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Another ficlet for you guys to review. As always, please try to be… 
14th-Apr-2007 10:16 pm
kitty leaf
Another ficlet for you guys to review.

As always, please try to be fair and honest, and remember that it's perfectly acceptable to review the fics anonymously. There are many things you can provide concrit on, including plot, flow, characterization, etc. Also, please try to indicate what the author has done well in addition to things that could be improved and give concrete advice for improvement when you can.

Thanks in advance! :)

Title: The Only Thing She Has Left
Word Count:478
Warnings:Character death
Summary:Kaylee still has Jayne’s coat.

Kaylee lifted the coat off the rack it had always hung on and smiled. She’d always teased him about that coat, how ugly it was, how old.

The first time he’d leant it to her it hadn’t meant nothin’. She’d been sad and cold and knew he let other girls wear it. Even then it had been oddly comfortin’.

The next time he settled it round her shoulders they were closer, and this time Kaylee knew it was her he was protectin’. That time she’d stuck her hands in the pockets and found a myriad of objects. Strips of leather, protein bars, the hat his mother sent and a grenade were just a few of the things.

The coat, big on him, hung to her knees and she had to roll the sleeves so many times just for her hands to show, but it smelled comfortingly like him. A mixture of soap, whiskey and gun oil – it was Jayne.

She’d taken a bite out of one of the protein bars and laughed at him about the smell, the objects and the ugliness.

“’Twas my Pa’s,” he’d said and never said anythin’ else; he hadn’t had to really; she understood his love for familiar things.

Over the years she’d worn the ugly thing plenty of times and had also mended bullet holes, frayed sleeves, torn pockets, ripped seams and broken zips.

Sometimes her mends joined older ones. Some of them were his, she recognised the precise, tight, impatient stitches; some of them were much older, done with quality thread, strong and endurin’. There was so much history in that coat it choked her up.

The last time Jayne wrapped the coat around her they’d joked about whether it would cover her bump or not. Of course it did and her man had been, though he tried to hide it, all manner of proud that he was lookin’ after them both.

He left her not long after that, torn away when they least expected it and she kept the coat still.

Although the smell was long since gone, vanished with washin’ and the years, he was closer when she wore it; and sometimes when she was missin’ him, she would curl up on their bed with it on and dream of what might have been. Revealin’ in the comfort of it, she wore the coat when things got bad, when her smile slipped, when she got so lonely for him she could cry.

But time was movin’ on and she had another man needing a good coat now.

“You sure ‘bout this Mama?” her big son looked at her with Jayne’s watchful eyes as she turned, coat in her arms.

Kaylee nodded gently and guided his arms into the sleeves. “Yer big enough now.”

The coat hung down to his knees and the sleeves engulfed his hands – he was eight.

15th-Apr-2007 03:10 am (UTC)
This is a well written piece. The flow is good and the characters are well done. You have conveyed the passage of time in a coherent and realistic manner. The story idea is fresh and shows the depths of Jayne hinted at in the series.

The ending, however, is weak. I understand that eight year old boys would like to emulate their fathers and think of themselves as "the man of the house" when dad is away, however, writing that "she had another man needing a good coat now." conveys the impression that their son is now grown and making his own path in the 'verse. Even if she is humouring her son, the last line doesn't seem to fit with the rest of the story. I see Kaylee doing something like: guiding his hands through the sleeves, kneeling back and smiling at how her boy was looking more and more like his father. Or perhaps have him as a young man leaving home for the first time and she offers it to him.

Overall, I enjoyed the story and felt it was the right length to tell what you wanted to say. Good job.
15th-Apr-2007 10:38 pm (UTC)
I like the image of this coat being around over such a long period of time. It seems to me that in the Firefly 'verse (at least for those living on the edge) things are kept and preserved and used, because waste can't be afforded (even beyond things like sentimental value). I also think that it's a nice bit of characterization to point out how Jayne gets attached to familiar things - we see that on the show. He's not a particularly demonstrative guy, but it rings true that he would show his affection by letting Kaylee wear it.

There are a few things that throw me out of the ficlet, though. The main one is the cutting off of the 'g' in Kaylee's inner thoughts (washin', and Revealin' and that kind of thing). Personally, I always feel that if the character is talking, this kind of abbreviation fits perfectly - Kaylee would say something like, "I'm gonna do the washin' up, Jayne," but I when it comes to inner monologue it doesn't work for me. It's because I see this more as a pronunciation thing - a cutting off that happens when people speak, but not think. It's different from something like 'ain't', which Kaylee and Jayne would both think and say, because it's a slang/dialect point, not a pronunciation point.

the precise, tight, impatient stitches

This also seems odd to me. When I think of 'precise', I don't think 'impatient'. Precise seems to imply patience and concentration. Perhaps 'uneven, tight, impatient stitches', or just 'tight, impatient stitches' would work better.

Finally, while the last image is cute, I do wonder - the jacket was big on Jayne, and bigger on Kaylee, wouldn't it fall further than the knees of an eight-year-old (unless the kid takes after Jayne, and then some kind of hint as to his height would make it work)? Also, I got the impression (a little earlier on) that she was going to give the jacket to an adult son.
17th-Apr-2007 02:42 am (UTC)
He left her not long after that, torn away when they least expected it and she kept the coat still.

I liked the turn of time and the way the coat travelled through it, showed the passage of time with it's wear and fraying. I agree on the two previous commentors remarks with the boy needing to be older or Kaylee humoring a young son. I really like the son having Jayne's watchful eyes though, that will stay with him forever I expect.

19th-Apr-2007 05:12 pm (UTC)
I really like the idea behind this ficlet. We do keep the things from those we've lost and pass them down and I could see Kaylee doing that very thing. The age of her son didn't bother me as much as it did other people. I could see Jayne having a big son!

I will agree about the dropping of the g's in the non-dialogue sections. While these sections are from that characters POV, they really are the author's exposition and to drop them there (or too many of them) really distracts from the fic. (It makes me think that the author really talks like that). Or I should say it distracts me, perhaps it doesn't do that to others as much though. I also find that it interferes with the little voices I have in my head for the characters. The reader knows what they sound like and sometimes I think we do too much work trying to convey some of that Firefly-speak to them (in or out of dialogue) when much of it is already contained in their head and they are already reading it with their voice. They just need enough to ensure that it sounds like the characters.

I hope that made sense? But I quite liked the idea and the way you packed so much into such a short piece.
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