, though… Still.”

A grouchy-looking captain appeared in the doorway. “Doc, you’re through with torturing the little bit? I can hear her clear up on the bridge!”

******************

Loading their purchases on the mule and hopping on so Zoe could take them back to the ship, Jayne allowed himself to get lost in thought for a moment. Apparently he remembered more about taking care of a pooper than he should after such a long time… Then again, memories was all he had left of Emma. Lost in thought, he eventually found himself in his bunk, carrying the baby that had at some point been handed off to him again.

Jayne put the little Tyke in her bed and stood looking down at her for a moment. Been a long time since he'd last made a snap decision like that. Walking around that corner and seeing.... Damn. He'd recognized the buyer from his younger days, but had never believed him to be such a sick bastard till he saw it with his own eyes. And then he saw the little girl and something in him just snapped. He touched his swollen eye. 'Course, coulda gone the other way, too.... no resistance from the parents, though.

Gorram Druggies. Selling their own kid for their next fix. It was a crap-heel 'Verse and those on the fringes usually got burned one way or the other.

With a sigh, he turned away. A pink sock lay on his pillow, tickling a tiny smile out of the mercenary. He had missed being a Daddy, though he'd never admit to it.

Reputation to uphold and all.

COMMENTS

Monday, June 27, 2011 3:09 PM

BYTEMITE


Yay posting. :) Establishing moments are go. Gonna be a long haul for the poor kid, but maybe they'll be all right.

Thursday, July 7, 2011 4:26 PM

M52NICKERSON


Great story!


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