Title: No Prince Charming
A Sorta Fairytale Series: Part 4
Author: Syn
E-Mail: veruca_werewolf@hotmail.com
Disclaimer: Firefly doesn't belong to me, sigh.
Rating: PG-13
POV: Jayne, River
Distribution: Ask and ye shall receive.
Summary: The morning after is never easy. Especially when no one understands.
For Meg; she knows why. :) "Game on!"
Feedback: If you wanna, no pressure.
A/N: This one is a bit more...angsty I guess. Nothing sunshine and roses about this one. Lots of blame, lots of truthtelling and an ending that doesn't resolve much. But I'm planning one more story in this series after this one so thing'll get resolved eventually, kay? Still, I'm not overly happy about this. *sigh*
A/N2: This story is the continuation of my stories Apple, Apple, Snow White and A Coffin Made of Glass. A Coffin Made of Glass has not been posted on fanfiction.net due to the NC-17 restriction. If you'd like to read it (and I suggest you do, as this story kinda hinges on it), go here: http://www.geocities.com/veruca_werewolf/Coffin.html Alrighty. I'll shut up now. :)

****

You know that odd feeling you get when you're half-awake? The world is fuzzy, warm and close. You know everything that's going on, but once you're fully awake, you can't remember what it was like being half-awake. Well I got that feeling right now, only I'm fully awake.

River's laying across my chest, her hair fanned across my shoulders in dark slashes, her mouth pressed to the scar down my middle. Her head rises and falls with each breath I take, her eyelashes fluttering against her cheeks. One of her hands is wrapped in mine, her fingers cold and soft against my own.

God, she looks beautiful...

And suddenly, I'm damned uncomfortable. Glancing at the clock next to the bed, I realize how late it is. Whole damned ship'll be awake in an hour or so. Gorramit, why did I let her sleep here? Because I didn't want her to go... Cursing under my breath, I shift a little, lifting my free hand to her naked side.

"Hey, wake up." I prod her in the ribs with my thumb. She winces in her sleep and then flutters her eyes open. Her eyes are deep pools of black in the darkness. She smiles sleepily as her gaze meets mine, a deep breath shuddering her lungs.

"Jayne." She breathes my name and something rips through me. I fight the urge to smile, frowning instead.

"You gotta go. Everyone'll be awake in awhile."

"Oh." She rests her head on my chest again, her breath fluttering my chest hair in soft caresses. My hand splays out across her back and I touch the ends of her hair with my fingertips. "I didn't mean to sleep here."

"Yeah well...if we're lucky no one's awake yet. Get dressed." I say, a bit more rough than I mean to be. I can't help it, not when she's looking at me like I hung the gorram moon. I ain't used to this whole morning after business. I'm usually gone way before now.

She pushes the blankets away and stands, leaving me cold and naked on the bed. As she stands, I take in the full view of her body, naked and pale. Desire shoots through me and I grab her hips from behind, pulling her back to me. My mouth lights on the small of her back, pressing against the swell of her ass gently. She turns in my hands and bends, her hair falling around my face as she kisses me.

My hands go around her waist and I feel the need to pull her back into the bed with me. Her fingers cup my face and I close my eyes, just for one moment. Just kiss her and get her out of my system. That's all I can think about. Get the little thing out of my system so I can live again.

"You son of a bitch."

My eyes snap open and River wheels around in my arms.

"Shit."

****

"You son of a bitch." I start at the familiar voice and turn around, Jayne's hands searing on my skin.

"Shit." I hear Jayne curse under his breath and stare up at steps to his room.

"Simon." I say as my brother jumps the last three steps to the ground, glaring through the darkness at Jayne and me. His body is rigid, his eyes seething with anger. Big brother's not so happy. Instinctively, I block Jayne from his view.

"What the hell do you think you're doing with her? She's...she's a little girl!" Simon's shoulders shake as steps forward. I've never seen him so mad. He's like a fierce creature; some kitten with a mouse. The lion behind me will eat him alive.

