Red

Chapter 2

Jayne has no idea if Simon has any idea of River's proposal, but he ain't gonna be the one to tell him. He keeps his mouth shut and doesn't pay River no more attention than he does anyway. River seems amused, at least. Simon is so caught up in Kaylee that he don't notice a thing. Jayne's fine with that. If Simon decides to pay attention to anyone else, Jayne'll be up go shi river.

"We've arrived in Athens. Don't rush out this time, Captain," she adds.

Mal steps back and looks to the others. "I wasn't gonna this time! I swear!"

Kayle snorts. "Sure you weren't, Cap'n. Zoe, make sure our Cap'n doesn't get run over by a car like last time?"

"Place like this, he's more likely to get run over by a horse," Zoe mutters, a rush of hot air blowing in as the hatch slowly opens.

"I don't care what you get run over by, Captain; if I'm not in the ship, I'm not stitching you up," Simon says, grinning.

"Kaylee could take care of that for you, Mal. She's got a coupl'a belts that'd keep the good Doc on board. But, I guess he wouldn't want to be stitchin' you up then, neither," Jayne adds, smirking at the couple.

Simon goes bright red and Kaylee blushes as she whacks Jayne on the shoulder. Thankfully, no one comments on his shiny shirt.

"All right, this is far too traumatising a conversation for this time of day. Zoe, you'll drag me back from whatever bar I land in?" Mal asks, looking to his second-in-command.

"Always do, sir."

"River? Why are you all dressed up?" Simon asks carefully, eyes wide when he sees the dress and boots she's wearing, the style familiar but not the outfit itself.

"There's a dance. Jayne's taking me," she adds, looping her arm through his.

"Didn't know you knew how to dance, Jayne," Mal says, surprised.

"Uh. I don't. I won't be any gorram use," he mutters, frustrated at himself for not having thought of it before.

River pats his arm gently. "Jayne is a lovely dancer. Kaylee, you'll be late."

Her words are a catalyst for action; Kaylee practically drags Simon out of the ship and onto the planet, Simon craning his neck back to look at them. Mal leaves a second later with Zoe right behind him.

"So where's this dance s'posed to be?"

River tilts her head to the side. "You don't hear the music?"

Jayne shakes his head. "Nah, girl. You gon' feng le again?"

River rolls her eyes at him. "Feh feh pi goh. Monkey speak no evil, monkey do no evil, but monkey must hear."

Bristling at being called a baboon's ass crack, Jayne takes a few seconds to settle and try to hear to whatever's got River so entranced. She's humming that song again, swaying along like she can really hear somethin', and Jayne frowns at her.

"There's nothin' there, gir - "

He's cut off abruptly by River's hand, firm palm and long slender fingers wrapped around the lower part of his face and obscuring his mouth completely. He's tempted to lick her palm, like he would with his mei-mei back home, but she stares at him, far longer than polite even for someone like him without any politeness to start with, and Jayne can't remember what he was gonna do in the first place.

River starts humming again, softer this time, and it matches the whistling of the wind through Serenity's old husk. There's a creak from one of the wooden boxes, secured in place with thick straps bound to the grate floor, and then another creak, and a whistle probably from some hole further along the way. As River stares him down, Jayne listens and he swears he's gone feng le too, 'cause he can hear it. River's soft noise joins with the wind, creak-creak, whistle, wind, creak-creak, whistle. The whole gai si ship is singing along with River, and she laughs brightly 'cause she knows he can hear it too.

Jayne finds himself drawn forward as she steps back, a dance unlike the brutual fist- and gun-toting kind he knows so well, but ... well, it's still a kind of dance. If they were surrounded by a bunch of purple-bellies, they'd be doing something similar, but he'd have Vera in his hand instead of River. Though, accordin' to the Feds, River was just as much a weapon as his beloved Vera, if not more.

They slow to a stop with Jayne having no gorram idea what in ruttin' hell steps he just did, but River looks bright and happy, so he guesses it's worth it. River stands up on her toes, not that much shorter than him now that she's older, but perhaps she likes the extra height, and she kisses him firmly. Despite her warning, and him thinking 'bout it nearly non-stop since, the kiss is still a surprise to Jayne. In things like this though, his body's better than his head, and he kisses her back easy. It's different with a bit of trim, they know what to do to make a man weak in the knees, since it's their job after all. With River, Jayne wants to do that to her instead. It's a few moments 'fore they can pull away, River's lips swollen and Jayne taking a full five seconds to open his eyes and look at her, his tongue chasing her taste on his lips.

River tilts her head to the side, smiles a jing tsai smile that's brighter than the White Sun, and this time, Jayne kisses her. Her fingers dig into his shoulders, she has one of her shiny new boots digging into his ass, and she's pressed up against him in the shiniest way possible. He's tempted to rup her dress aside right there, take her on the cargo floor to see the pattern the grating will leave on her pale skin, but Jayne just squeezes her hips firmly and doesn't let himself let go. She deserves better than he got.

"Of tian xia suo you de ren, why him?! He's a chwen! Hey, get your ape hands off her!" Simon's barrage pulls them apart, and Jayne frowns at being compared to a monkey again.

River's boot digs in to Jayne's ass, even as she turns to glare at her brother. "Ni ta ma de!"

"Mei-mei, you don't know what you're saying. Get off him, this... This isn't right. This is my fault. I shouldn't have left you alone. Who knows how many times he's taken advantage..."

"Hey! I don't take advantage of no one! Well, not unless they're tryin' to take advantage of me. Or I think they're gonna. But I don't ever take advantage of women. My Ma raised me right, so chwee ni duh. River, git," Jayne snaps, finally untangling her from his body.

River mutters something under her breath, Simon looks an awful green, and Jayne goes to his bunk with River a step behind him.

...

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