After the dinner dishes had been cleared away, both Inara and the Shepherd excused themselves from the table and retired for the evening. River wandered out of the kitchen, with a look on her face as if she'd been distracted by space fairies, as she began murmuring gibberish about cushions and toenails. Simon trailed after her, doing his best to talk her out of her moon-brained delirium (and failing miserably as always).

Wash cracked open a bottle of rice wine he and Zoe had picked up on Persephone, and offered it around. Mal, Zoe, Kaylee and Jayne eagerly held out their mugs and Wash filled them with the young vintage. They were all in a good mood: their last job had gone well (meaning nobody got shot and they got paid), and due to their recent stop on Persephone, they'd been eating fresh produce for the last two days. A break from protein packs and canned food always served to raise morale.

With the second round of drinks they migrated from the kitchen table to the lounge, although the Captain left them for the bridge at that point to take the first watch of the night. The merriment continued, and when the wine ran out, Kaylee skipped out of the room and rematerialised with a cask of moonshine to keep the party going.

Finally, against the protestations of their remaining companions, Zoe dragged Wash away to bed, leaving Kaylee and Jayne alone together on the couch. Kaylee put her feet on Jayne's lap, as if to hold him down.

"Don't even think about it Mister! You're not goin' nowhere, I'm not done partying yet" she said with a cheeky smile. Then she leaned her head back against the cushions of the couch and closed her eyes for a moment. "Phew, that stuff is strong!" she commented. Jayne didn't know if she was talking about the rice wine or the moonshine – or both – so he just harrumphed in response and began massaging the delicate little feet in his lap.

Kaylee made a sound like a cross between a sigh and a moan. Jayne couldn't help but wonder if she made noises like that in bed.

"Where'd you learn to do that, Jayne?" she murmured. Who woulda thought those big rough hands could feel so good?

"I rubbed my mama's feet every night back home" he replied, with something akin to pride in his voice. Jayne loved his mama, and he wasn't ashamed to admit it. It made Kaylee smile.

He began working up her calves with his strong fingers and was rewarded with more little moans of pleasure. He watched her face; her eyes were closed. She was the prettiest little thing in the whole gorram 'verse. He'd thought so since the first day he'd met her. The only thing that had changed since then was that he'd come to learn that she was tougher than she looked. Contrary to her sweet demeanour and pink toenails, she was an incredible mechanic and she could take care of herself. Smart but naive, sweet but sexy; so many contradictions in the one beautiful girl.

He'd shared the ship with her for this long and never made a move; he couldn't wait any longer. He leaned forward and took one of those perfect girly toes into his mouth. He looked back up to her face to gauge her reaction. She half opened one eye, a coy smile tugging at one side of her lips. Her eye closed again as she let the sensation wash over her.

She hadn't stopped him – Jayne took this as an invitation to continue, and sucked on each toe in turn, then began kissing a line up her shin. He stopped at her knee where her rolled-up khaki overalls impeded his journey, and moved onto her hand, kissing the back of it, then her palm, and working his way up her arm.

Kaylee had fantasised about Jayne before, but she had never imagined he could be so gentle, so tender.

He continued to trail kisses all the way up to her neck. "So what do you think, little Kaylee?" he murmured when he reached her ear. She slowly opened her eyes and looked up at him, biting her lip playfully as she considered her response. She made her decision.

"I think neither of us had had any sexin' in a good long while" she answered as she shifted her position on the couch to straddle him.

Wo de ma, this is really happening, thought Jayne in disbelief. He sat paralysed in anticipation, waiting to see what she would do next. She leaned in slowly and kissed him ever so gently on the lips. Jayne couldn't help but groan at the rush to his loins from such a soft caress. "And I think I'm gonna take advantage of you tonight, unless you get yourself outta here real quick."

"I ain't goin' nowhere, baby girl" he said, with a wolfish grin.

She gave a doe-eyed smile as she placed her palms against his bristly cheeks and continued her sweet assault on his lips. His temporary paralysis wore off and he slipped his hands around her hips to her back, wanting to crush her delicate frame against his own, but reminding himself to be gentle with her.

She shifted to align herself with the bulge straining against his pants and this time they moaned in unison at the sensation. Her kisses became more fervent as she rubbed against him, and Jayne thought he would explode. Sweet, sexy Kaylee. He wanted to cradle her gently and ravish her all at the same time.

"Come on" she murmured against his lips. She got up and took his hand. He smiled knowingly as she led him - not towards her bunk - but to the engine room.