Rating: R
Notes: For prompt # 47: Earth. Seriously not beta-read, any mistakes in this (and I'm sure there are a few) are mine and mine alone. Now, if any of you out there are willing to give this a beta read for me now that it's been posted, I certainly won't object! This is my first Firefly/Serenity story your feed back would be greatly appreciated!

He felt someone come into the kitchen area behind him. Felt the way that the air moved differently in the room.

"I am a tree," River told him.

Jayne didn't even bother looking up from the pieces of Maggie laid out neatly on the table before him. "No you ain't," he responded. He never saw the point in encouraging her imaginings.

After the Miranda WAVE went out, there were even fewer jobs out there. People weren't interested in making new business partners and arrangements. They were too busy worryin' about what kinds of terra forming were being done on their dust balls to start trusting outsiders.

More often then not they weren't able to stay on a planet longer than it took to re-supply before they were being encouraged to leave. And it weren't just the Law that was getting antsy with stranger neither. Even the common folk di'n't really want to deal with new comers.

Jayne was starting to miss being dirt side longer than it took to load up the cargo hold.

"I am a tree," River insisted as she made her way further into the room.

Jayne just snorted his opinion of that. "Yer flesh and blood jus' like me," he told her, putting the last piece of Maggie on the table.

There was a pause while River moved towards the table and regarded the pieces of one of Jayne's guns. "Physically I am a flesh and blood individual," she agreed, pulling out a chair across from him. "Metaphysically I am a tree. I am a tree without a place to set my roots."

They were always running low on rations lately.

Without jobs money was getting' tight, and Jayne could see Mal tryin' to find work for them. Watched him start countin' the credits and lookin' for ways to keep food on the table and water in the tanks.

Lookin' for ways to keep Serenity flyin'.

It reminded Jayne too much of what it was like before he'd gone and left home. The way his ma would chew on her lip when they were at the market. How his pa always looked run down from pullin' extra shifts.

Jayne was the first to offer up the money he had set aside to send home. Money would go to better use feedin' crew than being sent back home. He couldn't send money to his family if he starved to death.

"You wanna get settled down?" Jayne asked with some surprise. Now that he knew she wasn't playing at being something she weren't he didn't have a problem continuing the conversation as it was.

"I am uninterested in producing offspring at this time," River stated matter of factly.

Jayne started to put Maggie back together, one piece at a time. "Then why you talkin' 'bout putting down roots fer?"

"Roots anchor the tree," River explained, leaning back in her chair to stare out the window into the Black. "A tree without a place to set its roots is sure to die quickly. Unable to draw sustenance and water, swept away in the storm."

There weren't all that much to do out in the Black.

When all the work was done and they were left with more free time than Jayne knew what to do with, he wished desperately for just one dust ball that had a halfway decent whore house. A planet or a moon where they could stay for more than a few hours before they was being encouraged to get their asses back out in space.

Because when there weren't anything to be done on the boat, that's when the sexin' started like it was ruttin' season or somethin'.

And there was only so long Jayne could take smellin' and hearin' the Doc and Kaylee and eventually even Mal and 'Nara ruttin' the days away.

There weren't a safe place on the boat where he could escape it neither. Cause even when he couldn't smell them or hear them, he knew what they were doin'. And Jayne was havin' a hard time rememberin' the last woman he'd bedded.

Even Crazy was gettin' edgy with the way the others were avoidin' goin' stir crazy on the little boat.

"Trees're supposed to already be in the ground by the time they get to be trees," Jayne pointed out.

From the corner of his eye he watched River acknowledge his point before she continued on. "But a tree can be uprooted and relocated. It is still a tree even though it has been dug up from the ground where it had grown from seed to sapling to tree. But it has no anchor to hold it in place. Without a new home to set its roots the tree is no longer grounded."

"So yer wantin' a place to settle in some roots," he stated.


Frowning at the fit of Maggie's barrel Jayne asked, "Thought Serenity and the crew were yer anchor?"

They'd just gotten run off another planet when Jayne realized that he had it easy.

