BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - ROMANCE

NEROLI

Delta Rain part 3
Saturday, April 10, 2004

The conclusion to Delta Rain.


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 4615    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

Disclaimer: Characters do not belong to me, they are the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy and Fox. Feedback is always welcome. Takes place shortly after the series ended. Part 3 includes chapters 11-15. This is the end of this part of the story, thank you so much to everyone that read and reviewed. I ended up using less of the lyrics to Delta Rain then I thought I would, so I included the complete lyrics at the end. I hope it becomes more clear why that song inspired me so much. :-) Very, very special thank you's go out to Cassie E, Starrbaby, Silk1 and jebbypal. Many thanks to William Topley and The Blessing for their song "Delta Rain", it helped inspire this piece. River sings bits and pieces of it to Jayne. Chinese translations: Ch. 11) Tian xiz shou you de ren dou gai si: F*ck everyone in the universe to death Ch. 12) Swai: Handsome Bao bei: Darling Ch. 13) Wuo de ma: Mother of Jesus Ch. 14) Shumma?: What? ******************************** "Ya didn't say that...out loud, did ya?" she shook her head no; Oh god...he'd heard her, clear as day he'd heard her. So loud it'd taken a second to realize it hadn't been his ears doin' the hearin'. Weren't right, no ruttin' way it was right. He'd never even heard Timmie in his head like that an' they was twins, everyone knew twins had a bond. Maybe fraternal twins it weren't so strong as identical, but it'd been there none the less. Like the night she died. He'd known somethin' bad was happening to her, even known where ta find her, just couldn't reach her in time. But he weren't no reader, never heard nobody in his head 'fore, never. "Jayne..." his head snapped up to check that her lips was moving this time. "not a reader...just hear me, only me." He felt the breath he'd been holdin' release sharply. His muscles relaxing as the edge of panic eased. Part of his mind wonderin' when he'd gotten so gorram comfortable with her readin' him as he swing himself up behind her. He knew part of that comfort was 'cause of how he an' Timmie had always known when the other was in trouble, Ma always knowin' what he was feelin'. Weren't nothin' like as strong as River's visions were, but the longer he was here the more he remembered 'em and that made River's abilities sit easier. "Stop thinking so much...making my head hurt..." she turned and looked up at him with a scowl an' he had to chuckle. Gorram girl, every one else wanted him ta think more an' she wanted him thinkin' less. "That's because they don't realize that you are always thinking...not always thinking well...but it is thinking." she said with a laugh of her own. Nice laugh, sorta like little bells. Made him forget 'bout growling at her over that little dig. "So's why is it I heard ya? Or is talkin' not allowed neither?" he asked as he nudged Moonshadow into a walk. He hadn't noticed how tense she'd gotten till she leaned back against him and her head tilted off to the side in that way'a hers. Couldn't hear her thoughts now but he knew she was considerin' how to answer. Worried 'bout how much he was ready to handle. "We're...bonding," he could almost see her puzzled frown in his mind, "threads connecting us..." "Like that thing you was sayin' the night ya came ta my bunk? 'Bout the string under the ribs?" he felt a little pleased at her startled gasp, knew she hadn't expected him ta remember that. If she'd even realized he'd been awake enough to hear it in the first place. "Yes...like that..." she said after a while, her voice soft, "like you and Timmie were...only we are connecting in a different way...you two were connected by DNA and the womb and a childhood shared...Simon and I are connected too...not as close though...didn't share a womb and we came from different eggs and sperm and he had several years of childhood before I came...you and Timmie shared an egg, had an entire childhood together...made you closer." "An' you an' me are connectin' how?" he asked, wonderin' that she couldn't see the bond her an' Simon really had. Hell, even he could see they was every bit as close as him an' Timmie had been. A bond didn't need ta include knowin' every gorram thing to be strong. Was part of what had bugged him so much, the pain of seein' the two of them an' knowin' he'd never feel that close ta anyone again. "Blood...started when I cut you and you hit me...we both drew blood. But there was something there before, some instinctive awareness of a kindred soul." he felt his chest constrict at that, the guilt at what he'd done on Ariel had gotten worse when he'd learned her intent had not been to hurt him. She wrapped her fingers around his free hand gently. He wished he'd taken those ruttin' gloves off so's he could feel her palm against his. "Sorry 'bout hurtin' ya..." he started as she brought his hand up and rubbed it against her check then pressed a soft kiss on his knuckles. He forced his mind to stay on track. "Sorry 'bout betrayin' you an' Simon to the Fed's. Never should'a done that, no ruttin' way you deserved that. No idea how ya can ever forgive me for that..." "You were mad...and hurt...weren't thinking..." she pulled his glove off as she spoke, tracin' a finger across his callused palm before going on, "I'm sorry too, doesn't matter that my intent wasn't to hurt you...doesn't change the fact that I did...doesn't change that it was my actions that tipped the scales...chance that you would was already there, but the balance was on the other side before..." "I done it for the money." he said harshly. "And the fear of me..and the pain inside..." she replied calmly, tangling their fingers together, "can't hide it from me Jayne, I know why you did it better then you are willing to admit to yourself. Would rather think of yourself as tough and cold and heartless, not as scared a little girl could ruin your carefully built walls or caring enough about the others to want to protect them from the danger she brought to Serenity." "I know the money was a part of it..." her voice took on an exasperated tone at his thoughts. Gorram girl seemed ta be determined to downplay this. "Don't have to think I am being naive. Past now, will never happen again. And I forgive you." "No, won't never happen again." he pulled her closer and kissed