"I am not a little girl, Simon." I say, but he ignores me, won't even look at me. Snow White's done a bad, bad thing.

"Get dressed. NOW."

"No." I protest with gritted teeth.

"Get dressed, girl." Jayne stands and pushes the forgotten nightgown into my hands. I slip it over my shoulders with a jerk and glare up through the dark tumble of my hair. Simon won't look at me. He's still glaring at Jayne, who towers over both of us.

"You bastard. I knew I couldn't trust you. I knew it! How did you convince her, huh?"

"He didn't!" I screech, but Jayne puts his hand on my shoulder, silencing me. Simon's eyes widen as he sees the contact.

"River, get to your room. Jayne and I need to have a talk." I can see the kind of talk he means. It ripples in anger across his chest and fills the veins in his arms with--the world is suddenly spinning. I swallow hard and clutch my head.

"I'm not going anywhere." I choke, shaking my head and glaring up at them both.

"Yes you are. Now git!" Jayne pushes me toward the steps, his face a dark mask, clouds roiling across the surface of his eyes. "Go!"

They're both glaring at me and I know this is all my fault. I'm the one that started it all and I'm the one that fell asleep. Something hurts in my chest and I frown, but stand my ground. They can't make me do anything I don't want to do. I'm a big girl and I can stay here if I wanna.

"No. You can't make me go. We're all adults here and I'm staying." I sway on my feet a little but refuse to take my gaze off of them.

"An adult? Is that what he told you?" Simon says with scorn in his eyes. For Jayne, or me I can't be sure. Maybe both.

"I didn't tell her nothing!" Jayne protests, yanking on a shirt with a sneer. Simon wheels on him and I see his fists flash. Lightning rips through the air and I think I can almost hear the crack of some imaginary whip as his balled hand connects with Jayne's jaw. The sound of flesh on flesh is loud and dangerous. My mouth falls open as Jayne's head goes back.

"Ow!" Simon says, stumbling forward a step as pain shoots up his still-injured leg. Shouldn't let things fester. His fist is a red strawberry.

"Good shot, Doc. Didn't think you had it in ya. Try this one on for size." Jayne's large fist goes back and I see his intentions and dammit, why do I have to be the sane one here?

I latch onto Jayne's arm and hold on tight, room spinning all the while.

****

Who would have thought some little slip of a girl was that strong? Try as I might to shake her off, she just stays at my side like some giant leech. A glance at the Doc shows his annoyance at his sister, which is probably the same expression I got on my face. What the hell is she doing?

"Girl, get off me!"

"No! No fighting!" Her big brown pupils are surrounded by white, her knuckles the same color on my arm. "It's my fault...the, the itch. It craves sacrifices; you don't understand it. Simon, you have to understand it!" Tears form in the corners of her eyes and I relax my fist. Her breath is coming in short gasps, like she was runnin' all over the place.

"Itch?" Simon's actually looking at her now and his eyes are wide like hers. She don't look so good and the hand on my arm that's clutching so tightly is trembling. She's not holdin' me back anymore...she's holding herself up. "River, are you okay?"

"I..." She takes a sucking gasp of air and then her eyes roll up in her head and she collapses. I catch her before she hits the floor, surprised, my heart thumping in my chest. Her body is limp and shockingly familiar in my arms, her weight so slight it's like she's not even there. A ghost. Simon rushes up as I heft her against my chest, her head rolling to the side, face heavy with sweat.

"What's the matter with her?" My voice is gruff and hoarse with concern I can't hide. Simon checks her pulse and lifts her eyelids to look her pupils. Her breath rattles noisily in her lungs as he pushes and prods and does whatever he thinks is best. "Doc!"

Simon looks up; his face pinched with concern and his mouth a grim line. "I need to get her to the med lab. Can you carry her?"
"Yeah." I do just that, juggling her up the ladder and down the hall toward the med lab.

