Pot o' Gold
Pairing: Mal/Jayne - contains slash! If this offends you or is illegal where you are, don't read.
Disclaimer: This is Joss Whedon's sandbox. I'm just playing!
Summary: Written for the lj community Shiny Hats Summer Ficathon, prompt #20 - What happens in Vegas stay in Vegas - Mal & Jayne do a Ross & Rachel and get married whilst under the influence of alcohol.
It was a routine job. Transport forty crates of industrial grade adhesive to Kerry. True, it was a job from Badger, but the cargo wasn't even stolen.
"It's enough to make a body wonder," Shepherd Book said over dinner the night before they reached the border moon. "From what you've told me of the man, legitimate business isn't exactly his favourite enterprise."
Mal swallowed a mouthful of protein mush. "Why does everyone always assume Badger's out to do us a mischief?"
"Could be because every job we've ever done for him has ended up landing us in trouble one way or another, sir," Zoë speculated, poking at the mush in front of her with a fork.
"Not every job, Zo'," Mal objected.
"How about the one that ended up with Patience shooting you?" Zoë pointed out.
"Ooh, and how about the one where you got stabbed by that Wing guy?" Wash chipped in, grinning.
Jayne added, "Yeah, an' there was that one time when-"
"Enough! I'll admit jobs have a way of turnin' sour when Badger's involved, but that just means it's past time things ran a little smooth." Mal scraped his plate and reached for a bread roll. "Now find something else ta talk on. Don't want you callin' down a jinx on a nice, easy job."
"I saw a leprechaun in the hold," River said, smiling brightly. "It said there will be gold, but it wouldn't tell me where the pot was hidden."
"Mèi mei, you know there's no such thing as a leprechaun, right?" Simon asked gently.
River rolled her eyes. "Small humanoid beings capable of quantum tunnelling in pursuit of meteorological phenenomena have a low probability state, but they provide a useful paradigm for future events."
"I'm confused," Simon admitted. "Does that mean you're, what... telling a story?"
"Ain't the only one confused," Jayne growled. "What've little green men got ta do with Badger, anyhow?"
"Not green, just their clothes," River said. "They have red hair." She popped a chunk of bread into her mouth and chewed, staring at Jayne until he looked away.
"Ain't never heard o' 'em anyhow," Jayne grumbled. "They have gold?"
Mal laughed. "Yeah, in a manner o' speakin'. They're tales from Eath-That-Was, little men who cause mischief. But if ya can find the end o' a rainbow and dig, that's where they hide their pot o' gold. Don't believe there's anyone ever found that pot, though."
"Huh," Jayne pushed away his empty plate. "'Bout as certain as gettin' paid on one o' Badger's jobs, then." He leaned back and picked up his mug, taking a long swallow of tea.
"No jinxing the job! I mean it, Jayne," Mal warned. "Tell ya what, you jinx this job, an' you c'n spend as long 's ya like diggin' for that gold, cos we'll need it."
"What'd you do with it if ya found it, Jayne?" Kaylee asked, smiling sweetly.
Jayne shrugged. "Depends how much gold," he said. "If it ain't that much, might 's well get me some ammo an' some beers, find someone ta have me some fun with."
"What if it's more than that?" Simon asked, fascinated and repulsed by the merc's leer.
"Buy more guns. Or a ship. Or a whole gorram moon. I don't know, I told ya. Depends on how big that there pot is." Jayne shrugged.
"What about you, Cap'n?" Kaylee propped her chin on her hands, elbows on the table.
Mal looked up sharply, one eyebrow quirking up. Making himself relax, he said, "Oh, I make a point o' not diggin' up mythical pots o' gold. When their owners come lookin' for 'em, I hear it can cause a world o' trouble, which I ain't rightly wantin' ta bring down on our heads. Seein' as how trouble ain't normally got too far to look ta find us."
"So you believe in the little folk?" Book asked, surprised.
"Didn't say that, Shepherd," Mal corrected. "Any mythical folk want ta show up in front o' me, I'll be happy ta oblige 'em by believin'. 'Til then, I'll keep my beliefs ta my own self, an' I'd be all manner o' happy if you all were ta do the same."
