By LadyCleo2001

Rating: G

Mik109's Challenge: Why did River and Jayne sit next to each other during the crisis in out of gas?

They say in a crisis, you cling closest to those you feel safest near. But when River slipped onto the couch it was not near Simon, her seat was closer to the brawny hired hand of the ship. And she didn't hug up close to his side, like she could've done with Simon, but she sat at the opposite end of the couch. Watching Jayne with tired eyes, she curled her body close to persevere warmth in the chilling air.

His thoughts we're louder than the others, the fear closely held in check, but still ready to explode- he was afraid of the black, he was afraid of the pain and of fear itself, of death. He had unfinished business in the world – too much to do, too much to take, to find, to feel. But most of all he was afraid of the pain- the gasping last breath that he envisioned would be his last-

River knew better; the slow lack of oxygen would be a gradual death- like falling peacefully to a final sleep. She'd already envisioned it all- the soft breaths that would slip from his lips as his larger body fought to take up more oxygen. And she envisioned herself slowly curling into his side, seeking the dwindling warmth of his body. She saw herself entwining hands with his as they both slowly faded from the world- long waves of grey hairs strewn across his chest as the warmth of his hands in hers chased the cold away.

The captain entered, facing his gathering crew.

Grey hair- River resisted the urge to scoot closer to Jayne and pulled her knees to her chest instead. Simon never gave her images of grey hair or wrinkled skin, she was loved by him, but he could not assure her the end she wanted. Rather Jayne's images - that's why she sat closer to Jayne - because when she sat next to him she always envisioned the whiskers and waves of brown molting over time. Because so long as she was around him, she knew the end would be peaceful and warm.