Even Roses Have Thorns, Chapter Thirty-Nine
Friday, February 9, 2007

Zoe dreams, Mal interrupts, Kaylee confides in Inara, and Jayne gets some trim. Canon pairings +1 (River/ofc). NC17 (for sex, talk of violence, and Jayne, generally).


Even Roses Have Thorns

Chapter Thirty-Nine: Pede poena claudo (Literally, punishment comes limping, which is to say, retribution comes slowly, but surely.)

*** *** *** Chapters 1-10, Chapters 11-20, Chapters 21-30, Chapter 31, Chapter 32, Chapter 33, Chapter 34, Chapter 35, Chapter 36, Chapter 37, Chapter 38 *** *** ***

When Jayne walked into the galley, hardly anyone was there. He looked at his watch; but no, he wasn’t late. He ventured to sit quietly at the table with Mal, Inara and Aren. Inara and Aren were having a light chat as Mal silently watched Kaylee dish up breakfast.

“Weren’t it River’s turn to cook, Kaylee?” Jayne asked the mechanic as she set his plate down in front of him. It was a pleasant surprise. Jayne might be willing to eat anything, but it didn’t mean that he didn’t have taste buds, and he thought that Kaylee’s was the finest on board, now that Book was gone.

“It were. Took over for her.” Jayne noticed that Kaylee’s face was tired and tense; he didn’t like it. “Simon was havin’ a bad morning I guess and River went to settle him down. Zoë says they’re sleeping it off in the passenger dorms.”

Jayne knew that there weren’t nothing he could say about that, so he didn’t. He did look up from his plate to ask, “Zoë eat yet?” No-one nodded and Mal shook his head. “Best make up a plate for ‘er then.” Jayne snatched an empty plate and started to load it up.

With a stunned expression at Jayne’s definition of ‘making up a plate’, Aren intervened. “The calorific content of that meal is more than extreme even for Zoë’s condition.”

Jayne stared at the doctor, not understanding anything except the horrified tone of voice. He looked to Inara for a translation.

Inara managed to keep the humour from her voice. “What Aren’s saying, Jayne, is that Zoë’s pregnant with twins, not a platoon of grown men.”

At Jayne’s hurt look, Mal took a little pity. He couldn’t help but feel fonder of Jayne when the mercenary was having his looking-after-his-little-women moments. “That’s alright, Jayne, Zoë can leave whatever’s too much. I’ll take it up to the bridge for you now before it gets cold.”

“Aw, thanks Mal.” Jayne happily passed the plate over and started to chow down on his own breakfast. Mal turned a bemused grin on his fiancée; he knew that it wasn’t in Jayne to worry about Mal’s breakfast getting cold.


“Oh, there’s pretty definitely going to be some worrying done, lambie-toes. In fact, I think it may be my finest worrying to date,” Wash advised her, eyes wide, as he reached for her pregnant belly.

“Zoë, there’s no way I caught you asleep on duty, is there?” Mal’s tone was wildly amused.

Zoë’s voice came back groggy, confirming his suspicions. “Permission to strangle you, Sir, with my bare hands?”

“Sure, Zoë.” He set the plate down on the console, before amending his statement. “Not to death, though. Got Captain-y things to be done.”

Zoë reached for her plate. “Thank you, Sir.”

“You’re welcome, Zo. Actually, it was Jayne’s idea. Makes more and more sense why his momma loves him like she does,” Mal mused as he sat down in the co-pilot’s chair. “Anything come up on the Cortex search yet?”

Zoë looked up from her plate. “No, Sir.” Her eyes glanced at the screen. “I’m running a second search, and I believe Inara’s running one in the shuttle. No hits yet.” She took another bite and swallowed, before speaking. “I’m beginning to share River’s opinion.”

“Took us a while to find Simon, Zoë. No reason this would be faster.” His voice was reassuring.

“That it did, Sir. Situation’s different this time ‘round. There was plenty of chatter immediately after Simon’d been snatched, and a few little bits after that. Police channels only, of course, but there’s been no chatter at all so far. Nothing for Inara to try to follow.” Zoë took another bite, but Mal didn’t make any response. “Sir, we can’t wait on Haymer’s offer too long. Longer we wait, bigger chance of someone getting wind.” Zoë hated this, what she knew the dilemma was doing to him. She dropped her voice and offered gently, “Permission to set course for Belleraphon, Sir?”

