Title: Starts

Series: Let it Flow

Author: Sevangel

Disclaimer: Not mine: Firefly belongs to J. Whedon

Rating: R

Pairings: Gasp, it's River/Jayne. Can anyone believe that? Also contains Kaylee/Simon and Wash/Zoe

FYI: New Year, figured why the hell not start a new story. It takes place a couple months after OiS.


River glances about the table, watching while they crew eats dinner. Thoughts press in but she's able to build a wall to keep them out. Things have started to change for her since Early's visit. She wishes to think it is because of Simon's medicine but knows that would be a lie. She had a mission; got to use her training, be what the academy made her. She will never tell Simon but the danger, the prospect of going back or of dieing made her feel alive for the first time since crawling out of that box. It's taken her some time to accept the fact that River Tam, Simon's little mei-mei, is dead. She died along time ago. What's left is a slightly crazy, mind reading, genius assassin. One who likes violence, who almost craves it. At the thought of violence, her gaze filters down the table to the large merc shoveling protein into his mouth.

He is the most beautiful thing she's ever seen.

The way he moves, the way he stays still, the way he eats, the way he kills, the way he sleeps, the way he talks, every single thing he does is so very physical. He is so different from anybody that she's ever met. There are no fake airs to him, no fronts that he puts up to be acceptable to the world outside. When he's angry, he hits things or yells. When he's hungry, he eats. When something freaks him out, he says so. When he's aroused, he has sex or if a willing woman isn't around, he masturbates. When he thinks something, he says it, even if it is cruel or lewd. When he finds something to be humorous, he laughs regardless of the situation. It's something she is not used to; most of the time her family never expressed what they were feeling or when they were angry. Everything was kept behind doors to hide from the world outside.

Most of the crew reminds her of that. Simon with his denial of being in love with Kaylee. Inara and the captain pretending that they aren't in love and that everything is fine. Kaylee pretending that she is fine when she still wakes up sweating and terrified with nightmares about Early. Book has all the secrets that he keeps hidden, that he constantly doesn't think about just so that she won't find them. Zoe's desire to have a child that she hides from everyone. Wash's same desire covered by the fear of losing not only his child but also his wife. Secrets floating everywhere: secret desires, secret thoughts, secret wants. But not from Jayne. In the time that she's been here, he's only tried to hide his what he wanted to do once and that was when he turned her in. Little does he know, that is what started her on the road to her semi-sanity. Being captured and tied up, almost being given back to the hands of blue, then escaping the blue hands, those things woke her up. Made her finally realize she was out of the academy. She didn't feel alive then but she no longer thought that what was going on around her was simulated by the academy.

Even the guilt Jayne felt after that was different than anything she's felt before. He didn't focus on it; didn't relive what he did. He knew it was wrong and accepted it. Bought the apples as a peace offering and that was it. He moved on. It is refreshing, to say the least. The captain and Zoe still feel guilt from the men lost in the war so many years ago. Simon feels it from letting her go to the academy and what was done to her even though none of it is his fault.

Jayne reminds her of a wolf. Feral and wild, not really tame. Growling when cornered, killing when needed. She wonders if he mates for life. An animalistic being with a darkness that rivals her own. She can feel it too, humming under his skin, singing out to hers.

"Mei-mei, what are you doing?" River can hear Simon's voice ask.

Blinking her eyes rapidly to clear the blood lust induced phase, she looks down and realizes she is currently crawling across the table towards the large mercenary. Jayne is still eating but watching her with cautious eyes, like he's waiting for an attack. Racking her brain for an explanation that's not going to get her sedated, she turns her head to look at her brother.

"She is done eating." River replies, giving her brother her 'isn't it oblivious' look. "She was leaving."

"Well, then little witch, why didn't ya use the ground like the rest of us?" Mal questions, curious as to what her answer is going to be.

River looks over her shoulder at Mal. "This route is shorter." River answers. "The distance from her chair, around the table, and out the door is 14 feet and 2 3/8th inches. Across the table is only 12 and a half feet."

"Be that as it may, there ain't no crawling cross the table while we're eatin." Mal replies with a small smile. Gorram girl amuses him to no end.

"Very well." River says, smirking back at him.

Simon sees his sister's smirk and grows a little anxious about what she was planning.

