Copper for a Kiss by Lady Cleo

All Disclaimers' Apply

Chapter Fourteen: The Black, Serenity

2518 Mid June to early July.

The needle pierced her eyes- invoking a hoarse guttural scream from the girls lips. The lab coated figure leaned down, cold hands griping her arm, "Let's run the centurion scenario again." The dark shadows on the walls formed into figures, clawed hands scratching at her skin-

Jayne's eyes shot open as he wrenched himself from the depths of the nightmare. For a second he seemed to lose all awareness, consciousness clearing as his senses slowly came back to him: eyes taking in the warmly lit guest quarters and his body adjusting to the soft contours of the bed. Drawing a hand over his face he slowly let his eyes fall shut again and took a deep breath.

"You saw them." River's voice cracked and Jayne slowly lifted his head, opening his eyes he glanced briefly around the room in search of the speaker. River sat on the opposite bunk, knees pulled to her chest as her body trembled. A bead of sweat ran down her forehead as she took a deep inhale, body trembling all the more with her movement.

"It's just a dream girl." Pushing himself off the bed, Jayne slowly crossed the small room, a hand reaching out.

"My dream, not yours." River pulled back away, wincing when his fingertips brushed over her skin. "I made them, you stole them."

Jayne sank wearily onto the edge of the bunk and groaned in frustration. "Damn it 'ta all hell girl, it's too early and I'm too tired to play word games."

"I can't speak plain, the words are lost."

"Ya know how to fix that." Again Jayne reached out to touch her, River shied quickly away. Jayne ran a hand across his face again, attempting to shake off the groggy fog that clouded his thinking. A second of cold silence passed over the pair, River fighting off the tears as Jayne began tapping his fingers in frustration. "You gotta give me somethin' to go off girl. This ain't about what happened during dinner, is it?"

Her head whipped around, large eyes wide in fear as she spoke softly, "Flipped the switch."

Jayne snorted, "You don't look like no weapon yet, girl. I'd place good money on you still bein' crazy River and not the killin' one that you're always spouting about."

River slowly shook her head, "Not my switch." Her finger lifted to point at Jayne. "Your switch."

"I ain't got a switch, girl. I ain't that complicated."

River ignored the comment, turning away from him she curled into a tight ball on the bunk. "Doesn't make sense, calculations are wrong. Boy's not supposed to turn on, girl's supposed to turn on. The rain can't be the weapon."

"What in the hell are you talkin' about – if you're going to call one of us a weapon I'd say I'm the winner of that contest. Hell, there ain't no contest most the time. The only time you seem inclined to act is when I ask ya too-"

"I made you." The tears were coming down in full force now.

"Ai-yah. Tyen-ah. Ain't nobody ever made me do anything I didn't want to."

"Don't understand."

Jayne yanked River away from the wall, forcing her to look back at him as he fought to keep the growl out of his voice, "Well, then make me. It ain't doin' any good to crawl into a corner and cry. Tell me what I need to ruttin' kill and I'll kill it." River squeaked quietly, unable to produce the worlds. "Go tsao de-" Releasing her Jayne stood and turned away. "You spout nonsense girl, if ya don't tell me what's wrong how the hell am I supposed to fix it."

"Words are lost-"

"Like hell they are."

River sprang up suddenly to her feet, reaching out she grabbed a hold of his arm and pulled the man to a sharp halt. Her face pressing into his chest, she clung tightly to his arm. "They need a trigger, a switch for the girl. All candidates need a trigger, a control. Not all candidates want to kill, some can't without the rain."

Jayne frowned, "You talkin' about some psycho tool thing, like a place to block out all the go se?"

Her breath hitched in her throat, her fingernails digging into his skin, "Jayne is the rain, blocks out the mess and the noise. You make me function better. But Niska's complex changed something, snapped something in the girl- or maybe in the boy." Her hand slowly released his arm and shifted to rest over his beating heart. "Now she feels it when he's gone, can't function without him. It burns without the link- delirium, tremens, fever, convulsions – dysphoria." Unburying her face she glanced up at him, "Now he feels her fear in dreams. They can catch the rain. If they control the weather, they can control the weapon, they can make two hands of blue."

Jayne's forehead furrowed in confusion, "How?"

"Cut and paste together what's needed." Jayne winced at the idea of the scalpel that suddenly popped in his head. "I'm scared." Her voice trembled, the fear running through her skin and down to her toes as she clung to him.

