Midnight Snack
Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The snow turns into Rayne, and Jayne has a bad case of the munchies. A little throwaway vignette that wouldn't shut up.



A world of white streaked and swirled around him, wind roaring in his ears, his eyes squinted and flogged with snow. He saw a whole lot more of nothing than he ever hoped to see, but glimpses of depth and shadow gave him the familiar feeling in his gut that he was on the right track.

There was a shoulder-high opening in the wall of snow to his left. This had to be it. He flung himself forward into it, landing on his stomach, and the blizzard dropped away behind him.

Jayne threw the jacket hood away from his hat and pulled off his goggles. The cave that opened up ahead looked to be a natural one, mottled blue and white ice undulating into a small tunnel that twisted out of sight. There were voices around the bend. His hand slid into a jacket pocket and activated a signal.

He rose to a crouch and quietly moved forward through the tunnel. There was no way to know how long it would take Mal and Zoe to get here, and he couldn’t chance waiting.

Jayne inched forward, careful steps crunching toward the bend. The voices grew louder.

Reaching the corner, he flattened his back against the ice and heaved a few fogging breaths before chancing a glimpse. Two men, both with slung rifles, and River lying unconscious at their feet. They were facing away, looking out into the storm through an opening at the other end of the cave.

Jayne’s head darted out of sight as he pressed his back to the wall of ice again and listened to the men talk. They were waiting for a break in the storm before going to their rendezvous point.

Just two men. He couldn’t just stand there and wait, couldn’t chance them taking the girl or hurting her. His train of thought hurriedly switched tracks. Besides, might be there’s some fun to be had.

A large pistol emerged from Jayne’s coat, and he strode around the corner into view of the two men, grinning widely. They were still peering out into the snow. He couldn’t resist. "If you boys are lookin’ for some pain, all ya gotta do is-"

It was over before it happened. The men spun, there was the sound of gunfire, and Jayne tumbled sideways into crimson-speckled ice.


"Did you see the hat?" the man said as he made his way toward the fallen figure. Laughter had his partner in tears.

His ribs still shaking, he leveled his rifle at Jayne and used his foot to roll him onto his back. The shot had hit him in the side, not much more than a flesh wound. Didn’t look like enough to take down a man that big. Then again, he was wearing that hat. The man chuckled again.

He noticed that Jayne’s right arm had sunk into the slush of the cave floor. Something was wrong. His gaze followed the arm from the shoulder, across a shadow under the ice, to the place where his hand should be. His eyes widened as he saw the tip of a gun barrel breaking the surface.

There was a bang, and the man fell beside Jayne. Two more bangs, and his partner had stopped laughing. As blackness overcame him, he heard Jayne’s voice.

"It was a gift, gorram it!"


Jayne knelt beside River. She was in a fetal position on the ice, wearing only one of her gauzy dresses and still barefoot. They must have drugged her to keep her out. "Let’s see... Let’s see," he mumbled.

He gingerly pulled off his coat with a pained grunt and wrapped her in it. She was so small that it almost covered her balled figure from slender shoulders to toes. Still looked cold, and so was he. After a few false starts, his tentative arms closed around her and pulled her into his lap, cradling her like a bomb.

"You just hang on, now. They’ll be here real soon."

He looked anxiously through the opening into the whipping wind as the warmth built between them. Her head lolled toward him, and he felt the steady pulse of her breath on the nape of his neck. Jayne’s hand brushed the snow-flecked black hair from her pale face.

She was trouble. Cute trouble. He knew that the first time he saw her, and he told anyone who would listen, watched her with fear in his eyes. Then there was Ariel, and it wasn’t all about the money. First she made him afraid, then ashamed, then she made him stupid. Still did.

But he wasn’t going to try to take the easy way out anymore; wouldn’t let anything hurt her again.

The curve of her pixie lips flinched into a hint of a smile. Must be havin’ a good dream.

He sat there for a long time, forgetting the numbness spreading from his abdomen, forgetting the cold and the wind and the wait, and studied her twitching mouth. Looked hungry.

Crunching footsteps were coming toward them.


