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Oops! There Goes Another Rubber Tree Plant!
One Ant's Adventures in Plant-Lifting
"Confounding" (1/1) 
18th-Nov-2008 08:20 pm
Seeme
My first Firefly fic. I'm getting my practice in, since I signed up for a serenity_santa. In desperate need of concrit regarding my characterization, and the writing style (should I be dropping all my G's, or just some of them) and anything else anyone thinks needs some extry fine-tuning. And if you'd like to help me out a lot--you'll request Firefly fic(lets). Any pairing, any prompts, just so long as I get challenged to write.

Thanks :)

Confounding
Author: _beetle_
Fandom: Firefly
Pairing: Jayne/Simon
Rating: R
Notes: Set post-series, pre-movie. In fact, this completely discounts Serenity, because of a certain character death. Spoilers for S1, Ep1 and 2.
Summary: Originally written for the slashthedrabble prompt "strip", but it ran a few hundred words too long. Now with 68% less Pinyin!




It's downright confounding, 's what it is.  All that pale.


Confounding that a man--even a Core-reared dandy--can be so pale. Even his gorramn hands are just . . . lily-white. It's disturbing. Unnatural. That I can't even sit through the only meal I'm assured of, day to day on this le se rust-bucket, without seeing him sitting across from me. Or walking around with that eerie, crazy sister of his--and sometimes, I have to stare at him just so I'm not looking at her!


Lights-out finds me waiting, still and quiet, in the deep shadows of the bulkheads near his bunk.  He wanders up not long after I get there, and for once, he's alone.  For once, I can watch him as long as I want.


He stops outside his door, staring at nothing, and smiling kinda.  He does that a lot lately.  Probably thinking about all the gorramn sissified suits he owns.  All black, like he's trying to look like some kinda corpse-wrangler, though he's so rutting pale, he just looks like a corpse, his own self.  Or a Lunger.


"River's going to be sleeping in her own bunk, tonight.  Come in," he says softly, but just loud enough I can hear.  He unlocks the door and steps in, leaving it open.  That's either an invite, or he's gone as whimsical as Little Miss Psycho Britches, talking to what ain't there.


So I follow him into his bunk.


He's already got the jacket laid on the back of a chair, and he's unbuttoning his fancy vest.  Them fine, pale fingers don't pop not a single tiny, gorramn button.


His shirt's the color of parchment, not a wrinkle on it, not a stain.


"You're like a gorramn woman," I reckon, shaking my head and closing his door behind me.  He looks me up and down like he's sizing up a patient.


"And you're like . . . a ridiculous, sweaty man-ape," he says, all snotty and superior like always, but tired, too. “Can we forgo the usual battle of wits, tonight? You're clearly unarmed, and I have to be up in five hours.”


“Yeah, yeah. I like you better when your mouth's too full for talking.” He rolls his eyes, and I reach out. Haul him to me by his fancy shirt, which I'm three seconds away from rippin' off him. He comes willingly, grabbing my wrists--it's still unsettling how strong his hands are. How strong all of him is. And he's built solid enough, despite his looks--sturdy, though he ain't tall. Though he don't do a lick of real work.


"Easy on the shirt.  I happen to be fond of it," he says, trying to sound all persnickety and Core-ified, like we're sitting down to tea and dumplings, not like I'm about to strip him out of that get-up and have him on his knees . . . then have him on his knees some more.


But his voice is shaking some, and he keeps licking his lips--the only color in his face besides his eyes. He's got that hungry look, like he gets every time we end up here. The one that once turned a sucker-punch in the med-bay into him getting bent over his own desk.


"Anyone ever tell you you're too gorramn pale, Doc? Ain't right for a man to be this unmarked, either," I mutter, freeing my hands. It takes some doing, but I finally find my way through all them stupid, useless layers of his. He shrugs outta the shirt and vest, lets them fall to the floor. His chest is cream-white: no freckles, no scars . . . but enough hair to be interesting.


