“Borrowing the hovermule to take the packages back. You didn’t have to.”
“Well, ya didn’t hafta be all helpful-like with refuelin’ me like ya did, so by my reckonin’ this makes us square.”
River smiled to herself as she started loading the bags into the mule.
“Don’t strain yer back, girl,” Jayne said, makin’ sure he was the one to heft the heavier sacks into the mule. “Wouldn’t wantcha to pull a muscle or nothin’.”
“You continue to be a delightful source of surprises, Cobb,” she said, taking a moment to relish the seven pairs of boots she had bought. Three pairs with steel-toes, two pairs for hiking, one pair for winter and one set of high-heeled, knee-high fetishwear that were meant to be worn with the incredibly short black leather skirt she’d found on the below-cost rack. “Who would have thought you could be solicitous of my welfare?”
“Uh, obvious, genius,” Jayne said, rollin’ his eyes. “Who’s gonna get us off this rock in one piece if’n yer laid up with back spasms? Mal? Hell, we’d be lucky if’n he didn’t incinerate us all before we broke atmo.”
River shook her head. “Now that’s the Cobb we all know and love. Always thinking of himself.”
Jayne straightened up an' grabbed his lapels, posin' like the big damn hero he fancied himself to be. “Hey, it’s part of my charm.”
She made an exasperated sound close to a delicately feminine short and pitched a sack at him which he barely managed to catch.
“Hopefully you are charming enough to get these past my brother,” River said, as Jayne peered into the sturdy canvas sack. “Simon would have a herd if he knew about these.”
“Which is ‘xactly why we ain’t tellin’ him, dong ma?” Jayne said in a low voice as he put the sack up with the others.
“Clear as mud, Cobb.” River grinned at him before picking up another bag and taking a deep whiff of the contents. “Mmmm…warm cow skin in the afternoon.”
“Here, let me get that for ya,” Jayne said, taking the bag from her and hefting the others into the back of the hovermule.
Her eyebrows twitched together, then sprang apart as her head cocked to the side. “I only had three bags from the leather goods store. I don’t remember this fourth one. Did the clerk make a mistake?”
“Um, don’t worry none ‘bout that,” Jayne said, not looking her in the eye. “Kaylee was saying she was wantin’ a new jacket so she asked me to buy it for her.”
Her eyebrows quirked upwards. “Oh.”
He looked at her.
She looked at him.
He was lyin’.
She knew it.
He knew that she knew it.
She knew that he knew that she knew it.
They stood there, side-by-side, looking at each other for a good long while.
Jayne broke the tension first, givin’ her one o’ his little upper-lip smiles. “Wanna drive after we get all your gear on board?”
River nodded mutely and began braiding her hair.
They loaded the rest of the bags into the hovermule’s backseat in silence.
He helped her climb into the seat, careful not to touch her in any way that could be considered improper by any planet’s standards.
She fired up the hovermule, adjusted the mirrors, checked the gauges and smiled to herself.
Jayne handed her a pair of sunshades. “Don’t wantcha havin’ issues seein’ in this here ‘shine.”
“Many thanks,” she replied as she donned them.
“Gotta say, this is the easiest money I ever made,” Jayne commented, haulin’ himself up into the passenger seat an' settlin’ in. “Didn’t hafta waste no bullets on no would-be badasses. Fine day, yessir, fine day. I’m thinkin’ mebbe we should do this more often, eh?”
“Don’t forget, I still owe you thirty platinum, Cobb.” River smiled and as she patted his hand with one of her own, Jayne felt himself gettin’ a little too warm all over. “How shall we settle the bill?”
Jayne let his gaze slide from her shades to her lips to her neck to that wonderful place where her breasts cuddled up to her tight top an' created peaks and valleys in direct opposition to the very flat countryside.
Oh, I’m a bad, bad man…that’s Special Hell territory, even if’n she’s old enough. Still, can’t blame a man for lookin’…an’, uh, thinkin’…an’ imaginin’ what that spot on her neck tastes like, the one that’s throbbin’ right now with her pulse goin’ mile a minute. Wonder what she’d say if’n I proposed to call us even for thirty minutes o’ neck-nuzzlin’ an’ other interestin’ maneuvers…?
“Huh?” Jayne adjusted his sunshades, his Miss River Tam-throat-slurpin’ daydream very rudely interrupted.
“The answer to your question is ‘yes’,” she explained.
Jayne felt himself freeze in the act of puttin’ on his jacket. “Ya mean yer referrin’ to lettin’ me exchange pack-mule service for food in the future, right?”
“Oh, that too,” she replied breezily as she took off the handbrake.
Jayne rolled his shoulders, cracked his neck. “Oh, well that’s good, I s’pose…wait a gorram minute! Whaddya mean, ‘that, too’?”
She looked over at him, smiled gently, the elegant primness of her posture in opposition to the shadowy glamour of her dark eyes behind the darker sunshades. “Of course I’ll wear the pants you bought for me.”
Jayne set, then worked his jaw as he shifted his gaze out across the plain to where Serenity was situated, a mere speck on the horizon.
