BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

INSTANTKARMAGIRL

The Girl and Jayne Cobb Part 1
Monday, August 11, 2008

River reveals her past to the one person on Serenity that doesn't want to fix her.


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 2075    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

Title: The Girl and Jayne Cobb Author: Instant Karma Girl Date: Started July 2008 – Ended August 2008 Words: 45,734 (Entire Story – all parts) Disclaimer: Joss is Boss and I would do nothing to detract from him. He and others own the ‘Verse…I just wish they played in it again. Author’s Note: I haven’t provided translations for the Chinese because they didn’t on the show and if you use your imagination (and a translator), you can get the gist. This is my first Firefly fic. I hope you like it! Thank you Michelle!!

It was about a month after we buried our folk, Mr. Universe, Shepherd Book, and Wash, that I found myself up late at night. I had thought everyone was sleeping, the ship on auto pilot, but I was wrong. There she was, the little crazy girl, or so I used to call her. She was down in the cargo hold, dancing.

I’ve never been one for dancing, especially without music, but this girl…you could tell she had a symphony in her head, the way she danced. I stood back, up on the steel catwalk, looking down at her. I felt like I was holding my breath as I watched her swirl and twirl, her long purple skirt swishin’ this way and that. I don’t know why I didn’t want to be seen by her, but I knew I didn’t want her to stop that dancing.

It’s not like I’ve really paid all that much attention to her since her haughty brother lugged her on this boat. I sure did notice when she sliced me with that knife. And after that, all the attention I paid her was to see what weapon she might be holding and how much money I thought she’d be worth. But ever since landing on Miranda, seeing her filled with the nothingness of the dead, I’ve taken to watchin’ her a little closer. The doctor and the captain, and well, damn near everyone thought she was doing much better. That the outing of what happened on Miranda had been healin’ for her. Now, I reckon I agree, but not completely. I’ve watched. I’ve seen her get quiet. I feel like I’ve seen those flashes in her mind. Whether she’s thinkin’ of all those Reavers she killed or of some other Alliance secret stuck in that cut up brain of hers, I didn’t know.

But I knew she wasn’t healed. Better, maybe, but not healed. The Doc still had to give her those meds. And she still talked some crazy nonsense now and then.

All the sudden like, she stopped dancing and sat down, cross legged. “Come down here Jayne Cobb,” she said, her eyes closed while she smiled up at me. Gorram, that girl still could give me the creeps. I wasn’t going to say anything; I was going to turn and high tail it back to my bunk. But I musta took too long, ‘cause one of her eyes popped open. “I’ve know you were about for a while. Come down here. I must remind you that I can kill you with my brain.”

I cleared my throat then moved to the stairs. Before I knew it, I was standing in front of the sitting girl. Her hand shot out and wrapped around my wrist, tugging me down until I was face to face with her. “Uh, girl, I…”

“River.” She seemed to smile as my face twisted into a question. “I know you know my name, Jayne Cobb, but you never say it.” River, her voice echoed in my brain.

“Course I know your name, girl, but I…” River, River, River. I sighed. Why the hell was I up sitting in the cargo hold anyway? “Look, River,” I said, stressin’ her name, “I was just passing by, honest.”

“No, you weren’t.”

“Zaogao,” I said under my breath. “Well, you’re the freakin’ genius-reader, so I guess you’d know, huh?”

She smiled that sweet little River smile that annoyed the shit out of me, only because it was too sweet for a mercenary like me. “It upsets you that I know so much about you and what you’re thinking and you don’t know the same about me.”

I snorted. “No,” I began but stopped since she’d know the truth anyway. Cocking my head to the side, I said, “Don’t know if I want to know much about ya.”

“You do,” she said simply. “You’re not as stupid as you want everyone to think you are. You want to know why I am the way I am. Like Simon.” She paused, but not to give me time to deny what she said. “But I don’t want to tell you.”

This girl was nuts. I moved to stand up with a huff but her small hand grabbed mine once more and kept me sitting. “I can show you though,” she said softly, kind of shy-like. Not quite sure why I didn’t get up, move away, run away, distance myself, but I didn’t. I just sat there looking at her, saying ‘fine’ in my head. “Give me your hands.” I felt gorram stupid as I shoved my hands towards her. She took one of my hands and placed it on her cheek. Her hand moved to my cheek. Damn, my hand was so big, covering the entire side of her pretty little face and hers was so small on mine. Her other hand pressed against my other hand, palm to palm.

The girl smiled and then suddenly, it felt as though I was flying through space, and not on a ship neither. Just when I thought I couldn’t take it any more and that I was about to lose my cookies, it stopped. I looked around. I was outside, under a big Oak tree, a little dark haired girl in front of me. I couldn’t see River, she was no longer touching me, nowhere around. “Shhh,” the little girl said, looking down at the grass. “He’s going to fall.”

“No he’s not,” another little voice rang out beside me. I saw another little girl, same age as the first, probably around 5 or 6. “Simon never falls.”

“He’s going to fall. He’ll break five bones, three in his hands and two ribs.”

The other little shook her head. “River, you’re so henguai! You don’t even…” the girl stopped and I heard a thud. Looking to the left, I saw a young boy, older than the girls, must’ve been Simon, lying on the ground, his arms cradling his torso as he cried out in pain. I turned back to the girls. The little girl River quickly moved to her brother as the other girl looked her. Was that disgust? Was it fear? Probably a combo of both. She got up and ran back towards the row of houses.

Suddenly I was flying again. When it stopped this time, I was inside a darkened house, sitting outside a big wooden door. The dark haired girl I came to know as the younger version of River was sitting outside the door as well, her ear to the seam of the door. She was older than before. Near 13 or 14 I suspect. Voices flowed out of the unseen room.

“Regan, I am well aware of her…gifts.”

“Are you Gabriel? Did you hear her? And what am I to tell her instructor?”

“Why must you tell him anything?”

“She will not be allowed to continue there.”

There was a pause. “It’s for the best. We have the Academy, who have been begging us for years to enroll her there.” I watched the little River’s head lower. “It will be better for her. It’ll be better for us. We can’t keep…”

“Meimei? What are you…” River’s eyes whipped around to find Simon standing in the doorway, sheets of paper in his hand. “River?”

“They’re making me go.” She shook her head.

“Where?” Simon asked as he moved to his sister, letting the papers fall from his hands as he grasped hers in his. “They won’t take you anywhere.” He smiled, I suspected it was meant to comfort her. “I won’t let them. I always take…” His voice drifted as the wooden door opened.

