Black and White
Pairing: Mal/Jayne
Disclaimer: This is Joss Whedon's sandbox. I'm just playing!
Spoilers: References to events in Out of Gas, Ariel
Summary: Written for the LJ community Shiny Hats Summer Ficathon, prompt #41 "Things aren't always so black and white."


Jayne thinks he has the 'verse figured out. It don't care none about a man, if he lives or dies, or even what he does in between livin' and dyin'. Ain't a body in it goin' ta take better care o' him an' his Ma an' Mattie than he is. He ain't proud o' what he is, what he's done ta survive. But he's proud o' the skills he's built up along the way, an' he's proud o' the body he keeps in good shape. He's proud o' the fact that the coin he sends home goes a long way to makin' a better life fer his Ma, goes a long way ta keepin' Mattie closer ta the livin' than the dyin'.

Beyond that, he just don't much care, period. Long's he's got food ta eat reg'lar 'nough, long's every once in a while he c'n have hisself a real good time, long's no-one's threat'nin' that, Jayne's a happy man.

So when the húndàn he's been trackin' fer Marco offers him a better deal, a good deal, he don't have ta think hard ta jump ship. An' mostly he reckons it a good decision. His new ship is a whole world better than anythin' he ever had before. The same goes fer the crew. They ain't no pack o' murderin' backstabbin' son's o' whores.

But the Captain...

Well, it takes him a while ta catch on. Jayne ain't a man ever spent too much time thinkin' things out, but he ain't stupid, fer all he gets called it often enough. He makes mistakes, but he learns from 'em. His old ways o' thinkin' 'bout the 'verse just don't hold up too good when the Cap'n's around.

His biggest mistake, the one where Mal very nearly pitches him out the airlock, that cracks somethin' deep inside o' him where he didn't even know he had anythin' left. He's shamed. He feels guilt, an' that's an emotion he ain't never had the luxury of before. An' he can't just push it away an' ferget it. He c'n see it in the Cap'n's eyes every time he looks at him.

Mistrust.

Doubt.

Wond'rin' if he made a mistake bringin' Jayne aboard an' into his home.

That kind o' thing eats at a man, hollows him out. An' in the end, Jayne figures he's got a choice ta make.

Either he can leave Serenity an' do his level best ta ferget he was ever here, or he c'n change the way he looks at the 'verse.

He reckons the first one'll leave him back with the same scum he came from, workin' fer another Marco, or worse. An' after workin' fer the Cap'n, after gettin' ta know Mal, he'd rather be dead.

That's a real shock ta him, ta find out he cares more fer a man's opinion o' him than he does fer his own life.

An' that there's his answer. Either he steps into Mal's world, which is seemingly full o' shades of grey, or he's a dead man in his own black an' white world.

It's no contest.

Mal's world is a struggle ta live in. He ain't so sure o' how a man should be. It's rough ground, an' half-light, an' when he thinks he's found his footin', he falls flat on his ass again. But somewhere in the distance there's a man, battered an' more'n a little broken, who makes his own way in this world, sure-footed. An' on some level, Jayne's still trackin' him, an' knows he will be til the day he dies.

Translations:
húndàn - bastard