I own nothing. There's a smidge of sex. Just a smidge.
Jayne shut the door to the bedroom behind himself and gave River a sour look. "I can't believe you made that deal."
River gave her husband her own annoyed look as she whipped her dress over her head and rummaged through her dresser drawer for a baggier nightgown that would better conceal the slight swell of her abdomen. She didn't miss the scowl that settled on his face as her stomach disappeared under the gown and her curves were hidden from view. "If I hadn't agreed, you know what would have happened."
Jayne just grunted and pulled his shirt over his head and then hurled it into the hamper. River cocked a delicate eyebrow at his behavior and seated herself on the foot of the bed as she watched him undress. "Mal wasn't going to offer to give us a chance and if I tried to argue with Zoe for a better deal-"
"Mal would have caved eventually," he growled as he stripped himself of his pants and pulled on a pair of thin, striped sleep pants. "Mal always caves."
He saw River shake her head. She was trying to go about the conversation as delicately as possible, but they were both so tense and worried that her words were a bit sharper than normal. "No, he wouldn't have. He doesn't think very highly of you-"
"Think I don't know that," Jayne snarled. River's eyes widened in shock at his venomous tone and he lowered his head, glancing at her apologetically. "The 'verse ain't bein' very fair ta us."
"Mal doesn't think I'm sane enough to make my own decisions. None of them think I am; not even Kaylee thinks I quite know what I've gotten myself into," River said quietly and got up to hug him. She wound her arms around him and kissed the center of his chest lightly. "But she's always seen how good you are-even when you couldn't, when I was too busy trying to find my way. Inara is still unsure. Mal and Simon believe they are right and they most likely always will because they believe in it so strongly."
Jayne wrapped his arms around her and rested his chin on the crown of her head."What about Zoe?"
It was River's turn to look apologetic. "Zoe's mind has often felt like an iron bound cell. Sometimes, things slip out, twisted and angry from being locked away for so long, but nothing is coming out now. And nothing is going in. Wash took all her sunshine with him."
"She's been lookin' awful thoughtful."
"She's studying, drawing out her conclusions as slowly and carefully as she can. She's giving us this chance, this month because of the dinosaurs."
"If they decide not to let ya stay, I'm arrestin' the lot of 'em."
River turned her nose into his chest and breathed in deeply. "Don't you think they'd shoot you before letting you arrest them?"
River pulled away sharply and looked up at him with wide eyes. "So you're just planning on being shot at?! Like it's all going to turn out okay?"
His brow furrowed in confusion. "I've been shot before."
River shoved herself away from him. "Yes, and you only lived because of luck, Jayne. You don't know where you'll get hit."
"Well, neither do you," he shot back meanly. She inhaled sharply. "No, but I know if you get shot fatally, I will go back with them and I will be alone for the rest of my life."
They stared hard at one another. River's expression was blank. "I think I'll go to bed now."
He watched her climb into their bed and snuggle under the covers with her back to him. Jayne wanted to punch a wall. He hated it when he went to bed angry and she went to bed hurt. He slowly slid into bed next to her and stared at her back, running a hand down his face tiredly.
"I didn't mean it," he muttered finally. "What I said. I just…what if this month ends an' they take you?"
River turned over to stare at him. Her eyes were watery. "I don't know."
At the stricken look on his face, she wrapped her arms around him and started to cry. "I don't understand. I'm supposed to see everything and I can't. I can never see things when it matters most."
"Baby," he sighed and held her close, "don't blame yourself. Don't start blamin' yourself again. You see things better than anyone. You see things the way people is supposed to see 'em, but don't."
He kissed the crown of her head. "I think, maybe, I'm glad you can't see like that-the way you think you should be seein'. 'Cause if it were bad, well, we wouldn't be happy an' we wouldn't be enjoyin' th'time we have left together."
"I won't leave you." River sniffed and her arms tightened. "Even when the month is up. I'm not leaving."
Jayne pulled her away from him slightly. "We should go to sleep an' stop thinkin' on all this."