I watched as the young ones looked up into the faces of their parents. Neither adult looked at the girl, but the mother looked lovingly down at Simon with soft eyes. “Simon, we have great news. Your sister has been accepted into the Academy.”

“No,” the boy said, shaking his head. “Jien tah-duh guay! She’s not going.”

“Language, Mister,” the father said. “It’s a good thing for her. There will be nothing in the universe stopping her from receiving a top notch education. They have instructors there who are trained at dealing with her…natural abilities.”

I reckoned that I’d seen that look on Simon’s face before. That pained, hurt look that he walked around with. I remembered what it was like to be a little kid, not able to stop something from happening that would or was ruining your gorram life. I watched as Simon’s face fell even more as the young River said, “It’s okay, Simon. It will be better for…me. I’ll write you every week.”

And then I was flying again, finding myself in the cargo hold of Serenity again. Quickly I retract the hand that is touching hers, but leave the one on her cheek. She’s starin’ at me with big brown eyes. She was reading me and I knew it. I was going to continue to let her, but I heard a noise from behind me. I pulled my hand away from her face as Simon, the Captain and Kaylee came up from behind.

“Meimei? What’s going on? Are you…” The doc turned to me with narrowed eyes. “Tzuh guay muh luh?”

“Nothin’,” I reply, quickly moving away from River and to my feet. “I was just takin’ a walk, you know as to clear my head from the last job, and I see the girl, all on the ground, so I stopped to make sure she weren’t dead,” I lied. I couldn’t help but lie. What would they think of me just lettin’ her take me on some journey through her memories? And hell, she wouldn’t mind, I just hoped that she would play along with it.

The captain looked at me with suspicious eyes then looked at River. The doctor was just glaring at me as if I was the one that made that girl a little crazy. Kaylee moved to River, her hand reaching out and touching the girl on the cheek, the same cheek my hand had covered. Then all eyes were on the girl as she said “She was taking a nap and dreaming of hands of blue with needles and cuffs and dams for the river.”

With that nonsense, the others focused themselves on her and forgot about me. The doctor and Kaylee helped her to her feet like she was some gorram invalid and the captain just stood there watching. “We’ll put her back in her bunk,” Kaylee said as they began to move past the captain and me. River, not ‘ the girl,’ River, her voice rang in my head.

Once the others were out of sight, the Captain looked at me and narrowed his eyes. “She’s not for you, Dong ma?"

“Aw, hell, Mal, I didn’t touch her.” I turned to look him square in the eye.

“Looked like touching to me. Hands on faces and who knows what else before we found ya.”

“Wuo duh MA, Mal! What the hell kinda jung chi duh go-se dway do you think I am? I come all the way down here to the cargo bay to be touching on some loony, scrawny girl? I got a mite more sense than that. I ain’t even had any impure thoughts about her." I shook my head and ran a hand through my dirty hair. “She was on the floor, Captain. I was just checkin’ on her.”

With the captain finally believin’ my neutral if not good intentions towards the girl, towards River, I went back to my bunk, even though the rest of the crew was up and about. I had no clue that I was in River’s memories for that long. Night had passed and there we were, she and I, sittin’ on the gorram floor embracing like…like people who gorram embraced.

Jesus, she had me feel as spun as she seems. Poor girl. Odd from a young age then taken from everything she knew and loved. And how is it that both her parents couldn’t look at her? And she didn’t even show me anything about what the Alliance did to her. Damn that girl. How can she worm her way in like this? I didn’t let this happen. She’s a witch, she is.

I stayed out of everyone’s way for the rest of the day, eating my meals when everyone else was busy doing other things. I drank a lot of rice wine. Luckily I had picked up enough on the last rock we was at. It would be another five days until we hit Vagga and once there, we’d have the job to do, so my mind wouldn’t be caught on River and what she showed me.

The days until Vagga went by slowly with me working out and lifting some weights, having small conversations with whoever was about. Zoe didn’t talk all that much anymore and when she did, it was all business, so we talked about the gong fu we were in for with the job the captain had secured for us. It was an easy one, shouldn’t be much of a hassle, just the way I liked ‘em. As for River, I didn’t see her much. She seemed to spend a lot of time on the Bridge and our paths only crossed once or twice. We didn’t really talk, but one time when I passed her on the way to the galley, I said “River,” to which I saw her smile widely.

The night before landing on Vagga found me up and pacing around my small quarters. Back and forth, back and forth. I stopped every now and then to make sure my weapons were ready; clean and loaded. Finally, I stopped, sat down on my bed and held my head in my hands. I don’t know why I couldn’t sleep. Usually I slept like a baby before a job.

When I looked up, my eyes were staring at the deepest brown eyes. A little scared, I jumped back a bit and saw that the eyes belonged to River. “Sheng pi hua!” I tried to calm myself, focusing on slowing my rapid breathing. “How the hell you get in here?” She smiled and pointed up. Looking up, I saw the air vent. “How’d you do it so quiet like?”

“Government trained assassin, remember?”

I smiled, giving her a little chuckle. “Makes me feel mighty safe.”

Her head cocked to the side as she continued to stare into me. “Don’t be fearful. She won’t hurt you. She can control it now.”

I snorted. “I ain’t afraid of you.”

She put her hand on my cheek and I flinched, not expecting the contact. Her hand circled my wrist, dragging my hand to her cheek. On its own, my other hand moved to press against hers. And again, I was transported.

When the movement stopped, I found myself looking at a familiar scene. There was the small, worn, lived-in house of my youth, complete with the dirt covered windows with the shutters barely attached. I turned to see River standing next to me, her eyes fixed on the small barn about twenty paces away. I followed her eyes and see a smaller version of myself inside the brown building, my little brother Matt sitting on a bale of hay while my little sister Sarah clung to my leg. I watched as I bent down, a cloth in my hand, cleaning the cuts on Matty’s face. I didn’t really remember this day, as it blended with all the other days like this. I tried to open my mouth to speak, but I couldn’t. Figurin’ that she’d be able to read my thoughts, I thought, Girl…River, I don’t need to see this.

You brought me here.

No, I surely didn’t.

I am the medium that transported us into your reminiscences, but you chose this time and this place. Your father just…

Anger flared within me. Hell, girl, I know. This is my brain, remember. Don’t need you tellin’ me what just happened. He just came home from spendin’ half his pay on booze and whores. It was Matty this time that got in his way. I watched my younger self sit down next to Matty, hauling Sarah onto my lap and wrapping a protective arm around Matt. I musta been near nine or ten. I turned to River. Didn’t agree to let you into my head, girlie. Take us out.

