Nervously Jayne looked at the young woman next to him in front of a massive door.
“Ma-de. She looks so small. Delicate… or was it ‘delicious’?...almost fragile.”
He let his eyes wander over her lean frame and took in every detail that was hidden under this dress. The Dress. Undeniably pretty, yes, but way too much for what they were about to do. But she had insisted on wearing it.
“As if that would be necessary.” He scoffed. He wasn’t dressed in his finest either. “Get in. Get it done. Get out. That’s it.”
He knew that under that slim bright dress she was packing, though there was nothing indicating it from the outside. Means she hadn’t listened to him. Again. Still, in his opinion nothing could beat a decent firearm.
“Girl should have taken a bigger gun to this, like I told her. Not this sassy little thing she always carries around in her garter. That ain’t a gun, that’s a gorramn toy! Never get why she loves that thing so much. Foolish brat.”
He exhaled deeply. “Yer sure you wanna do this? It’s still time to turn ‘round and get the hell outta here.”
River just smiled and reassuringly placed the palm of her hand on his cheek. “There is no turning back anymore, àirén. We have to face what’s in there. People are counting on us.”
“Yeah, I get that, darlin’, “ he tried again, tenderly taking her hand from his cheek and placing a gentle kiss into her open palm.
“But I’m already an old hun-dan an’ yer…” He paused again and returned her smile albeit a bit more sadly. “Gorramit, girl, yer still so young an’ yer...” He took a deep sighing breath and stepped back to take in the view of her completely. “ …yer too beautiful fer words.”
The smile that beamed up on her face could make a sun jealous. He would do anything to see that smile. And with anything he meant Any Thing.
He would kill (“Just name the target!”), steal (“I’ve already done that, too.”) and beg (“Uhm… only if everything else failed, ‘kay?”) and even let himself get killed for it. If this smile was the reward, he’d die a happy man. Still he couldn’t believe that she was here with him, willing to stay, regardless of what was waiting behind that door.
“Yer not getting’ outta this alive, ya know that, right?” He slowly caressed her lower lip with his thumb. Nodding silently she leaned into his touch.
“Neither will you.” She mumbled against his stroking thumb.
“So, last chance fer ya to bail, darlin’. I won’t hold it against ya.” He offered again but she shook her head fiercely.
“It’s already decided. I’ve chosen you. Won’t leave you. Not here, not ever.” Taking his hand she closed her eyes and nuzzled her cheek into it.
“Unless…,” a teasing glint began to sparkle in her eyes as she opened them again, “Jayne is afraid.”
If her intention had been to make him loose his nervousness with this tease, she succeeded.
“I ain’t afraid of what’s in there.” He snarled and she giggled in response. With a scowl he grabbed her by the hand and pushed the door open. “See?”
Dragging the silently laughing River behind he bolted into the room scowling and snarling at the people who watched their entrance.
“Good to see you two finally decided to join the party.” Malcolm Reynolds grumbled darkly as the couple bolted in, stumbling over to the waiting group.
Jayne just glared at him as he anchored one hand on River’s back, the girl having lost her foothold when he dragged her into the room.
“Ain’t so that we had ta join ya here, Capt’n. Could’ave bailed and left ya’ll alone with this.” With a sweeping gesture he mentioned at the room and the small group of people in it.
There was Simon standing at Mal’s right side and wore an expression as if he could hardly believe that he was part of this. On Mal’s other side the women of the crew had gathered.
Inara was her calm self despite the odd situation, beautiful yet with an aura of inviolability.
Kaylee was cheery as usual because this was going to be something she always silently wished for though she would have never said it out loud.
And there was Zoe, who wore one of her rare smiles because she knew how Wash would have loved this. This would have been his kind of fun, his idea of adventure.
“Don’t listen to him, Captain.” River sniggered and winked at the group. “Jayne is just a little…scared.”
“Girl, I’m tellin’ you, if you’ll ever accuse me that way again…” Jayne growled and glowered fiercely at River, but she just lifted her chin in defiance.
“Then what?” she asked him, her voice pure provocation.
“I think, now is neither the right time nor is this the right place to…” Mal piped in but none of them listened to him.
Jayne had turned and lowered his face to level that of the woman he adored so much. Their noses were practically touching.
“Ya have ta obey me, Mrs. Cobb!” he growled darkly but the addressed woman just grinned at his threat.
“Pah!” She snorted amused, “Haven’t signed anything.”
Jayne looked somewhat disappointed about the lack of any sign of intimidation from her side.
“Ya could at least pretend yer a lil scared o’ me.” He hissed in a hushed voice.
River laughed brightly before she pursed her lips.
“Oh, how I fear thee, Mr. Tam!” she cooed mockingly with the corners of her mouth twitching uncontrollably.
“Gaah, girl, don’t call me that! Ya know how I hate that! Ain’t never gonna take that name. Don’t wanna be confused with that prissy brother o’ yers!” Jayne’s whining protest caused another giggle-fit from River and the other women fell in.
“Hey!” Simon’s indignant voice went unheard.
“Highly doubtable, Bǎobèi .” River snorted with laughter and then turned to her attention to Simon who looked highly upset. “Don’t be mad, Simon, this is not a day to bear grudges. When this is done, everything will be different.”
“That’s exactly what I’m afraid of, mei-mei.” Simon sighed with slumped shoulders.
Jayne growled still somewhat irritated about the doctor’s adverse attitude. “Don’t fret, Doc. I’ll take good care a’her.”
“And that’s exactly why we’re here. ” Mal picked up his cue. “And could you please agree on a common surname now, so we can get started? You’ve had enough time already and I want to get over with this gorramn rigmarole.”
“Cobb.” “Tam.” “Cobb!” “No, Tam!”
Mal rolled his eyes in desperation.
“Why don’t we just leave the names like they are?” he sighed.
River looked at Jayne pleadingly. “Do you think that would be ok?”
His answer was an unclear grumbling but obviously he had no real objections. With a smile River grabbed Jayne’s hand and nodded starry-eyed at Mal.
“Fine.” Mal cleared his throat before he began.
“We’s gathered here today in the presence o’ these witnesses ta join Jayne Cobb an’ River Tam in matrimony, somethin’ mighty commendable an’ ta be honored among all men. Therefore it ain’t ta be entered into without a whole lotta thinkin’; gotta be done with reverence, an’ discretion - which means Jayne here ain’t ‘xactly qualified…ouch!
These folk are enterin’ inta this estate on this day, an’ if any person can show ‘em cause why they ain’t meant ta be together - Simon, put yer hand down! - Let ‘em speak now or hold their gorram tongue…”
-.- fin -.-