the top of her head tenderly, the smell of her hair tantalizing. "An' I forgive you, too." "Even though it was your favorite shirt?" she asked, her playful tone lightening the mood. "Even though..." he laughed, "I even forgive ya for ruinin' my favorite chest." "My favorite chest too, and I didn't ruin it, just added more character to it." her face tilted up at him with a slightly naughty look and he found his lips brushing lightly across hers. His tongue tracing around her mouth slowly, tasting, then pressing down firmly. His lips clinging to hers for an endless moment before he pulled back. He watched as her eyelids fluttered open revealing her dazed look. Slowly her free hand lifted to brush against her lips in wonder and he could sense her thoughts, "he kissed me...first kiss...my first kiss..". "I'd'a thought all the boys'd be chasin' you 'round the playground beggin' kisses." he teased gently. Cursed himself at her sudden burst of embarrassment. "no.." she said sadly, her head dropping down. "Ah hell girl, I ain't got no problem bein' the first ta kiss ya," he said roughly, hoping to ease her mind. "Jus' means I ain't gotta hunt 'em all down an' kill 'em." He felt relief as her laughter blended with the faint sound of Kaylee's shriek and the splash that followed it. "Gorramit, should'a known Matty'd take 'em to the swimmin' hole." he muttered, pulling Moonshadow to a halt. "So, join 'em or find some place else?" "Wanna swim..." she beamed up at him, then sensing his reluctance she reassured him tenderly, "we'll make private moments...won't be our only time...promise." "Gonna be a lot harder on the ship," he told her, "an' Mal an' Simon won't like it none. Hell, even Book don't like it none." But he urged Moonshadow on towards the swimming hole. "They'll adjust..." she smirked back at him. Oh great, now Mal'll be pissed at her takin' on his expressions too. Ah well, might as well get this over with. Every face turned to them as they came into view, Mal scowlin' up a storm. Rest of them seemed fairly happy ta see them, or at least relieved. He was a bit surprised Simon looked more worried then angry as he headed over to them. But then, he was still lookin' at River. He slid easily off the horse an' went to lift River down but she slid off right after him, grinnin' mischievously up at him as he caught her. "Go on, git...I'll deal with Mal an' Simon." he told her as Mal also headed over. "Got some things need ta be said." She touched his cheek gently then headed over to Simon, intercepting him for a quick hug and a whispered word before she went down to join Kaylee in the water. He was pretty sure she also whispered "no touching" to Mal as she passed him. Simon stared after her for a moment then fell into line next to Mal. He wasn't even gonna get a chance ta take them on one at'a time. "How'd the drop go?" he asked Mal as they got close. "Matty's contact good?" "Fine, everything went jus' fine." Mal's voice had that "I'm gonna kill you" tone to it. "'Till we got back an' found you an' River had gone off together." "How's 'bout we move off a bit so's when ya'll start beatin' on me we don't spook the horse." Jayne watched the subtle shift in Mal's expression, knew the other man had picked up that Jayne wasn't gettin' as defensive as he'd expected. Simon was looking back and forth between them still trying ta figure out what was goin' on. One day that boy was gonna need to learn some body language. An' not jus' Kaylee's neither. His lip twitched into a smirk as he lead them back a ways. "Lemme say my piece," he met Mal's gaze an' held it, "then ya'll can kill me or whatever ya like." he waited till Mal nodded slowly. "I weren't totally open 'bout what happened the night she told me 'bout the blue hands." he admitted, feelin' a hint of anger at Mal's "I knew it look". Then he looked over at Simon. "What was you an' Kaylee doin' that night?" he asked him, not at all sure how this was gonna go down, but knowin' now it needed to be said. "We...that...is none of your business." Simon sputtered, but he ignored him and looked at Mal. "An' you an' 'Nara?" he tried ta keep the anger out of his voice, knew it edged in anyways. Weren't any of their fault, was those gorram Blue Hands creeps. He saw the pieces fittin' together in Mal's head. "Tian xiz shou you de ren dou gai si." Jayne almost laughed at Mal's string of cussin', it was even worse then his'd been. "Was starting to wonder about that." Zoë's calm voice cut in. Damn woman was silent as a mouse when she wanted ta be. But her eyes met his with what almost looked like sympathy. He had the oddest feelin' she'd come over to stop Mal from doin' him in. He looked back over to Simon as the boy made a strangled sound, a look of horror on his face as the implications sank in. "You told me yerself, Doc," he said, tryin' to sound as comfortin' as he could. "she feels everything, she can't not." "But...she's just...a girl..." he muttered weakly, more ta himself then the rest of 'em. Jayne couldn't stop the harsh bark of laughter. "I'm thinkin', 'tween the six of ya, there ain't much she don't know 'bout sex." his tone took on a grim note, "even if'n it was only the one night. Actually don't think it happens all the time, I think she has some way of tunin' ya'll out most times. I took ta watchin' her after that, at times I knew somethin' was goin' on...didn't seem ta affect her like it had that night. Maybe it was all of ya at once, might be she was jus' caught off guard...might be 'cause I was near her after that." "Took me a while ta get her ta snap outta it, had ta slap her..." he glanced at Mal, but the man was hidin' his reaction to that, "once she snapped outta it though, it seemed like my bein' there kept it at bay somehow. She did step back once, it was like she was swept back into it when she moved away from me. That's why I picked her up an' carried her into the mess, why we ended up sleepin' in the chair together. Jus' seemed the only place she was safe was next ta me." He could tell from Simon's shocked look that Mal'd never told him how he'd found the two of 'em. Zoë, of course, seemed to already be aware of it. "An' then that night she came ta my bunk ta tell me my Ma had died," he watched as Zoë put her hand on Mal's. "weren't like that Mal." he said sharply, startin' to get a mite annoyed at the man's readiness to condemn him. "She told me there'd been an accident an' that Ma loved me and wanted me ta know that." this was harder ta tell them