Disclaimer: The wonderful characters and the good ship Serenity all belong to Joss Whedon, or Mutant Enemy, or Fox, or whoever actually owns them, and that person or entity is definitely not me. Written for amusement purposes only. No copyright infringement intended or implied.

Rating: M, for sensual content. No minors, please.

Summary: Hot. Sweaty. Rayne.

A/N: Please enjoy some Rayne-y goodness while I edit the next chapters of "Piece By Piece." This is my requisite rain metaphor Rayne one-shot.

Torrential

It had happened without warning. There had been nothing premeditated about it on either side. But looking back, River acknowledged that there had been an inevitable quality to the encounter that had once made its home only in the realm of her fantasies...

Serenity had landed on Prometheus during the torrid monsoon season. The job was a physically demanding one this time, requiring muscle and stamina rather than recon and ammo. As the crew labored to salvage computer chips and machine parts from an abandoned farming settlement, the brunt of the work had fallen on Zoë, Mal, River and Jayne. Mostly Jayne, truth be told, but he didn't complain. He liked being outside, for whatever reason. It was exhausting working in the dense humidity and skyrocketing heat, but they were all well aware that the financial rewards would be worth the trouble.

The sweltering conditions and brutal work schedule – hours of intense physical labor interspaced with muscle-stiffening inactivity as they waited out the torrential storms - drained the energy from everyone. As they neared the end of the job they began working in shifts, with two in the fields, breaking down the micro-terraforming and farming equipment, piling the usable parts into large crates to be hoisted onto the mule, and two in the environmentally-controlled ship, sorting the parts into containers that would be sold to a chop shop on Persephone, supervised by a knowledgeable Kaylee and monitored by a medically concerned Simon.

This was how River found herself alone with Jayne on a remote hillside, surrounded by terraced rice fields. Some of the plants had managed to survive after they were abandoned, and even flourished despite the poor soil and obvious erosion. The failed settlers had left their atmospheric recording station near the high point there, and she and Jayne were using sonic drivers and bolt cutters to get at the valuable sensors within.

Working with Jayne was alternately restful and incredibly irksome. He went about his business with surprising efficiency, usually only deigning to talk to her when they had a mutual task to perform. River sometimes wished she wasn't taking her new medications so that she could read him better. He'd never been particularly easy to read because his mind was naturally closed off and guarded, but now she felt only an ever-present sort of spiky hum from him. If she had to put a name to the emotion it represented, she would have had to say it was annoyance, but she couldn't understand why. It bothered her, and hurt her feelings. He seemed normal enough with Zoë, or Kaylee.

It was probably the hottest day they had spent on the planet so far. Jayne was now stripped to the waist, clad only in a pair of khaki shorts, socks and boots. River was wearing a cast-off sleeveless t-shirt of Kaylee's, so whitened and worn that the printed graphics had long since faded away, and a pair of stretchy black shorts, rolled as high up the thigh as she could possibly get them. Even the briefest of garments seemed an unbearable imposition in the oppressive heat and humidity.

River pushed her hair away from her forehead wearily, and glanced up at the now familiar dark clouds roiling over the valley. She could see the silvery gleam of Serenity surprisingly far below, winking in and out as the clouds played hide-and-seek with the sun. She knew that they should get the tarp over everything they'd salvaged before the inevitable downpour. She knew they should get it loaded on the mule and back to Serenity before the rain lashed down on them. But she was so hot, the thought of all that cool water sluicing down her body literally made her salivate. It was almost time for their shift to end, anyway.

"Jayne…" she began, forcing herself to focus on the job, and looked over at him.

He's lost some weight, she noted prosaically, before she really saw him.

He was in the process of lifting off the heavy metal grate cover on the far side to expose the interior of the machine. His jaw was clenched with the effort, and his tanned skin was gleaming with sweat, emphasizing every ripple of movement. His chest and stomach were hard and bunched and tight, and the dampened waist of his shorts had slipped a little to reveal the thick bracelet of muscle that rose just above his hips and curved downward toward his… River flushed deeply as she noticed a slender whorl of dark hair that began just under his belly button and trailed low on his abdomen.

