All disclaimers' apply- Where Jayne goes, River always follows. An experiment on my part… if it's too weird let me know please. All translations can be found at the bottom…
Jayne's- covered in red. It seeps through the white, drips to the floor, covers Simon, and makes Kaylee cry.
River doesn't like him in red anymore. She stands just in the doorway watching with the others as the mercenary hovers on the edge of life. Anguish, rage, and horror stifle the air about them, pounding through her head- but aren't all hers.
"He's lost too much blood," Simon says, "I need to do transfusions."
But River knows that Simon knows what Simon says- is a lie. He just won't admit it yet. He won't give in until he's elbow deep in the man's chest, pumping the heart with his hands.
Jayne stirs slowly on the bed, eyes flashing open to reveal an intense gaze now glassy with pain. He reaches out to Mal, a once iron grip weakly pulls at his captain. The breathing is shallow, the words are but whispers. "Mal- they deserve- you know where. I outta be buried on that dust rock." His words frighten the crew. Jayne never talks like that.
"Nobody's dying on my boat today." Mal answers with an angry glare down at his mercenary. But River knows that fear threatens to swallow the captain. Even with all Jayne's faults, Mal's gotten to like having him at his back. "Ain't lost a crew member yet, and I ain't planning too."
Jayne chuckles weakly, "Never could accept nothin'." He closes his eyes and drops his grip on the brown coat. He's not dead yet, River knows that and she steps back to let Mal and Simon out.
"Is he gonna be alright, Captain?" Kaylee asks as she gazes through red eyes from the comfort of Inara's arms.
"What do we need to do to keep him breathing?" Mal questions, he's angry again- it keeps the fear at bay.
"There's not much we can do," Simon answers gently. "Keep pumping him with blood until his heart can stabilize itself." He doesn't stop there but goes off into details, lists of medical jargon on what he can do and what he will do.
River stops listening.
She slips through the doorway and into the quiet white room. Hovering over Jayne she watches his breathing- feeling his pain. A quick glance out the doorway insures that the rest of them are wrapped up in Simon's words and their own worry.
Gently River climbs up onto the bed, straddling his hips, careful of the chest wound. Her hands slide up his arms to his head, pushing through the short strands of hair. She leans forward and presses her forehead to his, the tears falling from her cheeks to his.
Jayne's eyes flash open. He's confused, but not frightened of her. He opens his mouth to say something, but he can't find the words. 'Sorry bout that one time-' he thinks and River understands. Lifting her head she gently kisses his forehead, the bridge of his nose, and finally his lips before closing her eyes and pressing her forehead back against his.
Somehow, behind all the emotions and the crazy, River knows that she's done this before. She doesn't question it, she'll have the answers soon enough.
Jayne's thoughts are waning, slipping into the black. He's tired: bone weary tired. His heart's tired too, it wants to give in and stop fighting the pain. His mind's slipping more and more- and she's following.
Beeps flat line. The crew startles. They stare for only a second in shock-
Jayne's sitting beneath a big sycamore tree. He's barefoot, in cargo pants with a white t-shirt. His body doesn't ache anymore, the scars are all gone, and the pain's been washed away. Stretched out before him are acres of green prairie land- a forest to the right with a wide stream cutting through them both. In the distance stretch great roman arches, a wide gravel path winding beneath them.
Jayne leans back against the rough bark and turns to stare at River. "What are you doin' here?"
River smiles, kicking her feet from underneath her she fiddles with the soft summer dress. She likes how the grass doesn't stain the white. Her mind is clear of the turmoil- "Couldn't not follow," she answers him.
Jayne wants to scowl, but he's too comfortable and can't find the anger that's lived dormant in his heart for so long. "Brother ain't gonna like that, Mal neither."
She shrugs in response, "He knows the five stages of grief, he'll work through them, finally realize that life's too short not to take chances and tell Kaylee what she wants to hear."
