Summary: Zoe and Jayne's "arrangement" gets complicated and keeping it from the rest of the crew gets interesting and...funny. Now someone wants in on all the fun everyone is having (not what you're thinking). Zoe angst about why she goes to Jayne.
Author's Note: Please give comments and feedback whether it's yays or nays. As always, all belongs to Joss, I just borrow.
“Can’t a man eat his supper in peace without all this…gabberin’?” Mal pinned a scowl on his face to put more sting to his words.
“Aww Mal, you jus' got yer panties inna bunch cause it turns out you was as green as li’l Kaylee here.” Jayne’s crooked grin widened.
“Hey, I ain’t green,” Kaylee looked ready to hurl the glob of mashed potato like protein clinging to her fork at Jayne “…least not half as green as Simon…” the last part she muttered into her glass.
Simon didn’t have to fake the hurt look on his face.
Instantly regretting her words, Kaylee backtracked, “…was, bao bei. You ain’t like that no more…you’re all sorts…a…clever.”
Simon rolled his eyes. Kaylee gave up on apologizing and instead concentrated on looking cute. Who could be mad at cute?
“Right 'bout that, ain’t no easier mark than the Doc here.” Jayne snorted, a mischievous, even evil, grin on his face.
Mal joined him with a reluctant snicker.
Simon glared at them. It wasn’t his fault that they were lunatics, and by ‘they’ he meant Jayne and Mal. The two of them insisted on pulling infantile pranks on him and dragging the rest of the crew in on it. Their twisted idea of funny just…wasn’t funny. It was…sick…demented.
Simon elbowed River to stop her snickering.
“All this gabberin’ ain’t doin’ any kindness to my ears. Now the lot of you just…bi zuie.” Mal’s mouth twisted to the side.
But Zoe couldn’t let it drop.
“The way the commanding officers told it, the Captain…I mean Private Reynolds, had dumped half that glass of lube oil down his throat before it even dawned on him that lube oil didn’t cure gravity sickness.” Zoe dissolved into a fit of laughter.
“Weren’t right.” Mal complained. “Never left planetside before that, how was I suppose to know …ruttin’ hwoon dan kuh-ooh duh lao bao jurn. All that throwin’ up…I neared died.” He fumed.
“You’re right Sir.” Zoe managed, though she had trouble making it sound convincing.
“Weren’t funny Zoe. Weren’t right either, just plain…mean.” Mal muttered, mostly to himself really because the rest of the table couldn’t have heard him with all the laughing.
Simon sobered up with some effort, “I feel so bad for you," but no amount of squinting could make him look sincere.
Inara smiled just a little too brightly for Mal’s liking, “Mal, that must mean you developed your prowess and skill as a master mind after the war.”
“Bugandang.” Mal sneered.
“Captain boob head.” River sang.
“Hey, I coulda died.” Mal whined.
“What’d the platoon call you again?”
“Zoe.” Mal’s warning was clear.
“Slick Chick Reynolds.”
Zoe, Jayne, Simon, Inara and River lost it. Simon teetered on the edge of his chair barely staying upright. A few snorts later Kaylee was still trying to keep from knocking over her water into her food.
Mal stared balefully at his crew.
Zoe’s eyes were wet with tears and Jayne had to force himself not to stare. He loved seeing her like this. All relaxed. Happy. Makin’ fun a Mal. Well…makin’ fun a Mal was always shiny.
Simon pulled himself together enough to say, “Captain, I can assure you that there is no medical evidence that drinking lube oil cures anything.”
“Except stupidity.” Jayne snorted.
“Can I call you Slick?”
“No and that’s enough.” Mal scowled.
Only Zoe made a real effort to stop laughing.
“Now, that’s enough.” Mal stood at the head of the table, not quite mad but annoyed enough to want to space the lot of them. “I bes’ not hear any one at my table mention the words oil, slick or lube till I finish my supper. Dong ma?”
“What about chick?”
“That too, now gorram it, talk about something else and that’s a direct order.” Mal bellowed.
Jayne opened his mouth again, but closed it when Mal aimed the sharp end of his fork at him.
Reluctant silence settled around the table, save for the clinking of silverware, and some throat clearing.
Mal aimed a pleased grin around the table. A good crew was right pleasing…a silent one, was maybehaps the best thing any captain could ask for.
“When are we arriving in Beylis?”
Mal perked up at Simon’s question, “Well, ’spect we’ll hit atmo—”
“in 13 hours, 23 minutes, 47 seconds.” River volunteered then continued eating.