"No crawling across the table during meals, no touching guns," River says, counting the rules off on one hand. "no hurting crew members, no receiving or giving sexual favors to Inara."

Simon chokes on his food and stares at his sister. Kaylee tries to hide a giggle but isn't successful. Wash laughs and a small smile crosses Zoe's mouth. Jayne's fork stops halfway to his open mouth and hangs mid air. Book eyes go wide as he stares River. Inara's hand is covering her mouth, the companion stuck between shock and laughter. Mal drops his fork, is gaze moving between the genius and the companion.

"What would make ya say that?" Mal questions.

"It's one of your rules." River answers. "Or more accurately, Inara's." She looks over at Inara before speaking again, her voice changing to a refined, well-cultured one that resembles the companion's. "I will not now nor at any time be serving you or anyone under your employee."

"Oh." Mal mutters, remembering when Inara said that.

"But the girl is not under your employee." River comments, her head cocking to the side to look at Mal. "Does the rule still apply to her?"

"What?" Mal grunts. "Course it does. Why would ya even wonder bout that?"

"Mei-mei, are you…" Simon starts.

"She is not sexually attracted to Inara." River cuts her brother off. She turns her head to look at the companion, shifting her knees on the hard table. "Inara is attractive and smells nice but the girl has no desire to be intimate with her. She was just insuring that she has all the correct data."

"Thank you, River." Inara replies. "You are also attractive."

"The girl thanks you." River says with a large smile. She then turns her head back around to look at Mal. "May she leave now?"

"Yeah." Mal replies.

River smiles brightly at him and moves up to her bare feet. Running down the table, she dives over Jayne's head, hits the ground with a roll and bounces back to her feet.

"Little witch." Mal says, stopping River's exit.


"None of that either, dong ma?" Mal questions.

"Very well." River replies with a sigh. She then starts muttering to herself, not at all quiet. "Rules, rules, there are always rules. She can't do this, she can't do that. Next they'll just chain her up like an animal."

"I think you aggravated her." Wash comments after River's exit.

"Yeah." Mal agrees.

"Better ya than me." Jayne mutters, returning to his food. He recalls the look on her face when she was crawlin' towards him, thinkin' she looked like an animal huntin' down her prey. Gorram crazy girl has always set him on edge. First cause she was all crazy, and then cause she slashed him, but since that whole thing with Early, it's been different. He's enjoyin' the feelin' now. Almost like how he feels right b'fore he gets some trim only more feral and a hellova lot stronger.

"Since when did your little sis get so talkative bout sex?" Wash questions Simon.

Kaylee starts giggling.

"Kaylee." Simon whispers.

"What'd I miss?" Mal questions.

"Couple nights ago, I was hangin' out with Simon in his room." Kaylee answers.

"If this has somethin' to do with ya two bein intimate, I don't wanna know." Mal interrupts.

"We was just talkin' cap'n." Kaylee replies, rolling her eyes. "Anyways, River comes in and watches us for a few minutes and then asks Simon to explain what companions do."

"I thought ya said she was a ruttin' genius." Jayne comments. "Shouldn't she know?"

"I'll get to that." Kaylee replies. "So, Simon sputtered a few times and turned bright red. He then tried explainin' it but I didn't understand a bit of it; he kept usin' big words that I ain't never heard before. River cut him off bout 5 minutes into it, with a huge grin on her face. She kinda cocked her head to the side and said somethin' like, 'she knows about companions but finds it amusing to watch you try and explain it'. Then River just kinda skipped away. It was so gorram hilarious."

The crew starts laughing.

"You can laugh now, but wait until she does the same thing to you." Simon says. "She's getting better which means she's going to start getting more curious about what's around her. Which also means she's going to tease the rest of us about whatever she learns."

"Oh, shiny." Mal mutters.


"Preacher, ya wanna go first?" Jayne questions, indicating to the weight bench.

"No, I'll just spot for you." Book answers.

Jayne nods and drops his towel and water bottle to the ground before pulling off his shirt. He adds fifty pounds to the 100 already on the bar before lying down. Grasping the bar, he lifts it off its holder and starts his reps. Workin' out always relaxes him while at the same time makes him more focused. Mentally countin' each rep, he sees the preacher walk behind the bench to spot. He glances up at the catwalks and sees crazy lyin' on her stomach right above him. She's watchin' him lift and he can hear her coutin' each rep.

