Inked on Sabbath
Friday, October 21, 2005

By request. How the job went wooly in Slim as Dimes, though it's a complete story on its own.


Inked on Sabbath By belasera PG

By request. How the job went wooly in Slim as Dimes

A vague disclaimer is nobody’s friend. All recognizable characters belong not to me, but to Joss Whedon and the darlings over at Universal. No money made, no harm meant. OMG I wrote something rated PG. There’s a sliver of a reference to “Jaynestown” anyone sees it let me know!

……………………………………………………………………………………….. Jayne had other plans. Didn’t much care for the one’s Mal had, seein’ as they interfered so mightily with his own. But his plans never did seem to have a place at this dinner table, not with everyone crowded around it. “It’s a decent job, should be nothin’ but easy. Thing is, settlers on Sabbath are real, well…asides from powerful puritanical they’re somethin’ akin to paranoid.” Zoe raised an eyebrow at that, was a look Jayne knew to be leery of, meant somethin’ pertinent wasn’t bein’ voiced. “They sound like a good time.” Was all Jayne said, but Kaylee, Kaylee who he was bent on ignorin’ at the moment, musta known Zoe’s looks too, cause she pushed Mal a bit. “Cap’n, we was there a while back, right? Didn’t somethin’ go bad for you and Zoe? You never did say what it was…” Mal just looked at her crooked but Zoe answered after a bit. “They married us.” “Shuma?” Mal looked pained, but there was a ghost of a smile on Zoe’s face and that was somethin’ after way she’d been, so maybe that’s why he broke in, told the story after all. “We went to get the goods, just some grainseed, same as this time. Thing is, these folk won’t deal less’n they know ya some, so we stayed the night at their little inn. Shared a room ‘cause there was no other option and Zoe’n I’ve slept tighter’n at anyhow. Thing was, it got out next ‘morn that we wasn’t…yoked so to speak. Mayor, who happens to be the town’s preacher too, went a mite crazed over the thought of us livin’ in sin right there on his rock. Wouldn’t deal with us, way things were. So we got married.” Mal finished as bland as if he’d said he wanted toast for breakfast and Zoe wasn’t lookin’ phased a bit. Kaylee just looked from one to the other, finally squeakin’ out. “You two’s married?” “Of course not” Mal snapped. “Just on Sabbath.” Zoe corrected with a smile. “What did Wash say, did you tell him?” Kaylee only stumbled a bit over Wash’s name, Jayne could hear the effort it took, but it was worth it to see the look in Zoe’s eyes as she remembered. “Course I did, though he was a mite tetched, accused me of building a harem.” Was easy to laugh then, easy to imagine him sayin’ it. “Yes, well I don’t plan on bringin’ the little wife along for this job, lest we have to invent up some imaginary children to appease the townfolk. Sabbath is only about 12 hours out, that’s why I said I’d take the job, but it’ll take too much time. Inara, I know you have a client waiting, so if’n you all’d just be so kind as to drop me off with Jayne and River, Zoe can take you on to Persephone and meet us back here in three days time.” “Why we need River, this job so easy and such?” Mal didn’t look at him to answer. “I have to go into town alone, these people go too itchy over strangers. You’ll stay on the shuttle with River, come if’n I need you.” Job looked to be dull then, mighty duller than what Jayne’d planned to be doin’ next few days, but no way he’d argue with Mal when this whole damn ship seemed fit to crack lately. Too much not right on board to be addin’ any more to it, he figured he’d done enough damage what with turnin’ his mind to Kaylee without rilin’ up the Cap’n none. He wanted to make sure Kaylee’s mind was turned at him still, wanted to tell her he’d make good on what he said soon as he got back, but he didn’t even seem to have time to catch a wiff of her before he went, between stocking up the shuttle with vittles and draggin’ River’s ruttin’ overstuffed duffle into it. Girl’d probably packed it full of wobble headed dolls all the sense she had. He said as much to her and she just stepped over the thing as he dragged it along, didn’t answer at all. “Hey,” He hollered at her back. “I know you could carry this yourself if you wanted, I ain’t no mule.” She quirked an eybrow over her shoulder. “Just an ass.” Mal stuck his head out the shuttle, lookin cross at Jayne. “Jayne, can you stop picking a fight for once?” River got to Mal, turned so she was lookin’ at Jayne too. “Slim picking’s though, he’s always a fool and never a foil.” Mal looked cross at her too, “River, I know you can play nice, go get your bag from Jayne.” Jayne smirked, dropped it to the catwalk and she picked it up like it was nothin’, swung it so it hit Jayne right in the chest. Oh yeah, this was going to be a real good time. ………………………………………………………………………………………….. They settled the shuttle