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Delta Rain part 1

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Delta Rain part 1

Delta Rain part 1

by Neroli

Disclaimer: Characters do not belong to me, they are the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy and Fox.

Feedback is always welcome.

Takes place shortly after the series ended. Another Jayne/River piece. What can I say, I can spend hours pondering the mysteries of what makes those two tick....LOL

I want to give special thanks to Starrbaby and Cassie E for all their feedback and support. And everyone else that has read and reviewed my stories, thank you!

Many thanks to William Topley and The Blessing for their song "Delta Rain", it helped inspire this piece. River sings bits and pieces of it to Jayne.

# Quote from Delta Rain, by The Blessing ## Quote from Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bront

Chinese translations:
Ch 1) Wu de tyen ah: Dear God in heaven. Ch 2) Hwoon dahn: Son of a bitch.
Ch 3) Swai: Handsome.
Ch 4) Lao-tyen boo: Oh, Lord!

Mei-mei: Sister


Jayne woke feeling hungry and groggy. Things had been a mite tense at dinner what with Mal and Inara fightin' an' all. The meal had ended with Inara leaving the table and Mal stormin' off after her refusing to let her have the last word. Man should just admit he was whipped an' be done with it.

What the hell were Zo n' Wash doin' over there anyways, Jayne glared at the wall separating his bunk from theirs as the ruckus increased again. The two of them had been goin' at it as bad as Simon and Kaylee lately. Least those two had the excuse of it bein' new an' all, only been at it a couple'a weeks. Damn boat was turning into a gorram soap opera.

He'd gone to his bunk after dinner to try and get some sleep but Wash and Zo were making that mighty hard to do. Already woken him up 3 times tonight. He sighed as he rolled off of the bed, might as well grab some grub and see if he could catch a few winks on the couch in the mess.

He idly noted that Kaylee's hatch was still open, meanin' she hadn't gone to her own bunk yet. Mal's was closed, but then it always was. Didn't mean he was in it. Jayne couldn't recall hearin' the Cap'n's boot steps so's he kinda doubted Mal had returned from Inara's shuttle yet. The thought made him smirk, maybe they was done with their little spat. One could only hope, though the idea of one more happy couple prancing around Serenity was a bit unsettlin'. Bad enough having to watch the others cooin' and cuddlin' all the ruttin' time.

He was about to step down into the mess when he heard a low moan in the corridor heading off to the side. He glanced sharply into the shadows. River. Of course. Just his luck. What was wrong with the ruttin' girl this time?

He was about to tell her to git when something about how she was standin' there made him stop. An' the way she was starting to pant.

He took a step nearer, gorram girl didn't even notice he was there. Jayne studied her face, hadn't never seen it like that before. All flushed with desire, but there weren't nobody touching her. He felt a cold sweat break out as realization started to set in. She was pickin' up on what Wash n' Zo was doin'. Her body all tensed up, one hand pressed against the wall. He looked at her eyes then and his blood ran cold. She was feelin' Wash n' Zo all right, but she didn't wanna be. There was this pained and trapped look haunting her eyes. He reached out and grabbed her arm.

"River" he growled, giving her a little shake. Didn't seem ta get through to her none, she just kept starin' off into space with that look in her eyes. So he shook her a little harder. All that got him was another husky moan and River's head tilting back. Like some unseen lover was kissing her neck. Ruttin' hell. He could feel the heat radiating off her. He should just leave her here, go back to his bunk and pretend he never seen this. Dimly he was aware that the part of him keepin' him here trying to break her out of this was the same part that was keepin' him from pulling her into his arms and kissin' that long, white neck himself.

"River" he said more sharply then before, a hint of panic creepin' into his voice. "snap outta it girl."

As her head rolled back up he watched his hand slap her check. Not as hard as that one time but...oh god, what had he done?