"Did you find her?" Kaylee asks as she steps out of her quarters and sees Simon barrel past her. He keeps going and she glances my way, her eyes going wide as she sees River in my arms. "What's goin' on?"

"Kaylee, open the doors for me." I say gruffly and she rushes obediently forward to open them, fingers twisted into the same kind of knots my stomach is in. I glance around to see Wash and Zoë peeking their heads out of the galley. Great, make a big spectacle. That's all I need right now.

Simon's already inside, fiddling with all his needles and medicines and whatnot. I set her down on the padded chair, slipping my hand out from under head as gently as I can. Simon wheels around and glares at me.

"Move."

Kaylee grabs my arm and together we take a step backward. Out of the corner of my eye I see Wash and Zoë at the doorway, faces curious and concerned. The Doc checks her pulse again and then lifts a syringe into the air, tapping it before plunging it into her arm.

"What's going on?" Wash asks, touching Kaylee's arm.

"Don't know." She answers and then turns to me for some enlightenment. I just look away and try not to look at that pale face against the white chair cushion. "Jayne? What happened?"

"What happened is this bastard..." Simon says, looking up from his work and fixing his glare on me. He closes his eyes for a second and then reopens them, breath steadier. "This bastard needs to leave my infirmary. Now."

"Not going anywhere Doc. We need to talk and I'm thinkin' with our fists. Lor' knows I ain't had my say yet." I growl, taking a step forward. I'm just itchin' to slap the piss right out of him. No one hits Jayne Cobb and gets away with it.

"Okay, stepping in. What the hell is going on?" Zoë stands up straight and pushes past Wash and Kaylee, who both draw back. One thing I've always admired about Zoë; when she's in charge, she fills the room with intimidation. But she's not half as bad as Mal.

"Why don't you tell her, Jayne? Tell her how River wasn't in her bed last night. How I couldn't find her and decided to go looking for her and where did I find her? Why don't you tell her, you son of a bitch?" His voice is cold and I swear I know that look in his eyes. He's got murder on the brain.

Things get real quiet as everyone processes what Simon just said. Zoë's jaw is clenched and I see Kaylee draw back from me like I've got some sort of plague.

"This is a sex thing, isn't it?" Wash says suddenly and all eyes turn toward him. "What? Is this a tense, non-talking moment? Sorry."

"Jayne, how could you? River's a baby." Kaylee looks deeply disturbed, refusing to look at me.

"It was...she came to me talking about making it stop and..." I sputter out, quelled under the intensity of the glares coming my way. "And...shit."

"Jayne you're confined to your quarters until further notice." Zoë's eyes are cold as she turns them on me. I see her fist itch to reach out and punch me. I almost wish she would.

"But--"

"NOW."

"Tell Mal I'll be waitin' for him." I grunt, spinning around, the cold metal floor searing my feet and a sick, hot feeling in my stomach. Gorramit. They're not gonna understand and they don't want to. "Make sure she's okay, Doc."

I catch one last glimpse of her, still unconscious on the table, her face like some cherub in one of the Preacher's books. Honestly, I don't want to look at her. She got me into this mess and now she ain't even here to tell her side of it--whatever that side is. I still don't get half of what goes through that girl's mind. All I know is that I'm in deep shit.

As I drop back down into my quarters, I can still smell her. And it just pisses me off.

****

Everyone's yelling and there are pieces of glass around my toes. I move my face to the side and there's glass in my hair. The air is fresher up here. No more apple bits in my stomach. My skin itches so I scratch it. Dirt comes away in bloody, muddy clumps and I feel the skin underneath reach for the open air.

I take a deep, happy breath and open my eyes.

"River? Sweetie, are you okay?"