The scene rushed around me and then settled again. Green, everything was green. I was in a tent of some kind with a bunch of children around and a pretty little woman standing up in front. I looked around for a younger version of River, on account that this wasn’t my memories anymore.

“River?” the woman said. I continued to look around, but the woman came to stand next to me. “River, go on with what you were saying.”

Before I knew it, I was speaking, but not in my own voice, but the voice of a young girl. I didn’t know what was going on, but I knew it made me very uncomfortable. “If we are to convince the independents that our intentions are to help them, then it makes very little sense to do that by warfare. What the Alliance is actually doing is the direct opposite of what we say we are doing. If our directive is to aid the people of the universe, than we…”

“But River, there are those who are resistant to our help.”

“Then why force it upon them?” I looked up to the instructor and I could see that she was not pleased with River’s response.

“Class,” she said loudly, “that’s all for today. We’ll be covering the next section on the Earth-That-Was tomorrow. Please do the reading and be ready to answer the thought questions at the end of the chapter. We will also finish our discussion of the outer planets and their reaction to the Alliance’s newest assimilation initiative.”

As the class trickled out, the dark haired instructor sank down to her knees, moving to eye level with me or River, actually. “River,” she said with a sigh, “I realize that you have very distinct opinions and thoughts about the Independents, but don’t forget that the Alliance has given you everything you’ve ever had. It is the Alliance that is giving you this education.”

“So,” I heard River’s small voice begin, “it’s out of line to speak about the Alliance because…”

“It’s not our place, River. The Alliance has many intelligent, high-ranking officers and officials who initiate our policies and procedures. To second guess them wouldn’t be our place.”

“That sounds like the fascism that ruled the Earth-That-Was for years.” The instructor looked surprised at River’s words. “I’ve read everything on your syllabus and most of what will come next term. You do not want me in this session. You think there is another program that would be more suitable for my needs.”

The teacher’s brow furrowed. “You seem to know quite a lot about what others are thinking and feeling, River.”

Within an instant, I found myself sitting outside a silver door. Looking down, I saw that my hands were small and folded in the lap of River’s younger self. I didn’t understand why I was getting everything from River’s point of view, unlike last time, when I was outside, watching the scene unfold, but I knew I didn’t like it. Again, I heard voiced on the other side of the door. One I recognized as the instructor’s voice, the other was an unknown man’s.

“Mr. Majeed, she’s clearly developing far beyond her classmates. I feel it necessary to recommend River Tam be moved into the next stage.”

“And is it also your recommendation at this time to forego any more observation and to segregate her into the Ling Ren sessions.”

“Yes, it is. She is very clearly intuitive. She reacts to student’s questions before they ask. She knows there is another program here at the academy and that I think she should be in it.”

“Very well.”

A rush of colors and I was up against a tree, three boys, older than what River seemed to be standing in front of me. I didn’t have to be psychic to know what was about to happen. I could feel the fear coursing through River’s body. My breathing sped up and I tried to move, but I was frozen. This wasn’t my memory, it was hers. I was paralyzed by what actually happened. There was no changing the past. There was just experiencing it.

“River, you ben zhuo dian doa biao zi,” said the boy closest to me, his hands pressing River’s shoulder’s into the trunk of the tree. I could feel River’s fear and confusion, but I felt my anger bubbling up stronger. “You think you’re so much better than everyone, River. Well, you’re not.” The boy tugged up her skirt and the other boys laughed, their eyes darting back and forth. Musta been looking out for people who might ruin their ‘fun’.

I didn’t see what happened next because River closed her eyes, but there was no mistaking what happened. The last thing I heard was “Boys, boys, what are you doing over there?” Then the blackness faded into my bunk, River’s eyes drillin’ into mine.

“Gorram,” I heard myself say softly, my eyes leaving hers. I felt horrible; my legs and felt like they were shakin’ and I thought I might actually get sick. My hands dropped, breaking the contact with her and slowly she moved her hands down to her lap. Flashing the anger I felt towards her, my eyes locked on to hers again. “Why’d ya have to go ahead and show me something like that for?”

Her eyes welled with tears and immediately I felt like an ass, not that it was unusual for me to feel like an ass. “The girl’s had it in her head for so long and no one knew. And Jayne Cobb wanted to know about the girl, so she showed him.”

Quickly, I stood up, moving away from her. It was only a few feet, but it was far enough. “Yeah, well…” I started but stopped when loud bangin’ began on my door.

“Jayne, you’re late. Or did you forget that we had a job to do?” Mal asked through the metal door. I heard the door start to open and I spun around quickly. It wouldn’t do to get caught with the girl in my bunk. There’d be hell to pay for that one, I was sure. But she was gone. Must’ve gone back up into the vent. “Jayne?”

I turned to find the captain lookin’ at me all impatient-like. “Uh, yeah, sorry, Captain, I, uh, yeah, I’m ready.”

I moved to press out the door and the captain stopped me. “Forgettin’ anything?”

Following his eyes to my weapons stash, I said, “Oh, yeah. Prolly need those.”

“Yeah, prolly.”

I was in no mood for doing this job. I couldn’t get River’s memories out of my head. Why’d she have to go and put that da bian in my head? I was too pissed off to pay attention when the captain went over the detail. I only perked up when he said there might be some shootin’.

And shootin’ there was. Zoe got hit in the leg, Mal was grazed on his neck, and I got hit with two, one in the shoulder, one in the thigh. I sat in the infirmary watchin’ the doc patch up Zoe, the Captain yellin’ at me while holding a piece of gauze to his neck. He was going on and on about me not having been awake. That it was my fault we were in this condition.

In truth, it was my fault. That’s why even though I’d been hurt the worst, I told the doctor to mend the other two before me. I hadn’t been together out there. I hadn’t even known which direction the shots were comin’ from. Plus I dropped my second clip and that’s when Zoe got shot. To my defense, ever since Wash bought it, she ain’t be too careful herself.

I took a swig of the rice wine in my hands, my eyes fixed on a spot on the wall. Captain can yell all he wanted. It was a mistake on my part, but I wasn’t going to tell him that. No one got killed, we still did the job and got the money, and besides, it gives this doctor of ours something to do besides hump little Kaylee and fawn over his moonbrained sister.

