Series: Fun and Games #3
Summery: All tangled up
Fun and Games #1: Tall Card
Fun and Games #2: Puzzle Pieces
Jayne was in the middle of a hard set when he heard her light step on the walk above him. Internally, he rolled his eyes. Well, he tried, anyway. But his mouth seemed determined to ignore him and smile at the sound, instead.
He scowled determinedly at the underside of the weight bar. He wasn’t going to turn and welcome her, and he sure as hell wasn’t going to ask her what she was up to.
‘Cause he didn’t care.
A muffled giggle was his only response to that thought, and he stuck his tongue out at her, even though he couldn’t see her. It was dumb, but it made him feel a little better.
He continued lifting, monitoring where she was by her little noises. Sniffs and giggles and the rustle of her dress preceded her as she wandered down the stairs, and sometimes, a whispered conversation reached his ears. Knowing her, she could be talking to the ship, the air, or herself, but he was betting that it was Turtle.
Jayne grimaced. She even had him referring to the thing by name.
She carted that big ol’ thing all over the ship everywhere she went. And he meant everywhere. Including in all of her hidey holes. Which meant that they had found at least three of them with poor Turtle stuck halfway out of a vent and the girl swearing and using words he had no idea where she learned.
The third time, he walked in on her giving the thing a lecture on not following her into small places.
But the whole ship had gotten used to her talking to it and listening to it like it talked back. And hell, maybe it did. Who knows?
He groaned. Anytime she came talking to him with that tone in her voice, it was nothing but bad news. If he looked up, she’d probably be batting her eyelashes and looking all innocent and helpless and cute and stuff. The last time she talked like that, he ended up stuck halfway under her bed, trying to convince a spider to move into another room. She refused to let him kill it, and he had to carry the gorram thing into the hallway.
Her brother had walked in, seen Jayne in his mei mei’s room, and turned around and walked right back out, muttering under his breath.
“Jayne?” Her voice had taken on a little bit of a whine. He really didn’t want to know. He grunted though, to let her know he wasn’t completely ignoring her. Maybe if he didn’t look up, he wouldn’t get talked into nothing ridiculous.
“Jayne, I need you.” He could feel her giving him those big eyes of hers. Just feel it. It made him all kinds of itchy.
He dropped the bar back into the cradle, and looked up to see her leaning over him. Her hair fell down over his face and she had a hopeful little smile turning up her mouth.
He spit some of her hair out of his mouth and tried to glare. His brain and his body had turned against him at some point the last couple of months where she was concerned. He smiled when he was supposed to scowl. He found himself looking for her when he should be taking care of his guns.
He chased away spiders and made her tea and let her follow him all over with that squishy turtle. And for some reason, he really didn’t mind any of it.
Her smile got bigger, and he just knew she had picked some of that up out of his head.
New plan. No thinking around the crazy girl.
“It won’t work!” she said gleefully. “You think loud!” She patted him on the cheek sympathetically. She cocked her head, hair brushing over his lips teasingly. “She promises not to listen except when it’s about her?”
Yeah, like it ever wasn’t about her anymore. He glowered in annoyance. “What the hell do you need, girl?”
“Need your help!” She pouted at him, which looked all kinds of funny upside down.
“With what?” He folded his arms behind his head and tried to look bored.
She leaned closer, bending over the bar so far she very nearly touched him, like she wanted to tell him a secret. His stomach jumped when she did it, ‘cause it put her lips real close to his, and that just..weren’t right. Or something. Whatever, it made him squirm on the inside.
She put her lips right up to his ear and whispered, “Turtle does not have opposable thumbs.” She looked very sad about it, too.
She rolled her eyes and mimed taking a bite out of his ear. “Turtle does not have opposable thumbs, so he cannot play with me.”
“I don’t think any turtles have thumbs, girl.”
“Jayne has thumbs!”
He couldn’t help it. He leered, “I gotta lot of other things ‘side thumbs, too.”
She raised an eyebrow curiously. “She knows. She has seen you shower.”
“WHAT?!” He sat straight up, nearly braining himself on the weight bar and her forehead, sputtering and red faced.
Girl had collapsed to the floor she was laughing so hard. “Jokes and japes!”
“That ain’t funny!” He wasn’t about to admit that she had darn near made him blush, and he fought to get himself back under control as her snickers died off.
She buried her face in Turtle’s back and leaned up against the weight bench beside his knee. “Will you help her?”
He sighed. If he said no, she’d give him those eyes combined with that pleading tone of voice, and he’d end up doing whatever it was anyway. If he gave in now, he’d still end up doing something humiliating, but at least it would be over sooner.
She beamed up at him. She had an uncanny sense of when he was about to give in to whatever dumb idea she had that day. ‘Course, most of her senses were uncanny.
She climbed up beside him on the weight bench, using his leg as a ladder to hoist herself up. And then she tugged a hank of yarn out of her pocket.
“Girl, you ain’t taken up knitting or nothing, have you?”
“I could make you a new hat!” She offered, eyes suddenly gone wide with excitement. “Could do it, with your hat as a pattern!”
“You ain’t touching my hat!” Jayne clutched at his head protectively, even though the hat his Ma had made was safe in his bunk.
Girl clucked at him, untangling the string quickly and looping her fingers through it. She looked at him expectantly.
She just gave him a look.
She sighed, a long suffering sound. “Cat’s Cradle,” she explained slowly. “Game of string needing two people.”
He looked down at her little hands holding out a handful of purple string to him. “What’s the point?” He held his hands out grudgingly.
A smile crept over her face. She looked up at him from under her eyelashes, which was almost worse than the big eyed look. “To get all tangled up together.”