Never a Normal Relationship…

By Lady Cleo

All Disclaimers Apply.

While setting down on Jayne's home world things go from messed up to screwed up for Jayne, River and the crew of Serenity. (Jayne River, Post Objects in Space.)

Prologue: There's Always Jayne.

"There's always Jayne!"

"What about Jayne?" Mal questioned stepping down into the dinning area.

Zoe and Kaylee both looked up from the table where they sat. "We was just talking, Captain, about all the couples here on board." Kaylee explained before taking another sip of her tea. "There's me and Simon, you and Inara…"

Mal sorted, "Like that's ever gonna happen."

"Zoe and Wash, Shepherd and God. That just leaves River and Jayne." Kaylee finished.

"Tell me you weren't agreeing to this madness Zoe." Mal cocked his head to the side, staring down at the two women like they had gone insane. "And, ain't you forgetting something, Kaylee."

The engineer looked up at her captain with a large grin. "What would that be, captain?"

Mal pulled out a chair slipping into the seat across from the girls. "Well, for one I don't think Simon would take too kindly to the idea, nor Jayne for that matter. Not to mention the fact that she ain't exactly stable in the head."

Kaylee shrugged, "We was just speculating captain, not saying anything would happen t'ween them."

"We'll I wouldn't let the doc hear ya, I don't think he'd take to kindly to the idea, much less if that event ever came about." Taking a sip of his drink the Captain grinned, "Though, that would be a mighty interesting sight to behold."

"What would be?" Wash asked stepping down into the room, Book following but a step behind him.

"Kaylee was speculating on River and Jayne becoming a couple, husband." Zoe supplied, pulling her pilot down into the chair next to her.

Wash turned to look at his wife like she was crazy, "River? Jayne? River and Jayne? The mercenary and the genius girl?" Wash questioned, "We'll they are both crazy! Would make a mighty interesting sight to behold."

"Ain't that what I just said?" Mal asked.

Book shook his head; setting his bible down on the table he took a seat across from the pilot. "You know, it is said that those relationships with the most adversaries can evolve into the strongest."

"How exactly would that work, seeing as Simon probably wouldn't let Jayne touch her with a ten foot pole, nevertheless make love to her." Mal asked, titling his head to the side.

The Shepherd frowned pensively for a second, before nodding his head in agreement, "Her brother probably wouldn't stand to see her in any relationship until he fixes her. And then still I'm not sure there would be anyone that could measure up to his standards, he is very protective of her, sometimes too protective of her. And considering his opinion of Jayne, I don't think he could ever come to terms with them having a relationship."

"Still, there would be cute kids I think, little gun toting geniuses." Wash quipped.

"When did we get to having kids? Last I checked he's still a might bit testy about her slashing him with the butcher's knife." Mal questioned, watching as Inara stepped into the dinning room. The companion headed over to the kitchen area, quietly pouring herself a cup of tea. "Now, Kaylee, since you started this speculation, how exactly could Jayne ever get over River's little fit over his choice in wardrobe."

"Well, she isn't exactly unattractive." Inara interrupted, stepping over to the table. "He's bound to at least be physically drawn to her. And given the right atmosphere, the right timing and the right circumstances, I think he would be able to get over her previous indiscretion."

"And, considering our situation, that ain't likely." Mal added. "It would have to be set up, and I'm thinking if the doc ever got word of it he'd put a stop right quick to that situation." He paused in his speech, chuckling quietly, "Would be mighty amusing to behold though." The table burst into grins, each crewmember quietly imagining the chaos that would ensure.

"I've seen stranger relationships!" Wash laughed. "But it makes you wonder, what kind of girl does Jayne like, that is, besides those you can pay?"

The Shepherd frowned, "I'm sure he has some form of an ideal woman, a kind of woman he would be glad to settle down with."

Zoe turned her glances from the Shepherd to her husband with a weary smile, "Ain't you all forgetting that River's a might bit crazy? Say perhaps they did form a relationship. What would happen if her brother ever fixes her? I'd hate to wake up sane next to Jayne."

