Honest Run: Detail
Monday, February 21, 2005

What is it with Jayne anyway?


Previous chapters include: Honest Run: Detachment
Honest Run: Diagnosis
Honest Run: Dance
Honest Run: Dignity
Honest Run

“What’s cooking, Preacher?” Jayne came around the corner sniffing as he walked down the stairs and into the crew’s mess. River was sitting on the counter watching the older man as he cooked on the range, “How’s the ‘Verse, crazy girl?” There was a sigh from Book. River smiled at him, a curious little movement in her neck that contorted it somewhat, “How did the lesson go?” Jayne screwed up his face, “How’d you know about that?” “Girl talk.” River replied. No lengthy diatribes or fun facts. Simple. To the point. Something that the mercenary noticed almost immediately, “What’s wrong with you?” Jayne asked, “You’re actin’ all normal.” “It’s all just an act,” she extended her arm towards the ceiling artfully rotating her wrist, “Would you care for a performance?” River asked. “A performance?” Jayne echoed, “Huh? Is she acting now?” Book interrupted, “Not now, River,” he moved a pot from one burner to another, “Too much rosemary?” “Crazy still, I guess,” Jayne sniffed, “Smells fine to me,” he came over to the shepherd, looking inside the pot, “’Cause you know I ain’t picky. Smells like stew to me.” “As long as you don’t look at it,” The shepherd replied, “You might be convinced. I hope the captain supply stops a little sooner than later.” The mercenary opened a few more cabinets around them, “Nah,” he said after inspecting them, “We still have a least a months worth I reckon,” he caught River staring at him out of the corner of his eye, “We’ve been between jobs before,” Jayne scrubbed the back of his head, trying to ignore the girl, “And its gotten slimmer than that.” “My next stop at the monastery isn’t for a few weeks yet, so I’m going to have to be a little sparing with the spices…” Jayne could still feel the gaze, “I guess.” “Tell me,” Book said as he stirred the pot, “What are we doing so far out from the captain?” “Gonna have to ask Zoe or Wash, Preacher,” Jayne said, “Maybe Kaylee. Cap’n’s left me out of the loop on this one,” There was a curious expression on Book’s face about that, “Though Wash has been mumbling about some comet hereabouts.” “A comet?” Book frowned, considering, “I can’t imagine that the captain had much to do with stellar phenomenon. Now come to think of it, Wash did mention something about a show a few hours after dinner…” he replaced the spices in the overhead. “Somethin’ pretty for the girls to look at, I reckon,” Jayne could feel River looking at him still, “Dammit, girl,” he spun around, “Stop that.” Book turned around, “Jayne,” he said, “Calm down,” he glanced between the pair, “What did she do?” “Damn it, preacher,” he pointed an accusing finger toward an unstartled River, “She’s looking in my head…” he scrubbed the back of his head, “She’s doin’ it, just like the cap’n said…” Book wiped his hands on the cooking towel, “The captain has said a lot of things about River,” he looked at the girl, “Some of it may true. None of it may be true,” he said coolly, “I prefer to think of her as a troubled girl, like Simon said.” “Yeah, well,” Jayne bawled, “She ain’t cut on him yet.” “That was an isolated incident.” “So you say,” Jayne answered back, “It won’t be so ‘isolated’ if it happens again, wouldn’t it? I mean, would it?” “Really, Jayne, what could she do to you?” “She don’t have to do nothin’, now. She already done it,” Jayne scoffed, “Hell, preacher, I don’t know,” he said, “Maybe kill me with her brain. How about that?” Book blinked, “I’m sorry,” Unsure of what he heard, “What was that?” “Nothin,’” Jayne looked at River, “Never mind “She’s just a girl,” Book smoothed, “Erratic, troubled, but nonetheless…” There wasn’t a single expression on River’s face throughout the exchange. No sadistic grin, no frown of disbelief. She only followed Jayne with her dark eyes. In combination with her equally dark hair and milky white complexion, the absence of any expression was striking. Haunting. Jayne couldn’t help but feel that there should be something… There. Jayne’s eyes flicked over to the butcher block, only slightly relieved that all the knives were all there, “Damn it all, she’s got me all twisted up.” “I don’t think it’s her that has you all twisted up,” Book objected, “Calm down.” “I am calm!” Jayne said to the contrary. Book shook his head. He put a commanding hand on Jayne’s shoulder, “Then sit down,” and pushed him down onto a stool. Jayne looked up to Book, clearly unhappy. Unhappy… Volatile… “I’m sorry,” River said, breaking the tension. Jayne twisted his head back, “Huh?” his objection with Book forgotten, “What d’yu say?” “I’m sorry for ‘looking in your head,’” River said calmly. “River,” Book looked at Jayne reprovingly, “You can’t look into people’s heads. It’s not possible.” She indicated Jayne, “He believes I can. Belief is truth,” River looked at Jayne, “So I apologized.” Book removed his hand from Jayne’s shoulder, “Far be it for a man of God to dispute that fact. I stand corrected.” “So…” Jayne narrowed his eyes at River, “You can look into people’s heads?” “No,” Book told him, “But she agrees that you believe her to. That it’s a truth for you,” he went back to stirring the pot. “Well, then. She can read minds,” Jayne pointed to her, “She just said