Author's Chapter Notes:
Jayne and River begin their honeymoon. WAFFY-ness.

Disclaimer: The wonderful characters of Firefly and the good ship Serenity all belong to Joss Whedon, or Mutant Enemy, or Fox, or whoever actually owns them, and that person or entity is definitely not me. Written for amusement purposes only. No copyright infringement intended or implied. Any original characters are mine, I suppose, unless any of the above would like to make use of them. Fair is fair.

Rating: E


Chapter Four: Ever After

Jayne loved the sound of her laughter. Of all the things he conjured he'd ever love about a woman that was about last on the list. Tits, legs, and a keenness to let him spend lengthy amounts of time between both was generally what he thought he'd appreciate most, but it was the silvery pealing laughter of his wife that jarred his heart and made him fall in love with her all over again. She was laughing now, and it made something inside him dance.

"Higher!" The River-sized bundle squeaked from the folds of the hammock as it sailed enthusiastically into the air.

"Gonna flip inside out if ya swing all the way around," Jayne warned, huffing slightly as he used both hands to elevate her even further. She was reaching the upper level of the arc…he wondered if she would make the full revolution. "Lungs and ribs and innards all over the place…and it's hell to get blood outta this mesh."

"Old wives' tale! Physiologically impossible!" River's muffled voice scoffed happily. "Put some effort into it, ai ren."

Jayne grinned a little, and complied.

After the wedding party, the captain had put Serenity down not far from the wooded clearing where they'd parked her in the spring. Eager for some privacy during their honeymoon, Jayne and River had decided a short camping trip would be the most economical way to spend a few days alone. While Serenity ferried the Cobb family members back to their home moon, the newlyweds intended to enjoy the quiet beauty of Beylix in the autumn, with its warm days and crisp nights, fragrant pine groves and hardwood trees edging into gold and red, the leaves just beginning to spin lazily to the grassy turf.

They'd hiked the through the woods to the little area by the stream where Jayne had camped before, confirmed by the fact that the ring of stones from his original fire pit was still in place. Jayne had wanted to get a fire going and get the encampment set up and squared away before nightfall, but River had insisted on dragging out the hammock first thing.

"Almost there!" River gave a shriek as she crested the apogee. "Yes!" her triumphant cry turned into a high-pitched squawk of alarm as the shifting tension on the far ends of the sling caused the hammock to twist unexpectedly and she began to tumble out.

"Hell!" Jayne moved forward, reaching out his arms instinctively and grabbing whatever part of her he came into contact with first: a forearm, a hank of hair, her shoulder and one thigh. The impact knocked Jayne to the cool, loamy ground, River sprawled half on top of him. They lay there, momentarily stunned.

"Wasn't that fun," Jayne remarked eventually, with a dry wheeze.

River began to laugh helplessly, rolling off him and onto her knees. She looked down at him, her eyes shining.

"It was, actually. Thank you for catching me." She splayed her hands flat across his chest and leaned forward to kiss him.

"Always will," he murmured as their lips met.

He slid one hand around to caress the nape of her neck, holding her head in place. The other hand planed down her back and shifted her over him, pulling her into a deeper kiss and urging her body flush with his. He draped her across his chest and looked at her hungrily.

"You got what you wanted, now how's about I get what I want?" he asked, his voice husky. He used his long fingers to comb the hair away from her face so that he could see her expression.

River smiled down at him hesitantly. "I don't know if I'm going to like the taste. I might…gag."

"You liked everythin' else we done, right?" Jayne murmured persuasively, wrapping both arms around her and cupping her bottom with his large hands.

"Yes…" River admitted, stroking his cheek. "I suppose new experiences are good for the soul."

"And the body," Jayne chuckled avidly. "Let's get to it."

"They're such an odd shade of red…and the shape is strange…so bulbous…" River wrinkled her nose and leaned in a little closer to Jayne's lap, peering down intently. "They look swollen."

"Go ahead and grab 'em…roll 'em around in your hands to ease 'em up…just like that…yeah…some women like to suck on 'em…"

"Maybe later…I'm sort of massaging the skin around them…is this right?"

"Yeah… that's it…" Jayne murmured distractedly.

"How long should I keep doing this?"

"Just a little longer…that's good, honey…"

"Oops, I let one go. It's just bouncing around down there." River's fingers brushed his inner thigh as she reached forward.

"Let me get my meat out of the way…" Jayne edged back a little.

"Should I stab them?"

"What?" Jayne glanced up quickly.

"Should I poke the sticks through them now?" River held up the odd-looking tomatoes, grown in Mother Cobb's own garden.

"Naw, I'll do it. Push the onions closer, too. Could ya grab the pepper and the garlic salt? And while you're over there, cake me."

River obligingly moved over to break off a large piece of the wedding cake slice sitting on a circle of waxed paper. She leaned forward and popped it into Jayne's waiting mouth. She licked the frosting off her fingers, collected the requested spices, and shuffled nearer on her knees.

"I didn't think I was going to like mutton shish-kebab, but it does smell delicious. I can't believe your mother brought the ingredients all the way from home," she chattered, handing Jayne the items. She settled against his shoulder, watching as he finished putting the last chunk of meat on the last skewer. He stacked the emptied bowls between his knees and set them aside, and then wiped his hands clean. There were cheesy potatoes bubbling in a little metallic pouch at the edge of the fire, and the seasoned meat and vegetables were sizzling on skewers suspended on a simple rack angled away from the flames.

"I love when you cook for me," River sighed happily, shivering a little. The sun had begun to set and the evening chill was setting in.

