For Next Time
Monday, January 24, 2011

A little Rayne for a friend over at the 'other' fanfic site, for her prompt 'credit'. Not part of my established storyline, post-BDM, no OCs at all, so everyone can enjoy. A certain ex-merc ponders payments ...


She wasn't even his type. That was the crazy thing. (Although talking about anyone being crazy when she was in the same galaxy was probably pushing it.)

Anyway, back to type. Everyone who knew him had firsthand experience of his type – blonde, buxom, bawdy ... all those wonderful ‘B’ words, and all of them tied down to the ‘F’ word. Everything she wasn’t.

It shouldn’t have gone like this, not after such an ordinary beginning. Girl in a box, a brother who caused more trouble than he ever healed, months of wondering when she was going to blow, Ariel ... now that should have worked if the Alliance had been trustworthy. Then finally being rid of them until the Captain brought them back from the Maidenhead ... at least he’d had an hour of freedom.

It had started out so small, too. Her wanting payment after he’d tried to sell her and that doctor brother of hers. The note left on his bed (indicating that she could get into his bunk with no trouble at all if he didn’t pay up), and after he’d pieced the words together (finger under the line, saying them out loud) he was almost impressed. It didn't say she would gut him and hang his body from the top of the cargo bay, but he knew what she meant. Then her eyes at dinner that night ... he knew she’d been the one let him back in, waited until he was dozing to open the inner airlock doors so he didn’t actually freeze to death.

Might have been easier if he had.

They all thought she was just a girl, someone to be protected, nurtured, saved ... he knew better. Wasn’t he the guns expert? He had enough of them hanging in his bunk, each and every one of them testimony to his superior knowledge. And he knew a weapon when he saw one.

So when he bought that crate of apples at their next stop he made sure to put the reddest, the most juicy of them all, under her pillow, nestling in that oversized nightgown she insisted on wearing.

He was fair sure the Preacher knew, about the apple, but he never said a word. Probably too worried about what the girl might know about him, too.

And that’s how it went on. After Bellerophon (that was probably the worst, seeing her staring at him, not able to move) there was another note, reminding him that she’d kept her bro from dispensing the final solution. For that it was a hair ribbon tied around the note that he’d crudely inked as PAID IN FULL.

She’d worn it that night, for the first time showing her delicate bone structure, and even the Captain had commented how pretty she looked with her hair caught back like that.

After the bounty hunter had come and gone (well, he was tired, and anyway it was okay because nobody of any importance got hurt) he’d found a charm in the shape of a pair of ballet slippers in a shop next to the gunsmith. He couldn’t afford the chain, so instead he looped a thin strip of leather through the ring at the top. After everyone had gone to bed, she danced in the cargo bay, the tiny silver flash at her throat. He’d had to go take a cold shower before he could sleep.

There’d been others, times when something she said had stopped someone getting shot (namely, him), and while he held no truck with the idea she could read his mind it seemed safer to keep her happy.

Then she’d grabbed his balls in the Maidenhead. A little less pressure and he might have thought she was making a move on him, but as she squeezed he thought his eyeballs were going to pop from their sockets, and at that moment he decided that crazy was as crazy does.

He still couldn’t figure out why they went to Miranda, but seeing her standing there in that room filled with dead meat, hair messed, blood dripping from the axes in her hands ... luckily it took the medics a while to get to them, he was so hard.

Something had changed, though. This time there was no note, nothing in her almost childish handwriting pointing out that she’d saved all of their lives. Day after day, night after night, his eyes searched the bunk every time he dropped down the ladder, and each time he wouldn’t admit to being disappointed.

Her brother (when he could be persuaded to leave the bed of a certain bubbly mechanic) waxed lyrical about how she was so much better he was hardly medicating her at all, but then again for top three percent he could be spectacularly stupid sometimes.

He knew it was wrong. The weapon had dulled, its edge pitted and worn, its ammo nothing but blanks. It was so not right it ate at him. She stopped dancing, too, as if the music only she heard was turned so low she could only pick out the odd note, tilting her head to try and catch it, all the sadness of the ‘verse in her eyes that only he could see.