Shrugging off his own doubts, Jayne glanced down at the girl, "Ain't nothing to be scared off, didn't I promise that you're never going back there. Screwing with my brain or not, I ain't ever goin' fed friendly, nor are they ever gonna get close enough to shove some control in my head."

"Promise- promise to die first." River's grip tightened, her head lifting so that her eyes meet his. "Without the girl they won't want the boy."

The snort slipped out of Jayne before he could catch it. "Now that don't sit right. And don't flatter yourself crazy, plenty of people want me for other things beside running around with you."

"Promise!" Tugging on his arm for emphasis, the smaller girl looked up at him with pleading eyes, as though she was trying to make him understand he entire situation with just one empathetic glance. "Promise to take me away before they can."

Jayne hesitated for a long second before wrapping his larger hand around her smaller one and nodding, "Sure." A sigh of relief slipped past River's lips only to morph into a squeak of surprise. Grabbing her waist, Jayne tossed her up onto the bunk. "Now that we got that all settled, can we please get some ruttin' sleep?"


Mal groaned, swiping a hand over his forehead as he leaned an elbow down to the table. "It ain't my problem." Saying the words aloud however was not helping the situation. The girl had put too many things out into the air, by answering his question she had created about thirty more questions.

The girl was a potential can of worms, one that Mal wasn't ready to dig into yet. Survival first, universe saving later. Right? The groan slipped past his lips, leaving him with the desire to start punching things and ask questions later.

Still that didn't mean that he had to do anything about the odd pair occupying his guest quarters. They weren't asking for anything but transport to one location, that was all he had to do - simple. They certainly weren't looking to change the universe, rather the opposite if had to take a guess. So all Mal had to do was drop the goods and get the pay.

But his life was never that simple. Never. And for once in his life Mal felt as though he might be the cause. His guests just wanted off boat, that was all he had to do.

But damn if he hadn't gone without for too long. Trumpeting around the black one hand short took it out of a man. Too many times he'd picked up some traveler for hire and lost him on the next planet. All he needed was one good pair of hands, someone to carry his big stick for him, someone like Jayne Cobb.

Mal tried to shake the idea off again for the third time that night. There were too many variables with Jayne Cobb. 1 - the girl. 2 - the reward. 3 - the man himself. And that was just the start of the list, Mal was positive that he could populate it with at least twenty more items-

Kaylee stepped down into the galley, interrupting the Captain thoughts with a warm smile, "Wash says we'll be landing' in about twenty minutes." Slipping into the seat next to him she frowned at his pensive expression, "What'cha thinking about, captain?"

Ma shook his head, "Nothing important." He paused and looked over at the engineer. "What do you think of our two guests?"

"Well, they're sorta odd, but nice." Kaylee quipped, "Reckon he'd be a fellow one would want when doin' crime, and she'd be nice to have in an emergency, so long as he was around to control her."

Mal nodded, biting down a remark- that wasn't what he'd wanted to hear.


Jayne hoisted River up onto the counter, "Sit still for a second. Ought to' be landing soon and I ain't delivering you to the Doc with a fever." Running the scanner over her forehead, he checked her body temperature and nodded with satisfaction, "Bout damn time that thing broke."

River nodded sleepily, her head lolling to the side in a half exhausted attempt to fall back to sleep. Jayne nudged her gently, "No sleepin' kid." A small whimper slipped past her lips and she let her head tumble foreword to rest on his chest. "Hey, who's fault is it that we're up half the night with you blabbing about turning' into some kinda weapon."

"Only spoke the truth," she mumbled into his chest. Bracing her arms on his shoulder she pushed herself upright. "Have a right to be afraid, not in control." Beneath them the ship trembled slightly as they broke through the atmosphere. "Without control one can't regulate who they hurt or how they hurt - it's all lost in the void."

Lifting a hand to River's head Jayne frowned. "What if we had-" he paused, his brain turning over in an attempt to pacify her. "Well, I was thinkin'- what if we had some kinda word that would turn you off."

River's eyes darted up to trace the curve of his face.

"I dunno, like in them old holovids. Hypnosis or something like that." River's eyebrow arched up in response to his words, but Jayne continued. "It's just an idea, but you now like with them hypno-toads - a sorta code word for you ta stop everything." Jayne abruptly paused and shrugged. "Course I don't know how ta hypnotize nobody, wouldn't ever really want to know." With a final shake of his head, the larger mercenary reached up to pull her down.

River's hand fell lightly on top of his, forcing the mercenary to pause for a second. "What word?"

"Don't see how it would work without-"

Her hand squeezed his lightly, "What word?"

