Compromising Positions | Into the Black | Contact


Notes: skrip made me do it. She said there had to be a sequel, so I made her help me with it. Thanks to dani for finding the poem (by Courtesan Tzu Yeh (c. 350 - 500) T'ang Dynasty). And yes, it’s still depressing.

Sequel to Falling Apart

Series: Fractures

Jayne notices right away – all the things that are now gone from his bunk – the odd medical text or two, the iron he used to put the crease in his pants, the soap he liked to use – gone, all gone. All traces of Simon’s presence in his room removed stealthily between one day and the next. Sighing quietly, he climbs into a too-empty bunk and falls into a restless slumber, twisting and turning in the night as he unconsciously searches for the other body that should be there.

He wakes early, his arms wrapped tightly around a pillow, and gets up to go work out. When he returns, freshly showered, there is a small bundle on his bed. Jayne sits beside it and sorts through the few things, – a tin of gun oil and a few oil and dirt stained rags, a meticulously folded t-shirt, and a book that he knows isn’t his. He pushes the other items aside and picks up the book and examines it closely.

Frowning slightly, Jayne reads the title softly to himself, “The Art of War by Sun Tzu.” Jayne blinks in stunned shock. He can hardly believe his eyes. He knows how rare this book is, Simon had told him so when they had first started using it to improve his reading skills. It is nearly irreplaceable, and Simon has given it to him. He touches the cover almost reverently and remembers long, quiet afternoons spent laboriously sounding out words and heated discussions over the often confusing concepts. Jayne allows a slight smile and then he opens the cover and sees the inscription:

When I started wanting
to know that man,
I hoped our coupled hearts
would be like one.

Silk thoughts threaded
on a broken loom-
who'd have known
the tangled snarls to come?

So soon. Today, love, we
part. And our re-
union - when
will that time come?

A bright lamp
shines on an empty place,
in sorrow and longing:
not yet, not yet, not


The smile fades from Jayne’s face as he reads the poem, a growing ache clenching his gut, and he slowly closes the book. He gets up and takes the few steps over to his dresser, opens the drawer and slips it under a pile of t-shirts.

Jayne picks up his guns and, without a backward glance, leaves his bunk.