There was an uncomfortable silence while Mal finished his hunk of bread and drained his mug. He pushed back his chair and stood up.
"I do believe we're landin' at eleven. Jayne, I want the cargo ready to offload before we break atmo. Zoë, you're with me an' Jayne. Buyer should be expectin' us."
"I just hope they're ready to welcome us with open arms, not open guns," Wash muttered as Mal left the galley.
"It'll be shiny," Kaylee said confidently. "Won't it?" She looked from Zoë to Jayne.
Book spoke up. "You know, gambling is against the teachings of my order. But if anyone cared to speculate on the outcome of this adventure, I'd be happy to hold any chore slips."
"You running a book, Book?" Wash asked, grinning.
"Not at all," the Shepherd replied, straight-faced. "Just offering my services as an honest man."
"If you say so." Wash was sceptical, but fished a handful of small pieces of paper out of his pocket. "I've got... Double garbage duties, say we'll have a quick getaway." He tossed the chit onto the table.
"Oh! Here, cookin' fer a week!" Kaylee chimed in, excitedly.
"What fer?" Jayne asked.
"Ya gotta say what yer bettin' on," Jayne explained patiently. "Else it ain't a wager."
Kaylee blushed. "I'll take a double-cross on payment."
Zoë nodded approvingly. "Dishes, three days. On someone gettin' arrested. How 'bout you, Simon?"
"An entire week of laundry on my professional services being required." Simon placed a chit carefully on the pile in the centre of the table. "River?"
River grinned, sudden and quick. "Unfair. I bet a new scarf from each of you that there will be gold found in unexpected places before we leave the planet."
"You have to bet a chore," Simon explained.
River shook her head and laughed. "The leprechaun says there will be gold, and I can see the rainbow!"
"Riiight..." Jayne drawled. "Fine. But when ya lose, I don't want no pink girly scarf, emdŏng ma/em?"
"I'll have yours," Kaylee said, cheeks dimpling. "So what're ya bettin', Jayne?"
Jayne carefully pulled out a worn, crumpled piece of paper from his back pocket. Smoothing it out, he laid it on the table.
"Septic tank." A chorus of groans sounded around the table. He nodded. "I'm bettin'... Cap'n gets another wife."
There was silence around the table, then Kaylee and River collapsed into giggles. Wash and Zoë exchanged glances.
"Looks like you're on," Book said, collecting all the chits. "And for all our sakes, I'll be praying we only get double-crossed."
The next morning, Serenity approached the planet as Mal stood in the cockpit with Zoë while Wash guided the ship in.
"Is that...?" Zoë began, staring out of the cockpit.
"Huh. Green clouds," Mal commented. "Gotta say, I ain't rightly ever seen clouds that shade o' green before."
"I'm not reading anything out of the ordinary," Wash said, hands moving confidently over the controls. "They're clouds. Just..."
"Green," Mal said. He shrugged. "Guess we'll find out what that's about when we land. We cleared?"
Zoë nodded. "Got permission from Derry control to land at dock six."
The landing went smoothly. Wash guided the Firefly transport to their assigned docking bay, where they touched down so gently that River, balancing on tiptoe over the drop to the cargo bay, didn't even wobble.
Mal jogged down the stairs into the cargo bay. He thumbed the intercom. "Listen up, people!"
Zoë and Jayne followed him into the bay, while Simon and Book came through from the infirmary. Kaylee stopped near River, at the top of the stairs.
"There's law on Kerry, 'specially here in Derry. Ain't Alliance, though. Which means Simon, River, yer fine ta go out in the world. Though if ya wait 'til we're done with the cargo, you might have more company than just Book.
"Kaylee, there's a junk yard 'bout a click down the road. See if they've anythin' we need.
"Wash, you're here 'til we're done with the cargo. After that, less'n somethin' goes wrong, you've all got while eleven tomorrow mornin' 'fore we're leavin'. emDŏng ma/em?"
Ayes and a 'Yes, Cap'n', came from his assembled crew. Mal looked them over, and nodded. "Open us up, Zo'."
Zoë hit the button which lowered the ramp and opened the doors. "Good to go, Cap'n."