Her eyes latched onto his and she blinked, her big eyes filling with tears. Her hands reached for him, twisting into his shirt as she pulled herself to him. He could feel the sobs racking her body as she leaned against him. Ah hell, now what was he supposed ta do? He roughly patted her on the back.

"It's Ok girl, you're gonna be all right, it's over now..." he tried extracting himself but that just seemed to make her cryin' more intense and she tightened her grip on his damp shirt. Gorramit, where the ruttin' hell was her brother when she needed him, but Jayne knew jus' where the Doc was. Or a pretty good idea where at least. Had the poor girl been feelin' them too? An' if 'Nara and the Cap'n...? Jayne was surprised to find his arms were now wrapped gently around her.

"not over...never be over..." River was gasping softly against his chest now, "one falls...another climbs...they drag me up but they leave when I fall...falling...always falling..."

"Wu de tyen ah" Jayne cursed softly. River suddenly giggled into his chest and some of the tension seemed to drain out of her. Her hands untangled from his shirt and for a moment Jayne thought she was going to let him go. Before he could step back her arms wrapped around his waist.

"please..." she pleaded, "catch me..." He felt his breath catch in his throat, a sharp pain in his chest.

"River," he cleared his throat slightly tryin' to ease the constriction. "girl, I ain't the kind of man you want catchin' you."

"...shake your hair out and come and dance with me, we are lonely with no good need to be, where the river grows wild to kiss the sea, floods the delta and lover's eyes can see..."# River sang softly.

She turned her tear streaked face up to him, smiling sadly. He stared down at her, wonderin' if he'd heard her words right. This whole thing was starting to feel like a dream. Like he hadn't woken up at all.

With another sad smile she shook her head and took a deep breath, her face setting in determination. Slowly she let him go and moved back a pace. Jayne fought the urge to pull her back to him when she gasped. He'd seen the flash of pain as she'd stepped out of his space. Like he'd been shielding her before but now she was steppin' back into the line of fire an' had just been hit. Her jaw clenched tight to hold back a moan and she swayed slightly, her lips parting as that lustful look settled back on her face. Gorram girl.

Jayne scooped her up and carried her into the mess trying very hard not to think about why he was doin' it. Or about the long line of her neck or the sound of her moans or how smooth her pale naked skin had looked when he'd first seen her or her soft lips or that bit she'd sung about rivers growin' wide and kissin' seas and lover's eyes. He was too old for her, might be legal now but she sure as hell hadn't been when she'd come outta that box, she was crazy an' scared the livin' hell outta him, he'd been all kinds of mean to her, she could kill him with her brain and read his thoughts, he'd betrayed her, she'd sliced him up...

"no..." she fidgeted in his arms "wasn't you...shirt..." her hands twisted into his shirt again, right over where she'd cut him. He stopped and looked down at her.

"You was attacking the shirt?" his face screwed up in puzzlement, his mind latching onto what she said like it was a lifeline.

"yes..." she replied, relief flooding her face. "two by two, hands of blue..." she gave the shirt he had on now a tug.

Jayne scowled down at her trying to figure out what her gorram nursery rhyme had to do with cutting his shirt. She sighed in frustration.

"two by two, hands of blue..." another tug and Jayne felt it snap into place, he'd been wearin' his favorite Blue Sun shirt. She'd sliced right through the logo, an' all this time he'd thought she'd sliced him cause she'd known he was goin' to betray them. Well, maybe not the whole time, first thought was that she was crazy 'n homicidal, plain an' simple.

"Blue Sun?" he asked, not sure he had it right yet. "they have somethin' to do with that school of yours?"

"I thought that school was Alliance funded, that was what your brother said." he said after she'd nodded yes up at him.

"shadows behind the Alliance...dark and blue...cold...like ice..." River's voice had that strange sing-songy lilt to it again, "sun should be warm but it freezes..."

"You tell Simon this?" Jayne wasn't sure if this knowledge would help the Doc figure out what had been done to his sister, but it was sure soundin' like they had all been trying to protect her from the wrong enemy.