“Yeah…what she said.” Mal deferred to his resident genius.
“45 seconds.” She updated with a grin.
“River, why are you counting down our arrival?” Simon asked.
“Excitement mostly.” River’s smile was contagious.
“Don’t get all excited, Li'l albatross. All we got is a meet. No job yet. So bes’ not get—”
“Job won’t come through,” River shook her head. “but mine will. Not much longer for me.”
“What’d ya mean River? Not much longer for what?” Kaylee grinned eager to know what they were excited about.
“Pardon?” Mal tilted an ear in River’s direction.
“Shumma?” Kaylee chanced a quick confused glance around the table.
“I’m going to have intercourse when we dock in Beylis.” River grinned.
Simon swallowed into his windpipe and convulsed into a fit of coughing.
“Inter what?” Jayne kept eating until he noticed Mal, frozen, mouth open, fork in mid air. “What?” Jayne glanced at the stunned faces around the table.
River rolled her eyes, “Intercourse, coitus, copulate, sex, trim, rut—”
“No!” Mal and Simon bellowed across the table.
Zoe wanted to laugh except it wasn’t funny at all, well that’s if you went by the looks on Simon’s and Mal’s faces.
“Yes, I am.” River stood her ground.
“No, you’re not.” A vein across Mal’s forehead pulsed dangerously.
Simon’s mouth did a pumping thing but nothing came out.
“I’m at the correct age. I’m physically prepared for it. My breasts are even fully developed, though I was hoping for a little more—” River contemplated her small breasts.
“River,” Inara interjected, “You seem to have given this a lot of thought?”
She nodded sagely, “Checked the parameters. I’m ready to copulate. Simon I’ll need birth control.”
Simon felt lightheaded.
Mal mumbled something unintelligible about spacing folk before his fork clattered onto the table.
“Jien tah-duh gway! Nobody is havin’ sex on Beylis and by nobody I mean you.”
“That’s not fair. I’m old enough to—”
“Simon, talk reason to your sister.”
“River, you’re too young.” Simon at last found his voice, even if it was a little hoarse.
“Well eighteen ain’t that young.” Kaylee ventured. “I done it—”
“I don’t want to hear this…why do I have to hear this?” Mal looked desperate.
“um…Kaylee, you’re not exactly helping.” Simon managed to keep his voice from sounding hysterical.
“Why not?” River whined, “Everyone is having sex except me.”
Jayne shoveled in another mouthful to hide a chuckle.
“Now that over generalization certainly ain’t true li’l Albatross—”
“You and Inara, Kaylee and Simon, Jayne an—”
“I think she’s old enough.” Zoe blurted out, pointedly ignoring the stony glares from Mal and Simon.
Jayne leaned back onto the two back legs of his chair, a smug grin pinned on his face.
Under the table, Zoe’s boot connected with Jayne’s shin. His knee jerked and banged against the table, upsetting his chair. He managed to catch himself before his chair crashed to the floor.
“Ow…” Jayne gritted his teeth and forced out, “Girl’s right. I reckon she old enough to kill a man, she old enough fer sexin’…well…by my estimation that is.”
“I don’t care what you estimate, she’s my sister.”
“Gorram it, what’s the big deal?” Jayne growled.
“What if she was your sister? You —”
“First of all, she ain’t my sister and second, she still ain’t my sister…an’ if she wants ta get herself good and sexed t’ain’t my concern or any body else’s for that matter.”
“The hell it ain’t.” Mal looked ready to kill Jayne.
“My sister is not having sex and that’s final.” Simon declared to the table.
“Stop it…Simon, this my body, so its my decision.”
“Told ya.” Jayne nodded mid chew.
Simon turned to Kaylee for help and she managed to straighten her face into something resembling a concerned expression.
“I’ve had my period since I was fourteen—” River pleaded her case.
“Simon make her stop.” A pale Mal begged an even paler Simon.
“I know where all the parts go and…I have urges.” River confessed.
Mal groaned. Sweet Ye soo.
Simon covered his ears with his hands and would have curled in the fetal position if he wasn’t sitting at the dinner table.
Simon tried again, “River, we’ll talk about this later…preferably in five years.”
“No. Simon, I’m not a little girl. If everybody does it why can’t I do it and why can’t we talk about it. When we reach Beylis I’ll need someone suitable. Zoe, Inara and Kaylee can help me pick someone…Nara do you think it would be better if my first time is with a companion?”
Inara opened her mouth but nothing came out. Mal had a deranged look in the eye he aimed at her.
“Depends, you want a male or female?” Jayne asked.
