Untitled - Prolouge
Saturday, February 25, 2006

Don't have a title yet, and this is still kinda the rough draft. Just looking for feedback.


“Dear Jesus. Thank you for mommy and auntie Marla and mei-mei Fred. Thank you for makin’ everybody in the ‘verse their own special kinda shiny, even when they seem real mean and stupid. Oh, an’ thanks for my dog Goodboy and all the cats that live in the barn. Amen.”

The small-for-his age tow-headed boy leapt from his kneeling onto his bed, yanking his two oversized comforters over his head. A delicate, but firm hand stopped them about halfway up, and the grey-haired sharp-featured woman looked sternly down at the boy, who returned the look with an impish grin. “Jayne…” she began, a smile trying to crack through her firm expression “By ‘the barn’ did you mean the shed that our landlords own?”

“No Auntie Marla.” The eight-year-old lied, trying, rather unsuccessfully, to feign innocence. “I ain’t keepin’ anymore cats in that dirty ole’ shed.

“Jayne…” the lady echoed, preparing a good lecture. The boy never heard it though, three pops, like gunshots, sounded in the not-so-distance. Marla jumped, and pressed her hand against her heart trying to calm herself when silence fell again.

“S’alright Auntie Marla.” Jayne tried to comfort as his aunt made her way to the window to check nearby happenings. “Was just a gunfight is all. Don’t they have gunfights at the core?”

Marla pulled the curtain back from the window. All seems well on the dimly lit street four stories below. Turning back to Jayne, she was astounded by his casual reaction to the possible loss of human life within his hearing range. “We most certainly do not!” Her hands shook as she returned to sit in the chair by the bed, where the boy sat, looking up at her with an almost eager curiosity. “Maybe we should call the federal marshals.”

Jayne’s eyes widened in something similar to horror, with more then a little shock involved. “Call the feds? You don’t wanna be doin’ that Auntie Marla. They’d sooner shoot ya then listen to your story.”

“Now Jayne.” Marla patronized “The marshals are good men and women, and I don’t ever want to hear you call them feds again, it has an insulting connotation. They’re here to help us.”

“Mama calls ‘em feds.” Jayne protested, much to his aunt’s displeasure. “She likes Sheriff Drake better anyway.” At this point, the boy began sulking. “Don’t see why we need him eather. Makes stuff difficult for us folk.”

Not again. “What…stuff, Jayne?”

Jayne shifted uncomfortably under his aunt’s hawk-like gaze. “Jus’…stuff.” His eyes darted over to the pocket knife on his dresser that he’d acquired only recently under somewhat mysterious circumstances. Then he looked quickly away. “Jayne, have you been stealing?”

“Ain’t stealin’!”

Aunt Marla reached for the pocket knife, then took it and held it, still closed, toward him. “Did you take this without asking?”

Jayne studied the knife for a moment, and then looked up solemnly. Slowly, he drew the tip of his index finger over the left side of his chest in an X shape, he couldn’t tell a lie now. A grin spread across the 8-year-old’s features anyway. “No Ma’am.”

And with that, the boy yanked both comforters back up over his head and laid down. Marla smiled and placed the pocketknife back on his dresser, silently making note of all the things he could be pulling. Jayne Cobb was never not pulling something, but when he swore to something, he’d keep it truth even in the face of boys eight times his size. Had to be pretty literal truth though, boy was better at finding loopholes then most full grown businessmen. Slowly, she left to go inform his mother that her son was safely in bed. How safe it actually was, she wasn’t quite sure.

The few moments after Auntie Marla left were not much short of torture. Sittin’ in the blackness, not wantin’ to reach for somethin’ that he could feel pressin’ into his leg through the lower comforter. Only when he couldn’t take it anymore did Jayne sit up and dig between his top comforter to reveal a large package of gum. Grinning, the boy studied it. May as well be gold he was holdin’ his friends would pay so much for it. ‘Course, why they’d pay was no mystery to him. More sugar in a stick of this stuff then in the most expensive hard candy in the ‘verse. Looked pretty shiny too, when someone was workin’ on a big ole’ wad of the stuff. Even better, this wasn’t that pretty pink go se the girls chewed on. Nope, this was full-on, manly purple gum that turned your tongue black.

…it always wore off by mornin’.

It wasn’t like he’d be really loosin’ money. He’d taken it for free, not stole, took. You can’t steal something ‘less someone’s gonna miss it. ‘Sides, took sounded better. Slowly, Jayne began unwrapping a stick of gum, which he carefully set on his lower teeth, and bit down.



Over three decades later, Jayne found himself posed similar. Sitting legs out on the floor by a cargo crate, a brightly-colored bar in a brown package held to his face, a small corner pinched between his teeth.

“That’s your cut you’re chewin’ on, hope you know.” “Mine?” Jayne tried to holler around his mouthful, though it came out almost inaudible. Then he took a moment to chew, swallowed, and said “You’re not givin’ my cut?”

“You’re takin’ your cut right now, Jayne. The money I don’t get for havin’ less bars comes straight outta the ten percent you woulda got.”

Before Jayne could protest, the captain had turned and left the cargo bay. Jayne got up to follow, rethought, turned and grabbed a second bar, closed the crate and hurried after the Captian…only to practically run into someone much smaller, and quite potentially more dangerious.

The doc’s little sister stood in the doorway like she was guardin’ it. Her eyes were half closed, her hair covered half her face, and her head was tilted ‘bout halfway down. She seemed to study him without lookin’ at him, gave him that tingly feeling he always got right between his shoulder blades when he was bein’ watched. Not a pleasant feeling. It only got worse when she spoke softly, but pointedly, almost like his aunt use to. “Too much candy will give you a stomach ache.” Jayne opened his mouth to respond, then realized that his only retort was quite a bit less logical then just keepin’ his mouth shut. River stood there, letting his awkwardness play out a moment before adding “I don’t feel sorry.” and hurrying off down the corridor.

Jayne blinked off the incredibly eerie feeling she’d just given him and turned to sit against the wall of the door by the cargo bay, contentedly taking another bite of the sugary food bar he’d taken…er…stolen…for himself.


Saturday, February 25, 2006 12:22 PM


*laughs* I like it! A good introduction to what looks to be a great Jayne orientated fic! :D

Saturday, February 25, 2006 1:19 PM


I love our merc!!
It sounds like a great beginning so far, keep 'em coming

Sunday, February 26, 2006 2:02 AM


sounds good so far. More Jayne is always welcome!

Sunday, February 26, 2006 2:15 PM


I love little Jayne. Reminds me of my neice, cute but mischievous. Big Jayne is also fun.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006 3:40 PM


I'm intriqued. Excellent writing so far.


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