The only thing Jayne coulda said for sure was that the crazy girl had kissed him first.
Well, and that the fighting was all her idea. And…
But all them things he'd been ready for. The kissing thing was all her.
It started with the fighting. Jayne was in the cargo bay, minding his own business in what was really his own space. 'Cause he used it most, even if Mal did really own the whole ship.
Crazy River girl had found him working out, like he always did that time of day.
"Jayne?" She began with those gorram innocent eyes of hers all wide an' hopeful. "I've thought of a good game, Jayne, will you play it with me?"
"Go play with Kaylee." Jayne snarled.
"Can't." River got a funny teasing look. "Kaylee is… playing… with Simon."
"Hey now!" Jayne's mind was plenty dirty enough to catch what she meant. "We ain't gonna be playing like that."
Why'd she have to bring up the 'games' the rest of the crew was playing right in the gorram now?
"I know." She looked kinda… sad, maybe? Jayne decided he was imagining that.
"The game I have decided upon is better suited to our personalities and level of friendship."
"What? But…" Since when were they friends?
Jayne stood, putting on his Most Intimidating Face.
River giggled! No one had ever giggled at his Most Intimidating Face before.
"Good." River said between her giggles. "Jayne is already playing along."
"Jayne ain't playing nuthin, little girl." He growled.
Gorramit! Growly made her made her giggle too. Growly wasn't supposed to make anybody giggle. Growly was scary.
"Jayne is very scary and intimidating." River said, looking like she was biting at her mouth to keep the giggles in.
"An' Jayne don't play no games with giggly crazy little girls." He said firmly.
"Please?" She wheedled. "You'll like this game."
Actually, Jayne could think up quite a few things he'd like to do with her. But all of them would first get her knocking him about and then get him spaced.
That being so, he wasn't interested. At least not… Gorramit.
"I will demonstrate. Watch and be ready." That was all the warning she gave.
Her little fist shot out, heading right for his gut with bruising force. Jayne caught the blow on his palm and closed his fist around hers.
Hell, he hadn't even made any of those suggestions out loud. No fair beating a fellow up for his thoughts.
River was grinning - gorramit, grinning - up at him.
"Jayne catches on quick. Good game?"
"What?" Not retaliation for wayward thoughts? "You punch me and I stop you?"
River nodded. "And kick too." She looked all bouncy and proud of herself even though she was standing still. Then her face got all crafty. "Jayne could even hit back if he wanted to."
Jayne felt his jaw hit the floor. "You want us to play at hitting each other?"
"I won't hurt you much." River promised.
Gorramit, how was a man supposed to resist those wide begging eyes. At least if there was no permanent damage he wouldn't get spaced.
Jayne released her hand. "I'm more worried about me hurting you." He mumbled.
"You might." She agreed, surveying his body. "But I don't think you will."
Jayne felt funny. It weren't comfortable, her looking at him so openly. It was like he might be something she was thinking on buying or something. And that had to be his imagination. She definitely hadn't paused at the bulge behind his fly.
He snorted and shook his head. "A game's gotta have rules and limits." He could hardly believe he was giving in to this.
River nodded calmly. "Action pauses when a solid blow is landed. Three blows wins."
"You'll leave me alone if I let you hit me three times?" That didn't sound so bad.
River shook her head solemnly. "You can't let me. You have to try to stop me or there is no game."
"And you'll keep pestering me?"
River nodded and did that grin hiding, lip biting thing again.
Jayne sighed. She was real good at pestering folks.
"Alright, but if someone gets hurt we stop too." He insisted.
"And the injured party wins the game." River countered.
"Sure." He wasn't planning to hurt her none at all.
River's grin nearly blinded him. It also woke up parts of him that just shouldn't be responding to her like that.
Her eyes widened and Jayne quashed down hard on those thoughts. Gorram mind reader.
Once they got started, Jayne could tell how and why she could take down a room full of man-eating Reavers.
He held on as long as he could, blocking most blows, avoiding a few. Slowly he got the feeling that she was throwing her punches at his hands and arms rather than at his gut or any other likely target.
Finally something got thru. He knew something had to eventually. He almost even saw it coming.
River backed off, looking a mite too concerned for someone who'd just kicked at his groin on purpose so she could punch his unprotected side.
"One." Jayne grunted. "Tricky brat."
The concern fell away, leaving relief.
"Come on." He beckoned with both hands. "Lets see what else you've got."
There was that bright gorram smile again. Distracting.
Jayne blocked and blocked, occasionally striking back, probably too gently.
"Two." He conceded for a solid kick on his thigh.
They paused again, both breathing hard now.
He didn't want this to end. The thought made him gasp. This was the best fistfight he'd been in since he left home and his six brothers.
Jayne went on the offensive. He wanted to keep her busy fighting him off so she couldn't get that third blow in.
He was careful. He didn't have as much finesse as she did and he sure as hell wasn't wanting to knock her across the room.
Eventually he found his opening and pinned her firmly to the floor the way his Pa taught him.
She couldn't do more than squirm under him.
"One." She said, looking surprised.
"Damn right that's one." Jayne was almost surprised his own self.
River continued to struggle against him for a moment.
"I have three." She said once they were both sure she couldn't get up.
"Oh yeah?" They were both breathing heavy and sweating hard. "Seems like there ain't nuthin you can do from here, little girl." Jayne worked on catching his breath. Laying still was a nice rest.
"This is three." She craned her neck and shoulders up quickly. He might have expected a head butt, he didn't expect her to kiss him hard on the mouth.
Jayne froze, unable to even think. He slowly became aware of how fine her body felt under his. How much he wanted to keep her there, to keep touching her this way.
His startled lips started to move against hers and that shocked him out of it.
