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What I want...What I need - Part 6

Title: What I want…what I need - Part 6

Author: mercenarysong

Summary: Zoe/Jayne. The job takes it toll and everyone gets more than they bargained for.

Rating: R

Author's Notes: Thanks for all your patience with me. Thank you mercsgoodgirl - you are a beta angel.

All belongs to Joss...I'm just doing the borrowing thing an awful lot. Please leave comments, all are read and appreciated.

He’s not breathing.

She woke with her heart pounding in her chest.

Wash? Baby?

She rolled over in the too-wide bed and its emptiness pushed away the fog of sleep. Reality and dream separated in her mind. He’s gone.

She pressed at the blossoming ache in her chest. Determined not to think about her empty bed and arms, she dropped to the floor and pumped into her new routine: morning pushups.

He’s not breathing. I can’t… Captain, I don’t think he’s going to make it.

She froze mid-exhale, in full extension. Goose bumps crawled across her skin. It wasn’t a dream.

Simon’s voice had filled the bridge like a dark presence, pushing at her until Serenity was just a soft buzz and a blur of light in her vision. He’s not breathing. She had drifted. Numb. Powerless. Again.

“Zoë.” River’s voice, like thread on loose ends, had pulled her world together. “Jayne is breathing”.

The bridge blinked into focus.

She had sat there, dry-eyed in the place where Wash died, cursing and thanking the hwoon dahn who decided who lived and who died.

She had been afraid, couldn’t be otherwise. Jayne was crew, family… he was… She shouldn’t have gone to his bunk two nights ago. In a moment of weakness the sudden need for him had overridden common sense. She had gone to him, made love to him like she never allowed herself before, said all the things with her body that she couldn’t bring herself to say out loud. No, she shouldn’t have gone to him, not while she was still so shaken up.

She pushed at the sudden wave of emotion washing through her.

Zoë suddenly sat down in the middle of the floor, closed her eyes, and rested her arms lightly on her bended knees. It had to work. Pulling herself apart during the war used to come easy enough, she could do it again. The war was long done, and a thing like shutting down emotions should be left behind with it, but she needed this now. It had to work.

She released the breath she shouldn’t have been holding, preparing herself as best she could.

Let them come.

And they came like thunder.

Her overwhelming grief, her anger at the verse, at herself, at Wash, at life, her fear of losing more of her family, of losing her heart, of losing herself, of wanting nothing so she would lose nothing, her fear of tomorrow, of all that Jayne stirred in her, the sharp edges of loneliness that sometimes caught her unawares, the seething hate for those in the verse who would hurt her own, hate for the mindless killing that took her love, her need for her husband, the children they never had, for shelter, for her Captain and her family, for love, for joy, for Serenity, for everything that Jayne gave her, her need to protect everything she had left in the verse, her hope for tomorrow, for security, for love, and the regrets that burn through her mind, her heart, her veins, her soul. Emotions she couldn’t name or face flooded to the surface, feeding and contradicting each other, tangling inside her like thorns.

She drew in a breath past the tightening in her throat.

Let them go.

She unraveled them. One by one, she pulled them apart and threw them aside. She shivered as fear licked its way down her spine, then dissolved as she exhaled.


An ache she didn’t want to put a name to sliced through her, then faded as she inhaled. Layer after layer of emotion pulled apart then tossed aside and with each layer, her racing heart slowed down, the knot inside her released its hold.

This isn’t running away. I need this now. She told herself, and believed it.

Eight breaths later, reduced to pure purpose and thought, Zoë showered and dressed, then headed to find her Captain. Huron Merrick was unfortunate enough to have something they wanted. She almost felt bad for the liou mahng whoever he was.

She smiled to herself as she climbed the stairs to the bridge. That familiar fluttering inside her before a new job was just what she needed.

* * * *

“Captain Reynolds, welcome to my home.”

Mal surveyed the room. He pursed his lips, glancing around at the rich dressings in the sitting room. He took in the white marble floors, the dark wood paneling and the glass chandelier the size of Serenity’s engine hovering in the center of the room. All of it was wasted on him because he could only guess at the cost, and how many lives paid for it, someone always did, rarely those who enjoyed it.