“You’re too young mei-mei.” Simon pleaded.
“Simon’s right River. You’re too…” Mal wanted to say crazy, but instead he said, “young to be havin’…inter…that.” He sighed wearily.
“And you’re too hypocritical I think,” River bellowed, now on her feet.
“Shumma?” Mal blinked, “Hypo…hypocritical. Did she just call me hypocritical?”
“Believe so, Sir.” Zoe confirmed.
“Now listen here—”
“Captain Daddy I’m older than you were the first time you had sex—”
“Well, that’s got a whole lotta nothin’ to do with nothin’.”
River continued un-phased, “You had sex plenty of times before you were even sixteen…with Mariam Teng…Joy McCrady...”
Mal’s face turned a funny shade of pink, then crept towards a sour red. “Hey, cut that out.” He glared at River.
“Ruttin hell Mal, y’ain’t as big a pus—”
“Jayne.” That was as serious as Zoe could get her voice to sound.
River turned to Simon, “And you Simon…”
Everyone looked at the Simon expectantly, including Mal, suddenly forgetting his own embarrassment.
“You and Tracey Morgan went at it all hours and you were both were only seventeen.” River said.
Jayne and Mal gaped admiringly at Simon who turned redder than the Captain, if that was possible.
“And Jayne,” River said.
“What? I was fifteen an’ had more—”
“Jayne!” Mal and Simon beat Zoe to it.
“River, would you like to come by my shuttle later for some tea. I’d love to hear more about your plans.”
Inara called on all her companion training to keep from laughing at the look on Mal's and Simon’s faces.
She smiled sweetly at River, “So, River, exactly how many women did Mal have—”
“This discussion is officially over.” Mal stood up, threw down his fork and tried for a more authoritative look, though his ears still burned red like a chastised 12 year old.
“I believe y’all have some work to do…Kaylee go…fix somethin’, Simon see to your medical...medicines. River, check on our heading and the shiny…button…thingys on the bridge. The rest of you…go find something to do.” With that Mal turned and stomped out of the dining room mumbling under his breath about the sanctity of a man’s escapades.
Simon made a quick exit with Kaylee close behind trying to stifle a giggle. She winked at River before disappearing through the doorway.
“We’ll talk later.” Inara smiled warmly at River, and headed to find her Captain.
River nodded, a grin on her face as she skipped to the bridge.
Jayne and Zoe sat across from each other at the table in the suddenly silent dining room.
“You ain’t had ta kick me y’know.”
Zoe didn’t answer, but she smiled.
One of those sexy secret smiles he’d only seen in his bunk when they were all wrapped around each other. Ai ya. He gripped his fork tighter to keep his gorram hands from reaching across the table and touchin’ her.
He couldn’t. One of them unspoken rules betwixt them. No talking about the whole sexin’ each other thing and no touchin' each other outside his bunk…weren’t somethin’ they talked about. Just was.
He sure as hell would never admit it to Zoe, or anybody else for that matter, but sometimes just bein’ in the same room with her ruttin’ damaged his calm. That weren’t no little thing for a man like him. Hell, sexin’ Zoe was gettin’ all matter a complicated. Yeah she was all business with him during the day, or what passed for day in the black, but knowin' behind all that control how gorram sensitive her body was, what she tasted like, how his name sounded on her lips when she...wo de ma.
Her hair was pulled back and he found himself staring at the curve of her neck. He ain’t never noticed no woman’s neck before. Honest, it weren’t one of the woman parts normally catch his eye. But every woman got one a them sweet spots that bout drove them wild.
Zoe’s was in the curve of her neck.
A kiss there bout all it took to make her tremble. He could feel himself getting’ hard under the table.
His ruttin’ insides felt like a grenade had gone off in his gut.
Don’t touch her ya idjiat.
“I…ah…gotta go…ah…unpack…crates…in the…” Jayne almost ran out of the dinning room. He realized later that he’d gone the wrong way.
* * * *
Zoe gave up trying to untangle herself from Jayne’s arms and legs without waking him.
It was near impossible. Like her, he was a light sleeper.
She had already gotten one leg to the floor when he stirred in his sleep, wrapped an arm around her and pulled her against his chest.
Ruthless mercenary her ass.
He had managed to wrap his legs and arms around her, pinning her to the bed, without actually smothering her. She wiggled slightly to test his hold, and his arms tightened around her. She relaxed against him. She wasn’t going anywhere.
How did she end up naked—very satisfied, but still naked—laying under Jayne when she had promised herself she wouldn’t go to his bunk?...three ruttin’ times this week alone she had found her way here. She decided not to count how many times last week she had ended up…naked…next to Jayne.