She felt a powerful wave of…something…pass through her stomach and twitch its way into her thighs, and she skewed her eyes away hastily. There was a funny hitch in her breath and her mind felt mazy. She wanted to look at him, and she didn't want to look at him. He was both wearing not enough clothes… and too many. River acknowledged a somewhat alarming tremor run down her legs.

"Yeah?" he grunted, letting the tall panel thud to the ground a few feet over. He glanced back at her, from his expression clearly wondering why she was just standing there, motionless. Their eyes flashed together for a brief second, and River felt that urgent hum from him spike madly. He moved away abruptly.

"Storm's coming," she advised breathlessly.

"Really, genius? You coulda said that any time over the last five ruttin' days, and it woulda been true." He picked up a driver and began to investigate the interior of the atmo station.

"We should secure the parts, get them on the mule."

He grunted again in a noncommittal way, seeming to pay no attention to her.

"Jayne, all of this is going to be damaged if we don't pack up now."

"I heard ya."

He angled himself slightly around the corner of the machine, out of her line of sight.

River rounded the corner so that she could see him, growing irritated. "Jayne, do you understand? We've only got ten minutes or so to pull the tarp over all of this, or it will be made useless by the deluge."

"Get started, then. I'll be with you in a minute." He averted his eyes, and River saw the tension creasing his blunt, yet attractive features. She indulged in an inner tantrum: Why was he always like this? What kind of sophomoric game was he playing now? Did he think he was pulling rank on her or something? Did he resent her because he thought she was ordering him around? This was their last day here, and she just didn't want to have wasted the last three hours of back-breaking work, his as well as hers!

"You know I can't lift the tarp myself, Jayne. Jayne!" Frustrated at the way he was treating her, she reached out and grabbed his arm to get his attention. He started as edgily as a thoroughbred racehorse, and she was stunned to feel his arm quivering under her fingers. Open-mouthed, she looked up into his tormented face.

"Ain't you got any sense, girl?" he rasped, shaking her off. He tossed the driver down irritably, the point plunging deep into the spongy earth, and turned his back on her. He moved a few feet away, his motions strangely jerky and uncoordinated. For a man who prided himself on his effortless physicality, River had never seen him look so uncomfortable in his own skin. He stopped, running a hand agitatedly through his short dark hair, causing it to stick up in sweaty little points.

"Jayne?" River questioned him hesitantly, unsure of what was happening.

"Get back to the mule."

"What is it?"

"Git!" he snapped, pivoting and flinging a hand out toward the vehicle.

"Tell me!" she screamed suddenly. "I don't understand, and I'm sick of you ignoring me, Jayne Cobb!" River couldn't have said why she was so upset. She felt as if something momentous had just happened, and if she didn't find out what it was, she would regret it for the rest of her life.

He glared down at her, his beautiful blue eyes full of anger …and another emotion, one that stopped the breath in her lungs.

"I wish to hell I could!" he snarled in return.

"Could what?" she persisted desperately.

"Ignore you, you stupid… yao mei…tempting…temptress…" Jayne's incoherent mutters tumbled into silence, and he just stood there, staring at her as if the very sight of her was sheer torture.

Seductive…temptress…River tried the descriptions on for size and decided she liked them, if they made Jayne look at her like that. A tiny, giddy, wondering sensation blossomed in her mind.

She approached him and noted how he barely stood his ground, his entire body edging backward several inches, while his obstinate feet remained planted firmly, because Jayne Cobb didn't like backing down to anyone. Thunder rumbled as the storm drew nearer, and River could smell the ozone in the heavy air.

"Jayne…" Very purposefully she took hold of his arm again.

His response was immediate, gripping her wrist in his other hand and yanking her touch from his skin. They froze like that for a moment. With that firm connection of flesh, suddenly the barriers holding back his thoughts blew apart, and for a microsecond she saw herself through his eyes: small and curved and feminine, cheeks reddened with heat, lips full and moist, dark tangled hair, damp skin, the smudgy circles of her nipples visible through her sweat-soaked shirt. Her big eyes were begging him for something. Sex, that was what her image was screaming at him, and he wanted her. He wanted her.

