Previous chapters of Playing Games:
Slowly waking from a very pleasant dream, Jayne was coming to a strange realization. A minute ago, a talented whore was performing the most gorram naughty things to his body, and now… now…
There was actually something on his chest.
Something warm and vaguely girl-shaped.
And this something was leaving a hot, wet trail across said chest.
In his sleep and lust fogged mind, Jayne was trying to figure out just who exactly could be doing such shiny things with her tongue by process of elimination.
Couldn’t be ‘Nara. She’d never given him so much as a second glance, not that she had any to spare that weren’t for the Captain, anyways. Not Zoë, either, since she was still mournin’ the little man’s passing. Kaylee was... Well, he supposed it could be Kaylee, provided she’d come to her senses and dropped the doc’s scrawny be-hind. Didn’t much feel like little Kaylee, though, so that only left the crazy-girl.
Now just wait one gorram minute…
Jayne’s back arched and he let a groan escaped when River’s lips surrounded his nipple. Her mouth let go with a quiet pop and she met his eyes with a sly look.
”This girl does not appreciate your thinking about other women while she is pleasuring you. And, no, she will not wait one gorram minute.”
Jayne growled (whether it was more from lust or annoyance, even he didn’t know). “How many times d’I tell ya ta stay outta my head, girly?”
“Obviously not enough times, man.”
She bent her head back towards him, lapping at his collar bone. Jayne gripped the sheet under him, not having the presence of mind or the inclination to push her away.
River grinned against his shoulder, glad to have caught him in a compliant mood. Trying to distract him from the movement of her mouth up his neck, she trailed her fingers up his ribs and then back down again towards the low-riding waist of his sleep pants. Gripping his sides, she rubbed slow, deep circles into his hips with her thumbs.
Who’da thunk that the dick’s (heh heh, whoops, doc’s…) little sister could excite a man like this? Those little hands and fingers were a lot stronger than they looked, and that mouth was wreakin’ havoc on his innards, makin’ the heat pool low in his belly. Speaking of Crazy’s mouth…
Almost there. She was reaching for her goal, her lips nipping along Jayne’s jaw. River felt the heat of his large, calloused hand glide up her spine and into the hair at the back of her head. His fingers massaged her scalp in time with her kneading thumbs. She could feel the stubble against her lips as she approached his mouth. She would finally feel his lips against hers; finally taste him after having watched him for so long; finally get to ki-…
River felt her head wrench sharply away from Jayne’s. He glared into her face, his harsh breaths panting out in time with hers.
“Don’ even think ‘bout it, girly.”
He expected her to frown or pout or show some sign of disappointment, anger, or at least annoyance. What he didn’t expect was the twinkle in her eyes and playful smirk. He loosened his hands in surprise, and she took the opportunity to, literally, slip between his fingers.
From her new standing point next to his bed, River bent so that her head was parallel with his, her lips in line with his ear.
She blew out a hot breath before whispering huskily, “The game is afoot, mercenary. I will kiss you. Soon. And after I do, you will beg me to do it again.”
Before he could respond, she was gone from his side and on her way towards the ladder of his bunk. Before ascending, River glanced over her shoulder and blew him a giggly kiss. She then quickly and silently climbed up and out.
Jayne turned his head, slack-jawed, back to face the ceiling. He’d learned from experience that River was almost never wrong, so he didn’t doubt a single word she said. But he’d be damned if he wasn’t gonna put up one hell of a fight.
Jayne’s mouth formed a wolfish grin.
“Oh, yeah. Th’game’s on.”
Jayne swaggered into the mess with a confident step. He wasn’t gonna be letting the crazy girl do any kissin’ on him. No, sir. No matter how pretty she’d looked perched on his chest or how pink her lips were or how sweet her breath was. There was no way she was gonna be getting’ that close to ‘im today. No. Way.
River wouldn’t have had to have been a reader to have known that she was going to be in for a struggle. He had obviously been thinking of ways of stalling her plans. Silly boy. Didn’t know that the kissing was inevitable and that his opponent already knew what steps had to be taken to further their progress.
She had realized that the big, tough mercenary would put up a fight, but she’d be lying if she said she hadn’t hoped he would give in to her right away. And she had so hoped to get right to the sexin’, too…
Internally shaking off the distracting thoughts of Jayne-sex, River watched him behind the veil of her hair. No matter how many times she noticed it, she was always surprised at how the man moved with ease and grace, considering his bulk. She observed the way the muscles in his arms moved beneath his skin as he reached for the food in the center of the table.
Jayne glanced up at her and caught her eye, throwing in a wink for good measure – just to let her know that he knew she was watching.
She elegantly raised a brow in response, then ruined it by rolling her eyes at him. It wasn’t as though she were trying to hide the fact that she’d been staring. His smirk only widened.