"Ain't really thought about." Jayne scratched at his temple for a second before turning his face back to hers. "You know when ya first scared the pants off me- ya sad something funny."

River nodded, a brief smile tugging at the corner of her lips, "Copper for a kiss."

"How about that?" River nodded her consent, ignoring Jayne's questioning stare. "Works just like that, we pick a word and when I say it you shut down - that don't make no kind of sense girl." River refused to answer him. "How about we test it then- Copper for a kiss."

River's head jerked forward, her eyes closing as she went limp against his body. Jayne blinked for a second, half shocked and half confused. "What in ruttin'-" The corner of River's mouth twitched into a smile. "Damn it girl, that ain't funny."

Shaking her head River laughed lightly, "Is very funny."

"No, it ain't." Pulling her off the counter, Jayne started to tugging her back towards the guest quarters, when the girl jerked him to a sudden stop.

"When the times comes, it'll work." She promised, balancing up on her tip ties she placed a light kiss on his lips. "Jayne's in control now."

He froze at her words, a frown suddenly imprinting on his face as he stared down at her. A second of silence followed, when Jayne seemed to shake off whatever had stopped him, "Good, that's the way I like it." Pulling back away from her he stared down at the smaller woman for a long second, "You ain't a bad kid."

"Not a kid."

"Damn, woman, I know that, it don't mean I can't call you one." Jayne ruffled the long locks of her tangled brown hair, the pensive second of thought seemingly forgotten. "On Sedona I think we need ta take a second to get cleaned up. I could use a real shower after all the ruttin' commotion Niska caused." River nodded slowly in understanding, titling her head slightly as she watched him think.

The ship trembled again and the comm crackled as Wash's voice filled the ship, "In case you didn't notice, that last tremble was us landing thanks in part to my superb pilot skills."

Jayne wrinkled his forehead, "That's a weird little man." Grabbing river's arm her tugged her along, stopping only to grab his duffel bag before moving out into the cargobay. Mal, Zoe and Wash were already descending from the rafters above as Kaylee pressed the large red button, allowing the air sealed doors to scale open as the ramp slowly lowered.

Kaylee waved gently in Jayne's and River's direction, "It was nice meeting ya'll. Hope you don't get caught or nothing."

"Thank's kid," Turning to the captain, the mercenary motioned out at the streets. "Pay's waiting for you at the hotel. Follow along if ya want it." Jayne didn't wait for a response, but slung the duffel bag over his shoulder , descending down the ramp and into the familiar streets of Sedona, River on his heels.

Mal furrowed his brows, "This ought to be interesting." Nodding briefly to Wash he followed after the pair.

The four trekked quickly through the promenades of Sedona, passing the glitzy shops and fancy dinning before turning down a quieter street towards one of the towering hotels. Jayne's pace barely slowed as he pushed into the revolving doors and headed for the counter.

"Ah, Mr. and Mrs. Wentworth, glad to see you back." The clerk greeted with a friendly smile. Grabbing a key he handed it over to Jayne and disappeared into the back room for a second.

Mal frowned, "Well, what are we wait-"

The clerk re emerged carrying a second duffel, which he gingerly handed across the counter to Jayne before adding, "Dr. Holden's office called to see if you had returned. Would you like me to inform them of your arrival."

"Na," Jayne reached into the pocket and pulled out a bill, tossing it in the kid's direction. "Thanks, kid."

The young man smiled eagerly at the pair, bowing his head. "It's my pleasure, sir."

Turning away, the group wandered over to one of the fancy couches and out of the traffic line. Reaching into the second duffell, Jayne pulled out a bag of credits and tossed it causally to Mal. "You can count it if ya want to. But I ain't waitin' around to watch you."

The pair moved off for the elevator when River suddenly paused. Glancing back over her shoulder at Mal, she spoke up slowly. "Wouldn't have held if you didn't get it. Would've been all out of air without it." That said she let Jayne pull her into the elevator, the doors slipping shut quietly behind them.

Mal frowned and tossed the bag of credits to Zoe, "Come on, lets get what we need and fly off this rock."

Zoe frowned in confusion as the pushed out of the doors. "Sir, what did she mean by that last comment."

"The compression coil."


Mal shook his head as the pushed on into the crowds of the promenade. "I think she means the compression coil, but I'm not sure why she's bringing that up. Reckon I don't want to stick around to find out anyway."


