Even Roses Have Thorns, Chapter Nineteen
Friday, January 5, 2007

Simon has been captured, and the crew struggles with the demands of his rescue, the gap it creates, and their own private problems. Angst is afoot. Canon pairings. This chapter is rated NC17, for adult themes. Postive feedback perfered.


Even Roses Have Thorns

Chapter Nineteen: Ignis aurum probat (literally, fire tests gold) Part II

*** *** *** Chapters 1-10, Chapter 11, Chapter 12, Chapter 13, Chapters 14-15, Chapter 16, Chapter 17, Chapter 18 *** *** ***

Jayne wasn’t watching the clock on purpose, but he was more than vaguely aware of the amount of time passing. River had screamed for well over thirty minutes, nigh-on solid, since he’d first sat down on Book’s old bed. In that length of time, Jayne had considered Zoë’s words, gagging River, what he’d done on Ariel, and prayer. A small part of him was envious of how she wasn’t scared to love, to let go, to scream and to sob. Jayne knew pain – not, necessarily, pain like this – but pain all the same. River trusted that it didn’t say anything bad about her that she felt it. He wondered, too, how much of the screaming was her sharing in Simon’s pain, and how much was a release of her grief at feeling him endure it.

When the screaming finally broke, Jayne was pacing again. He hurried into Simon’s room, to find River face down on the mattress, panting heavily, tears streaming down her face. He didn’t know what to say. “Simon out cold?” He blurted. ‘Shouldn’t be asking them questions, Jayne,’ he scolded himself silently.

“No. Alone now, doesn’t know for how long. Alone to think. Worry. Hurt.”

“River, ya ain’t gotta be alone.” Jayne half-cursed himself, knowing that meant that he was volunteering to stay.

“I was talking about Simon.”

“Yea, well, I was talkin’ ‘bout you.”

“Can I have some water, please?” Jayne nodded and got her a glass from the washroom. She sat up and took it when he handed it to her. “Thank you, Jayne.” He watched as she rubbed her face with her forearm. He went and grabbed a towel and handed it to her. “Thank you,” she said again.

“River, ain’t no reason to be feelin’ all this.” He nodded toward the door. “Let’s go fetch ya some of Simon’s drugs.”

“No drugs. I want to help Simon.”

“An’ Simon don’t want ya to suffer. He’d a loaded ya up with somethin’ by now if he were here.”

“Simon won’t betray me.” Her voice was so soft, that even Jayne – skilled tracker that he was – nearly had to bend down to catch what she said next. “And I won’t betray him.”

That took a moment for the mercenary to parse. “Hey, now, River, it ain’t betraying your brother to take a shot of somethin’. Ain’t natural, you feelin’ alla this.”

“He’s suffering because of me.”

Jayne was starting to get angry. Not at River, just angry in general. Like tears for River, anger was a natural response for Jayne. “An’ if I was talkin’a him, he’d say you was suffering ‘cause a him.”

River nodded. “Thinks it’s his fault we’re fugitives.”

Jayne stared down at the girl, open mouthed, then looked away. “Yeah, on reflection, that don’t surprise.” He knelt down on one knee so that she could see his face. He regretted looking into her eyes immediately, but he just took a deep breath and continued. “Ain’t your fault yer fugies. Ain’t his fault. Ain’t your fault he’s bein’ beat on, and it ain’t his fault. Ain’t Kaylee’s neither. Ship carries so much gorram guilt around on it, it’s a wonder the ruttin’ thing even flies.” River rolled her eyes, but didn’t bother to correct him. “Three a you done so little bad in yer lives ya gotta go borrowin’ it? Ain’t no one’s fault ‘cept the hundans who think it’s just shiny to cut up little girls.”

She didn’t reply. Jayne stood up again. He had no idea what to do. He noticed the chair that he’d last sat on just before he’d closed the two siblings in away from Saffron. The irony of it totally escaped him, but he sat down. She hadn’t asked him to go, and he didn’t think that she would ever ask him to stay. He tried to strengthen his resolve by reminding himself that she wouldn’t seem much quieter from Book’s room.

His resolve shattered shortly, when she rolled onto her side, crying and whispering, “Ren ci de shang di, qing dai wo zou! Wo xiang mei er, mei xin, bian shi tou.”