so.” “That’s the difference between perception and fact, Jayne,” he waggled the spoon at him, “Just because you believe something, it doesn’t make it true…” Book suddenly stopped himself mid-sentence. The shepherd thought for a moment, before he looked at River with consternation, “I do believe your brother phrased it adequately…” River smiled. “You are a brat,” Book told her. “Huh?” Jayne asked. Book shook his head, “Never mind, Jayne. She apologized. You should accept the apology before I lose another argument with her.” “She can read minds, then?” “No.” “Then why is she apologizing for somethin’ she can’t do?” Jayne asked. “So that she can manipulate me into something similar,” Book said, “Does believing in something that can’t be proven sound familiar to you? Might be a job for at least one of us…” “Like God?” Book and River exchanged a look. “So she can read minds, then?” Book dropped the spoon. Before he could correct Jayne once again, River spoke up. “It’s not whether a man of God can dispute another’s belief,” River told Book, “But whether such a man can dispute any fact at all, as their Truth is baseless.” Book stared at her for a minute before picking up the spoon from the floor. Without a word, he washed it in the sink. After he dried it and set it down on the counter, he rebutted: “If the Truth was based in fact, or even widely accepted, there would be no need for faith. Everyone would believe and it would make that belief less worthy. Fact is the common ground on which the faithful and the faithless share so that the argument can be made. For or against.” “Is it wrong to believe in facts?” River asked. “Is it wrong to see past them?” “What makes you think that you can?” “Faith.” “Improbable,” River stated, “Your argument is circular. All ends cannot be the same.” “Tell me, River,” Book leaned over the bar, “Are there facts that, by their nature, are indefinable? Equations that cannot be solved, numeric values that are incalculable?” River frowned. Jayne frowned. Book had the feel of a pleased individual, if Jayne had anything to figure from it. Which he couldn’t. At least not very much, “Way to go, preacher,” he stood up, eyeing Book as he did so, “Ya stumped her.” Jayne walked around the bar keeping eye contact with him. River focused on Jayne as he rounded the corner, her head cocked in that peculiar way that she had. Jayne didn’t see her as she slipped gracefully and soundlessly from the counter. Book only just barely caught the movement, “River?” At that, Jayne turned immediately. And found that River was there beside him, “What the…” Entirely too close. It was an odd embrace that River had Jayne in. His eyes went wide and body entirely stiff, “Preacher?” he asked quietly, “What’s she doin’?” It was as if she was listening to his heart, but it was too high and into his shoulder… It felt familiar, but not completely. “River…” Book came from behind the bar calmly. “What’s she doin’, preacher man?” Jayne asked, terrified, “I can’t see her hands…. She ain’t gotten into the butcher block has she?” “No. No, Jayne,” Book told him, “No, she hasn’t,” It was a sight. With his imposing stature, Jayne could probably shrug the slight girl off, but he was too wide-eyed scared to do a thing, “What’s she doin’?” he whispered fearfully. River’s hands were empty. One was on the back of his shoulder, running underneath his arm, the other between his chest and her ear pressed against it. Her eyes were open, seemingly listening for or to something. “I don’t know,” Book continued to close the gap, “River?” he repeated soothingly. “She ain’t usin’ her brain is she?” Book didn’t fathom the comment at first, “Jayne. Just calm down.” “Spiders,” River said matter-of-factly against Jayne, “Spiders and webs.” It seemed impossible, but Jayne’s blues opened just that much wider, “What’s she talkin’ about?” he asked, “Spiders? I ain’t seein’ any spiders, anywheres. What’s the crazy girl talkin’ about?” Footsteps echoed behind them from the cargo bay, “Who’s that?” Jayne asked. “Zoe and Wash,” Book said clearly. “Get ‘er off,” Jayne said. “Honestly, Jayne, she’s not even holding you,” Book observed, “Just be gentle and do it yourself.” “What if she does somethin’?” “Like what?” “I dunno,” Jayne said to Book’s exasperation, “Somethin’.” Had the shepherd replied it was overlaid by Wash coming through the passageway, “You brute.” Zoe continued through as well, “Preacher?” she asked as she took in the scene, “We were hearing some raised voices. What’s going on?” “I’m not sure.” Wash circled the Jayne and River, “What did you do today, Jayne? Use soap?” he looked over to his wife, “How about you, honey? Do you feel compelled to hug Jayne, too? Maybe a dip and dance like Inara?” Her tightly pressed lips indicated otherwise, “River, dear?” “Little man…” Jayne threatened Wash as he circled. “Inara, Kaylee…” Wash continued, “Now even River…” he shook his head, “That’s got to be some really good soap.” “Honey, you’re not helping.” River’s hands suddenly dropped from Jayne completely as she stepped away. She took in everyone else; Book, Zoe, and Wash, one by one. Then she abruptly defocused her eyes as if they had just left her presence. “River?” Book asked. River refocused on Jayne, “Spiders and their eggs,” she explained sadly, “Their webs are closing…” Zoe managed one more, “River,” before the young girl ran off.


