Five Ways Jayne Showed What a Softie He Really Is
: Five Ways Jayne Cobb Showed What a Softie He Really IsAuthor
: Jedi ButtercupRating
: Not mine. Spoilers for all of canon. Requested by secondalto.
Five Ways Jayne Cobb Showed What a Softie He Really Is1) For Maddie
Mal cleared his throat loudly, and smiled in grim satisfaction as Jayne jumped in his seat. The merc had been entirely focused on the box sitting open on the table, the ill-gotten goods within wrapped in a pretty scrap of silk what looked like it had been lifted from Inara's things. That level of inattention weren't normal for Jayne, but then again, neither was trying to take more'n his due of the smuggled goods that passed through *Serenity*'s hold.
"An' just what do you think you're doin'?" Mal asked gruffly, crossing his arms and letting the downward tilt of his expression do his threatening for him.
"Mal! I, uh. I thought you was supposed to be out shoppin' for parts with Kaylee," Jayne blurted, scrambling to his feet and turning so's the box was hid behind him.
"So you thought you could *steal* from me?" Mal asked, raising his eyebrows. "You have problems with your share, you come to me. You don't just decide to take more'n what you've been given, less'n you *want* to get thrown off my boat."
Jayne's expression cycled from startled to belligerent to puppy-ish hurt in the few seconds Mal spent talking, then went sullenly defensive as he set his jaw and picked up the box, bringing it around in front of him.
"Aw, Mal," he said. "It's just one! I'll even pay you for it if I gotta, it's just that we ain't been nowhere with a decent market in weeks, and Maddie's birthday's comin' up..."
Mal's eyebrows raised even further as his mood abruptly shifted from anger to bemusement. "And you think she wants a *bobble-headed geisha doll*?" he blurted, trying and failing to imagine it in the rough-worked hands of any miner's daughter, nevermind the fact that she was related to his gun-hand.
There followed a lot more sputtering on Jayne's part and a lot of teasing 'bout Cobb family entertainment 'round the dinner table that night, but the next day, a small wrapped package was left at Amon Duul's waystation, and Mal didn't even take the fee for the postage out of Jayne's next cut.2) For Kaylee
The days and weeks after Jubal Early's invasion were harder on some aboard *Serenity* than others. Book grew introspective, talking to Jayne less than he had before; Mal's paranoia worsened, leading to lower takes and more time coasting the Black between jobs; Inara started packing her things; crazy girl spent more time smiling secretively at the walls of the ship; and little Kaylee made like a ghost, flitting 'round the edges of their gatherings and hardly spending no time in the engine room less'n someone was with her.
Didn't take a genius to figure out what had gone wrong. Jayne couldn't do nothing 'bout any of the others, but he wasn't no stranger to taking back control of your own life, and thought he might be able to do something for the skittish mechanic. At least get her thinking on traps, or tripwires, or something to let her know when people was coming-- more'n that pretty-boy doctor could do, at any rate. An' even if she went back to smiling at *him* after... at least she'd be smiling. *Serenity* just weren't *Serenity* without it.3) For Book
It just weren't right, letting the shepherd leave Serenity without no weapon. Haven weren't no Core world, weren't even semi-civilized like Persephone where Book had spent all them years in a monastery; man as could shoot like Book needed a piece to keep him'n his safe. Even if Book aimed never to use it, Jayne would feel a mite better 'bout letting the old man go if he knew one of his girls was there with him, quick to hand. Phoebe, maybe, or Betsey; Jayne couldn't let Vera go, but he had plenty of others what could do the job.
He fingered each of the weapons in his collection, then made his decision and pulled one off the wall.4) For Zoë
Zoë was used to redefining her life by *befores* and *afters*. Before joining the Army; after meeting Mal. Before the bombing of Shadow; after Serenity Valley. Before meeting Wash.
After leaving him behind, all his jokes and laughter stolen by a Reaver's spear.
She had a feeling everything would be after
that from here on out, from this to her dying day. Every morning she got up, feeling brittle as glass; every day she endured Mal's too-careful conversation, Kaylee's pitying looks, and River's tears like blows, hoping this wouldn't be the day she shattered.
Jayne, strangely enough, was the one who did her the most kindness: He was the only one treating her no different.5) For Mal
Mal's offer of ten percent and his own bunk might have been the best offer Jayne had had back when they first looked at each other over the barrels of their guns, but there had been plenty of better offers since. 'Specially after Miranda; word had got 'round that stubborn, *feng-le* Captain Reynolds had gone up against Reavers and Alliance both and survived, and as Reynolds' gun-hand, Jayne had got more'n a little of the credit. Folk wanted him at their side, and whether they thought he was skilled or just plain lucky didn't seem to make no difference in the size of the shares they offered.
Jayne weren't going to take a one of 'em, though. For all the ups and downs of his time on *Serenity*, weren't no place but his mama's house ever felt so much like home, and for the first time, he actually found himself wanting to live up to what was expected of him. Long as Mal let him stay there, Jayne would do his best not to let him down.