New Fic - "Blood" PG-13, slight Jayne/River overtone if you look!
Summary: It's a secret!
Crimson blood had splashed over her face and stained her cheeks like a blush. She looked up, eyes thoughtful under their cover of dark lashes. She let go of the knife, hearing it thump against the decking. Odd, surely it should clatter, or smash, something more meaty than a dull thud. Glancing down at it, she shook her head, feeling the wet of blood on her cheeks, tasting it on her lips and smelling the rich metallic warmth of it.
“River…” The voice seemed to come from far away, piercing her consciousness and teasing something inside her brain, calling her back to herself. Slowly, so as not to scare the tiger behind her, River turned around and faced it.
“Jayne,” she said solemnly, wondering why he looked so horrified, “did you know that blood only becomes red when it comes into contact with oxygen? Before that, it’s blue.”
“You crazy.. What have you done?”
“Oh,” River blinked, trying hard to guess at Jayne’s reference, “do you mean the blood?”
“Gorram it, girl, of course I mean the blood! What the Hell have you done?”
River pursed her lips and gazed skywards, feeling the weight of a million stars through the hull of the ship. Raising her arms, she twirled around, the blood drying on her cheeks and pulling the skin tight. Bending from the waist, she scooped up the knife and offered it to Jayne, lying the blade carefully flat on her hand so that he wouldn’t get confused and think she wanted to hurt him. She stayed perfectly still as he started forward and snatched the knife from her outstretched palm.
“Whose blood is that?” Jayne is fighting hard to keep his voice steady, employing the same “keep the crazy girl calm” tone that everyone else on the ship did.
“Whose? No one’s, Jayne, it’s no one’s.” She gave him a big smile, not understanding why he recoiled as she did so. She whimpered a little as his big hand clamped down over her wrist and he began towing her towards Mal’s quarters, but she soon became engrossed in watching the way his backside moved inside his combat trousers to much care about the bruising pressure on her wrist.
“Mal!” He yelled as he reached the door, “The Doc’s crazy sister’s went and killed someone..”
“I didn’t,” River insisted, tugging at her wrist and watching with interest as his knuckles whitened.
“Then why are you covered in blood?”
“Bovine, not human.” River rolled her eyes as she said it, surprised that Jayne didn’t know the difference.
“Bovine?” Jayne’s eyebrows knitted together as he rolled the unfamiliar word around in his mouth.
“Bovine,” Mal’s dry voice affirmed from behind them, “seems River decided to do some butchering.”
Jayne dropped River’s wrist quickly, glaring at her as she rubbed her skin and smiled up at him.
“Butcherin’? Not…. Rosie?”
Mal nodded slowly, watching the big mercenary’s face darken with fury.
“Now, Jayne, you know that we was given that cow as part payment for a job, and that the intention always was to kill it...”
“But… She killed Rosie?”
“Well, seems that no one else was willin’ to do it, and River here got kinda impatient with us all and decided to do it herself.”
“She killed Rosie.” Jayne’s voice was flat and unemotional, at odds with his tightly clenched jaw and fists.
“We’ll all be eating steak, tonight.” River said happily, rubbing at her nose and watching the blood flake away.
With a muttered curse, Jayne stalked away.
“Would’ve been a lot easier if we’d just killed the damn cow before he got so attached to it,” Mal reflected wryly, still bemused at the affection that Jayne had built up for the small brown cow.
“He needed to love the cow. He needed to know what it was like to lose something he loved.” River said earnestly, watching the blood pulse through the veins in her hand.
“And did you need to be the one to kill it?”
“Of course,” River said in surprise, “I’m the only one crazy enough to do it.”