Author: Green Owl

Title: Photuris: Tangled

Disclaimer: I don't own or buy/sell/process this mind crack - I just abuse the hell out of it.

"Oh, God, this ain't kosherized," Jayne groaned, tryin' to catch his breath.

River looked up at him, clearly concerned. "Am I doing it incorrectly – ?"

"Hell, no, girl! Don't you dare stop!" he growled out between gritted teeth.

She grinned and went back to what she was doing.

It was the middle of the morning and Jayne and River were in the armory.

He was up against the wall, both of his hands tangled in her hair, doin' his best to keep his balance.

She was on her knees in front of him, both of her hands and her mouth payin' all sorts of good attention to his man parts, doin' her best to make him lose it.

Two weeks had passed since the bunk incident and Jayne was quickly coming to understand the nature of the beast he'd unleashed when he'd allowed himself to surrender to her will and service her on demand.

And "on demand" it certainly was.

There was no set schedule when it came to the girl; he never knew when she'd come lookin' for sexin'. She would just sneak up on him when he was alone, put down a pile o' credits and make a request. Usually it involved him using one or both o' his hands on her, but sometimes she asked for somethin' unexpected-like.

For example, she turned up in his bunk one afternoon after a drop and asked him to show her how he "took care of business" when he was alone. That sure surprised the hell outta him because she'd been havin' a "two fingers, inside – hard, fast" cravin' for quite a spell the past few days.

He did as she asked, of course – the money was surprisingly good and he found it more than a little pleasin' that she seemed to enjoy watchin' him. Hell, it was unbelievably stimulatin', seein' her eyes and mouth go all round and her breath come quicker as he tended to himself. Got a little hotter than he expected when she started participatin' as well, liftin' up her skirt and goin' to work right there in front o' him. He didn't lay a hand on her as she did it – it was one o' their "rules".

She'd laid down the guidelines that first night, right after he'd finished makin' her silently scream into his hand while he'd worked her up into a sweat with just a finger and some nasty muttered in her ear.

"Rules. We need rules," she'd murmured, crackin' her ankles as she stretched against him.

"Yeah? What kinda rules?" he'd asked, strokin' the silky flesh of her stomach and wonderin' how far things would go.

"First one – complete secrecy," she'd said, runnin' a hand through his chest hair.

"Right on board with ya' there, girl," he'd agreed, nuzzlin' her neck.

He felt her grin in the darkness.

"Second – only what I ask for and no questions about why I want it, just immediate compliance."

He paused for a moment, a little disappointed – he knew by the tone in her voice that he wouldn't be getting' to the good stuff this evenin'. Then he perked up as he recognized that she was negotiatin' with him for long-term services, which were bound to include full-on sexin' at some point in the future.

"Ya ain't…ain't gonna make me do nothin' unnatural, are ya?"

"No," she said, archin' her neck to make it easier for him to get at her skin. "I won't ask you to do anything you wouldn't do in the normal course of the pursuit of pleasure."

Jayne drew back from her throat and rolled onto his back. "How do ya know what's normal an' what ain't?"

"I don't," she whispered, runnin' a fingernail over one of his nipples. "You'll just have to trust me. Oh yes, that's the third rule."

"Trust ya? Helluva tall order for a man like me," he replied. "Last person I trusted sent six men to kill me an' all I got was a shiny gun an' a reputation as the meanest merc in the Outer Rim."

"Which gun?" she asked as she reached a hand down between his legs and explored.

"Uh…Vera…" Jayne gasped as his hand joined hers and gently adjusted her grip and rhythm. "She's my…she's my fav'rite…oh yeah, like that!"

"Well, maybe it wasn't all bad?" she whispered, catchin' on quickly.

"Yeah…guess…silver linin'…every…storm cloud!"

And so it began. Anywhere, anytime, under any conditions, she'd come to him and give him what he had taken to privately callin' his "marchin' orders".

Late at night in the kitchen with everything all quiet, she wanted his hand between her legs while she lay on her back on the dining room table. Early in the mornin' in the cargo bay just before a drop or pickup, he had her draped over his weight bench, grippin' the support leg as he petted her pretty little pink parts. Mid-afternoon in his bunk right before his turn to cook, both thinkin' it all kinds of shiny for her to be on her hands an' knees an' tryin' to bite a hole through his blanket as he made her writhe on his digits.