Mal walked to the head of the ramp, taking a good look at the docks around them. "Wash, we heard from our buyers?"
Wash's voice echoed over the intercom. "They're meeting as arranged. Directions are in the Mule."
Jayne and Zoë supervised the offloading of the cargo. Coin didn't necessarily burn a hole in the Cap'n's pocket, but a fair chunk of the agreed price had gone to Kaylee for parts. Accompanied by Wash, she was happily unbolting a thruster coupling from an old mark two shuttle. River, Simon and Book were in charge of procuring supplies of fresh vegetables from the nearby market.
Mal was in the Dockmaster's office.
"What d'ya mean, we can't leave before tomorrow afternoon?" Mal asked, pushing back his long coat just enough to display his revolver.
The Dockmaster shook his head. "It's Saint Patrick's Day," he explained.
"He's a man from Earth-That-Was, drove out all the snakes from Ireland. An' when we came out here, he drove out all the things that'd kill a man, let us settle in peace."
"Wasn't it the terraforming did that?" Mal said, snidely.
The official shook his head sadly. "The Lord moves in mysterious ways," he said. "His agents are with us in all we do."
Mal reined in his temper. "So you're tellin' me there's a festival on, an' we have ta stay until you all are over yer hangovers?"
The Dockmaster nodded and grinned. "Yeh've got it! Docks'll be open fer business again, ooh, say two o' the clock termorrer afternoon."
"Fine. Here's our docking fee," Mal said, producing the rest of the coin.
The Dockmaster shook his head. "Dockin's free ta all who come ta celebrate. Make sure ta have a nice evenin', now."
Bemused, Mal left to find his crew.
Predictably, the crew was none too bothered to be staying on Kerry a few hours longer. And equally predictably, they ended up in a bar together at the start of the evening. Once immediate needs - dinner and a round of drinks - had been consumed, the crew relaxed and watched the locals.
"So what did you say this Patrick did?" Wash asked. "Pest control?"
Mal shook his head. "Snakes, if I recall correctly."
"And that deserves a celebration like this?" asked Zoë, incredulous.
The rest of the bar was full of people wearing green clothes. Some of them had even dyed their hair green. Even the beer was a lurid shade of... green.
Mal shrugged. "Guess it explains the clouds," he said, taking a cautious sip of his green beer. "Don't taste too bad."
Jayne downed the rest of his pint. "Nope," he agreed, and belched.
Kaylee punched him on the shoulder. "Eeuw, Jayne! You ain't got no manners," she complained good-naturedly.
With a proud grin, Jayne pushed himself to his feet. "Nope!" he said, and headed for the bar.
"Cap'n!" Kaylee protested, then sipped at her own green brew.
"Ain't nothin' ta do with me," Mal said. "Don't pay him fer his manners."
"Just his muscles, is all," Kaylee grumbled.
"Shénme?" Mal asked, shocked.
"Fer all his knives an' guns, an' such," Kaylee elaborated, waving her pint vaguely in the direction of the bar.
Simon ducked the green beer as it sloshed over the rim of the glass. "River, I think it's about time we were heading back to the ship," he said. "Kaylee, would you care to accompany us?"
River and Kaylee looked at him suspiciously.
"I'm not entirely sure I can find my way back without a little help," Simon conceded.
"Sure, I'll help ya find yer way home," Kaylee said, smiling, and lurched to her feet.
"I think I need a little guidance," Book admitted, putting down his mostly-untouched pint. "Would you mind if I tagged along?"
"Shiny!" Kaylee grinned. "Simon?"
Simon took her arm. "Have a good evening. I'll leave out a few hangover cures in the galley, just in case."
Jayne, back with more beer, grinned. "Shiny."
As they made their way out of the bar, Kaylee said, "That don't count, right?"
Simon smiled. "I don't think that really counts as my professional services, no."
Half an hour later, Zoë returned from the bar with a large key.
"Husband, I reckon it's time to head on up."
Wash hastily finished his beer and nearly tripped over the table in his hurry to stand up. "Coming, wife!"
"Sad," Jayne said, watching after them. "He's so whipped."
