BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - ROMANCE

LATTELADY6

Voices And Visions - ch 3 - Ghosts 3/12
Sunday, October 22, 2006

While working to repair Serenity, River sees something she wishes she hadn't. Jayne helps her sort through her emotions and a friendship begins.


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 1699    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

Disclaimer: They belong to Joss; I just like to play with them Rating: PG-13 Pairing: Rayne with a small mention of M/I in this chapter.

Previous Chapter - Tentative Beginnings

Voices and Visions

By

Lattelady

Ch 3 Ghosts ............................

“You sure you want to do this tonight, Girlie?” Jayne had doubts as he watched River collect their gear. Her eyes were still red and puffy from cryin’ when she’d talked to Zoë earlier, but she seemed determined as she headed toward the control box to unlock the cargo bay door.

“I am sure,” she nodded. “If there isn’t much damage to the circuit board I can fix it and we can replace it tonight.”

“Hold you’re horses. I never said nothing ‘bout hangin’ ‘round whilst you fiddle with that tiny solderin’ thingy Kaylee gave ya, just so’s I can lower you back down the shaft to replace that gorramn board.” It wasn’t much later than ten o’clock, but everyone else had gone to their bunks and that was what Jayne wanted to do. Couldn’t work all day with a skimpily clad female and not end up with urges that needed tendin’ to.

“It will take eleven hours and thirty-three minutes to completely cycle and heat the water in the holding tanks. If we get this taken care of tonight, it will be the optimal temperature for bathing by morning.”

When he glared at her, she glared back and then stiffened her body until she was imitating him completely. “Weapons, women, food and hot showers, gotta take care of a body’s cravin’s.” With each word her voice lowered until she sounded exactly like the Mercenary. Then she shrugged and dropped back into her own speech pattern and stance. “Where they fall on your list of priorities depends on your mood of the moment.”

“Hey, Crazy-Girl, I thought you wasn’t readin’ our minds no longer,” his voice was slow and deadly with an expression to match. Her words had hit too close to what he’d been thinkin’ on for comfort.

“I do not, but there are things I can’t help knowing.” River pursed her lips to keep them from quivering. Her conversation with Zoë, less than twenty minutes earlier, had badly cracked and shaken her mental walls. She had been battling to repair and rebuild what had been damaged ever since. “I have no wish to hear other’s thoughts or feel their emotions. My head gets too crowded and I don’t know what belongs to me and what does not.” She looked up at him, blinking quickly to keep her eyes from filling with tears. “But I can’t erase what is already there, as much as I would like to.”

He felt guilty for accusin’ her ‘a readin’ his mind, and even worse for makin’ her cry. He knew that she was doin’ everything in her power to give those around her privacy and herself peace and quiet. The angry words had just slipped outta his mouth. Disgusted with himself and not wantin’ to show it, he shot her a glare. “Well, if we’re gonna do this; let’s get a move on it.”

“Hot showers are high on my list of priorities, too.” She offered him information about herself, as she keyed in the security code to open the door. “I like weapons, as well and food is necessary to sustain life, but I have no interest in women the way Jayne does, I prefer….”

Hao le, Girlie, ya ain’t supposed to be tellin’ me stuff like that!” He cut her off before she could finish. It weren’t proper to be talkin about sexin’ things with the girl.

“I knew those things about you. It is only fair you know them about me.” She tried to explain.

“Gorramnit, it don’t take no mind-readin’ to figure that stuff out ‘bout me, hell I bet everybody on this old boat knows what I like.” He glared at her. “Just like I’d already figured out ya like hot showers, else we wouldn’t be doin’ this now. You’d a waited ‘till Kaylee was awake, tomorrow, and used the duct in her bunk. The weapons part,” he shrugged and went on, unsure if it was wise. “Deadly things recognize each other, and it’s a mite bit hard to not like something that’s a part of your own self. But the other thing.” He stood tall and glared at her. “I don’t want to know nothing about, ya hear me! You’re just a little girl and shouldn’t be havin’ thoughts about…about…”

“But….”

