TITLE: Morals

DISCLAIMER: Not mine

A/N: Just a little reflection on Jayne's morals :)


They had a job tomorrow, a big one, and the decision was made to celebrate River's birthday the night before. Nobody wanted to say why exactly, voicing the fact that they were all worried that something might happen to ruin this special day didn't seem particularly festive. Still, here they were, seated around the dinner table laughing and joking.

Zoe shifted uncomfortably as the child in her stomach pressed against her bladder. Mal and Simon were grinning as Kaylee poured more drinks, the remnants of birthday cake still being slowly picked at though their stomachs were full.

Inara poured Zoe some more tea as River smiled at her little family and their antics. Jayne, despite enjoying a few drinks, had been growing more and more quiet in the last half hour or so. He kept glancing at the clock above the stove, eyes seeming to be drawn there every thirty seconds or so.

One heavily muscled arm was slung over the back of River's chair, and the girl kept sneaking him glances under her lashes. Simon thought it strange that the merc, who had been staring lecherously his sister more and more since the Miranda escapade, was resolutely looking either to his other crew mates or the clock.

Mal smirked. "Whatcha doin' Jayne? Got somewhere's ta be at midnight?"

Kaylee giggled. "Yeah, you gunna turn inta a pumpkin?"

Jayne shook his head, eyes fixed firmly on the clock. "Nope."

Inara cocked a brow. "Well what are you doing then?"

He shrugged, still not looking away from the clock. "Jus' waitin'."

River was smiling secretively and Simon narrowed his eyes. "What exactly are you waiting for?"

"Midnight."

Simon suppressed his annoyance at the short answers. "What happens at midnight?"

Jayne smirked to himself, still watching the seconds hand count down on the clock. "Somethin' good."

He raised a brow and the crew turned to watch the last few seconds count down until the minute hand struck midnight.

Their heads snapped back as Jayne pushed his chair out, standing and picking River up. Her legs were immediately around his waist and she smiled as he grinned lasciviously.

"Let's go, girly."

Simon stood as the merc, holding his passenger tightly, began to stride out of the room. "Wait, WHAT? Where the guay are you going?"

Jayne looked at him like he was an idiot. "My bunk."

Inara and Zoe were laughing as Simon's eyes tried to pop out of his skull. "Why, WHY are you taking her to your bunk?"

River shifted against him slightly, whispering something into his ear that made him groan as he replied. "Don't rightly think that's 'ppropriate ta talk 'bout Doc."

Kaylee was giggling mercilessly at Simon's horrified expression. "Why now?"

Jayne hissed as River dragged her teeth over his neck, closing his eyes and wondering why he was still talking to these idiots. "Girl's eighteen now."

Mal was looking confused and angry, never a good sign. "The very second she turns eighteen you haul her off like some caveman?"

Jayne rolled his eyes as he turned to leave the room, his voice echoing down the hallway.

"Jeez Mal, I had ta wait til she was gorram legal – what's life without morals?"