Jayne snorts in a half laugh and turns his gaze away from her. "Done this before, ain't we?" River nods, "Lots of times before, huh?" Another nod, "Knew the landscape was familiar."
"Get her off him-"
"His Bp's dropped. I need the-"
"Doc, she ain't breathing-"
Jayne stands and starts down the hill, River following but a pace behind him. "How come we done this before?"
"Sometimes being in absolute contentment gets tedious." River explains with a smirk as they merge into the tall prairie grass.
Jayne pauses for a second, looking down the graveled path he points towards the arches, "That the next life?" River nods, "Walked it lots, huh?" Another nod and he turns around to fully face her. "With you?"
River smiles and nods again, "Always with me."
"How come?" She doesn't answer, he'll remember soon enough. "How you know all of this?"
"Being mentally unstable in the last life has it advantages." Jayne watches her for a second before turning away from the path. He continues wading through the grass, this time towards the Forrest. "Moreover," River continued "I'm always the genius, you're always the brawn."
Jayne laughs, "Figures- knew you were a brat." He wades down to the stream, stepping into the cool clear water he lets it run between his toes. It doesn't rise past his ankles and the pebbles beneath his feet are smooth and soft. His hand automatically reaches out for her as she joins him. "Where's this lead?"
River shrugs, "Different places. Sometimes to other people- sometimes to other desires." He furrows his brow in mild curiosity and starts to lead her forward, her hand still tightly enclosed in his.
"This ain't heaven is it, cuz I never figured that with all I done I'd be getting through the pearly gates- too much blood on my hands and all."
River sighs, "It is heaven. That is we're not living anymore-" but she only sighs in frustration, "We've had this conversation too many times before. I'm not going to go into it again, you'll remember soon enough." She watches his shoulders tense beneath the taunt fabric of his shirt, but they relax again soon enough.
Jayne stops and turns his head back to stare at her for a second, "You always moonbrained like before? Bein' all spooky and slashing my chest- makin' me wanna turn you into the feds."
River smiles- that's a new question. "No. I don't consistently find myself sent off to academies where they remove vital portions of my brain for fun."
Jayne frowns and tugs her forward again, continuing down the stream towards the woods. "You're always a brat though, ain't ya?"
"Why ain't she breathing?"
"I don't know- I don't know. This- this isn't making any sense."
"Best think faster doc, we're loosing em' both-"
The trees tower overhead, light filtering down through the branches, warming the two souls as the walk hand in hand down the stream. "You was a dancer, I think, during one of them older lives, long time ago." River nods at his statement. "Wearing one of them fluffy pink things and doin' that little toe thingy where ya-" He trails off lacking the proper wording.
"I was a ballerina; prima ballerina." River confirms watching as he furrows his eyebrows. He can't remember what the title means but knows it's important. "We met backstage: you were important in that life too."
"Head of something- uniformed all the time." Jayne whispers, trying to grasp the memories. "Traveled with some fancible moneyed individual, I commanded somethin'. Vera was there, ceptin' she was different." He stops and closes his eyes for a second, "Nine millimeter, semi automatic, custom trigger, handled like smooth water." His eyes flash open and he turns to face he. Jayne Cobb hadn't said that last part, it was some other part of Jayne. "Same names- first ones, huh?"
Rivers nods and this time she leads him forward. "Last ones sometimes too, not often though."
"Figures, ma always said I looked like the spittin' image of my great granddaddy." Jayne lets her lead for only a moment before taking it from her with two easy strides.
Some things never change.
"Give me the pure adrenaline- now!"
The stream trickles down the side of a small cliff, and the sound of a thundering waterfall comes from the right. The water pours down the cliff into a dark body of water. Jayne peers over the edge and turns back to look at her with a grin. "Feel like gettin' wet?"
River shrugs, "We've done it before." Together they turn away and take several steps back, finally releasing each other's hands. "On the count of three," River says as she bunches her skirt up in her fists.
