Cycle by planet p

Disclaimer I don't own Firefly or any of its characters.

River woke in the middle of the sleep cycle, and was unable to get back to sleep. She lay listening to Simon's breathing, and feeling faintly irritated with her sleeplessness.

It was day's later, as they were walking through a busy shopping complex on one of flashier planets, that she realised, as she watched mothers and fathers with children, that what she wanted was a baby. A real life baby of her own.

But a baby didn't come about by itself, she knew. A man was needed to help with that.

As River sat down at a table in one of the little eating houses in the complex, she set about thinking about the man that she'd need to find to help her in her task. She'd want him to have honest eyes, like the Captain, Mal, and he'd have to be handsome and strapping, and she definitely wanted him to be kind and gentle. She'd never pick anyone who was mean and rough.

Across the table, Zoe sat waiting for Simon to arrive back with drinks. Kaylee had had parts to buy, and Mal had had things to do, undoubtedly, as had Inara, and Jayne hadn't been invited, so it was just River and Simon and Zoe.

River thought about Zoe and Wash, and felt terribly for Zoe. She should have known, she realised. If she'd known, then maybe they would have been able to help, and Wash wouldn't have died, and the piece of Zoe that had died with him wouldn't have gone away.

She set her mind to other things, and began watching the people around her, thinking, again, of the man that she'd need to help her make a baby. Would she find him here? she wondered.

She imagined sneaking away with him, or sneaking him onto Serenity, but both of these things would make Simon very upset, and the last one would certainly make Mal upset.

Simon returned a while later with drinks, promising that their food would be over soon, at least, that was what he'd been told, though that was always what they told you, he supposed.

River sipped her drink and watched a children's programme on the television across the food court, though she was mostly watching the children watching the television.

She hadn't meant to River knew, she'd just been curious as to what the toy was, and what Inara did with it, it hadn't been about taking Inara's things, she'd just wanted to know.

She sat on her bed with the toy, thinking about how Simon and Kaylee would sometimes lie on Simon's bed, but how they'd never do anything more than cuddle, because they knew that she was watching.

She sighed, wishing that she had someone to cuddle like Kaylee had Simon. She turned the toy over in her hands, and it slowly became clear to her what it was. As it stood, she didn't have anyone to cuddle at the moment, and she stared down at the toy, wondering what to do with it.

Should she sneak back into Inara's room and put it back? Or should she maybe use it, just for a little bit?

Maybe it would help, she thought. Maybe, then, she wouldn't be so scared when she found the man who'd help her make a baby.

When she was sure that she was alone, and would remain so for an hour to come, at least, she pushed up her skirt gingerly, and contemplated the toy in her hands. She quickly slipped off the bed, then, and slid her underwear down, her hands shaking, and found the spot with her hands, and slid the toy inside herself with a stifled cry and gnashing of teeth.

She stood, for a long moment, beside her bed, legs shaking, and bent over holding tightly to the edge of the bed, unable to move. Then, quickly, she climbed onto her bed and buried her head in her pillow.

She winced as she reached her hand down the mattress, sliding, palm flat, along the mattress beside her body, and then slipping underneath her stomach, to the spot between her legs. Biting her lip hard, she found the switch, and switched the toy on.

She jerked abruptly and clenched her fists in her sheet, pressing her face further into her pillow, and curling and uncurling her toes methodically, her legs feeling suddenly like jelly.

She tried to turn over, and moaned, plastering the pillow to her face, even though it meant that she couldn't breathe.

She wasn't stupid, she knew about sex, she just hadn't thought it would be like this, but, of course, this wasn't with another person; she imagined it would be different with a person.

She curled a fist into the sheet and trailed a hand down her body, pressing it between her legs, and let out a long, low moan that was muffled, somewhat, by the pillow. She continued to rub her hand between her legs for a while, then crossed her legs tightly, rubbing her hand back and forth over her abdomen, and doing her best not to wriggle.

She pushed a hand into her dress, and felt her breast, squeezing it a bit, and rubbing it with her hand. Her nipple stiffened under her hand and she moaned, turning onto her side, and then rolling onto her stomach, again, holding a hand between her legs.

Her pillow tumbled off her bed with the sudden movement, but she didn't get up to retrieve it. She pushed her hips into the mattress, moaning and rubbing herself.

She shouldn't have taken Inara's toy, she knew.

She rolled over onto her back, and slid closer to the edge of her bed to retrieve her pillow, and pulled it on top of her stomach. It was cold now, from being on the floor, and she tugged on an edge of it, sliding it down along her legs, and squeezed it tightly between her legs, bucking her hips gently.

