"Come back to bed." Jack reached out to Fleur, his fingers grazing her thigh.
"I'll be late," she smiled. "I've got a busy day."
"It can wait five minutes," Jack drawled. "Come here."
"No!" Fleur rubbed a towel over her hair. "The security briefing is in thirty minutes. You should be there too."
"I've got better things to do than listen to Tate bang on about how we need to babysit a whole new bunch of people," he pouted. "Like stay in bed with you. Let Cass handle it."
"Yeah, right," she laughed. "I think his mind is elsewhere."
"I know how he feels," Jack jumped up and wrestled her back onto the bed. "I've got my mind on you."
"Jack!" She giggled. "Okay, five minutes."
"Now you're talking."
Jayne pulled the vest over her head, taking care not to catch the bandage on her arm, or the stitches in her forehead. She felt relieved to be out of her hospital gown and into the PAS-issue clothing that Stella had, grudgingly, provided. Grudgingly, because Stella had protested loudly that Jayne needed at least another twenty four hours under observation, and shouldn't be 'gallivanting around an alien planet in that state'. Jayne smiled at the recalled conversation from this morning; what she had seen of Stella she already liked.
"Am I disturbing you?" An American-accented, male voice broke into her thoughts.
Jayne spun around. As she did a wave of dizziness swept over her and she put her hand out to a nearby table to steady herself.
"Allow me, please," The man rushed forward and guided her to the bed, helping her to sit down. He poured her a glass of water. "Here, take a sip."
Jayne took a mouthful of water and waited for the dizzy sensation to subside. As she did she gave the man a quick once over. Tall – not as tall as Cass, but certainly taller than her, with short, brown, wavy hair and very pale skin. He was handsome, in that all-American apple pie way. She smiled at him. "Thanks. Concussion. It takes some getting used to."
"Should you be out of bed? I mean, should I get the doctor?" The man's face was full of concern.
"No, I probably shouldn't be out of bed," she shrugged. "But hey, what are rules if not to be broken?"
The man gave a wide smile and something seemed to flash across his eyes briefly. "I'm Julius. Julius Berger, a member of the council. It's an honour to meet you, Captain."
"Oh please," she grinned, shaking his proffered hand, "Jayne will do. What's a captain without a ship?"
"You still have a crew; a loyal one," Julius settled next to her.
"I'm every bit as loyal to them," Jayne explained. "Seeing so many of your friends and family die makes you appreciate those around you."
"I understand," he nodded. "I am a recent arrival myself. Our transporter crashed, only a small number of us were able to land safely. It hit many of us hard."
"I'm sorry." She put her hand on his arm and quickly Julius covered it with his own.
"Oh, listen to me," his voice cracked slightly and he cleared his throat. "I came to see if I could offer you support, not the other way around."
"Well, I'll be fine, once I've checked in with everyone." She eased herself to her feet, gently, trying to ignore the new wave of dizziness which threatened to overwhelm her.
"Of course," Julius stood. "With your permission I would like to escort you. I counselled some of your crew yesterday, and I am anxious to see how they are this morning."
She smiled at him in genuine gratitude. "Thank you, I really appreciate that."
As they moved towards the door, he noticed her grimace in pain. "Are you sure you're okay?"
"I think I twisted something in the crash," she confided. "But for God's sake don't tell anyone or they'll have me strapped to that bed for a fortnight."
Julius tapped his nose. "Your secrets are safe with me. But please," he held out an arm to her, "at least allow me to offer a little physical assistance."
"Thank you, Julius. You're very kind." Jayne took his arm and allowed him to guide her into the corridor.
"The pleasure is mine," Julius smiled, as they headed for the next ward.
Cass checked his watch surreptitiously. Eleven A.M. They had been in this briefing for an hour already, and it showed no sign of ending soon. He tapped his foot impatiently and glanced around the room. Fleur, Tate and Stella were engaged in conversation about how to recruit PAS officers from the new settlers. Jack just looked half asleep. The other council members looked on interestedly, while, for once, Berger had absented himself; claiming a pressing engagement. Cass glanced at his watch again. Two minutes past eleven. He hated meetings.