"I love when I cook for me. I'm starvin'. Barely got anythin' at all to eat at the weddin'. Folks talkin' at me all the time," Jayne grumbled, but he pressed a quick kiss to the top of her head.

"Your caloric intake was sufficient if alcohol is taken into account. Who did win that mudder's milk imbibing competition? Was it you?" River chuckled. "I noticed Monty took the keg with him."

"Mattie. Best weddin' present ever," Jayne recalled with satisfaction. "But I'm still hungry."

"Don't worry. Between your mother and Kaylee we have enough leftover food to last us for weeks. It was a nice wedding, wasn't it?" River reflected wistfully, staring into the flickering flames. "I think everyone had a good time."

Jayne gave an assenting grunt, leaning forward to turn the kebabs. "Stayed long enough."

"I can't believe Gadget was able to come!" River enthused. "It was wonderful to meet her in person. And the infamous Cap'n Jolly, too! He wasn't at all what I imagined."

"Didn't seem too happy to be there."

"Not at first, but his mood significantly improved," she smiled.

"Engine wine'll do that to ya."

"Among other things." River gave a delighted laugh and snuggled closer. "What was your favorite part of the day?"

"Sexin' ya in that hammock," Jayne said slyly.

"Are you psychic, now?"

"It's infectious. Caught it from my wife."

"Your wife…" River responded archly, stifling a yawn. "…thinks you're optimistic. She's exhausted."

Jayne was amused. "I know my wife. She's been thinkin' about sexin' in that hammock for weeks."

"She has," River confessed. "But maybe a nap first."

"Food, sleep, sex, got it. No complaints here." He put his arm around her.

The roasting meat dripped juices down into the fire, igniting the fat and causing the flames to lurch up too close the skewers. Jayne dodged in and began plucking the kebabs from the rack.

"Share these out while I get the spuds," he instructed her, dumping them on a small platter and using a long-handled fork to drag the pouch of potatoes out of the embers. He dished up a moment later, sliding the fragrant bites of meat and vegetables from the skewers with his knife, and they ate companionably together.

Jayne looked at River's plate, scraped clean.

"Guess ya liked mutton after all."

"It was a little tough, but the way it was flavored was delicious," River decided, sipping the ginger-flavored water that was another Cobb tradition. "Mutton was a dietary staple while you were growing up? You consumed it frequently?"

"Yep – about a hunnert sheep for every human on that moon. I could shear in my sleep – just about the shittiest work in the 'verse. Couldn't wait to get outta there." Jayne handed her his dirty dishes. "I cooked – you clean."

River nodded, that was fair, and began to gather the greasy utensils. She paused to wipe her fingers on a cloth and then stopped, rubbing her fingertips together thoughtfully.

"Did you ever think that your cooking lesson would lead to this?" She smiled at him.

Jayne reached for her hand, turning her palm up and sliding his hand along hers, lacing their fingers together and tightening their clasped flesh.

"I knew from the moment I first saw ya…I knew there was something…" he paused. "Crazy or not, you got to me, an' I didn't much like it. By the time I faced up to it, I never thought you'd go for me."

"I went," she laughed softly, tugging him to her. They kissed, hands entwined, remembering the wonder of their first embrace.

"You willin' to flip the schedule?" Jayne murmured against her mouth. "Hammock time?" He kissed her again, a ginger-scented inducement.

"What about the dishes? And the tent? You said animals would –" River backed away slightly.

"They can wait. Critters won't come close while the fire is still built up like that, and we'll do the tent tomorrow. Don't worry, I'll keep ya warm." He attempted to pull her down right there, but River resisted. Jayne collapsed onto his back with a frustrated moan.

"Hammock, remember? Let me get some blankets," River said breathlessly, scuttling to her feet. She made her way to their packs and began rooting around for the thin, extra-warm blankets that Jayne had stuffed in with the tent supplies. As she yanked them free, a small, glistening box tumbled out and rolled across the ground with a merry clatter.

River stared at it, surprised.

"Look, Jayne, Gadget's present to us. She showed it to me while I was changing out of my wedding dress. She must have seen the bags and put it in... She wanted us to open it together." River folded the blankets over her arm and bent down to retrieve the traditionally-wrapped box, gleaming with a silver bow and iridescent roses. "I wonder what it could be."

Jayne heaved himself up on his elbows and grunted suspiciously. "I got notions. How about a whoopee cushion? A can a peanuts with a sprung-up snake inside? Anthrax?"

River smiled, sliding off the ribbon and using her thumbnail to cut through the thin film at the crease. As she moved slowly back towards Jayne she tore away the rest of the wrapping to reveal a plain plastic container. She paused to lift the lid and examine the items tucked inside. There was a note, a small stack of info-sticks, and a cloth sack. River took it in her hand and heard the clink of hard money.

"Well?" Jayne demanded curiously, sitting forward, his eyes lighting up at the sound of cash. River tossed him the bag and he weighed it in his hand, smiling approvingly at the heft of it.

River's brow creased with amused inquiry as she lifted out Gadget's note and began to read. After a second she burst out laughing.

"You're not going to be pleased," she predicted.

"Don't matter, if it comes with this much money. I am beginning to like that girl." Jayne tipped the coins into his palm greedily.

"These are order requests and cash advances," River giggled. "Jayne-bot …she actually sold you!"

– FIN –


ai ren - spouse/husband/wife/sweetheart

Chapter End Notes:

A/N: As always, thanks for reading! Hope it made you smile. Gem