Disclaimer: I'm just an obsessed fan. I own nothing.
"Mal." Jayne said, in greeting as the other man entered the room.
"Evening, Jayne." The captain replied feeling wary but not knowing why.
Jayne looked up at his boss. He picked up his next knife, examining it carefully.
"I gots somthin' to say to you, Mal, you might wanna sit down." Jayne gestured towards a chair well away from the arsenal displayed on the table.
Mal's eyebrows raised, but he took a seat. "What's on your mind, Jayne?"
"Advice." Jayne said, running a finger down the blunt side of his longest blade. "I wanna tell you summat my pa said to me over and over when I was growing up."
Mal's mouth dropped. Jayne didn't ever speak of home.
"Have I ever told you about my pa? Ver'ra interesting' fellow." Jayne paused, the words were sticking funny. He ground his knife against the whet stone to steal some seconds to think.
"He was a Believer." He said finally. "Like the Parl'ment Opre'tive what chased us to Miranda," He spit on the stone. "Like Shepherd Book."
Mal jumped in his chair, sitting straighter.
"Retired like Book." Jayne's lip curled into what could have been a smile. "Reckon 's why I took to the Shepherd so quick like."
There was silence again, aside from the rasp of metal on stone.
"My pa had the darkest skin you'll ever see, like midnight." Jayne tested his blade and continued. Guess he weren't bio'lik'ly related to me. No way in the 'Verse." The big man smiled. "Never mattered to us. He taught me everything I know about guns and tracking and such. Amazing man."
"But…" Mal's voice barely managed the one word before trailing off again.
"I've been thinking what pa used to say might help you with 'Nara."
Mal bristled; he might have stood if Jayne hadn't lazily, yet threateningly raised his knife in his general direction.
"Just sit there and listen, Mal." Jayne said. "You can get all squirrelly and denying after I've said what I have a mind to say."
Mal relaxed, slumping insolently in his chair like a teenager whose parent was about to ground him for staying out all night.
"That's better." Jayne licked his knife in that disconcerting way he had.
"'Son,' My pa would say, holding his big dark hand next to my little pale one, 'If you marry a whore, don't expect all her children to look like you.'" Jayne cleared his throat, not meeting Mal's eye. "Then he'd swing me up into his big strong arms and say, 'Just love them anyway.'" Jayne was silent a moment. "I figure pa would want you to take that to heart."
A/N-This has been rolling around my brain for quite some time. Problem being that it doesn't fit the Jayne back-story I generally want to use. I do rather like the son-of-a-whore theory of Jayne's past. Not to mention the Operative version of explaining Book, which seems highly likely IMHO.
BTW, I don't like mini-stories like this one, so I find it extremely ironic that this is my first post.