The rest of the crew was witness to this silent conversation, exchanging questioning and, in the cases of Simon and Mal, outraged glances.
“Yeah, Mal?” The mercenary tore his smug gaze from River’s and addressed the captain.
“Why’re you eyin’ up our little assassin here as if you’re gonna be havin’ her for breakfast and not the protein? You better not be plannin’ somethin’ stupid, Jayne, or so help me, I will let you go out the airlock this time.” He tried to control the anger in his voice, he really did. It really wasn’t his fault he was so bad at it, was it?
“Aww, Mal, I ain’t plannin’ nothin’.” Should be worried more about what the crazy-girl’s got planned, than me. River’s unladylike snort was met with a quick glare. “Crazy-girl ‘n I’re just havin’ a friendly little starin’ contest, ain’t that right, girly?”
Mal glanced at River, who, though perched serenely on her chair, still smiled at the rough man across from her.
“That right, little witch?”
“That is right, Captain. Jayne does not mean me any harm. He only wishes he had more of a chance to spend time with me.” With that, River’s foot slid up Jayne’s leg under the table and into his lap. Her smile widened when Jayne choked on his mouthful of protein mash. So much for his keeping the upper hand today after being left so beside himself the night before. And he couldn’t just stick his hand to his crotch to ward off her foot, neither, or the crew’d really notice somethin’ was up
“What?!” Mal was glowering something fierce, and Simon surged to his feet. Kaylee laid a calming hand on his arm and he slowly let himself back down.
Now, Jayne wasn’t scared of much. Reavers, ‘a course, and maybe Zoë when she was pissed, but not much else. He couldn’t honestly say he was even scared of Crazy anymore, not with her savin’ ‘em all on Mr. Universe’s moon.
But at that moment in time, what with River’s foot pressing lightly into his groin and Mal and Simon glarin’ at ‘im like that, Jayne was feelin’ some mighty fearful tingles crawlin’ up his spine. And that gorram little crazy-girl was still smilin’ at him!
“Yes, Captain. I am a weapon, and Jayne, being profoundly intrigued by weapons of all kinds, finds me fascinating. He would like to see the extent of what I am capable of. Nothing more.” She gave him a hard rub with the pad of her foot.
A collective sigh was released around the table. Little did anyone know Jayne’s was for an entirely different reason.
“Well, if you’re sure that’s all…”
“Nothing more, Captain.”
“Good. That’s good to hear.” He shook his head. “Now, let’s get on to business. We’ll be landin’ on Persephone in ‘bout 3 hours, so it’s time to hand out everyone’s planet-side assignments. Simon and Kaylee, I want you two to stock up on anything we might need for the infirmary, engine, and kitchen. Might as well get as much as we can, while we can.”
He turned to the companion. “‘Nara, you mentioned you had some shopping to do, sundries and the like, so that’d be the time to do it. Zoë and I’ll go to the meet. It’s with an old army friend, so we shouldn’t have much need for violence. That means that, Jayne, you’re staying with the ship.”
“Aww, uh, Mal…”
“This is not up for debate, Jayne. And, in light of that little revelation earlier, I’d have to say you should be thrilled – since River’ll be staying with you.”
She squeezed him a bit with her toes, as if to tell him the two of them could have plenty of fun here, alone… “Gah, wha-uh… oh, uh… ‘kay.”
Simon cast a worried glance at the captain. “Are you sure that that’s a good idea? I’m sure River would be much happier in town shopping with Kaylee and me.”
“D’you hear what I said about this bein’ up for debate, Doc, and how it’s not? Now, don’t be lookin’ so scandalized, Doctor. Might be a good idea for River to explore her strengths a little bit. And who better for her to do it with than our hired gun?”
Jayne just about choked again, and River stifled a giggle, halting her movement, but leaving her foot in his lap. Ain’t that a loaded question?
Mal continued as though uninterrupted. “Besides, she could take him out iffen he ever tried anything, anyways.”
“Yeah, Simon. Don’t you worry none ‘bout River. She’ll be fine here with Jayne. And besides, we can use this as a little shoppin’ date. It’ll be fun! Not that havin’ you with us ain’t fun, River…” Kaylee turned to her friend apologetically, but River just nodded in understanding.
Simon smiled. “I supposed you’re right. But only if River’s certain.”
“I will be fine, ge ge. Go have fun shopping with Kaylee. Buy her something nice.”
Mal sensed he was quickly losing control of this discussion, and decided to close it before it got too out of hand. “Alright, then. I believe that to be all. If everything’s settled, we’ll meet in the bay before headin’ out our separate ways. Dong ma?”
Without waiting for a response, he stood and brought his and Inara’s empty bowls to the sink then offered the companion his arm. “May I escort you back to your shuttle, ma’am?”
“I would be delighted, Captain. Thank you.”