The lower half ain't too bad, either. Or it ain't when I can actually see it. "Get outta them trousers.”


His eyebrows drift up toward his hair. It's still combed back and neat, but not for much longer. "So my skin is somehow disagreeable to you, but your solution is . . . for me to take off more clothing.” He unbuckles his belt and draws it free of them loops all slow and sexy, eyes downcast, and a tiny smile on his face.


Him and her got the same damn smile, dong ma? The same pale-pink lips in a too-solemn, bloodless face, and that same careful grimace of a smile.


I shouldn't be thinking stupid fei hua like this--reaching out like this Touching his cheek, then his mouth. His face ain't nothing special, feels like any other face. Smoother, though. Like he ain't never had to shave. And his lips are softer than a woman's.


He looks me in the eye for the first time since I closed his door. His own eyes are some mixed-up, kuang zhe color between blue and green. Like pond-water, with scum floating on the top, only . . . less sickifying.


A little less, anyway.


My thumb's got a mind of its own, brushing his bottom lip. He closes his eyes and exhales. The tip of his tongue--pale-pink, what a gorramn shock!--darts out. Swipes his lips, and across my thumb, and ye-su. . . .


"Look, Doc," I say, ready to just tumble him back into his neat, nice-smelling bed without anymore yammering. But the same time I speak, he does, too, and says:


“Kiss me.”


And I know I heard wrong, since kissing ain't never been a single part of what we do together. “Beg pardon? Cuz it sounded like you said--”


"Ai ya!” he bursts out, glaring at me with them pond-water eyes “Stop wasting precious oxygen, and just kiss mph!"


Now, he ain't the boss of me, but this is the kinda thing I pride myself on not having to be told once, let alone twice. And soon as he gets over being surprised, he kisses me back. He ain't half bad at it, neither--wild and pushy, though he tastes tame, like tea and synthetic honey.


He's panting when I let him up for that oxygen he's so keen on. His eyes are all glazed over, his mouth wet and open. I already wanna kiss him again, but I've got the upper hand at last, and I mean to keep it for a spell.


"Wo de ma,” he breathes, blinking up at me, his hands bunched up in my t-shirt. I dunno when or why I put my arms around his waist, but there they are.


I clear my throat and let go of him. He doesn't return the favor, and I smirk. “Huh. If I'da known that was all it took to stupefy you--”


“Jayne . . . for once, you were absolutely right . . . this goes a lot better when our mouths are otherwise occupied," he says in a quiet-like rush. It's the smartest thing he's ever said, far as I'm concerned. So I kiss him again--slower, this time. Put my hands on his waist to guide him bedward, and he presses close and rubs against me like a cat all the way.


Not as soon as I'd like, we're naked, and all that confounding pale is stretched out underneath me, hot and damp in a neat, nice-smelling bed. Familiar-smelling bed. But it's just unnatural and disturbing that me and him spend the rest of the night--when we're not rutting--kissing and touching. And stealing looks at each other like gorramn teenagers.


Neither of us talk, though he keeps grinning real idjitty. Idjitty for him, anyway.


Maybe his eyes ain't the color of scummy pond-water after all. Which is befuddling.


Just plain, gorramn . . . confounding. . . .


*

Comments 
19th-Nov-2008 06:18 pm (UTC)
Ah ha ha!
:)

I like! I really do. You've got the voices down pat. Good mix of 'regular' english and 'fireflyisms'. The only thing i would change is, cut back on the Chinese. A bit too many sprinkled in there, especially that one paragraph at the top, with three or four in it?

Just a tad too much. Otherwise, i do like! :)

Hrmmmmm....i'd love to see some Jayne interaction with Sheppard Book, since they seemed to be friends, in the end. Or some Mal and Jayne and they're pissed at each other but fighting 'the enemy', whoever that happens to be at the time....
:)
20th-Nov-2008 02:42 am (UTC) - "I think we should call it . . . *your grave*. . . ."
Ah ha ha!
:)


Yours is an evil laugh ;D

I like! I really do. You've got the voices down pat. Good mix of 'regular' english and 'fireflyisms'.