"tried to...didn't understand...always comes out wrong..." her voice sounded sad and tired as she buried her face into his shoulder, her fingers smoothing the wet, wrinkled shirt over his chest. Jayne sat down heavily in the nearest chair. Gorramit, they had all missed the signs. His mind went back over all her little outbursts finding way more connections to Blue Sun labels then was comfortable. Shoulda paid more mind to what was goin' on around her when she'd gone off, all of 'em.

"You should let him an' Mal know." Jayne said softly. He felt her tense up again. She was quiet for so long Jayne thought she wasn't going to respond.

"Will you help?" she asked, her voice barely a whisper.

"Yea, should prob'ly wait till mornin' though," Jayne was starting to feel way to tired to deal with this tonight. "we outta try and get some sleep."

He'd meant to shuffle her off to her bunk but from the way River snuggled into his chest it was pretty clear she meant to spend the night right there. Ah hell, weren't like he'd get any sleep in his bunk tonight anyways. An' River seemed to already be gone, poor kid had had a rough night. Hell, he'd had a rough night too. He shifted a bit to get as comfortable as he could, careful not to disturb her to much. He had just enough time to remember he'd never gotten his snack and lament the lack of a blanket before he drifted off after her.


Mal paused to stretch, his gaze following Inara as she headed toward the mess. Part of him still in shock that after he'd run out of insults to fling at her last night and pulled her roughly into his arms she'd kissed him. Might be that he never got over being shocked at that.

All these months of her saying she was goin' to leave soon as they got to a decent port. 'Course, he'd made damn sure they got no where's near one. She'd known what he was doing, had called him on it a million times. But then, she'd been mighty picky about what she considered a decent port. Hadn't been anything stopping her from finding other transport to someplace decent neither. He hadn't been the only one lookin' to find ways to keep her on Serenity.

Still a lot of things to work out between them, but for the first time he had some hope they might actually try. With a slight smile curling his lip he followed Inara into the mess.

"Whoa there...'Nara?" he'd near 'bout run into her. What was she staring at?

Mal glanced over Inara's head to see what had made her stop and saw Jayne sitting there, head thrown back and snorin' like a freight train with River curled up in his lap.

"Hwoon dahn" he spat out, his good mood evaporating in an instant.

"Mal, wait" Inara's voice cut through his rage enough to make him stop and look at her. "We don't know what is going on here." How can she sound so calm about this. Jayne, holding River? He'd known Jayne too long to think this was as innocent as 'Nara seemed to. He glanced back over at the two and straight into River's solemn gaze.

"no touching..." she said firmly and Mal found himself wondering if she meant to tell him that her and Jayne hadn't touched in the way he was thinkin' or he that he had better not touch Jayne and toss him out the airlock. Her giggle did nothing to clear the confusion. She looked even more fragile and delicate then usual sitting there. Gracefully she pushed herself up with the tiny hand she had on Jayne's chest and whispered.

"Jayne, time to wake..." and the big man snorted and stirred under her, giving a groan as he tried to lift his head.

"Gorramit" he muttered as his hand went to the back of his neck to try and work out the knot there. It was downright unsettlin' how he'd woken at her command like that.

"Someone mind tellin' me what the ruttin' hell is going on here?" Mal was rather pleased at how calm he sounded considerin' what he really wanted to do was wring Jayne's neck.

Jayne looked over at him with a wary look in his eyes. River, however, seemed more interested in climbing over Jayne like a monkey. Mal watched dumbfounded as she wedged herself behind Jayne and pushed at him to get him to scoot forward in the chair. The big man seemed to think she wanted him to get up at first, till those tiny hands tugged on the back of his shirt guiding him to sit on the edge instead.

"Mornin' Mal," he sounded like he expected Mal to shoot him, guess he wasn't as dumb as he looked, then he nodded to Inara, "mornin' 'Nara"

"Good morning Jayne, sleep well?" Inara chuckled and Mal followed her gaze to River, who was now happily massaging Jayne's neck.