River nodded against his chest and heaved out a relaxed sigh as Jayne absently combed his fingers through her hair. She sat up suddenly and planted a hard, long kiss on his mouth. Jayne gathered her up closer and kissed her back. River gave a small grunt of dissatisfaction and straddled his lap. Still liplocked, Jayne opened his eyes and raised an eyebrow. River pulled away and tugged her nightgown off. Jayne's hands instantly went to the newly exposed flesh. "Or we can sleep later."
Jayne awoke instantly when River pulled away from him to sit up against the headboard of the bed. He pushed himself up slowly, rubbing one eye and yawned. "Wha'srong?"
"I have heartburn," she grumbled. Without hesitation, Jayne swung his legs over the side of the bed and grabbed his sleep pants up off the floor. He yawned again as he pulled them on. "I'll go gitcha some water."
"Jayne," she called as he opened the door. He turned to look at her, still rubbing one eye and she smiled softly at him. "Thank you."
He smiled back sleepily. "No problem, Doll."
Jayne stumbled through the house sleepily and let out a small curse when he stubbed his toe on one of the kitchen table chairs. He huffed to himself silently as he got a glass from the cubbard and filled it with water. In afterthought, he grabbed a box of crackers. He turned around and paused when he caught Simon eying him over the back of the couch. "What are you doing?"
"River wants some water."
"What are the crackers for?"
"I want a snack."
They stared each other down as Jayne ambled back to the bedroom. Simon glared at him as he shut the door. He glared at the closed door for a moment before rounding the bed to hand River her glass of water and turned on the nightstand lamp. He held out the box of crackers. "Thought maybe you might need these. You been feelin' queasy afterward."
She beamed up at him and took a healthy gulp of water. He set the box down on the nightstand and sat on the edge of the bed. He gave her a speculative look. "Mebbe we should stop havin' sex 'fore we go t'bed. You always get heartburn after."
River stopped mid gulp and lowered the glass to look at him with raised eyebrows. She set the glass down beside the box of crackers. "You're serious?"
He nodded and River bit her lip to keep from laughing. "Jayne Cobb, how you have changed!"
Jayne let out a huffing sigh and River didn't miss how his lower lip stuck out the slightest bit. He crossed his arms and jutted out his jaw as he looked away and muttered to himself, "Try ta look out fer my wife an' what's she do? Laugh at me. Women always goin' 'round laughin' at their men. Gorramn women."
River let out a small laugh and covered her mouth to prevent the rest from escaping before she leaned forward to hug him. "I love you."
She felt him smile a little. She kissed his cheek and settled back against the headboard. "But I'm not giving up bedtime sex."
Jayne's smile turned into a pout. "But-"
She shook her head, effectively cutting him off. "I get heartburn from sitting down to read or knitting or washing dishes. It just happens. But I'm not going to stop doing things that may or may not cause it."
He scowled and clenched his jaw again. River leaned forward again and wound her arms around his broad shoulders and nuzzled his neck, placing small kisses on every inch of skin she had access to. "Do you really want to give up on bedtime sex? I know it's one of your favorite parts of the day and it's one of mine, too."
"Well, no but-" he let out a small noise between a whine and moan in indecision, "we can make due with mornings, right?"
It was River's turn to whine. "Jayne, I don't want to. We already limited the amount of times because you were getting too tired."
"Hey, it ain't my fault bein' pregnant has made you a Gorramn sex fiend," Jayne snapped in exasperation, "but I ain't doin' this cause I want to. Believe me, I know once them youngin's get here, we ain't gonna have 'nough time ta process a thought let alone hop inta bed an' I should be thankin' the Lord you wanna spend all day gettin' sexed up."
Jayne couldn't stop himself from grinning at her wolfishly. "River, baby, there are some things I dearly wish I could do all day every day an' that is number one on that list o' things."
He looked thoughtful for a moment. "But we got too much stuff to be worryin' on an' doin' round here. I gotta work, you gotta figure on what color you want the babies' room ta be, an' we gotta finish talkin' on addin' on to the house an' we gotta make sure everyone's happy with us bein' together an' that, you know, things start goin' smooth in town."