She could almost see the wheels turning – grinding together painfully – in the Captain’s mind as he gazed out at the black. She continued to eat carefully as he rose and walked from the bridge. Before passing the door, he agreed. “Set course for Belleraphon, Zoë.”


After breakfast, Kaylee and Inara headed for Inara’s shuttle, leaving Jayne alone with the doctor. “I’m making some more coffee. Ya want some?” Jayne asked as he stood.

“Please, Jayne. That would be lovely.”

“So I got ta wonderin’,” Jayne began as he prepared the drinks, “iffin you’d never been with a man.”

Aren smiled. Jayne was crude, it was true, but something about his frank curiosity was appealing; it wasn’t the misogynist attitude she was often used to; he was prying, but that was all. She’d watched him long enough to know that if she refused to answer him, the conversation would end there. “No. Never.”

“That usual?”

“At my age? It’s not unusual. A lot of lesbians never do; some have the occasion male lover, especially in their youth.”

“Ya wanna?” Aren peered at him closely – he was focused carefully on his task.

Aren kept the surprise from her tone, trying to keep her voice at the same polite level as before. “Are you propositioning me, Jayne?”

“That mean am I asking ya if ya’d like ta have sex with me?”

She cracked, and the humour came through. “It does.”

“Well, yeah.” Jayne shrugged and brought the coffee over in two mugs. “Ya ain’t gonna be on the boat much longer and I can’t see Mal stoppin’ any place soon long enough ta get some trim. Wouldn’t normally ask crew. Anyway, just thought ya might be curious.”

Well, of course she was curious; but she’d never been that curious or she’d have done it before. Oddly, Jayne’s open curiosity had aroused her own, and a small part of her brain was toying with the idea. “We tend to get our pleasure – differently, I suppose.” She hoped it wouldn’t go over his head; she didn’t think she could be anymore explicit at table.

It didn’t. “I know that!” Jayne’s indignation was mild. “I got fingers and a mouth. Course, there’s the beard, but some girls like that. Anyway, be worth doing for the sake of tryin’ somethin’ once.” He gave her what she considered was a winning smile.

Aren hadn’t led the sheltered life that many people assumed she’d had. She’d had torrid affairs and fast and free love – and she’d had similar conversations before. Still she couldn’t quite figure out whether she was thinking about agreeing at all, or that the man in question was Jayne. On the other hand, maybe it made sense that it would be someone like Jayne. He wanted more or less anonymous, easy sex, and had no delusions of or desire to ‘fuck her straight’. It wasn’t about power, or ego. He simply wanted trim. Smiling, she wondered if she was trying to talk herself into it. She studied her coffee as she stirred it carefully. “And if one were to consider such an arrangement, how would you propose we go about it?”

“Well, I figure we’d each get some in our usual fashion.” That was about as subtle as Jayne got, but he could see that she was thinking about it, and he didn’t want to chase her away.

“So I’d?” She asked; not the question actually clarified anything.

“Iffin ya wanna. Suppose you could always bring me off girly style. Wouldn’t refuse on account ta that. Wouldn’t do much for yer curiosity, though.”

Well, now Aren’s curiosity went elsewhere. “What would you refuse on the grounds of?”

“No kissin’ on the mouth. No kinky shit.”

“No kinky shit?” Aren queried.

“No kinky shit. No blood, no smacking around.”

“Okay. Nothing kinky.”

Jayne nodded. “Standard disclosure rules.”

Aren barely swallowed her mouthful of coffee. She should have realised that the third rule would have to be downright hilarious if the second one was ‘no kinky shit’. “Standard disclosure rules?” It didn’t even sound like something Jayne would know how to say.

“Yeah, well, yer a woman, and women-folk can’t not talk about sex. So, standard disclosure rules. What, ya want more?” Jayne eyed her warily.

“I’m just not sure what passes for standard disclosure rules.”

“Well, ya can tell all yer sisters, or if ya ain’t got sisters, yer girl cousins that is close as sisters to ya, and yer six best friends – so long as they’re girls. But they gotta promise not ta say nothin’, even if ya know they don’t mean it.”

“That seems – fair.” Aren nodded, amazed. It was a very good read of many women’s idea of confidentiality. “Who do you get to tell under these rules?”

“At my age? No one. ‘Less it’s years from now, we ain’t seen each other since, and I’m drunk.”