Mal wondered if he'd woken up in the right 'verse this morning.

"No," Jayne grumbled, "feels like I slept all night with my head hangin' off the back of a chair." Inara laughed and went over to start the coffee.

"Captain here, waitin' on that explanation." Mal glared at Jayne. Was that an accusing look in Jayne's eye?

"Girl had a bad night, everyone else was...busy," Jayne gave him that accusing look again, then gestured vaguely at the chair, "an' then we jus' sorta fell asleep, that's all."

"wasn't all..." River protested from behind him, "tell him..." Mal watched as Jayne twisted around to look at River, a puzzled look on his face. Then he seemed to remember something.

"Oh, right," he said "forgot 'bout the Blue Sun thing, sorry girl." and he smiled at her relieved look. Jayne, smiling at River. This was all kinds of not right.

"Mal, ya remember when River slashed me with that knife?" Jayne was looking up at him like an excited schoolboy now.

"Not like to forget, way you keep remindin' us all." Mal drawled back, wonderin' at Jayne's total lack of malice. Normally when he brought this up he was looking for sympathy or tryin' to remind him how dangerous River was.

"Well," he continued, "turns out she was attacking the shirt I was wearin'. It was my Blue Sun one. She told me that they was behind that school she went to. She said they was behind the Alliance somehow, not quite sure what it's all 'bout. But that creepy ass sayin' she has, ya know, "two by two, hands of blue", that's 'bout them."

And Mal heard Wash's voice describing to him the "reinforcements" that had show up on Ariel. Two of them getting off the ship, wearing dark suits and blue gloves on their hands. He'd filed it away with Wash's geese juggling story.

"Huh..."


River sat on the catwalk outside Inara's shuttle, swinging her legs back and forth while she watched Jayne cleaning the deck below. He had been working out a while ago but had decided it was better to find another way to keep himself occupied. She knew it made him uncomfortable that she was up here watching him, but there wasn't much else to do and she was enjoying it. Besides, he could have gone and cleaned any of the other decks had he really wanted to get away from her.

She let her mind drift over the last couple of hours. Mal had called a meeting and most of the morning had been spent trying to figure out what her revelations to Jayne the night before meant. Inara and Book where in her shuttle looking for any info on Blue Sun that might help. They weren't going to find it on the Cortex but it gave them something to do. Simon was going back over his notes trying to match up old patterns with the new information. Kaylee was working on the engine and Mal, Zo and Wash were trying to figure out which planets had the strongest Blue Sun presence so they could add them to the "planets to be avoided because of River" stack. Thankfully most of them were already there because they were Core planets or Alliance friendly.

Which left her and Jayne with not much of anything useful to do. She was used to it but Jayne was feeling restless.

Neither of them had told what had started the whole thing. When Simon had asked Jayne had mumbled something about her seeming to be having a flashback to the Academy. Which started a flood of questions about what her supposed flashback had been about from Simon, but she gave him her standard "can't remember" line and that was that. She understood why Jayne had lied, none of the couples on board would be able to deal with knowing that she felt everything they did. She wondered how Jayne would feel once he realized that included him and the things he did in his bunk alone. Really, Book was the only one who had never invaded her thoughts in that way.

It didn't happen all the time, there were so many thoughts and feelings floating around that she could usually keep her mind occupied till they were done. It wasn't the same as being able to push the thoughts and feelings away, not the same as being able to shut them off like she used to be able to do, but it worked most of the time. Once she had gotten the hang of it. If one train of thought was too disturbing just jump on to another. Only, sometimes they caught her unaware and she couldn't jump in time, and it was the hardest with Simon. They were so close and his feelings for Kaylee so strong...and it hurt just a bit that she was no longer his focus. Even though she was happy for him. And sometimes the feelings were simply too strong to ignore.