"Hah!" Mal laughed, surprised. "Zoë's the one tied down."
"You didn't see her in the war."
"Huh. Least they're gettin' some."
They sipped their beer in silence for a few minutes, while the bar grew more rowdy.
"Want another?" Mal asked, setting his empty glass down on the table.
"If yer buyin'," Jayne conceded, just as the crowd burst into song.
With a raised eyebrow, Mal surveyed the bar. "Do my best..."
It took a while, but Mal made it back from the bar with a glass in each hand. Amber liquid shone through the murky glass. Jayne frowned.
"That ain't beer," he said.
Mal grinned. "Nope!" He set a glass down in front of the merc, being careful not to spill any. "Folks seem ta think we're here special fer the festival. Wouldn't let me pay."
"So what is it?" Jayne asked, taking a cautious sniff.
Jayne froze, pint in hand.
"Really. A pint o' whiskey. Each. For free," Mal crowed, and took a sip. He coughed. A few seconds later, tears streaming from his eyes, he wheezed, "Might not be the finest..."
"Happy Saint Whozits day, then," Jayne said, and drank.
The singing was loud and Mal couldn't quite work out what the words should be, but that didn't stop him and... Was that Jayne...? joining in. Glasses mostly empty, they waved them about with abandon.
"Ain't never bin married," Jayne sulked. "Yeh've had a wife."
Mal turned his head carefully. "Yo-Saff-Bridge? She weren't no wife. Tried ta kill 's, 'f I 'member rightly..."
"Still, she were a wife."
"... You sayin' yer lonely, Jayne?" Mal asked, incredulously. "Got all yer girls, an' the whores o' the verse pinin' after ya!"
Jayne shook his head, pouting. "Ain't a bad life, Mal. Got my own bunk, an' ten percent. Better'n I c'd hope fer anywhere else. Ain't like I'm some... settler, or nothin'. An' I don't get shot, or stabbed, or hit too often. Boy's even a decent doctor. Still. There's times. Deep inna Black. A man could use a body, emdŏng ma/em?"
Mal nodded. "Yeah, I hear ya." He raised his glass in a toast, only to realise it was empty.
"'S this way!" Mal insisted, wobbling down the road.
"Nah, this way's shiny. Er." Jayne insisted, tugging at Mal's shirt.
They stumbled a few more paces, then Mal stopped, and Jayne lurched into him.
Mal stared down at the road in front of him. In the light spilling from windows around them, the road was glittering.
"Huh. Yer right. 'S shiny."
The two men came to a stumbling halt outside the sign.
"Rainbow's End Chapel," Mal read slowly. "Wonder if they'd know where we wuz."
Jayne dropped his chin on Mal's shoulder, leaning heavily. "... yeah..."
"Welcome to Rainbow's End Wedding Chapel," a chirpy voice said. Mal and Jayne winced in unison. "How can I help you?"
The men looked down. In front of them was a short man, maybe five feet tall. He was dressed entirely in green, and tufts of red hair stuck out from under his hat.
"'S a leper... leprechaun..." Mal slurred. "Look!" He pointed with a wobbling hand.
Jayne shrugged. "Where's yer gold, li'l man?" he asked, still leaning on Mal.
The man smiled brightly. "Right this way!" He ushered them into the chapel.
Mal and Jayne surveyed the tray of gold rings in front of them.
"Well, ya said y'ain't bin married 'fore," Mal said, doubtfully.
"Yeah, 's'pose..." Jayne agreed. "How 'bout this'n?" He plucked at a chunky band and tried it on. "Fits!"
Mal picked out a thinner band and slipped it onto his finger. "Fits!" he agreed, jovially.
"Sign here," the little man said. Not a leprechaun, but Father someone-or-other, Mal couldn't quite recall.
He took the proffered pen and scrawled an approximation of his signature over the datapad. Jayne took the pen and made a squiggle which could have been his name.
"By the powers vested in me, I pronounce you husband and husband," the leprechaun said, and grinned. "You may now kiss each other."
"Never said nothin' 'bout kissin'," Mal grumbled.
