BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

JANE0904

Nightingale - Part IV
Thursday, April 19, 2007

Maya. Post-BDM. Jayne and River discuss matters ... Please respond so I know you've read it.


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 2511    RATING: 8    SERIES: FIREFLY

“What’re you doing?” Jayne asked, watching as River moved the earth around with her bare hands by the light of the storm lantern at her side. She already cleared a lot of the grass, and now was breaking up the clumps of soil, pushing it through her fingers.

“Making a garden.”

“In the dark. In the middle of the night.” He glanced up into the sky, all black velvet and sparkling diamonds.

“Sneak up on the weeds while they’re asleep.” She pushed a lock of hair back away from her face, leaving a streak of dirt across her cheek.

“Here,” he said. “Let me.” He stood behind her and gathered her hair up, carefully fastening it back in the clip he’d given her.

“Thank you,” she said, smiling up at him. “Were you looking for me?”

“Just checking you were okay.” He looked towards the house, quiet but for the glow from the lamps outside the front doors. “Thought you mighta taken it into your head to sleep there.”

“Not yet.”

“Right.” He paused. “So why’re you making a garden?”

“In memory of Jethro. Somewhere he never was.”

“Come again?”

She held up two handfuls of rich soil, the scent reaching his nostrils. “I’m going to make a garden on Serenity, but that’s for everyone. If I did it for Jethro there, I’d be remembering him all the time. Here, though, it can be outside, in the air, growing up towards the sky.”

He sat down carefully next to her, hardly wincing, just resting his elbow on a bent knee. “You okay?” he asked gently.

She nodded. “Shiny,” she said, smiling at him. “Just … did I sound bad?”

He shrugged. “Bit like the old River.” He added quickly, “But I understood ya.”

“I'm glad.” She went back to the earth. “Flowers here. Sweet rosemary for remembrance, thyme, maybe some tarragon too.”

“Be pretty fine, if it all grows.”

“It will. As long as Inara remembers to water it.”

Jayne laughed. “Don’t think she’ll be working out here.”

“Then I’ll remind her.” She twinkled at him and carried on sifting.

He sat with her for a while, watching her enjoying what she was doing. Eventually he asked, “So why ain't you in bed?”

“Not sleepy.”

“After today?” He chuckled. “All that man’s work you were doing?”

She shrugged, a strand of hair escaping again. “That was different.”

“And Bethie? I’d’a thought you’d want to be near her.”

“She’s got Simon and Kaylee.”

“Hmn.” He nodded slowly, then reached forward. “River, why didn’t Freya want you to teach Beth?” he asked, running his calloused hand through the soil, feeling the fine particles slip through his fingers.

“Because of what I did.” She didn’t look at him, just worried at a particularly recalcitrant clump.

“What was that?”

“I killed the two men who attacked Kaylee.” She spoke in a perfectly level tone, as if she had said it was about to rain.

“You …” For once Jayne was lost for words.

“I broke their necks. While they were unconscious in the alley. Snap.”

“That what the Cap was talking about when they came back?”

She nodded. “I felt it about to happen, and I followed. I was too late to stop it, but watched Simon bring Kaylee home. It wasn't difficult to go across the roofs, behind Hank –”

“They weren’t worth it, moonbrain,” Jayne said softly.

“They were going to take Kaylee, sell her to someone who –“

“They weren't worth it,” Jayne repeated. “In a fair fight, or otherwise, that woulda been okay. But like that … break their legs maybe, hell, knock out all their teeth, but … killing ‘em? It wasn't worth what it did to you.”

“To me?” She turned astonished eyes on him, dark pools in the artificial light.

“Not worth tarnishin’ yourself.”

She stared at him. “I'm not a precious metal, Jayne.”

“You’re precious to me.” He wanted to look down, away, make some crude joke that would remove the meaning of his words, but he couldn’t. “Don’t do that to yourself.”

The dark pools began to run down her cheeks. “I wish … I wish I hadn’t.”

“Was it easy?”

She nodded, tears dripping off her chin onto her dress. “Yes,” she whispered.

“Well, I'm sorry about that. It shouldn’t be.”

“It’s easy for you.”

He was ashamed to find he was nodding. “Yeah, well, that’s ‘cause I’m a hwoon dahn.”

“You’re not.”

“River, I know what I am. Might have been different once, but what I am now is this. Nothing else. And you’re crazy if you want anything to do with me.”

Her lips twitched. “The general consensus of opinion is that I’m not actually in my right mind, you know.”

“That mean you’re crazy?”

“It does.”

He grinned. “Then I figure that’s okay, then.” She was trembling, her thin dress fluttering in the light. “You cold?”

“A little.”

“Come on.” He held out his arm.

She scrambled into his embrace, reminding him so much of her little niece in the way she avoided his hurt, then it hit him that this was River, a grown woman, her lithe body against his, curled around him, her hands clasped together tightly in her lap. He held her close, feeling his body begin to react.

“No,” she said quietly. “It’s not time.”

“Hell, I know that, darlin’,” he said, managing to sound like himself. “Can’t enjoy it if I ain’t fit.”

“I'm not ready.”

His voice softened. “I know, moonbrain. Ain’t gonna make you do something you don’t want. It’s your choice. Now and always.”

“Still calling me moonbrain.”

“Well, are you cured?”

She laughed, just a chuckle. “No.”

“Then it still applies, don’t you think?” He glanced down at her garden. “If I’d’a thought I’d’a brung you some flowers. Started that courtin’ you were so keen on.”

She smiled. “You’re already doing that, Jayne.” She reached up to put her hand on his cheek, but remembered she was covered in mud and pulled back.

He snaked out his arm and grabbed her wrist, pressing her palm to his face. “Little bit o’ dirt never hurt anyone, River,” he said, smelling the rich scent of damp earth.

to be continued

COMMENTS

Friday, April 20, 2007 3:02 AM

JANE0904


I'm not needy ... yes I am.

Isn't this working?

Friday, April 20, 2007 9:17 AM

TAMSIBLING


Yay for River and Jayne! I really liked this interaction as it showed that they are both coming to an understanding. I'm glad River can identify that it wasn't right to hurt those men, but that she won't apologize for it. They were bad men.

I think it's great!

Friday, April 20, 2007 11:04 AM

AMDOBELL


I like River's logic in not having the garden for Jethro actually on Serenity, that made a lot of sense. While I enjoyed her interaction with Jayne, his dialogue often didn't quiet sound like Jayne. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Friday, April 20, 2007 1:55 PM

SLUMMING


"Well, are you cured?" "No." "Then it still applies, don't ya think?" Gotta love that line! Keep up the good work!

Saturday, April 21, 2007 6:42 PM

BLUEEYEDBRIGADIER


Ah...now things become clearer. I can definitely see Freya being concerned about River's suitability to instruct Bethany about her abilities, because as much as I respect River...I think some of the Academy's teachings have stuck around inside her head about the "greater good" being worth doing some nasty go se about. Just hope Jayne can help River heal that part of her...

And I think Jayne was generally in-character, AMDOBELL. The OOC perception, I think, might come from the fact that Jane0904 is really treading into new territory with a Jayne struggling with his own past and personality while trying to build something with River. We have seen Jayne do a lot of crap - and be something resembling sympathetic too - but out and out vulnerable and compassionate? It's a difficult line to walk, I think.

BEB


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