Jayne hauled his head back, out of her reach.
"Three." She whispered.
"Game over?" He hissed. "Kissin' folk ain't a game, little girl. Kissin' folk is serious business."
Jayne rolled off her before his body could betray him further. He stood, breathing deeply. He needed to get steady enough to walk away from her.
"In winning I have lost." Her voice was small and sad.
Jayne turned to look at her. She was still sprawled where he'd pinned her, but she'd propped herself onto her elbows. Her breath hadn't steadied yet either. She was a damned fine sight, all flushed and mussed.
"I'm sorry, but I don't rescind the kiss." River said defiantly.
"What the hell is that supposed to mean?" Jayne scowled down at her. "Never mind. I don't want to know." He turned to walk away.
"Jayne." She was beside him before he took a step. She laid her hand on his arm, looking up at him with those wide, innocent eyes. Innocent? Hell.
Jayne meant to shake her hand off and continue to walk away, but he couldn't quite make himself do it.
"What?" He couldn't even work up a good growl.
He closed his eyes, swallowed. "No."
"You'll like the new game." She whispered. "It is a very serious game."
Jayne opened his eyes back up, afraid he knew right where this was going. He looked down at her. She was biting her lower lip. She looked so gorram hopeful.
"What kind of game?" His voice seemed to be coming from the end of a long tunnel.
"Like the games our crewmates are playing right now. In the engine room and in the shuttle."
There wasn't much mistaking her meaning, not after that gorram kiss.
Jayne clenched his jaw and continued to stare down at her.
He'd seen this kind of thing before. The bored little princess who goes after the 'bad boy.' She toys with him a while and then runs back to some fancy pants fellow she'd known all along.
She was gonna get what she wanted out of him then dump him hard.
That story never ended better. He didn't even want to think about where that would leave him after. He clutched at rage instead.
"You're angry." Her brow creased as she peered up at him. "My projections did not include anger as a probable response to this proposition. I've missed a variable somewhere."
"No, I ain't angry. I'm fucking pissed." Now his growl was back in full force. River flinched back from his scowl, but didn't let go of his arm. "Do you have any idea how hard I work to not get turned on by you?"
"Yes." She blinked and he could almost see the numbers bouncing around her skull.
That little 'yes' shocked him speechless for a moment.
"Well, do you know why?"
River frowned, glaring at him, angry. "No."
"Don't you think I might maybe have good reasons for not never touching you? My role in this 'Verse don't include playing romantical games with well brought up little girls."
"No it can't." He finally got up the grit to brush her hands off his arm.
River stared up at him, Reading him.
Jayne didn't know, never coulda said, why her Reading him right then would make him snap, but it did.
Next thing he knew, he was wrapped around her. He was kissing her mouth like she was a fine meal and he hadn't eaten in a month.
River returned his kiss fiercely, challenging any hesitance.
His hands found themselves on her fine, firm body. Damn, he never wanted to let go. The last piece of his sanity screeched that he was making a mistake. He ignored it.
He swore to himself that he could and would let her go if she gave the slightest sign of pushing him away.
Instead she guided his hand under her shirt, molded his palm around her slight breast.
River rained kisses across his face, leading to his ear.
"Make it serious, Jayne." She murmured. "This game is better played if we're both serious."
The words mighta shocked sense into him if she hadn't also been digging her fingers into his ass and grinding her nethers tightly onto his John Thomas.
The only thing that made sense right then was to get fewer layers of cloth separating them.
"I'll show you serious." Jayne threatened? Promised?
He showed her exactly where her little game was leading them, touching and invading.
When he felt his control was about to snap completely he wrenched away from her and held her at arms length.
"Stop me." He practically begged. "Why ain't you trying to stop me, girl?"
"I have put entirely too much time and effort into this seduction to stop you now." She licked her lips and tried to push against his arms, straining to be touching him again.
"I… but… you have?" He gasped out. "But…"
He couldn't get his elbows to keep holding her away no more. They weakened.
His hands inched up, his fingers sinking into that full, beautiful hair. He lowered his forehead to hers, resting there.
Jayne inhaled deeply. She wasn't pretending. He could smell the woman arousal scent on her. Ten times stronger than it usually was on a whore. For some gorram idiotic reason she wanted this… him.
"I ain't letting you go after." He warned. "You want clear of me, you'll probably have to kill me."
"Serious." River shuddered. "We will play the game more seriously than any of the others from the beginning. You won't be getting rid of me either." She warned. "I'd know. I'd kill you first."
If he strayed. Yeah, she would. Reader.
Jayne wasn't sure how they got from threatening each other to her little passenger dorm room. Mighta involved some carrying.
Or how they both ended up naked and writhing against each other on her narrow bed. He did know he really wanted to be there. To be with her.
He was pretty sure she was satisfied with his performance by the sounds she made. Couldn't always tell with a woman, but he didn't figure River'd know to pretend. Weren't nuthin practiced about her motions or her sexy, gaspy noises.
Jayne kept her close after. He couldn't seem to stop touching her either. His hand moved over her back and thru her hair.
"You alright?" He murmured.
"Wonderful." River agreed. "Never felt better."
"How do we tell the others?" He swallowed the panic down. Whatever it took they'd make it work. Like he'd said, she weren't never getting rid of him.
River grinned and propped herself up on her arms. "The women already know. I enlisted their assistance in acquiring the necessary privacy."
She turned her head so her hair fell over her shoulder onto his chest. "My brother will want to see me happy. Mal will sputter but will subside when he discovers he has no support."
Jayne found he couldn't concentrate on possible consequences when she was leaning over him all naked like that.
Weren't no good reason not to touch her neither. So he did.
Note: Edited 10/25. I found that I uplinked the wrong version of the file. Sorry.