Characters: Jayne, Simon, River
Disclaimers: Of course I own them. I also own the Hope Diamond and Van Gogh's "Starry Night".
Summary: Sometimes, it's the family you choose….
A/N: this is a slow story. I warn you all right now – compared to the last one, this meanders like a slow moving stream. It does have a point, however. I have to say, I'm fascinated by the imagined relationship that would need to build between Jayne and Simon in order to make River/Jayne even remotely believable, so this little story tries to build on that relationship a bit. This story also gives me a reason to stick Jayne in River's bed, so….;-) .
This follows Uninvited
It has been betaed – YAY – by bugchicklv - she is the bestest beta evah.
In all his wildest imaginin's Jayne never thought his first night in River's bunk would have seen him fully clothed and talkin' to Simon. He'd always thought there'd be a whole lot more naked and a whole lot less brother.
"Are you sure it was our father?" Doc asks again. "I mean, our parents live on Osiris. What's he doing on Gaia? Why wasn't Mother with him?"
"I din't have no long conversation with him," Jayne growls. "It was basically, 'Don't touch her, she's mine; Crazy, let's get the hell outta here.' And somewhere in between all 'a that, I broke his wrist."
"I wish you'd done more than that," Simon replied.
"I woulda liked t'have." Jayne's grin is feral. "Man like that …I ain't ever seen your sis so upset, 'cepting that time on Ariel when she kept going on about blue hands." He strokes her hair as he talks, willin' her to stay asleep. Her breath is still hitchin' in her chest every once in a while, but the tears have stopped. Jayne thinks this is a good sign.
Neither man speaks for a while. Instead, both focus on the girl Jayne is holding. Finally, Simon sighs, "They never knew what to do with her, you know. They never understood her. She was so special right from the start, but I don't think they ever saw it. They were proud of her because she was so brilliant, but I think they were a little scared of her, too. She never listened to them; not the way I did. She was always questioning everything. They thought she was rebellious, but it was just that she was so smart – she wanted to learn everything she could. I was the easy child."
"Favorite," River mumbles against Jayne's chest, slowly opening her eyes. "They only tolerated her."
"Want you back. Want you home."
"Thoughts like angry bees, stinging her. She took you away. She hurt you. She always was greedy." Her voice is soft and shaky and both men have to strain to hear her.
"That's not true, River," Simon whispers, "You know that. I'd do anything for you."
"She took you away," River starts crying again. "She wasn't worth your life."
"You didn't take me anywhere I didn't want to be," he gently replies.
"You listen to him, bao-bei; your brother don't lie." Jayne states gruffly. "Why, if t'wasn't for you, you think he'd ever 'a found as fine a girl as Kaylee? Rescuin' ya from those gou cao de hun dan that had ya and keeping ya safe all this time done made a man outta him, little girl."
She looks at him like she can't quite believe him and the hurt in her brown eyes makes his gut ache. "She's not a little girl anymore. Not a daughter either. She's an orphan. Her daddy doesn't love her. Who is she?"
"She's mine," Jayne replies, "my Crazy-girl. She's Doc's mei-mei and he loves her. She's special to everyone on this gorram boat."
His hands are strokin' her face now, wiping at her tears as he says this. His thumb brushes across her lip gently, strokin' its fullness; then he leans down and kisses her on the forehead.
Simon has moved from the chair he was sitting in, crouching down by the bunk and putting his hand on River's knee. "Listen to him, River. Jayne is right. You are special – so very, very special, and I'd rather be here on Serenity with you and Kaylee and our friends than anywhere else in the whole 'verse." His voice breaks as he says this and for a moment the big Merc is a'feared he's gonna have two Tams cryin' all over him.
One of the hands that had been clutchin' at Jayne's chest gropes for Simon's.
"She's scared," River whispers. "She's afraid the big bad wolf will blow down her house of sticks and take her brother away from her. She's afraid she'll lose herself again in the turbulence. Needs an anchor."
"I'll anchor ya, bao-bei," Jayne replies. "Won't let nothin' and no one take ya away from me. You're safe. Your Pa don't scare me none. I'd like to see him try to come and take ya or your brother. I'm the biggest, baddest wolf there is."
"You promise?" River sighs shakily.
"I promise," he says. "Me and Doc'll – we'll look after ya. We're all the family ya need, little butterfly."