Finally the Captain stopped yellin’ as the doctor moved to me, lookin’ at my leg wound first. “How does that feel?”

Narrowing my eyes at the twerp, I answered, “Shiny,” before taking another pull off that bottle of wine. I simply watched as he dug into the gaping hole with those metal pliers of his. My teeth clenched as he removed the bullet. It clanked when he dropped it into the metal pan. It was a nice sound.

“Jayne, where’s your ruttin’ head?” the Captain asked as Zoe left the room with the aid of a small walkin’ stick.

“Atop my head, I reckon.”

He got up close, his face in my space. “You were reckless! And you’ve been acting funny for over a week. What’s with you?” I didn’t reply, I just turned my head to watch the doc’s face as he pulled the bullet outta my shoulder.

“That really doesn’t hurt?” the doctor asked. I shook my head, thankful that Mal had backed off. “You should be concerned, Jayne. It’s not normal not to feel a piercing hot piece of steel lodged in your body.”

“Well, it’s prolly the fifth bullet that’s been in that exact spot, Doc,” my voice was surly. I just wanted to get back to my bunk and sleep. I didn’t know what the next job was or when the next time we’d be on solid ground and I didn’t care. All I needed now was some sleep and a little booze to clear the thoughts from my head. That damn girl had me all tripped up and it was no good.

When the doctor was done with me, I hobbled out of the infirmary, pushing myself off of the wall to help me balance, the wine in my other hand spillin’ just a little. Kaylee and River were sittin’ with Inara at the table in the galley. I didn’t look at ‘em, I just limped on. Almost made it back to my quarters when a hand on my shoulder stopped me. Turnin’, I came face to face with the captain again.

“I’m serious, Jayne. Next time we’re out, you need to be on it. I can’t be wonderin’ if you’re the best man to be by my side in a fight.”

I chuckled a little. “You should always wonder that, Captain. Remember our little talk about if the money was good enough, it’d be an interesting day?”

He moved a little close. “My apologies, I had forgotten which Jayne I was talking to.”

Standing up a little taller, I brought my face closer to his. “Just because I helped with the Miranda thing, don’t mean I’m any different than when I first stepped foot on this ship. As long as the money you give is better than the next offer, I’ll have your back.”

Mal’s eyes flashed. “Just don’t stick your knife in my back and we’re square.”

With that, I shoved my door opened and I moved through, taking a big gulp of wine before collapsing onto my bunk. I knew I screwed up. It’d be hard not to figure that one out. But gorram Mal for thinking he can just push and push, especially in front of that dumb ass doctor. And who was he to think I’d gone and changed? I’ve never pretended to be anyone other than who I was. Except if you count me playin’ a tad more stupid than I actually I am. Apart from not reading so good, I communicate with the best of them and can outwit some pretty smart folks too.

So, okay, I admited that it pissed me off a mite that River could mess with my head like that. Was she doing it on purpose? Why the di yu would she pick me to reveal these things to? Why not Kaylee or Inara, you know, women who know about…woman things. What the hell am I supposed to say or do now that I know that? And another thing, what was she doing going into my memories like that? Those are mine and ain’t no one that needs to see or know about Jayne Cobb’s past.

After an hour of thinkin’ on stuff like that, I finished the bottle of rice wine and dropped it to the floor, closing my eyes and drifting off to a mighty disturbin’ sleep.

When I awoke, everything was hazy and hard to make out. My shoulder and leg were hurtin’ something fierce. As I looked around, I became a little more confused. I wasn’t in my bunk. Everything was a bluish-white and very, very cold. A sharp pain cut at my shoulder and before I knew it, I was crying out in pain like a little freakin’ girl. I started to panic just a little as I had no idea where I was and why I couldn’t move.

“Just calm down, Jayne.” I grunted. “It’s Simon. You’re in the infirmary.”

“Why,” I managed to grind out.

“No one saw you for three days and River was going on and on about oozing flesh and so the captain went to check on you. Your wounds were infected and you were in a near comatose state.”

“Why can’t I move?”

“When we moved you, you started screaming and ripping off all of your bandages. We had to strap you down.”

“The hell you say. Untie me…NOW.” Finally my eyes focused on the blurry doctor and I saw him preparing a hypo as he looked down at me. “Doc, you best let me off this…”

“Jayne, you’re not in a condition to make threats. Just rest. I’ll remove your bonds only after I see that you’re not a danger to yourself.”

“Well, shit, Doc, you ain’t never gonna let me up if that’s the case.” I saw him smile just before he poked me with that stick and the bright blue-white light faded into darkness. My dreams continued to be disturbing. I’d always slept like a baby. I’d always been gifted with good sleep habits. Why was I havin’ this problem?

The flowers flow like rivers down the meadow and steel points creep up out of the jungle as brown eyes cry and cry.

Points and pokes and bad intentions wrapping around her like a spider encasing its prey. Such a small thing. Such a small thing, she won’t feel, won’t feel it at all. But she did.

I woke to River staring down at me. The strange sing song words echoed in my head as I tried to get my bearings again. I was still in the infirmary, but I wasn’t tied down. Bringing my hands up, I drug them down my face, noticing the stubble of a beard. “I was troubled, thinking you wouldn’t wake. Like a bear in the winter or worse a Opossum playing dead.”

Sighing, I sat up, forcing her to move back a little. “Quiet down with that stuff.” I looked towards the door. “Where’s the doctor?”

“The doctor is with the mechanic. The captain is with the companion. The soldier is alone. The Shepherd is with the pilot. The mercenary is with the assassin. Will we all just be titles and occupations?”

I swung my feet over the side of the bed. “Don’t start that crazy girl talk.”

“Talking thoughts and feelings from the weak one makes him uncomfortable. Makes him think of things he’s long tried to forget. Makes him remember things he…”

“Enough!” I stood up, swayed, then steadied myself on the infirmary bed.

“I’ll get the doctor,” she said softly, her eyes to the floor. “But he fancies his needles and vials.”

Gorram it, she was right. “Just…just quiet down a little. Brain’s a little sensitive at the now.” She nodded slightly, standing up next to me. I tried to move towards the door, but I ended up stumbling, unable to catch myself, I fell into her. Her hands moved to my naked torso to steady me. But damn she was strong for a girl her size. My hands were on her shoulders. I looked down at her as she looked up at me. No matter how much it pained me to admit it, hers was the face of what I imagined the angels of old to be like. Slowly, my right hand moved to her cheek, my thumb moving up to sweep just underneath her eye. I didn’t have words to describe the feeling, the emotion that the gentle brush of her eyelashes on the very tip of my thumb caused in me.