So ruttin’ close an’ so far ‘way at the same gorram time!
“Girl, ya must’ve been one helluva brat when came time for holiday giftin’,” he grumbled as he folded his arms. “Well whatcha waitin’ for? Let’s git a move on!”
River beamed daintily and opened the throttle as the hovermule throbbed to life.
All was somewhat uncomfortably hushed as they sped over the rough landscape, River expertly dodging massive mesquite thickets while Jayne kept a white-knuckled grip on the seat an’ wondered for the umpteenth time why in the gorram hell he’d let her drive…oh, yeah, he was pervin’ on her at the time an’ it was the only way he could think of to defuse the tension.
He took his eyes off the chaparral for an instant to glance over at her. She was grinnin’, ear-to-ear-like, bouncin’ ‘round in the seat as if she were some toddlin’ pretendin’ to drive her bà’s aircar.
“Whee!” she squealed as she pushed the hovermule into fourth gear.
They were closin’ on Serenity fast and if’n they didn’t start slowin’ soon, they were gonna be splattered all over Mal’s shiny ship with not a helluva lot to send back to their families for incineration. He felt the enormous meal he’d eaten not an hour ago roil in his supposedly cast-iron stomach.
“Slower!” Jayne protested, every gorram muscle in his body workin’ to keep him in his seat. “Slower would be better!”
She ignored him, whooping as she pushed the engine to go harder.
“Hey!” Jayne hollered as they swerved ‘round Serenity. “Ya missed the cargo bay!”
“Detour!” she crowed, laughing like some demented bobble-headed doll as she zigged, then zagged around huge Joshua trees an' Jayne came very, very close to losin’ his extremely expensive lunch.
He had no idea where they were going, but he knew from glancin’ at the console that they would run out of fuel in not a whole lotta time.
“Gorramit, girl! Turn this ruttin’ thing ‘round!” he yelled, wrestlin’ with her for the controls.
“No unscheduled stops!” she yelled before she stuck her tongue out at him and shot through a hairy patch o’ cacti that would turn him into a pincushion if’n he didn’t adjust his bearings.
Jayne curled into the center of the mule to escape them an' spied her braid flappin’ in the breeze. He unsheathed Binky an' reached for the long, dark tail.
“Slow down right ruttin’ now,” he yelled into her ear as he brandished the knife, “Or yer getting’ an unscheduled haircut!”
“Almost there!” she said, as if she hadn’t heard a word he said. “Hold on!”
Jayne made a move as if to slice through the braid, but she executed another quick series of feints with the foliage an’ he found himself slammed ‘gainst the seat, nearly losin’ his grip on Binky.
All manner of threatenin' was over an' done for Jayne as he concentrated on holdin' on for dear life.
River executed another baker’s dozen of twists and turns before she slowed the hovermule to a full stop right next to a broad, deep creek.
Thirty horrifically long seconds passed as Jayne resheathed Binky an’ tried to control his breathin’. He figured he was somewhere ‘tween hyperventilatin’ an’ throwin’ up. He tried to take it slow, imaginin’ soothin’ thoughts an’ it was simple easy considerin’ the surroundin’s: shady trees, sweet water, scads o’ coinage an’ scads o’ pretty guns to spend ‘em on.
He was only partly successful because even though his lunch stayed down, his blood was up in a majorly mean way. He leaned his head back ‘gainst the seat an’ lolled it over to glare at the girl. He was either gonna strangle her or sex her to death an’ it was all a matter o’ chance because right now he weren’t attached to neither outcome.
All he knew was that the next words outta her mouth better be, “I’m sorry” or “Hands of Blue” or somethin’ equally worthy o’ almost turnin’ him into merc road pizza.
Unfortunately, the Doc didn’t call her a “brat” for nothin’.
“That was so shiny!” River said brightly, rolling her shoulders and shivering with exhilaration. “I hope you weren’t frightened.”
Enough. Jayne had ruttin’ had enough.
“Listen, you demonic space monkey from the seventh circle o’ hell!” he yelled, grabbin’ one o’ her arms an’ pullin’ the keys out of the ignition. “I signed on this crew for a ten-percent cut, my own bunk an’ full run o’ the kitchen. I signed on with ya this afternoon to get paid in savories an’ ya still owe me thirty platinum. I surer than shui did not sign on to let yer fantastic’ly-shaped backside kidnap mine when ya got somethin’ gone swiss-cheesy in the brainpan! Now yer gonna do exactly as I say or I’m gonna give you somethin’ to be frightened ‘bout, dong ma?!”
River slowly removed her shades and placed them on the dashboard. She loosened her hair and looked down at his huge hand, easily encircling the slender mass of her upper arm.
She wasn’t frightened, not at all. She was as regal and unruffled as a princess dealing with an unruly peasant.
When she raised her eyes to his, Jayne knew he was in danger. She was lookin’ him just like he had looked at the strawberry shortcake when he first saw it back at the diner: eyein’ him like he was on the menu an’ she was ruttin’ starved.
Jayne swallowed hard.
“You are quite accurate,” she said, looking him up and down with those cool, dark eyes.