"Is she bothering you?" Book questions, also noticing River.

"Naw." Jayne grunts. "She ain't hurtin' nothin'."

Jayne tries not to watch her but his gaze kinda just floats back up. Her eyes are slightly closed now and she's breathin' just as hard as he is. He watches as her small, pink tongue moves out to lick her lips, not noticin' that he does the same thing. She starts movin' a bit, just little shifts of her body like she's uncomfortable or somethin'. Her skirt rises up a little with each shift until it's bout mid-thigh. He can see the tension in her leg muscles, the sweat that coats her skin. He can also feel himself growin' hard and just hopes the preacher don't notice. He hears Book talkin' and glances back to see the preacher talkin' to Mal and Zoe. He tries to stay focused on them but his eyes automatically go back to crazy. She's stopped countin' by this point and her mouth is hangin' open a bit, almost like she's pantin'. Her neck arches to the side and she rubs her chest against the walks. The fabric of her dress tightens against her small breasts and he can tell her nipples are all hard. He starts pumpin' harder, his arms burnin' somethin' fierce and gorram if he can't smell her arousal. Her eyes suddenly shoot completely open and she moans, loudly.

"What the?" Mal mutters. He glances up just in time to see River run across the walks. "What the hell was she doin?"

"She was countin' my reps." Jayne answers. He sets the bar back on its holder with shaky arms before lookin' at Book. "Ya wanna go now?"

"No, I'm not really in the mood." Book replies.

Jayne nods, grabs his stuff and leaves the bay.

"Alright, Shepard what's goin on?" Mal asks once Jayne's gone.

"I'm not sure." Book answers honestly. "At first I thought she was just counting his reps, like Jayne said, but...the way they were watching each other was different. It was like they were connected in some way. Honestly, it reminded me of the way animals act towards each other right before mating; a ritual of sorts."

"Fay hwa, ya tryin' to say they was flirtin' with each other?" Mal questions.

"It was more than that." Book answers. "Like she was trying to tempt him. You're familiar with horses, correct?"

"Yeah." Mal answers, unsure where he's going with this.

"So you know the way the mare will tempt the stallion beforehand." Book replies. "The dance she'll do, showing him herself. I think that's what she was doing."

"You think River wants to have sex with Jayne?" Zoe asks.

"Whoa, who's wanting to have sex with Jayne?" Wash says as he walks into the bay.

Mal, Zoe, and Book all turn towards him.

"River." Simon answers, him and Kaylee, and Inara walking in behind the pilot.

The crew turns to look at him, open mouthed.

"In the few months since Early, she's gotten better." Simon says. "She's the most cogent that she's been since before the academy. And she's been watching Jayne in a way I've never seen her watch somebody before. Almost like she's learning everything she can about him before she makes her move. Like a predator would."

"And you're ruttin okay with it?" Mal gasps.

"Well, I'm not about to challenge him to a sword fight over her honor, that would be your area of expertise, but I'm also not about to hand her some protection and tell her to go for it." Simon answers.

"What are you goin do?" Kaylee questions.

"Nothing." Simon replies.

"Nothin'." Mal repeats. "Ya ain't gonna stop her."

"How would you suggest I do that?" Simon questions. "Tell her that she can't? She'd just laugh at me."

"There has to be something we can do." Mal replies.

"Is anybody else here attracted to Jayne?" Simon questions.

"Sure." Mal answers sarcastically. "Gonna buy him some flowers and take him out to dinner. What kinda gao se question is that?"

"I wasn't asking you, captain." Simon replies. "Kaylee, Inara, Zoe, would you please answer my question."

"No." Zoe answers.

"Not at all." Inara replies.

"No." Kaylee says. "I mean he's hot and all but I ain't ever…he's too violent and scary for me. I know he'd never hurt me or nothin' but pretty much since the first time I met him, I've always thought he was kinda scary."

"So, if she's feeling desire for Jayne then it's her own." Simon replies. "It's something she is feeling not something that she is picking up from somebody else. And as much as I may not approve of Jayne as a future partner, I'm not going ruin her progress by trying to stop her. I can't do that; I refuse to do that."

"Sex is known to be rather therapeutic." Book comments.

"Ain't he just a bit too old for her?" Mal questions, not dealing with the idea very well.

"How old is he?" Simon questions.

"Sir, ain't he a few years younger than us?" Zoe asks.

