Paradise

By Lady Cleo

Summary…Rayne, First Kiss Story.

One line stolen shamelessly from Frank Herbert's 'Dune'… For fans it should be easy to spot.

-

"It's just a crush. She'll get over it soon enough, doc. It was bound to happen with one of us sooner or later. And considering the candidates aboard this vessel, I'd say- well I'd say there weren't any, but apparently she thinks Jayne's a decent one."

"But he's- he's the man ape! After all that's happened between them, after-"

"What are you so worried 'bout Doc, ain't like Jayne's entertain' the idea of doin' anything with her. Last I checked he's still whining 'bout the butcher's knife. "

"He's a morally corrupt-"

"Hell, doc, I ain't disagreeing that he isn't the best candidate. Just saying that the kid ain't got much of a choice, it's not like I'm willing to take on extra crew just so she can have a decent first crush. And if you're worried about Jayne touching her, well, it's like I said, he ain't forgotten that butcher's knife and he ain't gonna for sometime."

-

Jayne pulled his ear back from the wall and snickered. "Ruttin' fools couldn't be farther from the truth." He declared and turned around to face his co-conspirator. River beamed up at him bouncing onto her toes for a second at the mental praise his mind gave her, "Reckon you ought ta play along, so they stick to their little misconceptions." Turning around Jayne started back for the cargo bay, River trailing a step behind him. "Idiots wouldn't know what was happening if'n it hit 'em square in the face."

"Not idiots," River contradicted quickly. "Can't see beyond the image of girl; understand that the toy was broken, but seem to have forgotten that what was broken was put together again, only missing a piece."

Jayne reached the cargo bay floor and paused, turning around he faced the smaller girl. "You sure they ain't purposely forgetting cuz they don't wanna think 'bout a little girl being something she ain't supposed to?"

River answered his silent accusation quickly, "Irrational dislike strikes from the core. It is easiest to hate those you've hurt, easier to hate those that have unintentionally hurt. Simon didn't purposefully steal away the attention."

"What the hell you talkin' 'bout girl?" Jayne demanded storming over to the center of the cargo bay, River following close after him. "Wasn't ever sore 'bout losing attention to that pansy brother of yours." He cleared his throat roughly. "What do you want ta practice tonight?"

River raised an eyebrow. Walking around him she pulled the knife from the back of his pants and flipped it, catching the tip with her finger prints. "Avoiding the issue, long nose!"

Jayne spun on his heels glaring down at her. "Who you calling a liar here? Ain't that like the kettle calling the pot… green or yellow, or whatever the hell color it was."

"Black," she answered easily, taking up a stance in the middle of the cargo bay she glared down at the makeshift target. "Can't deny what once felt, even if it has slipped from the front. Hurt still lingers on- wouldn't have lasted anyway, not your type. Need stronger one."

"You offering ta be that stronger one." Jayne inquired, walking around her slowly he took up a position behind her. Pressing against her back his arms slipped over hers, mimicking her position.

"Picture in mind numbers from ground, numbers do not lie- resides in place, adds up to knife." She explained taking a deep breath. "Close eyes." Slowing moving their arms back into the throwing position she took a deep breath. But she was finding it hard to concentrate with his distracted thoughts ripping through her head. "Focus!" She snapped as her foot stomped down on his, she waited for the responding groan before closing her eyes again.

"Already know how to throw a gorram knife, wanna know how ta hit a target with out using my damn eyes, woman. How in the hell is this gonna help me."

"Trust the prodigy- step at a time." She felt his mind reluctantly shift gears, focusing on the imagined target in his head instead of the smaller body pressed close to his. Counting her breaths she maneuvered their bodies together and with a sharp flick of their arms and wrists sent the dagger gliding across the cargo bay and thudding into place on the target.

"Awareness is key!" River declared confidently as she opened her eyes to examine her aim. But his thoughts had already shifted back to the previous frame. With a sigh she realized that her student was too distracted to learn anything today. "Girl is more focused then allegedly sane one." She muttered under her breath.

"You ain't answered the question girl." Jayne declared his head dropping down to her level he peered into her face. His arms slipped down hers to loosely take a hold of her hips and he waggled an eyebrow. "Cuz if you're offerin' I figured we could have a little fun. Lessin' of course you're afraid of tangling with the likes of me."

He was teasing, his thoughts told her that much, yet the knowledge seemed to only make her even more irritable. Pulling roughly from his grip River spun around to face him on her tips toes, "Fear is the mind killer-"

Jayne rolled his eyes and laughed gruffly, "Hell, girl, you don't scare me none." He took a step closer to her and watched with an amused smirk as River took a startled step back, "Why ya backin' up?"

Jayne leaned forward slightly and watched as the girl stumbled around for a legitimate reason, something that should have been easy for a genius, but her face flushed and she remained silent.

He watched her intently for a second; the curve of her lips were drawn out in a thin line, her eyes tracing his face and occasionally falling to this lips. His amused thoughts shifted to admiration as the nervous light sparked across her eyes- a dangerous light for a crazy genius. He was treading where he shouldn't, daring down a path that could leave him with another scar across his chest. But he couldn't help but wonder for a second whether she would taste dangerous, whether she would feel like adrenaline in his arms. Yet, he imagined it would be more likely for her to taste like her brother's drugs, maybe feel like a shot of ecstasy through his blood. His eyes unconsciously shifted back to her lips and his tongue darted out across his lips.

River's eyes suddenly went wide and she squeaked. "Wouldn't."

"Wouldn't what?" Focusing his attention back to the girl's eyes Jayne snickered and took another step closer, in response the girl once again took several steps back, but Jayne persisted in following after her. "Ya know that ain't helpin' your image. Fact it's having the opposite effect. Why ya afraid of me, little girl?"

"Not afraid." She answered, finally coming to a halt when she ran out of room.

"Ain't like I'm gonna kiss you or anything." Jayne muttered huskily, trying to laugh the tension off, but his teasing had evolved into something beyond his control. Reaching out with his hand he traced his thumb down her chin, watching her lower lip tremble slightly, her breath suddenly cascading a degree faster then it should have. Lifting her chin he leaned in closer. "Why'd I wanna kiss a crazy girl?" He whispered as her eyes fell shut.

Without a first or second thought he pressed his lips to her in a chaste kiss, felt River shift before him, moving to her tip toes again. Taking it as a sign of approval he leaned in closer and deepened the kiss, apply more pressure and parting her lips beneath his.

River's hands jumped from her side, coming up to grab a hold of his shoulders. His free hand slipped around her hips, pressing into the small of her back as he pulled her closer, his other hand slipping around her neck to tangle into her hair, cradling her head.

Beneath them the ship trembled as it descended down through atmo, Jayne tightened his grip on River, balancing them against the shuddering ship. His eyes slowly opened as he pulled his head back from the smaller girl, his gaze tracing the outline of her face for a second as he took a trembling breath.

The ship hit smooth air and the trembling bulkheads were suddenly still again. Mercenary and genius remained in place, still locked in each others arms as Wash's voice suddenly cracked over the comm. "It was a bumpy ride, people, but welcome to Paradise."