Disclaimers: Mutant Enemy and Joss Whedon own it all.
Reviews: Feedback very welcomed and appreciated
Timeline: Takes place during Safe, only this time Jayne gets snatched
Pairings: Jayne/ River, naturally; Zoe/ Wash
Rating: M for all the usual reasons
Jayne was fumin'. Maybe it was time to just pick up and get along, leave Serenity, he thought. He weren't fond of makin' ties with folk that weren't family and this little group he now rode with were always makin' with the guilt to make a man feel like he oughta care a little more. Well, that ain't me, he groused to himself. Now here he was, makin' like he cared. He finally caught sight of those damned Tams as they disappeared through a walkway. It was enough to make him pull out his gun and shoot the both of 'em and put 'em out of his misery.
The stupid girl had run off, her even stupider brother following her through a gorram alley of all places. Complaining under his breath, Jayne followed. The mercenary stopped short as he spotted them at a local event, a wedding or somthin', and there she was, fancy as you please, dancin' like she hadn't a care in the world and her hoe-tze duh pee-goo of a brother watchin', a stupid grin on his face with no idea of the danger these small moons held.
It weren't no uncommon thing for these backwoods folk to just take whatever they might want, includin' a young girl to widen the gene pool. Yup, he thought as he looked around, a few too many folk with their eyes a might too close together for his likin'. Gorramit! Jayne swore again, he was gettin' pretty fed up with babysittin' the doc and his feng le sister.
Jayne took a deep breath and headed towards Simon and River, who it seemed took that small amount of time to disappear from his sight. He turned trying to spot the girl again but instead saw the doc, two men behind him, throwing a hood over his head. Oh, this jus' got better 'n better.
"Wang bao dahn!" Jayne was just about to reach for his side arm when he felt a gun at his side. He looked over to see one of them back-water locals pushing a gun into his kidney while a second one held onto to River's arm.
"Found you." The feng le girl smiled up at him and shrugged as her eyes shifted down to her hands. Jayne followed her direction and notice she had moved the ring she wore on her right hand to her left. Picking up on her meaning, Jayne rolled his eyes and did the same as inconspicuously as possible. Didn't want to have to fight some rim-born cousin who decided to take her as his 2nd wife or somethin'.
"Looks like we have ourselves a couple a more guests to take home. The Patron's gonna be right pleased. A doc, the big man for labor and this one," he ran his hand over River's cheek, "she's just right for child-bearin'." He grinned.
Jayne grabbed for River and pulled her behind him. "Bun tyen-shung duh ee-dway-ro! Get your paws off m'wife!"
The man backed down. "Your wife? Sorry, didn't know, she's so young and...anyway, makes no never mind, we can use a married couple as well as not. Let's get goin' or your little lady here is gonna be widow. Now, put your hands behind your back."
Jayne debated on fighting the smaller man now or later, but with both River and Simon to deal with, he decided to bide his time. Mal better be giving him a bigger cut of the profits this time out.
River smiled up at him again. "Don't worry husband, all will be well." She held onto his arm and let the others lead them to her brother.
"You don't understand, my sister…" Simon was struggling to get away from his captures, using his chin to try and remove the hood.
"Your mei mei's right here doc." Jayne's voice held little affection for his 'brother-in-law'.
"Jayne? Jayne? Is that you?" He twisted his head in the direction on the mercenary's voice.
"Yeah, who else? Now, just calm down and maybe we'll be live through this, no thanks to you." Jayne sniped.
"Now, what's that supposed to mean?" Simon rankled.
"Okay now, you and your brother-in-law can get to the family feudin' once we get to the settlement. Right now, just keep your mouths shut!" The one holding onto Simon gave him a hard shove, pushing him to the ground. River ran towards her brother and knelt next to him.
"Brother-in-law?" Simon asked in confusion. "Wuh de tyen, ah."
"Oh Simon, no need to speak. Please. The way will be revealed." She helped him stand and removed his hood.
"Hey! What ya think ya doin'?" The younger one went to pull River away from her brother.
"Hey genius, a hurt doc ain't gonna do you much good. Can't doctor his self." Jayne eyed Simon to keep quit. "River, you come back over here and let your brother lead the way."
