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10 April 2011 @ 01:55 am
Fic: Acceptable  
Title: Acceptable
Rating/Warnings: PG13
Length: 1165 words
Summary: River, Jayne, Kaylee, and Simon are allowed off Serenity to do some shopping, but River is somewhat peeved that she's never allowed out on her own. (Set after the BDM.) Written for anthrax_0 at Write For Relief, who asked for "something without much angst".

Acceptable


Kaylee goes into the first store they come across that advertises engine parts and Simon follows. Not that he has much choice when Kaylee has her arm linked through his and is tugging him along.

Jayne waits outside, eyeing up the food stalls across the street, and River lingers with him. She watches the gap between the shop door and its frame shrink as the door closes, once again hiding the shelves of plastic boxes in various sizes filled with nuts, bolts, screws, and other little pieces of metal.

She watches her brother as he doesn't notice that she's fallen behind.

There are moments like this now, where he doesn't notice the hole where she isn't. They're evidence of Simon moving on from being so afraid to lose her again. River wants to smile, but she doesn't, in case this isn't one of those moments. It may be that Simon is fully aware of where she is and these days Simon counts Jayne as an adequate protector when he himself isn't in the immediate vicinity.

"Killed Reavers and I fly Serenity," she says, turning her back to the shop and leaning against the wall.

Jayne acknowledges the fact that she's spoken with a soft grunt.

"So when will I graduate from requiring constant supervision?"

"Mal lets you fly on your own sometimes," says Jayne. "Or you meanin' you not being allowed off the ship by your lonesome?"

"She's only allowed to be on her own on Serenity and then she's never on her own because she's in Serenity." River frowns. "Can't have secrets of my own, but can hoard other people's. Can be responsible for Serenity and fly her through the black, but can't be responsible for myself. Illogical. Also it is difficult to buy presents for people when they are present."

Jayne moves to lean against the wall next to her, close enough that she can feel the edges of him against her own edges and close enough that the warmth from him seeps through her clothes. She breathes in his scent: gun metal, sweat, the cleaning powder Zoë uses when it's her turn to wash their clothes.

"Your elbow is annoying."

"Look," says Jayne, altering the position of his elbow so that it's no longer digging into her, "I know you're tough. Mal knows you're tough too, but you don’t look tough. We all know you can finish a fight, but folks see someone who looks tough-"

"Like Jayne," River interjects.

"Yeah, got that right – then they don't bother so much as startin' one. Mal thinks that's better, less trouble for us."

"I can't be in fights?" She tilts her head back and to the side to watch Jayne's face. "Captain gets in fights. Fights, duels, a war. You fight, Zoë fights, even Book allowed himself to attack kneecaps. If everyone knows I can finish a fight why can't I be in one?"

"Mal don't like seein' you hurt. Not that I do."

River keeps quiet for a moment, holding her breath inside her lungs, hoping that Jayne will carry on talking into the silence and he doesn't disappoint.

"Me," he says, smiling down at her, "I reckon it'd have to be more fight than this mudball can make for you to get hurt. Hell, you want a fight? I'll help you find one. Not start one though. Don't need Mal yellin' at me again anytime soon, dŏng ma?"

"Wasn't his place to yell. Can decide for myself who I want."

"Yeah."

Jayne leans down and drops a kiss on her mouth. His lips are dry and chapped, so he runs a damp tongue over them before kissing her again.

"Notice you sayin' nothing about Simon yellin' though."

"Big brother had the right." River grins. "Although he was not as loud as it was thought he would be."

She has it on good authority that the antagonism between Jayne and Simon is just a habit now, more playful than anything. Her brain so often shows her things that she didn't ever want to know, but it was a good day when it showed her that.

"So I need to look tougher?" she says, getting back on topic.

"Yeah," says Jayne. "Or be in more fights. Thing is, if there's a good fight goin' – and if you're in it then it's gonna be good – then I want a bit of fun too. Or at least watch you goin' at it," he adds with a playful leer. "So you'd have to put up with me bein' with you anyhow."

"That is acceptable."

"Good."

He bends to kiss her a third time and River rises up on her toes to meet him. She turns her body away from the wall and into Jayne, who places his hands on the back of head and pulls her closer. When he teases her with his tongue she bites his bottom lip gently before parting her lips to let him in. He tastes of the protein and coffee he had for breakfast.

River steps back when on their right the door of the shop opens again and Jayne lowers his hands to rest on her hips.

"We did good," says Kaylee as she joins them, holding a plastic box in front of her. It's open-topped with a clear film taped over to protect the contents in case it rains. River peers in and sees a collection of oddly shaped metal parts, some a lot shinier than others, and twists of wire.

Behind her Simon carries another box, but this one is made of heavy-duty cardboard, with a serial number on the side, and sealed up tight.

"They had everything we needed, so's now we can have a bit of fun." Kaylee smiles at them all brightly. "Want to find some real food?"

"You need to ask?" says Jayne.

Kaylee walks across to the food stalls with Simon close on her heels. River takes hold of Jayne's hand as they follow quietly and at a slower pace. He squeezes hers gently, once, and she squeezes back like they're exchanging some kind of secret code.

It gets louder and smellier as they get closer to the stalls. Mostly River can just smell fish, but Kaylee heads for a stall full of greenery and colourful fruit, chatting away to Simon.

"Gorram but Kaylee can talk up a storm," mutters Jayne. He squeezes River's hand again and gestures at Kaylee and Simon, jutting his chin in their direction. "Think it'll last?"

"She doesn't know. She doesn't see the future."

"Some psychic you are," says Jayne, his eyes teasing her.

River sends him a baleful look and tells him, "She sees what she shouldn't, not things that she can't. Everyone sees the future when they get there. You'll just have to wait."

"Huh. And am I allowed to wait it out with you or you still wantin' to go off on your own?"

"Oh hush."

River sticks out her tongue at him and he laughs.

 
 
feeling: satisfiedsatisfied
 
 
 
Just a small town girl on a Saturday nighttrippy41 on April 10th, 2011 09:38 pm (UTC)
Wow this was lovely! You have River and Jayne down to a 'tee.' (and an extra squee for background Kaylee/Simon).

:D


inkvoices: F:kaylee shinyinkvoices on April 17th, 2011 10:30 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Glad you enjoyed :D