"How come you always get ta count?"
She ignores his comment, "One- Two- Ite." She leaves him behind. Jayne blinks, momentarily stumped by her words.
"Brat," he mutters before chasing after her and launching off the side of the cliff. They free fall for only a second, then splash into the water, gentle waves embracing them. The darkness of the water surrounds him for a second, and he breaks back up through the water. "River?"
River's eyes open to the blinding light, life fills her lungs, but only for a second. Jayne's not here, only Simon and family. So she falls back into the dark before her heart can really start beating again. She won't come back without Jayne.
River's head breaks back through the water and she takes a second to readjust.
"Where'd you go?" She turns at the sound of Jayne's voice and spots him sulking underneath a tree whose roots spill forth into the water. She smiles and swims off in his direction.
"Simon-" River explains as she slowly walks up the banks, her dry dress clinging to her wet body.
Jayne snorts as angrily as contentment will allow him, "Figures he wouldn't want to share ya with me." But he can't stay mad long and he pulls her down onto his lap. "Ite; Latin for go- sneaky little brat."
"Ubi bene ibi patra; Senatus Populusque Romanus. Aut vincere aut mori!" The words slip from his tongue as though they would a natural speaker and Jayne closes his eyes for a second. "A full tang construction, high-carbon blade, hard wood handle inlaid with ivory, with a high polished steel spacer at the bottom of the handle for strength and durability." River rolls her eyes back into her head. "Verus, given to me by my father after my first successful campaign. Not a finer sword in my legion, not a finer one in the entire empire."
River buries her face in the crock of his neck and listens to him continue. "Damn those were some fun times." She knows he's waggling an eyebrow down at her, "Course weren't near as fun as you."
"Arranged marriage that life. You were powerful, my father was powerful- made sense to join the two."
"Ya, but had some hellfire strong fights 'tween us." Jayne grinned, "Makin' up was always fun though." And she knows he's waggling the eyebrow again.
Mal pulls Simon away from his sister, "Ya need to focus on him."
"I've seen this with readers before: he's the key to her-"
They're back on the prairie, stretched out in the tall grass, the blades hiding everything but the sky from view. They're curled together, the wind sweeping the grass around them as she lightly naps, his hand stroking the long waves of brown hair.
"If'n we go again, for another round and all- I wanna be the crazy one."
River lifts her head and smiles up him, "I thought you were the crazy one."
Jayne growls lightly in his throat "Well ain't you hi-larious." He turns his gaze back to the sky and she rests her head back on his chest, fingers plucking at his shirt where the scar would have been. "How come it don't ever end good- dying peaceful in sleep. How come it's always so- painful and bloody?"
River shrugs her shoulders. "You're a solider, you always are, one form or another. Like I'm a genius- we balance each other out."
Jayne's forehead wrinkles in thought, "How come you always follow after?"
"Wouldn't have it any other way- Besides that, I don't have a choice." River explains turning over slightly so that she can look up into his face.
"We're bound- when you go, I go."
"Well ain't that crappy." Jayne mumbles as his hand falls from her hair to play along the muscles of her back. "Do it work the other way around too?"
River frowns for a second in pensive thought, cycling through all the end memories, "I don't know. You always die first."
"Always?" Jayne asks and River nods, "We'll ain't that just- how come I always gotta go first?"
"That makes no sense, how can he- what are you-"
"You're saying they're bound, sir?"
"Ain't no time to be talkin'. If you wanna save your sister, you gotta bring him back."
Jayne's almost napping now, laying on his stomach River's straddling his hips. Her fingers are working out the kinks in his shoulders. "I could get used to bein' dead." He mumbles sleepily, voice muffled by the arm he's using for a pillow. He turns his head so he can talk to her better, "Seeing as how we're bound and all, that would've meant that me and crazy you would've eventually- and Mal would've thrown me out the airlock."