He remembered in vivid detail exactly where he’d last her that, and his blood went completely cold, but all he managed for comfort was, “Not without drugs, yer not gonna!”

She curled into a tiny ball, and began screaming. He’d been wrong. It really was louder in here. He stood and started to pace again.


“Ain’t fair, ‘Nara.” Kaylee looked half-shocked to Inara.

“I know, Mei-mei,” her friend said as she lit some incense for relaxation. “Can I give you something to help calm your nerves?”

“Naw, ‘Nara, Zoë wants me ta help you search for Simon.”

“Well, I’m running a through Cortex search at the moment. There isn’t really anything to do right now except to wait.” She plumped a cushion. “Would you like to lie down, rest while it’s running? We can go through it together when it’s done.”

The mechanic was silent.


“Na, ‘Nara, thanks though.” She started to cry again, softly. Inara was too well trained to ask why or to suggest that she stop. She merely pulled the girl toward her, and stroked her hair. “Heard River screami’ and cryin’ on my way here. Don’t think I’ll ever get that sound out of mind. Like it were Simon’s screams comin’ outta her mouth. I did this to him.” Kaylee turned her face toward her friend. “’Nara, I think I wanna die.”


It was over an hour later when she finally stopped screaming again, her small body shaking. Jayne couldn’t take it anymore. He’d decided some forty minutes ago that he couldn’t take it anymore.

“River, you can’t scream no more. It’s like to damage a man’s calm.” The girl continued to sob and Jayne went to refill her water glass. She drank some down, wordlessly. “River, let me go get some a Simon’s drugs. Or some a ‘Nara’s. Or some booze.”

“No.” Her voice was low, raspy. She sipped some more water.

“River, you gotta.” He looked away from her, although she wasn’t meeting his eyes. “River, can’t listen to this no more.”

“Go drug yourself, then.” She met his eyes, defiant, but saw only shared grief and fear. She dropped her gaze. “I’m sorry, Jayne. I shouldn’t have said that.” She handed her glass back to Jayne, who put it back on the side table. “No. Drugs.”


“No drugs. Zoë promised.”

“River…” he stopped himself, momentarily, but realised that waiting was pointless. Best to say it when she would understand him. “River, he comes to, they come back, they start on him again – whatever is happenin’– you start up that screamin’ again, and I will gag you.”

She nodded. He couldn’t fathom how she could be so reasonable about the unreasonable and yet so unreasonable about the reasonable. He settled back into chair. Silence reigned for a while. She got up, and used the washroom. It wasn’t long after she settled back down on the bed that she lay down on her side again, moaning softly. Jayne knew what was happening and stood. River pointed behind herself to Simon’s dresser, as she wailed – comparatively conservatively – to herself. Jayne rummaged through Simon’s things, grabbed a sock and then found a clean large enough handkerchief and knotted it in the middle. He sat on the bed behind her, half turned toward her, and he swallowed.

“River, don’t want ta do this.”

“No drugs.”

“Ok.” He sighed. He reached into his pocket and pulled out some small change, putting it into the sock. He knotted the end of the sock. “You’re gagged, not gonna be able ta understand ya. Ya need something, water, the head, gag loosened, whatever, you drop this. It’ll jingle, and I’ll know ya need something.” He hoped that she didn’t know it was a whore’s trick. ‘Go se. Girl knows now.’ “I’ll take it off anytime you like, but ya can’t scream. Ya ask me ta take off the gag, I will. But ya start screamin’ again and I’m carrying ya up ta the infirm’ry and knocking ya out.”

River whimpered. “No drugs. Told Zoë. You can cut my vocal cords.”

Revulsion crossed Jayne’s face. “There’s somethin’ very wrong with ya if ya think… Look ain’t no-one here cuttin’ on you. This here’s plenty wrong ‘nough.” He could see that her knuckles were white from how tightly she was clenching her fists against the pain. He knew that he couldn’t ask her to delay any longer. “Sit up some.” River did as she was told. He placed the gag around her face, watching carefully all the while. “Ya gotta open yer mouth some. The knot’s gotta get in.” She did, and he hated the look of fear in her eyes. He tied the gag tightly around the back of her head. She lay down, trembling, as soon as he was done, sock curled tightly in her left hand, tears running down her face, and with her screams muffled by her brother’s handkerchief.