He's still wearing the gorram suit. It's the first thing he realizes as he slowly wakes up, after takin' inta account that Crazy is sleepin' in his lap and Doc is still on the floor by the bunk, holding her hand.
Jayne wonders how the younger man can be comfortable like that and nudges him gently with his foot. "Hey Doc," he hisses softly, "Doc – wake up."
He's trying not to wake Crazy up but his movements cause her to whimper in her sleep.
Simon's eyes pop open. "Huh? Whuzzat? River…"
Jayne shushes him, "She's fine, Doc. Still sleepin'."
"What time is it?"
"Don't know. Must be early mornin', or thereabouts."
The younger man relaxes slightly and looks up at him, sighing, "Aren't you uncomfortable like that? She's got you pinned to the wall."
"I am a mite stiff, but nothin' I can't handle. How 'bout you? That floor ain't soft."
"I'll survive," Simon replies softly. His gaze has drifted to his sister again and Jayne ain't surprised to see it tighten with concern.
Neither says anything for a moment, before Simon whispers, "Jayne?"
"What did he want?" Doc's voice is sorta shaky, like he's afraid to ask and Jayne sighs.
"I tol' you last night, I don' know. He kept askin' Crazy where ya was. Threatened to have me charged with kidnappin'."
"He didn't…he didn't ask how River was? Or me?"
"You think he'll look for us?"
"Mayhap," the big man replies.
Another silence falls between them.
"Do you think…I don't…what should I do?"
"What do ya wanna do? If'n it were me…well, ya know what I'd 'a done, if'n I'd had the opportunity."
"I appreciate what you said to River last night," Simon offers, "and I'd like to thank you for getting her out of there without staying to fight our father."
"I do have brains, ya know," Jayne replies. "It ain't always about what I want. Crazy needed seein' to, is all."
Simon nods, "Yes, I'm just so relieved she was with you when this happened. I don't know what I would have done in the same situation and…"
"You'd a done the same thing," Jayne interrupts, "only without the wrist-breakin'. I meant what I said, Doc. I won't ever let nobody hurt her again. Ain't no one gonna do nothing to hurt you neither, 'cause my girl needs ya, dong ma?"
Doc smiles at that, "Yes. The Tam siblings are moving up in the world – we have our very own mercenary."
"Damn right," the big man agrees. After a moment he adds, "I think ya should talk to him. WAVE him and tell him ta go ta hell."
Simon is shocked at that. "WAVE him? But then he'll know where we are and…"
"Din't I just say I was gonna protect the both 'a ya?" Jayne demands. "I'm not just blowin' smoke up your ass, neither – I meant it. Your Pa wanted to know about ya somethin' fierce. I think if'n ya let him know ya don't apurciate what he done and ya don't wanna speak with him every again, maybe he'll let ya alone."
"Like I said, he was really wantin' to know where ya was. I don't think he'll stop lookin' for ya now that he's seen Crazy."
"I don't want to talk to him," Simon sighs. "I hate what he did to us. I don't want to hear anything he has to say."
"Then don't listen – just say your peace and leave it at that. I'll even stand behind ya when your talkin' if'n you want – I'll bring Vera."
Doc chuckles softly at that. "He would hate that."
"Do ya care? Show him you're fine; let him know ya got new family now – family that sticks together."
Jayne sighs, "Ya know what Crazy said last night when we was leavin' the restaurant? Your Pa was yellin' at her, callin' out her name and she replied she weren't River Tam anymore, she was River Cobb. I don't think your Pa heard her a't'all, but I sure did. And if she's a Cobb, I reckon that makes you one too. Close enough anyway, to not make no-never-mind 'bout it. My Ma always wanted ta have a Doc in the family."
Simon blinks at this statement, before smiling. Jayne grins back.
"So, you're gonna do it, right?"
"Yes," Doc nods. "Yes I am."
"Good," Jayne states. "Shiny. Now, get offa the floor and go find your woman. She's prob'ly wonderin' where in the hell you've been all night."
"Is fine, right here with me. I ain't goin' nowhere." As if to prove his point, Jayne hunkers down in the bunk a bit, readjustin' River against him as he stretches hi'self out on the mattress. "Ya better get used ta it, too, because I promised her I wouldn't let her go and I meant it. She's mine."
gou cao de hun dan - dog-humping bastards