He had no ruttin' idea how he managed to complete each "mission" without gettin' discovered. Each time he'd recommend they wait for a better opportunity, a less risky place, she'd just smile, shake her head and lay a wad of cash on the nearest available surface. He came to realize that if he just trusted her sense of timing, everything would turn out all right. Even if some of the locations and times seemed downright dangerous to him. And as he reconciled himself to yet another round of extremely chancy, yet wildly lucrative labor, he wondered about the character of the just-this-side-o'-legit girl who might have a shot at bein' the only female in the 'verse to wear out the galaxy-renowned sexin'-freak also known as Jayne Cobb.

She was upmarket, true, easily managin' saucy noodles wi' a pair of chopsticks when the rest o' the crew was lucky to leave the table clean with fork an' spoon. Core born an' bred, no doubt 'bout it, wi' those high-falutin' words that made his head hurt if he thought too hard. An' she was so damn graceful, makin' every move look like it was part o' some elab'rate dance as she went about her daily activities.

But that girl had a gorram down-to-earth sense of sexin' – her fav'rite words were "harder", "faster" and "more". If he didn't know better, he'd think she was readin' his mind 'cause those were the words he liked best to hear from a woman when he was doin' unto her. That, combined with her evident enjoyment of pleasin' him as well made for a world' o' interestin' encounters, all of 'em eye-openin' in a highly satisfyin' way.

The latest had been especially interestin'.

'Nara had been out wi' clients booked out the yin-yang. Wash an' Mal had been on the bridge, mindin' the waves. Zoe had been in the cargo bay teachin' Book, Doc Tam and Kaylee how to handle the newest "easy-to-fire" additions to the arsenal. That left Jayne all by his lonesome in his third favorite place in the ship besides his bunk and the kitchen.

He had just ducked into the armory for a moment to inventory the ammo when she slipped in and laid down one hundred credits on the prep table.

He looked at her, all kinds o' perplexed as she sank to her knees in front o' him.

"It is time to expand her education," she said, a sweetly angelic smile on her face.

"How so?" he asked, carefully placing a box of cartridges back on the shelf.

She reached for his belt buckle, undoin' it in less time than it took him to realize what she was 'bout.

"Nah, girl," he said, crouchin' down and puttin' a hand up to stop her. "Can't buy that."

"Is it more costly? I have another fifty – "

She made a move to reach into her bodice, but he captured her wrists in his hands and held them loosely. Such fragile bones…could snap her in half in a second if I wanted.

He released her wrists and patted her shoulder. "Sorry. Just wouldn't feel right gettin' paid for that."

Now she was the one who was confounded. "Why? I have read about it in detail. It is not unnatural in any way."

Jayne looked down at the floor and smiled before looking up at her. "Let's just say that gettin' a 'polish' is somethin' most men don't get paid for. It's usually the other way 'round."

"Oh." She looked around the room for a moment. "So many ladies in here. Do you maintain them?"

Jayne looked around at the various kinds of firepower that Serenity kept stowed away. "Ya mean the guns? Well, yeah, I guess. Mal pay's me to keep 'em clean an' such."

"Why is that?" she asked.

"They can get jammed if they ain't properly looked after. That ain't no good to nobody if one of these is all that stands between person livin' an' dyin' and it locks up."

He stood up and adjusted a handgun hanging on the wall.

"They are well-looked-after." She nodded and smiled as she also stood. "Weapons will not fail you in combat."

"Damn straight they won't." Jayne folded his arms as he surveyed the armory, inordinately pleased with the compliment.

"One must keep a weapon maintained for it to work properly, yes?" she asked, running a hand along the stock of a nearby rifle.

"Yeah," he agreed, his throat going dry at the sight of her hand caressing the wood. "Equipment don't like it when it's neglected."

"Is your equipment properly looked after?" she asked, turning to him.

"My guns? Yeah, 'course."

She shook her head and stepped towards him. "No, not the guns."

He stood his ground as she advanced. "Can't say as I got any idea what yer implyin'."

"Who maintains you?" she asked, tilting her head to the side.

"Whaddya mean?" he replied, gettin' more befuddled by the second.

"I have read that the act of sex by mouth is most pleasant for a man," she ventured, clasping a wrist in the opposite hand behind her back and biting her lip.

Jayne swallowed. "Oh yeah. Really good. Almost good as hittin' twenty bulls'-eyes in a row."

"And you say it is not pleasant for a woman?" she inquired, eyeing the rows of grenades.

"Perhaps less so," he replied, shruggin' his shoulders. "But there's them that enjoy it. 'Specially if they like to make sure their man is pleased."

She smiled at him as she glanced at the lower half of his body. "Then it would not be amiss for me to perform maintenance?"