then the other had been, he pulled in a deep breath and went on, "an' she...showed me Ma's feelin's. I think she showed me the accident too, there was some flashes of pictures. That gorram water pump hangin' there as they tried ta get it in place, then fallin', Matty's face lookin' down...but mostly it was this wave of emotions." "An' ya never thought to tell us this?" Mal asked quietly. "Ah hell Mal, I was tryin' to believe it ain't never happened like that." he knew his voice sounded testy, "needed ta come ta terms with it some. Not an easy thing havin' someone pokin' 'bout in yer head, ya know." his look dared Mal to contradict him. A little surprised when Mal looked away. He found himself tellin' them how Timmie'd died, how he'd killed Will an' then left at the Sheriff's request. Felt odd tellin' them 'bout his past. But maybe it was time he started trustin' 'em with a bit more 'bout himself. An' they needed ta know ta understand what River done ta Sal. He felt a grim satisfaction at tellin' them 'bout that part. Was pleased to note Zoë an' Mal's equally grim pride at River's actions. They'd both seen enough of rape ta feel the bastard deserved it. Poor Simon was havin' a harder time with it, part of him knowin' he wanted the same kinda treatment on those that done this to his sister, part of him horrified at River bein' able to rape a man's soul so coldly. But even he chuckled slightly, if a bit uncomfortably, at his tellin' 'bout Sal pissin' his pants. Mal sighed deeply an' ran his hand through his hair before askin', "So, what's the part you ain't told us yet?" He felt himself shift uncomfortably, a feeling of dread at how this was gonna come out soundin' creepin' over him. "Well...um...I'm startin' ta hear what she's thinkin'...sometimes..." he looked up into their shocked faces, "an' not in a she's puttin' her thoughts into my head kinda way neither. Pickin' up on her feelin's some too. She says we're...bonding." ******************************** They was back out in the black, been near a week since they'd said goodbye to Matty an' Amie. Kaylee peeked over at Jayne and River sittin' on the chair across from her. It was so cute how they cuddled up like that. Jayne sittin' there with his head bent down, almost touching hers as he held the viewer for her ta read off of, River all curled up into his side. Jayne had his face kinda scrunched uplike as he tried to read along, she couldn't blame him, some'a the words were mighty long and strange. Kaylee was always glad when River took a minute to explain what they meant, her voice so melodic when she was readin' that it never seemed to break the flow of the story. River'd had Inara download it for her off the Cortex the day after they'd headed back out. Kaylee'd taken to listenin' in when she could right away, it was such a romantic story. All tragiclike and she couldn't help but picturin' Jane lookin' a bit like River an' Rochester lookin' like Jayne. It had become a nightly habit, one by one they'd all drifted into listenin' to River readin' "Jane Eyre". Well, all of 'em but the Cap'n an' Simon. Though the Cap'n would pause now an' then when he passed through. Kaylee kinda suspected he listened out in the hallway some as well. First couple'a nights Mal'd told her to scoot an' get back ta what he was payin' her for, but once Book an' 'Nara had started listenin' in he'd quit doin' that. Then Wash an' Zoë started stickin' around for it too. It was nice an' homey all sittin' around like this. Weren't like she had no place else to be, Simon had gotten all stiff an' proper again since they'd left. Every time she tried to kiss him he just sorta froze up on her. She knew why, River'd told her a couple days ago. It was a mite strange knowin' she could sense them havin' sex, but really, weren't much of a surprise an' all. Not like they hadn't known she was a reader. But Simon could be such a prude about things. She jus' wished he'd talk ta her about it. An' River'd told her 'bout how Jayne blocked the rest of 'em out, so's it wasn't like they couldn't find times when they could be together without it bein' a problem. It was like he didn't wanna find ways around it at all. Jus' weren't fair, she'd finally got him and now he was driftin' away again. She sighed as she realized River had stopped reading for the night an' she'd been too wrapped up in thinkin' 'bout Simon to really enjoy it. River came over while Jayne got her a glass of water. With a sympathetic look she sat down and put an arm around her, saying softly. "He's such a boob." Kaylee laughed at that, it was true. A big, exasperatin', confoundin' boob. Honestly, sometimes she wondered why she bothered with the man. But then he'd give her that look an' her insides got all fuzzy an' there she was all moony over him again. She felt herself sigh. "Needs you...he's lost in the dark and you are his light..." River gave her shoulders a gentle squeeze as she fought back the tears stingin' her eyes. "Wish he could tell me that." she said softly. "Someday he will...he's learning..." River sounded so sure of it that she found herself believin' it. But then, she really wanted it to be true. River gave her a comfortin' smile before she got up to go start sayin' goodnight to Jayne. It really was romantic how they were together, all sweet an' gentle. She'd'a never thought Jayne'd be like that. She knew they hadn't done nothin' yet, but every night they huddled together for a spell 'fore goin' off to their own rooms. It was 'bout the only time they wasn't together. It was gettin' so's it seemed unnatural to see them apart. She jus' couldn't get over how cute they was, sittin' in the mess most days, Jayne cleanin' his guns or sharpin' a knife, River sittin' nearby knittin'. Her first finished piece'd been a hat for Simon, looked a lot like Jayne's but in blues. Simon had been horrified, but he did try it on. Giggling at the memory she got up. Might as well go say goodnight to him. Not that he was likely to notice. She knew the thought wasn't real charitable, knew deep down he really did care for her. But the past week'd been frustratin'. They'd been gettin' so close, an' now they was all stalled out an' she didn't know how to get through to him. An' sometimes a girl wanted the guy she loved to tell her that. On an impulse she detoured past his room to grab the hat River had made. She found him in the infirmary, like she'd known she would. It'd been his sanctuary since him an' River got here. Her heart ached as