Pushing open the door to the bathroom, Jayne quickly stripped and stepped into a hot shower. Taking a long second to savor the rushing water as it beat against his body, mind slowly ruminating over the past few months. Rolling his head forward he let the water beat against his face: married crazy, crazy kidnapped, rescued crazy- switched on. An impulse to beat his head against the tiles suddenly crept through his skin.

The tension building in his body was not washing away. Jayne shut the water off and stood for a long second staring at the fancy tile patterns. He'd snapped! That was it - he'd been hanging around crazy too much, letting her marry him, rescuing her from the death trap, letting himself talk himself into that damn kiss after the rescue. Now he was finally waking up, the endorphins had cleared out of his system, he could stop and think. Jayne felt his fingers claw into a tight fist, the startling blues of the tiles calling out to him.

Turning away Jayne swiped a rough hand across his face and stepped out of the shower. Grabbing a towel he quickly dried off and pulled on his pants before reaching out to grab a shirt but froze again. It'd been easy to pass off the marriage, to even pass off the kiss, to pass off her conversation with the captain, and her fears last night, they had all come so easily with a purpose - pacify the girl - give her want she wanted - keep her on his side.

The bathroom door creaked open, admitting the small girl. The tension mounted in his stomach.

"One of these day-" Jayne started out of habit, but the words died on his lips.

Her eyes flicked around the bathroom in search of their usual mission, but Jayne had already shaved this morning. River frowned but nevertheless moved over to the sink and perched herself there, waiting silently for her turn at the shower.

Jayne frowned, moving slowly to stand in front of her, his t-shirt still gripped tightly in one hand. With his freehand he reached up to gently touch her head. "You ain't got any control over your emotions."

The frown quickly plastered itself across her lips, her forehead wrinkling in worry. "I- I know that." River whispered, watching him with wide eyes.

"What am I feelin' right now?" Jayne questioned, his hand dropping from her head to tightly grip the edge of the sink.

River frowned, a hand coming up to slowly touch the center of his chest. "Tense-" she whispered. "Caged," she added, drawing her hand back almost fearfully.

Jayne's grip on the sink was turning his knuckles white, the shirt fairing no better. Still he keep his eyes pinned on the small woman in front of him. "You're a kid."

River ardently shook her head, "I'm not a kid-"

"You're a kid." Jayne felt the knot of tension shifting up through his chest, heart beating painfully against his sternum. "You're a crazy kid with no control over your emotions. You said all kids are greedy and want more, so you took it." River's eyes darted away from him, but Jayne continued. "Then you said that the switch had been turned on to make two by two, and this mornin' you said I was in control."

River nodded slowly, suddenly afraid to speak under his scrutinizing glare.

"Did ya mean it?" The question stumped River. Jayne leaned in an inch closer. "Did ya mean it?"

The smaller girl frowned, "I- not sure, not sure what-"

"When you said that you wanted more? Did ya mean it?" Jayne felt the tension swell inside of his chest again as the small girl remained silent in front of him. The shirt dropped to the floor and his hand flew up, gently taking her chin in his hand he lifted her face up. "Listen here, girl. You said it yourself, I'm in control. You feel what I feel." The small girl opened her mouth to speak, but Jayne cut her off. "I'm in control now, next time someone's ruttin' feelings creeps into you head, you don't listen."

"Don't understand - I can't shut out."

"No- you listen girl, you hear only what I feel. You feel only what I feel. Ain't no if about it. I ain't asking you to shut them out, I'm only telling you to listen to me. They can rabble on all they want inside your head, but you're only gonna listen to me."

River slowly nodded, her wide eyes glued to his face as Jayne continued, "Me and you, were one now. Ain't no if about it, you said you wanted more, so your getting more. Ain't no one ever gonna control us. It's you and me against the world, only you and me against every single person out there. If we're gonna do this you got to understand that." His eyes rapidly roamed her face, searching for a sign of understanding. "Got it, girl?"

The breath hitched in River's throat for a second, before gushing out it firm confident, "Yes, I- I understand."

Words spoken, silence settled over the pair, the tension still rippling through his body as Jayne stared down at her. Her breath seemed shallow, his eyes still pinned on her form. The tick of the clock seemed to suddenly slow to a stop. Jayne's grip slowly released her chin, his head moving in close. River felt her hands slowly shift, moving to slowly climb up his chest, wrapping around his shoulder, eyes fluttering closed.

