AN: River has been playing hide and seek with me lately. But as soon as I catch a glimpse of her she's off and running. It's been gorram frustrating! Finally pinned her down this morning.

Disclaimer: None of the royalty checks come to my house.

"You're outta your gorram mind, Moonbrain. More'n usual." Jayne grumbled.

River bounced on her toes, an excited expression on her face. "It will be most jocular."

Jayne paused, his mind momentarily distracted as it tried to figure out what in gorram hell the feng le girl just said. She bounced again, drawing him back to their conversation. When his partner had first started these pranks, Jayne hadn't seen no harm. Hell, he'd enjoyed them. 'Specially since Mal and Simon were her favorite targets. But this, this was just…just…

"Fa Feng!" He exclaimed, backing away. Moonbrain weren't getting him spaced over no prank.

Her lower lip jutted out. "She needs his assistance." Her eyebrows scrunched up. "Scene cannot be set as a monologue. Two principle actors are required."

Jayne backed up another step, shaking his head. "Ain't no way in gorram hell I'm playin' this game."

River's frown deepened for a second before a smile brightened her face. "Kaylee! She will ask Kaylee!"

The girl started to turn. Jayne's jaw dropped as his mind supplied an image of how that would look. Shun-sheng duh gao-wahn. He was concentrating so hard on the fantasy in his head that it took him a full minute to realize that River had turned back to him and was patiently watching him. She cocked an eyebrow at him. He shrugged in return. They'd been partnered for awhile now. River knew the rules, if she were gonna go peakin' in his head, she couldn't be complainin' 'bout what she saw there.

He shooed her with his hands. "Well? Go get Kaylee then."

"Sun shines first and foremost on the planet which orbits her."


"She will breach the sacred trust."

Jayne stared at River, hoping time would unravel her words.

It didn't.

River rolled her eyes. "Kaylee. Will. Tell. Simon."

Jayne could see how much effort River had put into each word. Pride momentarily filled him. The girl was improving. The progress was slow, but steady. The girl was smiling hopefully at him again though.

"No. Ain't doin' it, Crazy."

"Jayne," she pleaded, pouting out that lip again.

"Now you know I love your pranks. And I don't make a habit a'arguin' with you." She sent him the look. The one that said chwen joo. "Fine. I do make it a habit. But this time I'm right. I have a game we can play. It's called Jayne Don't Get Spaced Tonight."

Her little prank would get Jayne thrown out the airlock. If he were very lucky, Mal wouldn't let Simon torture him first. Jayne weren't feelin' real lucky.

River's face cleared. She nodded. "She understands. He is scared."

"Now I didn't say nothin' 'bout bein' scared." Jayne blustered.

She stepped forward and patted him on the arm. "She knows. The ape man is afraid the sissified Core doctor will paralyze him again and cut on him." She spoke in a rough voice, imitating Jayne's voice to the best of her abilities.

"Too scared." She said with a shrug. "Farce would be ruined."

Jayne narrowed his eyes. "Fuhn Pi."

"Ta Ma De"

Mal Reynolds stared down at the couch, his mouth hanging open. Well, this weren't how he envisioned his day startin' out. It'd take some shufflin', but he could deal with this. First, he'd have to clean this mess up 'fore the good doctor got an eye-full. Throwin' Jayne out the airlock weren't gonna take no time t'all. Be a week or two 'fore he'd set down on a skyplex or moon big 'nough to replace the merc. Probably best to save burnin' his eyes out for the end of the day though. Mal shuddered. He weren't never gonna get this sight outta his head.

Shoulda noticed the first clue. Her dress was hangin' right out in the open from an open cabinet in the galley. Emptied bottles of booze were scattered on the table. Jayne's shirt was draped over a chair at the kitchen table. Her boots were half-way across the floor. He damn near tripped on 'em and still hadn't notice 'em till now. It was a gorram blessin' they'd reassembled some of their clothes 'fore passin' out in a heap of tangled limbs on the couch. Mal made a mental note to get Inara a special thank you gift for buyin' the girl some proper unders. No tellin' what he'd be seein' if the Companion hadn't taken the girl shoppin'. Girl had been wearin' nothing but shorts under them dresses, and those shorts were over the edge of the couch now.