River's eye widened when she realized how high Jayne's stress level was getting the more he talked. He was also getting louder. "You know, things was goin' great here, just great an' then Mal decides he needs ta come along an' put us through all sorts a hell for bein' married an' today, I noticed Big Grey threw a shoe an' I'm gonna have ta go ta town an' get that fixed an' worry that Mal's gonna make off with ya. An' then the next day an' all the ones after that, I get ta sit in that Gorramn jailhouse an' think on how very likely it'll be that I'll come home an' you won't be here because that sonofabitch, no good ruttin' ass of a man, Malcolm Reynolds thinks it's okay for him to just come down here an' take the one thing o' mine that-"
He had begun pacing and roaring. Jayne rounded on her. His angry eyes looked so desperate. "He can't! He just can't! Gorramnit! This ain't fair! It ain't fair!"
He slammed his fist against the closet door and River jumped slightly. She had felt Inara, Zoe, and Simon jump awake the moment Jayne had started bellowing and she could feel them standing near the door listening, but she didn't care. They needed to hear it just as much as Jayne needed to say it. And she doubted that Zoe had it in her to shoot Sam to get past him and into the room.
Jayne lowered his voice. "I thought we was done bein' punished, River. I thought we did our time. I thought-…I thought we was gonna get our chance."
He leaned his hands against the wall and breathed heavily. "Bein' here was suppose to keep us from losin' more. An' here we are, little more'n a year later getting' ready to lose more'n we ever thought we would. It just ain't fair. It just-" He choked back his words, clearing his throat.
"You remember that last night we set up on the couch in the common room?" She remained silent. He knew she remembered. "I asked you ta leave with me."
He looked over his shoulder toward her, but kept his gaze trained on the hardwood floor. "Didn't lie when I said I hated ya, but you can hate somebody an' still care 'bout 'em…like this."
River wiped at the solitary tear that had trickled down her cheek. At the sound of her sniffling, Jayne whipped around to face. "Didn't mean to make you cry, Honey."
He climbed up the foot of the bed to sit next to her and she burst into tears as she leaned into him. "It was so much easier with them not here. It was so much easier missing them when there wasn't anything to miss!"
"Oh, Darlin', I know," he soothed, rubbing a hand up her bare arm. He didn't like her crying, but she needed it. Not once had she really cried over it in all the times they'd talked through it. River hiccuped against him. "I can't think past the distance, it's so close and they're whispering in my head that it's okay and they shouldn't make me cold, but they do and it shouldn't be us and them. It shouldn't four versus four."
"I know, but it's gonna be okay, Baby, we're gonna be okay." He kissed her forhead and pulled her closer. "You need to calm down a little. Just breathe real slow like so you can get to thinkin' calmer."
"I miss her," she whispered after a few minutes, "I miss Serenity. I miss what we all were. Sometimes, I wish the four of us could fly with her. My memories are getting sad."
Jayne stayed silent for several moments and River looked up at him, startled. "You want to take me back?"
"I was thinkin', maybe, if I talked to Mal," Jayne said slowly, looking very thoughtful, "maybe he'd let us go on board. Not to stay 'er nothin', but ta see'er."
She sat up and he made sure to keep a hold of her hair, running his fingers through it. "Give us a chance at a proper goodbye to her, maybe find some peace."
"You mean this, truly," River asked. He nodded, "I ain't lettin' him take you, don't worry on that. But I think, maybe, we need this."
River leaned forward and placed a soft kiss on his lips. "You're being very sweet, Jayne."
"Yeah, well," he sighed out heavily, "can't help getting soft with you 'round."
He let out a decidedly happy growl when River snuggled further into his side and kissed his neck. "Quit it, this is talkin' time."
"I think we've resolved as much as we're going to resolve tonight and it's late. I'm done crying, you're done yelling, it's only fair we quit talking."
Jayne snorted and let out a small laugh when he felt River's hands start to wander. "It was talkin' about this that started all that whingin'."
"Stop talking, Jayne," River breathed against his ear, "talking time is over."
Jayne let her pull him into a deep long kiss, helping her pull his sleep pants of even as he asked, "You still got heartburn?"
She kissed him again and smiled against his lips. "Not the clinical kind."
"I'm thinkin' mebbe I might be sufferin' from that not clinical heartburn myself," he growled against her lips as her hand wandered South. River tossed her hair over her shoulder and crawled on top of him. She leaned down to suck and nip at his chest and Jayne hissed out. "Think mebbe we both got a bad case of it. There any cure?"
