Jayne wiped his forehead with the back of his hand. Leave it to River to stray far away. Granted, they'd finished up a little ahead of schedule. Only by a few hours, but she still should have been there, ready to go with the others. He still wasn't sure why the captain favored her. He'd even started taking her out on jobs. Jayne had been upset about that until he'd realized with coin in her pocket she might get a mind to leave Serenity at some point. He wasn't entirely sure how he felt about that.
She'd saved their skin a time or two. He'd be first in line to admit that. Didn't mean he liked having a slip of a girl onboard with them, reminding him that she might actually be more useful than he was. Not only was she a killing machine, she could read minds, too. There weren't no way he could learn something like that and Jayne didn't like the idea he could be replaced. By a girl.
He'd been searching for what seemed like hours, but when he checked his watch realized it had only been about half of an hour. He heard a sound over a hill that sounded like a cry. River's cry. He'd recognize it anywhere. His heart skipped a bit and he pulled out Bertha as he took to a jog over the hill. He was expecting to see a group of Reavers or something worthy of making the warrior woman cry.
He saw nothing, excepting River standing there, holding her arms out at an angle by her sides, palms up. Like she was meditating or communicating with something. What was that about he wondered? He slid Bertha back into her holster, leaving it unfastened in case he misjudged the situation. Silly girl probably hadn't even brought a weapon of her own.
He didn't notice until he was almost upon her that she was nude. Head to toe buck-naked, and her hair wasn't long enough to do an imitation of the lady that rode into town on her horse in this same condition he'd read about in story books. What was protocol in this type of situation? She was standing out in public after all, so clearly she wasn't going to mind if a passerby saw her.
He was surprised, actually, now that he thought about it the watering hole wasn't populated with more than River. It was a sweltering day. A day that made your clothes stick to you just by moving your trigger finger an inch. A heat-filled day such that everybody in town should have been here, dipping their toes and bodies in the water.
"Uh, River? Girl? We're ready to head out."
She didn't seem to hear him, started to laugh instead of respond to him. She lifted her arms over her head, did something in a blink of an eye that piled all of that unruly hair on top of her head.
"You'd best find your clothes and get your ass back to the ship, or Mal's going to be all kinds of mad about being further delayed from this moon."
She turned to face him then, giving him an eyeful. She smiled, as if she was perfectly okay with him seeing her like this. And, well, he couldn't help but notice that she was, in fact, more than perfectly okay. What was that about? He knew there were some people who ran around in their all-together as a lifestyle choice, but River didn't strike him as being the type before now.
"Are you feeling all right?" Maybe she had heatstroke or something.
"I'm feeling fine. Better than fine. I was just about to go for a swim. Do you want to join me?"
"No, I don't want to go swimming. We need to get back to the ship. I done told you we're ready to take off."
She shrugged. "You going to try and make me go back with you?"
"Your words tell me this is a bother to you. You forget, I can read your mind." Her eyes did a slow dance along the length of his body, he saw the mischief in them, and damn it all if she didn't get a wicked grin at the point of her path he'd hoped she'd miss. "And your body doesn't agree with your words either."
"My body doesn't control me. My mind does. And it's telling me to get you back to the ship. Pronto."
"Since you're not going to join me and you're not going to force me this minute, you'd best take a seat."
"River," he said in protest. "If they come after us, and see me letting you swim around like a mermaid."
"Mal will bust my hump for not using more force and Simon will want to poke my eyes out for seeing you like this."
She nodded, seeming to be thinking hard over that. Good. She'd come around. "Then you'd better join me and take advantage of the opportunity. It won't come again."
"Opportunity to what?"
She turned then and started into the water. "Best catch up to me as far as clothes go and find out."
"But you ain't got no clothes on."
"My point exactly. It's too hot for clothes."
He groaned softly. She was right. His clothes felt painted on at the moment. He wagered a spell in the water would feel refreshing. While she'd been cavorting around the watering hole here, he'd been hard at work on the ship.
"I wasn't cavorting," she said. He heard her laughter again, back still toward him as she waded further out into the water. "You're very slow, Jayne Cobb, I expected better from you."
"I'm coming." Not yet, he mused. He hoped the water was good and cold so it'd have the equivalent effect of a cold shower on his body.