The rest of the crew took Mal’s departure to mean that the meeting was over. Simon and Kaylee headed towards the engine room to “prepare for landing” and Zoë left in the direction of the crew quarters. She paused just outside the door when she heard River’s voice.
“Are you ready for me, Ape-man?”
“I don’t think I’m gonna ever be ready for ya, Crazy, but you made it perfectly clear last night and with that stunt just now that I ain’t got much choice in the matter.”
Zoë frowned. Last night? Stunt?
“And it’ll be just my luck iffen I don’ get spaced when they find out ‘bout your little ‘game’. I’m not lookin’ to get dead, you know.”
“I will not let them dispose of you. I started this. The question is, are you going to finish it?”
Oh, my. It sounds like River’s looking to get Jayne into a compromising position. Oh, Wash, baby, you would have loved this. Zoë smiled sadly as she thought of her husband and continued to her bunk. It didn’t seem like this whatever-it-was between the two deadliest members of the crew was too serious, and so she saw no need in telling the captain just yet. But she’d be keeping an eye on them, just in case. This should get mighty interesting...
Back in the mess, Jayne and River continued their discussion.
“Finish it? Now you know I don’t kiss on the mouth, girly.”
She smiled patronizingly at him, and if humoring a small child. “Yes, Jayne, I know.”
“Then what was all that go se you was talkin’ ‘bout last night? Then the kissin’ ‘n the… rubbin’, from today? And speakin’ on that, you might wanna see to that wanderin’ body ‘a yours, ‘less you wanna be considered a tease. Ain’t right to get a man all kinds of excitable, then leave him hangin’.”
“Today was just for fun.” River grinned and dropped her foot from his lap. “Last night, I had to add a spark to start the fire. We may not be kissing right now, but we will. It was the first step. Needed you to know what you wanted, but couldn’t yet have.”
“I don’ want no kissin’, ya hear me?” He paused to clear his head now that the distraction from her foot was receding. “Wait, yet?”
“Yet. The game has only begun, and we have yet to establish all the rules and conditions. Round one has ended with the desired results. Family has allotted time for round two. That begins in the cargo bay.” River rounded the table to Jayne’s side and stood behind his chair with her hands on his shoulders. He tensed. So much for not lettin’ her get close…
Leaning down, River spoke softly. “The kissing will commence when you do want it and are ready for it.” She brushed a kiss against his cheek and straightened. “In the meantime, set out the mats in the cargo bay. We will explore my flexibility and my proficiency for weaponless combat. I’ll try not to grab you inappropriately this time. No guarantees.”
Jayne was surprised at the awareness that he had had to resist turning his mouth towards hers. One day. One gorram day and I’m already wantin’ to throw in the towel… She squeezed his shoulders softly before letting go and padding to the door.
River giggled to herself. If round two is as successful as round one, we will be kissing in very little time. “Until round two, Jayne.” She disappeared from view, leaving the flabbergasted mercenary alone, muttering about the “crazy-reader-assassin-girl-who’s-trying-t
Jayne’s indignant ramblings came to an abrupt halt. Oh, go se. Weaponless combat, in’propriate grabbin’… For a moment, his thoughts lingered on the fight in the Maidenhead, but he shook them away.
Jayne shifted uncomfortably and glanced down at his lap.
“Aww, hell…” He lifted his head to shout after her. “Gorram crazy-girl! You can’t keep doin’ that to a man!”
Jayne automatically scanned the cargo bay as he entered the room. The doc and Kaylee were walkin’ down the ramp hand in hand, ‘Nara not far behind them. Zoë was talkin’ with the captain next to the bay door controls, but stopped when she noticed him walking down the stairs.
”’Bout time you joined us, Jayne. I was getting worried the captain here was gonna have to force you outta your bunk.”
“Nah, I’m here. I just caught a quick nap ‘fore landin’, ‘s all. I got a feelin’ Crazy’s gonna tire me out with her fancy trained fightin’ today.”
Zoë’s eyes narrowed in suspicion. “Oh, is that what you’re worried ‘bout? The fightin’?”
“Uh, yeah. ‘A course. I mean, the girl… She took out a whole passel of Reavers all on ‘er own. ‘A course I’m worried. Wouldn’t want ‘er to go all psychotic again or nothin’. Her ‘n her fancy fightin’…” He nervously rubbed the back of his neck. At the thought that Zoë knew that he was actually worried about being alone with the little crazy-girl, Jayne’s gut clenched. Where the hell’s she goin’ with this? What’s she know?
River chose that very opportune moment to enter the cargo bay, making her way directly towards the little group. She giggled a little at their appearances. The captain looked confusedly between his first mate and his hired gun, the first of these standing stoically with an almost imperceptible twinkle in her eye, and the second looking about as frightened as she’d ever seen him.
“Captain, is there anything you needed from us before you left?”
