To get her attention
Sunday, June 11, 2006

River needs help coming to terms with Simon's loss


Four related drabbles written for the several_ways community on LJ. Challenge #9 Several ways to get her attention. River/Jayne ________________________________________________

Title: Concentration

sequel to To get her attention : prologue

Ignoring the fact that it was she who had sent him away, River refused to answer him; she was not going to dignify his question with a retort. The man had left her alone with her nightmares, taken his comforting presence away. He didn’t deserve a response.

“Still wallowin’ in self-pity are ya?”

Wallowing in self-pity? River sat up with a jerk. “My brother died.”

“Kaylee’s boyfriend died. Do ya see her collapsin’ everywhere, causin’ folks to worry?”

Kaylee, River frowned. She’d been so neglectful of Kaylee, hadn’t meant to upset or worry her, or anyone else. “You’re worried?”

“Nope.” Not much anyway. He just felt sorta responsible for lettin’ her push him away when he knew she needed a shoulder to cry on. “But most everyone else is.”

“It’s my fault Simon’s dead.” River was back at the topic uppermost in her mind, tears rising unbidden to her eyes.

“No it ain’t.” Jayne was getting impatient; he was as quick to impatience as he was to anger she thought. “Ya didn’t shoot him.”

“If it weren’t for me he wouldn’t have been there.”

Jayne knew that was true. The doc had got hisself shot while lookin’ for some sort of new medicine for the girl. “’Twas his choice to be there, not yours, he was helpin’ ya.”

River went quiet and he grinned to himself when she concentrated her big brown eyes on him, now all he had to do was make the genius see. “Do ya think he’d appreciate what yer doin’ to yerself?”

Of course Simon wouldn’t appreciate her behaviour. She could almost hear his voice gently admonishing her. Should she go back? The only family she had left were on Serenity. But the memories and nightmares frightened her.

Tired of waiting for the girl to make up that genius mind, Jayne bent quickly, large hands encircling her waist and hauled her to her feet, picking her up smoothly when her cramped knees buckled.

River fully intended to kick and struggle, perhaps to really fight. Instead she sank against his chest, tucking her head into his massive shoulder, insensibly warmed and comforted.



“Kaylee?” River hesitated at the door of the engine room looking around for her friend.

She was determined to speak to all her friends who had done their best to support her since Simon’s death. Her first priority was Kaylee. The girl had sincerely loved her brother and been so happy when they had finally got together. Simon had even relaxed enough to discuss future plans with Kaylee. River sighed for all that they had missed.

“Over here.” The mechanic was smiling anxiously at her. “Are ya alright sweetie?”

“Yes.” River was horrified at her lack of perception of how Simon’s death had affected the others. In the months she had been mourning, Kaylee had lost so much weight! The circles under her eyes were pronounced and she had entirely lost her bouncy personality.

“I’m sorry Kaylee.” Her voice was thick with tears causing Kaylee to rush over to cuddle her. Tentatively River wrapped her arms around the mechanic and they both subsided crying to the floor.


“How you doin’ Little Albatross?”

It was her first day back as pilot and the Captain had been hovering all day, concerned about her mental health and no doubt about his ship.

“Doing alright Captain,” River answered in imitation of Kaylee’s cheerful voice.

“Don’t be fooling me girl.” Mal shook his head at her. “Tell me true.”

“I’m improving slowly.”

Sometimes it seemed to her that she wasn’t improving at all; particularly at night when the nightmares took over. But this time they weren’t getting a chance to take hold of her as before. With Jayne’s help she was fighting them off.

This time even when she tried to push him away, he wouldn’t go. She wished she knew why he was doing it. Was it out of friendship, fellow feeling or something different?

For her, she was beginning to realise that Jayne’s friendship and presence was something she needed. That in order to survive the emotions that were buffeting her, she needed the feeling of comfort and safety that he provided.



River sat at the table absently watching Jayne clean his guns.

They were meeting for what River referred to as ‘her counselling session’ and what Jayne called ‘keepin’ the girl on an even keel.’

The nightmares finally retreating and her sleep patterns becoming more regular meant that Jayne’s late night visits were no longer needed. A fact that should have pleased her but instead River missed him so badly that her hands shook and her stomach felt tight. Reasoning that it was just company she required, she instigated these meetings for just before bedtime.

Surprisingly the whole crew co-operated to give them this time together, the Captain going so far as to remark, with a fierce look at Jayne, that they were both better for it.

Tonight River had something important to ask Jayne. She studied him covertly, trying to assess his mood.

“I would like to conduct an experiment.” She told him.

Used to the girl’s requests by now. Jayne prepared himself to say no to whatever chong plan she had in that genius brain. It must be somethin’ he weren’t gonna like ‘cause she was glancin’ at him from under her lashes and tryin’ to make herself appear as fragile as possible.

“That ain’t gonna work on me, girl,” he growled at her. “Just tell me what ya want so I can say no.”

“How do you know you’ll say no?” River was genuinely interested in his reply. She found this apparently simple man to be a conundrum at times.

“The way yer actin’. Flirtin’ with me, tryin’ to look helpless.”

“Oh.” River was deflated, she was attempting to appear desirable not helpless. Squaring her shoulders she decided that when Jayne knew what she wanted he wouldn’t say no, he might even be eager to help her.