"Mm," she spun around, eyes wide. "Not yet. What does that mean?"
"You just thought not yet."
"You don't want to know," he murmured, shucking the last of his clothes. He settled Bertha and her holster nice and gentle like on his pants.
"Wouldn't have asked if I didn't."
"Just a man's dirty mind, River. No sense wondering about it."
"So I make you think dirty thoughts?"
"Are you mad? Standing there like that. You're a woman ain't ya?"
"I don't know, am I?"
"Too bad you haven't noticed before now."
"What's that mean?" He waded into the water, not going as slow as she did so he could catch up to her.
She spun around then, closing the slight distance between them. "Just think of all the fun you've been missing." She kissed him then. If he didn't know better he'd swear she'd planned this, plotted it, schemed somehow so he was the one to come after her.
She giggled again, a throaty sound muffled by the kiss, which he was more than happy to return.
"Are you complaining?"
"Get out of my head. That ain't fair."
"Okay, you got me here. What's on your mind?"
She laughed again. "Oh, Jayne, if you need to ask that."
His eyes widened. "That can't possibly be on your mind. You ain't like that."
"I am the curious type you know. Knowledge is power, and I like power. So, I like to accumulate as much knowledge as possible. There are a few things I'm severely lacking that in."
"And you thought you'd use me to gain knowledge?"
She nodded simply. "And see if I could get you to swim. It does feel nice, doesn't it?"
"It feels wet."
"Your clothes were wet."
"That was different." He closed his mouth, glaring at her. "All right, you made your point. This is a better kind of wet."
"Maybe they won't come looking for us."
"River, Captain was pretty anxious to get going. We've been on this moon long enough. You know how he is, likes to be in the air."
She let her hand skim along his chest, flicking a nipple with her thumb. "Then I guess I'll have to save my ideas for another time. Too bad, never know when the time might come. It might never."
His eyes fell to her hand, which then trailed a path along her arm to her body. The water was about even with her breasts. They were smaller than he was used to. Then again she was smaller than he was used to. Wasn't any question she was a woman, though.
"What makes you think you're worth all that?"
She stood on her tiptoes, grazing his ear with her mouth. "Have you watched me dance? Seen how flexible I am? The ways I could bend around you," she whispered, giving him visuals he really had no business having. He groaned then.
"Stop it. This is crazy talk. I thought we were over that phase. You've been normal, better than normal."
"And with that comes my wanting normal things."
"This ain't normal."
"You do it all the time."
"Yeah, not with women on the ship with me."
He scoffed. "Hardly. What's there to be afraid of?"
She kissed his earlobe then, latching on to it with her teeth and tugging just shy of too hard. "You might just like it and want seconds." She kissed his neck then. "And thirds." Lower still to his collarbones. "Fourths."
He gathered her up then. What was a man supposed to do? How much temptation was he expected to resist? He wasn't the Shepherd's Jesus for crying out loud. He was just a man, a merc, who had a wet - in every possible way - and willing woman coming onto him. He wasn't scared of nothing. He'd show her that Jayne Cobb wasn't scared of little ol' River Tam.
She was expecting him. Of course she was. Readers. Pain in the ass the lot of them. Except it was kind of a turn-on, knowing she was privy to his thoughts and wasn't slapping him or resisting. He found her entrance, cursing at how tiny she was even there. Didn't feel like anything had ever been there before his finger.
"You ain't never?"
"Nothing? I mean, not even…"
"No," she said, not letting him finish his thought.
"I'll be as gentle as I can, but I ain't a gentle man."
She slid her legs around his waist, evidently she didn't want to hear him talk anymore. All right. He could get down to business. It was on his mind to wonder why she'd chosen him. The answer was pretty obvious. It was him or Mal, and Mal wouldn't do it. Not like this. She'd have to work at him, break him down, until finally after a good deal of time and effort he came to her way of thinking.
"You're not quite so complex," she whispered as she nudged him with her core.
"Thanks, I think," he murmured as he nudged against her. "You want fast like pulling a band-aid or slow? Been a while since I've been in this situation to remember which went better."