Jayne pressed his lips to hers, his grip on the sink tightening. His free hand shifted slowly, circling around to cup the back of her head, lips slowly forcing her opens. His hearts thumping in his chest as he angled his head, tasting the warmth of her mouth. He vaguely connected the thought that her legs were wrapping around his waist, only vaguely connected that his hand had finally released it's grip on the sink to grip her instead.


The soft smell of sterilized hallways greeted Dobson as he pushed open the lab door and stepped out into Holden's territory. Moving carefully down the hallways he sliped past the nurses unseen and out a back door.

"Damn," The alliance officer cursed, kicking at the brick wall. Not a sight of the fugitive, not even a glimpse. The bait wasn't working, reaching into his pocket he pulled out his communication tool and hit the button. A short beep followed,

"Lt. Dobson - your report." The small device squeaked in what sounded like a vaguely feminine voice.


River's body fell back against the white sheets, hair fanning about her head, Jayne following after. His lips chasing hers down, hands gently stroking down the exposed skin of her arms.

The world spun inside of her head, for once blissfully quiet as she focused in on Jayne. The thumping of her heart the only thing she heard, the nervous swirl of her stomach the only thing she felt. Her eyes fluttered close as Jayne's lips slowly trailed down away from her lips, kissing the curve of her neck, his fingers drawing enticing circles in her skin.


Simon stepped into his father's room and paused at the sight presented to him. Regan Tam sat next to her husband's bed, her hand holding tightly to Gabriel's as she watched his face for any sign of consciousness. "Simon, I'm worried. Something doesn't feel right."

"His scans are looking good." Simon assured. Taking the seat across from her, he reached out to grab her trembling hand. "Why don't you go and get some rest, mom, I'll watch him this afternoon."

Regan glanced worriedly from her husband to her son, "What if something happens, what if he wakes up."

"I'll call you if he so much as moves a muscles." The promise seemed to do little to reassure her. Simon sighed and rubbed the bridge of his nose before turning back to his mother. "We need to give it time mom, just go and make sure you get something warm to eat and a good rest. Don't worry, nothing's going to happen today."


The consistent thumping of his heart seemed to echo through Jayne's head, deft fingers expertly tugging at the shirt that hid River's pale skin. Two years he'd kept his fingers relatively off, for two years he watched her, content to play big brother, all the while longing for more.

The shirt flew off, his lips leaving a trail down her soft flesh. The pit of his stomach lurched, hands now working swiftly at the rest of her clothing. Her small hands where working slowly down his chest, driving his senses up the wall, making his blood boil- two years of pent of tension finally finding release.


"We need to move now!" Dobson cursed into the small device. "I don't think you understand the situation. If we leave her open in the field much longer who knows what will happen."

The device squawked in his hands, "Negative, command thinks using Dr. Tam will damage their appearance. The Doctor is a highly qualified and respected. He's managed to keep his side search out of the public eye."

"No one will care if we haul him in."

"Command doesn't agree with you."

Dobson managed to keep the curse under his breath this time as he glared down at the small device. "I don't think you understand the situation. She's been out of our control for almost two years. If Cobb figures out the trigger, if he controls her then is no amount of cutting, rearranging, that will regain control of her. We might as well take her out back and put an end to this whole arrangement with a bullet."

Silence answered him.


They're tangled in the sheets, bodies are one, his lips are locked onto her pulse point, finger's entwining with hers. River's heart spiked up into her throat, Jayne's fingers clenching around her as she arched her back. Her heart has been doing things it's never done before, having palpations, flipping over and over, for a second she convinced that something's terribly wrong with her - but she's too busy to focus on any thought for long. And all she can feel is him.


"Lt. Dobson." The communicator squeaked after several long moments of silence. "Command has decided to alter their course of action. We'll be sending down two officers, commence with your plan to take Dr. Tam into custody."

Dobson stopped the sigh of relief from slipping off his lips.

"Dr. Tam is to remain unharmed. Command does not want a media situation if they can avoid it. Us all precautions, our goal is to recapture the fugitive. Rendezvous with the fleet behind the Amite Moon."


The clock on the nightstand struck noon as Jayne slowly pulled his pants back on, searching the room for the duffel bags and a clean shirt. "Come on, baby." He called over his shoulder, finally spotting the duffels where he'd dropped them by the door. "We need ta get those scans to the doc so he can fix your fried brain."

Reaching into the bag he slipped on a shirt. River remained silent. Glancing back over at the bed, he let a small grin slip off his lips at the sight of he small girl sprawled there, still tangled in the sheets. "Come on, doc's gotta be waiting."