“I see.” Aren was impressed. “What if the crew finds out? It’s not that big a boat.”

“So they know we had sex. Don’t mean we gotta give ‘em details.”

“True.” Aren finally decided; after all, when would she get a chance like this again? “Where would we do this?”

“My bunk, I guess.”

Aren stood and drank the last of her coffee like it was a swig from a bottle. Part of her thought that she could do with a stiff drink now. “Ok. Lead on.”

Jayne hadn’t necessarily meant immediately, but he definitely didn’t have anything better to do. “Shiny.”


Inara settled herself on her sofa and smiled warmly at her friend, pouring tea for them both. She pushed her own sense of disquiet aside as she saw Kaylee chewing a little at her lip. “Mei-mei, what’s wrong?”

“I think Simon’s gonna start cuttin’ again. Mebbe already has.” Inara felt a swell of sadness and disappointment at the mechanic’s words. “Zoë said they was sleeping soothers off in the passenger dorms, but they ain’t in Simon’s room, and they ain’t in River’s. And since River didn’t sleep in Ceres’ room last night, and it were River went chasing after Simon, I’m guessing that it were Simon went into Ceres’ room first – only one thing she’d have that he’d want.”

Inara almost suggested that Simon would go to the infirmary, but she wasn’t sure. Simon was still noticeably avoiding the infirmary. “They might be in one of the other rooms.”

“Checked ‘em all, ‘cept Zoë’s.”

“Oh, Mei-mei. I’m sorry.” Inara gathered her friend into a tight embrace.

“I just don’t know what ta do. Do I pretend not ta notice? That don’t seem right. Pretend like it’s ok? Even he don’t think is. It scares me, ‘Nara. I don’t understand it. He’s explained it, but I don’t understand it. How can you be in so much pain that only more pain’ll help you cope? Ain’t even like it fixes it, like some kinda harsh cure. And if it’s true, what can I give him a blade can’t? Don’t wanna hurt him, don’t hardly understand pain, leastways not like that.”

“You’ve heard the others say so darling, and it’s true. You’re pure sunshine. It warms all of us.”

“’Cept the one who’s facing into darkness ‘cause it’s the only thing he wants or understands.”

“Sunshine drives away darkness. Darkness can’t last in it’s presence. Every night ends in a burst of light.” It wasn’t a perfect analogue, and Inara hoped that Kaylee wouldn’t focus on the fact that it was always night in the black. She didn’t.

But, in retrospect, Kaylee’s insight might have been worse. “You can always chase the dark, run away from the sun. Always dark someplace if you head away from the light.” Inara noticed the tears in her young friend’s eyes. “I don’t wanna chase him, ‘Nara, not if it means he’ll only try harder to get away, and I don’t have any other ideas a what ta do. And doing nothin’ seems…”

“Unconscionable?” Inara supplied.



When Aren made her way down the ladder into Jayne’s bunk, she was pleasantly surprised. While not actually clean, it was cleaner than she’d expected; and while it might have been some time since she’d had sex quite this casually, it wasn’t exactly an aberration, either. Jayne sat on the bed, matter-of-factly pulling off his boots and tee-shirt. He set his feet a little apart and put his hand out to her. “So, ya gonna let me have the honour a poppin’ yer cherry?” he asked quietly, as she reached her fingers out to brush his.

Was it almost sweetly? She wondered, but not just about that. Was that why she felt sort of strange? Was it the strangeness of the situation, or the fact that she felt, in some senses, a virgin again, if only in this context? It was oddly nice to have that butterfly feeling again, at her age.

She decided not to bother explaining the fact and myth around the mysterious hymen; it didn’t matter, and he was being (or at least trying to be) gallant. “With pleasure.” She gave him a wide smile.


He could feel his sister; they were still wrapped around each other on what was almost certainly her lover’s narrow bed. He’d been reasonably certain, when he’d put the hypo to his neck, that it merely contained a soother. He wasn’t quite ready, however, to open his eyes and focus on reality. Still, reality was unavoidable. He could hear his sister’s breathing, which only drew attention to his own. They wouldn't need to breath, surely, if they were dead? He opened his eyes, and looked into his sister’s – she must have turned when she’d awoken. “This isn’t heaven, Mei-mei,” he said seriously.

“It isn’t hell, either, Simon.” She planted a light kiss on her brother’s face, and he pulled her into a tighter embrace.

