Pairing: none - Jayne Cobb and River Tam
Category: gen, familie, movie reference
Rating: G
Summary: Just a little post movie Jayne pondering.
Notes: Takes place just before the takeoff of the rebuilt Serenity. It's me trying on the Jayne character. I'm still not sure I get him right, but I mean, I need practice, right? And the first one who makes a crack about gen-fic writing... I'm borrowin' Jayne's Vera...

"I know you're there, girl." Jayne had hoped his little solitary spot would remain just that. Solitary. He'd probably have been better off in his bunk on Serenity. The quiet hallways of the complex gave him the creeps.

Too many Reaver memories. Jayne shivered and closed his eyes.

A slight movement next to him and he could feel the heat from her skinny body, a contrast to the cold metal of the wall against his back.

"You gonna start sprouting gibberish?" Jayne asked, still not opening his eyes. Or maybe she'd come to kill him? Little thing sure could.

"They're gone," River said softly.

Jayne figured she was talking about the Reavers.


Uncomfortable thought to know that she could read their minds. Read his.

"I don't want to," she whispered. "But it's getting better."

"You gonna stop readin' our thoughts?" Jayne asked tiredly. "They're kinda private."

"The strings are no longer so tangled. Easier to ignore... you all," she admitted.

Jayne frowned and finally opened his eyes, turning his head to look at her. She was sitting there on the bare floor in one of her floaty dresses, head down with her hair hiding her face. Pretty girl if she wasn't so gorram insane.

"I can let your thoughts flow past me, like I'm a stone in the river," she continued softly. "They're still there but they don't... affect me as much."

"Why're you here, tellin' me this?" Jayne asked curiously. He'd never had too close a relationship with her, with anyone on the ship, really.

"You fear me, yet not. There's fear in all of you, but you...," River trailed off and finally turned her head, watching him with a frown.

Her eyes struck Jayne as strangely clear today. Maybe their little adventure had sorted some things out for her. She seemed more calm. Though if it were the calm before the storm or...

"We saw what you did," Jayne said slowly. "You took on a whole league o' Reavers on your own... and I saw it. Saw your hand twitchin' when the soldiers were aimin' at you... us."

River returned her gaze to the floor. "I wouldn't have survived it."

"But you'd have fought," Jayne said.


Jayne nodded. He got that. He might just as well find a way out of a fight for himself if he could, but if he couldn't? He sure as hell wouldn't just lie down and die. Not without taking some of those hwoon dahns with him.

He still wondered what had happened to let them survive... Well, some of them. He'd never thought he'd miss their annoying pilot... Or the shepherd for that matter.

He was getting soft. Was getting too involved with the people instead of his job.

"No." River's hand landed on his arm, thin fingers digging surprisingly hard into his muscle.

"No, what?" Jayne growled.

"Not getting soft," she said slowly. "Strength isn't just in numbers. There is strength in connections. Emotional connections. You fight harder for yourself and your family than you do for money."

"Ain't my family," Jayne said automatically. He'd schooled himself to feel that way since he'd left his real home. His mother and siblings... It didn't pay off to get attached to people.

"Aren't they?" she asked as she stood, letting go of his arm.

Jayne stared down at the cold floor. He could still feel the heat of her grip even though she'd let go of him.

"I have room for more than one brother," she said with a startled laugh before disappearing as soundlessly as she'd arrived. "Or perhaps just a friend." The last words drifted down the corridor to Jayne, who finally looked up.

Seemed like he wasn't the only one feeling a little out of whack. He was impressed that she still fit in. Like a square peg in a round hole. Shouldn't fit in. But she defied the definition of should or shouldn't. Jayne realized that she always had.

After this shit, she was as much crew as anyone else on the ship. As much family as one could have without blood. Jayne finally smiled, standing up and scratching the back of his neck. What the hell was he doing in this cold corridor? There were people on board the ship, real people, sane... well, as a close to sane people as you could get out here on the edge anyway.

They'd go on as they always did. Lick their wounds and get back into the din. They'd been knocked on their asses before. Maybe not as badly as this, but they'd get back on their feet. They always did.

The End