She came back up to kiss him soundly. "Mhmm."
She pulled away and smiled down at him wickedly. "A lot of sexin'. The kind of sexin' we did in the hayloft."
Jayne's eyes widened and chuckled lowly and pulled her back down. "Woman, you are pure sin sometimes, you know that?"
She giggled into his mouth and sank down on him. "Hush up, I'm trying to sex my husband."
Jayne was reluctant to climb out of bed in the morning just before sunrise, but he had to get the eggs from the chicken coop and check up on the still to see how the next batch of moonshine was coming along. He sighed and slid away from River, kissing her hair. She moaned in her sleep and tried to snuggle back into him. He kissed her cheek and whispered in her ear, "I love you, River," and slid all the way out of bed. He made sure to tuck the blankets in around her so she didn't get cold and then pulled his discarded sleep pants back on and headed for the bathroom for a quick shower. Sam was seated in front of the bedroom door, waiting for him as he did every morning and he remained seated as Jayne wandered into the bathroom, patting him on the head as he passed.
After his shower, Jayne made a pot of coffee in the kitchen, knowing Zoe would be up soon. She had always been the earliest riser on Serenity having been a former soldier and it was about that time for her to be getting up. He poured himself a cup and leaned against the counter to stare at the back of the couch, trying to talk himself out of doing what he was thinking. He frowned to himself and walked over to the couch. He shook Simon's shoulder. "Hey, Doc, time to wake up."
Simon started awake and then scowled when he realized who it was that had awakened him. "What do you want?"
"We got some stuff to talk on," Jayne said with a serious expression, "figured maybe now's a good time to do it. Get dressed."
Simon rose and went into the bathroom and Jayne went back into the kitchen. He poured Simon a cup of coffee and gathered up his supplies while he waited, ignoring how tired he was, how worn down he felt.
He loved his wife and he loved his home and it angered him almost beyond reason to think those that had been his crew, his family, would believe he wasn't entitled to them. And he was, he knew it. He had every right to River and their home.
Simon emerged from the bathroom and came into the kitchen. Jayne pushed the cup of coffee across the table to him. Simon took the cup with another glare and asked, "Why are we up at this beastly hour?"
Jayne managed to hold in his longsuffering sigh and said in a steady voice. "Got chores to do. If we hurry, we can get back 'fore River's awake an' get breakfast ready for 'er."
"Why do I need to do go with you? I'm sure we can 'talk' later."
Jayne stared at him thoughtfully for a moment, as if debating on whether or not answer. Simon was sure he's just going to roll his eyes, but instead Jayne surprised him by saying calmly, "Well, River an' I got a certain routine we do 'round here. When I ain't workin', we spend a lotta time together. This is the one time a day I'm all by my lonesome an' I figure the things we got ta say to one another are things that need ta be said in private."
Simon still couldn't help eying him suspiciously. "Understandable. Go on."
"I also figured it would give you an idea of what it is I do 'round here exactly."
"Alright, I'll go," Simon responded after a very tense minute or so of silence. Jayne nodded, down the rest of his coffee and head for the door. Wolf was waiting outside for him. Jayne shoved a basket Simon hadn't seen him carrying into his fist. "First things first, we collect the chicken eggs. You hold the basket."
Simon agreed silently. He had no desire to reach under a hen, though he was slightly annoyed at the idea that Jayne knew this as was trying to be civil by taking pity on him. When they reached the fenced in area that surrounded the coop not far from the barn Jayne turned to Simon and ordered, "Wait here while I walk the perimeter to make sure nothing tried to dig under the fencing."
Simon nodded and watched Jayne as he walked along the perimeter and then looked back up at the coop. It was larger than he remembered thinking it was upon first seeing it. From far away it had seemed much much smaller.
He jumped when Jayne said from his other side, "Well, you ready?"
Simon just nodded. The coop smelled horrendous and he did understand how Jayne could stand it. Jayne moved from bird to bird, removing the eggs with a surprisingly gentle and steady hand. Unable to stand the silence, though it was less awkward than Simon had expected it would be, he asked, "So what did you want to talk about?"
Jayne clenched his jaw as he thought. "I thought maybe we oughta talk on what's been happenin' 'tween me an' yer sister since we left, but first I'd kinda like ta know how all of you have been holding up."