she looked in at him, he looked so sad an' vulnerable standin' there goin' over River's charts, again. "Simon," she hovered in the doorway, "you gonna try an' get some sleep soon?" She worried so much 'bout him, he hadn't been sleepin' much at all lately. He barely glanced up as he gave a vague nod to her question. She moved into the room and sat herself on the examination chair. After a few minutes she realized she'd been twistin' the hat nervously and pulled it on so she'd stop playin' with it, didn't wanna ruin it. The thought that maybe wearin' Simon's hat would help her feel closer to him like it seemed ta help River driftin' through her mind as she curled up. She'd jus' lay here an' watch him for a bit before headin' to bed herself. Her hand lifted languidly to brush back the hair ticklin' her cheek, absently wondered when her eyes'd closed. Only somethin' weren't right, wasn't hair her fingers brushed against, it was skin. As her eyes opened they focused on the crisp white shirt tucked into black pants in front of her. She heard Simon's chuckle as he tugged on somethin' on her head. "It looks much cuter on you then me." he said and she remembered she'd put on his hat 'fore she fell asleep. "I dunno," she smiled sleepily up at him, "I though it looked pretty swai on ya." She stretched to get the stiffness out, he needed a more comfy exam chair. As she pulled herself into a sitting position he backed up to lean against the counter. Dang it, why'd she have'ta move. Now he was gettin' distantsy again. "She tell you?" he asked, his head lowered so's he wouldn't have'ta look at her. "Yea, she told me." well, least he might be ready to talk 'bout it. He sighed an' picked up the charts again, she could see the frustration on his face. "I keep thinking, if I stare at these long enough, I'll be able to see what they did to her...and why," he tossed them back onto the counter and looked at her, "but I won't. They don't have the answers. Just clues, and I don't know enough to even know what most of the clues are, much less mean." "And Jayne seems to help her more then I can, just by being Jayne," another deep sigh escaped him, "and as creepy and unsettling as that is, I can't help but be happy about it. She's happy, and more stable...almost normal. Probably as normal as she will ever be from what I can tell they did. She's never going to be the River I remember." "Even the fact that it is Jayne she's bonding with is starting to make a perverse kind of sense." Kaylee worried a bit that his chuckle sounded a little maniacal. "There have been studies done on the Twin phenomenon, even the most skeptical Doctor's have come to agree that there seems to be some sort of psychic connection there. So Jayne is probably the only one on this ship that is already predisposed to having a psychic link with someone. The fact that he shows no other abilities also works in his favor. There is more then enough going on in River's head already, she doesn't need anyone that can pick up more." He let out a harsh laugh. "Hell, for all I know even the fact that he's an ape is a factor, maybe she uses the extra space in his brain to dump her overflow." "Ya ever think maybe your underestimatin' him?" she asked, a little bothered by his dismissal of anything remotely resembling a brain bein' in Jayne's head. "Yes," he said slowly, "but he's less scary when I think of him as an ape." he looked up an' gave her that self-depriciatin' smile. "And there is a feeling of relief," he continued, "knowing there is someone else to help care for her. And I feel guilty about that, even knowing it means if anything happens to me someone will be there for her. And there is not having to worry about him turning on her again." "Again?" she watched as his expression went from distracted to dismayed. "What do ya mean...again?" He stared back at her, then turned away before he answered, "It was back on Ariel...when the Fed's snatched us. I found out later, but I think River knew all along." "Jayne turned ya in?" she knew she shouldn't be this shocked an' disappointed, but she was. She'd always thought Jayne was better'n he wanted them all ta think. Simon came over and sat next to her. "It was a long time ago Bao bei," he said gently, "River had just cut him up with that knife. When I was patching him up he expressed concern for her doing it to you or Inara." She knew he was tryin' ta make it better, knowin' Jayne it probably had been less 'bout worrin' 'bout her an' 'Nara an' more 'bout his own skin. She weren't that naive. Still, it was good ta know it had occurred ta him that the rest of 'em might be in danger too. She'd gone through her own period of not trustin' River. An' there was somethin' so bizarre 'bout Simon defendin' Jayne to her. "So, does this mean ya don't mind Jayne bein' your brother then?" she stifled a giggle as Simon almost choked at the thought. "You don't...really...think it'd come to that, do you?" he stuttered. An' then she was laughin'. His expression eased as he chuckled along. "I know, I know...I'm such an easy mark." he gave her that quirky little smile of his an' she melted. "But you don't think, I mean...they really wouldn't...would they?" oh great, now he weren't gonna be able to get that outta his head. She sighed. "Ain't no worse then them bondin', sure I think it's possible they might...someday." she said, "Not thinkin' it'll happen right away." "But...but that'd mean they'd be..." he obviously couldn't bring himself to say it. "Havin' sex?" she said helpfully, he really was such a prude. "Prob'ly happen wether they get married or not." "Oh, that helps." he replied dryly. "Ain't happened yet," she reassured him, "so's there's no point worrin' on it." "I'm her brother, I'm supposed to worry about it." "If I was you I'd be more worried 'bout my own sex life." she told him matter of factly. "As in, if I keep this up I am not going to have one?" he grinned at her, "I know, I need to stop obsessing on this. It's just that I've spent so long worrying about her that it is hard not too. And I always felt a little guilty spending time with you, and now she's...found someone. And I feel even more guilty because my first thought when it started to happen was that now I could spend even more time with you." "I think that's the sweetest thing ya ever said ta me." she took his hand and beamed at him. "Now that is a sorry comment on my communication abilities," he frowned at her, "Is that really the most romantic thing I have ever