Jayne grunted and tugged Mal towards him. "Bìzŭi." He lifted a large hand and threaded his fingers into the Captain's thick, dark hair. "Hol' still." He leaned forwards and gently pressed his lips to Mal's.
Mal's eyes widened. He lifted a hand to Jayne's chest to push him away, but the merc deftly increased pressure, tilting his head and slanting his mouth against Mal's.
Mal opened his mouth to protest, but then Jayne's tongue slid inside and for some reason, Mal's eyes fluttered shut. Lăotiān, but the man was a good kisser!
A polite cough broke them apart. Mal wobbled a little as Jayne stepped back, feeling the loss of the big man's heat and strength.
"Congratulations!" the leprechaun said, shaking hands with Mal and then Jayne. "I can see you're anxious to get started on your wedding night, so I'll wish you the very best and see you on your way."
"Uh... Which way're the docks?" Mal asked thickly.
Mal and Jayne staggered out of the transport in front of Serenity.
"Much 'bliged," Mal said, raising a hand in farewell.
"Yeah, thanks 'gain, little man," Jayne said. "Take good care o' yer gold."
"Have a wonderful life," the leprechaun said, and drove off leaving the two men to make their way into the ship.
In the cargo bay, Mal hit the button to close the airlock doors, then jumped as Jayne pressed up against him.
"We gettin' a weddin' night?" he asked huskily.
Mal shivered as Jayne's breath blew against the sensitive skin of his neck. "Didn't think 'bout it," he admitted.
Jayne wrapped his arms around Mal's waist, holding him close enough that Mal could feel the merc's bulge pressing into his buttocks.
"I, uh..." Mal stuttered. His brain shut down as Jayne licked his neck, then sucked at it. He leaned against the bulkhead as the tall man flexed his hips, rubbing his arousal against the Captain's tight pants which were, inexplicably, getting tighter by the second. Especially when Jayne's hands started wandering. One big, strong hand ran upward, over Mal's abs and chest, then circled around Mal's nipples. The other hand rubbed at Mal's crotch, stroking him to hardness.
"Not... not here," Mal gasped, and Jayne growled. He moved back just enough to spin Mal around, then pinned him to the bulkhead, kissing him mercilessly.
"Whoah!" Mal yelped as the ship lurched around him, sickeningly. It took him a moment to realise this was because Jayne had scooped him up and was carrying him towards the stairs. "Put me down!"
Jayne silenced his protests by the simple expedient of kissing him again, extremely thoroughly. He climbed the stairs, grunting under the weight, and headed for the crew quarters.
Mal wasn't entirely sure how the merc had managed to manoeuvre them through doorways without smacking him against the doorframes, especially after the pint of whiskey and all that green beer. But by the time Jayne had carefully set him back on his feet right by the hatch to his bunk, Mal's head was spinning from the kisses, not from concussion. Well, mayhap a little from the booze too.
"Gonna open up?" Jayne asked, voice low and husky, and incredibly arousing.
Mal gaped, lost for words.
"The bunk," Jayne explained. "'r we goin' ta mine?"
Mal entered the code with unsteady fingers and kicked the hatch open. He dropped down, landing unsteadily. Before he could regain his balance, Jayne was there behind him, pulling the hatch shut.
Then he took a step towards Mal.
His composure well and truly lost, Mal took a step back, hit the bed, and sat down suddenly.
Jayne moved towards him with all the grace of a predator. Mal felt himself sobering up rapidly as the merc pulled his t-shirt up and over his head in one fluid movement, his wedding ring glinting in the low light.
Then Jayne was pushing him down, covering him with his muscled torso, kissing Mal again, and Mal couldn't think about all the reasons why it shouldn't be happening.
His hands slid over Jayne's body, mapping the contours of his muscles, searching out his shoulders, his ribs, his waist. With a mind of their own, they found Jayne's belt, fumbling in their haste to undo it. And his mouth, too, had a mind of its own, from the way it sought out Jayne's mouth, his neck. From the way it groaned when Jayne pushed his suspenders down, tugged out his shirt and finally freed him from his trousers which were surely too gorramn tight.
Jayne grunted as Mal's wayward hands reached inside his cargo pants and found his hardness. He bucked as Mal's hand closed around him, stroking him firmly, and the other cradled his sac, squeezing gently.