down a few miles from town, near enough that Mal could walk there easy. “I won’t be back ‘til tomorrow morning at the earliest, but I’ll wave you tonight after I meet the seller. You two stay here, dong ma? This town ain’t the sort to take well to either of you, I love you both dear but yer just heaps of trouble.” Jayne frowned at him. “Hey, she’s crazy but I know how to behave around folk.” River rolled her eyes at him like they was loose in her head, asked breezily, “What was it you said to that Sheriff in Bamford?” Jayne thought a spell, then laughed. “Yeah, I see what you mean.” *Now look sir, I ain’t askin’ you if’n yer daughter’s a whore. I’m askin’ you if this here whore’s yer daughter* “Like I said. Trouble, the both of you. River you just keep that third eye of yours fixed on me, let Jayne know if there’s trouble. Jayne, make sure…” Mal stopped, shook his head a bit. “River, try to keep him… oh, Buddha, help us I don’t know which one of you to admonish what. Just sit tight.” …………………………………………………………………………………… Was dull alright, they played some cards but no game with River was ever fair and that made cheatin’ no fun at all. Anyway, Jayne was finding it a trial to keep his mind clean, bein’ so near to River for so long was makin’ him uncomfortable, when he was so full of thoughts of Kaylee and she was probably still half betrothed to Simon. Hwoon dahn. He tried to soothe the surge of jealousy that he hardly even meant. Kaylee wasn’t his in no way, and he’d meant it when he said she could have them both. “She doesn’t want more than one. Not greedy like some.” ”Oh, goramn it girl, can you let a man have his own thoughts?” “Sorry, it’s just close like you said.” “Yeah, well I didn’t say, so let’s just keep our brain patterns to ourselves.” River looked tetchy, like something’ else wanted said, and girl never could keep her thoughts to herself. “They’re done. Keeps him up at night tryin’ to figure out why. He doesn’t figure out you.” Jayne wished to be anywhere but there. “Look, that ain’t my fault. He ain’t what she wanted is all, she didn’t end it for me, I told her not to.” “You told her. Told her to lock it but she won’t. Doesn’t know how. Locked up tight for Simon though.” “Oh, so you know all about that…well I guess you would. You shouldn’t listen in on such dirty things.” River smiled at him a bit, like everything they was sayin’ mattered a lot less than anyone knew. “Isn’t dirty. It looks like a gunfight.” “Gunfights is dirty too. Yer still crazy as ever.” She sighed at him, raised her eyebrows like he was dumb or somethin’. “I know that you know exactly what I mean, since it came from your own brain. Don’t fake like it didn’t, you only talk right when your mouth is closed.” “We shouldn’t be talkin’ ‘bout this at all. It’s private, between me and Kaylee and your brother, ain’t right for you to…Simon is…he’s a decent man and don’t seem right to talk on him when he can’t hear us. Shouldn’t be a thing we pass the time with. Speakin’ of time it’s past midnight, where’s that wave from Mal, he’s late.” “You are too.” “Shuma? I’m late?” “No. You’re decent. Sometimes.” Jayne just huffed at her. “Mal’s fine. He’s bored, they don’t serve anything but tea to drink. He’s talkin’ with the buyer….someone else is there, too. I don’t like her, silly girl with pigtails and a dress too frilly for her, rancher’s daughter, minds the sheep but she hates them, wants wolves instead…wants Mal. Little Bo Peepers. She’s trouble.” “Trouble how, trouble we should end this creepifyin’ chatter and get off this shuttle?” “I don’t know, she’s crazy though, like sheep crawled up inside her brain.” “Well, you’d know.” River threw him a pinched frown, but didn’t seem all that offended. “No, she’s crazier than me, she’s mean, wants Mal like a doll for Christmas. She’s hurtful, she might hurt him if she gets the chance.” Jayne was staring at her oddly, “Hey, here’s a funny recollect, ‘member that time you slashed me with a knife?” ”Oh, that’s hardly the same thing, you deserved that and we both know it..” She tossed Jayne a pointed look. “Well, yeah, all right, you’re an angel of mercy, so what we gonna do about miss crazy?” “Nothing now, she’s with her pa and maybe she just always thinks this way, maybe she won’t try anything. Oh, that’s bad. Pa’s going to bed, leaving crazy to show Mal his room” Minutes passed, River just staring ahead like there was a show only she could see “….but….oh!” “What? What is it?” ”He’s gone, no thoughts no dreams, I can’t see right, I was lookin’ through him and he’s not there!” ”Did he get shot, what the hell?” ”No, no damage, just…” River squinted hard before answering Jayne. “He’s been drugged. Let’s go.” …………………………………………………………………………………………… Town was six miles off, but the ranch housing a now drugged Mal was another three after that. River wanted to go on foot, Jayne wanted to take the shuttle. But