Title - The merc and the pilot (really original huh).
Setting - Serenity, these parts are all pre-series but will probably eventually continue beyond the movie. AU.
Author - cloned_fiction
Chapter - 4 drabble like things with an unspecified ammount to follow at some time in the future.
Rating - PG13 for some very tame swearing so far but future mention, and possible light description, of sex planned.
Word Count - Roughly 1500 overall
Summary: Wash/Jayne with Mal/Inara mention. What if Zoe never existed and Wash was pansexual and Jayne totally wasn't sly but deep down kinda was... Spoilers for some really general stuff from the show.
There was a time when Wash had seriously considered leaving Serenity. When it was just him and the Captain and that idiot Bester alone in the black for months on end. It was a cold, lonely environment between Mal's constant brooding over the war and Bester deciding he didn't like Wash. That was fine, Wash didn't like him either. Him and his body with those... tattoos. Whatever.
In the end he told himself that the Captain had been through a lot in the war. Wash couldn't imagine losing a squad full of people. Friends and allies who the Captain had been through so much with, all ending up dead around him. Having to walk away from something that horrible utterly alone. With no-one to share it with, no-one who could ever understand. Somehow though, the man was still going, still had that desire to survive and keep on. Wash respected that. Plus, to be honest, he couldn't have left Serenity anyway. She was too much a part of him now. So he stayed.
Then they'd taken on Kaylee and dumped Bester. They'd found Inara (or more accurately, the Captain had found her, and Wash was very glad he had) and Jayne had found them. Somehow they'd all become a little family of sorts. Like a real family, there were times they made him wish he had gone after all. Mostly though, they made him glad he'd stayed. Some in an entirely non-familial way...
Just an introductory kind of drabble to explain most of the changes and new dynamics in this AU. Do you think I made my point clearly enough in paragraph 2 though? The Captain is alone people! ALONE! As for the parentheses in paragraph 3, I'm not suddenly throwing in random Wash/Inara shipping too. All he meant was he was glad that Mal had found someone he could be close to, who could make him a bit happy. I've decided Mal being even more angsty about the war made him somehow less reserved and stubborn with Inara and they got together a bit sooner (not immediately, just sooner than after the movie). Just because I can, because I feel bad about torturing Mal by taking Zoe away from him.
[A big dirty merc]
A big dirty merc.
Wash heard about Jayne before he first saw him. Kaylee came bounding onto the bridge to tell him they had a new crew member. A big dirty merc she'd called him.
“Sounds dangerous,” he'd joked. He had no idea how right he was, only in a completely different way.
When Wash finally did meet the merc, he'd evidently had a chance to clean up. He loomed into the kitchen, a solid wall of muscle and attitude. Beads of water still clung to his close-cropped hair and there was a reddish tinge to his knuckles and face where he'd scrubbed particularly hard-caked dirt away. Aiya! Wash thought as he looked him over. He was... Shiny.
“This is our pilot,” Mal said, gesturing towards Wash.
“Hoban Washburne.” Wash stuck his hand out a little too eagerly. “Everyone calls me Wash though.” Wuh de ma! Keep it together man, he scolded himself as he felt the heat of a blush radiate up his neck and over his face. The merc regarded Wash a second, then he turned away, ignoring the outstretched hand.
“Everyone, this here's Jayne,” Mal finished the introduction.
Wash couldn't help a snicker escape his mouth at the name.
Jayne turned back on him in a flash. “You got a problem little man?” he growled.
“No! No problem!” Wash stammered
Jayne glared down at him. “Thought not.” His voice was low and threatening, his muscles tense and ready to defend himself against the perceived insult to his manliness. Yeah, this one is definitely as zhèng as they come, Wash thought, letting his gaze linger over Jayne's muscles where they strained out of his shirt. Too bad.
Aiya! = damn!
Wuh de ma! = mother of god!
zhèng = straight
If there's anyone in the audience who knows Chinese, feel free to critique my usage here and in later chapters. Most of the phrases were taken straight from the show, but they may be in the wrong context. Some I just kind of winged it on, such as zheng. I decided that a literal translation of straight could be Firefly!Chinese slang for hetero. I hope I translated it right too. If it doesn't work though, is there anything else Wash might have called him that in essence means very clearly heterosexual?
[A knight in reluctant armour.]
A knight in reluctant armour.