"Gorramn it, Mal!" Jayne muttered, moving against Mal. "Too many gorramn clothes!"
Mal agreed. In short order, their clothes were heaped on the floor, and hands were free to explore. Jayne's long, muscled legs tangled with Mal's, wrapping round each other. With mouths locked together, Jayne rocked against Mal, desperate for friction.
"Any lube?" he whispered, lips ghosting down the length of Mal's neck.
"... drawer..." Mal muttered, intent on finding Jayne's nipples.
"'s a weddin' night," Jayne said, grabbing hold of a small jar. "Wanna do me first?"
"Yanno, then I'll do you." Jayne opened the jar and scooped out a fair-sized gob of lube.
Mal's puzzled frown disappeared as Jayne stroked the Captain's diăo, hand sliding up and down his length.
"... sure..." he managed, and Jayne grinned.
The merc moved above him, lining up his dimple with Mal's hardness. He settled onto Mal slowly, centimeter by centimeter, the hard ring of muscle tightening around Mal.
"Cào!" Mal cursed as Jayne's heat slid around him. He fought to keep his hips still as Jayne paused to adjust to him.
"Gorramit, Mal!" Jayne groaned. "Ya feel so ruttin' good!"
Mal could only manage a moan in reply as Jayne slid down him, engulfing him entirely.
Jayne set the pace. Mal was still too astounded to find himself ass-deep in his merc to take control of the situation, but parts of him were surely appreciatin' it.
With a loud cry, Mal spilled into Jayne's body, and the big man slowed and leaned down to kiss him.
"'s all right," Jayne muttered as Mal shook. "I gotcha."
Slowly he lifted himself off Mal's softening length, kissing him as he lay down beside him.
Mal felt Jayne nudge against his hip, breaking through his stupor.
"Jayne, yer still..."
"Yeah. You okay fer this?" Jayne asked, uncharacteristically tender. "'Cause if not, I c'n wait."
Mal smiled and kissed his husband. "Go ahead."
He turned onto his stomach, and Jayne found the jar of lube again. Quickly, he coated himself before reaching between Mal's legs and finding his opening.
He circled it with a well-lubed finger, then pushed. When Mal grunted, he leaned forwards and bit the back of Mal's neck.
"Ow!" Mal complained, then, "Oh..." as Jayne's finger slid inside him. "Mmm... Oh, God..."
Jayne grinned against Mal's neck, slowly sliding his finger in and out of Mal's ass.
"Feels good, huh?" he asked, crooking his finger.
"Ohhh... heck, yeah," Mal breathed as Jayne found his prostate and stroked it.
"Ya ready?" Jayne asked, settling his weight between Mal's legs.
"Unh-huh," Mal moaned as Jayne withdrew his finger and settled his diăo between Mal's legs.
He pushed slowly but insistently against Mal's opening until Mal pushed back and he slipped inside. With the head of his diăo just resting inside the circle of muscle, Jayne paused.
Mal took a couple of deep breaths. Despite the whiskey and the beer, he could still feel the burn of muscles unused to penetration.
"Ya okay?" Jayne asked, trembling with the effort of keeping still.
"Mhm," Mal managed. Finally he relaxed enough for Jayne to push deeper.
"... So tight!" Jayne murmured, kissing the back of Mal's neck and round to his ear. "Yer so ruttin' good!"
Mal moaned and pushed back against the merc, seating him fully inside.
"Gorramit, Jayne! Fuck me already!" Mal choked out, desperate to feel the big man move inside him, and already getting hard again.
Jayne grunted, and moved.
Thrusting into Mal, he leaned on one elbow, wrapping his arm around Mal's chest. The other arm snaked under the smaller man, reaching for his diăo. When he found it, he wrapped his fingers around it and with each thrust Mal pushed into his hand.
"Ain't gonna last," Jayne conceded, murmuring into Mal's ear. "Yer so gorramn tight, so hot, I can't hol' on... Ohhh!" he groaned, thrusting erratically and then spilling into Mal.
With a shout, Mal clenched around him and came again, thin seed spilling onto the sheet.
