Disclaimer: Characters do not belong to me, they are the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy and Fox.

Feedback is always welcome.

Takes place shortly after the series ended. Another Jayne/River piece. What can I say, I can spend hours pondering the mysteries of what makes those two tick. I have no clue how long this one will be, or even where it is heading. I'm just hoping they continue taking me along on this journey for a spell.

Many thanks to William Topley and The Blessing for their song "Delta Rain", it helped inspire this piece. River sings bits and pieces of it to Jayne.

Chinese translations:

Wu de tyen ah: Dear God in heaven.

* Quote from Delta Rain, by The Blessing


Jayne woke feeling hungry and groggy. Things had been a mite tense at dinner what with Mal and Inara fightin' an' all. The meal had ended with Inara leaving the table and Mal stormin' off after her refusing to let her have the last word. Man should just admit he was whipped an' be done with it.

What the hell were Zoë n' Wash doin' over there anyways, Jayne glared at the wall separating his bunk from theirs as the ruckus increased again. The two of them had been goin' at it as bad as Simon and Kaylee lately. Least those two had the excuse of it bein' new an' all, only been at it a couple'a weeks. Damn boat was turning into a gorram soap opera.

He'd gone to his bunk after dinner to try and get some sleep but Wash and Zoë were making that mighty hard to do. Already woken him up 3 times tonight. He sighed as he rolled off of the bed, might as well grab some grub and see if he could catch a few winks on the couch in the mess.

He idly noted that Kaylee's hatch was still open, meanin' she hadn't gone to her own bunk yet. Mal's was closed, but then it always was. Didn't mean he was in it. Jayne couldn't recall hearin' the Cap'n's boot steps so's he kinda doubted Mal had returned from Inara's shuttle yet. The thought made him smirk, maybe they was done with their little spat. One could only hope, though the idea of one more happy couple prancing around Serenity was a bit unsettlin'. Bad enough having to watch the others cooin' and cuddlin' all the ruttin' time.

He was about to step down into the mess when he heard a low moan in the corridor heading off to the side. He glanced sharply into the shadows. River. Of course. Just his luck. What was wrong with the ruttin' girl this time?

He was about to tell her to git when something about how she was standin' there made him stop. An' the way she was starting to pant.

He took a step nearer, gorram girl didn't even notice he was there. Jayne studied her face, hadn't never seen it like that before. All flushed with desire, but there weren't nobody touching her. He felt a cold sweat break out as realization started to set in. She was pickin' up on what Wash n' Zoë was doin'. Her body all tensed up, one hand pressed against the wall. He looked at her eyes then and his blood ran cold. She was feelin' Wash n' Zoë all right, but she didn't wanna be. There was this pained and trapped look haunting her eyes. He reached out and grabbed her arm.

"River" he growled, giving her a little shake. Didn't seem ta get through to her none, she just kept starin' off into space with that look in her eyes. So he shook her a little harder. All that got him was another husky moan and River's head tilting back. Like some unseen lover was kissing her neck. Ruttin' hell. He could feel the heat radiating off her. He should just leave her here, go back to his bunk and pretend he never seen this. Dimly he was aware that the part of him keepin' him here trying to break her out of this was the same part that was keepin' him from pulling her into his arms and kissin' that long, white neck himself.

"River" he said more sharply then before, a hint of panic creepin' into his voice. "snap outta it girl."

As her head rolled back up he watched his hand slap her check. Not as hard as that one time but...oh god, what had he done?

Her eyes latched onto his and she blinked, her big eyes filling with tears. Her hands reached for him, twisting into his shirt as she pulled herself to him. He could feel the sobs racking her body as she leaned against him. Ah hell, now what was he supposed ta do? He roughly patted her on the back.

"It's Ok girl, you're gonna be all right, it's over now..." he tried extracting himself but that just seemed to make her cryin' more intense and she tightened her grip on his damp shirt. Gorramit, where the ruttin' hell was her brother when she needed him, but Jayne knew jus' where the Doc was. Or a pretty good idea where at least. Had the poor girl been feelin' them too? An' if 'Nara and the Cap'n...? Jayne was surprised to find his arms were now wrapped gently around her.

"not over...never be over..." River was gasping softly against his chest now, "one falls...another climbs...they drag me up but they leave when I fall...falling...always falling..."

