They Comprehend, They do not Understand

The crew simply didn't get it. They watched the newest couple on board and wondered. Jayne was just as rough and sharp with River as he always had been and she still spoke to him in riddles that the crew and certainly not Jayne could understand.

Yet, they both insisted that they were in a relationship. And, after quite of bit of yelling, threatening, and arguing, along with two swift kicks to two particularly thick heads, the rest of the crew had learned to accept it.

That didn't mean they understood it. They watched, wondered, questioned, and simply didn't get it. River and Jayne didn't care much, they got it. All they needed were for the others to accept it, understanding could come later.


Understanding for Inara came when she walked into the mess for a cup of tea.

Jayne was sitting at the table with River beside him. They were both cleaning their guns. Jayne had about six out, while River had only the two, but her collection was steadily growing.

Inara brewed her tea and sat down across from them, at first thinking that they were completely ignoring each other. Then she started to notice little things, like how they were sharing the same pot of gun oil and that Jayne was always careful to place it back on the table between the two of them so River could reach it.

Inara was very good at reading body language and she quickly realized that there was no need for River to be stroking her gun quite that much simply to clean it. She could also see that although Jayne outwardly appeared to be oblivious to River's openly sensual act, he was slightly flushed and his breathing had quickened.

Then, River stood up, picking up her two guns and walking off to their bunk. Jayne gathered up his guns and the cleaning supplies even though he had only cleaned three of them.

With nods and acknowledging words to Inara, they both walked out and down the hall. As she watched Jayne motion for River to go down the ladder first, Inara got it.


Understanding for Zoe came when she walked towards the cockpit to sit a while in Wash's chair.

She stopped at the doorway when she saw the chair was already occupied. Jayne was sitting with River on his lap. His arms were wrapped tightly around her and her head was resting on his shoulder. Both were simply staring out at the stars, not saying a word or moving.

Zoe was struck by how similar this scene was to the hundreds of times Zoe had come up to keep Wash company. Zoe didn't go into the cockpit that day. Instead, she turned and quietly went down to her bunk. Zoe got it.


Understanding for Kaylee came one night after she had finished fixing up the engine once again.

She only had a little time before dinner and so she came into the mess and sat on one of the couches. It was Jayne's night to cook, but River was over in the kitchen helping him. Jayne was slowly stirring a stew while River was putting the bread rolls into a basket.

Jayne scooped up a bit of stew with a wooden spoon and after carefully blowing on it to cool it, he tapped River on the shoulder and offered it to her. She slurped it up and wrinkled her nose a tiny bit. Reaching over, she handed him a salt packet.

Jayne took it and gave her a bright smile, which she returned. He turned back to his stew, adding in the salt and stirring once again. With a smile of her own, Kaylee got it.


Understanding for Mal came after a job gone well.

He took Zoe, Jayne, and River out for a celebratory drink. They went to a bar and got settled in a booth. River asked Zoe to come to the bathroom with her. Why did females always need to go to the bathroom in groups? Mal wondered.

Soon after they had left, a whore approached Jayne, swaying her hips grandly as she stepped up to the table. Jayne didn't even look up at her until she was standing right beside him and only then because she had cleared her throat loudly.

"Hey, big fella, you look like someone lookin' for a bit of fun."

Mal was a bit nervous. Jayne had never been put to the test like this, since they hadn't been out for a long time. When Jayne's face suddenly lit up and big smile appeared on his face, Mal's stomach sank as his temper rose, River was going to be so hurt and furious.

He was getting angrier and angrier until he saw River come up behind the whore and he realized that she was who Jayne had been looking at.

River casually tapped the whore on the shoulder, said "Excuse me" and sat down on Jayne's lap once the whore had moved out of the way.

The whore looked surprised, but after trying for a few more moments to get Jayne's attention and failing miserably, she left with a defeated slump to her shoulders.

Mal watched as River sipped Jayne's drink and cuddled further into his arms, a content look on Jayne's face. Mal got it.


Understanding for Simon came after a job gone bad.

Almost everyone had superficial wounds and could wait. Zoe was wrapping up River's sprained ankle out in the lounge. But Jayne had gotten a bullet to the side.

Simon had knocked him out and removed his shirt, assessing the damage. Thankfully, the bullet had gone in and back out again. Rolling him to his side to see the exit wound, Simon was shocked at what he saw on Jayne's back.

Very close the where the exit wound was, Jayne had a tattoo. It had to be fairly new if Simon hadn't seen it yet. It was of a gun, that looked suspiciously like Vera, that was crossed with a crude blade, just like the one River had used during the fight at Mr. Universe's.

River had to have designed it, there was no way Jayne could have drawn such perfect likenesses for the tattoo artist. Simon thought for a moment, Jayne had permanently marked his body with a symbol of their relationship. Maybe he should actually start to believe his sister when she insists that Jayne is not just with her out of convenience.

Simon determinedly got to work, carefully making the tiniest stitches he could to repair Jayne's skin so that the tattoo would not be disturbed.

Looking out to the lounge where River's eyes were riveted to Jayne's motionless body, shining with worry, Simon got it.