told you?" "Well, one of 'em, yea." she thought on it a bit, "Ranks right up there with the being pretty 'specially when covered in engine grease one." He groaned, "Oh dear Lord...I think I am very lucky there aren't more options on this ship for you." "Wouldn't matter, ya got me hooked." she leaned over an' kissed him. ******************************** Wash stretched as he walked onto the bridge, hearing the satisfying pop of vertebrae. It had been a real good night, he could get used to this baby making thing. He froze in shock as his eyes fell on his dinosaurs. "Wuo de ma." he rubbed his eyes and looked again, yep, they were all lined up wearing little tiny Jayne hats. "That girl just ain't right." With a grin he checked the instruments then grabbed his two favorites, a T-Rex and a Stegosaurus. After a moment of checking out the hats he started making them do a little jig. "I'm a little coconut, lying on the cocoa ground, everybody steps on me, that is why I'm cracked you see...I'm a nut...I'm a nut...I'm crazy..." "That ya are," Mal drawled from the doorway, "how's my...what the..." he sputtered as he looked at the dinosaurs in horror. "She gonna make those for every damn thing on my boat?" "Can't wait to see you in yours, Cap'n." Wash chuckled. "Somehow, I don't think all your dino's having one is gonna save you none." Mal said smugly, "An' just wait till she starts working on our sweaters." "She didn't do half bad making these," Wash said in her defense, "might be the sweaters won't be so bad. Maybe we should pick her up some different yarn though." he gave the hats a critical look, "Not so sure I want a pink sweater with green sleeves. Might want to look into getting her black yarn, lots and lots of black yarn...or a nice brown." "Yea, I'll consider that." Mal gave the hats another look then shuddered and stalked off the bridge, passing Zoë with a nod. "Consider what...whoa..." Zoë halted abruptly beside him. "Getting River lots and lots of yarn in a nice neutral tone." Wash told her, "Before she takes it into her head to make us all sweaters." She pulled the hat off his Velociraptor thoughtfully, "Or pastels, we could get her some nice pastels." her lips curled up in a little smile. "Pastels might work," Wash grinned up at her, "it would relieve the need to tell the Captain we're trying to have a kid. Of course, if River started knitting baby clothes he would probably space Jayne before we could tell him they were for us." "Somehow I doubt River would let the Captain do that." Zoë said dryly, "And if he was going to he would have done it by now." "Yeah, would be a shame to see him spaced now that he's gotten almost human." he shook his head at the thought, "Who would have guessed. One almost human mercenary, just add crazy girl." He let his fingers entwine with hers as she lay her hand on his shoulder. Enjoying her presence next to him. "We should tell him Zoë," he said softly, breaking the long silence. "Before we succeed. He's going to need time to adjust to the idea." "I know," she smiled down at him, "I'll talk to him soon, just want to enjoy trying for a bit before having to deal with Mal." "Alright, and he has had a rather stressful time lately," he gave her hand a squeeze, "what with the whole Kaylee and Simon thing, and the him and Inara thing, and the River and Jayne thing. We really should let the man get his equilibrium back before we yank the rug out from under him again." "You know, it really is rather amazing how she got them all to fit," Zoë said with a hint of wonder in her voice as she went back to examining the hats, "it's not like these things have normal shaped heads." "Maybe she could teach you how," he said hopefully, "I promise if you knit me funny hats I will wear them." "I know you will, dear," she patted his shoulder, "I'm going to go see what's for breakfast." "See you in a few." he grinned up at her as she bent down to kiss his cheek, turning to watch her walk out of the cockpit. He wondered idly if it was wrong that he enjoyed watching her walk away from him so much. Of course, he also enjoyed watching her walk towards him. View was pretty amazing either way. After he checked to make sure the auto-pilot was keeping them on course and the proximity alert was set he followed her towards the mess. "Yum, protean mush." he said as he slid into the chair next to Zoë. "My favorite." He looked around, noting that Kaylee and Simon were the only ones not there. And River was looking at him expectantly. "Dino's look mighty fine in their hats," he said with a grin, "They thank you." She beamed at him and went back to what looked dangerously like an orange and blue hat. It wasn't just the combinations of colors that was so disturbing, it was the shades themselves. They just were not pretty colors to begin with and putting them together only made things worse. It wasn't really River's fault, they were all left over bits Jayne's Ma hadn't used up. Next port he was definitely going to make sure she got some better yarns. Things that blended. All joking about black aside he thought some jewel tones would be nice, maybe earthy colors. "And pastels," she said softly, her eyes twinkled at him, "some pastels would be nice." He glanced over at Mal and Book, glad the two of them were off by the other door. Jayne caught his eye with a smirk as Zoë agreed with River on the pastels. "Any particular pastel you think we need more of?" he heard Zoë ask. He glanced back at River as she got a faraway look. "Blue and pink." she said firmly after a moment, "Don't snort Jayne," her head tilted to the side as she gave him a sly smile, "your's are all pink." Wash laughed at his panicked look. It made him feel a little better about the pink and blue implications that had Zoë smiling dreamily. "Did I miss somethin' funny?" Mal asked as he came over, looking at Wash and Jayne's guiltily bowed heads and Zoë and River's matching serene smiles. Wash peeked up in time to see Mal's dumbfounded expression as Zoë answered. "No sir, we were just discussing what color pastel yarn to get so River can teach me how to knit baby clothes." So much for letting the poor man get his equilibrium back first. ******************************** Mal sat in the pilots chair, gazing out at the black. He always did his best thinkin' here. If the engine room was Serenity's heart then up here was her brain. An' right now he needed Serenity's help to figure out what had gone so horribly wrong this past month. He'd been expecting