“Uh, no, I don’t think so, Albatross. Everything seems to be in order here. I just wanted to make sure that you’ll tell me all about this little session ‘a yours when we get back.” He frowned at Jayne, but continued to address River. “Be careful with my merc, little one. He seems a mite off, today.”
“Yes, Captain Daddy.” He turned to leave, but stopped when his first mate didn’t follow. She continued her intent perusal of Jayne’s face.
She caught up with the captain and the two of them proceeded towards the outside. Mal leaned in to talk quietly. “What was that all ‘bout, Zoë?”
“I’m not sure, yet, sir. All I know is that it’s not something to be worried about just yet. When I know more, so will you.”
“Zoë, I don’t like secrets on my boat, especially if it has to do with the two volatile persons standin’ in my cargo bay and guardin’ my ship. If you know something, you tell me.”
“Like I said, sir, you’ll know when I know.”
“Well, alright, then. Now, let’s go and come back right quick, ‘fore Badger finds out we came to Persephone without callin’ ‘im.”
“That would probably be wise, sir”
River and Jayne stood together until the captain and Zoë were out of sight, then she lightly punched his arm. The big man slapped a hand to his “wound”.
“Whyfor d’you do that, Crazy?”
She scowled at him. “You were making it too obvious. If we are to play the game, you cannot be giving out our strategies to the opposing team! It is too soon for it to come to an end.”
“Hey, now! I thought it was me ‘gainst you in this little game ‘a yours.”
“With you and against you, I will hold both positions many times.” She left his side suddenly, making her way toward the crates stacked in the corner of the bay. Propping one foot high above her head against the crate to stretch, she turned her head towards a dazed looking Jayne. “Would you spread out the mats, please?”
It took him a moment to process he request, not moving until her leg dropped and she looked at him expectantly. “Jayne? The mats?”
“Uh, yeah. Right, the mats. I got ‘em.” As he reached for them, he saw her lift her other leg and repeat her stretches. Ain’t nobody should be that flexible. Wonder what else she can do with them legs?
While Jayne busied himself with the set up, River remembered fondly the acquisition of the mats. They had been a gift to her from the entire crew after Miranda. They were very thin and hard enough for her to dance on, so much so that they could scarcely be considered “mats” at all. Although, when one’s only other option in this case was to fight on the sharp grating of the cargo bay floor, a hard, smooth surface was much appreciated.
Jayne was so occupied connecting the mats together, that he didn’t notice River approach until she’d stepped onto the edge. When he did spot ‘er, barefooted in her long black shorts and tight tank-top, he thought she looked ready to play jacks with Kaylee, not take on a 200 pound mercenary with a good ten years on ‘er.
“Looks are very deceiving, Ape-man. Think of me as a weapon, not as a girl.”
“Yeah, that ain’t gonna the easiest thing ever, you know, considerin’ that y’are a girl.”
River fixed her gaze to her feet and spoke quietly “They tried to make me not-a-girl. Tried to make it so that the girl was buried away and only the weapon could shine.”
“River, ’m sorry…” Jayne immediately felt badly for having upset her. He stepped closer in order to offer some measure of comfort…
Only to end up flat on his back, River glaring down at him and shaking her head.
“Focus! You must maintain your concentration despite distractions. If you feel for your opponent, you make yourself vulnerable!”
Jayne picked himself up off the mats, embarrassed and furious. “What in hells-bells was that? Just some gorram little scheme to get my guard down? Makin’ me feel sorry for you just so you could take a cheap shot? I was gonna pull my punches with you, girl, but it looks like you’ll be needin’ a little lesson.”
“A lesson? From you? I doubt very much that there is anything you could teach me.” River scoffed at him, secretly thrilled that he was treating her as he would any other opponent: with a calculated skill honed from years of experience.
“Oh, I got lessons for ya, little girl.” Jayne snarled. He was pissed! Gorram little witch had gotten him feelin’ all sorry for her and then taken advantage ‘a that. It weren’t gonna happen again.
When he came at her, looking for all intents and purposes like an angry bear, she had a momentary doubt. Maybe I should have considered an alternate option for Round Two…
That thought quickly vanished as her survival training kicked in and she dodged his incoming attack. He may have been stronger, but she was obviously faster – able to skirt around him to land a blow. Jayne stumbled, but did not fall, instead turning to face her once again. The time for talking was over.
Despite their noticeable differences in size, the pair was very well matched, exchanging blows evenly. And even though Jayne had threatened not to pull his punches, both adversaries were making sure not to injure the other. After some time, giggles and guffaws could be heard echoing off the walls.
Catching Jayne in a rare moment of weakness (he was trying to catch his breath from laughing so hard), River swept his legs out from under him. In spite of being caught off guard, he refused to go down alone and brought River down on top of him. She sat, straddling his waist, laughing and beaming down at him.
“I think this means that I win, Ape-man.”