Rivers sighs, "Maybe. Maybe not-"
"What d'ya mean maybe? Seems as best I can recall we hooked up just about every time, even when ya hated my guts so much ya tired to push me out a movin' train as it was goin' over a bridge-"
"One time." She reminds him.
"That don't count none. As I recall it, we met boarding a plane that never made it off that strip. We were splattered to high heaven 'fore I could even get your phone number."
River shrugs again and climbs off him, rolling onto her back she stares up at the sky giggling softy at the memory- well the memory of the moment before the actual explosion of the plane. "Silly Jayne; all bumbling the words, trying to be smooth military man. What'd it take to get that stewardess to move you to the seat beside me?"
"Ain't saying." Comes the slightly grumpy answer. He shifts to his side and pulls her close. "You still ain't answered the question, ya think me and crazy you would've had a little fun time if the deceiving, low down dirty-"
"Fraud, liar, swindler, con artist, cheat, fraudster-" She supplies.
"Yeah, if'n he hadn't done me in when he did?"
"I'm reader, not a psychic." She points out. "Can't predict the future unless it involves numbers and science-" Her voices trials off as her thoughts wander and his hands tighten around her waist. "But I suppose that would've been a legitimate way for fate to have ended that life: painful, not necessarily bloody though." Jayne groans and she turns in his arms pushing him back down to his back. Her hands coming down on either side of his head, she leans over him, her hair framing their faces as an evil grin slips across her face. "What? You don't think it would've been fun to have a little play time with the crazy girl?"
"Ya probably would've slashed my throat while I slept." She leans down, gently kissing him for a second. It's a kiss that speaks of the ageless, timeless love, a kiss that mimics more than a hundred million others they've shared over time.
"What's it mean to be bound?" Kaylee asks Inara, trying to block out the sounds of the infirmary as they hover nearby.
Inara looks up from smoothing down the engineer's hair and frowns for a second. "It's kind of like the belief of soul mates, hon," she explains. "It can't be scientifically proven or recorded as it involves whatever happens after we die."
Kaylee looks up at the companion, confused for a moment. "What do ya mean?"
"It's hard to explain, Mei Mei- Some believe that because of the gift River was given, the ability to read others, well- some believe that because of the burden of this gift they have to be balanced with another soul, a sort of companion for all ages. That they're essentially spiritually bound to this other soul."
"What's that got to do with Jayne and River both-" Kaylee doesn't finish the sentence.
"It would mean that when the other soul's time had ended, the bound one follows." Kaylee furrows her brow in a confused manner for a second. "It means that because Jayne was fading from this world River had no choice but to follow him- It means that when he dies so does she."
They're wandering across the prairie, knee deep in the grass. She's two steps behind him, humming an old forgotten lullaby. "Don't see how this could get borin'." Jayne comments, "Specially when ya can't feel anything but contented. Getting kind of annoying, trying to be annoyed and havin' it slip through my mind fore I can catch a hold of it."
River laughs gently. "And you wonder why we've walked that path so many times. You're never satisfied with being emotional sated for longer then a decade."
Jayne snorts and turns around to stare at her, "And you are?"
River smiles and steps forward into his arms, "I don't need anything but you, my venerated mercenary. That's the predicament that comes with finding oneself bound. And being bound is the penalty that I pay for having fate decide that I ought to read the minds of her populace."
"Well ain't that the short end of the stick- havin' to read all them loony people's thought. It ain't no wonder you got fixed with me, seein' how I'm bout the only sane bein' in this 'Verse." He waggles that damn eyebrow again. But he suddenly pauses, jerking his head back as though in shock, rubbing the center of his chest. "Now that sure as hell wasn't no feeling of contentment."
The crew watches as Simon presses the electrodes to the mercenary's body. Both bodies seem to react, arch up as the electricity shoots through Jayne's body.