Simon stared at the larger man, dumbfounded. "You do?"
Jayne nodded and regarded him seriously. "We didn't leave 'cause we wanted to, Doc. We left 'cause we wasn't wanted."
He let Simon digest this simple statement before speaking again. "Back then, I weren't much on the observin' side, but even I could see we weren't exactly welcome an' seemed th'only person who really cared what happened ta me was River."
Jayne stopped for a minute, worrying on his next words. He looked down at the egg in his hand and said quietly. "I asked River t'go with me. She said no."
Simon's brow furrowed in confusion. "Then why did she leave?"
Jayne set the eggs in the basket Simon held and sighed. "She didn't wanna be alone, Simon."
"She wasn't," Simon argued, feeling offended, "I was there, Kaylee was there."
"Yeah, you was both there," Jayne agreed. "But you was there for each other, not her."
Simon glowered up at him, but Jayne continued, "You didn't even come t'find her when she was sittin' up on that bridge an' you didn't hold at night when she cried over Book an' Wash. I did."
Simon continued to listen to Jayne, but he didn't stop scowling. "I'd say I'm glad you didn't, seein' as how it ended up with us gettin' t'gether…"
The solemn, sad look on Jayne's face caused his anger to recede some. "But she's yer sister an' it shoulda been you. Not me."
When Simon remained silent once more Jayne returned to what he had been doing. "So, how is everyone?"
Simon was surprised to find he didn't actually know the answer. "Good, I think."
Jayne just nodded once. "Heard the ship ain't doin' s'good."
"Yes, I think Serenity is finally wearing down. Kaylee doesn't know what's wrong sometimes. Parts just blow unexpectedly."
If Jayne had any thoughts on what could be the cause, he didn't voice them. "Think we got 'em all. Let's take 'em back to the house."
"You said River hasn't been having any fits," Simon ventured, as he followed Jayne out of the coop.
"Nope," Jayne said over his shoulder, "she's saner than anyone I've ever dealt with."
"I find that hard to believe," Simon snorted. Jayne chuckled to himself. "Yeah, I suppose her cuttin' on me that one time would cause a body to doubt it, but she's doin' good."
"You find that funny," Simon asked acidly. Jayne shook his head still grinning to himself. "Naw, ain't ever funny when somebody goes wooly on ya like'at, but now I find it hard not ta laugh on."
"You held a grudge for quite a while."
Simon saw him shrug in the faintly growing light. "Yeah, well, it don't make much sense ta hold things against th'person yer married to. Especially, after they apologized."
"So, if you weren't married and she hadn't apologized, you'd hold your grudge?"
Jayne snorted at the sheer idiocy of Simon's question. "Don't be stupid. A'course not. Yer just twistin' my words to yer likin'."
"Look, Jayne, I admit, some of the behavior you exhibited toward my sister yesterday was quite comparable of behavior exhibited between proper married-"
"Proper?!" Jayne whirled on Simon with disbelieving eyes. He shook a finger at the younger man angrily, his temper finally having gotten the better of him. "Don't you Gorramn lecture me on the proper way a goin' about havin' a relationship!"
Wolf growled quietly beside Jayne's feet, slinking behind him with his ears flattened. Simon scoffed. "Oh, and what do you know about having a healthy relationship. I know you claim this one is, but how many healthy ones did you have before now?"
"Just 'cause I weren't spendin' my time getting' all wrapped around some woman at every port we was docked in don't mean I don't know how ta have one."
"I'm sure," Simon laughed sarcastically. Jayne exhaled sharply and stared down at Simon. "You know what? Just forget it. Go on back ta sleep. I don't ruttin' care what you think."
Jayne pulled the basket from Simon's hand and yanked open the screen door and stalked into the house. Simon stormed in after him and was about to say something-anything-to further set off the ex-mercenary when a soft, sleep-laden voice called out, "Jayne?"
Their head both whipped up to look at River, who was standing in the bedroom doorway. She was still having trouble focusing on things and she was trying hard not to yawn.
"I thought you were going to sleep in with me." She sounded so put out. Jayne pointed to the basket in front of him. "Had to go gather the eggs. Did we wake you up comin' in?"