So when he found the glass ball (not that he was looking for anything), all bright greens and blues like a perfect world hung in the Black that lit up at the flick of a switch, he put down his credits on the counter and marched out with it, wondering if maybe he should get the doc to dope him.

Filching a piece of the paper they used for making lists of supplies, he closeted himself in his bunk, laboriously spelling out a message. FOR NEXT TIME.

She must have found it under her pillow, because she was smiling at supper that night, although the unaccustomed warmth in the pit of his belly he put down to there being too much pepper in the protein stew.

Still, it became a game. He told himself he was building up credit just in case she took it into her head to do the gutting and hanging, for the day when she finally snapped and killed the rest of the crew. It was easier that way.

A pretty brooch in the shape of moon roses, a small music box that played a tinny waltz, a minute bottle of perfume, all of them marked FOR NEXT TIME ... until he was spending his free hours searching the dockside shops, and not visiting the whorehouses.

Then he found the dancing slippers, block toes, a pink ribbon to hold them on, exactly the right size (he could tell). And just the same shade as the first PAID IN FULL, so he knew she’d like them.

She didn’t come out of her bunk for dinner that night, and he wondered if he’d done something wrong.

As he lay on his bed, pondering, he realised what it had to be. No note. No FOR NEXT TIME. She wouldn’t know who left them for her. Swinging his legs over the edge, he smacked himself in the forehead. That was it. Of course.

Quickly pulling on a pair of pants but nothing else, he slid a sheet of pale blue paper towards him (it cost a bit more, perhaps, but it was nicer than the scraps for stock lists) and penned the letters. It would be too late to leave it with the slippers, but if he slid it under her door she might get the message when she woke up. He climbed the ladder and made his way silently down the back stairs towards the lower quarters.

At the last turn he paused. Something was on the edge of his hearing, and for a moment he cursed himself for not bringing a gun. Then he realised the weapon was already here. Stepping past the darkened infirmary, he used all his skill to slip into the cargo bay.

A tinny waltz from a music box, faint green and blue light from a small glass ball, and the hint of perfume in the air ... and her. The slippers on her feet, the brooch pinned to her nightgown, a flash of silver at her throat, hair caught up in a ribbon ... all his payments and credits adorning her as she danced.

He couldn’t breathe. He knew he should turn, run as fast as his legs would carry him, lock himself in his bunk until they hit land then leave the ship ... but he couldn’t. As she span and twirled, such a smile on her face as to outshine the sun, he couldn’t make his legs work, and while a tiny part of his mind railed at them, accusing them of being traitors, he didn’t care.

The music wound down, and she slowed with it, sinking to the deck as if her strings had been cut one at a time.

He walked towards her, going down on his knees next to her, and gathering her into his arms.

She looked up, tears swimming in her eyes and running down her cheeks, and in that moment he leaned down and pressed his lips to hers. After what seemed like an eternity she flung her arms around his neck, her tiny body straining against him.

He knew it was going to be bad. Next day, when he told the Cap and her bro, and everyone else, what he wanted. But maybe he’d gained enough credit to be in with a chance of not breathing space without a suit.

As his hands pulled her even closer, he had to smile against her lips. They might as well tattoo across his forehead PAID IN FULL. And across his heart ... FOR NEXT TIME.


Monday, January 24, 2011 4:21 AM


This is so, so good.

Falling despite himself is exactly the only way it could happen between the two of them.

The imagery of River dancing in all Jayne's gifts, her gift back to him, beautiful

Monday, January 24, 2011 6:22 AM


I actually do like this, even if I have to confess to not really feeling Rayne much. I think one of the main reasons I like it, along with the imagery, is that Jayne is willing to admit to feelings, but that no commitment to act on those feelings beyond being sweet to River now and then is made.

And I guess that's okay with me, if it's never acted on, in that fashion. I think I'd be okay imagining that she can have a romantic relationship, and people caring about her in that way, so long her responsibilities and emotional investment/vulnerability don't have to go beyond that. Assuming I'm not missing something about that "For Next Time" thing.

