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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Shepherd Book shares a late night conversation with Serenity's mercenary.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1396 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Disclaimer: Not mine, no pay.
Thanks: To Jacqui, for friendship, great beta and encouragement, to Josh the Paramedic for medical info and to Rion, my own personal BDH. You guys are the greatest.
Rating: - G - Later chapters, angst, violence.
Remarks: I continue to explore the challenges faced by Jayne and Kaylee as they struggle to define their relationship. Set following my most recent story “The Birthday Gift”, after “Objects in Space”. Inara has departed from Serenity and things on board ship are getting more difficult.
Feedback Oh yes, please and thank you. To read the lead up, click on my name.
Leaps of Faith
Jayne likes the quiet hours when the others are in their quarters, likes to sit at the big table and do maintenance on his weapons, or even just think. The quiet lets him organize his mind, assess his feelings, try to make sense of stuff he finds confusing.
Sometimes it takes him a little longer than other people to sort out situations, especially where feelings and right and wrong are involved. Along the way, those have gotten pretty mixed up in his mind and he’s just never bothered to get them clear.
But that is changing. Started changing when Mal’d nearly spaced him after Ariel; changing even faster now that he and Kaylee are involved.
He’s nursin’ a cup a hooch, thinkin’ over their last job, thinkin’ how he shoulda been more alert, more careful. Quiet footfalls bring him back to the present and he looks up.
“Shepherd.” He nods in greeting. “Kinda late-like for you to be up an’ about, ain’t it?” Kaylee’s homebrew has filled him with mellow ease.
Book smiles. “Had a craving for a cup of hot tea. Mind if I keep you company awhile?”
Jayne shakes his head. “Make yerself at home. I’m just wool gatherin’, I guess.”
The Shepherd heats water and adds tea, then carries the steaming mug to the table and sits down across from the merc.
“You seem to spend a lot of time here late at night.”
“Yeah. I like the quiet. Table’s a good place to break down my guns, do whatever I got to with ‘em, think about stuff.”
“A routine like that can be very calming. Almost like meditating, I suppose.” Book carefully sips the hot tea, his presence calming, too.
The two sit quietly for some time, finding companionship in stillness.
The Shepherd clears his throat. “Do you mind if I ask you a question, son?”
Jayne is startled from his thoughts.
Before he can respond, Book continues, “I’ve noticed you’re very respectful when I say a prayer or during those silent blessings the Captain prefers, maybe even more than any of the others. You remove your hat, bow your head.”
“I’ve found myself wondering whether you were brought up in a religious home.”
The mercenary drains the final swallow of hooch from his cup, then stares at his hands as they rest on the wooden table.
“Don’t talk much to anybody about the past or my family, but yeah, my ma was a religious woman, tried to teach us right. Read the Bible to us an’ all that.”
“Were you close to her?” Book asks gently, cupping the warm teacup.
Jayne sighs, a deep, tired sigh. “Ain’t actually seen her in a long, long time. We write a little, an’ I send her some money to help out when I can.”
His vision is turned inward, playing over memories: the beatings from his drunken father, his ma’s face as he remembers her, of how it felt to make his way alone and young, of actions and choices he regrets.
Book studies the emotions that flicker across the mercenary’s unguarded face and knows the man is struggling.
Since coming on board Serenity, back on Persephone, the Shepherd has watched the relationships between the eight people he now thinks of as “his flock” shift and change, watches them struggle to live, survive, love one another. He doesn’t judge. He listens, supports as he can and as they allow him to.
“Shepherd?” Jayne looks up at him.
The older man nods.
“Look, this is just between us, just man t’man. You ain’t always been a Shepherd an’ we both know it. Ya just know too gorram much about weapons and tactics and Alliance business.”
Book’s face remains impassive. He just lets Jayne talk and he listens.
“An’ you know I ain’t got the cleanest history in the ‘Verse. Done a lot of stuff before Mal hired me that was stupid or wrong or just plain bad, an’ I know it. Made some bad choice since then, too.”
Jayne looks down, studies his hands. Big hands with palms callused by gun butts and hard work, hard hands with scarred knuckles over long fingers. Hands that have taken life at a distance through the scope and barrel of a sniper rifle, that have squeezed the last breath out of men, that have betrayed, even betrayed himself.
Hands, too that have given pleasure - to himself, to women he’s been with, especially to Kaylee, his darlin’ Kaylee.
“When a man’s gone on a long ways, lived a certain kind of life, can he really change, make a different way?” The merc’s blue eyes are transparent and haunted as he looks up.
Book understands the moral struggle taking place in front of him, has watched Jayne’s growth and the changes fueled by his feelings for the ship’s young mechanic, by the remarkable family-like bond among Malcolm Reynold’s crew.
“Well, son, I’ve always believed that a man has the power of choice – the choice to do what he knows is right. We all make mistakes, make bad choices. All we can do is try to forgive ourselves and others and move on, make the best choices we can.”
Jayne turns this over in his mind, not yet sure what he’ll do with it, but somehow, comforted.
Book stands and collects their cups. “It’s getting late, son. Why don’t you go turn in? I’ll wash these up.”
(To be continued...)
Friday, April 7, 2006 3:44 PM
Friday, April 7, 2006 4:58 PM
Friday, April 7, 2006 6:02 PM
Saturday, April 8, 2006 12:56 AM
Sunday, June 11, 2006 5:04 AM
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