The soft warmth of her breath on my palm was enough to make me have to close my eyes and breathe in her scent. Why did she smell so familiar and sweet?

“Simon,” she said softly. It confused me. My eyes opened and I pulled away. Her eyes were focused on the door, so I turned carefully. No one was there, but just as I was turning back to her, Simon appeared. His eyes moved to where his sister was touching my torso. “Look who woke up, Simon.”

The doctor’s eyes moved up and locked with mine. “I see. About time too.” He moved to grab an instrument, then moved to me. Carefully, he removed River’s hands from my torso. “Trouble walking?” I grunted the affirmative. “Wu hau ke shou. That’s to be expected. You nearly died. The infection went to your blood.”

“Feel shiny now.”

He poked me with stick, then shined a bright light into my eyes. “River, can you tell the captain that he’s up?” He spoke so softly to her, like she was an infant, unable to stand the normal volume of human speaking. It was sweet, even if his prissy ass annoyed me to no end. After she left, he took a closer look at the wound on my shoulder, then asked me to sit down. I obliged him. He pushed up my shorts to examine the bullet hole in my thigh. Both wounds had turned a dark purple in the center with lighter streaks of bluish purple towards the edges. “You’re lucky the infection didn’t go to your heart.”

I grunted. My kinda life didn’t last long, so I didn’t know how lucky I was to have a few more beats. “If you hadn’t have gotten better, we would’ve had to drop you off at a Core planet.”

“Why the hell would ya do that?”

“To save your life. Greenleaf has the best medical facilities in the ‘Verse.” He looked at me hard. “For some reason there’s a lot of people on this ship that care whether you live or die.”

“Yeah, well,” I started as I stood up, effectively ending the examination and causing the doc to move back, “dropping me on a Core planet woulda signed my death certificate. Many’a lawman looking for this killer, much like others on this boat.”

Putting away his instruments and peeling off his gloves, he turned back to me. “Could just say thank you for saving your life.”

“I recall saving yours once or twice, not to mention that sister of yours.”

Standing up as tall as he could, Simon neared me. “I also recall you trying to sell us out and speaking of my sister, what the hell’s going on with that?”

“Hell, I don’t know. She’s your mei mei, you tell me what’s going on with her.”

“Not what’s going on with her, what’s going on with the two of you?”

I shook my head. “Don’t reckon I know what you’re referring to, doctor.”

“First you’re in the cargo bay with her, sitting with her and then she’s got her hands all over your naked…”

I leaned in real close, a wicked smile playin’ on my lips. “That’s what’s bothering you? Can’t stand that thought of ole Jayne sexin’ up your little sis?” His face hardened even further. “Ain’t nothing like that, Doc. Don’t get me wrong she is quite xing gan, if you’re into lunatics and all, but I was just checkin’ on her in the cargo bay and you’ll have to ask her why she was here when I woke up. All I did was stand up, it was her that put her hands on me.”

“Just stay away from her, Jayne.”

I pushed him away from me, not too harsh but none too gently. “Or what? You ain’t the captain of this boat and if I want to talk to your sister, I will. But since I don’t, you’re in luck. Next time she’s on the ground lookin’ all dead, I’ll walk right by her. Shiny?”

I pulled out the IV quickly, not wincing and as I hobbled out, Mal showed up. “Captain,” I said in a gruff voice as I passed him.

“Jayne,” he said. “You solid?”

“Never better.”

Gorram I was hungry. I stopped at the galley and fixed myself some standard protein, wolfing it down in record time. I just wanted to get to my bunk, but I was feeling kinda tired, so I sat down in the common area, lifting my leg up to rest on the small table. Tilting my head back, I let my eyes slip closed, but just for a moment. They popped back open when I heard Kaylee’s voice cry out my name. Quickly I found myself holding her in my arms as she threw herself on me. “Ouch!”

“Oh, sorry,” she moved off of me, into the seat next to me. “It’s just I thought you were gonna die and, well, I…I’m happy you didn’t.” I had to smile. What would the good doctor say to me now? Touching on his sister AND his little sexy mechanic. Long ago, I had a torch, a little crush on our cute little mechanic, but just like with River, Mal went and told me that I wasn’t to touch her. Too bad too, ‘cause from the way I hear it, she’s a little bunny. But now I kinda just look to her like a little sister. Sometimes I imagine she’s what Sarah woulda turned out like.

Shaking the thoughts of my family away, I said, “Sorry to disappoint ya, but I’m a mite stronger than a little infection.”

“Simon said…”

“Yeah, I know. Doc said I was a goner. Just a little wishful thinking on his part.” I paused for just a moment. “So I’m guessin’ I was out for a bit, what’d I miss?”

She shook her head. “Inara and Mal fightin’. Zoe fixin’ up the mule. River talking some crazy like normal. Simon and me having some great…”

“Gee, sorry I missed all that.” I stood up carefully. “Think you can give me a hand to my bunk?” Normally, I wouldn’t ask for help, from anyone, but I felt fairly safe with Kaylee. She’d always been the one to stick up for me. But then, she sticks up for everyone.

Once back in my bunk, I felt a little better. Starin’ at my guns always made me feel pretty good. It was good to see Vera there, just waiting to get some use. I would just sit there and rest for a moment or two, then go down and lift some weights. I’m sure the doc wouldn’t approve, but in my experience the best way to heal a wound is to pretend it isn’t there and go back to doing what you normally do.

An hour later, I was doing just that, laying flat on my back, pushing the bar up and down, ignoring the pain I felt in my shoulder. No one was spottin’ me. No one really ever spotted me anymore, since Book left the ship. Every once and a while I could rope Wash into doin’ it for me, but now he was dead, so that left the captain and, well, there wasn’t much of that bondin’ with Mal that I could stand. And the doctor, hell, he wouldn’t do it even if I asked him.

“What are you doing?” Replacing the bar on the stand, I sat up, wiped the sweat from my brow and smiled a little as I saw the look the good doctor was giving me as he hurried over. “Shi ben dan? Are you trying to kill yourself?”

“What?” He moved quickly to look at my shoulder, pulling my shirt back and stretching out the neck. “Hey, watch it there.” I watched as he shook his head. “What?” I asked again.

“I knew you weren’t a learned man, Jayne, but I didn’t figure you for a complete moron.”