There was a long pause while they caught their breath, then Jayne rolled to the side, pulling out of Mal. He wrapped his arms around Mal and kissed his temple.
"Why'd we wait so long ta do this?" Jayne murmured, pulling him tight.
Mal took a deep breath, then another. "Cos we ain't that bright," he suggested, reaching for the blanket.
"Yeah, 'bout right," Jayne conceded.
Mal turned in Jayne's arms, resting his head on the bigger man's shoulder.
"Sleep well, husband," he said, and placed a quick kiss on Jayne's jaw.
"Nngh," Jayne replied, tightening his grip on the Captain as he fell asleep.
It was close to mid-morning when a knocking on the hatch woke them.
"Whu-?" Mal called and turned his head. He groaned as industrial hammers pounded at his skull from the inside.
The hatch opened, and Zoë descended the ladder. "You missed breakfast, sir, an' Jayne ain't back. Just checkin to see you're... Oh." Her jaw dropped, and there was a long pause.
Mal heard Wash, in the corridor above. "He's not dead, then? I'll put on some coffee." Footsteps retreated towards the galley.
Mal groaned. An arm he hadn't realised was around him pulled him back against a solidly-muscled chest.
A mouth nuzzled lazily at his ear.
"Mornin'," a husky voice growled.
"Mmm..." The mouth continued its exploration of Mal's earlobe, then carried on down his neck.
"Uh, sir?" Zoë said uncertainly. "I should go. Unless you need me ta shoot Jayne." She stared at them, unable to tear her eyes away from what was surely an hallucination.
Mal cleared his throat. "Best go. We'll, um... be up... little while..." He trailed off as one of Jayne's hands moved down underneath the blanket.
"Right! Leaving now, sir," Zoë fled as fast as she could, shutting the hatch firmly behind her.
"... what're ya doin'?" Mal asked, breathless. He started to turn over, but stopped as the hammers pounded harder on his skull.
Jayne grinned against Mal's neck. "'M enjoyin' ma mornin'," he said laconically. His hand found a sensitive part of Mal's body.
"I c'n feel that," Mal said, clearing his throat as a rather large part of Jayne's anatomy pressed insistently against his buttocks. He had to fight hard to hang onto his train of thought. "I mean... Cào! What're ya doin' enjoying yer mornin' in my bunk?"
Jayne threaded his fingers through Mal's and tugged their left hands out from under the covers. Holding them in front of Mal's eyes, he turned their hands so that Mal could see their wedding rings glinting together, then pulled Mal's hand back towards him and dropped a kiss into the centre of Mal's palm.
The unexpectedly tender gesture took Mal by surprise, and he didn't object when Jayne propped himself up on one elbow so that he could lean over and kiss Mal gently on the lips.
Snatches of the night before popped into Mal's brain. Green beer and loneliness. Kissing. Lots and lots of kissing. Lots of kissing Jayne, in fact. Rather like this. When had they started the kissing?
They broke apart, breathless. Jayne was hard against Mal's hip, and Mal was astounded to find himself just as ready and aching for Jayne's touch.
"Was there really a leprechaun?" he asked, looking up into Jayne's eyes. They were dark with passion, and since when did that thought make his diăo so painfully hard?
Jayne grinned. "Yeah," he said, cupping Mal's face with a large, warm hand. Mal could feel the merc's ring brush his cheek. It was warm too, and oddly enough, he wasn't freaking out like he probably should have been. Not with Jayne's solid bulk right there, pressing against him, muscled and so gorramn reassurin'.
"Ní hăo, zhàng fū," Jayne murmured, and kissed Mal's temple. "How 'bout enjoying the mornin' with me?" His hand slid back down Mal's body, fingers diving underneath the blanket to wrap around his diăo.
"... 'kay!" Mal squeaked, and did.
Around lunchtime, hangover subsiding, Mal made it out of bed, and out of his bunk. Jayne followed, with a small detour to his own bunk for clean clothes.
The galley was packed. Book was just dishing up something which smelled quite tasty, for once. The rest of the crew were already seated, and from the way they all turned to watch as he came through the doorway, Mal knew Zoë had to have mentioned something.