They were back out in the Black, heading to yet another rock where Mal thought he might have some luck getting them a job. The auto-nav was runnin' and Serenity was just hummin' along. Jayne had seen the Doc pullin' Kaylee into her bunk and he hadn't seen Mal or 'Nara since they broke atmo. Zoë was up in the cockpit just watchin' the whole lot'a nothin' pass 'em by and Jayne weren't too keen on interruptin' that.

Down in the cargo hold he'd just gotten settled with his weights when he heard the muted sound of thinly covered bone bumping 'gainst the haul.

Sittin' up he looked over to where the sound was comin' from and it took a moment for him to realize what he was seein'.

Crazy was sittin' on the floor, arms wrapped around them long legs of her's; rockin' back and forth with her eyes squeezed shut. She looked like she was tryin' real hard to do somethin', mouthin' words he couldn't hear. But when her eyes gone and snapped open and she sat up real straight, Jayne felt somethin' that mighta been pity fer her.

Cause he could only smell and hear the ruttin'. And even when he couldn't he only knew it was happenin' and even then he could usually find somethin' to take his mind off that.

River was stuck with it pushin' into her mind. Weren't no escape fer her.

"Serenity and the crew have become my home and my family," River clarified. "They are not my anchor."

Setting Maggie aside, Jayne finally looked up to River where she sat across from him. She was still looking out the window, and Jayne had a feeling she was trying to divide her mind between the conversation they were having and focusing on the Black pressing in outside the ship.

"Yer lookin' fer an anchor, a touchin' stone." It wasn't a question. He didn't really need to ask. He already knew the answer, but it was always a good idea to make sure he was right before he went and jumped to the end of the line. Weren't no sense in getting' there only to find out he'd been standin' in the wrong one.

"Yes," River agreed. "A safe place to set my roots."

Jayne nodded slowly, workin' his way up the line. "Ye know I don't like havin' you muckin' about in my head. Ain't a place fer you to go lookin' fer shelter."

Jayne had seriously considered pullin' Mal aside and havin' a stern word or two with him about all the ruttin'. Jayne was fast approachin' his own limits of what he could endure on that front. And he was damn sure that River was a few steps ahead of him on that front too.

But River had pleaded with him not to tell the others. She didn't want the Doc to go stuffin' her with more drugs, or getting' embarrassed with Kaylee. She didn't want ta be the one to go spoilin' the happiness of the two couples on the boat.

But the next time they touched down on a planet with a clean whore house near the docks, Jayne had put his foot down on the matter. He'd gone and told Mal they was stayin' on that rock fer three full days 'fore they was even thinkin' 'bout settin' off again.

There musta been somethin' in his eye cause it was the first time Jayne ever seen Mal not get tetchy when he was told ta do somethin' he hadn't gone and decided his self.

Jayne had collected River the following day and taken her down to the whore house with him. Not that he told the others that's where they was goin'. Doc woulda skinned him alive iffen he'd known. And Mal sure as hell woulda snatched Crazy right back up and left Jayne chokin' on dust.

Much as he didn't like the idea of it, Jayne had made sure River had gotten herself settled. Even made sure the hun dan had known he'd be eatin' lead iffen he found out River had gotten mistreated.

"Simon is the ground where the tree had been uprooted from," River said as though she hadn't heard Jayne's last comment. "He is the past, the soil that still surrounds the roots and will become part of the present and the future when the tree has been replanted. Kaylee is the sunshine and the gentle rain."

Jayne couldn't fault those two comparisons. She couldn't stay living in the past, couldn't turn herself into the girl she'd been before the Academy had gotten their hands on her. And Kaylee was the brightness they all needed to be reminded existed most times.

"What about Zoë or Mal or 'Nara?" Jayne prompted as he began gathering the materials he'd used to clean Maggie.

"Zoë is still grieving. She is not ready to have a new tree replace the one that was torn from her," River explained softly. They all respected the fact that Zoë wasn't ready to start filling the void Wash's death had left. None of them were ready to start filling in that particular hole. "The Captain is too much rock and Inara is more like the still ocean."

They were silent for another few moments before Jayne finally huffed, "I ain't really got much choice, do I? Unless I want you goin' all crazy like again."