Mal shifted, knocking over another bottle. It hit the ground with a clink, spilling a few drops as it rolled into Jayne's discarded boots. With a growl Mal kicked Jayne's leg as hard as he could. Again, thankful that the man had put his gorram pants back on. The merc startled, jolting the girl out of her sleep. The girl sat up slowly, stretching. Mal spun around, closing his eyes quickly.

"Get your gorram clothes on, Albatross!" He snapped.

"Has anyone seen River?" Simon's voice called. His voice seemed to get louder as he approached. "She didn't sleep in her bed last time."

Mal groaned as Simon appeared in the doorway, just as River stood, still wearing only her unders. "Ta ma de hun dan."

Simon stopped, his face frozen in a mask of horror.

River calmly reached for her shorts, leaning over Jayne to grasp them. She pulled them on slowly. Simon and Mal finally snapped out of their shock when she started toward her dress. Simon jumped forward, jerking the dress off the cabinet door and rushing toward her with it. Mal turned to Jayne with a fierce look.

"Right 'bout now would be ideal for explainin'."

"Slept on the couch." Jayne stated evenly.

Mal clenched his fist. "Less'n you learned how to survive the black without a suit, you might wanna do a might better job explainin'."

"River, just let me take you to the clinic and run a quick exam on you. I need to make sure that Wong Ba Duhn didn't hurt you."

Anger washed over Jayne as the doc's words reached his ears. He exploded off the couch. "There weren't no hurtin' goin' on last night! I ain't the type of Huen Dahn that goes puttin' his hands on unwillin' girls."

Mal shoved Jayne back onto the couch with a glare.

Simon turned to Jayne with a baleful look. "Even if she were 'willing', River could easily be hurt since she is-was inexperienced."

The two men continued to glare at Jayne. A sound broke the tense silence. The sound didn't belong at all. It took them all a moment to believe they'd even heard it. All three men looked over at River in astonishment as she repeated it.

She giggled.

"The farce has been successful!" She placed an arm across her stomach and folded her body over it. When she stood she sent Jayne a look. "He must bow. He performed most admirably."

Simon spluttered as Mal took a moment to silently come to terms with what had just happened. Jayne rolled his head back to view River. She was beaming ear to ear, pleased with her achievement.

"You done with me?"

She nodded at him, her smile not dimming the least in response to his gruff tone. He shoved his feet into his boots and pushed himself off the couch. Mal was still in shock, so Jayne moved around him, snatching his shirt off the table as he made his escape to his bunk. Maybe he could get a couple hours shut-eye in his own bed 'fore the cap'n got it into his head that Jayne needed another lesson 'bout 'respectin' his authority'.

Mal stared at River, his brain stalled on one thought. He'd been had by the Albatross. Again.

Zoe entered the galley and headed straight for the cabinets to start preparing the morning meal. Her eyes flicked over the room's occupants briefly before turning back to her work. "Nother prank?"

"Quite successful," River bragged.

Zoe chuckled. "Can see that. Ain't never seen Cap'n quite that shade a'red."

AN: Most of the Mandarin is from 'The Firefly and Serenity Database – Joss Whedon: http:/firefly(dot)wikia(dot)com/wiki/Dictionary, so if it's wrong, blame the people who edit that site. The only people I know from China are super religious so the internet is my only source. Guess that site is as good as any other. The below could all be the names of breakfast cereals for all I know.

Feng Le – Crazy

Fa Feng - You're mad

Shun-sheng duh gao-wahn – Holy testicle Tuesday

chwen joo – retarded pig

Fuhn Pi – Accusing someone of lying, a ridiculous notion, or talking out of one's ass

Ta Ma De – Motherfucker

Ta Ma De Hun Dan - Mother-humping son of a bitch

Wong Ba Duhn – Son of a Bitch

Huen Dahn – Bastard, jerk

Have a rough idea for another 1 or 2 little drabbles on this one. Depending on how crazy my holiday weekend is I might even get this updated sometime before I go back to work on Monday. My Thanksgiving is going to be a lot like that movie 'Four Christmases.' Too many houses to visit with too many loud people at each of them.