She looked over her shoulder at Jayne and nodded. "Husband needs me by his side, he might fall and they wouldn't pick him up."
Simon shook his head and looked from River to Jayne, purposeful stares meeting him. "This must be what if feels like to go mad."
"Yeah, maybe so doc. Just shut it and let's see where these here hospitable folk aim to take us." Jayne's steel-eyed gaze silenced Simon.
There was movement just above the tree line and all heads turned, just in time to see Serenity lift up, readying to break atmo. "That don't look good." Jayne whispered.
"Don't be troubled husband, the preacher needs a doctor but we have the only one." She smiled, a serene look on her face.
Jayne rolled his eyes for what felt like the hundredth time that day. "Whatever you say crazy." Damn, Book went and got his self shot, shoulda been Mal, at least they would've expected that, he thought.
The trek to the village took the better part of the day. River traipsing along, Jayne grousing at her to be careful and Simon's agitation and confusing growing with each step. As the group entered the settlement dusk was beginning to settle, but it didn't make the falling down shacks look any less sad. Townsfolk began to gather causing River to sink closer into Jayne's side, her hands worming their way around his waist as she hid her face in his shirt.
"It's okay little girl, they ain't gonna hurt you or Simon none. They's just country folk. Jus' don't go feng le on us, 'kay?" His voice soft, inwardly praying she didn't go ape shit.
The one called Stark spoke to the congregating villagers. "Look at what we got! It's a doctor! Got ourselves a doctor! A real doctor."
"And whose them others?" One of the women asked.
"The doc's sis and her husband. They was all t'gether so brought 'em all." Stark shrugged.
"Real shame, she's a pretty one. Woulda been real nice for m'boy Seth." The woman shook her head. "And he's a shwai one, he'd have his pick of our girls, alright." She smiled a gapped tooth grin.
River pulled away from Jayne and walked over to the older woman with a resolute stride neither Simon or Jayne expected.
"He's mine. You can look all you want, but if any of you," she turned to the assembled crowd, "try to touch I'll make you regret the day you were conceived." She went back to Jayne, who cocked his eyebrows at Simon and gave a lecherous grin.
"That's m'girl." He said with a bit of mock-pride.
"Alright then little girlie, no one's gonna try to take what's yourn, just talkin' is all." The older woman soothed.
"Enough already. Erin, you take the girl and her husband to the smithy's cottage. Make sure they have everything they need." Stark turned to the doctor. "I'll take the doc."
"Wait, my sister…" Simon was beginning to panic.
"I can take care of my wife doc. You just take care of what needs takin' care of 'fore they decide we ain't worth keepin'. Dong ma?" Jayne looked hard at Simon. Please you worthless piece of go se, know what I'm sayin', Jayne prayed.
"Yes, fine, of course. Just, we don't have her medication and…" Simon attempted to calm his voice.
"Oh Simon, she'll be fine with her zhang fu." She kissed her brother's cheek. "Don't worry." River turned and went to Jayne, looking at one of the men that brought them into town. "We've arrived at your destination, do you think you could untie his hands?"
He stared down at the young woman, his imagination running a little wild at her smooth pale skin. "What? Huh?" He turned to Stark.
"Untie him Caleb. And keep your eyes off the girl. The husband looks big enough and strong enough to pull 'em from your sockets." Stark turned back to the doctor. "This way."
Simon kept his eyes on his sister as long as he could, a warning glare from Jayne making him finally turn away. Stark led the young man to a small building, once inside Simon waited for his eyes to adjust to the darkness.
The other man shifted uncomfortably. "Don't figure it's near as fancy as what you're used to, but it's all we got."
Simon looked around at the people in the room, all thin, all haggard. "Is this my prison?"
Stark shook his head, a bit confused. "T'aint a prison, this here's our sick house."
hoe-tze duh pee-goo: monkey's ass crack
feng le: crazy
Wang bao dahn!: dirty bastards sons of bitches
Bun tyen-shung duh ee-dway-ro: Stupid inbred pile of flesh
Mei mei: little sister
Wuh de tyen ah: Dear God in heaven