"Pentagons and Octagons"

Series: Fluffy Pink Things

By LadyCleo

As always thanks to my wonderful betas!

Part of the BOUND lifetimes; the fourth encounter between Colonel Jayne and Prima Ballerina River.

"Miss Tam!" The dark suited driver greeted as he opened the door to the black sedan.

"Thank you Eric." Slipping easily into the car, River smiled gently at the lone gray-haired occupant, "Afternoon, Daddy." The elder Senator lowered his newspaper and smiled brightly for his youngest child as she leaned over to place a soft kiss on his check, "I told Sam and Kay we'd meet them at Belmont Café."

Fredrick Tam slowly folded away his newspaper and nodded slowly, "Sounds perfect, firefly." Reaching over he ruffled her locks of hair before addressing the driver, "Go ahead, Eric."

The car pulled slowly away from the curve. Smiling contentedly, River settled into the smooth leather seat, snuggled against her father's side as she watched the world sail by through the tinted windows. "Hope you don't mind, sweetie, but I need to stop by the Pentagon for a second-"

The Ballerina suddenly bolted upright in the seat, eyes going wide as she turned to stare at her father, "The Pentagon? Why?"

"Nothing to worry about," Fredrick assured, mistaking her anxiety for fear. "You know that sometimes it adds a personal touch if one makes an appearance rather than sending an aide. I want to have a word with General Howertz on the new proposal that's going to the Senate," Senator Tam explained. "We'll be in and out of there before you know it."

-

The long white washed hallway stretched before the pair, the echoing of River's heels muffled by the nose, blue and green uniforms sweeping past her. "They just finished renovating this section," Fredrick explained as he led her down the hallway, "This way, firefly."

River paused as a brown head of hair passed. Her head snapped around to catch a glimpse, eyes skimming over the unfamiliar face in search of blue eyes. But they meet another pair of brown and her shoulders deflated slightly.

The Senator stopped before a series of nondescript doors and turned to face his daughter as she skidded to a graceful halt next to him. Reaching for the handle he paused when he felt her hand come up and tug on his jacket, "I'll wait here Daddy, you go on ahead."

"Are you sure-"

River nodded quickly and pointed at one of the random pieces of art thrown up onto the walls, "I wanna take a look at the, I think it might be a Bradley print!"

Fredrick snorted and glanced at the piece of art, "A Bradley here?" He squinted at the modern painting; an odd series of octagons and triangles, before finally shrugging, "It does look rather out of place, doesn't it? Go ahead, I'll come and fetch you when I'm done." With a brief smile the Senator turned away from his daughter and entered the office.

River sighed, the tension draining from her shoulders. Turning back to face the hallway, her eyes resumed they're chaotic search for the pair of blue, but failed again. Moving across the hallway she approached the piece of art and paused for a second to stare at the print. Most of the other prints in the hallway were artful depictions of past wars, or photographs of military maneuvers. This colorful arrangement of octagons and triangles seemed oddly out of place there on the wall.

"Tell Lt. Wilkes I want that report on my desk by oh-eight hundred tomorrow morning or there will be hell ta pay. Also, I want the triangulation of Point Alpha, A.S.A.P; that's gonna be essential to the coordination of Project Guttenberg -"

The rough masculine voice somehow carried clear across the hallway to her unsuspecting ear. River spun around, eyes scouring the small crowds for the face to match the voice. There, just a few feet away, stood the tall familiar form, uniform and all. His back was half turned towards her as he gave orders to a flustered Lieutenant that was hastily scribbling away on a clip board.

"The General has a conference with the Secretary of Defense at fourteen hundred hours, gotta make an appearance-" spinning around to resume his march, the Colonel froze. Dark blue eyes connecting with hers as his mouth gaped open.

"Colonel? Colonel? Are you alright, sir?"

River's face suddenly hued pink as realization hit her; she was currently standing in a very crowded portion of the Pentagon, possibly oggling, or being oggled, she wasn't quite sure, by a very attractive Colonel. Biting down on her lip, the Ballerina pivoted back around to examine the minute details of the very 'fascinating' design of octagons.

"Hold on a second, Connelly!" Turning away from his now confused and flustered subordinate, Jayne quickly crossed the hallway, pausing beside the younger woman. "Ya know there's a funny story behind this here picture?"

Clearing her throat, River turned to look up at the taller man, "Really, Colonel?"

"It was supposed ta go to the Smithsonian," Jayne explained, keeping his eyes glued to the intricate design of shapes. "But in shipping the piece the clerk mislabeled it 'Pentagon Triangulation' 'stead of 'Octagon Triangulation.' Next person that came along saw it sitting there and thought it was an overhead photo of the Pentagon. So, course he sent it off, not to the Smithsonian, 'cause why'd they want a photo of the Pentagon, but here."

"Honestly, Colonel-"

"Honest ta God true story, Miss," Jayne smirked as he clasped his hands behind his back. "It got hung and somebody realized that it was outta place among all these other pieces of artwork. He made some calls and found out that it was somethin' important. He was all ready to have it shipped out when the General who used to occupy the office next to us saw it and deemed it a right fitting piece of art. He pulled some strings and made sure that it stayed right where it is! It almost got lost during the renovation but General Howertz made sure it was hung right back here, said the view just wasn't the same without it."

River dropped her hands to her hips and lifted an eyebrow, "And exactly how, or why do you know that?"

"I make it a point to know things that might interest any lost little girls I should find wandering down the halls."

That infuriating grin snuck across his lips and River found herself rolling her eyes back into her head, "Really, Colonel? Do you happen to find many of these little lost girls?"

"Naw, it's a rare occurrence, but a pleasant one." Glancing back over at his Lt. for a second the Colonel took a step closer to her, his larger form hovering slightly over hers, as his voice dropped an octave. "I reckon you're tagging along with your father on some business." One of his hands strayed out to tuck a wayward hair behind her ear, "The man ought to know better than to leave a pretty young thing like you out in the halls with all these uniforms bustling about."

A shiver sparked down her spine, "Thank you, but I can take care of myself."

If possible his grin grew another inch, "Oh, I reckon that's very true, Miss."

"Honestly Colonel, I wish you would make up your mind and stick to either charming or infuriating." Diverting her eyes away from his sparkling ones, River reached out to brush a piece of invisible lint off his shoulder.

Jayne watched her movement with an amused grin, "Ya know, I figure this here is our fourth encounter, maybe it's time we oughtta actually start planning them?"

Her gaze snapped back to his face, "We already have planned one."

"That one don't really count by my figuring, see it wasn't exactly a situation where I could work my irresistible charm on ya, sidle on up to your side and steal a kiss."

Either he was getting closer or she was imaginings things. "Really?" Her lips suddenly seemed very dry, and her balance a bit off as her hand fluttered up to grab a hold of his arm. A quick glance out of the corner of her eyes seemed to suddenly displace all previous thought and she jerked her head back away from his. Releasing his arm she grabbed the Colonel's hand and pulled a pen out of his breast pocket. Scribbling something down on his hand, she then pressed the pen into his palm and folded his finger over the item, "Next move's up to you," and scurried off to her father's side.

Jayne frowned for a second before unfolding his finger to stare down at the black ink stretched across his palm in a series of numbers. A grin rapidly replaced the frown as he glanced back after the retreating woman. "I'll be damned."