Then he surveyed the man. Lord Huron Merrick was a tall man with broad shoulders fitted in a dark suit as tailored as his chin and cheekbones. Thick dark hair fell just below his white collared shirt, framing a youthful handsome face, a little too perfect to be natural. Over-sized cuffs sprouted from his sleeves and ended over long, some would say elegant, fingers.

Mal didn’t like him. But he didn’t have to like a man to steal from him. Far from it, now that he met the man, he was looking forward to misbehavin’. Far as he could see, Merrick didn’t need what was in that crate but he did.

Mal smiled pleasantly, “Lord Merrick, quite a place you got yourself.”

“Well, fortune or the Gods of Fools and the Lucky have taken me in their favor Captain.” He shrugged in that self-assured way rich folk do.

Mal suddenly wondered what else he could liberate from Lord Merrick. He glanced up, half wondering how the chandelier would look in the mess. He tried not to smile at the capture.

“Right, well, those bastards ain’t been real kind to me and mine of late, so I leave them to you.”

Merrick appraised Mal with smoke gray eyes, also bought and paid for, and Mal managed to smile through the uneasiness settling over him like a shadow over his grave.

“It seems your very presence here is reason enough to thank the Gods. I will start by thanking you for locating my… wayward vessel.”

Mal had a bad feeling in his gut but he reckoned wasn’t anything untoward ‘bout that. At least his right eye wasn’t twitchin’ which was something, weren’t all bad. If the job goes as planned, which there wasn’t a hope in hell it would, but supposin’ for once it did, they’d be off this piece of rock in a few hours with the codes. Come nightfall, he aimed to take what wasn’t his, that’s if the plans of Merrick’s little palace that Fanti and Mingo sent to them turned out to be worth something.

“No thanks necessary, just dumb luck us stumbling across that freighter drifting out in the black like we did. I reckon any in my position would do the same, seeing as how we were heading in your direction anyways.” He took the seat Merrick offered.

“You must allow me to compensate you for your troubles Captain.”

Them codes will do fine.

“No troubles.”

God, Mal conjured, didn’t have anything to do with their fortunes. Merrick was throwing himself some big shindig tonight and with all the folk crawling about the place, plenty opportunity to break in the place and take the codes. If Jayne and Zoë’s look around the place authenticated the plans and access codes Fanti and Mingo sent them, then his plan may work after all.

The door to the sitting room opened, and his mercenary and first mate were escorted into the room by three guns in elaborate blue uniforms, tassels, epaulets and all.

Liou coe shway duh biao-tze huh hoe-tze fuh ur-tze. One of these days one of his plans is going to…go according to plan. Gods of Fools and the Lucky, my ass. Mal swallowed his hate for the verse, and pinned a pleasant look on his face.

“My lord, we found them on the grounds. They have no invitations and no protocol for any invited guests. They said they were with him.”

“Captain, we had some trouble finding you.” Zoë quickly explained.

Mal nodded tightly, “They’re with me. Just a few wayward crew members.”

Merrick’s gaze skipped over Jayne and landed on Zoë.

“A simple misunderstanding I’m sure. I hope you don’t mind, but my men will hold onto your weapons, until you leave.” Merrick dismissed the guns with a wave of his hand.

Zoë’s look kept Jayne quiet, though it near killed him watching Merrick’s goons walk out with two of his favorite girls. At least he still had the one in his boot and his knife. He snorted. Some security.

“Sorry to interrupt Captain, the transport we expected didn’t come through but the repairs are complete on the ship. We need to make other provisions for getting the supplies we need, but should be able to lift off in few hours.” Zoë reported.

Fanti and Mingo screwed them. Again. Mal nodded, his lips pressed into an angry line.

Jayne stood silent at her side, mouth twisted, barely holding in the “I told you so” twisting in his gut.

“Then we bes’ push off. Lord Merrick, we won’t take up any more of your precious time.”

“Not at all Captain, but may I say your companion is very beautiful.” Merrick’s eyes devoured Zoë from head to toe.

“Pardon?... Oh, no, she’s not my Companion,… I mean, she is with me, but not with me. My companion is… she’s my first mate.”

“Beauty and brains. What a delightful combination.” Merrick beamed, his eyes never leaving Zoë. “You must introduce me Captain.”