Four. A little voice in her head piped up before she could smother it.
Nights were just hard to wade through, some nights harder than others. On those nights—like tonight—she came Jayne. His hatch was always open and he never refused her. Maybe that’s why she came. He made it so easy for her to come, to take…and usually, to leave.
Jayne stirred. A wandering calloused hand stroked her. Her nipple instantly strained against his fingers.
Mmmm. She swallowed a moan, closing her eyes against the heat flaring through her like solar bursts. Fire poured into the already sensitive skin between the thighs, and shook every thought from her head.
Yes, this is why she came to Jayne.
She didn’t feel shattered when he was touching her like that.
She forced herself to stay still, fighting the sudden urge to stroke him awake, kiss him, touch him, feel his heart beat faster under her fingers, feel him push away her demons.
During the war, while the Captain had learned to bury his emotions, she had learned to pull her emotions apart. Separate them, hold them up to the light, methodically feel them, then throw them aside like useless old clothes.
Emotions like fear, like hope, without form or limits, had immeasurable power and no place in a war. So she gave them shape and limits. By the time they set foot in Serenity Valley, she had mastered pulling herself apart, reducing herself to pure thought and action.
Then Wash happened and with him emotions she couldn’t and didn't want to control. At first she fought him; fought herself. But she was tired of fighting, and for the second time in her life, she surrendered.
She let the emotions he stirred in her grow. Slow at first, then they fed hopes, built dreams and solidified into love. She let all of it happen.
That’s why she lost so big.
She had dived in heart first and she was paying for it. But she would pay ten times over if it meant loving Wash. She wouldn't have changed that, even knowing that he would...tears stung her eyes and she let them come.
Some nights were just harder than others.
So she went to Jayne and let him possess her, drown her, until she lost herself. Until Jayne was all she could feel, touch, taste, and hear.
Jayne wasn’t subtle about anything he did, and he made love the same way, with breathtaking single mindedness.
Yes, she had chosen right. The truth was, the way he touched her overwhelmed her senses. She didn’t know why. Maybe because she wanted him to, maybe…she really didn’t know or care. They had an arrangement. They never spoke on it, but they understood each other.
Zoe took what she needed from him, and Jayne took what he wanted.
He was never rough, but he knew what he wanted and he took, somehow without seeming to take. But she knew better, it was Jayne. He didn’t do anything unless he was getting something for his efforts. For all his concern about her, there was no doubt in her mind that he let her come to him because he got exactly what he wanted.
Still, she couldn’t bring herself to stay through the night. Jayne never asked and she never offered. She wouldn’t.
When sleep took Jayne deeper and his hold on her loosened, Zoe forced herself out of the warm bed, dressed and left his bunk. Like always.
A chill crept into her now that he wasn’t wrapped around her. She ignored it.
Going back to their bunk was out of the question.
She needed Serenity. She felt real with Serenity under her hands and feet when everything about her fell out of focus.
She paced out Serenity, bridge to bay and back, intent on not thinking, not feeling. One foot in front of the other until exhaustion drove her to their bed and hopefully into a dreamless sleep. Hopefully.
“Wash? Baby? Get up baby. Baby. Get up. Wash. Sweetie, please get up.”
“…OK. I’m coming.”
“Thank God, are you alright?…Baby, you scared me.”
“I can’t feel you. Wash?”
“I’m right here. I am holding you sweet cheeks. I am.”
“What did you say? Honey. I can’t hear you…don’t leave.”
“You can’t go killing me and then asking me to stay…fickle woman.”
“I didn’t…I couldn’t save you…I’m so sorry. Baby”
“Me too, lambie toes. The whole dieing thing is a real downer, don’t you think?”
“I miss you...miss us.”
“Yes. Wash, I don't want to live without you—”
Their bunk was dark, her face and pillow wet. A familiar rock had pitched itself in the pit of her stomach.
Just a dream. What did Inara call it? A subconscious manifestation of guilt common in those grieving for loved ones lost suddenly under violent circumstances. Somehow knowing that didn’t change much.
Zoe forced herself out of bed, showered, dressed and went to find breakfast and company.
bao bei – sweetheart
hwoon dan – bastard
kuh-ooh duh lao bao jurn – Tyrant
bugandang! – you flatter me
Shumma? - What?
bi zuie – shut up
Jien tah-duh gway - Like hell!
Wo de ma – Mother of Jesus
Ai ya - Damn
This is a link to What I want...What I need Part 4