"Yeah." Mal answers. "I'll be 36 next month so he's probably somewhere between 31-34."

"33." Wash cuts in. "He's the same age as I am."

"Okay, then, he's 33 doc." Mal says. "What's that got to do with anything?"

"My mother was only a few months older than River is when she married my father." Simon replies.

"And your father?" Book questions.

"30." Simon replies. "All Tam men marry at the age of 30."

"Huh." Kaylee mutters. "That don't make sense. Do ya just wait till you're 30 or is that when ya fall in love?"

Simon laughs. "Kaylee, love has nothing to do with it." Simon replies. "It's a business arrangement. My mother was promised to my father when she was 12. She turned 18 a few months before my father's 30th birthday. They married a few weeks after that."

"If that don't sound wrong." Mal comments.

"My parents were searching for my future bride when I left to rescue River." Simon adds.

"Ya would have just married whoever they told ya to?" Kaylee questions.

"Yes, that is the way it is done." Simon answers. "Jayne being 15 years older than River isn't what worries me. If he will see her as anything other than easy sex is what makes me worried."

"I don't think you have to worry about that." Inara replies. "Your sister is smart enough wait until she knows he cares about her before talking it to an intimate level."

"Yes." Book agrees. "I do believe she is going to make him pursue her."

"If that ain't gonna be entertaining as hell." Mal comments with a grin. "Jayne Cobb pursin' the crazy genius."


The lukewarm water hits River's shoulders and back, reminding her of raindrops. Her body feels tight and swollen, something she recognizes to be sexual arousal. Slipping her hands down the front of her body, she moans when her fingers brush over her hardened nipples. Watching Jayne doing his workout was almost as arousing as watching him fight is. Closing her eyes, River replays the way his muscles flexed, clenching and unclenching with each movement. The way the sweat flowed down his body to gather at his waistband. His tongue moving out to lick his lips, like a wolf grabbing the last bit of blood of its jaws. She uses her fingers to pinch and pull at her nipples and as a result, she feels herself grow more swollen between her legs. As she runs her hands down her tummy, she pictures Jayne's large frame.

Being small in stature, she's always been fascinated by large things. Clothing, furniture, toys when she was a child, and now Jayne. She wonders what his weight would feel like on top of her body, pinning her down until she's blanketed in nothing but Jayne. How if would feel to curl up on his chest like a cat, rubbing her scent all over him. Widening her stance, she slides her hands down her hips and moves them inwards to the swollen area between her thighs. Dipping her fingers between her folds, she's always fascinated by the wetness she finds there. She knows what it's for, her body's natural lubrication to make procreation easier. But what fascinates her is what causes her body's reaction; what things make her aroused.

She slips two fingers inside of herself, pumping them gently and slowly. She normally doesn't do it this way; normally it's as fast and rough as she can possible get her fingers to be. That's the way she likes it the most. But she decides to drawl it out. Her brother would be shocked if he knew how often she masturbates. Every time the Mal, Zoe, and Jayne get back from a job, especially ones where they end up exchanging gunfire. She can feel the adrenaline each of them feel after a fight. Zoe and Mal's don't really affect her. While they'll both kill people, it's not something they were made to do. Not like her. Not like Jayne. She can feel his bloodlust the moment he walks onto the boat. She's always missing after they return. Simon thinks it's because she doesn't want to be near them after they've killed people. It's actually the exact opposite; Jayne's bloodlust takes over every sense she has until she can't focus on anything but it. She usually ends up spending an hour in either the shower or one of her hidey places.

She can feel Simon's worry as he looks for her. Using her other hand to find her clit, she starts pumping her fingers faster as she presses down on the swollen nub. She can feel the muscles in her legs and stomach tense and she adds another finger to the ones pumping inside of her. With a pinch of her fingers around her clit and a deep thrust from her other hand, she pushes herself into an orgasm. She can feel the pleasure passing over her face, knows it'll light up her whole face like a sun. She bites her lip but can't hold back the moan building in her throat. Her walls clench tightly around her fingers and there's a gush of juices coating her hands from her release.

A few moments later, she pulls her hands away and rinses them under the flow of water. She then moves under the shower and rinses the sweat and fluid from her body before turning the water off and stepping out of the shower. She dries off quickly and pulls her nightgown on. Her body feels relaxed and she knows she'll sleep peacefully tonight.

