Fandom: Firefly/Serenity (preseries)
Characters: Jayne Cobb and multiple OMCs
Rating: T for safe.
Warnings: None I think.
Disclaimer: If I owned this would I really be writing fanfic?
Summary: As he watched the dirt being pushed over his pa, sealing him away from the world of the living forever, Jayne knew he was down there too. His future was being lost and buried, taken away from him. A gen Jayne origins fic.
A/N: Posted on ff.net and part of my effort to post all my stories over here. Not related to any of my other stories.
Jayne's pa died gasping. Unable to breathe through the dust and poison filling his lungs as he was suffocated from the inside out. Other organs shut down before the last wheezing grasp for life. Death and decay a scent that had been lingering for the better part of a year intensified and come to completion. It had been there long before then, from the moment his pa had stepped foot in the mines, but in the beginning it had been hidden under an appearance of vitality. Now his pa's limbs were naught but bone, yellowed with disease and paling in death as the thickened blood in his veins stopped its sluggish motion.
Jayne watched as his father died, long and slow and painful. As his ma broke down in sobs and clutched lil' Star and Matty to her breast, wailing for their lost pa, though Matty couldna known what was lost at the age of six months. Maybe felt her ma and sister's pain. Not Jayne's 'cause he weren't crying and didn't feel nothing. Just numb and cold inside as he promised himself he'd never be his pa. He wouldn't go out like that. Not broken to the point where he couldn't take the choice unto himself on how he was meeting his maker. That's not how a man was supposed to die.
He was fourteen when they laid his pa in the ground in the sad little cemetery just outside of town. A cemetery full of men and women like he'd been, dying the same way. A casualty list that none gave a gorram hell about. They was just poor workers with hundreds more to replace each person lost because work was short and everyone was taking what they could get. They had families lookin' to them for support and the mines were the only thing bein' offered up if you didn't have enough credit to buy seed and start your own life somewhere. His pa had been one of those multitudes that had nothin' but a strong back and a desire to work and that's all you needed to work a mine.
As he watched the dirt being pushed over his pa, sealing him away from the world of the living forever, Jayne knew he was down there too. His future was being lost and buried, taken away from him. He was the man of the house now. It was his job to take care of his family like his pa had tried so hard to do. Succeeded in the beginning, but he'd failed the moment he'd stepped foot in the mines. Jayne weren't gonna make the same mistake; follow in the same footsteps that the men of his family had walked in for too long. He had a choice and he was gonna take it.
He didn't say good-bye as he left that night. Just left a note in the beat up little kitchen as he crept quiet-like from the house he'd been born and raised in. Didn't take more'n a duffel with him. Didn't have much else to take. 'Cept his ma's guitar, the one she gave him just that year. Took it 'cause it's all of home and family he could take with him. Memories of his ma teachin' him and Star how to play as his pa held a gurgling Matty were stored in the simple wooden hull and tied down with catgut string. Only thing he had in this world that weren't necessary for survival. Not in the sense that it could be used for anythin' anyways.
There was a transport ship set to take off to the black and he stowed away without none the wiser. Least until they was already in the black and then the cap'n didn't have no choice but to keep him on. Made him work though, without pay. Said it was to cover the price of him bein' there without his say so and Jayne was fine with that. He was used to hard work and didn't complain none when he was made to haul crates and perform the chores none of the crew wanted a part of.
They dumped him on the first world they came to, out on the Rim where there was even less work than the Borders. Starving and desperate with less than he'd started out with, it didn't take him long to turn to the sorta thing that woulda made his ma weep had she known he was doing it. Started stealing for food and breakin' into places to stay warm. It was fate though, when he stole from the wrong sorts and they caught him. Woulda strung him up to, but he fought like a rat cornered and the leader took a likin' to him. Said he was big and strong for his age, with spitfire stubbornness a mule woulda been proud of.
Turned out they was a gang of mercenaries, a bunch of backbirths like him tryin' to scratch a livin' outa the 'verse that didn't give a gorram hell if they lived nor died. He was put to work, haulin' gear at first, but he was good at listenin' and paid close attention and learned stuff. One of the men called it being nosy-like but one old fella by the name of Trucker said it was good. Took him under his wing in a way, though it weren't a gentle place to be. As Jayne came to learn though, the Rim and the black weren't a gentle place to be.
Trucker was a hard taskmaster. He didn't look pretty, didn't talk pretty, didn't teach pretty. Slowness to learn or talking back was rewarded with cuffs upside his head with hand or pistol. But he taught Jayne everythin' he knew and it were worth every blow and insult.
Trucker was the best shot and the best tracker in the 'verse, or so he claimed. Jayne didn't see where no one had room to argue. The ones that did, well, their bones was bleachin' out in the desert moons and Trucker was still among the livin'.
Days that weren't spent workin' on a job or where they wasn't needed, Trucker spent schoolin' him. Learning how to shoot, stationary targets at first and then hares and it's not long at all until its men he's aiming at. But first there's terse explanations on how to hold a pistol, a rifle, a shotgun, an automatic. The difference between laser guns and the type that still needed ammo. How atmo on different worlds affected them. How to counter against wind, distance, loss of a scope.
When he wasn't learning how to shoot and track, he was learning how to disassemble and take care of every gun they come across and that was a plenty long line. Learned each one 'til he could do it blindfolded and it surprised him none when Trucker made him do that too.
Told him how to barter for wages and know when a man was gonna lie to you and stab you in the back and when he was gonna be fair. Taught him there weren't no such thing in truth. There was nobody in the 'verse as would be fair to a merc and he best learn that. That they wasn't nothin' but a tool. To be used and thrown away when they wasn't any use any more or when they weren't worth the pay. That everyone turned on them in the end so he'd better do the turning first else he'd end up dead all quick like. Told him that if anyone ever paid him to, he'd pull on Jayne himself. Jayne didn't believe him. Knew it was only Trucker trying to get him ready for the world when he'd be on his own.
The gang dropped him off on a Border planet, but it weren't hostile like. He'd been with 'em a few years by then and it was time he found his way on his own. Mercs didn't take to holding together long and they'd all been with each other a good long while. Trucker had taught him everything he coulda and Jayne had paid all that effort off with coin to spare. Not much, but he sent it to his ma nonetheless. Kept the promise he made at his pa's grave. Took care of his own and that's all that counted in the 'verse.
Walking away without a look back, Jayne hadn't expected to see any of 'em ever again. Didn't surprise him none though when fifteen years later it was Trucker leading five other men to take him down when he robbed some highborn Core piece of go se. When he took to the desert instead of the black. Weren't no one else in the world thought like that but ole Trucker.
There weren't no words spoken 'tween them on that day when Trucker pointed a gun at Jayne instead of showing him how to hold it. Weren't any needed when he looked in that old man's tired eyes and knew this day was the ending of a promise made long ago about no life being above money. No hatred in Jayne's heart as he took down those men Trucker led straight to him. But he left him for last. Didn't hesitate any though when it came to end it 'cause when it came down to it Trucker weren't family and that was the only thing Jayne wouldn't kill. But there was something like pride in that ole man's eyes as he took his last gasping breaths. He thinks maybe that's why he keeps the gun, Trucker's favorite. A Callahan full-bore, auto lock with customized trigger, double cartridge thorough gauge. He'd always called it Vera, after his wife that had died long before Jayne had ever known him and he left the name alone as he carried it and all Trucker's lessons with him into the black.A/N: Hope ya'll enjoyed.