Hiding Ch. 9

Disclaimer: Joss is boss. If you don't know that by now...le sigh.

Author's Note: ...Okay so I'm a terrible person who never updates her fics. Sorry folks. I try.

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"Come. Sit." And with those two words, and the excited hand gestures and emphatic nods at her pilotin' seat, Jayne suddenly found himself wondering how he'd gotten himself into this. He'd just gone up to the bridge to bring River a strawberry or two from the box he'd gotten on-world. Then one thing to another, and...

"Jayne. Please?" Her big brown eyes in her little face, and the smile...aw, hell.

"You know Mal wouldn't like it none, me sittin' in yer chair." His words were gruff and matter of fact, even as he sat in her seat anyway. She'd only been flying again for a couple weeks. How had he gotten here again? Oh, right. He'd said something about not -

"You said you couldn't comprehend how one so small could pilot something so large. Would like to show you." She leaned over his shoulder, pointing at screens and switches, explaining away. "That one is for communications. This, navigation and radar. This..." He tried to follow, he really did, but her mind moved at about a lightyear every second, and her mouth wasn't far behind. After his third or fourth nod and noise of agreement, River stopped and looked at him with a giggle. "You do not comprehend."

"Yer a little hard to follow River-girl." He smirked back at her. "Is there gonna be a test later or somethin'?"

"Jayne! No testing. Silly thoughts." She tapped his forehead twice with her index finger, and they both chuckled. She straightened up, no longer leaning over his shoulder, and then fluidly sat herself in his lap.

"Whoa, River..." Jayne started to protest, but she was having none of that. She tutted at him and pointed at the console, where she put one hand on the steering mechanism, and the other hand grabbed one of his, placing it on the steering with her. "With me, now. See? Easy as pie." And he knew she'd picked up that expression from him. Or maybe Kaylee, but it was nicer to think it was from him.

"Not so bad, I suppose." Jayne was just glad they were gliding through the black and not doing anything important. He'd probably foul it up, and then they'd both be in deeper go-se then he'd ever appreciate.

River looked over her shoulder at him. "No, not so bad at all." And that smile was back, and all Jayne could do was stare at it for a few seconds. And then she was biting her lip, and he was leaning in, and in a heart-stopping, searing moment, their lips met in a chaste kiss.

Jayne broke it nanoseconds after he started it, and started to babble out an apology. "River, I'm so..."

"Bi zui." River whispered as she turned in his lap, throwing her legs over the arm of her seat and wrapping her arms around his neck, kissing him again. Jayne groaned and kissed her back, hands in her hair as he promptly took control, kissing her slowly, confidently, until they had to break for breath. He leaned his forehead on hers and took a steadying breath as his hands flexed on her back.

"Girl, what are we doin'?" He closed his eyes as he whispered the loaded question.

"Living." Was her simple answer.

They sat like that for quite a while, one or the other pressing the occasional chaste kiss to the other's face. Peaceful was the best word Jayne had for it. Home was River's.

But no peace lasts forever, does it?