I stood up, but as soon as I did, he jammed that little medicine gun in my bicep and shot me full of something. Taken by surprise, I stumbled backwards a little, causing me to sit back down. The shot was making my head feel pretty strange. The lights swishing around me and the sounds making a faint woosh. “What the hell?”

“Just anti-biotic. Strong, but it’s what you need. That and rest.”

Slowly, I said, “I’ve been restin’ for days.”

His eyebrows rose and he had a smirky little smile on his lips. “No, your body shut down everything it didn’t need so that it could fight for your life.”

“Quit being so melodramatic, Doc.” I rubbed my hand over the injection site.

“May come as a shock to you, Jayne, but you’re not indestructible and I don’t make things out to be worse than they are. You nearly died.”

I shook my head as I began to rise off the bench again. Putting one foot forward, I made to leave. I was done with the Jayne is weak convo. But my feet weren’t working so well and I fell into the doctor. “You really need to rest, Jayne.”

“Like hell.”

“No, no, I reckon he’s right.” I looked to the right and saw the captain comin’ down the steps. “I don’t want you doing nothing that the doctor doesn’t say you can do.” I prepared to protest, but he finished by saying, “That’s an order. You break it and you’re off the ship the next time we set down.”

“Well, shit.”

Mal smiled widely and slapped my arm right on the injection site. I winced. “Good to see you about. Now, dinner’s in about 10. Kaylee and River’s been working hard on it, so I expect to see you cleaned up and in attendance.”

I was about 10 minutes late for dinner and when I got to the table, everything had laid out real nice. I took my usual seat and was surprised when Kaylee had a plate already fixed for me. As usual, it was a plate of various beans and random meats, but unlike usual, there was a small portion of green off to the side. At closer look, I saw it was broccoli. Musta broke open that cryo pack she bought months ago. “What’s the occasion for the vegetables?”

Kaylee smiled at me brightly. “You not dying.”

I nodded. “That’s mighty kind of ya.”

“And,” she said as she pushed her chair out and turned to the counter. “We all chipped in and got this.” She turned back with a huge bowl of red grapes, the likes of which I hadn’t seen in a number of years.

I couldn’t help but smile as she placed the bowl in front of me. They got these for me. That was something. Not many people get things for me. “Where the hell did you get grapes?”

“Hathor,” River answered. “Beautiful and rich with music and plants.”

I looked to Zoe. “Were we close to Hathor?”

“Did a job the Captain found. The others plundered the village for local sustenance.”

Kaylee frowned just slightly. “They had pineapple and mangos and strawberries. Could only afford the grapes though. Pretty sure they were your favorite.”

“Huh,” was all I could say. Didn’t know how I felt about them doing a job without me. Didn’t know how I felt about being out of commission for so long. Well, hell, yes, I did. I hated it and now I’d be ship bound until that prissy doctor said I was okay. Taking a handful of grapes, I said “Thanks,” kinda brash-like and started eating the fruit. Sure it made me feel good that these people I share space with cared enough to get me something. Sure it felt great that they cared if I lived or died, but I wasn’t about to let it show. That’s all I needed was to be the mercenary with a heart and soul. Yeah, right.

So I enjoyed dinner, nodded my thanks to Kaylee, then returned to my bunk, taking along a handful of grapes. Of course they were all gone now ‘cause I’d let the others eat some too. It was what Shepherd Book woulda done. Much, much later I heard the faintest scrape above me. When I looked up, I saw River descending from the air vent. When she stood before me, her little smile making her look very young, I asked, “Don’t you knock?” I wasn’t surprised to see her. She was wearing her little blue and purple flowing skirt and a tank top with a shawl covering her shoulders. Since when did I pay attention to what she wore?

“I knew you weren’t busy.”

Sitting up and looking up at her, I asked, “What’cha here for, girl?” Not girl, River, her voice echoed in my mind. “River,” I said softly, obliging her for some reason.

“Jayne Cobb,” she said as she sat down opposite of me on the bed. She moved to put her hand on my cheek, but I drew back. I watched her brow wrinkle.

“Don’t put me inside you.” My eyes closed as I realized how that came out. When I opened them up again, I saw her smiling widely, trying to hold in her laughter. “I mean, I don’t want to see anything from your eyes.”

She nodded. “Too close.” She gently placed her hand on my cheek and I did the same to her then pressed my other palm to hers.

I found myself in a hospital room. No, more like a laboratory. Glass bottles, needles, long silver instruments all lined the counters. In the middle of the grayish room was a chair with metal clamps. This is Dr. Mathias’ laboratory. I turned to see River, dressed in a medical tunic and a gray body suit underneath it. She had a small hole in the center of her forehead. She walked around the room, talking to me without speaking. He was the next stage of my ‘education.’ Although I showed natural aptitude for mind reading, he and his team received a directive to enhance that natural ability.

She sat down in the chair and I wanted to shout at her not to. As soon as she sat back, bringing her feet up to rest on the ledge, the metal clasps closed around her wrists and ankles. As she began to struggle against the bonds, people began to appear in the room. Someone placed a metal ring around her forehead while another person inserted needles into both arms. I watched as River’s body calmed, her eyes closing. A man in a white coat moved to her and drilled a long spike into her forehead all the while talking about his plans for the next weekend. Everyone in the room wore a mask until she was sleeping.

Once the spike had been put in, the doctor peeled open her eyes, placed a small yellowish disk in the center of each eye. The doctor explained to his assistant that, “these are small picture transmitters. Not only are we attempting to make her able to feel her opponent’s next move before he makes it, but we’re trying to desensitize her to the violence that she will bring forth. These transmitters are showing her a variety images, focusing on death, dying and torture. They serve two fold. As I said, they will desensitize her for her new role and second, she can study the images and file them away in her arsenal in her head.”

The assistant asked, “Bo shi, should we also perform the reflex test while doing this?”

The doctor nodded to the affirmative. “Let’s kill two birds with one stone. Good idea.” I saw the assistant strap a machine to each of River’s feet. When he pressed a button on a remote control, the machines zapped her feet with shocks of electricity.

I had to turn my head to the side to avoid the sight of what the electricity did to her legs. “Doctor?” I turned back. The assistant was looking closely at River’s face. The doctor leaned in as well. They were looking at her eyes, leaking tears.

“Yes, well, now that we removed her amygdale, she can feel pain regardless of her conscious state.” Dr. Mathias moved over to the counter, picking up a digiboard, lookin’ at it as he continued, “The sensations she receives, both conscious or unconscious will aid her later in the course of her training.”