“Not a word. No one single word!” He shook his finger an inch from her nose then turned and headed out the door, she’d just unlocked. River followed behind him rolling her eyes at his chauvinistic attitude.

Nimble as a cat, she climbed over Serenity’s port thruster and reached down as Jayne handed her their equipment. “Keep a sharp eye out there, Girlie,” he ordered as he pulled Betty from his holster and handed her the gun butt first. “Still got the safety on,” he warned, though figured the kid knew that without lookin’.

After following her up, they quickly and quietly made their way to the area, which had been indicated on the ship’s blueprints. Jayne punched in the code that opened the duct through the upper hull. He could feel River standing quiet and still at his back, and knew she was watchin’ for movement in the ship yards. It took him a moment to realize he felt safe. As the thought flitted through his mind, he quickly dismissed it as unimportant. ‘’Course he felt safe,’ he added to himself just to be sure he wasn’t makin’ more of the situation than there was. ‘The girl had taken out a passel of Reavers. Who wouldn’t trust her ta cover his back?’

“Gimme the gun and get into that there harness.” He called out gruffly to bring a halt to where his mind was takin’ him. He knew there had been a time when he wouldn’t ta wanted ta be alone with her if’n she had a cup a water in her hand, let alone one a his guns, but that had all changed somewhere around the time ‘a Miranda. It wasn’t a matter he liked thinkin’ on, ‘cause he was a loner and t’weren’t no one he trusted completely ‘septin’ his own self.

Jayne heard her quickly step outta her boots and into the rigging, but his eyes were on their surroundin’s. “Be sure to pull them straps good and tight.” He was tempted to reach out to help her, but refused to let his concentration be pulled from guardin’ the area.

The sling was little more than a padded leather swing with leg loops that fit around River’s upper thighs to keep her steady as she worked. He’d insisted on adding safety belts that wound around her hips and waist, after she used it the first time. She’d been a mite careless and reached too far to her left, and endin’ up danglin’ upside down from the contraption. Crazy-Girl coulda fallin’ twenty feet to the deck below, if’n her reflexes hadn’t been so quick.

“I am ready,” River whispered. “According to the schematics I need to be lowered ten feet and four inches. We must be quiet, because I will be directly above Kaylee’s bunk.”

“Yeah, yeah, let’s get this over with, it’s gettin’ damn chilly out here.” Jayne frowned and took a last look around.

“The perimeters are safe. No jackals roam tonight.” There was no inflection to her voice as she concentrated on their surroundings. Her head was tilted slightly to the right while she sniffed the air, but kept her eyes closed.

Tamade, you tryin’ ta scare me to death, Moonbrain?” The big man turned slowly as he felt his skin tingle. He hated it when she went all creepafying. It reminded him too much of how she’d been before.

She faced him and looked up with a crooked smile. “You are not afraid of me, and you never have been. You worried about the death and destruction that followed behind me, but that is all.” It was one of the reasons she felt comfortable working with him.

“Ya didn’t make me feel none to safe when ya said ya could kill me with that brain ‘a yours.” He remembered the churnin’ in his stomach when she’d said the words and the impish smile that had spread across her face.

“I was angry with you and not in a mood to be reassuring.”

“Stop your jawin’, Girlie, if’n you want ta do this tonight, lets get at it.” He nodded toward the open duct as he holstered Betty. Just before River’s head disappeared down the hole, he whispered, “Ya sure it’s okay?”

She opened her mind and searched through the ship yard, gripping the edge of the duct. “All is safe.” The last thing she saw was Jayne nodding his head. He didn’t draw Betty, but he didn’t fasten the slim leather strap that kept the gun secured in his holster, either. His eyes darted between the girl he was slowly lowering; to their surroundings; and back again.

“I have reached my destination,” River called up as quietly as she could. The only response she got was a grunt from above and increased pull on the snug fit of the harness that told her Jayne was supporting her weight.

She pulled her small flashlight out of her back pocked and began carefully searching for circuit board A269B. She’d just found it when the light went on in Kaylee’s room below. That in itself wasn’t unusual, but when she heard the deep voice of her brother mixed with soft laughter coming from the Mechanic she stopped working.