More quickly than she expected, Jayne flipped them around, so she was on her back against the mats. He grinned and panted out a laugh. “What’s that you was sayin’ ‘bout winnin’, Crazy-girl?”
To busy laughing to try to escape, River just gasped for air, chest heaving.
That chest, just begging for attention, is what brought Jayne to the realization of just how close they really were. He stared down into her eyes as their breathing calmed and her beaming smile faded.
River hesitantly lifted her fingers to trace his cheek bone, her thumb stroking the stubble on his jaw. She sighed. “Jayne.”
The mercenary took in the young woman beneath him. Body trembling from the adrenaline, hips cradling his, fingers lightly tracing his features, great big eyes, softly parted pink lips… Of everything, though, it was the sigh that did him in.
I ain’t never heard nobody say my name like that ’fore. Sounds like there’s nothin’ she wants more than to be right here. With me… Maybe kissin’, just this once, won’t be so bad. Just to smooth over all ‘a them hits I gave ‘er. One little kiss won’t hurt me none and I can always go back to “no-kissin’” tomorrow.
Jayne’s eyes flicked from her lips to her eyes and back again. As he lowered his mouth towards hers, he heard her murmur, “Uh-oh…”
“Well, ain’t you two just a cozy lit’le pai’?”
Jayne lifted his head to take in their intruder, then bowed it again, swearing under his breath. River arched her neck, and smiled at the sight.
“Hello, Mr. Badger.”
Jayne sat on one of the crates, legs spread, elbows on his knees, head in his hands. He was still muttering obscenities under his breath. River, on her part, didn’t seem worried at all. Perched beside him on the crate, legs crossed coolly, River watched Badger interact with his men across the bay.
Jayne figured he should take it as a good sign that she weren’t flippin’ out. Really, if there was some danger around, she’d tell him, right?
“Now’s not the time to act, big-man. There is some imminent danger, but nothing fatal.”
Jayne snorted in her general direction. “Nothin’ fatal, you said? Girl, there’s seven men standin’ there, six of ‘em with some mighty big guns and one of ‘em with a right small dick. Gorram yellow-bellied, backstabbin’ little rodent…”
“I agree that the rodent leaves much to be desired in the part of courage, and perhaps even in genitalia - I know nothing of that - but his observation and control on this planet are rather impressive. The captain made sure Badger would not know of our presence on Persephone, and yet, here he is. As for the differences in weaponry, we will make up for it in skill.”
“Skill?” He looked up at her disbelievingly. “Ya want us to take out all these guys ‘thout weapons and ‘thout gettin’ shot with jus’ skill? Ya really are still crazy.”
“Silly Jayne. That insult is getting very tiresome. And if I am crazy, then how is it that I was the one who recalled where you placed supplementary concealed weapons in the cargo bay?”
“And what of your much discoursed acquisition of Vera? The odds are much more in our favor now then they were for you then. They were six, then, as well, and you were alone.”
“That’s jus’ it. I was by my lonesome. Din’t have nobody to worry ‘bout, then.”
River bit her lip, touched by his admission. “You won’t need to worry, my Jayne. We fight much better together than we do apart. You’ll see.”
“I don’ wanna hafta see, gorrammit!” Up until then, Jayne had been doing a fairly good job at keeping his voice down, but with that exclamation, he caught Badger’s attention. “I don’ wantcha gettin’…”
River noticed the “businessman’s” approach. “Shh… The rodent wishes to speak with us.” Jayne’s mouth clamped shut and he glared.
“Oh, ya don’t have ta stop talkin’, now, Cobb. Look’d to be quite the intense conve’sation. Though not nea’ly as intense as that little scrap we walked in on. Two of you look’d mighty comfortable. Wonder what the good cap’n ‘as to say ‘bout tha’.”
His captives kept silent, so he continued. “Speakin’ ‘a the cap’n, you can imagine my su’prise when I found out a Firefly-class ship was landing on my planet ‘n I ‘adn’t heard a single thing ‘bout it. Right ‘earthbroken, I am.”
The men behind him snickered. Jayne rolled his eyes. “Yeah, I jus’ bet y’are.”
“Now, now, Cobb. No need ta be snippy. Why can’t you be like ou’ lit’le friend, here? She don’ seem to be too bothe’ed by my presence on this lovely ship.” He leered at River. She looked back at him bemusedly.
“Am not bothered at all, Mr. Badger. Your presence is only a constant source of annoyance.”
“Hey, now, girly, tha’ ain’t nice.” He reached out to play with the hair on her shoulder, but Jayne was faster. The merc squeezed the wrist in his paw, making Badger squirm and the men behind him adjust their weapons.
“Don’t. Touch. Her.”
“Cobb, I su’gest that you let go ‘a me right ‘way, unless you and the little miss ‘ere wanna get filled with unnecessary lead.” Jayne just squeezed tighter, grinding the bones together.