Recently she had been experiencing what could best be described as ‘longings’. Having no experience at all in these matters she had asked Inara for some guidance. The Companion had given her an illuminating talk and leant her some manuals to study.

Thinking about the books she had studied, River shuddered. She wasn’t sure that some of the acts portrayed were at all what she wanted. But she was curious, very curious, and nearly twenty! Perhaps the partner made all the difference.

River contemplated that while watching Jayne continue to clean his weapons. She was sure he could perform all the acts illustrated in Inara’s manuals. His physique was much better than any of the men used as models and she was sure that such physical characteristics would make the experience more pleasurable than not.

She took a deep breath, it was now or never “I would like to attempt some of the positions illustrated here.” She slapped an open book in front of him.

Caught by surprise at the sudden movement Jayne glanced down at the book in front of him and frowned confusedly at her. “Ya want me to sex ya up like these pictures here?”



The last was a shout that bewildered River, he liked sex, she knew he liked sex, “why not?” she asked reasonably.

“Have ya even had sex, ever?”

“No. But I’m sure I could learn.” She nodded at him enthusiastically.

“Well I ain’t gonna teach ya.” Jayne’s voice was final. He’d never in his life taken to bed an inexperienced girl and he weren’t about to start now. River was lookin’ at him like he’d kicked her, lips tremblin’, eyes all filled with tears. “Why don’t we get ya a Companion?”

“A Companion?” Her head lifted attention caught. It wasn’t what she wanted, but could be feasible. Once she had learnt the basics, perhaps Jayne would be more amenable to her suggestion.

Chong = silly



Jayne sat on the catwalk watching Inara and River greet the male companion. The man would be just right for the girl. Core bred, dressed all proper, good lookin’, the girl would be on her back in no time. He clenched his hands hard over the railin’ not wantin’ to think about it.

He should be down checkin’ the cargo or cleanin’ his guns, but no he was hoverin’ round here, wantin’ to be nearby in case the girl needed him, stupid hun dan. She’d looked real beautiful all dressed up like she was goin’ to a dance or somethin’…

The shuttle door flew open and River hurtled out, Inara comin’ behind her. “Jayne!” she threw herself at him arms wrappin’ round his neck frantically. “I don’t want to do it!”

Frowning over her head at Inara he cuddled her close and smoothed the silky hair. “Ya don’t have to do anythin’ ya don’t wanna.” Her arms tightened even more round his neck. “I thought ya wanted to experiment?” The last was a bitter growl that unnoticed by either, riveted Inara’s attention.

“Changed my mind,” River shook her head, face still buried in his shoulder, whole body shaking. “Too frightening, he doesn’t know me. I might lose control.”

“Oh mei mei.” Inara understood that River was sometimes frightened of her power. Glancing at Jayne she realised that the big mercenary knew it too. “Losing control during sex is what most people aim for.”

“Too frightening,” the girl shook her head again, burrowing even closer to Jayne.

“’Nara, tell the fella thanks but no thanks.” Jayne gently eased River’s arms from his neck. “Can ya pay him for his time or somethin?”

She nodded, “I’ll speak to him. River would you like me to help you change?”


Inara entered River’s room, startled to find Jayne sitting on the bed with his arm around the girl’s shoulder. It was apparent to her that the pair of them were more attached to each other than they or anyone else realised.

“Now you’re here ‘Nara, I can go.” River caught his hand as he stood up, brown eyes starin’ at him uncertainly. “Ain’t goin’ far, I’ll be just outside.”

She nodded and watched him leave with wistful eyes. “I’m sorry Inara for causing you problems.”

“William was very understanding; he’s familiar with first time nerves.”

Inara moved over and started undoing River’s hair phrasing her question carefully “If you were meeting Jayne this evening would you have run away?”

“I asked Jayne first.” River stared at the floor. “He said no very empathetically. Perhaps I’m deficient in some areas.”

“River, you didn’t answer my question. Would you have run away?”

She shook her head. “Of course not".


Monday, June 12, 2006 3:18 AM


Okay, I almost didn't read this because I'm not too big on Rayne (most of it creeps me out, but SOME of it is quite good so I keep peeking at it). I'm so glad I did, though. This is really well written. I like that Jayne sort of calls River out. I suspect she's used to being that person. I hope you keep going. (I can't believe I just said that)

Monday, June 12, 2006 2:36 PM


Like I said have some great stuff here, bookaddict! I am really enjoying how you have River and Jayne really starting to bond over River's need to grieve over the loss of Simon;)



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Recurrent verse : part seven : Weary
Kaylee has to cope on the crashed ship while the crew of Serenity search for her.

Simon has concentrated his whole life on his sister

Wash and River get to know each other better a friendship fic.

Recurrent Verse : Part six : Crash
Kaylee meets unexpected problems while flying with Monty.

Them that choose it : Part two : Loss
Kaylee meets someone from home.

Recurrent Verse : part five : Dreaming
A meeting with Monty and Jayne and Kaylee sort some things out

Jayne tells Kaylee something she doesn't want to hear

To heal
River is still healing as she and Jayne learn more about each other

Things that can happen in darkness - a Jaylee drabble.

Recurrent Verse
a collection of four stories exploring the beginnings of something for Jayne and Kaylee