Bending forward at the waist, River saw the young couple reach for one another. ‘He’s finally going to kiss her,’ a smile crossed the girl’s face as she was filled with a warm glow of happiness for her friend and Simon. Then she was hit with an explosive wall of emotions and desires. Pictures of passion and love flashed though her mind. She knew they weren’t coming from her and she squinted her eyes at the couple. What she’d felt was so powerful it toppled her already damaged mental walls and she was flooded with thoughts she couldn’t block.

It was then she realized that Simon wasn’t wearing a shirt and he was slowly lowering Kaylee onto the bed. His hands were going places no sister should ever have to witness. This was real, not some trick River’s confused mind was playing on her. In panic she forgot all about the circuit board she’d been reaching for, and about Jayne waiting to pull her back up. She knew she had to get away from the emotions and thoughts that were smothering her.

Frantic to get away she climbed as fast as she could. She didn’t feel burns on her fingers caused by an unsteady grasp that slipped instead of holding steady to the rope. She didn’t feel gashes when she hit her knuckles against rough rusted areas of the duct. All she did was climb, until she felt a blast of cold air hit her face and then she threw herself across Serenity’s upper hull.

“Hey, Girlie,” Jayne bent to reach for her where she crouched at his feet, but she pushed his arm away. “All ya had to do was signal me and I’d a pulled ya back up.”

“No, no, it has all come crashing down,” she muttered, with her hands covering her ears as if to keep out a loud sound. “Bi zui, bi zui, she begged the sounds to stop as she reached for the fasteners on the harness, but instead of her usual sure graceful movements her hands fumbled and shook so badly she had no control. “Duibuqi, bi zui, must get away, get away.”

Tamade, girl, what the hell happened?” Jayne knelt beside her and slammed the duct hatch closed as he concentrated on the girl. “No, no, got to get out of this thing,” she was caught in panic and began to shiver. Lights still flashed in her brain and she could feel everything that was going on in the bunk below her. It robbed her of the dexterity needed to free her from the harness.

“What in the gorramn hell are you carryin’ on ‘bout.” He grabbed her wrists knowin’ he was takin’ a chance. River Tam outta control usually led to him gettin’ hurt, but he couldn’t stand to see her like this, not when she’d been so much better since Miranda.

“Mustn’t know, not right, not right, they….I…tidal wave….” no matter how hard she tried to get the words out she knew she wasn’t making any sense. In desperation she twisted her hands free so she could grip the front of his shirt. Large brown eyes looked deeply into confused blue ones. “Help me, Jayne?”

Lashi” he muttered. “I’m probably gonna regret this.” In one swift movement he handed River her boots then tossed her over his shoulder. Grippin’ her tightly they slid down the side of the ship. He gathered their rope the second his feet hit the ground. A part of his mind was amazed that the girl hadn’t decked him when he grabbed her or clobbered him with her combat boots. But he could feel her shivering and hear her muttering as he held her tightly in place and walked in long strides to the cargo bay door.

Moments later they were inside with the door locked up tight. Jayne gently placed River’s feet on the deck and undid the latches to free her from the harness. The hairs on the back of his neck stood up as she whispered and cursed. “What did you see?” He had a strong memory of her like this. It had been on Miranda as they were surrounded by the dead. “Girl!” he shook her as gently as he could and still get her attention. “Girlie, what the ruttin hell did you see? We in danger?”

“No, no danger.” She looked at the tall man whose arms she gripped in an attempt to keep her balance as her world shook and spun. “Walls had already cracked and I couldn’t keep…couldn’t keep from seeing. Should not…wrong…wrong…but so very right for them.”

“If you’re gonna go bat-shit on us again, Girlie, I’m gettin’ your brother.” He hated to do it, but he could see the damage she’d done to her hands when she’d climbed up that rope like bein’ pursued by the devil hisself. Somethin’ sure as hell weren’t right.

