Story: Kennedy Rose
Chapter: Pa Cobb (2/?)
Disclaimer: Not my world in any way shape or form. Joss created all. I'm just playing in his sand box (but I brought my own shovel).
Summary: When a wave from Jayne's ma interrupts the crew's vacation at the Guild Mother's estate, the crew of Serenity learns a lot about the merc, and a familiar face has ties to Dawn's past.
Notes: Set in the Morning Rayne 'verse. Follows "Discharge from Active Duty" (starts about a week after that one ends.
Pairings: River/Dawn/Jayne, Mal/Inara, Simon/Kaylee
2: Pa Cobb
The crew stood back and watched as the broad shouldered woman stubbed out her cigar and stepped off the back porch to meet Jayne in a rib-cracking hug. Her voice, deep for a woman, was warm and pleasant nonetheless. Mal caught Zoe's eye and the first mate quirked an eyebrow. Clearly, she was thinking along the same lines as the captain. There couldn't be another woman in the 'verse more suited to be Jayne's ma, from her battered hat covering graying brown hair cropped short to the oversized Bowie knife sticking out of her muddy right boot. Hard, though, to get a mental image of her sitting down to knit.
When she released her boy from the bear hug and turned, Mal stepped forward, ready to greet Jayne's ma like the gentleman his own mother had tried to make him. Instead of facing the crew, however, the woman turned and yelled into the partially open kitchen door.
"Vera, get out here! He's home!"
A clattering crash came from the house and the storm door was flung open. A tiny woman practically flew off the porch and flung herself into Jayne's arms with a cry or joy. The merc lifted the woman off her feet and spun in a circle, making the long skirt of her blue cotton dress flare out over tiny black ankle boots. She kissed his face over and over and once Jayne set her back on her feet it was plain to see she was crying. She used the bottom of her apron to dab at her eyes and looked up. This time when she reached for Jayne, it was to smack his chest, cuff his ear, and then use the same ear to pull his head down to her eye level.
"Jayne Ezra Ezekiel Cobb Junior! What the gorram hell were you thinking! Bad enough you done took off 'fore ya was barely growed, and then to not come back 'til now? The hell, boy!" She paused, smacking the back of the large killer's head before grabbing his face in both hands and kissing him again as she burst into tears.
"Ow! Ma! I'm sorry, OK. Ain't like I never got in touch."
"Isn't." The woman sniffed and wiped at her eyes again. Jayne started to grumble under his breath then looked at her face and thought better of it.
When the woman turned and faced the crew, they found themselves staring back at Jayne's eyes in a pixie face. Jayne cleared his throat and stepped up beside her. "Uh, Mal, Zoe, everybody, like you to meet my mother, Veracity Cobb. Ma, this is my crew." Mal looked from Jayne, to Veracity Cobb to the woman that looked like SHE should be Jayne's ma and back. "And this is Sadie Cobb. She's my Pa."
"Huh." Mal nodded and looked toward Inara and Zoe. "Well, I'm confused now."
Jayne ignored the varied reactions (ranging from slack-jawed shock on the parts of Mal and Simon to a bubbly ‘Shiny’ from Kaylee). His eyes sought out Dawn and River, finally spotting them holding hands and half-hidden behind the doctor and the mechanic. An almost involuntary jerk of his head, a slight widening of his eyes, and a small encouraging smile drew them slowly forward. The pair stopped when they were standing one on either side of Jayne but at a respectable distance. River jumped and Dawn gave a small yelp of surprise when Jayne, having none of that respectability go se wrapped an arm around each of their waists and jerked them in against his body. “An’ this is Dawn an’ River. They’s the pilots on Serenity and my par—para—parameters? No, that ain’t it. Par—uh?” He looked to River for help.
“Paramours,” she said softly, offering him a pleased smile.
“Yep, that’s it. Paramours. That means they’s my girls,” he finished proudly. Had it not been completely impossible, one might have thought Inara gasped in surprise at the matter of fact manner in which Jayne had just told his mother he had not one but two lovers, both obviously a good deal younger than him and involved with one another as well as her son. But Inara was a Guild trained and registered companion, so obviously it was impossible and Mal and Zoe must have just imagined the widening eyes and tiny intake of air.
River offered Jayne’s maternal parent a nervous smile and a shy nod. Dawn uttered something that was probably supposed to be ‘Pleased to meet you’ but came out sounding more like ‘Please tie my shoe’. Veracity Cobb, for her part, surprised everyone but Jayne and Sadie when she grabbed Dawn in a quick, fierce hug and dropped a kiss on River’s cheek. The crew could tell she was saying something to the girls but only the trio heard what it was as Sadie Cobb called them inside. “All y’all come on in here afore it gets dark and the food gets cold.” Her voice was warm and friendly, but there was no mistaking the order.
According to Sadie, Vera (that was what Veracity insisted on being called by everyone save Jayne) had been cooking all day. As the crew entered the warm, crowded kitchen, it seemed that all week was more like it. The solid wooden table was laden heavily with various dishes, all covered and still warm including the bread. Mal didn’t say a word when Sadie took his hand in one of hers and reached for Vera with the other, nodding for everyone to follow suit and bowed her head to pray. The captain even bowed his head respectfully as she gave thanks for the meal, the hands that prepared it, family, and new friends. Everyone—even River and Inara—had seconds and Mal, Jayne, Kaylee, and Sadie had made decent enough headway in thirds before anyone even attempted a bite of the various cakes, pies, candies, and other assorted goodies covering every available inch of counter space.
River was arranging her cookie crumbs in a perfect line and Dawn had just sighed in contentment and pushed away a plate smeared with chocolate frosting when Jayne scooped out a sizeable helping of steaming blackberry cobbler and poured heavy cream over the top. He was halfway through the bowl when a bell echoed lightly from down the hall, followed by a tight, wheezing cough. Vera tensed and started to rise but Sadie put a hand on her shoulder. “Let me go. You been workin’ all day and barely sleepin’ at night for over a week now. Stay here and visit with our boy.” Vera’s shoulders slumped as she gave in and Sadie lumbered down the hall, disappearing into a door on the right. River placed a hand on Jayne’s arm and rested her head on his shoulder as Dawn placed a hand lightly on his thigh. The large merc looked at his mother, jaw clenched.
“Ya shoulda told me, Ma.”
“Mattie didn’t wanna worry ya none. He made me promise Jayne, and I only gave in on account a ya was already comin’ fer yer—for Ezra.”
“That don’t matter an’ ya know it, Ma. I coulda sent the credits for more medicine.”
Vera fell silent and stared down at her empty dessert plate. “The meds ain’t doin’ him no good no more.” Jayne looked stricken. A loud thump and a yell from Sadie had Jayne down the hall in a flash, Vera right on his heels. Simon started to follow but River grabbed his wrist, wide eyed and fearful. “You need to go home. Prep the infirmary. They’ll come to you.” Simon nodded, already in “doctor mode” as he snapped out orders which Mal followed, although he planned to let the doc have it as soon as this crisis was over. By the time Jayne came out of the house carrying a wheezing, gasping, blanket wrapped bundle Simon was waiting with oxygen and an array of medicines and slightly outdated scanners and Mal and Zoe had returned with the mule.