Even his shades weren’t no defense ‘gainst her an’ he thought for a moment he felt her pokin’ round in his brainpain, makin’ his blood start to pound and his temples start to throb.
“’Bout what?” he asked, tryin’ to keep his voice from breakin’ an’ indicatin’ how truly alarmed he was at that moment.
She could hurt him.
If’n she were so ‘nclined…
“You did not sign on to get kidnapped.” She licked her lips. “And I still owe you thirty platinum.”
“Keep the gorram money!” he squeaked, releasin’ her faster than he’d ever pulled his hand away from his ma’s kitchen stove.
“Bad mercenary,” she sweetly scolded as she climbed over the console and straddled his lap. “You must understand one thing, Cobb, if we are to operate together: don’t ever tell someone that they can ‘keep the money’. They, unlike me, might truly believe you.”
Jayne tried to withdraw from her touch as much as he could, but she was practically plastered ‘gainst him.
“Where the hell’d this come from?” he demanded, more than a lil’ afeared for his vital functions.
River glanced down at his lap and smirked. “You have to ask?”
“Just take us back to Serenity and we’ll call it even,” he pleaded.
She shook her head. “Can’t.”
“Why not?” His voice was normal again, merciful Buddha, but the unholy gleam in her eyes had him ponderin’ all sorts o’ really, really nasty thoughts – kind o’ thoughts that led to lustin’, lechery, leakage and eventually, laundry.
“Out of gas,” River said, tapping the gauge in question before scooching forward. “At least, the hovermule is. Looks like you’ve got plenty though. All according to plan.”
She grinned at him.
“River Tam, Brilliant Plan # 77.”
He was completely powerless as she took his wrists in her hands and guided them around her waist, purring as his fingers reflexively gripped her backside. Through four layers of cloth, she felt him, hard with frustration and adrenaline.
“Step one: tempt Jayne with glimpses and brief touches of flesh,” she said, arching her back as she writhed and moaned her enjoyment of the pressure.
He bit his lip, gaspin’ an’ throbbin’ somethin’ fierce as she worked herself on him, veteran stripper to his vulnerable pole.
“They’re – they’re expectin’ us back at the ship,” Jayne protested halfheartedly as he moved with her.
Wuh de ma, felt so ruttin’ good…better than any gorram fantasy an’ without a doubt worth a one-way trip to Special Hell.
“Eventually,” she agreed, her eyes drifting shut. “But not for an hour or so. Mmmm, yeah, just...like...that.”
Jayne knew it was almost certainly really, really sinful but it was as if his hands had a gorram mind of their own and were in league with ol’ John Thomas who was heartily enjoyin’ the action an’ had no ruttin’ intention o’ stoppin’ anytime soon. “Where’n the ‘verse ya learn this, girl?”
He gasped as she pulled her top over her head an introduced him to parts o’ her that had occupied his thoughts for the better part o’ the afternoon. His hands wanted to explore, but they were busy with her backside so he leaned forward an’ let his mouth see to the newly exposed flesh.
“From the best,” she assured him. “You.”
“Whaddya mean?” he demanded before lickin’ one o’ her nipples into his mouth.
She whimpered and gripped his neck tight. “You were…thinking about this…the entire ride from…Serenity to the town!”
“Was not!” he muttered ‘round her breast.
“Were, too!” she countered, pressing her forehead against his. “Put up a valiant front, but you require, at most, a fifth grade level of comprehension to be understood.”
“Did ya just insult me?” Jayne asked, removin’ his mouth from her.
“No!” she barked, gripping his hair. “Lips, teeth, tongue! Back on me. Now.”
God help him, but it was turnin’ him on even more, this domineerin’ side o’ her that felt she could order him ‘round like this.
“There a step two to this brilliant plan o' yers?” Jayne gasped while shiftin’ attention from one nipple to another an' slidin' her back an' forth 'cross his lap.
“Affirmative,” she said, moaning as he managed to suck, lick, bite and massage in perfect rhythm. “Step…step two: feed Jayne…sufficient amount of calories…to allow him…to perform…at…optimum grappling levels. Ohhh!”
“Like yer style, darlin’,” he declared, goin’ for a sensitive spot on the underside of her breast.
“The feel – feeling is entirely…mutual!”
“Gotta stop meetin’ like this,” Jayne said, grinnin’ as she went for his zipper. “Folks’re gonna get suspicious!”
“No worries,” River said as she flipped her hair out of the way and bared her neck to him. “Kaylee’s under strict instruction not to bring the extra fuel cell until sixteen hundred hours.”
“Girl, you are downright wicked,” Jayne groaned as she traced his ear with the tip o’ her tongue.
“I know,” she murmured before she kissed him long, sweet and hard. “It’s part of my charm.”
Fic: Throb (3/3 of "Whitefall" series)
Author: Green Owl
Rating: R (For RAYNE-flavored heavy petting on the hovermule)
Summary: “River Tam, Brilliant Plan # 77.” Enough said.
Part 3 of a 3-part piece of fan fiction for sunshineali. Hope this satisfies your "small request for a makeout session in the mule with RAYNE". Merry Christmas, sweetie!