she was certain he wasn’t in any real physical danger and the thought that Mal’d hide ‘em if they botched this job on account of nothing won out in the end. So they trudged, River had brought her big duffle with them and Jayne carried it some of the time without really complaining too much. “Real easy he said, man has a way of overlookin’ every hitch to every plan, doesn’t he?” He swung the bag over his shoulder, asked “What you got in here?” ”Plans.” Sun was just creeping up over the mountains when they got to the ranch. Found a bit of cover behind some bushes and scoped the house. “He’s not in there.” River said finally. “He’s in the barn with all her pets.” They crept to it, Jayne knew on a ranch such as this folk were up and about early and he wasn’t wantin’ to meet any of them. They moved to the rear of the barn, where they stopped next to a narrow door, listening. “Think she’s sexing him in there or somethin’?” ”No. Captain is soft as lambs.” ”Ew, girl, if yer brother heard the things you say…” ”He’d just blame it on your bad influence.” “Reckon so…shhh..someone’s comin.” They eased the door open slowly, it led into a small stall at the back of the barn, still mostly dark and a good place to hide, which they did as the big front doors creaked open. “Moreen, you in here darling?” River whispered to Jayne, “Crazy Moreen, not the first time but her daddy doesn’t want to know it. She isn’t here, she couldn’t wake him up and she got bored, thought to play a joke instead. Mean stupid joke set by a mean stupid shepardess.” “Oh, ok.” Was all Jayne could say, but he stuck his head out to see what could be seen with just his two eyes. What was there made him grab River’s arm, pull her out to see it too just as the rancher hollered. “Hey!” Hollarin was for Mal, layin naked and asleep with a sheep for a pillow. “Hey you wang bao dahn, wake up goramnit!” “Mal did, woke with a rangy snarl and squinted up at the man. “What in the hell…what was in that tea?” ”You…you shiong muh duh duang ren, I knew there was somethin’ off about you, I heard tell about folk like you, all yer morals lost out in the black til you got no decency left.” “What? I’m sorry to be naked here but that ain’t rightly my fault.” “Shut it, I know why yer naked. You fornicated with my sheep, didn’t you boy?” Mal stood up quick and Jayne clapped his hand over River’s eyes. “No…Nooo sir, I did not touch these sheep. Their virtue is intact, I assure you by all that is holy.” But the man wasn’t listening, was hollering something fierce out the door and Jayne whispered into River’s ear “Jobs officially gone bad. We gotta get him and get outta here.” But it was too late, five or six ranch hands had answered the hollarin and were busy shoving Mal out the door. “Where’r you taking me?” ”Where do you think, you gou tsao de off worlder? Jail.” …………………………………………………………………………………………… “Easy, he said easy. This job has just gone about as stupid as it could.” They were still sitting in the stall, seemed about as good a place as any to hide while they thought of a plan. While River thought of a plan. She finally opened that duffle, and Jayne didn’t know what he’d see, he was hoping for grenades, but he wasn’t expecting it to be stuffed full of clothing. He groaned. “What, we goin’ to a ball?” River just looked at him like he was as wooly as them sheep. “Disguises. We need a disguise. Easiest way to be somethin’ new is to wear what it wears. Wolf in sheep’s clothing. I brought something for you too.” She was handing him something dark, it was a somber robe looked to fit him. He gaped at her. “How did you know what we’d…well, where did you get…” “I sew. I have a lot of time on my hands.” “Ok, so what does this robe make me, looks like somethin’ a monk would wear.” “Yep, this town likes to be preached at, so we’ll make missionaries out of ourselves.” She pulled out another somber robe for herself, two headwraps covered with Chinese symbols, then some long sashes with little bells at end, and handed him one of each. “Go get changed, I’ll see you when we’re holy.” They looked like something else, he had to admit. They looked like two people who never even smelled crime, all noble and dull in their clergy garb. They walked to town like they had all day, River stopping to greet all they passed. A few children ran ahead of them, and Jayne was sure it was to let people know that a coupl’a missionaries was on their way. Seemed to Jayne all children was good for, to run off and waggle their tongues ‘bout anything they saw. River coached him quickly as they went, “Don’t swear. Don’t leer. Don’t shoot anyone. Smile.” He practiced that, a wide smile at her and she flinched. “Ugh, no, not so much. You just be savaputra, always earnest and always wrong.” “What?” “Just don’t talk.” Was easy to get in to see Mal, sheriff smiled and thanked them for comin’, said thems that sinned