"Gorramn" and "ain't" are now my two favorite words. After "riboflavin".

The only thing i would change is, cut back on the Chinese.

Dude, I wondered--I kept see-sawing between "am I using too much Pinyin?" and "am I not using enough?" Normally I err on the side of caution, but I wasn't sure I was nailing Jayne or Simon's voice well enough, so I said fuck it and went wild.

Scary thing? I took out a fat assload more just before posting. I found some online dictionaries for Firefly, and Pinyin, I just read the damn things, and about half of it static-clung to my brain. You should've heard me at work today :)

But in the end, yeah, I was so sure I hadn't added enough for authenticity, lol. This is why concrit is of the good.
::hugs::

A bit too many sprinkled in there, especially that one paragraph at the top, with three or four in it? Just a tad too much. Otherwise, i do like! :)

Yeah, I killed three of the four. I kept "le se" because Simon once used it to describe Serenity, and I like the symmetry of that.

Rabid fangrrrl, you say? Surely not!

Hrmmmmm....i'd love to see some Jayne interaction with Sheppard Book, since they seemed to be friends, in the end. Or some Mal and Jayne and they're pissed at each other but fighting 'the enemy', whoever that happens to be at the time....
:)


Huh . . . both pose equal, yet different challenges. Mal,Jayne would be a plot challenge, and Book,Jayne would be a characterization challenge. (Book or Inara characterization? Teh. Hard.)

I'll do both, by hook , or by crook!
20th-Nov-2008 02:54 am (UTC) - Re: "I think we should call it . . . *your grave*. . . ."
Yay!
I'm glad i could help. :) I loved that they all had Chinese as this sort of pidgin, second language. *I hated that there were no fucking Chinese people in the show.* But yeah - a little goes a long way.

And i think Inara would be *so* hard to write, yes. Probably the hardest after Book.

I look forward to whatever you write! :)
20th-Nov-2008 08:06 am (UTC) - Re: "I think we should call it . . . *your grave*. . . ."
Coulda done with some more people of any race, really.

And seriously? If we're not all Chinese by 2525--whenever--I'll . . . still have ceased to be, lol. But yeah, I think we'll all be some kooky, mutt-mix of mostly Chinese and Hispanic a lot sooner than we think.

Inara-characterization might be like writing haikus, or zen poetry. Calm, balanced, accepting. Like a deep river. The challenge isn't necessarily her voice, but her motivations. What kind of plot would she be embroiled in? Besides love-related, I mean? Book, at least, is some kinda religious mucky-muck. Possibly, like, the Shepherd-Pontiff. His story can write itself a thousand different ways without trying. But Inara--

If you know what a person wants, to some extent you know who they are, but--other than Mal, I don't know what she wants. Not money or fame or power or security, obviously. . . .

Meh.

Thankfully, you're not asking for Inara fic. My poor brain's totally not up to it.

Yet.
20th-Nov-2008 12:20 pm (UTC) - Re: "I think we should call it . . . *your grave*. . . ."
Exactly.
For all the 'joss is god' stuff that gets tossed around, he's amazingly narrow-minded in some ways.

And yeah - Inara's motivation is very hard. I think that she initially just wanted to strike out on her own, be her own woman for a while. 'Fly free', as it were, and the Serenity and crew gave her the opportunity. After that, though....

She found family, which i don't think she'd really had before. And it was intoxicating.

Good Inara-voice and fic is hard to find. Most are all Mal-angst, which i don't care for.

:)
20th-Nov-2008 12:59 am (UTC)
Damnit, now I need to watch Firefly/Serenity again! :P

You definitely have the voices and the language nailed, and the inner workings of Jayne's head.
20th-Nov-2008 02:26 am (UTC)
I thought I mighta gone overkill-y--well, I guess I did with the Pinyin, lmao. Hee, I though I might not have used enough!

