Fic: Feeling the Cold
Disclaimer: All Joss, all the time.
Summary: Just a litte look at River and Jayne during Out of Gas. A look at Jayne's ability to remain calm during such a time, and why they were sitting next to each other in the scene in the common room.
Notes: Wow, two stories in one night, you lucky ducks! This kind of came out of nowhere, and is just a missing scene from Out of Gas. It's a short bit of semi-angsty fluff, so if it sucks, I'm sorry.
River heard Jayne coming before she saw him. His thoughts were loud, but ordered. Don’t talk, conserve air. Don’t breath to deep, conserve air. Jayne worked well under pressure. He came into the common area, moving much more quietly than usual. The whole ship was quiet, and Jayne had adapted quickly. He seemed a bit surprised to find her just sitting there, but not as surprised as she would have expected him to be.
“What’re you doing out here?” he asked quietly.
“Waiting. Captain will call a meeting. Tell us to fly away.”
Jayne smirked. “Least he’s gonna be logical about something.”
River shifted her position to pull her feet under her legs, when Jayne stopped her. “What the hell you doin’?” he asked, grabbing her bare ankle. “It’s near freezing on this boat, and you’re walking around without and shoes on?”
River shrugged. “Wanted to feel the reality. The facts of space.”
Jayne just shook his head, sat down next to her, and put her feet in his lap. He leaned over and grabbed her boots. “You walk around this ship with your boots on for now, dong ma?”
River just nodded at Jayne as he began to unlace her boots. While everyone else’s mind was a mess of panic, Jayne’s was careful and calm. Only when faced with death would he show any kind of worry toward the crazy girl. Or anybody for that matter. She smiled widely at the top of his head as he worked on her shoes. She knew he’d make sure the captain was taken care of before they flew out to the sky, too.
Jayne lifted her foot to slide the boot on and looked up at her smiling face. “What?” he asked.
River shook her head. “Nothing. Just feel the cold. Feels real.”
Jayne nodded in understanding and he slid the boot on and went to work on the other. “Yeah, but you wouldn’t want to freeze to death from it, would ya?”
River turned solemn again. “No. Nobody else realizes the cold will catch us first. Everyone thinks we’ll gasp for air until there’s no more to be had.”
Jayne just granted as he started to tie up her boots. “But Jayne knows,” she continues. “Jayne has heard the stories. Seen the pictures. Knows the ice will cover us before the air leaves our lungs.”
Jayne finished his work and dropped her feet back to his lap and turned his head to her. “Yeah, but it ain’t the best idea to tell the rest of the crew that. Let them think what they think. The other thing will probably scare them more.”
River nodded in agreement. “Fear of what they do not know.”
“You got that right.”
River shivered at the cold, but it was a good shiver.
“You cold?” Jayne asked. “Want me to get you a blanket from the infirmary.”
River smiled, wishing Jayne could be like this all the time. “No,” she said. “Want to feel the realness for a little longer. Before it gets too real to bear.”
Jayne nodded and they sat in silence until Mal called the rest of the crew into the common area.
“Would rather be with you,” River whispered, just before everyone else started filling the room.
“We’ll split up, four by four. Families in one ship, friends in the other. Part of a family sect, must go on that ship. But would feel safer with you.”
Jayne smiled at her, for lack of anything better to do. It was small and sad, and River returned it, with the same amount of sadness, but for different reasons. Jayne was sad because he thought they were all going to die. River was sad because she knew they wouldn’t, but that things would never be quite as wonderful onboard Serenity as the had been for these past few moments.