River peeked into the galley. Jayne was sitting at the table eating crisps, brow corrugated in concentration over the book lying next to the bowl. She went in.

He looked up. "I like this Eyre kid, she's got spunk. Don't know about this Rochester character though - seems to me she could do better."

"But she wants him." said River slipping into the chair opposite so she could watch his face.

"Don't have much grounds for comparison though do she?" Jayne shook his head. "I got a bad feeling about this guy."

River cracked a smile. "You are very perceptive, Jayne."

He tried not to look pleased and failed. "Been around some."

"Yes, you are experienced." River agreed. "Jayne, I have something to ask you - a favor."

He looked a little wary, but not much. There was a trust between them these days. "What?"

She looked down, peeking at him through her lashes. "Jayne, would you sex me?" His jaw dropped and red suffused his face as she continued, "I am eighteen now, time to become a woman." She looked it too with her long hair twisted up to show off her long neck and delicate nape and her thin dress clinging to her slender curves.

Jayne gulped. Oh yes he'd noticed! Stammering: "Why me?"

"Because I like you." she answered. "I trust you. You'll be good to me, I know."

Uh...er...What about your brother."

"Simon isn't the boss of me." she said primly. "Captain is. But even he's got no right to tell me who to sleep with." She tilted her head fetchingly. "Since when do you care what Simon or Captain think?" she asked then added forlornly; "Aren't I pretty enough for you?" knowing full well that he wanted her - and had for a long time.

"You're the prettiest little thing on this boat." he said hastily, and sincerely. She gave him a full look and a smile. That finished him. "Sure, if that's what you want I'll be your first."

'And my last.' River thought.

Serenity was docked on Paquin. Captain had taken Inara out for a nice meal - and other things. Simon had insisted on taking Zoe to see an obstetrical specialist, just to be sure she and the twins were doing all right. Kaylee of course had gone with them. Everybody thought Jayne was whoring and River shopping. Instead they were in Jayne's bunk, River asked that the lights be left on. She wanted to see his face - and the rest of him too.

So they started out by undressing and inspecting each other. "Am I curvy enough?" River asked anxiously. She knew Jayne usually preferred the statuesque type.

"Just right." he said, voice husky. He slid a pair of big, warm, callused palms down her flanks. "Sleek and soft as calf-leather."

River shivered deliciously, reached up to stoke his chest. "Like a bear, big and powerful."

"And you so little and fragile."

"Not fragile!"

"Well you look it." a touch of anxiety in his voice. "This is gonna hurt some you know."

"I know. Don't care!" she snaked her arms around his neck melting her full length against his and pulling his mouth down to hers.

The cover on the bed heaved as bodies tangled beneath.

"Oh. Oh. Oh! Oh, Jayne!"

Grinning: "Like that do ya?"

"Yes! Yes, can we do it again?"

"As often as you can take, lil' darlin'!"

When they had finally exhausted themselves and lay sated and happy, curled one against the other River asked timidly: "Was I good?"

"The best I've ever had - bar none!" Jayne answered fervently. He brushed a tender hand over her face and found it wet. "What you crying for? Didn't hurt you did I?"

"No. No. Crying because I'm happy. I haven't been really happy in so long!"

Angry growl: "I ever get my hands on the hun dan who hurt you -"

"You will tear them apart like the big powerful bear you are. And I will watch and laugh."

"You got it lil' darlin'!"

She snuggled against him, enjoying the warmth of skin on skin. "I would like to lie here forever," she said, then ruefully raised her head to look at him. "But I'm hungry. Physical activity has depleted me."

"You bet it has!" Jayne grinned. "We need food, real food. My treat and fancy as you like, darlin'."