Kaylee and Simon to happen, so that one wasn't so much an issue. He smiled, recallin' how happy Kaylee'd been when it'd happened. Past week had gotten a mite strained but he could hardly fault the Doc for that, he had more then a few issues with River sensing things she had no business sensin' his own self. Only thing he could fault the Doc on was not realizing it'd been going on. But he should'a figured that for himself, Simon never had gotten so's he accepted she was a reader an' he had. Though, judgin' by Kaylee's shiney disposition all day, he'd gotten over some of his troubles on his sister's abilities. Now this whole Jayne an' River thing, on the other hand, had come outta the blue. Still not sure what all he made of that pairing. On the one hand it seemed like it'd turn into a real good thing. Seemed to bring both of his loose cannons a bit more into the fold. River gentled Jayne, which had both good and bad sides to it. He needed Jayne to have an edge, he also needed him loyal. He'd prefer it if that loyalty was to him. An' he just wasn't sure this thing with River was going to go that way, seemed more like to just make him loyal to her. An' Jayne seemed to help keep River sane. Zoë had the right of that. Girl was more focused and articulate, question was, what would she do with that. 'Specially with Jayne at her side. He'd felt fair certain of River's loyalty to Serenity after the Jubal incident, but it had never been tested 'cept the once. If River felt Jayne was in danger, how would she react. If Jayne felt River was threatened how would that play out. Weren't even a matter of if he was the one causin' the threat, would they follow his orders if they felt the orders put the other in danger? He needed Zoë at his back till these things were figured out. Only now it seemed even that was in question. An' havin' little ones underfoot was gonna bring all manor of changes. Even the way she'd chosen to tell him her an' Wash were planning a family was a sign things were changin'. She hadn't found a private moment, she'd come right out in the middle of breakfast with near the whole crew there. When they'd talked, argued, 'bout it later she had told him she intended to stay, keep on doin' what she'd always done. An' might be that would be possible; but, during the pregnancy at least, she would have to take things easy. Sure, Book had proved mighty handy in a pinch. But that wasn't as a replacement, that was as an addition. Lately they'd been needing more muscle then they had before an' that was not lookin' to change anytime soon. So he was still gonna be short a gun, even if it was just for a couple months. He heard the light footsteps behind him, recognizing Inara's perfume. An' that was another thing he had some thinkin' to do on. She still hadn't said what she planned to do about her Companion status. Most of the week after their one night of weakness had been spent arguing about that, and the week since they left Liberty's moon had been spent dealing with River's unnatural insights on what they'd done that night. He forced his body to still as her hands moved to rest on his shoulders. "It's beautiful out there." she said softly, "I never really paid it much attention the few times I've been up here. Normally I just gaze out from the shuttle window, but it is more open from this one. In the shuttle you can still see the side of Serenity so you know you are not alone. Up here it feels like you really are." He'd never thought of her gazing out at the stars like he did, he'd always just assumed she was in there doin' companiony things. Like prettyin' herself or practicin' a musical instrument like Nandi said they did. Her fingers started massaging the knot in his neck. "I heard back from the House Priestess earlier, they have accepted my request for a leave of absence." he turned to look at her in shock. "Shumma?" he asked. "You heard me, Mal," she replied with a smile, "we need time to figure out what is between us and where it will lead. I need to learn if I can find a place here that doesn't involve my acting as your Ambassador. I told you before that I don't know what I can offer the crew if I am not a Companion, and I won't stay just to be your girlfriend. I need a place of my own, a job, something I can contribute. This way we have time to figure these things out. Maybe it is weak of me to hold onto my Companion status while we are working on things, but I am not sure I am ready to cut that cord just yet. And right now it is all I have to offer Serenity." "So, if you can find something else to contribute, you'd be willin' to give it up?" he asked, he had to be sure this is what she meant. "If I can find something useful and things look...promising...to work out between us, then yes." she moved around in front of him, looking down into his eyes. "I would be willing to give it up." He was awed, he knew he had no call to ask this much from her. It was more compromise then he had any right to hope for. She'd spent near her whole life training for this, yet she was willing to give it up on a chance of bein' with him. "In the meantime," she continued, "we still have my "respectability" if we need it. I am hopeful we can learn to do without it." "You could'a told me you were plannin' on doin' this." he knew he shouldn't be gettin' testy 'bout this, but if she'd told him they could'a avoided a whole lot of arguing. "It wasn't your choice to make." she said firmly, "It was mine. And I only made it a few days ago. You had better be worth it Malcolm Reynolds." "Is that a threat, Miss Serra?" he asked with a lopsided grin. "They do say hell hath no fury like a woman scorned," she smiled back at him, "or in this case, a woman disappointed." "Nothin' like a little pressure." he mumbled, startin' to think maybe he wasn't gettin' the good end of this deal after all. "I have faith you will rise to the challenge." her voice dropped to a husky whisper as she slid onto his lap. "Now, since I will be unable to pull in my normal income I believe a renegotiating of my rental contract is in order." "You're usin' those wiles on me again." he tried to keep his voice stern. "Yes," she murmured between nibbles on his ear, "want me to stop?" "No," his fingers tangling in her silky hair as he pulled back to look into her warm eyes, "not ever." ******************************** Knit, pearl...not going to feel caressing hands...knit, pearl...hear whispered words...knit, pearl...feel the pulse of desire...knit, pearl...throbbing