"Mornin'," Mal said, cheeks turning a little pink.
"Afternoon," Zoë said pointedly. "How was your evening? Sir?"
Mal sat down carefully in his customary place at the head of the table. He picked up his mug and poured some water into it.
Zoë stared at his hand.
"What?" Mal asked, defensively, shifting uncomfortably on the hard chair.
"Just ain't never seen that particular ring before," Zoë commented.
As one, the crew looked at Mal's hand, just as Jayne came through the doorway behind him and took his own place at the table.
Zoë glanced at Jayne. "Nor that one, neither."
"What?" Jayne asked, reaching for the bread. "Ain't y'all eating? 'M starved." Seemingly oblivious to the tension in the room, he tore at the hunk of bread while the crew watched, fascinated.
Simon cleared his throat. "Is that a wedding band?" he asked faintly.
Mal raised an eyebrow, then glanced down at his hand. "I do believe it is," he said, sounding surprised. "Why?"
"It's just that I don't remember you having one yesterday." Simon explained.
"Oh, right," Mal said, and took a sip of his water. "'Bout that..."
Jayne grinned. "Yeah... Ain't none o' ya gonna wish us congratulations?"
Everyone stared at him.
Kaylee squeaked, "Ya made an honest man o' the Cap'n?"
Jayne nodded. "Uh-huh. 'S honest as he's made o' me."
Book placed the last of the bowls on the table. "Congratulations, Mal, Jayne. I wish you a long and happy life together."
The stares turned to him. He smiled, briefly. "I had a wave through from Father O'Hara, wanting to make sure you were all right today."
"Who?" Mal asked, confused.
"The Minister who married you last night."
"The leprechaun!" Jayne said, grinning. "Tol' ya he weren't no figment o' yer imagination."
"Apparently not," Mal agreed, tucking into his lunch.
River laughed, the sound tinkling like crystal in the galley. "You found the pot of gold!"
"So it seems," Wash said. "Unless it's all an elaborate ruse for Jayne to get out of tank duty." He eyed the merc suspiciously.
Jayne grunted. "I got an achin' pìgu says it ain't, an' I ain't the only one sittin' funny here."
Wash looked from him to the Captain, who had turned an interesting shade of red. "Really?" he asked, "Because I remember my own wedding night-"
"Don't make me have to hurt you, husband," Zoë remarked casually, reaching for the bread.
"But we want to hear the details!" Kaylee leaned forward eagerly. "Was it all romantic? Who proposed? It was you, right, Cap'n?" Not waiting for an answer, she rushed on. "An' how come we didn't know 'bout it? It figures Jayne's had a thing for ya since he came 'board, but you two kept it real quiet! C'mon, spill, already!"
Everyone stared at Kaylee. She went pink.
Mal put down his spoon and cleared his throat. Ignoring Kaylee's outburst, he said, "So you all were runnin' a book? Who won?"
Zoë replied. "River said there'd be gold. We all owe her a new scarf."
River nodded, content. "And the others have tank duty."
"Jayne? Wanna tell me how come you're gettin' out o' tank duty?" Mal asked, raising an eyebrow.
Jayne coughed and shifted uncomfortably. "I kinda bet yeh'd get yerself another wife."
"Really." Mal's face hardened.
Jayne had the decency to look ashamed. "Yeah, seemed funny at the time. Weren't expectin' it ta be me."
Unexpectedly, Mal laughed, long and loud.
"What?" Jayne said, indignant. "What's so gorramn funny?"
Mal choked down his laughter and wiped a hand over his face. Grinning, he said, "Guess that settles the question once an' fer all."
Everyone stared at him, puzzled. He explained, "'N this marriage? Yer the wife."
There was a pause, then they all burst out laughing. Even Jayne grinned. "Guess it's a good job I like ya in them tight pants, then. Husband mine."
Eyeing their wedding bands, Mal nodded.
Mèi mei - little sister
dŏng ma - understand me
Shénme - excuse me
Bìzŭi - shut up
diăo - penis
pìgu - backside
Cào - fuck
Ní hăo, zhàng fū - Hello, husband