Monday, February 21, 2005 10:28 PM


It's short. But I realized that I've got an idea or two that needed a little spacing for the rest of the crew's side story...
And for all the River and Book fans, I hope this brings us a little closer.


Keep flyin'

Tuesday, February 22, 2005 2:09 AM


Hmmm, *oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive*. Looking forward to the next part. I loved the way River was sparring mentally with Book and his admission that when she did that he lost the argument. Can't help but see River's last words though as a warning, Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Tuesday, February 22, 2005 7:39 AM


Superb dialogue and character interaction. The end was more cryptic than I've grown accustomed to, but that's just me.


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Honest Run: Daring
Another round table discussion on how to get the captain out of trouble.

Honest Run: Dilemma
Honest Run?!? He's still writing this?!?!

Honest Run: Derelict
Zoe and the crew finish their part of the deal, running across a bit of history along the way.

Reaver Attack: Denial
Reavers are real aren't they? My entry into the Serenity contest.

Honest Run: Door
Mal has another one of his barroom confrontations.

Honest Run: Distraction
Comets, comedy, and confession. Another day on Serenity.

Honest Run: Delusions
Things get a little more resolved. Simon's mind begins its downward spiral.

Honest Run: Deal
A little prequel action, explaining a few of the questions of the where and how variety. Features Wash and Zoe and certain Denton.

Honest Run: Din
Pair up. Where's River?

Honest Run: Detail
What is it with Jayne anyway?