“No!” she cried out, not wanting to disturb Simon, nor explain the reason for her actions. “Not bat-shit, not crazy,” she kept shaking her head trying to convince herself and him. In desperation she pulled away from Jayne and ran across the bay. Over by the weights the Mercenary had hung a large punching bag for her to practice her kicks.

“You gotta give me more than that.” He was willin’ to hear her out, but to be on the safe side he kept his hand restin’ lightly on Betty.

“No bullet in the brain-pan,” she gasped as she took the first swing at the bag. “Safe,” she gasped as she spun and kicked as hard as she could. “Walls cracked when I talked to Zoë.” She punched it again, and then gave it a round-house kick hard enough to send it swinging. “Couldn’t stop….” Her right inner calf and foot impacted at the top of the bag. “…the emotions.” Use of physical energy was helping her organize her thoughts and express herself. “Got caught in the storm….” She gave the bag a quick one-two punch…“that Simon and Kaylee were creating.” Putting all her energy into it she swung completely around and aimed at the bag from behind. “Walls fell,” her voice shivered and she began to panic again so she kicked and punched at random.

“Felt…ick….ick…he is my BROTHER!” she shouted the last word too lost in trying to wipe the memory from her mind to pay attention to her next move. She swung her leg out and up, but her timing was off. Instead of landing a solid kick on the bag, it slammed back against her, catching her at the moment before she changed her balance from back to forward. River landed hard on the floor. The bag would have hit her in the head, as it swung back toward her, if Jayne hadn’t grabbed it.

“So you’re sayin’, that Simon and Kaylee was in her bunk when you went to get that board.” He grinned wickedly and sat beside her on the deck. “And you saw…”

“Not right, a sibling should not see or feel…ick!” She shivered making a face and shaking her hands in disgust. “Happy for Kaylee, happy for Simon…but…” she tried to explain what she’d seen without actually saying the words.

“Hot damn, ya git to see Kaylee nikkid?” he laughed. There’d been a time when he’d been a bit sweet on the Mechanic. It had quickly passed, but that didn’t stop a man from wonderin’.

“You should not ask such questions.” River moved so quickly the Merc didn’t see it coming. Her fist hit him hard on his shoulder knocking him off balance. “Ouch,” he glared at her.

“That was not an appropriate question.” She rubbed at her eyes as if to scrub the images from her mind.

“Yah and you peekin’ was appro-pri-at?” He wiggled his brows tryin’ to tease her outta her mood.

“Couldn’t help it, felt the love.” She smiled tenderly. “But…but…the rest just appeared in my head…ick....” She shivered at what she’d seen and felt. It was all the worse because when the couple’s emotions had blown down her walls their thoughts had thrust themselves into her mind.

“You sayin’ ya couldn’t block ‘em out?” Jayne couldn’t stand to see her sit there lookin all broken. Teasin’ wasn’t helpin’ but when she’d hit the bag she’d gotten focused, the same with when she’d pounded him one on the shoulder. He figured he knew just how to patch her back up again, but hoped she didn’t kill him in the process. Baitin’ River could get a mite dangerous. “That means you was able to feel their emotions and read their minds. Ya see how the Doc planned to sex up little Kaylee.” He laughed like the dirty old man he liked to think he was.

Her head popped up and she glared at him. “Do not push me,” the words rumbled from her throat.

“Want ta fight ‘bout it, Little Girl,” he growled. It was exactly the response he’d expected.

“I believe I told you once today, ‘anytime, anywhere, big man’,” she surged to her feet suddenly unsure of herself. She knew this was what she needed, but didn’t want to hurt Jayne in the process, no matter how crude he could be.

“Ain’t no weapons of any kind gonna be involved in this so empty your pockets, Girlie.” He carefully unfastened his holster and pulled his knife from its sheath then placed them high on a crate. “And my balls is off limits.”

She rolled her eyes at his comment as she stashed her flashlight out of reach. “You needn’t worry about your testicles, as long as you take off your boot.”

“Fair ‘nough,” he nodded and undid his laces and stacked his boots with the rest of his things.

