Disclaimer: All usual disclaimers apply. I don't own any of this (and very little of anything else).
Rating: PG - PG13
I posted this earlier this year to the Blue Sun Room but received very few comments. Don't know if it just got lost in the volume of material that is posted there or if the writing is just that bad. Thought I would try posting for an audience that is interested in Jayne as a character in and of himself.
River sat on the catwalk, her legs dangling over the edge while her arms looped around the rail. Her eyes were on Jayne and Book, watching the methodical repetitions of their workout.
Book and Jayne had grown accustomed to her frequent presence and paid no attention.
Book was uncharacteristically searching for words as they filled the time on their way to help Inara's friends.
Jayne's eagerness to "help" after learning that their clients were residents of a brothel, lead Book to believe that Jayne would be taking advantage of the services available.
"Jayne, sometimes people are put into positions where they have no choice on some of the things they have to do to survive. It is unfortunate that some are willing to take advantage of those circumstances."
"Huh?" Jayne continued lifting, but now had a crease between his brows expressing his puzzlement.
Book gathered his patience. He had tried to broach this subject with Jayne in the past, but apparently subtlety was lost on the mercenary.
"Jayne, do you really feel right paying these women for the use of their bodies?"
"Payin' 'em?!? I thought since we was helpin' out we'd get the sexin' for free? Ya know, kinda like payment."
"But do you think you should take advantage of their situation?"
"Way I figure it, they already got people takin' 'vantage and not doin' 'em any kindness while they're at it. Least we ain't makin' the situation worse."
"That is yet to be seen," said Book wryly before continuing, "Have you ever thought of going the traditional route - courting a girl, getting married. There are advantages to that, you know. Companionship, a helpmate..." when Book saw that Jayne was looking unimpressed he added "...regular sexual gratification."
"Well, Shepherd, the way I see it that would be more takin' ad-vantage of a girl. It certainly wouldn't be doin' her any favors."
"How could that possibly be taking advantage?" Book was clearly astounded at this reasoning.
"I left home with one thing in mind. To make enough money so's my Ma wouldn't have to watch anymore a her family die in the mines. I've took whatever jobs I could find, mostly dangerous 'uns, 'cause they'd pay the most. And I sent half of ever'thing I earned home to my Ma. Weren't much at first, not enough anyways. My oldest brother, Mattie, had the damp lung before I was sending enough he could quit the mines. Too little, too late." Jayne trailed off, his voice low.
Book was almost afraid to speak. He had never heard Jayne speak so much on any subject, except maybe his guns, but never about anything so personal.
Jayne continued. "After a few years building up my weapons collection, I started sending more, when I could anyway."
Jayne looked contemplative for a moment before shaking himself out of his reverie.
"Anyhow, the way I live, always on the move, never staying on a planet more'n a few days, sometimes a few hours, don't really 'llow time ta do any courtin'. I mean, I could try going to 'regular' places to meet girls, local dances, church socials...like back home, but those girls are looking for happy ever after. I'd meet a girl then might not see her again for weeks, even months. Not exactly the stuff 'relationships' are made of. I could get some girl on the string and not ever make it back, arrested or shot, with no one to let 'er know what happened to me."
Book tried to speak but Jayne plowed on.
"Then there's the girls eager ta get away from the life they's in. They think people that live out in the black are ro-mantic fig'res and would run away with ya if ya ask 'em to. But life out in the black ain't r’mantic. It's a rough life. Ya sometimes go weeks without seeing day or eating fresh food. Ya have ta conserve water and fuel. Ya look at the same people and the same walls 'til you're 'bout ta go crazy. It's not a life for those ain't used to it or ain't got special reasons for keeping to it. And that's on any normal boat."
"On our boat is all sorts of other things to worry about. If the job's not legal, will it attract the local law or the feds? If it is legal, is it gonna make somebody mad anyway? That's not usually a problem since most of ours ain't legal. But now that we got the Doc and his crazy sister on board, we have to look out for everyone. The feds more'n usual, yeah, but also those of our less than upstandin' business partners who'd turn 'em in for the re-ward."
"No, bringing a woman into that kinda life, that would be unfair."
"Now the professional ladies, they know what they's getting into. No romantic notions ta worry about. I actually prefer the ones that's been forced into the life through no fault of their own. Them that's just in it for the money, they'll move from guy to guy all night. They's the ones you have to watch your pockets around and the ones who'll pull stuff like that 'goodnight kiss'. Now the other kind, I arrange with the madam to have a girl for the whole night. I might have several goes at her but she's basically getting a night off because she ain't having to change guys every half hour or so. I don't slap 'er around and I don't get off on hurtin' women like some do. She get's a little extra sleep, I make sure she's havin' a good time when she's not sleepin', and she gets a little bonus pay next morning that her madam don't know nothing about."
"I think it works out way better for everyone. If I don't show up for weeks, or ever even, she's not going to worry I've been shot or arrested. She'll just be thrilled to see me the next time I show up."
Book waited a moment before realizing that Jayne had finished his monologue. The amount of information that had poured from the man had been surprising.
"Well, I must say, Jayne," Book finally commented, "that is a unique view of the matter."
"The view from the black will change your mind on lots of stuff." Jayne's voice sounded surprisingly wry.
Both Book and Jayne were silent. Book contemplated this new view of the world. Even before his entry to the order, he doesn't remember encountering such an extremely pragmatic view of the industry of prostitution. Jayne was just wishing he hadn't said so much.
Neither noticed River, still sitting on the catwalk. She was adding this perception of the male/female relationship into the maze she was building by observing the relationships that surrounded her: the close, though sometimes volatile marriage of Zoe and Wash; the unacknowledged feelings of Inara and Mal; the cautious back and forth of Kaylee and Simon (the boob); the abstinence of the preacherman; and now Jayne.
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