Cass wondered how Jayne was doing. He had heard Stella call her 'stubborn as a mule' earlier, while telling Tate that Jayne was refusing to stay in the infirmary for a second day. He had hoped to see her before his shift started this morning, but he was called in early to deal with a fight and by the time he had both parties separated and secured it had been time for the briefing. He had enjoyed spending time with her the previous day, even though she was concussed and doped to the eyeballs. Cass smiled to himself; maybe that was why she seemed to like his company too.
"So, you are in agreement, Cass?" Tate enquired.
Cass stared at him, bemused. He flicked a glance at Fleur, who gave him a meaningful look and nodded slightly. "Err...yes, of course."
"Then that's agreed," Tate sat back. "Is there anything else?"
There was general shaking of heads around the table.
"Then this meeting is concluded," Tate announced.
Cass crossed the room as the assembled group began to leave. "What did I just agree to?"
"I'll explain later," Fleur smiled. "You're unbelievable."
"At least I kept my eyes open, unlike your boyfriend," he teased. "Are you keeping him up all night?"
"Do you see him complaining?" She winked.
"Cass, do you have a moment?" Tate called.
"Oops, you're in trouble now," Fleur laughed. "I'm going up to the new settlement, come and find me later."
"Will do," Cass walked over to where Tate waited.
"I'm going to see how our new Captain is coming along. That is if Stella hasn't already driven her over the perimeter wall with her fussing," Tate said. "Care to join me?"
"Yeah," Cass smiled as he fell into step next to the president.
They walked in silence for a few moments.
"You appear to have hit it off, the two of you," Tate ventured. "Stella says she had to force you to go home to rest last night"
"Jayne's interesting," Cass mumbled, uncomfortable. "You know, someone new to chat to."
"Of course," Tate nodded, smiling. "So, what's she like?"
"I dunno, smart?" Cass mused. "Determined… stubborn as a mule?"
Tate laughed. "So I hear. Cass, I need to consider whether she is someone I can work with, long term. With such a large number of new arrivals, it is important that we integrate some of their number into the decision making process in Forthaven."
"I don't know much about that," Cass shrugged. "But, someone who was willing to give up their life to save their crew? I'd quite like them on my team."
"My thoughts precisely," Tate agreed, as they walked through the doors into the ward. "And, it appears, someone else thinks so too."
Ahead of them they saw Jayne, sat beside a bed, laughing with a female patient. Julius was perched on the end of the bed, sharing the joke.
"Pressing business to attend to?" Tate muttered. "So it seems."
Jayne appeared to say her goodbyes to the woman and went to rise. Julius was there in an instant to help her to her feet. As they walked further down the ward Cass noted Julius slip his arm around her. From nowhere, an uncomfortable ball of jealousy knotted inside his stomach. He pushed it down quickly, chiding himself.
"Captain," Tate called. "May I have a moment of your time?"
Jayne turned gingerly, obviously still in some discomfort, however as soon as she saw Cass her face broke into a wide smile.
"President Tate," she beamed, "of course."
Jayne made her way towards the men, supported by Julius.
"Please, call me Richard. And I do hope you're not out of bed too soon," Tate raised an eyebrow.
She waved a hand. "Just a bit stiff and sore, I'll be better for moving around." Her eyes flicked to Cass. "Good morning, I was going to come and find you later. Take you up on that offer of a tour."
"I'd be happy to show you Forthaven," Julius interrupted.
"Oh, thank you Julius, but I've taken up so much of your time already today," she smiled. "You have been too kind to me and my crew."
"Yes, thank you Julius," Tate added. "However, Cass has arranged to take the Captain to the new settlement to see the rest of her crew, and I would like to speak with her myself. I'm sure you've been very helpful."
A look of annoyance flitted across Julius' face, but he hid it quickly. "It's been my pleasure, Jayne. I hope we can talk again soon."
"I would like that very much," she said.
"Goodbye, Julius," Tate smiled. Berger nodded and made his way from the ward. Tate watched him go. "Captain, would you care for some lunch?"
"Jayne, please. And that would be great. But first, would you mind if we made a stop at the Psych ward? Two of my crew are being looked after, and I'm anxious to check on them."
"Certainly, this way," Tate began to walk down the ward.
"Would you like me to help you?" Cass offered his arm.
"Thanks, Cass," she slipped her arm in his and gave his forearm a squeeze. "Lunch with the president and then a guided tour from PAS's finest? I think I'm going to like it here."