River lifted her head up from the bed, glanced over at him for a long second before shaking her head no, and curling back into a small ball. Jayne grabbed one of her flowered dress and strolled casually back over to the bed. Tossing the dress over her head he reached down, grabbed the blankets, and yanked- River shrieked.


Mal stepped aboard Serenity, following after Zoe as she drove the loaded mule up into the cargo bay. Kaylee waved at them as she stepped over to help Zoe unload the ammunition. "We all on board?"

"Just about, Shepard Book and I finished restocking the food stuff. Ain't much that's cheap on this planet, Captain, so I couldn't stock up on extra parts. But we should be good until we hit Persephone again."

"Good, Inara still aboard?"

Kaylee nodded, "She said she figured you'd want off planet pretty soon, so she didn't call any of her contacts."

Mal nodded and turned for the stairs, "Good, looks like for once we might get off without-" Wash scurrying down the stairs towards him cut Mal off mid sentence. "Nevermind. What's up?"

"This planet is hot!"

Zoe and Kaylee paused what they were doing, moving over to stand behind the captain. "What do you mean?" Kaylee questioned. "You ain't talkin' about River and Jayne, are ya?"

"There is a whole armada sitting on the other side of the moon waiting for the sign to sweep down."

Mal blinked up at the pilot, "Say that again."

"I was surfin' the channels, bored out of my mind as usual," Wash explained, "when suddenly up pops this alliance signal and it's a nice little convo going on between two officers about how they're waiting for the signal to sweep down." Kaylee dropped a worried glance between the Captain and Zoe as Wash continued. "This planet is rigged to explode and I think we just dropped the trigger."


"Excuse me, doctors." Simon looked up from his father's monitor as the door opened, admitting one of Holden's nurses. Holden shifted from his position on the other side of Gabriel's bed, a questioning glance darting to the woman. "I'm sorry for interrupting you, sir, but our wayward patients have returned from their little trip."

Holden's eye lit up, his stance at once going from pensive to darn near eager. "And, was it a success?" The nurse nodded. Holden jumped from his position, scurrying over to the nurse's side eagerly. "Excellent," turning back to Simon he grinned, "If you'll excuse me for a moment, Dr. Tam."

"Of, course," Simon nodded.

"Well," Holden questioned quietly as he began to pull the door shut, "Are all their limbs intact? Jayne said that the man was-" The door closed firmly behind Holden shutting Simon out of the conversation.

"Jayne." A thought snuck it's way into Simon's head, but he shook it off with a shrug and turned back to his father's read outs. The odds were impossible.


"Glad to see you." Holden greeted as he stepped into the small examination room.

Jayne snorted, loping an arm over River's shoulder. "Almost didn't -" Holden raised an eyebrow, but Jayne shook it off. "Too long of a story doc, and I'm starving'. Just came to deliver the goods." Reaching into his pocket Jayne produced the chip and handed it over to the doctor. "Figured we'll linger for a few days - but if something happens send word through Monty as usual."

Holden grinned, holding up the data chip, "Excellent,"


Simon stepped lightly out into the hallway, his hand coming up to wipe the sweat off his forehead. This was going to be a lot harder then he'd thought. Nothing was showing up clearly on the scans and there was little to no information to aid his thinking. The longer he lingered here, the further River disappeared into the black. Rubbing his temple, Simon bit down on his lip and shook off the thought - he had to save his father first, then he could save his little sister..

"Simon Tam," The sharp familiar voice made Simon pause, "you are bound by law to stand down."

The shock washed over Simon, spinning to his left and the sound of the voice, he couldn't help but take a step back in shock and confusion. Dobson stood at the far end of the hall, flanked by two men carrying weapons. "Ex- excuse me?" Simon finally managed to stutter. "Under what charges, under what jurisdiction?"

"Don't play daft, man," Dobson barked as he slowly advanced. "I'm arresting you under jurisdiction code 1:2.56 for aiding and abetting in the escape of the fugitive River T-" Dobson froze mid word, eyes going wide at something positioned out of sight.

Simon spun back to his right, heart contracting as a new sight greeted him.

Time stopped.

She stood at the end of the hall. Still, yet taking large gulps of air. Long waves of brown hair swept into a tight pony tail, her face pale, eyes wide in shock- all framed by the larger man standing behind her. And him - the same tough face from the wanted picture glaring, hands reaching down towards a holstered weapon.

Time jerked back to a start.

Dobson grabbed Simon, pinning him against the wall with one hand as he pulled a weapon with another. Behind them the two men scrambled for their own weapons. "Shoot them now!"