But at least the characterization didn't suck out loud. Jayne's kinda hard to write. At least in a way that doesn't feel stilted and inauthentic. Time and practice'll hopefully get the bugs out.

::hugs you::
::waltzes you::

Thank you for the fb, and for liking it:)

Yes, watch Firefly . . . for me. I made the mistake of loaning a friend my boxed set--a year and a half ago. It disappeared into the wilds of his attic, along with most of his own dvd collection, when he moved, shortly thereafter.

I'm seriously considering just rebuying it, and filing the forty bucks I'm out under "object lesson well learned."
20th-Nov-2008 07:46 am (UTC)
I agree about the over-Chineseing, otherwise it's all good. :D
20th-Nov-2008 08:16 am (UTC)
I have de-Chinesed this fic greatly, since the first draft, lmao. And now, I've knocked off more. I think I'm down to three phrases. No, four. And they're all two or three words.

I feels so artistically compromised. . . .

Hee! Thank you so much, lol.
::tangos you::


21st-Nov-2008 04:19 am (UTC)
OMG, Firefly slash from Beetle?! *bounces*

I've been writing Firefly for a long time, and this was a really great start. Certainly much better than my first S/J fic (which was also my first fic of any kind, now that I think about it...*g*)

I did find a couple of little nitpicky things:

it's still disconcerting how strong his hands are. Jayne would not use the word disconcerting. In fact, it's a good idea to stay away from words with more than 2 syllables, unless he's talking about a gun. *g*

Don't forget, his speech ain't so great, so you can substitute 'them' for 'these' or 'those', 'neither' for 'either', etc, and get away with it. You can do the same thing for Kaylee, too.

The dropping the g's thing is good in moderation. When I'm writing Jayne, I like to write it out and then read the dialogue out loud to see where I drop the g's, which I tend to do a lot. Just be careful not to make him sound like Bubba who lives in a mobile home in Arkansas. *g*

As for the Chinese, a lot of us use mouseovers for translations; this is my favorite site for translations because it will give you the tones as accent marks.

I'm really glad to see a good writer doing S/J! Hopefully I haven't annoyed you with all of this crap I just spouted off at you. *blushes*

Edited at 2008-11-21 04:20 am (UTC)
21st-Nov-2008 05:26 am (UTC)
OMG, Firefly slash from Beetle?! *bounces*

You make me sound like I'm known hither and yon for one thing, but just pulled an infamous 180. . . .

"OMG!! Elton John's singing Gangsta Rap!!!!"

::chortles::

Though I'd pay cash money to see that :D

Been meaning to try my hand at Firefly. It rankled that there was a corner of the Joss!verse that I could peer into, but not quite enter.

I've been writing Firefly for a long time, and this was a really great start. Certainly much better than my first S/J fic (which was also my first fic of any kind, now that I think about it...*g*)

::blushes::
I started with Spander, and aaaalll my shit was angsty. I tried not to make that mistake with this. Keep it sorta light-hearted. I'm so glad it doesn't utterly suck.

I did find a couple of little nitpicky things:

Be brutal. I like it rough.

t's still disconcerting how strong his hands are. Jayne would not use the word disconcerting. In fact, it's a good idea to stay away from words with more than 2 syllables, unless he's talking about a gun. *g*

Disturbing, disconcerting, confounding, and nauseating were the most deliberate words in the piece. But if disconcerting doesn't fit so well as the other three . . . any subs that would? I always got the feeling Jayne knew quite a few big words, but used them sparingly, only when the small words didn't cut it. Like when describing Simon's eyes, or the way Simon makes him feel, or something as ahem, girly, as liking Simon's manly-strong hands.

And not even necessarily big words, just rare, or old-fashioned ones--like ornery, or cunning, or stupefying.