She gave him a feral grin as they began to circle one another. She was as graceful as Jayne remembered from the Maidenhead, but her movements were sluggish as if her mind was on other things. He knew he didn’t want ta hurt her, just give her an outlet for the emotions she was unable to control. When he landed his first punch, he didn’t put any muscle behind it. He could tell from the look of surprise and the smile of relief that crossed her face that she understood. She slowly nodded in agreement then concentrated on nothing but the man who was giving her the opportunity to spar until her mind cleared.

The noise in the bay brought Inara out of the engine room where she’d been sleeping in Kaylee’s empty hammock. She rubbed the sleep from her eyes and watched in awe at the spectacle below. River and Jayne were going at it as if they meant to kill each other, but on closer inspection it was easy to see that each was being careful not to hurt the other. Fists and feet landed, but there was no pain inflicted. If, occasionally, one of them hadn’t sent the other flying with a loud thump that rang through the room, as a body hit the ground, Nara would have thought they were dancing. It was too odd even for those two. She snuck quietly back to her hiding place.

Twenty minutes later the two deadliest people on the ship were drenched in sweat and lay exhausted on the bay floor.

“Thank you,” River turned her head and smiled.

“T’weren’t nothin’, ya just needed a good work-out to get your mind settled some.” He shrugged.

“It was something.” She sat up and looked him full in the face. “You took quite a chance,” she whispered. “At the Academy, they would make us fight each other. Only the winner survived.” She shivered when she thought how out of control she’d been just before they’d sparred and it made her stomach knot. “I was too close to the edge. It could have gone terribly wrong.”

“River…” he shook his head unable to go on. So much had been done to the girl it was amazin’ she had a sane thought in her head.

“I can feel your anger, I’m sorry but emotions slip through even my strongest walls and the way they are now, it is a battle to keep thoughts out.”

“A course I’m angry, but not at you!” He frowned and sat beside her. “It’s them gorramn bastards and what they did ta ya.”

“The past cannot be changed.” She shrugged.

“Well anytime ya need to spar, I’m the man for the job. I figured that if’n you wanted me dead, you’ve had at least three chances, that I know of, to do me in and I’m still here.” He wanted to cuss at the unfairness of all the Girl had been through, but she’d been too close to lossin’ it tonight. The last thing she needed was anyone else goin’ all outta control on her. He’d save his anger for when he was alone.

“Thank you for your offer, but I’d feel safer if it were when the ghosts weren’t so near the surface.”

“Ghosts?” his voice rose an octave and he looked around the cargo bay. “Do you see ghosts, River?” Her comment had brought back an old memory and as much as he hated to ask her, he needed to hear her answer.

“We all have our ghosts, except for maybe Kaylee.” She shivered beside him, but refused to look at him. “Inara’s live in her shuttle. That’s why she never sleeps there anymore. The Captain sees his in his nightmares and everytime he looks at the empty chairs at the dinner table. Zoë’s is a happy ghost and she visits with him every night on the bridge.” The gentle smile that had crossed her face when she spoke of the second in command, was replaced with sorrow when she went on. “Simon’s is of a girl who will never be and he blames himself for not getting her out of the Academy sooner. Mine…mine are no longer the millions who died or became Reavers on Miranda. Now they are only the innocents who died by my hand, either in training or at the Maidenhead. Who haunts you, Jayne Cobb?”

“I think on the Shepherd and the things you said that day.” He spoke quietly and watched her carefully to be sure his words weren’t hurtin’ her more than she’d already been hurt. “Ya remember when you was layin on Tracey’s coffin, you told me that I would out-live the Preacher. That’s come ta pass. Was all of the rest of what ya told me true, as well?”

“I never should have said anything,” she muttered as she stood up and moved toward the bench press. The memory of the moment was so strong it felt as if she were reliving it. In her mind she could see Jayne standing with Shepherd Book just as they had been on that day.

She looked to her right and could see herself dressed in baggy pants and a sweater, laying stomach down on the cool silver toned coffin, but it was Book’s words that kept echoing in her ears.