“Uh,… sure, Lord Merrick, my first mate Zoë Washburn and my…” Mal’s tongue tripped over the word ‘mercenary’.

“Er… pilot,” Jayne volunteered.

Merrick nodded absently in Jayne’s direction, his eyes on Zoë.

“Zoë… that means life, how… poetic.” He glided past Mal to Zoë’s side, took her hand and raised it to his lips, with a slight inclination of his head. “It certainly is a pleasure to make your acquaintance.” His lips brushed the back of Zoë’s hand.

Zoë glanced questioningly at Mal over Merrick’s bowed head.

He shrugged but the sudden twinkle in his eyes set her on edge.

Lord Merrick flashed an even smile, he moved closer to Zoë, “The stars in Aphrodite’s eyes are nothing like the sun in yours.”

Jayne snorted again.

Zoë smiled, a girlish curling of her lips, her expressive eyebrows playing up in surprise.

“I am truly unworthy of such a reward.” Merrick beamed at her, “Your smile is… breathtaking.”

“So’s her gun.” Jayne muttered.

“I’m flattered, Lord Merrick, but—” Zoë took back her hand.

“Please, just Merrick. You must forgive my behavior, Zoë, but you are a beautiful woman.”

Mal and Jayne stared in disbelief as their reserved first mate giggled and blushed like a schoolgirl under Merrick’s gaze.

Jayne folded his arms to keep himself from tearing off the arms of that ben tian sheng de yi dui rou and beatin’ him bloody with them.

“Please tell me, has some lucky man claimed your heart as well as your hand?”



Zoë and Merrick looked from the Captain to Jayne. They had both answered.

“Yeah she’s spoken for,” Jayne ignored Mal’s glare and fixed a cold stare on Merrick, steadily avoiding Zoë’s eyes. “She’s… my wife.” Jayne walked casually to stand behind Zoë and slipped an arm possessively around her waist.

Mal swallowed the curse that rose in his throat. He knew Jayne wasn’t the brightest of the bunch, but tian xiao de why couldn’t he ever keep his mouth shut. He glanced at Zoe, and from the look on her face she was liable to kill Jayne on Merrick’s fancy carpet and save Mal the trouble.

Merrick bared his teeth in what could barely pass for a smile and bowed his head slightly, a small gesture of defeat.

“My apologies, Mr. Washburn.”

Zoë stiffened and Jayne kept her firmly against him though he had to steel himself from backin’ away from her. Weren’t his fault the hwoon dahn thought he was Wash.

“Folk call me Jayne.”

“Jayne then… my apologies, I had no idea she was spoken for… and by a husband.” Merrick’s smile barely stretched his lips, his dislike of Jayne palpable in his gaze.

“He means ex-husband.” Zoë said coolly untangling herself from Jayne’s hold.

Mal breathed a little easier, “Oh, these two kids…yeah, they divorced a while back…very messy…lots of bleedin’… Almost killed poor Jayne, here. Ain’t that right Jayne?”

Jayne’s mouth twisted in a snarl, but he kept quiet.

Merrick perked up. “Ex-husband? Well now Mr. Washburn, I mean Jayne, you are a fool indeed.”

“You really have no idea.” Mal said.

“Captain Reynolds,” Merrick said, though he was looking at Zoë, “Your timing is impeccable. I‘m having a small fete this evening, a bacchanal if you will, and would be delighted if you would join me.” His eyes stayed locked on Zoë, “You must allow me to repay you in this small way for your kindness.”

“Thanks, but we ain’t stayin’—” Jayne answered.

“We’d consider it an honor, Lord Merrick. Thank you.” Mal said silencing Jayne with a look.

Zoë blinked.

She already saw where the Captain was going, and although it was a good plan, she couldn’t say she liked her part in it.

“Excellent. I insist that you be my guests for the night and allow me to show my appreciation properly.” He conjured servants with a flick of his wrist. “Prepare rooms for our guests and…”.

Mal sauntered over to the far window on the other side of the room, and Jayne and Zoë followed.

Ni you shemma jihua?” Zoë studied a painting.

“We’re in an’ I reckon we don’t get chances like this more’n once in never. Seems to me we got a choice to make.” Mal pointed at some nothing out the window and Jayne leaned to see what Mal pointed at.