"Mei-mei, are you okay?" Simon questions as she walks into her room.

"She is fine, Simon." River answers. "Just sleepy."

"That's good." Simon replies with a smile. "Do you need.."

"She doesn't need drugs." River interrupts. "She will sleep peacefully tonight."

"If you're sure." Simon says with a smile.

River smiles back before jumping into bed. She pulls her blanket up to her chin and waits for Simon to come say goodnight.

"You're doing so much better." Simon comments, sitting down next to her on the bed. "You've made incredible progress lately. I'm proud of you."

"She thanks you." River whispers. "She always knew you would be there. It helped."

"Of course I'll always be here." Simon answers. "There's no place I'd rather be. Did you have fun today?"

"Yes." River answers with a smile. "She got to tease the captain. That's always fun."

"Yes, but you need to be careful with him." Simon warns with a smile. "He's not used to having a little sister, especially a brat like you."

River sticks her tongue out at him. "At least she's not a boob like you." River growls back.

"I'm not…" Simon protests.

"You should just tell Kaylee." River cuts in. "Kaylee likes you and you like her."

"It's not that simple." Simon replies. "There are rules to follow, conduct."

"There's no reason to be so proper." River says. "Kaylee doesn't care about that. She just cares about you. But you won't do anything because you have to take care of the girl."

"Mei-mei, it's not that simple." Simon replies.

"Yes it is." River protests. "You want to be with Kaylee but your crazy sister is keeping you from doing anything. It's not fair; not fair to you, not fair to Kaylee, and not fair to the girl. She doesn't want to be the reason for her brother's unhappiness. He already gave up everything else for her."

"I'm not unhappy." Simon assures her.

"No, but you would be happier with Kaylee." River replies. "Just think about it, please?"

Simon sighs and runs his hands through his hair. "You know I can't say no to that face." Simon says. "I have no clue what to do, you know that right? Kaylee is so different from every other woman I've ever dated."

"You didn't date." River replies, rolling her eyes at her brother. "You met somebody at the hospital, and when you had the time, you would take them to dinner. But most of the time you forgot about them. You can't treat Kaylee like that or she will have to hurt her brother."

"What?" Simon gasps. "You would hurt your own brother?"

"Yes." River answers. "If you hurt her friend she has not choice but to hurt you. Don't worry, she wouldn't hurt you that much."

"That's good." Simon mutters. "I guess."

"She loves you, Simon." River says with a smile.

"I love you too, mei-mei." Simon replies. He bends down to kiss her forehead before turning the light out and going into his own room.


Jayne turns the water on and climbs into the small shower stall, not waiting for the water to warm up. He's harder than a gorram rock and he didn't even touch her in anyway. Just watchin' her, knowin' she was all aroused cause of him, well he don't get this hot b'fore gettin' some trim. He could ruttin' smell it; her arousal thick above him. He's gotta wonder how Book, Mal, and Zoe didn't smell it, it was so gorram strong. Then he has to wonder why his stomach tightens at the thought of someone else smellin' her when she's all worked up. His right hand moves down to grasps his hard cock, pumping quickly. Closing his eyes, he remembers the look in her eyes above him; how they looked all lust filled. Her body as she rubbed it against the walks, like a gorram cat. He can't help wonderin' how she'd feel rubbin' against him that way; how she'd feel under him as he pounds into her, his mouth bitin' at her throat while her nails dig into his back. Rememberin' her pink little tongue movin' out to lick at her lips and imagines them bein' his lips she's lappin' at.

That's the thought that makes him cum; he don't kiss on the mouth, hasn't since that whole 'goodnight kiss' thing started comin' around. He's never had it done to himself, but he's been round nuf whores to know not to trust em. Most of em'll steal ya blind given half a chance and he ain't bout to make it easier on em. So the fact that he wants to kiss crazy arouses him and scares the shit out of him at the same time. He moves his hand under the spray of water to rinse it off and then his body before turning the water off and walkin' over to his bed. He grabs a towel and dries off somewhat before dropping down onto his bed, tryin' to think bout anythin' besides the fact that he's suddenly got this mad desire to kiss crazy.


"Kaylee, can she come in?" River questions, knocking on the hull outside of the engine room.

"Sure." Kaylee says from her hammock. "Come on in, River."

