Summery: Never let River and Jayne ride in the backseat. Ever.
*snickers* this just..came to me, while i was coming home from work. *cackles* you might want to take that as a warning.
Set during the mule ride at the beginning of the movie, in case that isnt clear.
Mal was working hard on ignoring the hissed threats from the back seat.
"Not doing anything."
Really, really hard. This had been going on for the better part of ten minutes.
"I'm serious, cut it out!"
He was going to kill them both. Which would both thrill and piss off the doctor. Plus, both of them were needed today. Yelling is better than killing, and still leaves them both functioning. Made sense to him. "Jayne, what the hell is going on back there?"
"She won't stop staring at me, Captain!" Jayne glared at the girl sitting across from him.
River blinked her goggled eyes innocently. "Not doing anything," she insisted. "Just watching."
Jayne kept trying to scoot over further away from her. "What the hell are you watching then?"
River gave him a beautiful smile, leaned forward, and said, "Your nose flares when you are angry."
Jayne's mouth dropped open in outrage. "At least I don't have holes in my brain!"
"Hey!" Mal said, sharply. "Knock it off!"
It didn't work.
"Even with holes, still lots smarter than you," River mocked. "You have the brain of a protein pack."
Jayne swore. Creatively. Mal made a note of some new word combinations.
And then, things got ugly.
River's voice was the one that rose this time. "Move!"
"Now what?" Mal called irritably. He was currently resisting the urge to turn around and smack Jayne, and settled for glaring at Zoe, who seemed to not be noticing any of the chaos in the backseat.
"On my side!" River shoved hard against Jayne's leg, which was currently slung over the midpoint of the seat.
"I'm not touching you," Jayne insisted. "And my leg is in the middle. Which ain't yours."
"The seat is 1.875 meters wide, which means the midpoint is 0.94 meters, which is here" She stabbed downwards with her fingers, right below his kneecap.
"Ow! Mal, she's hitting me!" Jayne grabbed for her hands, but missed.
Mal put his head down into his hands. "You're a big boy. You'll be fine."
River now had both of her bare feet jammed up against Jayne's thigh and was straining to move him.
Jayne just smirked at her when she glared.
"MOVE!" She shouted. "Midpoint! Divisions! Equal shares!"
"No." Jayne crossed his arms over his chest.
And then, with a move approaching suicide, as the girl in the back seat was both furious and not known for her mental stability, Jayne deliberatly resettled himself on the seat. Taking over another several inches of the backseat.
River, with her feet still braced against Jayne's leg, squeeked in anger. She kicked out at him, feet connecting solidly with his side.
Mal was reciting all of the new parts Kaylee insisted she needed for Serenity. In alphabetical order. Backwards.
Jayne actually managed to grab her feet this time, and had them both tucked under one arm as he tried to keep her from kicking again.
And then, all hell broke loose.
Mal didn't even have to turn around to know what expression was on the mercenary's face. Mal was pretty sure it was the look Jayne gave people right before mopping the floor with them in a fight.
In a husky, almost innocent voice, he asked, "You ticklish?" Jayne ran a finger down the bottom of one bare foot.
River shrieked and kicked and wiggled until she nearly fell off the seat.
Jayne's face lit up with an unholy grin. "I'll take that as a yes!" He launched an assault on the bottom of the girl's feet.
"Laughter is a body's natural response to tickling! Was considered one of old Earth's worst tortures!" She gasped out between shrieks of laughter and anger.
"Oh, so, you like it then?" Jayne was panting too. It was hard to tickle someone's feet and keep from getting kicked in the face at the same time.
"No!" She kicked her feet free for a moment, but Jayne was very fast when he wanted to be. "If girl wets pants, Jayne will do laundry!"
"If girl wets pants, Jayne is gonna laugh!"
Somehow, River had wiggled herself halfway into Jayne's lap by now, and he was laughing too hard to move her. He had one foot firmly in his left hand, and everytime he got his right hand anywhere near her foot, she would kick and shriek.
He had yet to notice that with her almost in his lap, she could very easily reach him.
And she happened to know that if someone was ticklish, the best place to attack was generally their stomach.
As she crocked her fingers into the flesh of his stomach, he yelped, and tried to throw her off.
"Hey! That's cheating!"
Mal proceeded to try and list every single control in the cockpit. In order of what needed to be done to open the airlock while someone, or two someones, were in it.
By this point, both of the people in the backseat were laughing too hard to do anything more than feint at each other. They were also sprawled over the entire back seat.
Mal was getting a headache. And a death wish.
"Children." Zoe's voice was very serene. "If you do not calm down, I will turn this mule around and dump you both off a cliff."
Mal stared at her in irritation as the noise level in the backseat faded to the occansional snicker.
River and Jayne tried to untangle themselves, with River using every opportunity to drive an elbow or a knee into tender parts of Jayne's anatomy.
"Back to your own 0.94 meters," she told him sternly.
"Well, then get off my leg so I can move it!"
"On my side, so property belongs to girl!"
"That's not property, girl, thats my leg!"
Mal put his head in his hands.
"Mal, she's touching me!"