As he passed, I looked down at the digiboard, reading as fast as I could, which wasn’t very fast. I saw R. Tam, Patient ID Echo 12, Warrior Level 5, Security Priority 67, Cognative Enhancement, Muscle Memory Enhancement, Chemicals: Pax (G30), Hydro-Adrenalin, and a few others I couldn’t pronounce. Safe Word: Classified: Consistent with other Echo generations. Lower on the page I read, Status: In Progress, but the doctor moved away before any of the other information could register in this slow brain of mine.

“Prep her for a biopsy of her muscle tissue, from her bicep, calf and abdomen. Analyze for presence of Pax and adrenalin and advise of current levels of concentration.” The doctor looked down at River, studyin’ her responses to the ongoing reflex tests. “If the levels are below max, inject with Hydro-Adrenalin, increased from yesterday’s dosage by 3 milliliters.”

In a blink of an eye, I was standing in a room with moving pictures on all four wall, the ceiling and the floor. River stood screaming in the corner, her hair soaked with sweat as her body shook. Through her yellin’, I hear her voice clearly. This is the effects of Hydro-Adrenalin and this is their conditioning. Fight or flight which will give way to aggression and then hopefully the perfect warrior.

The room flashed. I found myself in the same room, but it felt like a different day and as I watched River, I knew it was. She was done screamin’, she was punchin’ and kickin’ at the walls, her teeth bared like a wild animal. Her hands were bloodied and there was a fierceness in her eyes I ain’t ever seen in anyone. The room flashed again and there she was, a huddled heap on the floor, sobbing and laughing at the same time. Tears flowed from her brown eyes as the smile widened on her face. “River,” I tried, wanting to make her stop.

River is gone. It’s just Echo 12. She’s not responding as hoped. Perhaps we should scratch…No, we have protocol for this. She is not lost. They can give her the Pax to calm her when she needs it.

Again the room spun and I found myself in a very dark room. River was seated at a cold metal table, a pudgy little guy across from her. “Dr. Mathias is pleased with your progress. You’re doing good work.”

River continued to scratch her forearm. It looked raw and ready to bleed. “The ants aren’t marching any more. The ants are crying. The water’s all dried up.”

“Tell me, River, what does that mean to you?”

“It means that the River is not River. She cannot dance and there are no dinosaurs allies for the Independents. Scratch, scratch, scratch, the bugs are in the River bed.” She raised her head to look directly into the man’s eyes. “She wants to talk to Simon.”

“As I’ve said before, you are more than welcomed to write your brother. He’s a very busy man.”

River transported me to a barren room. Four white walls, padded with foam and a cot with no blankets or sheets. She stood mindlessly at the wall, punching it again and again. She’s a killer, she said in my mind. She shows extraordinary potential. She’s exactly what we’ve hoped for…Gave us a little trouble in the beginning but through the right conditioning… Suddenly she stopped punchin’ and turned to me. But all she wants is Simon and to dance once more.

Ai ya, was I glad to see those images fade and find myself back in my bunk. I felt her break contact with me before I saw her jump ever so gracefully, pulling herself into the air vent like it was nothin’. “Girl…Riv…”

“Shhh!!”

A knock came on my door. “Y-yeah?” It opened and I saw Zoe.

“Cobb, you’re not looking so good.”

“You came all the way from your bunk to mine to tell me that?”

A rare smile formed on her face. “No. Captain sent me to inform you that breakfast is being served and your attendance is required.”

“Breakfast? But we just had dinner.”

Zoe’s face showed her confusion. “Seriously, Jayne, are you alright?” I nodded. “Dinner was last night, which I show to be…eleven hours ago. Captain and Simon want to make sure you’re eating, so…”

“Damn, since when is everyone aboard this ship all about takin’ care of Jayne Cobb?”

Her face fell. “Since our crew shrank. And no one wants to lose one more.”

She left, and I followed, eating every morsel of food on my plate. I wasn’t hungry but I ate to satisfy my babysitters. I was too busy thinkin’ about River’s memories. Every once and a while I would glance over at her and wonder how she’s even still here. Weaker people would’ve ended it long ago, thrown in the towel and drifted off into a new life. But she stuck around, knowing that she was broken but not knowing how to be fixed.

After breakfast, the doctor insisted on looking at my bullet wounds again and giving me another shot. After that, I just laid about, not having much to do. And all that did was force me to relive the memories that weren’t mine. Days passed slowly in space. There’s no light to tell you the time and when you have two gun shot wounds and nearly died, no one wants to let you do anything.

It’d been three days since River last visited me. I was sensing a pattern. She stayed away after each time she showed me something. Musta needed a break or something. I got the feeling that I was the first one she’d ever told about all these things. Very once in a while in the past, I would walk by their bunks and hear Simon asking his sister about what had happened, but it never seemed as though she wanted to tell him.

I only saw her at meal times and when I went to the bridge, which wasn’t much. It was just strange without the gorram Wash up there. I wasn’t alone with her until the third night. I was woken up by a gentle shake. Sitting up, I was going to speak but she held her finger to my lip. I stood up and pulled on a shirt and pair of pants that were handy. It wouldn’t do for River to be found in my bunk while I was next to naked. Captain wouldn’t have it.

Once I was dressed, she pushed me down gently until I was sitting on the bed. I moved until my back rested against the wall that housed my weapon stash. Very carefully, she crawled on the bed towards me. She made no move to touch my face; she simply sat with me. I didn’t know how she did it, but her body just conformed to fit within mine. She sat, sort of in my lap, her back pressed against my chest, her head resting on my shoulder. My arms, moving on their own, wrapped around her.

This felt natural and normal, like I’d been holding her like this for years. She was silent for a long time and my mind wandered to the memories she shared with me. I don’t know why she chose me to connect with.

“You were the only one that wouldn’t try to fix me.”

“What was that?” My voice was softer than I remember it ever being.

“The answer to your question.”

I smiled softly at having forgotten that she was a mind-reading genius. “You gonna do that a lot?”

She ignored my question. “They don’t approve of you, Jayne Cobb. Think they know you. But I approve. There are 630 muscles that make your body move.”

I smiled but didn’t say anything for a while. I just sat there enjoying the feel of her warm body against mine. Finally, I whispered, “You keep me up too late, girl. Always at night.”

“Everyone’s sleeping. Except the captain, he is sometimes sleeping or flying if Serenity is not on autopilot. No one’s about to think bad things.”

