Summery: Third in the Carnival series, follows Cotton Candy and Ring Toss.
Jayne and River go for a ride.
The crazy girl was pouting.
He could see it outta the corner of his eye.
That little lip was sticking out, and she had both arms wrapped tight round that damn turtle, and she was dragging her feet.
And every couple of seconds, she glance over with those big eyes.
He was trying real hard to ignore the eyes.
But the last time she looked over, her eyes was all shiny.
He didn't care, a course. Not in the slightest.
But she had her head tucked down into that turtle, so he couldn't see her face.
And then she made a noise.
Just a little noise, really. He could barely hear it over the noise of the crowd.
He stopped dead in his tracks, studying her with alarm.
She stopped too, but she didn't look up.
And then came that little noise again.
A little, snuffly noise. Like some girl trying to cry real quiet like.
Jayne panicked. In a big, tough, manly way, of course.
He reached out and grabbed her elbow and pulled her to him.
"Girl?" That weren't concern in his voice, either. It was..well, it weren't concern.
She sniffled again, but didn't lift her head from the top of Turtle.
"Aw, come on, girl," he said uncomfortably. Her arm in his hand felt way too little and fragile with her shoulders shaking like that. "Come on, girl, look up at me."
She glanced up through all her hair, and he got a good look at those eyes.
Those eyes a hers should be illegal. Cause they were making him feel all kinds of uncomfortable. And as he was looking, he saw a tear well up and spill over.
And that just weren't fair.
Hitting and screaming and crazy fits over a turtle he could handle. But he just weren't meant to deal with crying girls. It made him feel all kinds of helpless, and that weren't a feeling he liked much.
So, really, everything that was spilling outta his mouth right now should not be his fault.
"No crying now, girl. Wanna go play another game? I can getcha some more cotton candy?" He was wheedling, and he knew it. But those big eyes all filled with tears just..did things to his innerds.
Maybe he had been poisoned, like he thought earlier.
If he could find the damn doc, he could get his innerds seen too, and get the crying girl handed off.
The crying girl who had somehow wormed her way under his arm at some point and was now crying into his armpit.
He blinked down at her as she shifted the turtle into one arm and clung to him with the other. Her little hand crept round his waist and tightened in the shirt at his hip.
"Not poison," she sniffled. "Getting washed away by the River."
"Yeah, well, the River is getting my good shirt wet," he told the top of her head, which was about all he could see.
"Good?! Girl, this is the only good shirt I got!"
She sniffled again, and wiped her nose acrost his chest.
He tried to ignore that.
"Boy's fault girl is crying!" Her voice was muffled, but she rested her chin on his chest to glare up at him.
He looked away, trying to avoid the eyes she was giving him.
Really, he needed to talk to Mal and see if the Captain could order her to never use 'em on him again. Ever.
"Ain't my fault," he told the air above her head. "I didn't wanna be here with ya, anyway."
There was absolute silence from the little bitty girl pressed up against him.
And then, when he was rethinking what he just said, cause it came out all wrong, and thinking she was gonna go crying again, sharp little nails dug into his hip.
And then she bit him, for good measure. Right on his shoulder. Or as much of his shoulder as she could reach anyway.
"Ow! Gorramit, girl!" He swore, trying to shove her away.
"Mean!" And she was glaring up at him from where she clung to his side. "Dates should be nice! Dates should take girls on rides, and buy them candy and win them prizes!"
"Alright, one, I still ain't your date. Two, you got that squishy turtle right there that I won ya."
She quirked an eyebrow, and he could swear she was tapping her foot. And that combined with the fact he accidently looked down and saw those eyes forced the next words outta his mouth.
"Alright, maybe I was mean." He scowled. "I guess I can take ya on a ride, 'fore we keep looking for your brother."
"Simon is floating on a cloud, and will not land until tomorrow."
"He finally kissed Kaylee. They are riding the Tunnel Of Love for the third time."
"Did he get her nekkid?"
"Skirts are obliging."
"So," he asked. "You planning on moving anytime soon?"
She was still leaning up against him, and had worked her hand under his shirt at some point. Probably when she clawed him.
He was trying real hard not to think about that soft little hand on his hip.
"Not til he fixes it."
"She leaked, and its all his fault." Just for good measure, she sniffled again.
"Oh." He studied the top of her head. "Well, how do I fix it?"
"He must return her gesture." Her hand tightened a little on his hip, and for a second, his mind went a couple of bad places.
But this was the crazy girl, and there was to be no sexing of the crazy girl.
So that meant that the gesture she wanted was..a hug?
She nodded against his bicep, which was all kinds of unnerving, but whatever. A hug. He could do that.
'Course, the last girl he had hugged had been a whore, and he was grabbing her ass. But he could do this. Really.
He spread his arms a little, trying to reach around girl and turtle, and, making sure his hands weren't wandering, gave her a brief squeeze round the middle.
She shifted, tugging the turtle in tighter, and wormed both arms further around him. And she weren't letting go.
So, he pulled her in a little closer, and did a better job of it, this time letting his head come down far enough that he could smell her hair.
It weren't uncomfortable, really, and she still hadn't let go of him, so he held on too. Waiting on her.
And he was alright there for a little bit, but then a lady walking by with her brat dropped the kid's ice cream, and the scream from that throat made Jayne jump back, nearly knocking over the kid, hisself, and the crazy girl.
At least she weren't crying no more.
Matter a fact, she was beaming up at him again, and had grabbed his hand and was dragging him down to the carousel.
"Let's ride the merry go round!" She enthused. "The horses are inaccurate representations, and the sea horses are an impossible size, but if you grab the ring, you get to go around again."
"The merry go round?" He complained as he paid. "That's a little kids ride!"
She just shoved Turtle in his arms and ran around to each horse, petting them and talking at 'em.
She was cooing at a bright purple and blue horse that was posed like he was prancing when Jayne tossed the turtle up on one horse, grabbed her round the waist, and settled her on the damn thing.
She leaned down to him and whispered, "He says his name is Moonlight, but I think it should be Jacob." She offered her hand down to him. "Would you like to ride with us? We will gallop amongst the stars and the suns and burn up into little pieces." She blinked innocently.
"Uh, no." Jayne shifted uncomfortably. He was trying to keep one hand on the turtle to keep it from slipping off the horse he had propped it on. He grabbed her hand and put it on the reigns. "You just hold on, girl, ok? I don't wantcha falling off."
She smiled down at him, her hair falling down round her shoulders as she leaned over. "I will need an anchor."
"Uh. Right." Hesitantly, he put his other hand on her leg. "That enough of an anchor for ya?"
She got the ring on the first try.
Back: Ring Toss
Nect: Toy Boats