Summery: Ariel AU. Simon gets left behind.
This is, in fact, sort of a Rayne story. But not exactly. *innocent smile*
Massive thanks to michmak for the beta through part 16. Worship to magelette, who picked up at part 17.
Dedicated to literarylemming, without whom this would not exist. She is responsible for feeding the bunny. All credit (and blame for the crack) goes to her. Im just the messenger.
All parts found here: Wingtip Round Up Post
Jayne was on his feet and visibly armed two days later, a trifle paler, but not noticeably out of his mind.
And Mal was looking. Close.
The girl, whatever name she was going by, hovered nearby, half-hiding behind a pile of cargo. She alternated between worried looks at the big mercenary and suspicious glares at the captain.
It made for a refreshing change from the way she had been avoiding human contact. Or would have, except for the glaring that was giving him a headache.
Fortunately, the doc had been making himself scarce for the past couple of days. Hopefully, he would keep away for a while until he got good and calmed down about River being married to Jayne. Not to mention her not actually being River.
Mentally, he shook his head. Still didn’t make sense.
Simon had trapped Mal and Kaylee when Jayne and River first got on board, ranting about psychological trauma and selective amnesia. Which didn’t make a lot of sense to Mal, because if things were that bad, wouldn’t River have turned into someone else a long time ago?
But, they had a job to do today, and Mal had a mercenary who might go wooly any second. He had enough to worry on than trying to figure out if the girl was who she didn’t think she was.
Pity Zoë wasn’t up to going out anymore. He never felt quite right without her at his back. But lung shots were lung shots, and she wasn’t up to keeping him out of trouble from beside him. Nowadays, she took over the planning. Said she could at least limit his chances of getting shot if she was in charge.
Hopefully, she had taken Jayne’s fun new personality changes into the equation. Getting shot was no fun. Getting shot because your backup went crazy was just plain miserable.
Plus, then he’d have to shoot Jayne, and while he’d had thoughts in that direction in the past, he got a weird feeling whenever he thought about shooting this Jayne. This one actually acted somewhat human. Ish.
Kaylee seemed to be fond of whats-her-name, and they would both cry and pout and be very cranky if Mal actually shot him.
And the girl might kill him if he got her husband shot. And boy, wasn’t that a weird idea? Jayne being married. Happily married, even.
He took another look over at the big man, who was standing close to the girl as she whispered to him, big eyes shining.
Jayne was nodding and smiling faintly. He looked kinda amused as she tightened his gun belt and worried at his collar.
She shot Mal a stern look, and very clearly told Jayne not to get himself, or anyone else, shot.
Least someone was concerned about Mal getting shot at today.
And it wasn’t even anything more strenuous than a pick up. The details were worked out weeks ago by Zoë herself. All Jayne had to do was hold it together for a couple of hours, look intimidating and make sure they weren’t getting cheated out of their cargo.
Then the man could get back here and go crazy in his own bunk.
So long as he didn’t take a swing at what’s-her-name, they’d have no troubles.
If they could just get through this one stupid little job.
Birdy wrung her hands again as Jayne and the captain walked out of Serenity. Her small hands were clenched white as she ducked back into the shadows of the cargo bay to wait.
He would be fine. They would both be fine. She was worrying herself over nothing.
Jayne had slept the night through after finding his way back to her, and spent most of the next day slipping in and out of consciousness. When he came out, sometimes he thought she was River, sometimes he thought they were back home in their own cozy little house with her garden beside it.
But he hadn’t lost track of what day it was, and he knew he was dreaming. It just took him a minute to remember where they were. She had to help him, sometimes, whispering reminders and names. But he hadn’t gotten sick, the way he sometimes did after a spell as bad as that one.
She had kept her cheek pressed to his scarred face, waiting for the slightest flush of fever, but it never came.
He was going to be just fine.
And he was going to watch out for the captain, and do his job, and everything was going to work out just like they wanted. Like River would have wanted, if she were here.
When he came back, she would make him dinner, biscuits and soup, maybe, and they could celebrate. She would set the little table in their cabin, and put poor Theodore in the middle for a centerpiece.
His first successful job back on Serenity.
Birdy smiled, a little tremulously. Things would be fine now. The others would adjust to who Birdy and Jayne were now. They’d fit in, both of them, here on Serenity. No matter who people thought they should be.
END PART 17