She shook her head and shifted her eyes from him to Simon before looking at him pointedly. "The thunder outside did."
Jayne frowned at himself. "I'm sorry."
"It's alright," she said with a sleepy smile, "you were very brave. Will you please come back to bed?"
He nodded. "I'll put the eggs up an' be right in."
She gave him one last sweet smile before she closed the door. Simon's glared radiated anger. "I thought you said she was better. "
Jayne hastily set about putting up the eggs. "She is, Doc. She was talkin' 'bout the yellin'."
Simon deflated some. It made sense. "Oh."
Jayne didn't even bother to look at him as he headed for the bedroom. "See ya in a little while."
Jayne shut the door behind himself and pulled his shirt over his head as he kicked off his boots. River peeked up at him from under the covers and watched as he divested himself of the rest of his clothing and then climbed in next to her. She let him pull her into his arms and wrapped herself around him in return.
"You tried to talk to Simon so that I wouldn't have to," she whispered softly, reveling in the feel of his fingers playing along her spine. She felt him nod against her. "He ain't too happy an' I didn't want him sayin' somethin' to ya that would hurt yer feelin's."
"Made yourself hurt instead, you feel heavy."
He turned to face her and traced her jaw with the tip of his finger. "I'm sorry we upset you so much. Didn't figure we'd fight so early on, but we did."
"Welcomed him to paradise and he sent vipers into our garden," she said with understanding. Jayne cupped her cheek and kissed her lightly on the lips, moving his arm between them so that she could pillow her head on his forearm the way she liked to. "I wish it'd worked the way I thought it would."
River smiled sleepily. "Rival pack can fend for themselves. I'm staying in my den."
"I'll stay with ya." He pulled her closer and smiled into her hair. "S'my day off anyway."
A/N: Okay, to address a couple of questions in the comments. What does River and Jayne being together have to do with the rest of Serenity's crew? Nothing. They're just nosy bastards who are unhappy. Plain and simple. They don't like it because they don't think it's right and the blame Jayne and River for the deaths of Book and Wash.
River is four and half months along. She was two months when Mal and Zoe decided to go back to Harvest and badger Jayne into giving them money to repair Serenity. Serenity is slowly deteriorating, in much the same way the relationships between each of the crew members did, excluding Jayne and River. As Mal said at the end of BDM, love keeps her flying. And it's River and Jayne's love and their love of Serenity herself that still manages to keep her flying. Factor in the fact that Serenity is falling apart and that on their way back to Harvest they must also do jobs to have money to get there, it would take two and a half months by my estimations for them to finally get to Harvest. River is showing a bit and she's taken to wearing baggier clothes (like the nightgown in the first section of the chapter).
Why did River make the deal with Zoe? Realistically, there is no way Mal and Simon, both upset over Miranda and blaming Jayne for not being able to save Wash and Book and blaming River for not forseeing their deaths would be able to accept that despite failing them, they could find happiness, when they themselves are still so upset over losing their friends. Furthermore, Simon and Jayne have never gotten along, and factoring in how Mal hired Jayne, Mal has no real reason to believe Jayne can commit to anything that doesn't have monetary value. While they still blame River, and they find some of her abilities to be unreliable, they're still useful and Mal and Zoe realize that. Having a psychic would make stealing so much easier and since they believe she's still crazy, it's not as if she'll really notice being used, will she? Zoe, while not having doubts, does understand, unlike Mal, that certain things need to be taken into account. Whether Zoe, herself is beginning to understand Jayne and River's relationship, I cannot say, but Zoe has her reasons and they're good ones.
Jayne tried to talk to Simon on his own because he didn't want River to have to do it. It would have been too upsetting for her. Going into it, Jayne knew that everything would not be resolved, however he wanted to give Simon something to think about. He didn't want to force Simon to understand, which is one of the reasons he stopped arguing with Simon. Just telling Simon or any other crewmember from Serenity isn't going to make them back off. Kaylee isn't even completely sure, but she's trying to be supportive as well as objective.
Soon, I will begin focusing on Serenity, the other crew members, and finally, the situation with Andrew Stockley.
If anyone has anymore questions, please ask and I shall answer. Reviews are appreciated and i hope you enjoyed this chapter!