“If Fanti and Mingo were right about where the codes are—” Zoë said.

“Ain’t nothin’ to think on. Them plans of the place don’t match up. Doors locked that ain’t suppose to be, corridors blocked that’re supposed to be open. We know half a them security codes we got from Fanti an’ Mingo don’t even work. We need to get the hell outta here.” Jayne reigned himself in at Mal’s pointed look. He pretended to admire some stupid piece of go se on the table next to him.

“Merrick’s little party must have shuffled things a bit,” Mal conceded. “But them codes may be right where Fanti and Mingo says, if we can get inside and seems to me we got that covered.”

“Ain’t nothing’ gone right with this job, since we started, an’ something ain’t right bout that wang bao dahn. I say we go home, an’ come up with another plan.” Jayne looked from Mal to Zoë expectantly.

Zoë shook her head, “We can’t pass this up.”

“Gorramit, we don’t know nothin’ ‘bout Merrick.” Jayne insisted.

Mal made up his mind, “We know he has the codes, and that’s enough.”

“Do we, Sir?”

“Fanti and Mingo wants what’s in that crate enough to pay us more’n our usual cut. Mark me, Merrick’s got the codes. So looks like we’re going to a ball… Zoë, that fellow’s got a real powerful liking to you. Which ain’t a bad thing.”

“It ain’t a good thing neither.” Jayne glowered.

“Cats like me too sir, what are you getting at?”

“We’ll need a distraction and that looks to be you. You up to it?”

“I can handle it, Sir.” She said with more determination than she felt.

“Ain’t nothin’ good can come a this.” Jayne protested.

“We stay.” Mal said.

Zoë nodded, still a hesitation in her stance.

“You sure bout this Zo?” Mal watched her for any sign that she wasn’t willing.

“Fine Sir, just wondering which one of my gowns I should wear?”

Merrick turned from addressing his staff to his guests.

“Captain, I’ve arranged your rooms and have ordered proper attire sent to them.” He eyed Jayne’s cargo pants and jacket with disgust. “Zoë, I imagine you may not have been prepared for a ball,” Merrick’s eyes slid over her black pants, boots, and vest appreciatively, “so I have arranged to have a number of gowns sent to your room. Choose anything you like.”

“Mighty kind of you. Ain’t played dress-up in sometime, ain’t that right, Zoë?” Mal smiled, suddenly pleased with the turn of events.

“Can’t wait, Sir.”

Jayne gave Merrick a cold hard stare.

* * * *

“I aint wearin’ it Mal.”

Jayne stomped around the large sitting room attached to the bedroom Merrick gave to Zoë. It was a cheery yellow and white with expensive furnishing that looked like some old earth-that-was fancy style. He decided he hated the color yellow and decided the blue fixings in the room Merrick put him in weren’t any better. They shouldn’t even be there as far as he could see.

“Jayne, real men wear… frills too.” Mal was having a time keeping his face straight. The idea of Jayne dolled up with frilly shirt and coat ‘bout set him roaring again. He blinked back tears. Honest, he would’ve paid money for a capture.

“If they’re sly.” Zoë deadpanned across the room.

“The suit Merrick sent fer you got lace on it?” Jayne turned to Mal hopefully.

“Uh…no, but it’s a little tight in the—”

“Then I ain’t wearin’ it.” Jayne bellowed.

“We all got to make do.” Mal reasoned. “Even Zoë’s got to make do with them dresses Merrick sent up.”

“I wouldn’t really call them dresses, Sir. Pieces of material with string holding them together, really.”

“Come on Zoë. It’s high fashion.”

“Sir, he sent shoes. That fit. How does he know what size I wear?”

“Some men can judge a thing like that.”

“That’s ‘cause he’s creepifyin’, an’ tell me again since when we start being all… diplomatic ‘bout our thievin’?”

“Since I said so. Now, I ain’t sayin’ it again Jayne. We’re stayin’ and going to this little shindig. We all got our parts. Play yours. Dong le ma?

Jayne crossed his arms in defiance, but said nothing.