Last night it had been all 3 couples at once. She wondered if that had been random or if she was starting to act as an amplifier and what she picked up from one couple was being transmitted to the next starting a chain reaction. She already knew she could influence others, she'd done it twice to Jayne now. Once to keep him sleeping while Early was on board and then again this morning to wake him up. It had never occurred to her to try it on anyone else though so she wasn't sure it would work as well on them. Jayne's mind was different then the others. Open and receptive, strong. Like most on the crew he had his own measure of abilities.

She liked how his brain worked. It was the most straight forward one on board unless you counted Kaylee. Kaylee's was all sunshine though and as nice as it felt pouring down from Kaylee she didn't think she was strong enough to look straight into her. Jayne's was darker, not as dark as Mal's, nor as complex. Mal's was dark and cold where as Jayne's was dark and warm, space dark verses earth dark. She was like Mal, space dark. But being in Jayne's mind was like being in a burrow, warm and dark and solid around her. She felt grounded there. The giggle bubbled up and she let it pour out.

She waved at him as he glanced up at her. He shouldn't scowl so much, he was much more swai when he smiled.

He worried too much about numbers. Age meant nothing. Not really. It was just a human way of understanding time, but breaking time into handy little bits was pointless. True, in most cases a higher number meant more accumulated experiences. But there were exceptions to that. She was one. Not that she hadn't missed things that most girls her age should have had, like dates and kisses. Things Kaylee had plenty of by the time she was her age. However, Kaylee was older and had felt nothing of being tortured or having her brain shattered. Worst thing Kaylee had felt was a bullet in the gut, but she knew of the other things, even if she had not felt them. River had felt kisses and caresses and everything else involved in sex, even if she had never felt it for herself. So which one of them could be said to be more experienced? Didn't really matter, they were different, but not necessarily unequal.

It was true she was sometimes childlike, but then, so was Jayne. Most would not call his reaction to being teased about his name being a girls as being "mature". She smiled slightly and wondered just what his "man parts" looked like. For some reason she never got anything visual from him during those times, it was all feeling. If she ever did get to touch Jayne she knew just how to make him quiver.

He was looking up at her again, scowling. Guess that chuckle had not just been in her head after all.

Her eyes drifted shut as he turned away muttering "Gorram girl". It was nice the way his voice was changing, less hard now then it had been yesterday, more husky. Like it was turning into an endearment. She savored the fluttery feeling in the pit of her stomach. Wasn't time yet, he needed to come to terms with her a little more, she wanted to enjoy the flush of first awareness for a while longer. He was not a man that dealt easily with emotions. None of the men on Serenity did...except Wash.

In many ways she was all emotion, it was just that most of them were not her own. Maybe that was why Jayne was becoming so important to her, with him she always felt. The others feelings were still there, but she actually felt something of her own. Something other then fear. Some new emotion she had never felt before that while it was tied to him did not come from him. And he drove away the one emotion she was used to feeling, fear...and that was odd. When had she started feeling so safe around him? Didn't matter, he would never hurt her now, for all his bluster. Had been that way for a while. Had crept up on them, unaware.

Last night had just ripped the veils away. Left them both exposed.

If she was all emotion then he was all physical. They both felt, but he felt with touch. She wondered that her and Simon had both ending up being attracted to people who were so physically demonstrative. Hugging had never been big in the Tam household...might mess up Mother's fancy dress, put a wrinkle in Father's nicely pressed shirt. Kisses were placed a quarter of an inch from the cheek. Even her and Simon had not hugged often, and it had always been a quick, light thing...except for when she had gone off to the Academy. She had clung to him then in some nameless need to hold onto something solid. Until he had pushed her away, all uncomfortable with his little sisters unseemly display of affection in front of strangers. Little had they known the strangers were their parents.

He had hugged her more times since they arrived on Serenity then he had in the 14 years of her childhood.

And she had spent an entire night wrapped in Jayne's arms, then rubbed the knot out of his neck because she had needed more. His pain had bothered her, but that had not been why she had done it. She had given massages before, usually to the other students in her dance classes when they had a muscle cramp. It had always been a means to work the soreness out, never a means to provide physical contact before. But then, none of her fellow dance students were Jayne.