“It makes sense, makes you feel alive, I’d venture,” She watched in horror as the two men talked, again, but this time she could only hear the Preacher’s words and she never heard the real Jayne calling her name as he stood by her side.

“Don’t say it,” River implored and held out her hand as if she could stop the words from her past. Hoping against hope that if they weren’t said, it would prevent a dead man from dying.

“Well, I suspect you’ll be around long after we’re all…” The memory of Book’s words hit her like a blast.

“No!” she cried out in pain as she knelt on the floor trying to block the old vision but unable to. She saw again the Preacher’s death and the funeral they’d attended so recently.

“River!” Jayne shouted at her as he grabbed her shoulders and shook her. “Gorramnit, Girl!”

“I’m going crazy again,” she wound her fingers in the front of his shirt and pulled him close to her, as they knelt together on the deck.

“No ya ain’t Girlie; you’ve just had a rough day.” He gasped in surprise when she rested her forehead on his chest.

“I saw him dead, you know, lying at the base of that big gun at Haven.” She kept her hold on Jayne, but looked up until her eyes bore into his. “Is that where he died?” She remembered the carnage and the smell of burnt flesh all around her. As much as she’d needed to see what had happened to the Shepherd, she’d lost her nerve when surrounded by the death of the innocent.

“Yeah, it is.” He hated to tell her that, but he was damned if he’d lie to her.

She only nodded and shook her head. “What I don’t understand is that, between the time I had that vision and the time he died, Serenit visited Haven three times. Why didn’t I recognize it? Why couldn’t I have prevented it?”

“I don’t know, Girlie,” he sighed. “The Shepherd used to say that we create our own destiny. Maybe that was just something you couldn’t a prevented no matter what you’d seen.”

“Maybe,” she sighed.

“You saw that I would outlive the Preacher and that I’d live to be an old man with children and grandchildren?”

“Yes, but you must understand that what I saw could change. It was the future for the moment in time when I saw it.” She was trying to explain an idea she didn’t understand very well but knew if she couldn’t make him understand it, things would go spinning out of control. It made her shake with urgency.

“I’m listenin’,” he spoke quietly and gently held her arms to steady her. He’d noticed that touch seemed to calm her, but no one but Simon ever touched her.

“Just because I have seen you as a very old man, doesn’t mean you will live to be one if you are foolish. Men in your profession don’t usually make it out of their twenties, but you have, because you are careful.”

“Some’ve been known to call me a mite selfish.” He challenged.

“You forget I’ve fought both against you and beside you.” She smiled. “You are careful, but if you don’t remain so, if you take this vision of mine and decide that you can’t be killed, you will die and soon!”

“So you’re tellin’ me I can’t just go around tryin’ to stop bullets every chance I get.” He laughed because the idea was completely out of character for him, though he knew he’d take a slug for the little girl who was holdin’ on to him. Cause she was beggin’ him to take his life and live it, instead of dyin’ on some nameless moon. Nobody since his Ma had bothered doin’ that. It was the least he could do for her.

“That is correct, and I would not advise going for walks in the Black without a suit, either.” River relaxed and let her hands slide down to her lap as she sat back on her knees. “I am unsure why it was different for the Shepherd, but I know it was.”

“You din’t never tell him what ya’d seen.” Jayne scratched his goatee and remembered the carnage at Haven. “Book was bein’ mighty brave that day. Ya might even say he stood in front of a bullet ta bring down the ship that killed all his people. That’s the kinda thing you’re tryin’ to warn me against doin’ now.”

“Yes, just because I’ve seen it doesn’t make it a shield against all the bad in the ‘verse.”

“Well there ya go.” He nodded but still had some unanswered questions. “What about the rest’a what you told me?” He shrugged and tried to look casual. “The bit about kids and all.

“I do not understand what you are asking?”

“I believe you do. I git the idea from what you said, that there will be a woman in my future.”

“Jayne,” River smiled at him. “As long as I’ve known you, there have always been women in your future.” She couldn’t tell him that she’d seen him as an old man, happy and content to die with his arms wrapped tightly around her, as she snuggled close to him. He’d laugh at her and accuse her of being crazy. If she thought about it much she wasn’t so sure it wasn’t a hallucination. She didn’t love him. They had become almost friends in the time they’d been working together, but there was nothing more between them.