Moaning, she drew her knees up against her body, still holding the pillow between her legs, and slowly pushed herself up into a sitting position, and settled her weight down on top of the pillow, fisting her hands in the sheet once more.

She jerked against the pillow, as though it were a horse that she were riding, and moaned loudly, bent over, pawing at the sheet desperately.

She rode the pillow harder, pressing her palms flat to the wall at the head of her bed, and moaning long and slow.

After a while, she lay back down on her bed, tired, and switched the toy off and removed it.

Later, she brushed her hair and went for a shower, and carefully washed Inara's toy and snuck it back into her room.

She didn't think it would be good for her if she took it again.

At night, she dreamed about getting married, about the wedding dress she'd wear, and the shoes and the cake, and, when she couldn't sleep, she sat up and switched the little light on near her bed and drew pictures in her journal, of the dress, and the shoes, and the tables lined with food, and the bright blue sky.

She would have told Kaylee about taking Inara's toy if she hadn't felt so naughty.

River was happy to be allowed into the drinking house with Simon and the rest of the crew of the Serenity, and, when she heard that there was music, she wanted to run over to where the other couples were dancing and dance too.

Zoe wasn't in the dancing mood, she was in the drinking mood, and, as soon as Simon, Kaylee, and Mal had settled at the bar – Inara was taking a call across the bar – she ordered Jayne to keep an eye on River, and instantly received a scowl and a growl in response.

Zoe wasn't in the negotiating mood either, as it turned out, as she next outlined to him that it was either that, or a bullet in his leg, and not necessarily his leg, but maybe his knee.

Jayne grumbled, upset and embarrassed to be talked to like that, and stormed away, toward River, who was standing watching the people dancing, wondering if one of the young men would come over to ask her to dance soon.

"What're y'up to, crazy?" he growled angrily, as though thinking that maybe she was up to her killin' things with her brain trick, and was trying to see how many people she could off before he stopped her.

River didn't reply but continued watching the dancers. She wasn't about to argue with Jayne when he was unhappy, because he'd just make her unhappy, too, and that would make Simon unhappy, and the others, too.

Jayne grabbed her arm roughly and spun her around to face him, a glare on his face. "Hey, deaf thing, when I talk to you, I expect an answer, you hear me?"

River stared at their shoes, instead of meet his gaze. "How can I hear you, I'm deaf, remember?" she mumbled.

Jayne shook her by the arm a bit, and dropped her arm, letting her go.

She stood staring at their shoes still, feeling a bit dizzy.

Jayne touched her shoulder with a hand and pushed her away from him lightly, perhaps thinking that she'd get the message without his having to resort to any more roughness.

River thought about the time she'd cut him with the knife, then turned swiftly back around to observe the dancers once more. If she thought about cuttin', then she'd want to do some hurtin', then she'd ruin the entire time for everyone.

She scuffed the bottom of her shoe on the floor, and waited to be asked to dance.

She'd been waiting for a long time, when she turned back to Jayne, thinking that maybe if she sent him away, just a little bit, then someone would be sure to ask her to dance. She was sure they were just too scared of Jayne to do so.

Jayne was staring in the direction of the bar angrily, his arms crossed over his chest.

River changed her mind, and turned back to the dancers, getting as close as she could without being stepped on.

After five minutes, she slowly turned back to Jayne, to see if he was glaring at anyone, and found that his attention was still fixed in the direction of the bar.

She turned about fully, and walked up to him, and placed a hand on his arm carefully.

He unfolded his arms abruptly and jerked his head about to see who'd touched him and jerked backward a couple of steps.

"Would you dance with me?" River asked him in a small voice, looking into his face.

Jayne took another step backward, and, a moment later, shook his head roughly.

River walked up to him and took his hand gently. "I think that you're feeling left out at the moment," she told him earnestly, "I am too, but if we're left out together, then we're not really left out anymore."

Jayne stood stock still for a long moment, then, begrudgingly, allowed her to lead him away, toward the dance space.

River looked at the sign posted on the wall, when the music changed, and she noted that it was the half hour disco pop slot. She didn't know how to dance to disco pop, and she didn't think Jayne did either.

She glanced around her as the dancers left the floor, and new ones appeared. She watched the way they danced, and let Jayne's hand fall from her grasp, back to his side.

When she returned her gaze to him, he was rubbing his eye, looking bored and faintly annoyed, and slouching in a horrible way.

She touched his arm to gain his attention and glanced away to the other dancers pointedly, and when she looked back she saw that he was no more interested than he'd been before.

