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 and about a month after the events in Delta Rain.

My eternal thanks to Cassie E, Starrbaby, Kryptonite, tori deathangel, jebbypal, me (whoever you are, you were my first reviewer way back for Ballad Of Jayne) and everyone that has read and/or reviewed my stories. Special thanks to silk1 for the incredible "What Just Happened?" series. I know some of what you wrote has seeped into my River and Jayne. :-)

Big hugs and mucho thanks to Cassie E for going above and beyond the call of duty and beta-ing for me, also doing some major hand holding as I embark on this new territory of doing a more plotty and action orientated story.

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Captain Malcolm Reynolds stood looking out at the jumble of bodies mingling around Persephone's docks. His luck hadn't been real shiney the last few trips here and he found himself wondering why he kept coming back. With a wry twist of the lips he turned to face his crew.

"All right folks, let's make this trip smooth." he strode purposefully back towards them, "Wash, you an' Kaylee get the parts we need. Jayne, you take the Doc on his errands, watch out for them patrols." he gave Jayne a stern look; he very much did not like Simon gettin' off the boat here. "Zoë, you're with me."

"You three," he tossed almost casually over his shoulder as they moved out, "watch over my girl."

He couldn't shake the nerves that'd been plaguin' him all morning, didn't help that River'd been actin' all twitchy too. Never a good sign, but when he'd asked if she saw any danger she'd only been able to look at him in frustration and shake her head no. But he could tell somethin' was tickling at her edges. If only he'd been able to think on a way to keep the Doc on the ship, but they needed those supplies. An' the Doc was the best choice to go get them, knew what he needed, what they was worth, wouldn't raise as much suspicion buyin' them as the rest of the crew would. Plus it got 'em done an' out of here faster.

He scowled as him an' Zoë neared Badger's den, he'd decided the Devil he knew was better'n the Devil he didn't this trip. Be time enough to make a new contact when he was in a better position to deal with a pissed off Badger.

Setting his shoulders he headed down into the den, Zoë's calm, yet ever alert, presence a comfort behind him.

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Simon followed in Jayne's wake, musing on the benefits to the man's presence. Like the ability he had of creating a path even in the most crowded marketplace. The more he adjusted to the odd relationship the mercenary and his sister were forming the more he was able to see part of why it was there. Jayne's bulk did inspire a certain feeling of security, when he wasn't using it to intimidate you.

He reached out and tapped Jayne lightly on the shoulder, indicating he wanted to check out the shop they were nearing. Jayne gave a grunt and headed over, a little surprised when he realized it was a craft store. Simon smiled. Wash had asked him to pick up some more yarn for River; she had used up the last of her odd and ends on a blanket for Jayne. It was the most godawful mix of colors Simon had ever seen, but Jayne had seemed to love it.

If nothing else convinced Simon that Jayne really cared for his sister, the man's pure joy at her knitting him that blanket did.

Simon picked out the colors Wash had recommended quickly, pausing for a moment as his eye caught on the patches nearby. Kaylee would adore that bunny one. He grabbed it before his nerves could stop him and made his purchases, ignoring Jayne's soft chuckle behind him.

"Hope yer other purchases are small, Doc." Jayne grumbled as Simon handed him one of the bags. They were rather bulky and awkward. It was a lot of yarn. He was thankful, yet again, that Wash had pitched in money for it.

"The junkyard is almost on the way; perhaps we should swing by and put these on the mule." Simon offered. He knew they were supposed to hurry, but it really was not far out of the way to the store he needed to visit. He'd picked up supplies there before, on his way to the docks to find a ship to take him and River, and had seen the junkyard off to the side from the street.

"Might be an idea, don't want the man ape droppin' nothin'." Jayne smirked at him, Simon found himself wondering if Kaylee had told him about his box-dropping, man-ape-gone-wrong-thing quip. Or if maybe he had unnaturally sharp hearing. Actually, that seemed more likely considering the man's uncanny tracking skills. Since Jayne seemed more amused then mad he decided it might be best not to ask how he knew about it.

He walked out the door, only to be stopped short by the wall of people. Jayne pushed past him with an amused snort and headed off to the junkyard

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Inara was at a loss on what to do. River had been getting increasingly agitated over the past hour. It wouldn't be so bad, Inara thought, if the girl had been able to figure out what was causing it. She'd already stopped herself from calling Mal or Simon back a couple of times.

Until they knew just what the problem might be their hands were tied, what if her calling them back early set off what ever danger was hidden from River. She knew that was why Mal had stayed with the plan he already had, River's not being able to pin anything down might indicate that the danger was from altering it. Or it might mean the danger was not to any of them. Or it might mean that Jayne would get indigestion from dinner tonight. They had no way of knowing until River got a clearer vision.

She tried to focus on her calligraphy. River had given up on her drawing and was currently sitting on the bed, Inara was sure she was trying to pin down what was bothering her. She could almost feel the poor girl's frustration.

"SIMON" River's sudden shriek pierced the air and Inara leapt up, ink and paper spilling over the rich carpet.

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Simon was in the process of haggling the shopkeeper down to a more reasonable price when Jayne grabbed his arm. Turning, he saw the merc's eyes go blank for a second. The disturbing thought that he looked just like River getting one of her visions flashed through his head.

Then Jayne was back, his eyes focusing on his for a second before he turned away, drawing his gun in one smooth motion. Simon felt the counter bruise his hip as Jayne thrust him back behind him. He heard the bell over the door ring as it was opened but he couldn't see who entered with Jayne blocking him.

Two shots rang out in rapid percussion from Jayne's gun before a third shot sent him slamming back into Simon. He barely had time to register that the last shot had been from an energy rifle before Jayne slid stunned to the floor at his feet and he could see the four remaining guards and one man in a dark business suit. Two guards were laying on the ground with holes in their heads from Jayne's shots.

"Doctor Tam," the man in the business suit stepped casually over the dead men, "you can not imagine my surprise when I was alerted that a known fugitive had stepped off of Captain Reynolds' ship. Or my pleasure. I had thought getting my revenge on your dear Captain would be far more difficult. Allow me to introduce myself, I am Atherton Wing."

"You and your..." he paused as he looked down at Jayne in distaste, "bodyguard, will be my honored guests while I await my reward for apprehending you."

Simon quickly decided not to warn Mr. Wing what had happened to the last person that had tried to collect their reward. From what Inara and the Captain had said about this Atherton, the man richly deserved what was coming to him.