"Gorram it," he ground out in agony, still not moving.

"Jayne." River trembled. "Please…" She swayed toward him.

"Don't!" He begged furiously. He turned his face away, but couldn't seem to let go of her wrist.

River reached out her free hand to his chest, letting her fingertips slip tentatively through the surprisingly soft hair there, before sliding upwards to fold around the hot skin on the side of his neck. She turned his head to hers, very gently.

"Can't. Happen." He closed his eyes and shook his head back and forth stubbornly, like a child.

"But it's already happened," River replied simply, and lifting herself on her tiptoes, she pressed an unsteady kiss to one side of his rigidly held mouth. When she got no response, she sighed, and began to ease away. Before she could fully withdraw, Jayne broke. He angled his head and his lips covered hers fully, tasting her, teasing her, causing shivers to start at the base of her spine and ricochet throughout her entire body.

He let her wrist go, and with a deeply felt groan, began to touch her. Everywhere. His hands were at her shoulders, her waist, splayed across her bottom, and slithering beneath her t-shirt, almost plastered against her skin with perspiration and humidity. His big thumbs found her nipples and he stroked across them and around the sides of her breasts, causing River to arch her back and clutch at his shoulders frantically.

"God, I've wanted to do that to ya since we got to this armpit a Hades," he moaned against the skin of her throat. "Wanderin' around in next to nothin', lookin' so sexy all the gorram time..."

River shivered in dark delight at the sensation and the knowledge of what she did to him.

His touch got bolder and he slid one big hand between her legs, stroking her there with a reassuring murmur, telling her how good he could make her feel. River believed him as shudders of pleasure began racking her lower body.

He pulled his hand away, shushing her as she gave a cry of disappointment, and lifting her easily, walked her back against the warm metal side of the atmo station. He replaced his stroking fingers with the hot mass of his muscular thigh, pressing their bodies together and shifting against her urgently. River curled one leg around his to increase the friction, loving the feel of his rough hair against her smooth calf. He guided her hand to the large bulge at the front of his shorts, and showed her how to please him. Still standing, they ground together fiercely, both straining for completion. The world fell away as they concentrated on each other. River nearly keened as the first slow contractions began to build with each rhythmic thrust of his hips, and she felt him shaking as his own orgasm reached its peak.

"River…" he drew out her name like an incantation, finding her soft mouth and plunging his tongue inside. Thunder cracked and lightening flickered, and with a gust of moist, warm wind, the heavens opened.

&&&

River had never felt so wonderful in her life. As she sagged in Jayne's arms, her body still tingling, she finally recognized the cool rain running down her face, down her neck and shoulders, rinsing away the sticky sweat and leaving her feeling refreshed and alive.

She opened her eyes slowly and looked up at Jayne, who had his head tilted back and was shaking the water out of his hair. When he saw her watching him, he gave a slow smile. She had seen myriad "Jayne" looks over the last two years, but never this quiet content.

"That was good," he told her. "I needed that."

"Yes," she agreed, drops of water spangling her lashes. He loosened his hold on her hips and let her slide fully to her feet.

"Come to my bunk tonight, and I'll show you better," he leaned down and whispered seductively into her ear.

River quivered in anticipation.

She placed her small hands flat on his chest, watching the rain divert into little rivulets around her fingers, giving her the impression that she and Jayne had bonded, melted together into one being. She drew her fingers across his cooling skin, tracing the faded scar that crossed his heart. Blinking the rain out of her eyes, she bent her head forward and kissed it.

"You see this happening?" he asked her suddenly. "You and me?"

Deliberately misunderstanding, River laughed. "I told you a storm was coming."

&&&&

Chinese:

yao mei – seductive

More A/N: This is actually the first chapter of my first ever attempt at a Rayne fic, (the Ur-fic, as it were ::grin::) so I might continue it at some point. But I think it stands alone, okay, too.

Also, "tempting temptress" is the illegitimate love-child of "deceiving deceivers" from the show! Thanks for reading. Gem