She huffed, annoyed, and took one of his hands and placed it low at her back, receiving a scowling look in return.

She shuffled a bit closer and glanced down at her feet to make sure that she wasn't about to step on his shoes, and glanced at the couple dancing next to them and attempted to emulate their movements.

Jayne didn't bother to even try, until she pinched his arm, and he half-heartedly joined in, glaring at the other couple as though everything he was enduring was entirely their fault.

When the other couple moved closer, Jayne pulled her right onto him, knocking her head on his chest, then, annoyed, and embarrassed that he'd mucked up, held her at arm's length.

River rolled her eyes, feeling the gesture appropriate, and removed Jayne's hand from her arm and replaced it at her back.

Jayne scowled and pulled her closer again, but not quite as close as before, and River rested her hand midway up his free arm.

River thought about drawing in her journal, as she danced, and about watching Simon and Kaylee sleeping for a moment, when she couldn't think of anything to draw, or her hand got sleepy or a cramp, or her eyes just wanted to look at something else other than the page sitting in front of them. She thought about how she wished she had someone to sleep next to her, and watched the other dancers as they danced about them, then accidentally stepped on Jayne's foot.

She looked at Jayne to apologise, and noticed how close they were together, and felt suddenly hot.

How could she apologise when she felt so hot? She really just wanted to run away, outside, where it was cooler and she wouldn't feel so hot anymore.

She felt her leg bump into Jayne's, because she'd stopped dancing, and she realised that Jayne's hand had slid off her back and was resting on her bottom, and felt even hotter.

At first, she thought about placing her hands on Jayne's chest and pushing him away from her and running away, and then it occurred to her that she liked Jayne's hand on her bottom, just a little bit, and that she'd like her hands on Jayne's chest even more, and she felt her face start to go red, redder even than from all of the dancing, and her legs felt suddenly funny.

Jayne was too busy watching the other couple to notice where his hand was, she realised, and felt ridiculous for her thoughts. Surely she would be pleased with any man who danced with her, she thought.

Jayne stumbled, and pulled her against him to steady himself, and River felt her legs go sloppy.

If she hadn't stopped dancing, then Jayne wouldn't have nearly tripped, and he wouldn't have been holding her so close.

More than anything, she wanted to slap herself. She pushed down the thought of being as close to Jayne as Simon and Kaylee were when they slept, except it didn't really work, and she waited for Jayne to step back and allow some space between them.

At the song's end, River pulled away and spun about and made her way back to the bar, where she could see Simon sitting at a barstool.

After a moment, Jayne trailed after her, then, seeing that they were headed toward the bar, brightened somewhat.

Kaylee was sitting at the barstool beside Simon, and River could see that they were talking and smiling, and she could see Kaylee's shoe rested on the bottom support rung of Simon's barstool so that their legs were touching.

She turned quickly back to Jayne, and took his hand and walked away from the bar swiftly.

She marched out of the bar, toward one of the corridors that might have led off to the restrooms, or any number of gambling rooms or other such rooms, and ducked into a little alcove which was suitably shady, and pulled Jayne up close to her.

"You've been nice," she told him. "Maybe I could be nice now too, in return?"

Jayne peered at her through the suddenly darkness, and frowned.

River wondered if it would have helped if she'd written in down in his palm, and handed him a flashlight with which to read it. She stepped up to him, reaching up on her toes, and kissed him on the lips.

"What are you doing?" Jayne grumbled, breaking the kiss, his hands on her arms.

"I'm being nice," River pointed out.

Jayne laughed, the sound loud in the small space. "It'd be sufficiently nice if you directed yourself back toward the bar, and you allowed me to do so also," he told her.

"You have soft lips," River replied, gazing at his mouth and biting her lip. "I want to kiss them."

Jayne choked, and tightened his grip on her arms, as though to prevent her from kissing him.

"I bet you haven't kissed anyone in a long time," River said. "I bet I'm right."

Jayne shook his head.

River placed her hand on his chest delicately, then slid it slowly downward to the hem of his shirt. She slipped her hand up under his shirt, feeling his hot skin graze her palm, and slid her hand up toward up his chest, rubbing circles on it gently.

Jayne's hand loosened on her arms and he pushed her up against the wall, lifting her off her feet, and she wrapped her legs about his waist tightly, whilst he kissed her neck greedily, his mouth hot against her skin.

Jayne let her down from the wall ten minutes later, and straightened her hair with his hands, and they walked back to the bar.

River lay in bed, thinking about Jayne kissing her in the dark, and wished he hadn't stopped.

He wasn't such a bad kisser, and it had made her feel better for a little while.