I blink and then realize that I'm laying on one of the cots in the infirmary. I shudder and try not to see the needles and instruments around me. I hate them. I hate them and I need them. Simon's face is a worried blur above my own. He's holding my hand and I can feel a bramble of emotion in his muscles.

"What happened?"

"You passed out in...you passed out."

I remember that sick, swaying curtain of confusion that passed over me. I take another sweet swirl of oxygen into my lungs and smile at my brother. "I remember. Jayne caught me." Simon drops my hand and turns away. His jaw works like he's biting back the words he doesn't trust himself to say. He goes quiet for a moment and then he picks up my wrist again, checking to see if my red blood cells are getting along with my white ones.

"I changed your dosage. I think my last experiment overloaded your system. Did you feel nauseous before you passed out?" I shake my head. "Were you sweating?" I shake my head again. "How long did you feel that way?" I shrug. "What did he tell you to get you into bed with him?"

And there it is. The looming elephant that he can't and won't ignore. I wave hello and pet his trunk.

"He didn't. I seduced him." An impish grin spreads over my face and I can't help it. The look on his face is priceless. Like a fish on a hook.

"River, don't protect him." Simon's eyes blaze and I touch his face.

"I'm not. It's the truth. I'm sorry it's hard for you. I'm sorry I can't be a normal girl and that you can't see me."

"River, I do see you. I--"

"No you don't. If you saw me, you wouldn't treat me like a child. If you saw the things that go on inside my head, you would run and you would hide and you wouldn't scream and you wouldn't pretend everything was all right. You wouldn't hate Jayne for me. But you don't see. The itch has a craving and it wants what it wants. I'm getting better and Jayne helped me. He sees me when no one else does, even if he doesn't want to. He understands."

"No he doesn't River. All he saw was a girl who could give him the things he wanted and he took advantage of that." He looks so sure of himself that I just laugh and sit up, my hand on his face like a kiss.

"I can't make you understand, Simon and that's the whole point. You try and act like my knight. All shining armor and a stick with pointy bits. You're not Prince Charming though. You can't get shot up and rescue me all the time." I poke his still-injured leg and smile. He winces and then a look of distaste crosses over his features.

"And Jayne is?" He snorts derisively and fiddles with a roll of bandages.

"Never said that. Sometimes...sometimes the damsel has save herself. I did that last night." The words come out like bits of entrails being pulled out of my core. My gut aches with the sting of his eyes.

"What did you need saving from, Mei-Mei?"

"Things only a girl would know about." I smile and glance toward the small window near the ceiling. I can see Kaylee's face peering in at us.. She's waiting to come in and comfort me. She thinks Simon's hands are holy water. "Things you're not supposed to know and that I'm not telling you."

"Are you telling me it's none of my business what you did with Jayne?"

"Yes." Big brother looks away and I see shadows and thoughts flit across his face. They say things to me and I see his unease as he processes my words. Miles go by before he looks back up at me and frowns.

"Okay, it may be none of my business, but I still don't have to like it. I'm still going to have a talk with him."

"Not with your fists, I hope. I saved you, ya know. One hit and you'd have been on the floor and no good to anyone." I smile and the world floats in stars and darkness.

"Yeah, I guess you did." Simon sighs and pats my head. It annoys me, but I keep the smile. "You should sleep."

"You should kiss Kaylee again. She looks like she needs it."

"How did you--?"

"Shhh...secrets. Where is Jayne?"

"In his quarters. I believe the Captain is going to...yell at him."

"He shouldn't. It's not Jayne's fault. I should go talk to him."

"No Mei-Mei, you rest. I'll do it."

"You sure?" Sleep tugs at me again and I realize he's given me another of his mad professor potions that bubble through my system and dilute the whispers. I wonder if I'll like this one as much as the last.

"Yeah. Sleep now." He kisses my forehead and I lay my head back down on the cot and close my eyes. The world melts away and I float free of glass, free of thoughts and deeds and free of myself. I'll make it all better

…To be continued....

(end)

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