His eyes went glassy as he caught her meanin'. "River-girl, you can do a complete overhaul on my 'quipment anytime your lil' heart desires."

Within seconds she was taking full advantage of his capitulation and he was fighting for both breath and sanity.

"Where…where'd you learn that?!" he demanded as his hands clenched and unclenched against his thighs.

"I have extensively studied the available literary material," she answered before guiding his hands into her hair.

"That's…that's a…pretty gorram…shiny…bit o' literary…material…ya got your…hands on!"

"Gentle," she admonished as she drew back slightly. "Sensitive scalp."

"Sorry," he said in a rush, eager for her to return to what she'd been doin'.

She didn't disappoint.

Jayne leaned his head back and rested it against the wall, closing his eyes so he could concentrate on the feel of her lips and tongue and hands as she taught herself what he liked. It had been so long since anyone had done this to him and it felt so ruttin' wonderful that he thought he might weep for joy.

"Aw, God, that's good, baby," he whispered, tenderly foldin' a lock of her long dark hair back from her face. "So gorram good."

She responded with a soft purr of agreement that came from deep down in her throat and made him gasp.

Minutes passed, minutes that would sear themselves forever into his mind as he bit down hard on his lip to keep from crying out. How many, Jayne didn't know, drunk as he was on the sight and feel of her pleasurin' him. All he knew was that if someone walked in on them and saw what she was doin', he would die a happy man.

He felt things rapidly approachin' critical mass and tried to pull away from her.

She wasn't having any of it and sustained a firm oral and manual grip on him.

"Girl – you gotta – I can't – " Jayne once again tried to extract himself. This time he was successful in puttin' some space between the two of them. "Thing's gonna get a bit…well, messy in few seconds."

"I know," she said, bending her head again.

He was frantic as he tried not to groan at all the amazin' things her mouth was doin' to him. "All I'm sayin' is…it ain't gonna…do' much…for ya. Might be unpleasant, even!"

Not missin' a beat, she looked up at him with those pretty eyes an' that pirate smile and he had to mentally calculate his take of the current cargo, includin' how much he'd be sendin' to Ma, to keep from poppin' off.

"Well, all right, then," he said, shoving his hands into her hair again. "Don't say I didn't warn ya!"

She rolled her eyes at him and he thought she might be laughin' at him.

Then rolled her tongue over him and he lost his ability to think about anythin' for a good long while.

She'd forgotten to take the money with her.

The girl had done her usual vanishin' act as she left him there, pants around his ankles, breathin' hard an' 'bout ready to collapse.

Jayne managed to pull his pants up a few minutes later and' was in the middle of tuckin' in his shirt when he realized that the girl had not taken the credits with her.

They lay there, practically singin' to him as he buckled his belt. He picked up the stack, folded it twice and shoved it into a back pocket.

He stopped for a moment, looked around the armory and took a deep breath. He would never be able to come to this room again without rememberin' every last detail of the past thirty minutes.

Girl has skills a veteran sexin'-expert ain't got, he thought as and tested his legs to see if they could hold him up. 'Nother one o' those an' I just might breathe my last!

He shook one booted foot, then the other, satisfied that his knees would be able to hold him up at least as far as gettin' to the mess. He desperately needed to replace the fluids she'd confiscated from him so he decided to stop by for a quick crunch before movin' on to his other duties.

As he opened the door, Jayne found himself face-to-face with the one person he never thought he'd see wandering near the armory.

"Have you seen River?" Simon Tam asked him.

"Naw, Doc, not in awhile." Okay, so "awhile" was ten minutes or so ago, but that info's on a strictly need-to-know basis only and Doc ain't in the NTK category last time I checked.

"Funny, thought I heard her voice here earlier."

Jayne didn't say a word as he headed for the gangway that led up to the upper deck and the kitchen.

Simon followed, hot on his heels and keen on conversation. "I never knew Zoe was such a harsh taskmistress. She's completely relentless when it comes to conditioning. I've seen visual records of drill sergeants in something called the Marine Corps and she makes them look like cotillion boys."

"What the hell's a ruttin' cotillion?" Jayne asked, switchin' back on the fore passage and headin' towards the mess.

"It's a kind of formal dancing that teaches manners and social skills. You learn when you're a young teen," Simon explained. "River mastered it before she left for the Academy."

"Figures," Jayne grunted, smilin' to himself. Little girl's got herself some fine social skills, oh yeah.

"What figures?" Simon asked.

Jayne shot him a hard look over his shoulder. "That a fancy kong que like you would waste time on go se like that."