“Shiny. Let’s have no undue fuss. Just a job like any other. Now… Jayne you bes’ check in with Kaylee an’ see what she can do about getting us access to the library. Don’t forget to sweep your room and jam any bugs like we did here. Zoë, I want to know what River knows. Anything untoward coming, I want to know about it well before it happens. Anything like for instance… me getting shot… Zoë, you sure you’re up to this?”

She nodded, “To the job, Sir.”

“This thing starts at nineteen hundred hours. You know the plan, Jayne, you and I got some business to take care of while Zoë keeps his highness occupied.”

Mal rose to leave and Jayne followed.

“I’d like a word with you Jayne.” Zoë said.

The door closed behind Mal.

Jayne staggered back when Zoë’s fist cracked him across the jaw.

“Son of a—” Jayne tasted his blood before he saw it on his hand.

She winced and shook off the pain in her hand, fire blazing in her eyes, “Wang bao dahn.”

“What the hell’s the matter with you?” Jayne roared. He wiped at the corner of his mouth with the back of his hand.

“Husband’s long dead, don’t you ever do that again.”

“I was tryin’ ta protect you.”

“Didn’t ask for it an’ I don’t need it.”

“The hell ya don’t. I seen the way Merrick looks at ya, an’ ain’t nothing good can come from that. You so busy makin’ eyes at ‘im—”

“Is that what all this is about?”

“I know men like Merrick, Zo. He’s all fancied up, an’ swai, but he’s the same as any gou tsao de hwoon dahn out there. He got his eye on ya and he’s rich enough to think he can just take what he wants. I seen that look before an’ I ain’t gonna let him—”

“I’m not your property, Jayne, do you good to remember—”

Jayne was fast and brutal, surprising himself as much as he did Zoe. She found herself pinned against the wall, legs spread, arms trapped in Jayne’s vice grip above her head. The unbearable heat and hardness of Jayne’s body was pressed against the length of hers, and she hated herself for the way her body was responding.

“I know what belongs to me, Zo” He ground out. His lips were only inches from the sensitive skin of her neck, but he didn’t touch her, he didn’t have to.

Zoe's hands curled into fists and he released her and walked away before she had the mind to beat his ass right then for manhandling her.

He stopped at the door. “Job or no job, that huh choo-shang tza-jiao duh tzang-huo touches ya again an’ I’m gonna put a bullet to him.”

The door closed firmly behind him.

* * * *

“This gorram thing’s too tight. He can pick shoes but a collar that fits… that Ching-wah tsao duh liou mahng.”

Jayne stood behind a column in the ridiculously large ball room muttering to himself as he tried to stuff the lace around the cuffs of his white shirt up his black coat sleeves. Finally satisfied that no lace was showing he continued wrestling with his collar and bow tie. He felt like a gorram horse at a tea party.

“Jayne, for once in your ruttin’ life, you look halfway human and you’re actin’ like a gorram monkey.”

“You really think I look nice, Mal?”

“I think you look down right fetchin’—” Mal stared over Jayne’s shoulder, mouth slack.

“What?” Jayne followed Mal’s gaze and plum forgot to breath. “Wu de tyen ah.

Zoë stood in the doorway draped in a form fitting dress that shimmered with her every move and puddled at her feet like liquid mercury. What looked like diamonds had appeared at her throat and ears, and her hair, coiled at the top of her head, left curls tumbling down her shoulders. She turned to look around the room and Jayne swallowed loudly, his mouth dry as sand.

Ren ci de fo zu.

The back of the gorram dress—well there weren’t no back to the damn thing, just the smooth skin of Zoë’s back. The shimmery thing, draped low in the front, clung to her by the grace of God cause there weren't any straps he could see, and left her back completely bare. The material dipped sinfully low framing two dimples on the high curve of her perfect pi-gu. Weren’t no place for underwear in a dress like that seeing as her cleft was bear to the ‘verse. The faded scar down half the length of her back was traced with tiny crystals that ended mysteriously under the dress somewhere between the valley of her rounded cheeks. Jayne stuffed his hands in his pants pockets and prayed that no one noticed the bulge growing in his pants. He suddenly realized that every man in the place was probably thinking the same thing, ‘cept them that was sly, and even them, was staring at Zoë.

“Ya know, I ain’t religious or nothin’ on the regular,” Jayne stared mesmerized at Zoë, “but God, thank you.”