“Gorramnit, that ain’t what I mean and you know it.”

“Would you like me to try and recall the vision?” She licked her lips at the thought.

“You’d be willin’ ta do that?”

“Yes, there will never be a better time. I can feel emotions humming all around me, though they are no longer ringing in my ears and filling my head, thanks to your help.” She shrugged, knowing Jayne well enough that he doubted her purpose unless she had something to gain from it as well, so she told him the truth. “And it will tell me if what I had seen was just another moment of crazy in my life or the truth.”

“All right, as long as it don’t send you off ’a the rails again.”

“We could always spar a second time if it does.” She smiled gently and shrugged.

“Yup we could.” He grinned back at her.

She laughed softly then turned very serious. “You must understand that I will do it this time, but never again. The responsibility is too great.”

He watched her closely for a moment then nodded. “I can understand that.”

“All right, then if I am to do this, I will need your help.”

“What do ya need me ta do?” He sat on his heels with her kneeling between his spread thighs.

“I need to touch your skin.” When he held out his arm, she shook her head. “I need to touch you where I cut you,” the last words were spoken so quietly he almost didn’t hear them.

“If that’s when ya saw it, no wonder ya got doubt,” he muttered never taking his eyes off of hers, as he slowly pulled up his shirt until a thin white scar was exposed. It ran on a diagonal from high right to lower on the left, almost as if she’d tried to cross his heart with the knife.

Her hand hovered above his chest, almost touching his skin when she stopped and pulled back. “I can’t promise that I might not pick up some stray thoughts.” Her eyes swam as she waited for permission to continue.

“S’okay,” he nodded and tried to clear his mind.

When River’s hand covered the scar she used all her mental efforts to bring back the moment that it had all happened. She shivered as her mind was filled with the memory of her blade slashing his skin and the vision that followed.

Jayne almost gasped when her soft warm fingers lay against his chest. He’d never felt anything as good in his whole gorramn life. She felt gentle and fragile against his skin. In his experience, females didn’t touch men like that. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d been touched by a woman and not a whore. It took a huge effort on his part not to press her small-boned hand tight against him with his larger callused one and keep it there for a long, long time.

Again she saw the Mercenary as a very old man, surrounded by their children and grandchildren. He was holding her hand as he led her to their bed. She shook herself to pull away from the future because she already knew how it would end for them. He would die with his body wrapped tightly around hers and she would feel his death and slip on to join him. She did not posses Zoë’s courage, to continue when the man who was her other half was gone.

Her hand slid down Jayne’s chest and she leaned back taking in deep gulps of air. “Blood to blood it always runs true and it never lies,” she whispered as she fought to get herself back under control.

“Girlie…River, you all right?” He quickly pulled down his shirt sure that she’d left another mark on him, but one only he would be able to see. He cupped her shoulders, afraid she might topple over backwards.

“Yes, I’m fine.” She nodded but leaned her forehead against him for support. “No stray thoughts could make it past the vision.”

“S’okay if they did.” He shrugged unsure where that was comin’ from. He used ta hate that she might be able to read his mind. “Did ya see, like before?”

“It wasn’t as strong,” she breathed easily and pulled out of his grasp. “No blood, just the scar to guide me.”

“I’m guessin that you saw it the first time, when you took the butcher knife to me.”

“Yes, I did. I am sorry for that.” Her large brown eyes began to fill with tears and she sniffed lightly as she ran her finger over his shirt. She knew exactly where the scar was below.

“Ahhh don’t go gettin’ all sad and cryin’ again. You done enough ‘a that today. ‘Sides I figure I deserved what ya did ta me. I was plannin’ on turnin’ you and that brother ‘a yours in to the Feds.” He wasn’t good with cryin’ women, especially if he had made them cry. “I’m surprised ya didn’t run me clean through with that blade, knowing what I was gonna do.”