By his count Jayne had saved Wash's life at least five times in his first year on Serenity, and his pride even more. The man was always getting himself into trouble in some bar or other. Always making moves on the wrong sort of person, or the right sort with the wrong partner. No matter how many times this got him in a bad place the kwong-juh duh little man never seemed to take the hint. He was right back into it at the very next bar, telling dirty jokes and giving knowing looks. Making men around him uncomfortable, or angry, or both.
Jayne didn't really have a problem with the way Wash was, honest. It was none of his business who the man liked to get in bed with. He just wished he had a little more care towards self-preservation in his pursuit of it. Jayne had pointed out to him once that if he found himself a biao-tze he'd be far less likely to cause such violent offence when he propositioned them. Wash shrugged and said he wanted more than a business transaction from his sex. Jayne didn't understand the difference.
Still, whenever Wash got into another punch up Jayne would wade in and drag him out without fail. More times than he liked this involved jumping out of bed and throwing his clothes on hurriedly as Mal bellowed from the bar for his assistance. He weren't exactly sleeping either, but he did it anyway. Wouldn't do if they lost their pilot. Not that Jayne didn't do his fair share of grumbling about how come they couldn't just get a new pilot? One that weren't so prone to gettin' himself beat on. Wasn't anythin' all that special 'bout Wash as far as Jayne could see.
That particular attitude didn't last long.
kwong-juh duh = crazy
biao-tze = whore
I'd like to point out here that the views of the characters don't necessarily reflect the views of the person writing their thoughts. I'm well aware Jayne is participating in some pretty heavy victim blaming on Wash for the hate-crimes he encounters as a result of his sexuality in this particular Serenityverse. Jayne is absolutely wrong in this attitude, but it seemed like the attitude he would have in this situation. He's far from perfect, in these kinds of things especially. So no Jayne, Wash shouldn't have to modify his behaviour to avoid getting into punch ups over closed-minded jerks having a problem with who he is.
It was a simple transport run on the rim. Legal even, just hauling a bunch of supplies to an isolated colony. 'Course they all knew if it were that simple the colony wouldn't have hired smugglers, nor payed them so high. But they were confident they could handle any complications.
The complication caught up with them just after they cleared atmo. A band of pirates, who'd taken into their minds that this particular patch of sky was theirs to pillage. Jayne was on the bridge when Wash received the wave telling them to be cooperative-like and prepare to be boarded or they'd be blown out of the sky.
“Everyone? We have company. Mal can you get to the bridge? Kaylee, prepare for hard burn on my call.”
“Gwai-gwai long duh dong!” Jayne exploded. “What're you doin'? They have a cannon. An' this ship is...” Jayne trailed off as Wash fixed him with the scariest looking glare he had ever seen the pilot give. “Jus' let 'em board an' we'll ambush 'em.” He insisted.
“What, you and Mal against who knows how many?” Wash scoffed. “Don't be yu bun duh. We run and it's just me against their gun. That's better odds, trust me.”
“Yeah, whatever you say.” Jayne replied. The words were casual enough, but inside Jayne was terrified. He wasn't used to putting his life so wholly in someone else's hands, and he didn't like it. Still, Wash was right. With the element of surprise on their side and the right positioning him and Mal might be able to take down 7 or more of them, but there was no way of telling if there would be less than that or twice as many.
“You think you can outrun them?” Mal asked, striding onto the bridge.
“Probably not,” Wash answered and Jayne's heart sank into his stomach. “But that's not the plan.”
For the rest of his life, Jayne swore he would never forget that day. He watched from the back of the bridge, hands clenched in a death grip on the edge of a console, as Wash weaved something like magic, putting the ship through manoeuvres he hadn't thought it possible of to escape the other ship and its gun. When it was over and they were free and clear with both cargo and crew intact Jayne came forward to stand beside Wash. “Not bad little man,” he said, clapping a hand to the pilot's shoulder.
“Told you I could do it,” Wash replied shakily as Jayne turned to leave.
“I never doubted you,” he called over his shoulder before ducking out the door.
From that moment on, coming to Wash's assistance was more than grudgingly retrieving an asset. Wash was his crew, and besides that a man deserving of respect. You had a problem with Wash, then you had a problem with Jayne.
Gwai-gwai long duh dong! = What the hell!
yu bun duh = stupid
I really really wanted to narrate the whole gripping escape in detail, but after being stuck on this damn bit for a month I realised I'm not a genius space pilot and I just don't have the mental capacity to get that far into the head of one. Or even understand the basics of their job. Plus I'm really bad at action in case you can't tell. So instead all you get is Jayne's angst and feelings over having to trush Wash with his life like this. Which admittedly is the most important part, but it would have been cool if I could pull the other bit off as well.