I own nothing.
Italics are Jayne's thoughts.
Jayne checked his list over in his head.
Buy stupid flower. Done
Buy stupid jewelry: Done
Be nice to her pansy-ass doctor brother: Kinda done.
Jayne was at a loss. What in the Gorramn hell was he s'posed ta do now? River chose that moment to swing her head out from one of the ducts. "You could take me on a date."
Jayne jumped and hit the deck simultaneously, River's eyes following the arc of his body as it flailed to the ground. River's head disappeared above him for a moment before he caught sight of one of her barefeet peaking out of the duct as she climbed out slowly, coming to kneel by his head. She moved her fingers through his hair and frowned. "You have a bump."
"You scared me," he grumbled lamely. River leaned up against the bulkhead and settled Jayne's head in her lap and continued to rub his scalp soothingly. "You are terrible at courting."
"Think I don't know that you moonbrained girl," he snapped, then groaned when her fingers danced over his scalp in a way that made it tingle. She brought her other hand up to cup his face. "You should be more careful, you may have gotten a concussion."
"Uh-huh." Jayne mentally winced. Why couldn't he ever say anything manly around her? It was bad enough everybody else thought he was an idiot, but River thinkin' it was downright horrifyin'. Jayne brought his hand up to feel the bump. He groaned and let his head fall back into her lap. "Startin' ta think yer more trouble than ya look," he mumbled. River frowned. "You are such a boob."
"No, I ain't," he snapped, "You are! Yer all wantin' girly things from me an' all..."
"No, I never asked you to do girly things for me. You assumed I wanted you to do them for me." She bit her lip. "However, it would be nice, I must admit, to be treated to a real date and we are planet side...and I have never been on one."
"You an' me both," he snorted as he rubbed his head. She swatted his hand away and he glared. She gave him a look. "You're rubbing it too hard. You'll make it worse."
"Mal'd never let me take you out anyways. Thinks I ain't good 'nough fer ya." His scowl melted into a pout. Well, what does Mal know anyhows? I'm plenty good fer anybody! Just 'cause Mal's got a stick up his ass the length a the boat don't mean he can go 'bout makin' his Gorramn stupid opinions know ta ev'rybody in the ruttin' verse.
River adjusted herself on the grating, careful not to jostle him. "You are good enough."
River rolled her eyes, smiling despite herself. "For me."
"Well, since it's just yer opinion that matters, guess I'm alright with takin' ya out-"
Jayne gaped at her. What in the hell did that mean?! What would make her think he'd take'er ta one a them places? "I may be an ass, but I ain't that big a ass."
River averted her gaze, properly chastised. "I'm not good at courting either."
"Then quit tellin' me what ta do!" He groaned as he sat up. Jayne wobbled to the side slightly and anchored himself with his right arm as he pushed up slowly. He stretched and helped her to stand.
"You should be more careful not to injure your cranium," River said as she continued to rub the back of his head while standing on tip-toe. He glared, growling down at her, "Well, I wouldn't of if ya hadn't takin' it upon yerself ta jump out at me like a crazy freak!" He tilted his head to the side. "What was you doin' up there anyways?"
Jayne mentally berated himself. Why in God's black 'verse had he fallen fer someone he didn't understand in the least bit? She was like a Gorramn jigsaw puzzle with half a the pieces missin' an' some all bent outta shape! He let his eyes run the length of her tiny frame. A'course even with all them pieces missin' she sure was somethin' ta look at. An' Wash had been right; her rubbin' soup in people's hair-especially Cap'n Dumb-ass's-was high-larious. Best was when she'd tell them dirty jokes she done pulled outta people's brains on a job. She always did it 'round the Doc an' he'd go all bug-eyed an' sputter...Okay, so her bein' all addlepated weren't no big deal ta him no more. Mebbe that was why he liked 'er so much.
She bit her lip as she grinned up at him, her entire face lit up by some light weren't really there. "And that, Jayne Cobb, is why you are good enough for me."
"You don't mind the listening."
"Okay..." Why was she always Gorramn readin' him? Couldn't she lay off it fer one second an' let him think on his own? "So, the whole datin' thing-"
River stepped forward. "Dance with me."
"Wha-huh?" Jayne's eyes darted around in confusion. River smiled. "Dance with me, Jayne."
"Here? Right now," he asked as she took his hand and placed it on her waist. She nodded and he groaned. Why is she so Gorramn difficult? "But someone's gonna see us!"