Jayne sat there, staring, not knowing at all what to do next. After a while, he started to rub her back as she shook.


Zoë had to pee again. She felt like most of her time was now taken up with walking to, from or using, the head. She knew that it must have happened the last time, too, but she didn’t recall noticing.

It was when she went to pull back her clothes that she saw it.

She was spotting.

*** *** *** Chapter 20 *** *** ***


Friday, January 5, 2007 12:30 PM


Once again, thank you to all those who have read and commented.

I hope you continue to enjoy and to comment.

I posted chapter eighteen eariler today, so if you haven't seen that, this might be a little confusing.

Friday, January 5, 2007 12:52 PM


*She was spotting.*

My blood just ran cold. Please don't let Zoe lose the baby; that really would kill Simon.

Friday, January 5, 2007 1:07 PM


> She was spotting.
Crap. If Zoe loses the baby and Simon finds out, he might just finish off what the bad guys started. No way he'd get over the guilt.

Why is River so insistent on no drugs? Does she have an actual reason for it (maybe try to help her borther psychically), or does she - somwhat like Jayne - believe she deserves to feel it simply because it's "her fault"?

Friday, January 5, 2007 2:21 PM


And I thought the spotting had to do with spilling Simon's blood . . .

I, too, wonder why River is insisting on no drugs. Does she think she can really help him or is she punishing herself for the pain she thinks she's caused her brother?

>She lay down, trembling, as soon as he was done, sock curled tightly in her left hand, tears running down her face, and with her screams muffled by her brother’s handkerchief.

The Kaylee and Inara scene, while short, definitely hit an emotional nerve. She thinks she wants to die - wonder how long it will take her to really examine her priorities and what, and who, she wants out of life.

That was just chilling.

Friday, January 5, 2007 9:43 PM


Oh boy - so many moments in this chapter just gave me the chills. Probably Kaylee's admission to Inara and Jayne deciding to rub River's back were the two best.

I'm fine with River not taking the drugs, but there has to be a reason. Can she reach out to Simon? Maybe give him some resolve or strength? If not, and she is being a martyr, she's taking it too far. Simon will only suffer more if they mount a rescue and she's passed out from the strain of suffering with him.

Saturday, January 6, 2007 7:42 AM


Very good, really liked the River/Jayne intaction. Those two charactors together are so riviting.

Sunday, January 7, 2007 5:55 PM


Oh...this is 3 times not fuggin' good! River's reaching her limits physically and emotionally through her bond with Simon, Kaylee's really starting to get the picture about things...and Zoe's possibly going into early labour that will probably see her foetus are one cruel - but brilliant - so and so, girlfan!

Really gotta hand it to ya with the River/Jayne scene. Even if you have zero plans for them to become close...this definitely proves that these two can have angsty and beautifully written scenes where they are just in perfect sync when it comes to action-reaction:D



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Even Roses Have Thorns, Chapter Fifty-Three
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Penultimate chapter. (No, penultimate is not a fancier version of 'ultimate'.) Some fluff - Jayne gets to go home. PG13 to be on the safe side (probably G, at least if you ignore the comments - man, I can't spell). Canon pairings +1 (River/ofc).

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Even Roses Have Thorns, Chapters 46-50
All already posted before, just posted together for convience of new and (re) readers. Overall rating NC-17; this applies to all chapters in this grouping, for violence, non-con, death, extreme angst (hurt w/o comfort) and generalised squickiness. Canon pairings +1 (River/ofc). Postive comments perfered; any cease and desists recieved will be complied with, and shown off at parties.

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Even Roses Have Thorns, Chapter Forty-Seven
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Even Roses Have Thorns, Chapter Forty-Six
Simon's point of view, in his time of dying. NC17.

Even Roses Have Thorns, Chapters 41-45
All already posted before, just posted together for convience of new and (re) readers. Overall rating NC-17; this applies to all chapters in this grouping, for violence, non-con, death, extreme angst (hurt w/o comfort) and generalised squickiness. Canon pairings +1 (River/ofc). Postive comments perfered; any cease and desists recieved will be complied with, and shown off at parties.