So here she was starting to feel, emotionally and physically, and reveling in it...while Jayne was starting to feel and fighting it. Even the physical that he normally was so comfortable with. She wiped the tear away as Inara and Book came out of the shuttle to head down to dinne.


"Did you see the way she was hanging on to that ape all night?" Simon felt the rage he'd been holding in check all day boil up to the surface. "She spent all day watching him in the cargo bay as well, just sitting there watching him. Every time I went to check on her she was just...watching...him."

He looked over at Kaylee, sure that she'd be able to understand how wrong it was that his sister was showing such an obsession with Jayne. Only she was chewing on her lower lip with a puzzled look on her sweet face.

"Is it really so surprisin'?" she asked him. "I mean, ain't like there are a lot of choices for her to get her first crush on..."

"Kaylee" he was shocked at her comment. "...but Jayne? He's..he's mean and crude and...stupid." Simon wanted to tell her about what Jayne had done on Ariel, but he just couldn't bring himself to. She was so trusting of people and he never wanted to be the one that ripped that away, not even her trust of Jayne.

"Jus' 'cause someone ain't got the schoolin' you do don't mean they're stupid, Simon." Now she was looking at him with that annoyed/hurt look she got when she felt he was being an ass. This was not going well. He'd thought she'd understand. And why did River have to get a crush on anyone, and if she did then why not Mal...or Wash...someone, anyone other then Jayne. He rubbed the bridge of his nose trying to ease the headache he felt building and sighed.

"I know Kaylee...and I'm sorry it sounded like that, but it isn't just a lack of schooling. The man is clueless when it comes to being a decent human being. You know how many times he's tried to get us thrown off Serenity. How he is always calling her moonbrained. It just doesn't make any sense that she'd act this way."

Kaylee chuckled. "Well now, I think it makes perfect sense. He ain't bad lookin'. He's strong an' can protect her. An' it's not like she was really hangin' on him you know, jus' sittin' next to him and lookin' at him a lot. Book ain't an option any girl would choose, Zo wouldn't let nothin' happen with Wash, Mal only got eyes for Serenity and 'Nara, you're her brother so that's plain out of the question...who else it gonna be? 'Sides, he did figure out that Blue Hands thing. Sure that ain't what's really buggin' ya?"

And that was a part of it, he had not been able to understand River's ramblings and Jayne had. But that whole protecting thing Kaylee thought Jayne would be so good at...Simon just didn't see it happening. If River ever got in a tight spot with only Jayne to get her out she'd be dead or back at the Academy and he'd be alone. Well, maybe not alone. He looked at Kaylee in wonder, he still wasn't sure why she'd picked him. In so many ways Jayne seemed the more obvious choice for her.

"Why didn't you and Jayne ever hook up?" Lao-tyen boo, had he really just asked her that? Out loud? He was not sure he wanted to hear this.

She burst out laughing. She was laughing so hard he could see tears forming in her eyes.

"Jayne? An' me?" she finally managed to squeeze out the words. "that'd be like you an' River hooking up. Me an' Jayne are more like brother an' sister then that kinda thing." She brushed the tears off her cheeks, still giggling at the thought. Simon felt the knot in his chest loosen slightly, calmed that at least he didn't need to fear that anymore.

"You are right about me being bothered by his understanding her when I couldn't." he told her softly. "It's not the only thing bothering me about this but it is there."

"I know Sweetie...you've been tryin' so hard ta fix her..." Kaylee's voice trailed off as River's scream pierced the air. Simon flew off the couch and headed towards her room. Part of him noting with relief and concern that it had only been one scream this time.