“Amen.” Mal couldn’t seem to look away and was fairly certain that the stunning woman at the door couldn’t be his first mate. “She got a strong resemblance to Zoë, don’t she?”

“It is Zoë, Mal.”

Mal looked at Jayne, and did a double take at his first mate, “Well… that’s… just amazing. She sure does clean up…” he gulped. “Mercy.” He spared a glance at Jayne.

“Jayne… Jayne, are you droolin'?”

“Naw… just thirsty is all.” Jayne headed straight for the bar, ordered a drink, cursing as the lace slid out from his cuff when he grabbed his glass. He poured the entire thing down his throat before turning to look at Zoë again.

He was humped. Shit. How the hell was he suppose to even remember what they were doing when she was gliding around without no drawers on.

“Ain’t it hot in here?” He tugged miserably on his collar, emptied his glass and tapped the bar for another.

“Take it easy Jayne. Night’s young. We got our work cut out for us.”

“I know my job.” Jayne grumbled, reaching for his drink.

Jayne kept his eye on Merrick, who suddenly appeared at Zoë’s side.

“Poor bastard doesn’t have a chance.” Mal elbowed Jayne, grinning as Merrick took Zoë’s arm.

When Jayne growled and moved toward them, Mal pushed a hand against Jayne’s chest.

“What the hell’s the matter with you. You’re acting like some jealous—speakin’ of which, what in good gorram did you think you were doin’ saying you were Wash?”

“I never said I was. Do ya see the way he’s lookin’ at her Mal?” He was definitely gonna have ta put a bullet to that frilly shirt wearing tah mah de before the night was through.

“Well, that’s the gorram point isn’t it?”

“Ain’t right you usin’ her like this.”

“Right? Usin” her? What the hell’s gotten into you Jayne? You’re actin’ like her pa for cryin’ out loud. She ain’t fragile like. She’s mending just fine and liable to shoot you and me we start actin’ like she might break. We got a job to do, just like any. Now, Zoë can take care of herself… Besides, ain’t this how it’s suppose to go? Boy meets girl, girl distracts boy while her friends steal from him?” Mal smiled all mischievous. “It’s a regular fairytale.”

“A what?”

“Never mind.”

“Just sayin’… she ain’t nobody’s companion.” Jayne mumbled. He tapped the bar for another drink.

“What did you say?”

“Nothin’.” Jayne kept his mouth shut.

“Stay away from Merrick.” Mal warned then walked away, unsettled now that his right eye had started twitching.

Across the room Zoë wondered how the hell she was supposed to keep the pieces of this dress together, walk and talk. She decided that her cut of this job just went up three percent just for having to wear this dress. Though she had to admit, it wasn’t all bad. The Captain was right, it has been a while since she got to wear a slinky dress and glass slippers, even if it was with a mind to steal from their host. She fleetingly wished that Wash could see her. She pushed the regret from her mind.

Zoë spotted Jayne and Mal at the bar, her eyebrow arching as she took in her tuxedoed men clearly oblivious to the women eyeing them. She lingered on Jayne. Other than Merrick, he was one of the tallest men in the room and in a black suit, frills and all, he looked—focus on the job, she reminded herself.

Zoë stepped toward her men just as Merrick materialized at her side.

“Exquisite. You look beautiful, Zoë.”

“Thank you.” Despite herself, her cheeks dimpled at the compliment.

He leaned close to her ear, and she forced herself not to lean back, “You are by far the most beautiful woman in this room.”

Merrick’s hand snaked behind her to touch the naked small of her back, and Zoë stepped smoothly out of his reach. For the moment, he settled for taking her arm.

For the next thirty minutes Merrick didn’t leave her side, and the steady stream of men and women surrounding her had her head spinning. Her cheeks ached from smiling. And though the attention made her feel beautiful in a way she hadn’t felt in long time, all the attention was tiring. How does Inara do this? She almost wished Inara had been the one to come on this job. But they were supposed to be breaking into the place, not taking cocktails in the ballroom. What she would give for her trousers and her gun right now. She felt naked without them; she smiled at the irony. She was practically naked in this piece of… She really wished Inara was here.