*** *** *** Chapter 40 *** *** ***


Friday, February 9, 2007 6:31 AM


Ok, I had a lot of problems with this chapter, and I'm still not happy with it, so please be gentle.

Thank you all, once again, for reading and commenting - comments are food for my muse. (Although that is frankly more than she deserves right now.)

tkid: sorry about the lack of thrilling heroics, just didn't quite work out.

Friday, February 9, 2007 5:17 PM


AHA! I knew they weren't dead. River, you little trickster...

And Jayne, there are just no words. The sheer gall of the man...yet it pays off. Amazing.

And a question to Kaylee, if I amy: whay are you crying to Inara? Why aren't *you* in bed with Simon? You know what he's doing, but you run. Suck it up, girl, and confront him. You might not get him to stop, but at least let him know a syringe full of whatever it was isn't OK by you, either.

Friday, February 9, 2007 6:08 PM


Oh wow....if you think this ain't your "A" material, girlfan, then I can't wait to see what you do classify as the good shit;D

Gotta agree with ManicGiraffe...but to a point. I have issue with Kaylee crying to Inara...right then. Now, if she had tried a time or two to tell Simon she's been there, is beside him and will be beside him in his struggle to regain what he had, then I would be quite ready to accept her moment with Inara. How it plays out? Well...I guess it's the timing that narks me the most:(

However, I can't say anything harsh about the Jayne/Aren scenes! Between Jayne's modified machismo and Aren's rather odd decision to test the waters for heterosexual love, I was left struggling to decide whether I should laugh or stare in amazment!



Saturday, February 10, 2007 1:49 AM


>And Jayne, there are just no words. The sheer gall of the man...yet it pays off. Amazing.

I was thinking of a Russian joke at the time:

Kniaz Andrei Bolkonski asks Poruchik Rzhevsky: "Tell me, Poruchik, how came you to be so good with the ladies? What is your secret?" / "It's quite simplement, mon Prince, quite simplement. I just come over and say: 'Hey, wanna fuck?'" / "But Poruchik, you'll get slapped in the face for that!" / "Oui, most of them slap, but some of them fuck!"

Saturday, February 10, 2007 9:00 PM


The Jayne/Aren bit was absolutley epic! It was just so casual, but kinda still filled with a funny kinda tension. It's perfection on a (web)page.

I think you've got Jayne just right here, girlfan. He's so protective of the women, so very paternal to them, and I think that a whole hellava lot of people forget that he's got feelings that aren't in the Seven Deadly Sins. Brilliant.

The moment between Zoe and Mal on the bridge was nicely done. I love to see Zoe helping (or nudging, whatever) Mal into making a decision, even though she know's he doesn't fully know rightly what to do.

As for the scene with Inara and Kaylee, I can see it happening, for sure. Kaylee isn't exactly adept at handling the darker aspects of particular situation, and this one is a doozy of a situation. She needs an outlet before she confronts (however that'll pan out) the problem, and right now, that outlet is Inara. Maybe my logic here is (most likely) flawed, but that's how I see it.

Loved the final scene, so well done.

Not your best, girlfan? I'll take your 'sub par' work anyday.

Shiny stuff.


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Even Roses Have Thorns, Chapter Fifty-Three
Ultimate chapter (i.e. the conclusion). PG13 to be on the safe side (language only). Canon pairings +1 (River/ofc).

Even Roses Have Thorns, Chapter Fifty-Two
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).

Even Roses Have Thorns, Chapter Fifty-One
How far did Green and Banks get? Five moments of revealation. NC17 (adult themes). Canon pairings +1 (River/ofc).

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.

Even Roses Have Thorns, Chapter Fifty
The BIG DAMN Rescue. Some revenge, some poetic justice. Very narrator pov, but I like it. Hey, it worked for Dickens. NC17 to be on the safe side, but mostly implied. Canon pairings +1 (River/ofc).

Even Roses Have Thorns, Chapter Forty-Nine
The crew pieces together the facts of Simon's disappearance. PG. Canon pairings +1 (River/ofc).

Even Roses Have Thorns, Chapter Forty-Eight
Because it never goes smooth. PG. Canon pairings +1 (River/ofc). Bridging piece.

Even Roses Have Thorns, Chapter Forty-Seven
Coda to Simon's time of dying. PG (language, themes).

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.