is always in need of those with a mission. River bowed graciously, Jayne smiled and then remembered, stopped quick. Mal looked from one of them to the other, back again. “Did you two join a ruttin’ cult? I told you to stay on the ship.” Jayne frowned at him. “Mal, you told us to come if there was trouble.” Mal didn’t answer and Jayne felt the need to point out, “You’re in jail.” “We’re always in jail, Jayne, it’s the natural order of things, us bein’ in jail.” “Yeh, but you’re naked.” River started laughing, like she’d been waiting to from the moment they walked in. Mal just huffed, didn’t acknowledge the oddness that fact brought to the situation. “That ain’t exactly out of the order of things either, way things go for us. It ain’t even that bad, sheriff said trial’ll be tomorrow and then a just a few hours of punishment and I’ll be gone. They’re uptight, sure, but not really as strict as you’d think. Said Hardy’ll still trade with me, too, though he will take a share. Sort of a dowry I guess for that sheep.” He looked sideways as Jayne and River. “They tell you what I’m in here for?” River shook her head. “We were in the barn, the scene of the crime.” Mal sneered sarcastically but River went on, her voice low and serious. “Tell us truthfully Captain, did you commit the crime?” It was Jayne’s turn to laugh, but Mal wasn’t seein’ the humor. “Just go back to the ship, won’t be nothin’ to fuss about. I’ll go to court tomorrow, try to look like I’m not a lecherous hump….wonder if they’ll give my clothes back….sit in the stockades or pick up trash for a few hours and then I’ll be back, we can pick up the cargo as promised and we’ll be gone.” Jayne nodded. “Just like that? You sure you don’t want us to break you out?” “Jayne, if I run I’ll be labeled a sheep fornicator, thing like that can stick to a man. Don’t forget, we’ve gotta deal with these people in the future.” “Alright, we’re out of here.” Sheriff opened the door to let them out and as they passed Jayne heard him say to Mal, “Mr. Reynolds, do you want me to contact your wife for you?” He had to squeeze River’s arm to keep from howling, and he saw her screw her face up painfully, trying to do the same. ……………………………………………………………………………………….. Mal was back the next evening true to his word. He was thankfully dressed, but looked madder’n hell and not even Jayne was willin’ to ask how the trial went. Figured he could guess. He and River just shared a look as Mal passed between them, snapping orders to get them ready for liftoff. Jayne went to do just that, but he saw River staring at Mal’s arm. He looked himself, and saw the bit of blood soaking through his shirt. River caught his eye and he nodded at her. She was fast like a freak, yanked up his shirt before Mal could even yelp. He tried to yank away but River held him by the shoulder, gaped at his arm as Jayne did the same. There on Mal’s forearm was a fresh tattoo, and truly the ugliest one Jayne’d ever seen. He and River spoke at once. “Jen do mai, is that supposed to be you…” “What are you doing to that poor…” Mal did yank away at last, glared at them both. “We get back on board, Simon’s gonna take it off me, possibly blindfolded, and then it’s never going to be mentioned again, dong ma?” Jayne and River nodded weakly, Jayne’s eyes filling with tears from the effort of keeping a straight face. Finally he managed to choke out “Well, good to have you back, but they was expecting us back on Serenity nowish and we ain’t even got the cargo yet.” Mal nodded. “I know it, I’ll just wave Zoe and let her know.” Jayne cracked. He couldn’t help to when River started to laugh, he gasped out, “Yeah, and you can show off your new tattoo.” "Oh, tian xiz shou you deren dou gaisi!"


Friday, October 21, 2005 7:02 PM


I was wonderin' how the job went woolly.

This was nice, made me laugh. I love River/Jayne interaction.

Friday, October 21, 2005 10:45 PM


Oh my dear lord.

That had me giggling all the way through. I love the River/Jayne banter. I love River calling him decent. I love Jayne's line about the daughter being a whore. I love Mal being branded. I love them as monks.

Whatever you write next, I'll be reading rabidly!

Friday, October 21, 2005 11:49 PM


Well, that was unexpected! Laughed so much at how a seemingly worldly man could be so naive - so often. Maybe it wasn't that girl that was touched but our noble Captain. Thought Jayne did a good job keeping his mouth shut even if it did bring tears to his eyes. And mischievous River not letting on what was going to happen while packing a bag ready. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Saturday, October 22, 2005 6:30 AM


OH a great laugh! Good work.

Sunday, October 23, 2005 3:45 AM


you sure ain't joss?


Sunday, October 23, 2005 3:45 AM


sorry, that ^ should be "you sure you ain't joss?"


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