River sensed the anxiety coming from the hired men facing them. She laid a hand on Jayne’s arm.
He glanced at her, but didn’t loosen his grip. “Yeah?”
“I do not want to get shot. Let him go.”
He growled, but unfurled his fingers. “Fine.”
Badger backed away, rubbing his wrist. Trying to salvage some dignity, he gave a painful grin. “Tha’s bette’.”
River rubbed Jayne’s arm soothingly, trying to smooth his ruffled pride. The mercenary in him had wanted nothing more than to rip off Badger’s hand, but his protectiveness over River stopped that right quick. Can’t put ‘er in any more danger th’n necessary… but I swear, if he puts his hands on her ag’in, I’m gonna tear ‘im ‘part…
“Jayne, remember when we spoke of the time of action? How that time hadn’t yet come, but danger was imminent?”
He halted his glaring at Badger to glance at her hopefully. “Yeah.”
“Now would be a good time.” They looked again towards Badger and his men. With their guns at the ready, Badger standing behind them cradling his hand and smirking smugly, the men seemed prepared for quite a shootout.
River diving one way, and Jayne the other, they managed to find some cover before the gunshots fired. Jayne pulled two guns from the false bottom of a toolbox that was sitting next to him. He tossed one over the cargo crates to River, who caught it without difficulty.
He grinned. “Let’s show ‘em, girly.”
River beamed back. “Oh, yes. Let’s.”
Then all hell broke loose.
River and Jayne, having only a small supply of ammunition, contented themselves to letting Badger’s men run their guns dry, emptying clip after clip, while they took only sure shots, injuring, but not killing the men.
After the last shot was fired, River launched out from behind her protected space to initiate hand to hand combat. Jayne waited a moment, taking her in. Most gorram beaut’ful sight I ever saw. Hard ta believe that so much power can come from such a little thing…
“Jayne!” River was yelling at him. She rarely yelled. Screaming fits, though very infrequent as of late, yes. Honest to goodness yelling, not so much. “Would you like to-“ thud “assist, or would you-“ kick, grunt “rather I take care of this alone?”
“I’m comin’! Don’t you dare beat ‘em all ‘thout me! I want the big one!” Jayne stalked into to the already raging fist fight, all the while keeping his eyes on River. Her eyes locked into his even as she bent at the waist to dodge an incoming fist and plant her foot into the abdomen of the attacker approaching from behind. Hell, we did this in the Maidenhead ‘n she weren’t even all conscious-knowin’-like ‘a what was goin’ on. With her bein’ all new-sane ‘n all, this shouldn’t last too long.
With careful signs – a tilted head here, a skirted gaze there – Jayne and River quickly beat back all of Badger’s men. Those that didn’t get tossed out or rolled down the ramp and into the street took to running before long. Only Badger was left, gawking at the couple before him. They, on the other hand, had eyes only for each other.
“I’ll jus’ be goin’ now. Tell the cap’n I said hello, ‘right? We’ll talk next time you’re out my way.” He laughed nervously, backtracking towards the ramp without looking away from them.
The pair barely noticed. Facing each other, on opposite sides of the mats, both struggling to control their breathing, neither one said a word.
Jayne was harder than he’d ever been, ever, just after having fought with River. Never been so turned on ‘fore. I’m usually a little riled after a fight, but nothin’ compares to fightin’ with the crazy-girl. Wonder if this’s what it’ll it be like when we get ta the kissin’ ‘n sexin’ ‘n stuff? ‘ Cause I’m bettin’ it’ll be better. She licked the bit of blood clotting on her split lip, and he broke.
Jayne’s feet pounded across the mats. I’m done. I’m kissin’ her. She can’t just fight like that, watchin’ me watch her, and not get me all kinds of ‘lectrified. She’s mine. My River-girl. Mine. He gripped River’s shoulders and watched her eyes widen in appreciation and longing, her lips falling open slightly.
“What in gorram hell happened to my ship!?”
Jayne dropped his hands to his sides and groaned. Gorrammit, Mal…
“I’ll be in my bunk.” He turned and headed up the stairs.
“Jayne! I asked you a question! What in gorram hell happened to my ship!?!” Jayne didn’t even bother looking back.
Simon came in from behind the Captain. “Mei-mei, are you alright?”
River growled. “I’m fine, Simon.” She spun around and stormed towards the doorway to the passenger dorms. “It suddenly got far too crowded in here.”
The rest of the crew watched them leave. Mal addressed Simon. “Doc, I think your sister’s been spendin’ far too much time with my merc.”
The doctor continued to stare after his sister, long after she had disappeared. "Yes, Captain. I do believe you may be right about that."
The doctor continued to stare after his sister, long after she had disappeared. "Yes, Captain. I do believe you may be right about that."