"Is your girl okay?" River questions, her head cocking to look at the engine.

"She's fine." Kaylee answers with a smile.

"That's good." River replies. "The girl has something to show you. Would you please meet her in the hallway closet outside of the mess in five minutes?"

"Um, why five minutes?" Kaylee questions, slightly confused, slightly scared but mostly curious.

"The surprise is not ready yet." River replies. "Five minutes, please?"

"Okay." Kaylee agrees. She glances at the clock next to her before turning back to River. "Five minutes."

"Shiny." River replies with a grin and then she's gone.

"Wonder what's she up to?" Kaylee ponders out loud. She glances at the clock again, waitin' for the time to pass.


"Simon." River says, standing right outside of the infirmary.

"Mei-mie, are you okay?" Simon questions worriedly. River never comes to the infirmary without him making her.

"She is fine." River assures him. "She just needs your help. She is too short."

Simon sets the equipment he's cleaning down, curious as to what his sister wants. She grabs his hand once he's outside of the infirmary and starts dragging him down the hall towards the mess. He starts to turn into it, when she tugs on his hand, directing him to the large storage closet a few feet away. She opens the door and directs him inside.

Simon flips the light on before turning back to his sister. "What am I supposed to be doing?"

"She is too short to reach the top shelf." River answers. "There is something up there and she wants it."

"What is it?" Simon questions, not certain she should have whatever it is.

"She does not know." River answers. "That's why she asked you to get it. She needs to know."

Simon grabs the chair that's blocking the shelves and hands it back to his sister to get it out of the way. He pushes past some small crates, until he can get through to the shelves.


"Alright, I couldn't wait no more." Kaylee says, moving next to the open closet door River is standing by. "What am I supposed to be seeing?"

"It's in there." River answers, giving Kaylee a gentle push into the closet.

"Simon, what are ya doin?" Kaylee questions, bumping into his back.

"Kaylee, why are you down here?" Simon questions.

They both turn to look out the closet at the grinning River.

"Simon may proper but his sister isn't." River says. Before they can say anything else, she slams the closet door shut.

"Guess this is my surprise." Kaylee comments, smiling at River's sneakiness.

Simon glances at Kaylee before moving to the door. He reaches his hand out to open it, a bit upset with his sister's antics. It doesn't budge.

"She locked us in." Simon tells Kaylee.

"Yeah, I figured that out a second ago." Kaylee replies. "Probably put that chair under the handle so's we couldn't open it."

"I'm sorry, Kaylee." Simon apologies. "She had no right to do this. I will be sure to talk to her about it once she decides to let us out."

"Ain't no need to be sorry." Kaylee says, moving up to him. "I ain't."

Simon opens his mouth to say something when he's cut off by Kaylee. Or more accurately, by Kaylee's mouth.


"So, do we got a job?" Jayne questions, following Mal and Zoe down the hall.

"No, we gotta prospect of a job." Mal answers. "Badger's guy will meet us on a moon bout 4 hours ride from here. And no, before anybody asks, we ain't gettin' leave. There ain't nothin' there but dust and more dust."

"Sounds shiny." Wash comments.

"Yeah." Jayne agrees. "Ain't it lunch time yet? I'm starvin'."

"You're always hungry." Wash comments. "Don't think I've ever seen anybody eat as much as you do."

"Watch it little man." Jayne growls. "Burn a lot of energy bein' this mean."

Mal starts to agree when he sees somethin' funny. Walkin' past the mess entrance, he confused to see a chair shoved under the handle of the closet door. "What the hell?" Mal mutters. "Zoe?"

"I've got nothing, sir." Zoe replies, equally confused.

Mal reaches a hand out to remove the chair.

"Don't move it yet." River says.

Mal jumps but manages to hold back a squeal. Turnin' round quickly, he sees the little genius leanin' against the mess doorframe.

"We can't let them out yet." River explains.

"Let who out, mei-mei?" Inara questions calmly.

"Kaylee and Simon." River replies.

"They're in the closet?" Wash questions. "How do you know that?"

"She locked them in there, of course." River answers. She spins back around and walks into the mess.

Mal glances at the gathered crew to see the same confused expression that he knows he must be wearin'. With a sigh, he walks into the mess to find the little genius doin' the straddles on his table. "Thought we talked bout bein' on the table?" Mal comments.

