Summery: Never bet your pride against your better sense. Or, how Jayne learned to tango.
For literarylemming. *smoochies*
“The man is over thinking!” River’s voice rang out through the cargo bay.
“Am not!” Jayne argued. “This takes thinking! It’s hard!”
“Is not!” River spun in place. “Feeling, moving, flowing with the River, not against!”
“Why I gotta learn this, anyway?” Jayne complained.
“Cause you lost. Man should not bet against a psychic,” River told him smugly.
“Yeah, yeah,” he grumbled. “Don’t remind me.”
“Was your idea.”
“I said, don’t remind me.”
The night had started pretty normal, for nights stuck out in the black with nobody to bother but each other. Simon and Kaylee hadn’t come up for air in a day and a half, and Mal was off sulking somewhere after Inara threw him out of her shuttle. Zoë and Wash were busy desecrating the cockpit.
Which left a mercenary with attention deficit disorder, and a crazy girl with entirely too much imagination to keep themselves occupied.
Jayne cleaned all his guns. And then all his knives. And then the guns that didn’t actually belong to him.
And River…hovered. Watching him.
Made him twitchy.
So, he opened his big mouth, and told her she should leave him the hell alone, and go find some game to play.
River was very good at games.
The one she decided to play involved jumping out at Jayne from all over the place. The cabinets, the table, the ceiling. His bed. The shower.
He very nearly dropped his towel and gave her a bit more of an eyeful than he meant to that time.
Jayne finally ordered a halt to that game after he screamed like a girl when she dropped off the catwalk onto his back.
So, she told him he had to come up with a new game, or she would go back to her old ones.
And seeing as her old games involved bedeviling Jayne in as many ways as possible, he willingly took on the challenge.
He taught her how to play Egyptian Rat Fuck.
It ain’t a hard game, but you gotta be quick. He won the first couple of hands, and got a little bit for his britches. He bet her he was gonna win the next five hands within two minutes. Or else.
When she tacked on the Or Else, he looked a little suspicious, but he was on a roll.
He lost the last game with seconds to spare, and now here they were.
In the cargo bay.
Or, trying to dance, rather. River was bound and determined to teach him how to tango. The way she looked at him while they went through the steps he was finding all sorts of distracting, which might explain why he kept doing it wrong.
“Gorramit, girl!” He growled. “Stop watching me like that.”
“Like what?” She blinked big innocent eyes at him.
“Like,” he staggered as she shifted her weight. “Well, hell, at least stop leading!”
“He doesn’t know the steps,” she scolded him. “Cannot lead without steps.”
“I do know how to dance, you know.” Jayne scowled down at the girl in his arms. “We had dances growing up, and my momma taught me how to waltz when I was little.”
River froze in the middle of Jayne’s mutter of “T-A-N-G-O,” nearly knocking him over.
“What the hell, girl?”
She smiled up at him.
“What?” Jayne tried to back up a step, but she weren’t letting go.
Jayne blinked. “Yeah, I guess so. I mean, it’s been a while. And I’d probably step on you some.”
“Easy fix.” With that, River shook out her arms, and stepped up onto his boots.
He gawked at her.
She laid her head on his chest and said, “Waltz with her.”
“There ain’t no music,” he protested softly into her hair.
He felt her smile into his shoulder. “Yes, there is.”