"Just take my hand. If you dance with me now, I won't make you dance with me in public," she snapped, snorting. Jayne smirked and did as she asked, pulling her to him roughly and leering. "Yer gonna kiss on me after right?"
River raised an eyebrow almost coyly. "It's possible."
"Either y'are 'er ya aren't, now which is it?" River smiled in amusement when he stomped like a small child as he whined. He glared at her. Didn't matter how cute she looked or how much he lo-liked her. Christ on a cracker had he suffered untold amounts of grief from the rest of the crew on his deplorable courtin' matters. "Ev'ry person on this boat thinks I done gone soft 'cause I been doin' all this dumb stuff fer ya an' I ain't even got nothin' ta show fer it...well, I do, but that's all private!"
"I never said you had to court me."
"What?" That moonbrained, little-so she was willin' ta kiss on me an' do all that really shiny stuff with her tongue-
"I never said-"
"I heard you," he howled, "so now ya don't like me?"
"You were just never required to court me." Oh. Wait...
Jayne glared in confusion. "So..." He bit his lip as he continued to sway back and forth with River in his arms.
"So," she encouraged. He raised a hopeful eyebrow. Please let it be copulation, please let it be copulation. Copulationcopulationcopulation- "Copulation?"
Jayne stopped moving. Oh yes, River was gonna let him sex her soon. This courtin' thing is just gettin ta be right shiny! River looked up at him expectantly and his eyes widened. "Right now?!"
"If you want."
"But, but, but..." It really was too much for a man of Jayne's appetites to handle. "You mean we coulda been sexin' this whole time?!" Oh, what the fu-
"Why didn't you say so?!" Sonofa-
"When I told you people who had been courting as long as we had were already copulating."
"Well, what was I supposed to do then? Haul you up and carry ya off ta my bunk?!"
Jayne froze and opened and closed his mouth at her for a few moments. He continued to open and close his mouth more as he looked around at their surroundings, completely ignoring Mal who was walking toward them on his way to the bridge. Mal watched Jayne's confused face in masked amusement as he passed, doubling back to stand next to the pair when Jayne squinted heavenward with a "Huh." Huh.
"Huh, what?" Mal asked.
River continued to stare up at Jayne patiently. Jayne finally turned his gaze downward his eyes wider than usual. "Well, hot damn." Ain't never heard of girl who'd rut 'fore the first date...Hot damn, my girl is all kinds a shiny. Jayne slowly slid his eyes over River's body once, twice, thrice. Oh, yes, sex with River is gonna be the best ruttin' thing in the 'verse. Dear Lord, thank you fer givin' me a woman with shiny legs an' a shiny backside, an' shiny lips an' very very shiny shiny bendy moves-
"Hot damn what?" Mal asked, "what happened?!"
"Jayne is done having his epiphany?" River asked. Jayne nodded down at her, his lips slightly parted. "This matter ain't nothin' ta trifle with," he warned, "cause copulation with kissin' is a whole different matter, ya know." -an' her shiny acrobatic tongue, an' her shiny hands an' shiny little noises she makes when I'm...just thank you. Or Buddha. Whichever a you two done it, I sure as shit owe ya. Sorry fer cussin'.
"Jayne," she sighed, exasperated, "I know."
"Well, hot damn!"
"You already said that!"
"Why does it ruttin' apply?" Mal queried as they continued to ignore him.
"Copu-whata?" Mal blinked. "That a word even?"
Jayne nodded again mutely, too overcome with excitement to articulate. River beamed up at him, tugging him toward the hatch of his bunk. Mal glared as the pair disappeared down the ladder into Jayne's bunk. The hatch hissed close and Mal continued stare.
"Somethin' wrong, Sir?"
Mal turned his glare on his first mate. "Zoe, what does epiphany mean?"
"the realization of the meaning of something. Why?"
Mal frowned. "Okay, well then what does copulation mean?"
Zoe raised an eyebrow and pursed her lips. "Where'd you hear that word?"
"What does it mean?"
Mal's face contorted in disgust and he turned slowly to stare at the hatch to Jayne's bunk.
"Sir, are you okay?" Zoe turned to follow his gaze. "Oh-Oh...huh."
A/N: So, not sure I like this as much as its predecessor, but it was fun writing. Fluff is always fun to write. Please review.