Simon drew himself up as they reached the kitchen. "And what did you learn in your early teens? Hazing rituals and head-butting with your primordial associates?"

"Nope," Jayne said, slammin' his hand on the button that opened the door. "Was already earnin' a livin' by then."

Simon arched an eyebrow. "Doing what? Beating up other children for their lunch money?"

"Someone kick yer ass somethin' fierce when you were a youngun, Doc?" Jayne asked, amused by Simon's obvious annoyance. "Ma and Pa worked the ironworks on Aetna since I was born. Pa had a heart attack an' I took over his job 'til he recovered."

"And then entered into a promising world of theft, thugs and lock and load," Simon scoffed.

"Least it's better than bein' a sanctimonious song ruan ji ba who don't have the stones to mount a girl when she's practically beggin' for it," Jayne retorted before he stepped into the kitchen and went for the food stores.

Simon didn't have anything to say to that, so he followed Jayne into the kitchen and made for the lounge where Inara was drinking a cup of green tea.

"How are you, Simon?" she asked, giving him a warm smile as she indicated a second cup she'd made for him.

"Fine, thank you," he replied, sinking down next to her. He looked anything but. Fortunately, Inara was either too kind or too polite to point this out.

Jayne rolled his eyes as he took a bowl down from the cabinet and grabbed three packets of food from the drawer. Arrogant idiot could be threatened by starvin' cannibal Reavers from the Outer Rim and he'd still pretend to be "fine".

"How is River?" Inara asked.

"Better," Simon replied. "I think the new treatment is having a positive effect on her, though it's a little more homeopathic than I'm used to."

"Bi shang liang shan," Inara commented, smiling as she sipped her tea.

Homeopathic? What did that mean? Girl sure as hell wasn't turnin' sly on him. Jayne ripped open the packets of dongfen and dumped then into the bowl.

"I'm a little concerned at how much she's spending on energy cells, though," Simon ventured. "The Captain has been kind enough to pay me for my medical services, but if she worsens, I'm going to have to start suggesting more, shall we say, lucrative escapades."

So the good doctor thought his sister was spendin' her cash on batteries? He had made this crunch so often that he didn't bother to gauge the amount of water he needed, just poured it into the cup. Jayne grinned as he imagined the look on Simon's face if the conceited snob ever discovered that his precious little mei mei was ruttin' with the one man on Serenity he didn't consider fit for polite society.

"At least there haven't been any side effects," Inara volunteered. "And the device has held up, despite the amount of service to which it's been subjected."

Device? What kind of device? Some sort of ratemaker to regulate her mood swings or somethin'? Jayne found himself getting' all kinds of concerned as he popped the bowl into the cooker, set the timer and searched for a clean pair of chopsticks.What kind o' mess had he gotten himself into with that little moonbrain?

Simon shook his head as he took a deep draught of his tea. "I'm just worried what will happen if it breaks…"

Gorramit, now that made him downright anxious!

"Whaddya yammerin' on about?" Jayne demanded as he rummaged around the utensil drawer for a spoon. "Your sister gonna turn into some sort of feng zi if her lil' gadget don't work right?"

"As refined a gentleman as ever, Jayne," Inara remarked dryly.

"So long as it doesn't affect you, I don't see how any of this is your business," Simon announced.

"Surer than shui it's my business if she freaks out and does somethin' untowards that causes me bodily injury, now ain't it?" Jayne challenged, gesturin' with the chopsticks and spoon.

"Do not be troubled, Jayne," Book said as he entered the room and placed his Bible on the table. "I'm sure the good doctor will keep River from doing harm to anyone aboard this ship."

"Better," Jayne warned. The cooker dinged to indicate that his noodles were done and he grabbed a napkin to remove the steamin' bowl.

"Shall we adjourn to the common room?" Inara suggested, rising to her feet. "I'm sure we can continue this conversation in a more suitable location."

Simon rose at the same time and guided her out of the room.

Book took their empty cups from the lounge table and brought them to the sink.

"Ruttin' swankies," Jayne grumbled as he stirred in the packets of lemongrass seasoning. "Can't even wash their own gorram dishes."

"It's not a problem, Jayne," Book said as he rinsed the cups. "I enjoy being of service once in awhile."

"Yeah? Me, too." Jayne smiled as he realized what type of service he preferred, crazy or not. "Still don't mean I'm gonna clean up after some prissy boy in a sateen waistcoat who don't respect me or what I can do with a loaded piece."

"Good God, Jayne, are you going to eat all of that?" Book asked, nodding at the bowl in front of Jayne.