And now, for the next chapter...
Title: Round 4 - Playing for Permission
Series: Playing Games series
Pairing: Jayne/River (obviously)
Disclaimer: I own nothing but my over-Rayned mind. And I have no money, so suing me is useless.
Notes: This is unbeta-ed. Any mistakes are strictly mine. Previous chapters are listed above
Summary: "Well, what in gorram hell do I do now?
Now, Simon may have been a boob when in came to Kaylee, but he saw quite clearly what was going on between his sister and the big mercenary. He wasn’t shocked; he’d seen their camaraderie and friendship develop since Miranda, and as much as River had become a young woman, Jayne had become a semi-respectable man. To say he was happy about it would be a grand overstatement, but he was… resigned.
Simon knocked on the door to River’s dorm with a sigh. “Mei-mei? Are you there?”
“Come in, Simon.”
“I’d like to talk to you about something if you have few minutes.”
River nodded her head, knowingly. “You’d like to discuss my involvement with Jayne.”
“You know, I really hate the sound of that.” He sat down beside her on the bed and scrubbed at his face. “Mei-mei, I’ve seen the way you look at him. Are you sure he’s what you want?”
River gazed unseeingly passed Simon’s shoulder and smiled gently, almost wistfully. “He’s strong enough for me, Simon. Not many people are. He understands that I’m a weapon, and that a weapon should be used so as not to become defective.”
“You’re not a weapon, River…”
She looked up at him sharply. “Of course I am, Simon. I know you can’t see that. You are my brother. You will forever see me as the little girl who went off to study at the Academy. But you must understand that I’m not her anymore. She is still a part of me, but I’ve changed.” She grinned. “I’ll always be your bratty little sister.”
“The one thing that I wish would change.” He rolled his eyes. “I’ll try to come to terms with this, Mei-mei. I love you and I want you to be happy. If Jayne is what makes you happy, then I won’t object to your relationship.” He said the last word with a little bit of a shudder. If he could have chosen anyone for his beloved little sister, he never would have even considered the merc.
River patted Simon’s knee. “It’s alright, Simon. I’m not sure I would have chosen him either. Fate threw us together, and now there’s no one for me but Jayne. Can you honestly tell me that, five years ago, as a leading trauma surgeon, you would have chosen Kaylee for yourself?” He chuckled and shook his head. “But now you can’t see yourself with anyone but her. You fit.”
Simon sighed again. “And so do you and Jayne. I understand, River, even if I don’t think he’s worthy of you.”
“To you, there would never have been anyone worthy.” They both laughed and River kissed his forehead. “You are a very good brother, Simon, and I appreciate everything you’ve given up for me, but you don’t have to take care of me anymore. You’re free to love Kaylee with everything you are.” She paused and mock-frowned. “And treat the captain’s many bullet wounds.”
“Well, you’re right about that.” He ruffled her hair and stood. “I’d better go. I’d like to speak to Jayne tonight as well.”
She narrowed her eyes in warning. “Simon…”
“I promise that I won’t do anything drastic. I just want to mess with him a little. As your brother, I think I’m entitled.”
“Now who’s being a brat?”
Simon entered the cargo bay searching for Jayne, and found him sitting at the table, a glass of Kaylee’s ‘shine in one hand and the bottle in the other. Strangely, Jayne didn’t seem to notice his entrance. He just continued to stare at the liquid in the glass.
Simon sat down beside him. “I would like to speak with you a moment, Jayne, if you don’t mind.”
The mercenary only grunted in response.
Simon sighed. I really think I’m beginning to sigh far too often. I can’t wait for this relationship drama to be over… “It has to do with River.”
Jayne’s head snapped up and he automatically defended himself. “I din’t do nothin’ to ‘er, Doc, I swear! We’re just… Aww, hell, I don’t know what we’re doin’!”
“Jayne, it’s okay, it’s fine. I’ve spoken with River.”
“What? Ya have? What’d she tell you?”
“She told me her intentions towards you. It seems my sister fancies you quite a bit. Only God knows why, but she would like to build a relationship with you.”
“She said all ‘a that?” Jayne was shocked. If River told the doc, then why in hell ain’t I drugged and dead by now? He figured that might be a good question to ask out loud.
“Why ain’t you drugged me yet? Why ain’t you freakin’ out?”
Simon smirked a little, glad that he, of all people, had the much larger mercenary on edge. “Oh, I considered it, believe me, but I don’t think River would ever forgive me for disposing of her future… whatever you are. As for ‘freaking out’, as you put it, I’d be lying if I said I was perfectly content with the situation. But, my sister is a grown woman, and she has the right to make her own choices.”
“And you’re alright with all this?”
“I’ll be blunt, Jayne. Honestly, I don’t think you’re good enough for her. Then again, I am her brother, so no one will ever be good enough. But I love her, and I respect her decision. Her decision is to continue to pursue you.”
