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
Birdy hopped from one foot to the other as Jayne strode over to her.
He was grinning, and she felt an answering smile tug at the corners of her lips as he grabbed her off of the floor and spun her in a circle. She beamed up at him, completely ignoring the dirt he was getting all over her. "It went well!" She would've clapped her hands in excitement, but she had both hands clutched in his shirt for balance.
He grinned down at her, the scar on his face twisting painfully. "Went great," he said. "And I got into a fight!" He bounced her in excitement.
Birdy giggled, short strands of hair falling into her eyes. "I would worry, but you are happy, so I am happy!"
"And I'm happy if you're happy."
"We're a big happiness circle!"
Jayne laughed out loud at that, and placed her gently back on her feet. "I think we can do this, Birdy-girl," he said. "I can work, here. No more mines or farming, and we won't have to keep an eye out for somebody looking for River. And Mal pays decent, and I bet if we waited a bit, we could get a bigger bunk." He dropped his battered hat on her head. "I think we can live here."
Birdy looked up at him, hat falling over her eyes and nose. She was still smiling, but it was a little hesitant. "No more looking over our shoulders?" She reached up to touch his bloody lip. "No more hiding and fear?"
Jayne pulled Birdy into his chest in a tight hug, hat toppling to the floor behind her. "No more, Ladybird," he said into her hair. "We can make a new home here."
"A home." She said softly. "Home is where the heart is. Home is where Jayne is."
"Home is where we both are, Birdy." Jayne looked intently into her eyes. "And this time, nobody can run us out of it. Not no one, you hear me?"
Birdy stood up on tiptoe to kiss him, a smile threatening to take over her face. "Good and permanent," she said in satisfaction.
He couldn't work all the time. His spells took a good bit out of him, and, at first, they came fast and often. But he was a good worker, so long as somebody didn't mind telling him a couple of times what he needed to get done, and the mines always needed strong bodies.
It was miserable work, but it was something he could do, no matter where they were living.
They had moved from town to town, from planet to planet for the first few months. Until they found a little place for them – it wasn’t much, just two little rooms and a kitchen shoved onto the side. But it was theirs and Birdy had found the remnants of a little garden behind it. She spent a good bit of time poking at the thin green shoots coming up, and you couldn't have found anyone prouder of a couple of undersize onions when she finally picked them.
Birdy was shy around him, still. She was a small shadow behind him, most of the time, which was good when strangers were around. It was a mite more irritating when he was trying to find her to tell her to stop leaving leaves and dirt all over the house.
It was hard to believe that River wasn’t there sometimes. You can’t help but get used to someone being there after the time the two of them had spent in the place. He'd hear her, sometimes, he thought, but then he’d turn and look, and it would be Birdy peeking around the corner or Birdy prattling on about some green thing she had found growing.
River had been dead four months, and both he and Birdy were still getting used to it.
They had just gotten around to cutting Birdy’s hair.
END PART 19