River crouched just on the other side of the doorway, her head titling at Zoe's comment. "Sane, next to Jayne?" It was a thought, slipping through the disoriented waves of her mind. "Little gun toting geniuses!"

Standing she moved restlessly away from the dinning room, into the cargo bay and across the catwalk. "Mighty amusing to behold." She murmured, trailing her fingers along the railing she tripped down the stairs, stumbling around the cargo bay.

"Gorram feng le girl!" The ruff voice cut across the tumbling thoughts of her mind and she slowly turned to face the growling mercenary. "Go pester your hun dan brother."

River titled her head to the side and walked closer to where the man stood glaring down at her. His thoughts were quiet, not so loud as the others. Kept them more to himself, did not broadcast them through his mind, kept them hidden, pushed behind a door.

"Different!" She murmured reaching out to touch him, Jayne slapped her hand away and moved out of the cargo bay into the common area. River followed after him quietly, suddenly intrigued by the growling mercenary.

Entering the Infirmary Jayne stormed over to Simon, "Keep your ruttin sister away from..." Jayne passed as River came over and started pushing his shirt up. He tired slapping her had away but she darted around. Pushing up his shirt again, she ran her fingers across the tight skin. "What in the seven hells do you think you're doing?" Jayne yelled as he jumped at her touch practically leaping over the infirmary bed to glare at her from the other side. "Keep your gorram hands off girl."

Simon walked around the bed, his hands reaching out to grab a hold of River as she sought to follow the mercenary. "Mei Mei, I've got your meds for you, these will help you." He started to quietly lead her over to the counter where his syringe waited.

"No!" River shouted, as she struggled violently against his grip, avoiding the syringe with all her power. "No poison ivy! Remedy's prick and stab like Caesar."

"I think she don't want her meds today, Doc!" Jayne snickered moving away from the struggling fight to stand in the doorway.

Trying desperately to calm his sister, Simon spared only a glance at the other man. "What?"

The mercenary smirked down at the doctor with a smug grin, "It's clear as day, she's saying them drugs you're pumping her with make her itchy, ya know, all hyper. Then drop her down faster then they did that old roman guy Caesar, stabbing her with pain all over."

Shocked by the logic, Simon loosened his grip on River. "How on earth would a hun dan like you know about Caesar?"

"What's more interesting then a guy getting stabbed a dozen times?"

River pulled away from her brother, darting around the med lab she sprung towards the door and ducked past the indifferent mercenary as he laughed at her brother. But instead of continuing on her way, she spun around, her hands reaching out she grabbed a hold of Jayne's shirt and pressed up against his back, hiding from her brother.

"Hey girl, get." Jayne yelled spinning around to push her away and barely missing the small form as she stealthy maneuvered with him, avoiding his hands. Jayne growled, backing into the infirmary he tried to swat her way, bending over in all kinds of positions to try and reach her.

"River, come here, leave the ape man alone." Simon's comment only earned him a glare from the angry mercenary.

River giggled jumping onto the surgery table she let go of the man for only a second before climbing onto the shocked Jayne's back, her legs wrapping firmly around his waist as her arms snaked about his neck. Her actions only seemed to infuriate the larger man more. "Get her off!" He yelled angrily.

"She's not doing any harm, calm down!" Simon declared, hurrying over to one of the cabinets he pulled out a soother and filled a syringe, before Jayne did something to hurt his sister.

"What the hell is going on in here?" Mal questioned stalking in through the doorway. He stumbled slightly at the sight of River on the back of a very pissed off Jayne and turned to Simon for an explanation. "You wanna tell me why your sister is attached to my hired weapon?"

"Ben tiansheng de yi dui rou, get her off Captain." Jayne yelled, struggling to pry her arms from around his neck.

"Hold still!" Simon ordered as he walked quietly over to the two, reaching out tentatively towards River.