Merrick finally detached himself from her arm to greet some dignitary. Zoë sidestepped three suitors trying to catch her eye and managed to slip behind a tall tree into a deserted alcove leading to a balcony. She leaned gratefully against the wall wondering if she could slip on her boots under the dress.

“How far down do they go?” She stiffened though she instantly knew the voice.

“Did you and the Captain find anything yet?”

“How far?”

Shumma?” She turned to Jayne, and realized too late that he was way too close. The incident in her room earlier was still too vivid in her mind. She took a step back to put some distance between.

“Them crystals? How far down they go?” Jayne stood directly in front of her and made no effort to hide the hungry look in his eyes. She might as well be naked the way he looked at her and she really didn’t want to admit the effect his gaze was having on her. Not now. She didn’t want the distraction, not when they had job to do.

Zoë took another step back.

“Runnin’ from me Zo?”

"Ain't runnin'."

“That so?” Jayne stepped toward her, and on pure instinct Zoë stepped back.

He smirked.

Her fist itched to knock that smug look off his face, but she decided against it. Arguments with Jayne didn’t tend to go the way she liked or planned, the man was so ruttin’… volatile. Next time she took him on, she was going to have her gun on hand. She wistfully wished for some breeches and her pistol. Ok, mostly her pistol.

“Looks like I might have to find out myself.” Jayne slipped his hand behind her and with a calloused finger, gently followed the trail of sparkling crystals to the valley between the cheeks of her bottom, there his fingers cupped her pulling her against him.

Normally, any man brave enough or dumb enough to touch her like that, she would have punched, pushed away and shot, in that order, but she didn’t have her gun, she was trembling too much to push him away and she was afraid to touch him of her own volition. As it was, he was pressed against her and frustratingly her body reacted like it always did to him. Her body fired awake under his hands.

She caught her breath, “Jayne… please.”

“Please what?” He asked as he retraced the crystals at the cleft of her cheeks with his finger.

Her body answered by quivering under his touch.

One ruttin’ touch. He undid her with one ruttin’ touch and right then Zoë hated Jayne for it. Hated that he knew he could and hated herself for wanting more.

Jayne's lips teased her mouth open, then tasted her until she responded with her own need.

She gasped and stiffened as he broke the kiss to let his tongue flicker over the sensitive skin of her neck. His large hand palmed her nipple through the silky thin material, stroking until it pushed needily against his thumb.

“Ya know.” He glanced down at her nipples straining through the thin material of her dress, “a dress like that ain’t made for nothing ‘cept ta be peeled off or torn off… which one you reckon it’s gonna be t’night?” He rumbled next to her ear.

Jayne suddenly stepped away from her, and slipped his hands in his pockets.

“Ready?” Mal said suddenly appearing at Zoë’s elbow. “The party’s in full… ”

Zoë didn’t move. Her body was doing that humming thing that only Jayne’s touch brought on, except this time it pounded through her like a subspace engine, and her legs weren’t as steady as she would like. She licked her lips, tasting Jayne.

Mal looked at Zoë’s flushed face, her lean against the wall, “You feelin’ sick Zoë?”

“No Sir.” Zoë stayed still, afraid to move, to breathe.

“You look all—” Mal eyed her, concern worrying his brow.

“Fine Sir, I’m fine… to the job.” She quickly smoothed her dress, nodded all Zoë-like, then headed straight for Merrick.

* * * *

Hwoon Dahn – bastard
Ben tian sheng de yi dui rou - stupid inbred stack of meat
Tian xiao de - in the name of all that's sacred
Ni you shemma jihua? - What’s your plan?
go se - dog shit
Swai - handsome
liou mahng -bastard
Liou coe shway duh biao-tze huh hoe-tze fuh ur-tze - Son of a drooling whore and a monkey.
Wang bao dahn - Dirty bastard
Dong le ma? – Do we have an understanding?
Gou tsao de hwoon dahn - Dog-humping son of a bitch
Huh choo-shang tza-jiao duh tzang-huo - Animal-f'ing bastard
Ching-wah tsao duh liou mahng - Frog-riding bastard
Wu de tyen ah - Dear God in heaven.
Ren ci de fo zu - merciful Buddah
Pi-gu – ass; butt; rear end
Shumma? - What

This is a link to What I want...What I need Part 7
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