I'm probably explaining this badly. I'll find another word that fits better, but--do you get what I'm saying? Am I crazy and simply projecting a vocab Jayne wouldn't have?

ETA!

"Disconcerting" = "Unsettling".

Eh? Eh?


Don't forget, his speech ain't so great, so you can substitute 'them' for 'these' or 'those', 'neither' for 'either', etc, and get away with it. You can do the same thing for Kaylee, too.

Check, and check. Did plenty of that, lol. I'm still combing the fic looking for more thems and theses and neithers to be added. And I think I should change "these trousers" to "them trousers".
::hugs::

The dropping the g's thing is good in moderation. When I'm writing Jayne, I like to write it out and then read the dialogue out loud to see where I drop the g's, which I tend to do a lot. Just be careful not to make him sound like Bubba who lives in a mobile home in Arkansas. *g*

YES!!!!

I was so afraid I'd go overboard--like I did with the Pinyin--ai ya! You should've seen the first draft. One third of it was in Pinyin. But yeah, I didn't know if there was a good rule of thumb, so I just left the Gs in and hoped Jayne's voice shone through clearly enough.

When I drop the Gs, should I go with confoundin, or confoundin'?

The apostrophe seems to have its pros and cons. I don't know which side to come down on.

As for the Chinese, a lot of us use mouseovers for translations; this is my favorite site for translations because it will give you the tones as accent marks.

Hee! I went to browncoats.com, and a few others. You wouldn't believe how much Pinyin I crammed into the first few drafts, and the first unedited post. It was . . . kinda ghastly, upon reflection. I hang my head in shame.

I'm really glad to see a good writer doing S/J!

Well, I'll certainly agree there needs to be more Jayne/Simon out there, lol, and I'm just desperate and shameless enough to try my uneven hand at it, from time to time.

Hopefully I haven't annoyed you with all of this crap I just spouted off at you. *blushes*

Are you kidding?!!! This is what I wanted, and pretty much begged for! Thank you! Anything else you think of--crit, recs, comms, whatever, pass it my way. There's no point in me writing if I don't get any better. No point in trying to be anything if I'm not trying to be the best.

Oh, my head is spinning, trying to incorporate all this into future fics, and into this fic. You've given me fresh eyes and invaluable advice :)
::tacklehugs::

Edited at 2008-11-21 06:22 am (UTC)
21st-Nov-2008 06:24 am (UTC)
You want recs? I got recs!

A Modest Proposal by adoratrice. Once of the few multi-chapter S/J fics out there; try to ignore the bad coding, the story is worth the annoyance.

Perdition by Shan. A Romance! An Adventure! Seriously, a truly great fic.

An Arrangement of Parts by ana_grrl, who is probably the best Firefly writer. Ever. I mean it. Read everything.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Firefly_Slash_Just_Fic/: When I first started reading Firefly, I combed through this group, which is the archive site for the Firefly_Slash group. Near the very beginning you're going to find the S/J fic Starless, which is 19 chapters. I don't remember the name of the author, but lovelovelove.

Reconciliation by inalashi, who was a very prolific writer in the early days.

Hope that helps. *g*
21st-Nov-2008 06:34 am (UTC)
::squees::
::dances you::

THANK YOU!

I know what my weekend's gonna be filled with. Antiquing with really boring friends! Though if I start drinking before noon, even antiquing shouldn't be that bad. . . .

And at least I'll have fic to look forward to!
21st-Nov-2008 06:26 am (UTC)
Now that is downright unsettlin'. *g*
21st-Nov-2008 06:31 am (UTC)
You are truly a fangrrrl after my own heart.
21st-Nov-2008 12:38 pm (UTC)
I think you did well! I read the other concrit and realise you've cut out the extra Pinyin - what you've got sounds good!

I like Jayne thinking how pale Simon is and how he ends with thinking befuddling thoughts about Simon's eyes.

I know Jayne can use other words - pretentious anyone?. But I don't know that he'd say/think 'nauseating'. It was probably the only thing that jarred on me at all (Nitpicking much?). Maybe sick-making???