"Mei-mei, hush, it's Ok, I'm here..." he whispered the usual comments to her as he took in the sight of her sitting there with her arms wrapped around her legs, rocking back and forth, sobbing. He sat on the edge of the bed and put his arms around her. He looked up at Kaylee's worried face and gave her a half shrug. He had no more idea what was wrong this time then he ever did.

It took him almost an hour to calm her down enough to fall back asleep. He wasn't sure he'd ever sleep again though. The only words he'd been able to make out between her sobs had been "poor Jayne". He felt more drained then ever before as he headed back out to the common area and Kaylee's healing presence.

"She doin' all right?" she asked, even after all these times she still asked him that when he returned from River's room.

He sighed and said wearily, "I think so...she had some kind of nightmare about Jayne...near as I can tell. She kept saying "poor Jayne" over and over." his brow creased as he continued. "I just don't know what to think anymore. She was so distraught over what ever it was...like something very bad is going to happen to him."

"Ya think she saw somethin' that hasn't happened yet?" Kaylee asked.

"Yes, actually, I do...if it was something happening right now I don't think I could have kept her in that room. Much less gotten her back to sleep." Simon did not want his sister to be a reader, or have any psychic abilities at all, but it was getting harder not to consider it. Kaylee scooted over and snuggled close. It constantly amazed him how she made everything feel better just by being there.

"What in the 'verse did I do to deserve you?" he asked her with a soft smile.

"Hmm...nothin'?" she giggled up at him. "but don't you worry none, I'll think up somethin' you can do to deserve me."

Yes, there was defiantly something about this place he was glad of. He just hoped that she knew how glad of her he was.


She crept quietly down the hall, Simon and Kaylee had just gone to bed. Simon's again tonight. She had lost so much time waiting for him to check on her one last time before he let himself be pulled completely under Kaylee's spell.

She was unsure what she was going to do when she reached Jayne, she just knew she needed to be near him. Comfort him. It was hopeless, she was too cold to give comfort, but she had to try. For Jayne's sake. She had promised. She just hoped he wouldn't fear and hate her again after this. She wasn't sure she would survive if he did.

She slipped up the stairs and headed for the crew quarters. Glad that the Captain was not roaming tonight. Quietly she unlocked the hatch to Jayne's bunk and slid down the ladder, pausing a moment to let her eyes adjust to the dim light. Then she moved stealthily towards him. Her eyes studied the pictures he had taped above his guns, were these his idea of beauty? They were very different from her, mostly blonde and all very buxom.

With a sigh she let her gaze drift down to his sleeping form. His face peaceful, she felt a pang at the knowledge that he would so soon lose that peace. And at her own words no less, perhaps she could wait till other's words reached him. Perhaps she did not need to be the bearer of this burden. The other words would get here soon enough, and it was certainly better for her not to be the one to speak them. Perhaps he would not understand anyway, perhaps they would come out so jumbled that he could not decipher them. Her visions usually did...but she knew better then to hope for that. Words tended to come out clearer when she was near him. And she had promised.

She climbed lightly onto him, straddling his slumbering body. Her hand moved over his heart. She could feel the heat of him under her fingertips. As her hand pressed against his chest she felt his heartbeat drumming against her palm. She closed her eyes, allowing herself a moment of time to enjoy just touching him. His heartbeat solid under her. His chest raising her hand up gently with each breath. She knew he was drifting up from sleep, his heartbeat and breathing shifting slightly as he slowly became aware of her presence.

She felt the threads between them, binding them. Threads that were attached with little hooks into each of them. The oldest was from when she had cut him, drawing blood, then the one from when he had hit her, also drawing blood. She wondered why it had taken so long to see the threads formed by that blood pact, they were clear now, in the dark...silvery threads. Each encounter between them, every confrontation after that, had added one more slim line from one hooking into the other. It reminded her of Rochester's words to Jane.

"Because I sometimes have a queer feeling with regard to you - especially when you are near me, as now; it is as if I had a string somewhere under my left ribs, tightly and inextricably knotted to a similar string situated in the corresponding quarter of your little frame. And if that boisterous channel, and two hundred miles or so of land come between us, I am afraid that cord of communion will be snapt; and then I've a nervous notion I should take to bleeding inwardly. As for you, - you'd forget me."##

The sound of her voice hovered in the air between them.