Things didn't get better when they finally started getting' jobs again. Now that they had money to spend, they were fixin' up Serenity with all the repairs she'd been screamin' for. They had Real Food on the table and in their bellies, and Mal had finally stopped bein' a hump about how long a shower took.

But finally havin' payin' jobs also meant the others were usin' the same methods to celebrate as they had to fight off the boredom. Just with more enthusiasm this time 'round.

Jayne had woken up to the sounds of Kaylee's bunk bangin' 'gainst the bulkhead and hadn't been able to get back to sleep. He'd gone into the kitchen to see about fixin' up some grub, knowing Mal and 'Nara were making some noises of their own in 'Nara's shuttle.

He found River in the kitchen up to her elbows in soapy water. Clean and shiny pots sat on the counter next to the sink near her. She was mouthin' the same words as the time he'd found her rockin' in the cargo hold. And this time they weren't goin' ta be settin' down on a planet for a good three or so weeks. Weren't a whore house he could take her to out in the Black.

She'd glanced up at him when he'd entered the kitchen area. And the desperate look in her eyes let him know this was much worse than the first time and she weren't sure how to ask for help.

Jayne had done the only thing he knew he could do for her at that point.

Standin' behind her Jayne had pulled her little body tight against his front. His hands skimmin' down her sides, over her hips and as far down her long legs as he could reach before makin' their way back up under the material of her over sized dress.

Her skin had been soft against his callused hands, her body responding easily to his touch while she melted into him. His fingers found her wet and ready and not wearin' any panties.

It didn't take much to set her off, her body already full and throbbin', it only took a few quick passes over that li'l bundle 'o nerves. But after that first orgasm she started ridin' his fingers, hips rockin' in counter point, rubbin' 'gainst his groin 'fore grindin' into his hand.

But it weren't enough for her, and soon the li'l sighs and breaths turned into soft moans of frustration, and Jayne found himself grind' his hard cock into the soft curves of her ass. It weren't enough for neither of them. The friction was quickly movin' from enjoyable to torture.

River had leaned forward, plantin' her hands on the counter in front of her, steadin' herself. "Please, please, please," River whispered to him, her legs spreadin' a li'l wider apart, grindin' her ass firmly 'gainst his erection.

Jayne hadn't been able to refuse the offer or the plea. He'd unzipped his pants, pulled himself out and was pullin' the material of her dress up and out of the way in seconds.

It was sweet relief to sink into her. Wet, warm, and willin'.

River smiled slightly to him, drawing her gaze away from the window, focusing all her attention on him. "You have the ability and choice to refuse. I would never force this upon anyone. There are other options that I can explore."

With everything put away back in it's case, Jayne slipped Maggie into the top of his pants at the small of his back. He resettled himself in his chair when he leaned back and crossed his arms over his chest. "And what other kinda options you considerin'?" he asked curiously.

"The only other alternative would be to relocate myself on a suitable planet," River told him. "Alone."

"That ain't really a choice," Jayne said. "You decide on that and yer gonna get Mal and yer brother up in a fit. They ain't gonna let ya just leave all on yer lonesome."

River nodded her understanding and agreement. "It is the only other alternative I am willing to consider. I will not remain on this ship while I am unable to defend myself from constant assaults to my mind because the others are unable to contain their jiao pei."

Jayne let out a long suffering sigh. "You ain't gonna complain 'bout you find in my head, ya hear?" Jayne said firmly and then began ticking off his terms. "And you don't go digging around more'n you gotta ta get away from all the ruttin'. Don't go talkin' 'bout what you find. And don't you go tellin' the others 'bout this neither."

"Thank you," River said gratefully, her eyes closing on what Jayne was sure was relief.

He could already see the tension seeping from her shoulders and arms. She was practically melting in the chair. He could feel that slight nudging sensation in his mind, like a thought was trying to work it's way to the surface but couldn't quite reach. It was the sensation that had always let him know when River was mucking about where she shouldn't be.

This time instead of trying to force her out, Jayne made room for her.


hun dan - bastard

jiao pei - mating