I think that's why I like it. That, and it's pretty.

Monday, January 24, 2011 8:22 AM


Wonderfully written one off.I loved how Jayne finally figured it out.jane please keep writing and ill keep reading and enjoying.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011 5:05 AM


The last line made this... great stuff. I think this will make alot of unbelievers actually sit up and take notice of the attraction between the two.


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Now and Then - a Christmas story
“Then do you have a better suggestion? No, let me rephrase that. Do you have a more sensible suggestion that doesn’t involve us getting lost and freezing to death?”

[Maya. Post-BDM. A little standalone festive tale that kind of fits into where I am in the Maya timeline, but works outside too. Enjoy!]

Monied Individual - Epilogue
"I honestly don’t know if my pilot wants to go around with flowers and curlicues carved into his leg.”
[Maya. Post-BDM. The end of the story, and the beginning of the last ...]

Monied Individual - Part XX
Mal took a deep breath, allowing it out slowly through his nostrils, and now his next words were the honest truth. “Ain’t surprised. No matter how good you are, and I’m not complaining, I’ve seen enough battle wounds, had to help out at the odd amputation on occasion. And I don’t have to be a doc myself to tell his leg ain’t quite the colour it should be, even taking into account his usual pasty complexion. What you did … didn’t work, did it?”
[Maya. Post-BDM. Simon has no choice, and Luke comes around.]

Monied Individual - Part XIX
“His name’s Jayne?”

“What’s wrong with that?” the ex-mercenary demanded from the doorway.

“Nothing, nothing! I just … I don’t think I’ve ever met a man … anyone else by that name.”

“Yeah, he’s a mystery to all of us,” Mal said. “Even his wife.”

[Maya. Post-BDM. Hank's not out of the woods yet, and Mal has a conversation. Enjoy!]

Monied Individual - Part XVIII
Jayne had told him a story once, about being on the hunt for someone who owed him something or other. He’d waited for his target for three hours in four inches of slush as the temperature dropped, and had grinned when he’d admitted to Hank that he’d had to break his feet free from the ice when he’d finished.
[Maya. Post-BDM. The Fosters show their true colours, Jayne attempts a rescue, and the others may be too late.]

Snow at Christmas
She’d seen his memories of his Ma, the Christmases when he was a boy on Shadow, even a faint echo of one before his Pa died, all still there, not diminished by his burning, glowing celebrations of now with Freya.

[Maya. Post-BDM. A seasonal one-off - enjoy!]

Monied Individual - Part XVII
Jayne hadn’t waited, but planted a foot by the lock. The door was old, the wood solid, but little could stand against a determined Cobb boot with his full weight behind it. It burst open.

[Maya. Post-BDM. The search for Hank continues. Read, enjoy, review!]

Monied Individual - Part XVI
He slammed the door behind him, making the plates rattle on the sideboard. “It’s okay, girl, I ain't gonna hurt you.” The cook, as tradition dictated, plump and rosy cheeked with her arms covered to the elbows in flour, but with a gypsy voluptuousness, picked up a rolling pin.

[Maya. Post-BDM. Kaylee finds the problem with Serenity, and Jayne starts his quest. Read, enjoy, review!]

Monied Individual - Part XV
“Did we …” “We did.” “Why?” As she raised an eyebrow at him he went on quickly, “I mean, we got a comfy bunk, not that far away. Is there any particular reason we’re in here instead?” “You don’t remember?” He concentrated for a moment, and the activities of a few hours previously burst onto him like a sunbeam. “Oh, right,” he acknowledged happily.

[Maya. Post-BDM. A little with each Serenity couple, but something goes bang. Read, enjoy, review!]

“Did we …” “We did.” “Why?” As she raised an eyebrow at him he went on quickly, “I mean, we got a comfy bunk, not that far away. Is there any particular reason we’re in here instead?” “You don’t remember?” He concentrated for a moment, and the activities of a few hours previously burst onto him like a sunbeam. “Oh, right,” he acknowledged happily.

[Maya. Post-BDM. A little with each Serenity couple, but something goes bang. Read, enjoy, review!]