"Wu de tyen ah" Jayne cursed softly. River suddenly giggled into his chest and some of the tension seemed to drain out of her. Her hands untangled from his shirt and for a moment Jayne thought she was going to let him go. Before he could step back her arms wrapped around his waist.

"please..." she pleaded, "catch me..." He felt his breath catch in his throat, a sharp pain in his chest.

"River," he cleared his throat slightly tryin' to ease the constriction. "girl, I ain't the kind of man you want catchin' you."

"...shake your hair out and come and dance with me, we are lonely with no good need to be, where the river grows wild to kiss the sea, floods the delta and lover's eyes can see..."* River sang softly.

She turned her tear streaked face up to him, smiling sadly. He stared down at her, wonderin' if he'd heard her words right. This whole thing was starting to feel like a dream. Like he hadn't woken up at all.

With another sad smile she shook her head and took a deep breath, her face setting in determination. Slowly she let him go and moved back a pace. Jayne fought the urge to pull her back to him when she gasped. He'd seen the flash of pain as she'd stepped out of his space. Like he'd been shielding her before but now she was steppin' back into the line of fire an' had just been hit. Her jaw clenched tight to hold back a moan and she swayed slightly, her lips parting as that lustful look settled back on her face. Gorram girl.

Jayne scooped her up and carried her into the mess trying very hard not to think about why he was doin' it. Or about the long line of her neck or the sound of her moans or how smooth her pale naked skin had looked when he'd first seen her or her soft lips or that bit she'd sung about rivers growin' wide and kissin' seas and lover's eyes. He was too old for her, might be legal now but she sure as hell hadn't been when she'd come outta that box, she was crazy an' scared the livin' hell outta him, he'd been all kinds of mean to her, she could kill him with her brain and read his thoughts, he'd betrayed her, she'd sliced him up...

"no..." she fidgeted in his arms "wasn't you...shirt..." her hands twisted into his shirt again, right over where she'd cut him. He stopped and looked down at her.

"You was attacking the shirt?" his face screwed up in puzzlement, his mind latching onto what she said like it was a lifeline.

"yes..." she replied, relief flooding her face. "two by two, hands of blue..." she gave the shirt he had on now a tug.

Jayne scowled down at her trying to figure out what her gorram nursery rhyme had to do with cutting his shirt. She sighed in frustration.

"two by two, hands of blue..." another tug and Jayne felt it snap into place, he'd been wearin' his favorite Blue Sun shirt. She'd sliced right through the logo, an' all this time he'd thought she'd sliced him cause she'd known he was goin' to betray them. Well, maybe not the whole time, first thought was that she was crazy 'n homicidal, plain an' simple.

"Blue Sun?" he asked, not sure he had it right yet. "they have somethin' to do with that school of yours?"

"I thought that school was Alliance funded, that was what your brother said." he said after she'd nodded yes up at him.

"shadows behind the Alliance...dark and blue...cold...like ice..." River's voice had that strange sing-songy lilt to it again, "sun should be warm but it freezes..."

"You tell Simon this?" Jayne wasn't sure if this knowledge would help the Doc figure out what had been done to his sister, but it was sure soundin' like they had all been trying to protect her from the wrong enemy.

"tried to...didn't understand...always comes out wrong..." her voice sounded sad and tired as she buried her face into his shoulder, her fingers smoothing the wet, wrinkled shirt over his chest. Jayne sat down heavily in the nearest chair. Gorramit, they had all missed the signs. His mind went back over all her little outbursts finding way more connections to Blue Sun labels then was comfortable. Shoulda paid more mind to what was goin' on around her when she'd gone off, all of 'em.

"You should let him an' Mal know." Jayne said softly. He felt her tense up again. She was quiet for so long Jayne thought she wasn't going to respond.

"Will you help?" she asked, her voice barely a whisper.

"Yea, should prob'ly wait till mornin' though," Jayne was starting to feel way to tired to deal with this tonight. "we outta try and get some sleep."

He'd meant to shuffle her off to her bunk but from the way River snuggled into his chest it was pretty clear she meant to spend the night right there. Ah hell, weren't like he'd get any sleep in his bunk tonight anyways. An' River seemed to already be gone, poor kid had had a rough night. Hell, he'd had a rough night too. He shifted a bit to get as comfortable as he could, careful not to disturb her to much. He had just enough time to remember he'd never gotten his snack and lament the lack of a blanket before he drifted off after her.