Simon watches the monitors for a second. "Clear," he calls again out of habit and presses the electrodes back down on Jayne's chest. Both bodies react again, but this time the monitor starts beeping. Zoe hands Simon a syringe and the doctor injects the man, watching as the heartbeats steady out evenly. Jayne and River open their eyes simultaneously.
"Aw hell not this ruttin' shit again, why don't somebody just put me outta my gorram head already," Jayne's gags out, his back arching as his eyes roll back into his head before collapsing back into unconsciousness. River slowly sits up and pushes herself to her feet unsteadily, takes a deep breath and moves off out of the infirmary like nothing happened.
Simon walks wearily up the stairs of the cockpit towards the gathered crew. They're all standing around discussing the last job and the next one, but they go quite when they see him enter.
"How are your patients, doc?" Mal questions.
"Good- I took the stitches out of Jayne today. If he gives his heart a rest he should be up to normal by the end of the month."
"That's good, 'cause I might need him to get shot up again real soon. What about your sister?"
Simon frowns at the Captain's question, "River claims she can't remember going into the infirmary in the first place. Whatever happened- well it- they side effects-" Simon trails off, not sure how to voice his thoughts.
As if to emphasize his point the crew catches the sound of two bickering voices and they turn to watch Jayne storm down the hall towards the cockpit, River close on his tail.
"Proprium humani ingenii est odisse quem laeseris" River says with a shake of the head and a pointed finger up at the mercenary.
"Fac me cocleario vomere!" Jayne answers with an intensely angry glare that probably would've had a lesser being wilting to the floor in fear.
"Cave ne ante ullas catapultas ambules." She sticks her tongue out at him for emphasis as they climb the cockpit stars.
"Vescere bracis meis." The mercenary glowers down at her for a second and than turns to where Simon stands in shock. "Keep your ruttin' sister away from me."
"Jayne what the hell tongue was you just speaking?" Mal questions watching his big stick expert wearily.
"What the hell you talkin bout? I was speakin English plain as day." Jayne turns his glances over the crew with a baffled look behind his eyes. First the girl had been giving him moony eyes ever since he'd woken up from whatever the hell coma thing he was in and now the crew was going crazy on him.
"Oh- that was not English my friend." Wash declares with a shake of his head, just about everybody else nodding in agreement.
"Caesar si viveret, ad rerum dareris." Jayne scowls and turns, leaving the crew behind to stare after him in puzzlement. "Bunch of crazy pansy ass…" His voice trails off as he disappears into his bunk.
"See what I mean."
"Was that- was that Latin? Since when does- how can he- What did it mean?" Mal questions.
River smiles, bouncing eagerly on her toes. "He said that if Caesar were alive you'd all be chained to oars. Die dulci freure." Turning she skips off to go find something more amusing to do.
Wash turns slowly to Zoe and raises an eyebrow, "Veni, Vidi, Vici."
"Why is everybody on my boat suddenly speaking Latin?"
Rough translations of Latin: (it's been years so the grammar's a little screwed)
"Ite" means "Go!"
"Ubi bene ibi patra; Senatus Populusque Romanus. Aut vincere aut mori!" means"I owe allegiance to land in which I prosper; the Senate and People of Rome. Victory or death!"
"Verus" means "truth" and is popularly believed to have influenced the name Vera which is Russian for "Faith."
"Proprium humani ingenii est odisse quem laeseris" means "It is human nature to hate those whom you have injured."
"Fac me cocleario vomere!" means "Gag me with a spoon!"
"Cave ne ante ullas catapultas ambules." Means "If I were you, I wouldn't walk in front of any catapults."
"Vescere bracis meis" means "Eat my shorts."
"Caesar si viveret, ad rerum dareris." means "If Caesar were alive you'd all be chained to oars." I may have my history wrong but I believe it was a popular insult of the time. It means to imply stupidity.
"Die dulci freure." Is the closest equivalent to "Have a nice day."
"Veni, Vidi, Vici" Caesar's famous quote of "I came, I saw, I conquered."