“They’ll be up soon,” I whispered again. She moved away, turning to look at me. Instinctively my hand moved to her face, my fingers tangling in her wild hair. “You should go.”

“I should,” she agreed. She moved in sliding her hands around my waist and laying her head on my chest. “You’re different, Jayne Cobb, different than they see.” And with that, she left through the air vent.

Laying back down, I cushioned my head on my arms, closing my eyes.

A knock on the metal door woke me. Before I could even get out of bed, the door was openin’ and I saw the captain through blurry eyes. “Jayne, I understand that you’ve been a tad under the weather, but you’re going to have to get up now. We’ve landed on Yuan ‘bout an hour ago and we’re waiting on you.”

Scratchin’ my head, I tried to think of what the hell we were doing on Yuan. “Sorry, Captain. Did we discuss somethin’ about Yuan, ‘cause I don’t recall.”

“Two days ago, got a call from Julio about some coin he wants to drop in our pockets.”

That sounded great to me. I’d been bored out of my mind with all this sittin’ around like an old man. “So what’s the job?”

Mal’s face was fixed. “The job’s for Zoe and me. I need you to accompany the others on a shopping excursion in the mean time.”

“I’m benched?”

“You ain’t ready to start. And while Yuan is a pretty place, you know full well the inhabitants like their violence. I need someone strong to watch over the others.”

I sighed as I rolled out of bed. There was nothing I could do. As I set about getting dressed, Captain said, “Oh, and tomorrow’s River’s birthday, so make sure we get some good fresh food.”

“It’s her birthday?” I asked, trying not to sound like I cared much.

“Eighteenth. I gave instructions to Inara to pick something up from the whole crew, but I want to make sure we can have a decent spread for supper tomorrow.”

The fact that River’s birthday was tomorrow was exciting me more than I thought it should have. There seemed to be something that happened between us that I didn’t even notice until it was already done. We seemed to be connected, although we didn’t really talk about it. It seemed that there’s some unspoken thing going on. It worked for me, since I wasn’t a guy that enjoyed language all that much.

Knowin’ that it was River’s birthday made the fact that I’d been benched a bit easier to swallow. Now I’d have time to look for a present. The captain said Inara would be looking for something for her from all of us, but I wanted to get her something special just from me. Huh. It was crazy. I musta really liked the girl.

So I finished dressin’ grabbed some coin and headed out with the rest of them. I was still having slight pain in my leg and since we’d be on our feet near all day, the doctor gave me a cane to use. I felt stupid, but it took some of the pressure off, so I used it. I walked behind the others, watching River glide. This planet was full of flowers, so I’m sure she was in her element. Actually, it felt good to get outside of that ship.

Once Zoe and Mal left, the doctor naturally gravitated towards Kaylee and River. They weren’t so much shoppin’ as just along for the scenery. Me an’ Inara was stopping along the shops as the others were just strolling along, lookin’ at the flowers. Inara stopped at a little clothing shop with an old time awning. That’s when I spotted this pretty little blue dress. I moved over to it, fingering the material. It felt like the dresses River liked to wear, not that I’d felt them, this dress just felt like they looked.

“’Nara, whata ya think of this?”

She looked up. “I don’t think it’ll fit you.” She smiled but I gave her a dumb look. “Who is it for?”

My eyes immediately flicked to River, who was now twirling in the field of pink, yellow, and purple flowers. “My Ma,” I answered, bringing my eyes back to Inara.

A twinkling in Inara’s eyes made me nervous. “Your mother would not like it, but River would.”

“What?” I asked, trying very badly to play off her presumption.

“You feel for her now. What’s changed?”

I narrowed my eyes as my hands fisted in the purple fabric. “Those gorram Feds had no right fiddling with her like that. Jian sui niu chang.”

Inara smiled softly, her hands moving to rest on mine. She’d never touched me before so instantly I withdrew my hands. I knew she was just bein’ comforting and all, but it was weird. “Jayne, I’m pretty intuitive. I’m not a mind reader like she is, but I can tell. There’s a gentleness in the way you look at her now.”

Glancing back at River who was bending from the waist to smell a flower, I relaxed just a little. Why didn’t she just pick that flower? “They didn’t have a right to hurt her like that. I mean, the things they…”

“How do you know what they did to her?”

Shaking my head, I looked back at Inara. “I don’t. Just yappin’.” Nodding back down at the dress, I asked “So you think she’ll like this?”

The companion just smiled. “Now what should we get her from all of us? Simon indicated that she enjoyed drawing. Perhaps there’s a store around here to pick up some supplies.”

“What does she like to eat? Mal wants some good food for her dinner.”

She smiled wider. “I don’t know, Jayne, you seem to watch her eat a lot lately, what does she like to eat?”

Quietly, I said, “It’s not that obvious, is it?”

“To the others, probably not, although they are not stupid and most of them have picked up on some of the changes in you.”

Ye Su, that’s just what I needed, the whole crew of Serenity thinkin’ and talkin’ about Jayne Cobb bein’ a changed man. I pushed the thought away. “All I see her eat is beans ‘cause that’s all we have.”

“We’ll see what Yuan has to offer. If there are strawberries, that would be nice.”

“Grapes too.”

End Part 1

COMMENTS

Monday, August 11, 2008 8:34 AM

KIMBER


This was really sweet!!!

Keep flying ;)

Monday, August 11, 2008 8:40 AM

GILOVE2DANCE


GGGAAAHHH!!! SQUEE!!! This is so totally amazing! I love how it is Jayne's PoV...I've never seen that before, very original and unique.

I think Jayne's voice is very unique and I adore how soft he is with River.

I'm terribly excited for the next part...hurry please!

Monday, August 11, 2008 8:53 AM

STORMWOLFDAWN


I just have to comment on this fic because I am thoroughly enjoying reading this story. Its great, and I love that it is Jayne's POV. I really hope you continue this story soon, because it is so awesome.

Monday, August 11, 2008 2:37 PM

ROMANCEGURU


Normally I’m not one for first person, but this was excellent. You’re doing a great job of keeping Jayne himself on the outside, but letting us hear a different voice. Having him actually experience River’s pain is a smart way to finally get him to relate to her.

Love the dialogue here and how you’ve captured River. You’ve struck the right balance of wistful innocence and unassuming wisdom. Can’t wait to read the next bit…

Monday, August 11, 2008 9:55 PM

JANE0904


Excellent! Going to read part II now.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008 2:39 AM

BLACKBEANIE


Very awesome.


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