River shrieked at the sight of the needle, tightening her grip around Jayne's neck she used one leg to push her brother backwards. Startled by her actions Simon tripped, knocking into the instrument cart, head slamming against the surgery bed. He collapsed unconscious to the floor.

"Wo de tian a." The captain yelled racing over to the prone form of Simon.

"Is he dead?" Jayne asked a little too hopefully.

"Quiescent, average swiftly, only a nuisance!" River murmured indifferently turning her gaze from her unconscious brother to Jayne's neck.

"I think she means that he just sleeping, he'll be fine and wake up soon with a headache." Jayne explained unconsciously. He refocused his attention on trying to pry her legs from around his waist, and missed the captain's funny look. "Leave him be and get this moonbrained child off my back."

"Go and get Book and Zoe." Mal ordered, reaching down he hooked his arms around the younger man's body, lifting him up onto table that had just knocked him out.

"But Mal, I got this ruttin girl still clinging to my back."

"She won't do you no harm." Mal pointed out angrily.

"Hello, are we forgetting about the butcher's knife!"

"Well she don't have one on her right now, does she! And the only way she's gonna get one is by getting down off your back! Go get Zoe and Book, now!" With one last angry glare at Jayne, the captain turned his attention back to Simon.

"Ta ma de." Jayne muttered under his breath, dropping his hands down he grabbed a hold of her thighs in order to keep her steady as he walked angrily from the infirmary. River smiled, nuzzling his neck with her face. "Don't get to comfy, girl, you ain't gonna be back there much longer."

Climbing up the stairs he prepared himself mentally for the jabs and jokes that would assuredly be thrown his way at the sight of the smaller girl on his back.

"Endearments." River whispered.

Jayne frowned for a second, "Ya I know they…" He began, but then paused, growling low in his chest, "Hey, stay outta my head."

"Can't help it, nice, warm, safe. Different, no needles that poke." She nuzzled his neck again and Jayne growled, trying to pull his head away from her.

"Oh, can I have a piggy back ride when she's done?" Kaylee asked as soon as Jayne stepped into the dinning room, drawing the entire table's attention.

"Me too!" Wash quipped with a grin.

"Watch it little man!" Jayne growled before turning to Zoe and Book "Captain needs your help. Gorram little girl here didn't want her meds and knocked Simon out." The mercenary couldn't help but inwardly snicker at the memory.

Book and Zoe were on their feet at once, darting down towards the med lab, Kaylee following worriedly after them. Turning to the two remaining occupants of the table, Jayne refocused his attention on trying to pry River off, "Help me get this feng le girl off."

"I don't know, she looks mighty comfy, why don't you let her stay." Wash laughed as he stood, moving off towards the cockpit.

Jayne turned towards Inara, trying to give her his best pitiful look; she only laughed and moved off with her tea.

"Ruttin hell!" What the hell was he supposed to do now? Couldn't throw the girl off, Mal would have his head. Stalking angrily over to the couch he plopped down on the edge, hoping that the change would encourage her to move.

River's grip only tightened, "Can't liberate."

"Keep outta my head!" He growled. He needed a plan, of course if he kept thinking so loud he'd never escape her clutches. Jayne sighed, bored already, though only a few minutes could have passed. Couldn't do anything with the gorram girl stuck to his back, tapping his foot he hoped against hope that the gorram doctor would wake up soon, or at least someone would come distract her.

"Won't, planned it all, agents of time, waiting patently in the wings." River supplied, ignoring the string of curses that slipped out of his lips in response, she ran her hand up into his hair, playing with the short strands. "Matty! Who is Matty?"

It's the first time she'd spoken plainly today, but he still frowned and growled low in his throat. "Ain't none of your gorram business."

"He'll be out for a little while." Book explained as the four of them starred down at the unconscious form of Simon. "And probably wake up with a headache."

"How are you going to get River off Jayne's back, Captain?" Zoe asked.

"Kaylee, any ideas?" Mal questioned turning to look at his engineer.