"River?" his voice was heavy with sleep, part of him sure he was dreaming.

Her fingertips floated up to his mouth. "shhh...it's all right..." they brushed lightly across his lips, feeling wonder at such softness being there.

She nearly cried out as her barest touch snapped the bonds of sleep and he became fully awake. The hand that had been lifting to caress her arm now closing over her flesh like a vise.

"What the ruttin' hell ya doin' in my bunk," he growled up at her, half rising up onto his other elbow. "ya ain't got no right ta be here."

Tears stung her eyes as his words cut into her. How could he deny what was between them so easily?

"I...I needed to see you...", her voice felt trapped inside her throat, "needed to tell you..."

"Tell me what?" his face suspicious. She gazed back in anguish, unable to get any more out.

"Spit it out girl, then git the hell out." his face was hard with anger now, and pain. She felt it in him, knew she was causing it. Suddenly aware that his harshness was because he was scared how much he wanted her to be here, scared of that brief flare of contentment when he'd first woken to her gentle touch. She clung to that knowledge and forced the words to come. Her hand moved back over his chest and fluttered there for a moment before pressing back over his heart.

"sorry...so sorry..." she whispered, "been an accident...she's gone away..." she felt the tears again as the pain of remembering engulfed her. "wanted me to tell you...she loves you..."

"What you babblin' about," he was looking at her with confusion and fear, "who loves me? What accident?"

"Mother..." she whimpered as the hand on her arm tightened, she felt the tiny blood vessels break under his fingers, "promised her I'd tell you...tell you she had to leave...hurt to much to stay...she loves you..."

She felt the shock move through him, wiping him clean of emotions. Desperately she wished he'd let go enough for her to wrap him in her arms. Before the pain hit. But he didn't, so all she could do was gaze back at him and keep her hand pressed to him. She hoped it was enough to keep his heart from breaking.

His mother was his tenderness. She had only been clinging to the broken thread of her life out of fear for Jayne. Afraid to leave him alone with no one to love him. Until River had been pulled to her, had seen the accident in all it's horror, had promised to let Jayne know she loved him, had promised she'd be there to comfort him, had promised he was not alone.

Only she was afraid that what was growing between her and Jayne would not survive this. It was too soon for it to be tested this way. She also knew that she had no choice but to do this for his Mother, she loved him to much not too. Even if it meant he would never come to love her. He needed her, needed to hear his mother's message. She could sense the shock wearing off and the pain and anger start to build, knew it was time to finish the promise. She felt her hand leave his chest and move up to cup his face.

This was the part she dreaded the most, but she braced herself and let the memories flood back into her mind. Gently she eased into his mind and released them...all the love of his mother flowing through her to him. It was all mixed in with the pain she had been under...but it still flowed clean and pure. River was not sure how many of the images he received, but she knew he perceived the emotions. He was starting to cry...overwhelmed.

She shifted off him as his finally let go of her arm, felt the stab of panic as he thought she was leaving. She guided his head down onto her shoulder as she lay next to him. Felt him curl into her side like a child. It struck her how odd they must look, the largest human mass on the ship curled up next to the smallest.

She held him gently, murmuring softly to him, as he cried himself back to sleep.

"do you remember how we held each other tight in sorrow...does it haunt you still?...and in a single raindrop I can see all our tomorrows....baby, can't you too?"# she heard herself singing the song that had been floating in her head since last night again...such a beautiful, sad melody.

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Title:  Delta Rain part 1
Series Name:  Delta Rain
Author:  Neroli   [email]
Details:  Series  |  PG-13  |  het  |  36k  |  03/25/04
Characters:  Jayne, River
Pairings:  River/Jayne
Summary:  Just a little romance for Jayne and River.