“Stop, stop,” she shook her head and covered his mouth with trembling fingers. “It wasn’t like that. You can’t blame yourself. There were so many things slamming into my brain that morning. I could feel great danger and was very afraid. You were wearing that gorramn Blue Sun T-shirt, which only made it worse. Everyone was in the room. All their emotions and thoughts were screaming at me. I couldn’t get the words out or express myself, so I went after you with a knife. I was crazy and that’s all there was to it and I’m terrifited that I’ll be that way again!” Her hidden fears bubbled to the surface and caught them both by surprise.

“It ain’t gonna happen, you understand me! I don’t care if we have ta spar five times a day.” He lifted her by the shoulders until their faces were inches apart. “You’re sane River, and I don’t ever want ta hear ya talk like that again.”

“You can say that even after how I’ve acted tonight?”

“I sure can. You just had a moment where you lost control, something that could ‘a happened to anybody. How many times you seen me toss or kick stuff ‘cross this here cargo bay? Or Inara and the Captain yell at each other and flounce off in opposite directions? What about that day Simon punched Mal! Hell, I’ve even seen Kaylee throw a wrench ‘cross the engine room, but that was only once and she was mighty angry at the Doc. I guess we won’t be seein’ much of that anymore.” Jayne was rewarded when River smiled slightly.

“You’re correct, everyone loses control at times, but mine have been so deadly.” She blinked quickly unable to keep her tears from falling.

“Well the only thing I saw you try ta hurt tonight was that old punchin’ bag and it ended up knockin’ you on your ass.” He took the hem of his shirt and wiped her wet cheeks. “Think ya got them tears under control?”

“I will be fine, Jayne, thank you.” She pulled out of his arms and sat inches away from him, feeling her walls carefully repairing themselves. “Thank you for the insight into my problem.”

“I meant it about the sparrin’.” He sat back with one leg straight in front of him and other bent. “It would be good for both of us to do it regular like. Accordin’ to the Captain, I got control issues too, though I’ve never set much store by what Mal says.”

“I would appreciate that. The exercise would be good and it would hone our skills.” She stood and dusted off the back of her shorts. “Now I must shower and get some sleep. Unfortunately, we will still need to retrieve the circuit tomorrow and it will be another day before the water is hot.”

“Wait a sec,” Jayne called her back.

She turned in the door to the passenger dorm, his question was written clearly on his face, so she answered it. “I saw you as the old man I had seen before.”

“But what about the whore?” he almost whispered. “I mean if’n I don’t know who’s gonna be the mother of my child, how will I know…well ya know.”

“I saw no whore.” River couldn’t say anymore. If she told him the truth he would call her crazy and mean it. She knew if that were to happen something would tear wide open inside of her and she really would be crazy. “Good-night, Jayne.”

“Night, River….” the sound of her name on his lips made him freeze and add quickly. “….Girl.”

On to ch 4 - Voices Of The Living

COMMENTS

Sunday, October 22, 2006 10:08 AM

TAMSIBLING


Yay for Jayne having a heart, big mushy one that makes him all sweet on River!

I love how reluctant River is to tell him about her vision. And her reaction to seeing and feeling her brother and Kaylee was just perfect!

Sunday, October 22, 2006 11:54 PM

AMDOBELL


I was ROTFL at the part where River couldn't concentrate or do her work because Simon and Kaylee were doing the deed! Um, on a more serious note she might need to let one of them know to keep their hormones in check when she is either doing delicate work or doing something potentially dangerous as that kind of reaction might end up getting them all killed. And thank you for the wave, you are welcome to the feedback. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Monday, October 23, 2006 5:47 PM

BLUEEYEDBRIGADIER


Oh...this scene is even better the second time around, Lattelady6!

Definitely found the "I saw no whore" moment to be the real tearjerker moment, as she's so wanting to tell Jayne about the vision...but she knows he isn't ready:(

BEB


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FINAL CHAPTER: J/R; M/I; S/K; Z/Wash memories. The future is set to rights and there is happyness of all as they come full circle. - Chapters linked -

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