PAIRING: Jayne/Simon (latent)
WARNINGS: Slash (latent)
AN: Written in an attempt to capture River's mult-layered voice.

Knaves and Forks

He doesn't hear her come in. Suddenly she stands beside him, barefoot, dressed in a flowery summer dress, like some farm girl on the Outer Rim about to feed the chicken.

"Guay!" Jayne's so startled, the slick potatoe slips out of his grip and the knife bites into flesh. Blood wells up. Jayne's hand flies to his mouth and he sucks on his palm, squinting at her warily. As an afterthought, he grabs all the kitchen knives on the table and moves them out of her reach.

"You're transparent, Jayne," River tells him, her voice flat as though she's deep in thought.

His gaze flickers down his chest then to his hand to check. Still solid. No holes. No nothing. "What? You mean you can see through me?" Jayne asks, his speech muffled by his palm, caught somewhere between nervousness, disbelief, and sarcasm.

"That too."

"That's crazy talk," Jayne mutters, shifting uncomfortably on his chair. He doesn't like her staring at him like that.

With the uninjured hand he picks up a potato he's been bleeding on, shrugs, and dunks it into water to wash off the blood. You don't throw away a potato just cause there's some blood on it. Not every day that you get to eat fresh taters.

"You're afraid," She states.

"I ain't 'fraid of no little girl." Jayne grouses. "Mathematical shootin' or no." But of course he is.

"A straight line stays a straight line forever," River says earnestly. "Unless you go out of your way. You only have to ask."

Jayne stares at his palm. The cut goes pretty deep, cause the only knives Jayne Cobb is willing to handle gotta be razor-sharp. A knife that don't cut it? About as useless as a gun without ammo. Or a guy without guts. Damn, this is bleeding a lot.

"Profusely," she says.

Jayne pulls a large handkerchief from his pocket and awkwardly tries to bandage the cut, while keeping an eye on her.

"It might work, you know," she continues, picking up a fork to study the prongs and the curved handle. "He's a bit slow at times. He thinks the heart is just a coronary muscle."

"Huh?" Jayne hasn't really been listening. Maybe she's a reader like the Captain said, and maybe she ain't, but nothing that feng tien girl says makes any sense.

River raises one arm above her head, lifts the hem of her dress with the other hand then does some fancy dance move where she turns fast on the spot. Jayne gets a good look at her slender thighs, even her underwear. She's got pretty legs. For a girl.

She stops suddenly and regards him critically. "Pupils, respiration, circulation. I look at you, Jayne, and I see nothing."

"Now, who're you callin' a nothing?" Jayne says hotly, getting to his feet.

She smiles at him sweetly. "You should see a doctor about that hand," she tells him, then whirls away, laughing.

END

AN: Feng tien crazy
Guay hell

AN: If you're puzzled by River (which would only be natural, since she puzzles me on a regular basis when I watch the show), try reading it again as though she's talking about oblivious Simon, about Jayne's secret attraction to him, and about shaping reality.