Anyway glad to see the practise for serenity_santa! I'm sure your gift will be awesome! :DD

As for prompts - Jayne/Kaylee, eating porridge
22nd-Nov-2008 08:38 am (UTC)
think you did well! I read the other concrit and realise you've cut out the extra Pinyin - what you've got sounds good!

Thank you, lol. I really went kinda overboard, before.

I like Jayne thinking how pale Simon is and how he ends with thinking befuddling thoughts about Simon's eyes.

LMAO

Pale, unmarked Simon with the scummy pond-water eyes . . . and the manly hands :D

I know Jayne can use other words - pretentious anyone?. But I don't know that he'd say/think 'nauseating'. It was probably the only thing that jarred on me at all (Nitpicking much?). Maybe sick-making???

Nitpick away. It's the only way I'll get better.

I went with "sickifying" . . . a bold choice, I know, but if "idjitty" can work. . . .

Anyway glad to see the practise for [info]serenity_santa! I'm sure your gift will be awesome! :DD

I can only hope so. It's a harder fandom, over all, than Buffy. Starker.

You watch: whoever I get will want Inara/Book, heavy on the adventure, and I'll be screwed.

As for prompts - Jayne/Kaylee, eating porridge

Ah! Het! An added dimension of challenge!
21st-Nov-2008 02:14 pm (UTC)
I love your Jayne and Simon voices =)
22nd-Nov-2008 07:39 am (UTC)
Jayne is easily one of my favorite Joss-verse characters. He's the Xander of Firefly: I feel the strongest affinity for him, the man-ape-gone-wrong-thing.

I'm just glad I could get a relatively solid start. The characters sound recognizably like themselves, lol.

Thank you--for reading, commenting and liking :*

I'll be sure to return the favor before the weekend is out.
23rd-Nov-2008 02:38 am (UTC)
Yay, new Jayne/Simon! I've gotten to it after the edits you made & it sounds great :)
25th-Nov-2008 06:57 am (UTC)
Thank you!
::heart u::
::has massive icon-lurve::

Hopefully, this won't be a one off, as far as pairings go. I really like Simon/Jayne :)
26th-Feb-2009 06:01 pm (UTC)
Oh my God, your Janye was PERFECT.

Everything from the wording to the descriptions to the thoughts, everything!

Damn, this story rocked.

I loved it

“Huh. If I'da known that was all it took to stupefy you--”

Is it wrong that I suddenly got a mental image of Jayne and Simon as Draco and Harry, at Hogwarts in robes, using wands and dueling?

I think there may be something wrong with me.

*shrugs*

Whatevs.

~Alice~

~Alice~
3rd-Mar-2009 02:31 am (UTC)
I'm glad you liked--my first time writing Jayne--dunno why he suddenly grabbed me. I liked to read Jayne/Simon occasionally, but. . . .

I got bit. Just like you did with Due South, lol.

Is it wrong that I suddenly got a mental image of Jayne and Simon as Draco and Harry, at Hogwarts in robes, using wands and dueling?

My friend, I think there is something horribly, wonderfully, deliciously right about you.

Though . . . I actually see them as Ron and Draco (for me, the HP OTP is Snarry, and I make no bones about that. But Ron/Draco is quite delightful).

Hasn't Jayne even called someone (River) mental? And if Draco hasn't called someone, even if it's not Ron, an ape, I'll smile and kiss a pig--

Dude, you did a bad thing. I just got bit by a minor, but persistent plotless bunny. If anything comes of it, I'm blaming you.
3rd-Mar-2009 05:21 pm (UTC)
*scoffs*

Have I ever apologized or felt guilty for a plot bunny I sicced you? Faith/Dawn, ASP/JP? Nope. And is I get something like RonJayne and DracoSimon dueling with their wands in boths contexts, then I will apologize for nothing.

~Alice~
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