"What?" Jayne asked. He looked down at the massive heap of steamin' food. "I need to max my vigor."

Book chuckled. "If you were to embody one of the seven deadly sins, I'd say that gluttony would be a strong contender."

"Not as much fun as lust or wrath in my 'verse," Jayne grinned as he slurped a mass of noodles into his mouth and chewed. "Maybe little better than sloth or pride."

"What about envy?" Book asked, soaping up the cups. "Ever suffer from that one?"

"Naw," Jayne said around another mouthful. "Never came 'cross it. Pa always told me 'Son, you be content with what ya got born with and ya ain't never gonna be hurtin' for nothin'."

"That's a good piece of fatherly advice," Book replied. He considered Jayne's words for a moment and nodded as he rinsed the cups. "What about greed?"

Jayne's eyes lit up. "Hell, yeah! Greed's my sin o' choice. Makes this boy's world go 'round."

"Son, have you ever considered that you might be addicted to money?" Book asked as he placed the two cups on the drying rack.

"Can't say the thought's ever crossed my mind, Preacher," Jayne replied as he shoveled more food into his mouth. "How can ya tell if ya are?"

"Do you find yourself participating in activities in the name of acquisition that you wouldn't normally engage in? Doing things that normal people wouldn't do for the sake of capital?"

Jayne glanced over at Book, wonderin' if he could see all the way into his soul and read the sins written there. "Well, there's a few things I done for coin that ain't been exactly easy to live with afterwards. Mostly takin' 'vantage of folks that were fool enough to trust me."

"Do you regret any of those deeds?" Book asked as he dried his hands on the dishtowel.

"Some of 'em," Jayne answered, thinkin' on the whole Ariel debacle. "Mostly 'cause they went south and I didn't make no money."

Book shook his head. "Jayne Cobb, you are incorrigible."

"That a good thing?" Jayne asked, thinkin' he'd been complimented.

"No," the Shepherd replied, his smile mitigating some of the disappointment evident in Jayne's face.

Jayne shrugged, gulping broth. "Am what I am. Not too much twisted up in my brainpan, 'cept the occasional scrape when I manage to get all misfortunate. Could be I'm 'ddicted to bad luck."

"Young man, you are addicted to something all right," Book said, patting Jayne on the shoulder. "But it isn't bad luck."

"What is it, then?" Jayne asked, plain curious.

The Shepherd gave him a warm, paternal smile. "Opportunity. You see it and you're after it like a pack of rabid dogs on a three-legged cat. Even when you know it's wrong, you still go after it if there's anything in it for you."

"Got me there, Preacher," Jayne agreed before he gobbled another mouthful o' noodles. He thought back over the past two weeks and it struck him how much he'd enjoyed takin' the opportunity to sex the Tam girl and make hard cash at the same time. "So what's the therapy for that condition?"

"According to an ancient school of thought, dealing with addiction starts with admitting you have a problem, that you are powerless over that to which you are addicted," Book said, retrieving an orange from the fruit basket and his Bible from the table. "You cannot hope to recover without taking that first step."

He left the kitchen and Jayne alone with his thoughts.

Jayne sat there for a few minutes, chewin' on the preacher's words.

Addicted…to sexin' with the girl or the money it brings? Or both?

He closed his eyes and remembered that first night when she came to him, a pretty, dirty rich girl inspectin' a possible rut-buddy for hire as he worked out. He rolled on through each of their encounters, some of 'em nice, most of 'em naughty and all of 'em leavin' him wantin' more.

It wasn't the coin, he allowed as he reached back, pullin' out the hundred credits and tossin' them on the table. It was the way she flipped his innards when she got that look in her eyes – the one that told him she was gonna go up in flames as soon as he laid hands her, and she was gonna burn him alive in the process.

He wanted it, needed it, craved it. It was almost a sickness, this wantin' of her, the way she moved, the scent of her hair, the taste of her skin, the wild sounds she made when he touched her.

Jayne closed his eyes and looked down into the rapidly cooling bowl of food.

The filthy-guilty feelin' was back and it was rapidly dissolvin' his desire to eat.

"Buddha George W. Shrub, I gotta problem," he announced to the tangle of noodles as he stirred it.

"kong que" – "peacock"

"go se" – "crap"

"song ruan ji ba" – "limp dick"

"Bi shang li shan." – "Desperate times call for desperate measures."

"dongfen" – "transparent Asian noodles"

"mei mei" – "sister"

"feng zi" – "lunatic"

"shui" – "taxes"