through the ship...knit, pearl...not going to get sucked in...knit, pearl...to the whirlwind of passions...knit, pearl...rising and falling like tides around her...knit, pearl...not this time...knit, pearl...stay in control...knit, pearl...safe...knit, pearl... Her hands stilled as his presence pushed the intruding waves of emotions back and allowed her own to rush to the shore. She had done it, had kept the others at bay till he could reach her. She smiled up at him. "Should'a come an' gotten me." he growled down at her. She let the jumble of concern and annoyance fill her, she loved how grumpy he got when he felt she was in danger of being overwhelmed. Knew it was his way of dealing with the caring. It scared her a little, how hot his emotions would get if she was ever under a physical threat. Not scared for her own sake, scared for whoever was at the receiving end of it and scared for Jayne. He had a slight tendency to not think so well when his anger ruled. "Needed to know," she explained gently, "needed to know I could hold it at bay. You are not always going to be where I can get to you...you have a job to do and are not always here. Needed to know the bond was strong enough I didn't need you right beside me...that it has gotten strong enough to stretch without snapping. That I am strong enough to stretch without snapping." He crouched down in front of her, one arm slinging over the arm of the chair, his other hand coming to rest on her knee. She felt the heat of him flow through the thin fabric of her dress. "You need me to be strong, need me to be better," she reached out and caressed his cheek tenderly. "don't need a broken child. Need a whole woman. And I need to be strong, better, for myself...won't work if we are not equals. Not wrong to need the bond, not wrong to use it. It is a part of us, makes us who we are, separate and together. But it can not be all that defines us, not healthy." "Ya sayin' we need ta back off?" he asked, his voice quietly anguished. She shook her head emphatically. "No, can't go back," she smiled reassuringly at him, letting her hand rest on his. "not healthy either, have to move forward. I'm healing, the brain is learning to function without the missing parts...finding ways of doing what it should. Just saying if I never push it I will never be able to become what I need to be." "The want, the need, to protect me is not wrong, Just as my want, need, of you is not wrong." she leaned forward to brush a light kiss across his forehead, "We simply need to be aware of the danger of suffocating each other." He nodded, letting her words sink in before he spoke. "So, guess this means we ain't havin' sex for a while." his attempt at humor doing little to hide the serious undercurrent. "No, not yet...not ready yet..." she felt both of their frustration at that, even as she knew it was necessary. "Well," he drew in a deep breath, his face settling into determined lines as if bracing himself for battle, "guess if both Mal and the Doc can keep their hands ta themselves for over a year, I can too." She giggled at that, "Not as good at self-control as they are." "Ya don't think I can?" he asked, hurt pride putting a challenge in his eyes. With an impish grin she casually let her foot slid down to his lap and between his legs, kneading him gently with her toes. "Gorramit River, that ain't no kind'a fair." he jerked into a standing position, glaring down at her with anger and desire in his eyes. "An don't go actin' all sorry, I can tell ya ain't." "Won't be a year..." she said softly, letting her head fall forward to hide her smirk. "Better not be..." he muttered, shifting uncomfortably. He went on defensively after her giggle escaped. "Ain't so dumb I need another lesson in my self-control bein' lackin'. Think those two must have ice in their ruttin' veins. An' why is it I feel ya strongest when I want ya the most?" His voice got soft and thoughtful on the last part. She looked deep into his eyes, considering. "The state of desire heightens the senses..." she trailed off as she became aware he didn't really need the explanation. He stared down at her for a long moment. "Another reason not ta be havin' the sex yet?" he asked ruefully, "Jus' gonna make this stronger, ain't it?" She nodded. He watched her silently for another moment, then bent down to scoop her up. Turning, he settled down on the chair with her on his lap. She felt her cheeks flush as he grinned down at her, knowing he'd picked up the flutters in her stomach at his actions. With a wicked little smirk she fidgeted to get more comfortable, laughing as his eyes darkened again. "Playin' with fire, little girl." he said huskily. She twisted her fingers in the collar of his shirt and pulled him close for a kiss. ******************************** Delta Rain Album: Prince Of The Deep Water Lyrics and music by William Topley Thunder’s up and the real live wires are talking Set me straight as the rain falls on New Orleans Silver bells ring for treaties made by starlight For Southern girls and their faces lit by fire-flies And through the gutters there will be water Running wilder than the sea and as the rain comes down A thousand circles fade like you and me They call us lovers because our bony legs are tied Once more to seed, but there ain’t nothing I won’t risk To set this bird of love fly free Shake your hair out and come and dance with me We are lonely with no good need to be Where the river grows wide to kiss the sea Floods the delta and lovers’ eyes can see Tonight is hot and there’s no wind from the ocean I hear the drums as they bang across the water Voodoo bells ring for treaties made by starlight Forgotten gold and greed and fear at midnight And through the gutters there will be water Running wilder than the sea and as the rain comes down A thousand circles fade like you and me They call us lovers because our bony legs are tied Once more to seed, but there ain’t nothing I won’t risk To set this bird of love fly free Shake your hair out and come and dance with me We are lonely with no good need to be Where the river grows wide to kiss the sea Floods the delta and lovers’ eyes can see Do you remember how we held each other tight in sorrow Does it haunt you still? And in a single raindrop I can see all our tomorrows Baby, can’t you too? Shake your hair out and come and dance with me We are lonely with no good need to be Where the river grows wide to kiss the sea Floods the delta and lovers’ eyes can see