It was late at night, and the shelves in Serenity’s dining room were nearly bare now, but Jayne was still searching. He sat two more cans out of the way and strained to reach farther back into an overhead compartment. There was a stab of pain, and his hand shot to the large, blood-stained bandage on his side.

"You’re strong," River said.

Jayne turned, a plastic bag of food dangling from his mouth, to see her standing in the doorway. "I... I work out," he stammered awkwardly. The bag fell.

"It's not relevant," she said matter-of-factly. "You practice. Push things down, fight things back." She watched him for a moment. "You’re strong."

"I’m hungry’s what I am," he said quickly, turning back to the search. "You should be in bed, anyway... all warm and..." He cut himself off and continued rifling through cans. "Why ain’t ya?"

"Hunger," she said. "Loud and unstoppable, no matter how much you push." He glanced over his shoulder toward her as she continued. "I was dreaming..." Her look was distant.

"Yeah, well, I’ll stand aside soon as I find... somethin’..." Another can was placed aside.

"It’s not in there," she said confidently.

Jayne smirked. Girl don’t even know what I want. I don’t even know- He froze as a chill shot through him.

"It’s not in there," River breathed over his shoulder. She was right behind him. He turned with the look of a condemned man and found bottomless brown eyes and a pixie mouth.

Something inside him was stirring beneath the fear, something primal that screamed to shrug free of self-control and lose itself in milky white skin and moans and wispy limbs, damn everything else to hell. He swallowed hard and leaned toward those hungry little lips. Her breathing was ragged now, her eyes pleading.

A memory surfaced in Jayne’s mind. She feels everything. Can’t not. Was this her feeling or his? His stomach turned in revulsion when he realized he didn’t care.

He fought back the screaming inside him, pushed it down. It ain’t right. Unnatural. No one would ever hurt her again, especially him.

River’s hand smacked across his cheek. Again. And again. His eyes fluttered, and he caught her hand as it came back for a fourth slap.

"Too strong," she said through rapid breaths. Her gaze fell to the floor. "Shouldn’t have to be," she whined. When she looked back up, her eyes were shining with tears and her fingertips traced lightly over his palm. "Just wanted a snack."

"We got a problem here?" Mal had appeared at the door.

Jayne gathered himself and turned away. "No problem. Just a little hungry."

Mal looked at River. "I think you best be off t’ bed," he said. "Doc says you need rest, and sleep don’t come too easy when you’re wanderin’ the ship."

Jayne didn’t turn around until he was sure River was gone. Then he gathered an armful of food and started across the dining room. "That girl breeds all kind o’ stupid."

The captain weighed the scene and came to the wrong conclusion. "One of these days, Jayne, you’ll learn to keep thoughts like that to yourself. Might be it’s a few slaps away."

Jayne silently made his way to the door.

"You know the girl’s got problems," Mal continued. "She’s a long way from right."

"Ain’t what I said," Jayne said stopping for a moment to open a bag full of food. "She’s got a kinda... rightness about ‘er."

He shoved the food into his mouth as he brushed past Mal and headed for his bunk. "It just ain’t natural."



Wednesday, November 16, 2005 11:01 AM


You write Jayne so very perfectly. But you aren't converting on me, are you?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005 12:28 PM


"But you aren't converting on me, are you?"

I consider myself a free agent, or at least reasonably priced.

I have no idea why this little thing popped into my head. It just did, and it kept nagging at me until I wrote it. *shrug*

Thursday, November 17, 2005 12:51 AM


*squeaks with joy* yay!!! been a while since i've read a good rayne fic


Sunday, November 20, 2005 1:06 AM


Lovely Rayne, Cub. Shot through and through with shiny goodness. Got more? Can you take us deeper? You know I want you to go further with these two. You do them so well.

This is my fave line for the kodak it slapped up into my mind like a great movie scene: "He noticed that Jayne’s right arm had sunk into the slush of the cave floor. Something was wrong. His gaze followed the arm from the shoulder, across a shadow under the ice, to the place where his hand should be. His eyes widened as he saw the tip of a gun barrel breaking the surface."

Sunday, November 20, 2005 1:08 AM


P.S. Our Jayne is so great at self-preservation and helpin' to preserve our BDHs. Or at least the ones he cares most about. Your story points that out in spades.


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