Jayne was stunned into complete silence. He couldn’t believe the doc had just told him he could be with the crazy-girl. Doc just gave me permission to be with ‘er. What the hell?
Simon stood and wiped his hands on his vest. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, Kaylee is waiting for me.” He made his way to the door, but paused before exiting. “But, Jayne? If you hurt her, those drugs you mentioned before will definitely be put to use.”
River wandered into the mess to find Jayne in the same position as Simon had left him in, with the same dumbstruck expression on his face. She stopped when she reached the end of the table.
“I take it you spoke with brother-boob?”
His dazed eyes focused on hers. “You know, he ain’t nearly so boob-like when it ain’t his relationship that’s bein’ ‘fected.”
River nodded her head in acquiescence. “You’re right. He took a long time to settle things with Kaylee, yet he came to terms quite quickly with this development in our relations.”
“I think he done went as plumb crazy as you are. Givin’ me permission to… givin’ us permission to be… you know… together.”
“Do you want us to be together?” River asked quietly. She suddenly found her clasped hands to be very interesting. I am a government trained assassin, so why is it that I cannot even look a potential lover in the eyes? Anxiety feels no better in person than it does coming off someone else.
“I think so. I mean, I don’ really know.” Jayne could read the hurt in her eyes when they snapped up to meet his own. “Gorramit, Crazy, ya gotta understand, I ain’t never known nobody like you ‘afore. I never felt like I do righ’ now. I just don’ know what ta do ‘bout it. I know what I wanna do, but I don’ know if I should.”
“Jayne, I need to know. Please. Do you want to be with me?” Her voice was pleading and her eyes were hopeful.
He couldn’t lie to her. “Yeah, I do.”
River’s smile could have lit the black, it was so bright. “We will take things as slow as you want, I will not push, I promise you.”
He chuckled. “I know ya won’t. Yer too smart fer that.” He quieted and it was his turn to study his hands. “Riv, how come you ain’t ever come to see me ‘gain? After that first night? I mean, don’ go thinkin’ tha’ that’s all I want from you, or nothin’, I’m just… I’m wonderin’ how come you ain’t bein’ as forward as you was.”
“Forward.” He followed her with his eyes as she circled the table towards his chair. “You mean like this?” River placed one hand on his shoulder and lifted her leg over his so that she was straddling his lap. Still standing, she inched forward so that her body touched his and slid down so that their groins were pressed tightly together. Jayne groaned. River grinned.
She nuzzled the underside of his jaw, licking and nipping her way down his neck. Her teeth scraped his pulse point when his head tilted to the side. River applied a little suction and hummed. She raised her head with a cheeky smirk. “Is that better?”
“Oh, yeah. But now it’s my turn.”
Jayne glided his hands up her thighs to grip her small waist. He rocked his hips into hers, causing her to gasp sharply. Keeping one hand on her waist to keep her steady, the other slid up her ribs to her breast. He kneaded softly. River arched her back, thrusting her chest further towards him. He bent his head and latched his mouth onto her other nipple through the thin material of her nightgown.
The heat of his mouth made her moan and rock a little harder, he hands convulsively gripping his shoulders. “Oh! Jayne…” The hand at her waist raised itself towards her now damp breast when his mouth transferred to the other one. His now freed hand lost itself in her dark, unruly hair.
After satisfactorily laving her breast, he trailed his mouth across her collar bone and up her neck. Jayne stilled their movement and lifted his head so that his mouth was only a hair’s breadth above River’s. He looked into her half-lidded eyes. He wanted to kiss her, yet he hesitated.
He was serious when he asked “Why is it that after that first night, I’m bein’ the one to initiate all these almost-kisses?”
River blinked once, twice, and the lust cleared from her gaze. She smiled gently. “I told you I wouldn’t push. You have to be the one to kiss me for it to mean anything. For us to be together, you have to be sure.”
She continued. “Do you really think it was by chance that we kept being interrupted? You hesitated, and gave them time. Kissing means too much to you for you to do it haphazardly. It is intimate. It is love.”
She cupped his cheek in one hand. “You’ve kissed only two women in your life, Jayne Cobb. Your mother, whose cheek you kiss in your memories of home, and your first love, who broke your heart. For you to kiss me, after all this time, means you love me; for without love, you don’t kiss. I long for your kiss, Jayne, but I long for your love even more.”
River gave him a watery smile. “I love you, my Jayne. I will wait as long as it takes.”
She stood on wobbly legs and placed a soft caress on his cheek. “It is late. Good night.” She calmly left the mess.
Jayne hadn’t said a single word throughout her little speech, his jaw seemingly having detached itself to hang uselessly. He was having trouble thinking, never mind composing coherent sentences.
Sometime later, he did manage to string together a few words.
“Well, what in gorram hell do I do now?”