© 1990 BMG Music Publishing Ltd. adm. By Careers Music, Inc. (BMI) All rights reserved.

COMMENTS

Sunday, April 11, 2004 11:41 AM

EMBERS


Beautiful job! I am really loving your writing, and I hope you continue to feel inspired to write more! Thank you.

Sunday, April 11, 2004 12:25 PM

AMDOBELL


That was lovely, and what a nice rutting change to have something for everybody. Methinks before long Serenity is going to need a creche! Well done and *xiexie ni*, Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Thursday, April 22, 2004 3:30 PM

INSIGHT SPINNER


Dearest Neroli,

You are simply the shiniest! I love your stories...you are such a romantic, yet you have woven together the lives on Serenity in such an artful way and unashamedly built a quartet of relationships out of our favorite little ship-board family. I love that the relationships become a solid source of strength for all with the River/Jayne pairng being the best (a surprise for me). Mal and Inara are no surprise, but her considering not being a Companion..WOW. And the knitting, working that in was incredible for me, especially since I came to know and love firefly at a spinners retreat with yarn and fiber all around me. I love the way the knitting becomes the next-best-cure to Jayne for blocking out emotions and passion.

And Zoe/Wash -- they so often get overlooked. Thank you!

I came to Firefly Fanfic like everyone else, desperate for more of the firefly 'verse so that I could keep flying in my heart. Yours was the first of those I stumbled upon that really put me back there (since I had loaned my hubby's DVD's to a friend, I was really longing for Firefly).

I am so glad you don't go nuts adding chinese phrases or having Mal go off to do captainy things. You don't exploit the cliches that make Firefly so precious to us. They get played much too much in fanfic. Restraint is a critical component in satisfaction -- something you are teaching Jayne, apparently.

And, finally, your anchoring the story to a song was really touching. I want to suggest a song to you by a new and exciting jazz voice, Lizz Wright. Her song, Silence, has me mesmerized adn totally convinced that Joss' composer needs to find a place for it in the BDM. It seems so right for Firefly. If you are intriqued, she has a site at Lizzwright.net. The sound clip link didn't work, but maybe you can preview it on Real or something to get a taste of it. It's a really haunting melody.

Sorry, this was quite long, but I've been thinking admiringly about your stories for a few days now.

I can't wait for more on your current WIP.

Monday, May 17, 2004 7:23 AM

TERRIBLETINK


Awesome story! Never would have put these two together, but you sure pulled it off.

Saturday, August 27, 2005 11:34 AM

BELLONA


whoa...river and jayne are having kids?!? well, that's the impression i got anyway...
this just makes me love jayne even more (and yes, i AM aware that jayne is only a character and therefore it is unhealthy to form a deeply emotional attachment to him)

Saturday, October 8, 2005 9:17 PM

IMALEAF


I just get the best kick outta reading your fanfic thanks again :)

Monday, June 11, 2007 4:55 PM

KK


Poor Sheppard! Everyone's gonna have someone except him! lol. Love to hear more, if you're willing.


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Delta Rain - Torrents chapter 5
The crew starts making plans to rescue Simon and Jayne.

Delta Rain - Torrents chapter 4
Serenity reaches Whitefall while Jayne and Simon continue to be at the Blue Hands "mercy".

Ballet And Bullets chapter 2
River and Jayne reflect on their meeting, and Inara goes to the ballet.

Tarnished Gift
An AU...just a little "what if" scenario I couldn't shake.

Delta Rain - Torrents chapter 3
A brief interlude as Serenety and crew make their way to Whitefall.

Ballet And Bullets chapter 1
A River and Jayne (of course) centered AU, River went to a ballet academy instead of The Academy.

Delta Rain - Torrents chapter 2
Things go from bad to worse. Don't they always?

Delta Rain - Torrents chapter 1
Mal tries to figure out what happened to Simon and Jayne.

Delta Rain - Torrents prologue
The sequel to Delta Rain begins. A little shopping expedition goes awry.

Delta Rain part 3
The conclusion to Delta Rain.