She laughed again. He wished she'd quit doing that, he was never sure if she was laughing at him. "Can you go slow?"
"I don't know."
She latched onto his ear again then, his hands cupping her ass to hold her in place moving with her as she wiggled against him. "Fast then."
"All right," he replied softly. He really didn't like the idea of causing her any pain. Not like this anyway. Sex was supposed to feel good. Pain was only supposed to be a part of it as a game.
"Not a game, but it'll be over quick. Right?"
"What?" He was a little insulted now. Was she setting him up to be a disappointment? "No."
She laughed again. "Not that, I meant the pain."
"Oh, yeah, I think so."
He felt her body tense as he met her entrance. "Don't be doing that, it'll make it hurt more."
He felt her go instantly pliant and gave a few mini strokes, letting her get somewhat adjusted to him. And then just like that he was all there, thrusting up and in. She cried out as he expected she'd do, biting his shoulder to the point he thought for sure he'd need her brother to take a look at it.
"I knew this wasn't a good idea," he said when she didn't stop with the biting for well over a minute. A minute turned into two. And then all of a sudden. "Holy mother," he gasped as she did the most incredible thing he'd ever felt with her muscles down there. His eyes slid closed when she started slowing riding him. Least he could do is let her set the pace. Suddenly, it wasn't the temperature making him feel hot.
Eventually, they ended up on the edge of the watering hole, going another round. And another. Until he lay beside her, more spent then he could remember being. She might be tiny, but she was right she could do things with that tiny package that he'd never heard of let alone dreamt of.
"Satisfied?" he asked, realizing it was way past time they get back to the ship. The moon wasn't that big for it to have taken them this long.
"Yes. For now," she murmured. "I know," she added. "It's time to go back. Our little virtual reality spot will be but a distant memory in an hour."
"Yeah, well, I can get some sand for my bunk if you wanted to recreate the scene some time."
She smiled then, sitting up. God, she was a picture. She wasn't real curvy, but enough that even glancing at her from behind like this there was no mistaking she was a woman. His eyes fell to the crease between her backside. He'd give anything to have her let him ride her from behind. He could picture the beads of sweat trailing a path along that spine as he had his way with her.
"Stop thinking about me like I can't hear you." She stood then, graceful, regal, and proceeded to dress. "If you're good I might just make your wish come true. For a trade."
"Yeah, you just thought that you'd give anything."
"I was thinking to myself. Private thoughts."
"So you wouldn't give anything to have me on my hands and knees underneath you?" She glanced at him over her shoulder. "Doggie style, isn't that what they call it?"
"Yes," he said rudely. "Know it all."
She wiggled her cute little butt, knowing exactly what effect it would have on him. "You going to trade or not?"
"What's the offer?"
"You between my legs."
"Already been there, girl."
She smiled wickedly, her eyes resting on his mouth. "Not with what I had in mind you hadn't."
Holy hell. She was asking him, offering for him to have a good go at her from behind in exchange for him getting to taste her?
"Ah Ah, I can read your thoughts."
"Ain't much of a trade is all I'm saying."
"You're supposed to trade for something I wouldn't freely do."
"Oh," she said, sliding her sandals back on. That seemed to shut her up, so he stood himself and started the arduous process of dressing. All she wore was a pair of panties and a dress. He had underwear, undershirt, pants, shirt, socks, and boots. Too many layers for a day like today. He glanced out at the water. It had done its job for a short while. He wasn't sure he'd ever look at water in the same way. What would one last go around hurt?
"Not enough time."
"Get out of my head."
"So, is it a trade?"
"Yeah, it's a trade."
"Whenever you want."
"Leave your hatch unlocked tonight. I'll be there after Simon's asleep."
"Like he'd hear you anyway. You're as stealthy as a cat when you want to be."
She smiled, beaming almost at the compliment. So, she liked that she could be sneaky.
"Now you're going to have me thinking about you bent over for the rest of the evening."
"Mm," she said, not bother to pretend she was looking anywhere but at the spot between his legs. "What a shame."
It was his turn to laugh. "I fooled ya. That ain't what I was thinking at all. Was thinking it'd be one of the most enjoyable ways to pass an evening I've had in a long time."
"I know," she whispered and began to walk back toward the ship.