"She has broken no rules." River replies. "It is not meal time." She reaches out to grab one foot, stretching her body down to touch her head to her knee.

"Don't that hurt?" Jayne grunts, shifting his weight from one foot to the other, his head cocked, lookin' at her with a curious expression.

"No." River answers. She moves her head up to look the merc square in the eyes. "She likes the way it feels when she stretches her legs." She then touches her head to her other leg briefly before bending forward to touch it to the table in front of her. She holds that position for a few moments before bending her body backwards, lying down flat on the table with her legs still straddled.

Jayne feels his jaw drop as he watches crazy strechin'. Gorram, he ain't ever seen anyone bend like that.

Mal watches his merc leerin' at the genius with a sigh. Gorram preacher was right. She's showin' off, just like a mare does when tryin' to tempt a stallion. And judgin' by the look on Jayne's face, it's workin'. He still finds the idea a bit disturbin' but if'n her brother ain't gonna do nothin', neither is he.

"Alright, little witch, ya wanna explain why ya locked your brother and Kaylee in a closet?" Mal questions, wincing at her new position. That can't be at all comfortable.

River sits up and looks at the captain. "She was growing tired of Simon being a boob." River answers. "He is too proper to make the first move but Kaylee isn't. The girl gave Kaylee the opportunity to get what she wants."

"Ya sayin' ya locked em in a closet so they…" Mal starts.

"They are not having sex." River interrupts. "Simon is much to proper to just have sex with Kaylee. There are rules to follow. The courting ritual is one that he will follow."

"Ritual?" Zoe questions.

"Flowers, gifts, dates, holding hands." River verifies. "He must do all these things before taking the relationship to a more intimate level. Kaylee will enjoy it."

Mal notices her tone and the roll of her eyes with a grin. "I'm takin' it ya don't agree?"

"She finds the whole thing to be a waste of time." River replies. "If a boy likes a girl and she likes him back, why waste time denying what they both want? If they're going to have sex, what difference is it if they do it now or a month from now? The whole idea just makes her frustrated."

Inara laughs. "I'm guessing you won't ever follow this?"

"No." River replies. "She will give the boy some time to make the first move but if he takes too long then she'll do it herself."

Mal groans inwardly. She's gonna end up seducin' Jayne. "I'm gonna go let them out." Mal says. "I need to have a little talk with your brother."

"There is no need to threaten him." River stops him.

"Now, little witch, I know he's your brother but if'n he's plannin' on courtin' little Kaylee, he needs to know what'll happen if he hurts her." Mal responds.

"He already knows." River replies. "She told him she would hurt him if he hurt her friend."

"Ya threatened your brother?" Jayne questions.

"Yes." River answers. "Kaylee is her friend. She has to protect her friends. She wouldn't hurt him that much."

"Ya would really hurt your brother?" Mal questions. She freaked out when he got shot; he can't believe she would actually hurt him.

"Yes." River replies. "Just like she would hurt Wash if he hurt Zoe, not that he ever would. Or if anybody hurt Inara. They are her friends; she has to protect them."

"Thanks, River." Zoe replies with a grin. "But I can handle him."

"She knows." River agrees with a smile. "You could kill him with a pinkie. But she offers to do it for you if you can't."

"Thanks." Zoe says again.

Wash moves to hide behind his wife, making the watching crew laugh.

River stands up and walks across the table to stand in front of Jayne. "She would like help down since she is no longer allowed to jump." River tells the large merc.

Jayne grabs her hips and lifts her off the table to set her gently onto her feet. She don't weight next to nothin' and he can span her waist with his hands.

"She thanks him." River says, smiling up at him. "Now she must go hide."

"Why?" Mal questions, noticing the small space between the large merc and the small genius. You wouldn't be able to slip an arm between them.

"Simon enjoyed being lock in the closet with Kaylee but he will still feel the need to find and lecture his sister." River answers. "She loves her brother but finds his lectures to be rather boring." With one last look at the merc, she skips out of the mess.

"I'm startin' to understand why Simon said she could be a brat." Mal mutters.

River's boot hits him in the ass.

"She is not a brat." River growls, walking back into the room to grab her boot. She picks it up and then sticks her tongue out at the captain before leaving the mess again.

"Are too." Mal mutters, moving to hide behind Inara in case another boot comes flyin' into the room.

"Am not." River voice echoes into the mess.