Once things settled down and repairs to Serenity had been completed, Jayne finally had time to start wrapping his mind around the fact that River had killed a roomful of reavers while only getting a couple of scratches and a bruise or two that showed up two or three days after the fight had been over. Jayne didn’t normally spend a lot of time focusing his mind on anything but on cleaning his girls, but this whole situation required some reflection. It wasn’t often that you resign yourself to death, especially one as horrible as the way he was expecting to die, only to find you’ve been saved by a slip of a girl. He had seen how she fought in the Maidenhead. He’d felt how good she was with a knife back before Ariel, not that he liked to think on either incident. She had fought with a grace he found odd. He didn’t know that fighting could be so graceful. His fights, while not totally awkward, had never flowed quite as easily.
Jayne had noticed that River was spending time in the hold and it looked like fighting that she was doing. He wasn’t supposed to notice her, he didn’t think, but how could he avoid seeing her when he was exercising? He didn’t stare, he just occasionally observed after he finished his exercising. He would sit on his bench, taking deep breaths, and looked around the hold. When she came into his field of vision, he watched for a couple of minutes before going to the showers to get clean.
If Jayne had bothered to ask River would had told him that she was dancing for the first time in years, since they had started cutting her brain at The Academy. River had noticed that Jayne was watching her. While she was working on blocking out everyone’s thoughts, as much as she could, she still caught a lot more than she liked. She had, well heard is the best word she could come up with, heard Jayne thinking on her fighting technique. She had never given any thought to how her moves might look to someone else, she had just moved in an efficient manner for stopping her opponent. In fact, she hadn’t really given her moves much thought; she just knew where to punch next. She had also noticed that Kaylee sometimes sat on the staircase, watching her dance. She was considering asking Kaylee if she would like to learn how to do some simple dances.
The next time River decided to dance, she noticed Kaylee watching her again. She decided that it was the perfect opportunity to teach her best friend how to dance. She walked over to Kaylee and asked her if she was interested in doing more than watching River dancing. Kaylee nodded with a big smile lighting up her face. River patiently started showing Kaylee the moves to a waltz. Kaylee caught on quickly and River switched to teaching her how to do a simple jig.
Jayne had started toward the hold when he heard the sounds of laughter. He wondered what was causing it. As he got to the doorway, he saw Zoe standing on the cat walk, smiling like she had when Wash had been alive. Jayne figured that whatever was causing the laughter must be a good thing, if it got Zoe, who had been walking around in a funk since they buried the funny little man, to smile it had to be good.
When Jayne got to the cat walk, he looked down at the two girls dancing. He quickly turned around and called to Zoe over his shoulder, “I’ll be in my bunk.”
As he walked off, he missed hearing the confusion as River suddenly stopped and looked up toward the doorway in shock. Kaylee was wondering why her partner was no longer dancing, and Zoe was looking between the doorway and the girls in shock. Then, as quickly as River stopped, she shook off her own shock and asked Kaylee if she would mind stopping right now and picking this back up another day.
Kaylee, concerned for her friend, said, “Of course. We’ve got plenty of time for you to show me how to dance.”
River quickly responded with, “I’ll be in my bunk. I’ve got some things to think over.” She had heard what Jayne had said, both out loud and in his head, and felt the need to mull over it for a while. It wasn’t often that a girl heard that she might be worth getting spaced over.
Zoe sighed as she saw the fun breaking up. She had enjoyed herself for the first time in a few months and was sad to see it end. But she did wonder what exactly River had heard that caused her to stop and feel the need to stay stopped for a while. She shrugged and decided to check back in the hold more often to see when the next dance lesson happened. Since she had just been randomly walking past when she came across it this time, she felt it important to try to see more, as it cheered her up.
Kaylee stared after River for two minutes before deciding to go find her boyfriend, Simon, for some talk and some cuddling. She was glad she found someone who liked to cuddle, as she enjoyed getting some human touch. As she left the hold, she ran her hands over the sides of the ship, giving her a pat while she had Serenity on her mind.
This is a story I wrote a while back based off the TV show Firefly and its movie Serenity so any most references are to events in one of those. I do not own either, except as DVDs. I wrote this story out of a love for the show. I'm pretty sure this random bit of fluff came to me and demanded I write it at the time.
It is still one of my favorite things I've ever written. It makes me smile.