She shrugged, "I dunno, maybe we could leave them be for a little while. She's bound to get bored of hanging around him."

"That's a mighty fine idea, Kaylee. If Simon wakes up before then he can always drug her with something calming. Where are they now?"

"Probably still in the dinning area, sir."

"Right, steer clear of that area for a while. Then I want you to go up there, Kaylee, and see if you can't lure River away with a game or something." Satisfied with his plan the Captain turned to leave.

"Captain," Book called following after him, "I don't think that's such a good idea. River has shown pretence to harm Jayne, and the two barely get along as it is."

"I know that Shepherd, but from what I seen only her own will, drugs or deadly force will get her off that man. I ain't got no choice in the matter."

"Still, they shouldn't be left alone."

Mal paused on the stair way, "They ain't gonna be entirely alone, Wash will be just down the way in the cockpit, and I'll be in my bunk with the door open. Anything happens, I'll hear it. Sides' I trust Jayne, he knows what I'd do to him if he ever harmed a hair on her head." Turning away from the Shepherd, Mal headed out into the cargo bay, fully intent on keeping near the dinning area. No matter how many times the mercenary had proven his loyalty over the past couple months, he still couldn't all together trust the man with River. She had a tendency to bring out the worst in Jayne.

"Captain, he's awake." Kaylee's voice buzzed over the communicator, shocking Mal out of some random thoughts.

"Bout damn time, boy took near a two hour nap, he up to seeing River!"

"Book wouldn't recommend moving him just yet, but Simon says to send River and Jayne down."

"Good, cause I imagine I got a mighty irritable man waiting for that extra limb called River to be removed." Turning the communicator off, the captain climbed up his hatch and trotted down the hallway, stepping down into the dining area he froze at the sight that greeted him.

River was no longer attached to the mercenary's back, but now sat perched on his lap as the larger man gently ran a comb through her hair. "When I turned fourteen I dropped outta school to help my ma and pa. Pa was hurtin' real bad at the time and couldn't work the mine shifts, so he took up a welding job and I took a shift as a miner." Jayne explained, pausing for a second to pull her hair over her shoulder as he finished combing.

Jayne leaned back into the couch and dropped the brush to the side. "That's where I meet Duncan, the first qingwa cao de liumang backstabbing partner that ever double crossed me. He gave me my first six-shooter, had to learn me how to use it myself. Worked down in the mines for three years, toughened me up and turned the scrawny boy into a man. But the money weren't good enough, and 'tween me and pa we were barely keeping the family fed."

River turned in his lap, leaning into his embrace she rested her head on his shoulder, her fingers playing with his shirt. "Duncan was shipping off that rock and offered me a job on his crew, knew I would be doing dirty work, knew if my ma ever found out she'd have my hide strung out across the wall. But the money was too good. Haven't seen them since, write to them some, send all the money I can, but it ain't the same." The mercenary declared quietly as he absentmindedly stroked her hair. "Ma would like you; she always had a thing bout liking dancers."

"We'll ain't that just about the sweetest thing I've seen." Mal declared, drawing the attention of them both.

Jayne jumped up, displacing River from his lap in a hurry. "Captain, we was just talking."

"That so?" Mal asked with a grin, "Sounded a might bit more like bonding to me!" Jayne's scowl only deepened, moving away from River he stalked back out the doors and towards his bunk.

Mal chuckled, following the angry mercenary with his eyes before he turned back around to suddenly find a finger digging into his chest and a pair of angry eyes glaring up at him. "Bad Mal, scared off the boy, passed the man away!" River moved away, following in the footsteps of Jayne.

"Need to get a ruttin translator for that girl…"

Translations of the Chinese …

"Qingwa cao de liumang" means "Frog-humping son of a bitch"

"Feng le" means "crazy"

"Ta ma de" means "Motherfucker/Fuck Me Blind/Holy Shit" Depending on who you talk to.
"Wo de tian a" means "Dear God in Heaven"

"Ben tiansheng de yi dui rou" means "Stupid inbred stack of meat"