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River Tam
Story Title: Pitter Patter
Chapter Title: A Breakfast of Pistols and Truth
Fandom: Firefly
Story: Pitter Patter
Story Part: 3 of 4
Author: truthmaker
Characters: Whole Crew
Pairings: Rayne, Mal/Inara, Simon/Kaylee
Rating: PG
Setting: Post BDM
Word Count: 1650
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em and couldn’t afford ‘em if I wanted to.
Beta: night_lotus
Summary: The morning after the night before. Secrets will be told, truths revealed, and there'll be a bit of gun-play.

Part 1: No Pitter Patter of Little Feet
Part 2: A Night of Revelations

This verse also contains a oneshot prequel Dance With Me but it is not essential for this story.



He’d stared down the barrel of a gun on more than one occasion. He usually preferred to be on the other end but this wasn’t his first time lookin’ into that dark ring. It was strange, at a time like this, when any breath could be your last, how shallow each breath becomes. Times like this called for no sudden moves, man behind that trigger finger wanted to know he had your undivided attention. There was no question he did.

“Jayne, what are your intentions with my little albatross?”

Yeah, Jayne thought, swallowing slowly. This was going well.

***

Earlier…

It was the chill that woke him. The lack of her presence left him feeling cold and alone. It weren't the first time and he doubted it would be the last. She had to leave and there was nothing they could do about it. If Simon checked on her and found the bed empty there would be hell to pay. Still, it didn't sit right, wakin' up alone. His attempt at a lustful sigh was interrupted by soft lips pressing lightly against his own.

“Mornin’ beautiful.” Jayne murmured, finally opening his eyes and smiling at the sight before him.

River matched his grin as her head disappeared into the material of her dress. Her grin disappeared as she paused and turned to the bunk still supporting Jayne, concern now drowning her features. "The captain is angry. Truths were revealed. Inara's pride will be struck a killing blow. We must provide an alternate target." Her face broke into a wide smile as she continued, "It is time."

Jayne rose slowly before reaching over to help zip up her dress. “Time? What for?” he asked, trying to keep emotion from clouding his words.

“It is the day of revelations. Truths to be told, secrets revealed.” She cocked her head at him before adding, “We really should be together for this.”

Jayne hoped his smile reached his eyes. This was a day he’d waited for, hoped for and still it was a day he feared.

She looked almost sad as she spoke, “I understand. My Jayne is afraid; afraid of brothers and captains and airlocks.”

He nodded once, unable to put voice to his fears.

Her expression changed, becoming resolute as she continued. “Worry not, ai ren, I will protect you.”

***

Zoe arrived in the mess hall early that morning only to find Kaylee and Inara already seated, talking quietly between them and both looking the worse for wear. Zoe barely paused to splash some tea in a cup before taking a seat across from them. “We got trouble,” the former soldier announced as soon as she had their attention.

“I know,” Kaylee spoke, concern drowning the usual cheer in her voice. “Inara was just tellin’ me about what happened with Mal. And she…” The mechanic’s words withered under Zoe’s somber gaze. “But that’s not what yer talkin’ about is it…”

Zoe took a deep breath before answering. “River’s Pregnant.”

Silence met her announcement. Finally Inara asked, “How do you know? Did she tell you?”

“Not in so many words,” The first officer replied. “I found her on the bridge last night talkin’ about a baby. How it was cryin’ and how it was gonna be here soon.”

“Oh go se,” Inara cursed. “When Mal finds out…”

“Or Simon,” Kaylee interjected.

“Their little family is gonna start out short one parent,” Zoe finished.

Again, silence reigned in the hall. This time it was broken by Kaylee. “So, what we gonna do?”

“This doesn’t get out,” Zoe stated firmly. “No one else needs to know.”

“Needs to know about what?” The captain asked as he entered the mess hall.

The three women looked at each other; finally Kaylee answered. “Nothin’ Cap’n.” Then as an afterthought she added, “It’s a surprise.”

Mal’s features took on a somber cast at her words. “A surprise?” His eyes fell on Inara as he continued. “Don’t know if I can take another of those today.”

Inara’s gaze remained firmly planted on the table; she refused to meet his eyes or his challenge.

Eventually, Mal turned his attention to preparing the morning meal. Frying pan in hand, he addressed his crew. “Kaylee, go fetch the doc and his sister. Zoe, see that Jayne is awake. We’ve got a long day ahead of us, best get started.”

The three women exchanged glances before Kayee and Zoe departed with their assigned tasks. Inara began to rise before being again subject to Mal’s stern gaze.

“Where do you think you’re going?” he asked with calm fury in his voice.

“I thought I would help you with breakfast,” Inara answered, her own practiced calm beginning to fragment at the edges.

“I think you’ve done enough today,” was his only reply.

Zoe returned a few minutes later. “I knocked on Jayne’s bunk. He seemed to be movin’ around.”

The captain and first mate set the table. As the last of the food was placed, Simon and Kaylee arrived from below deck.

“I found Simon,” she stated, obviously. “But, River wasn’t in her room. Maybe she…”

Mal looked up when Kaylee’s words cut off; he followed her gaze across the room. There at the crew entrance stood River. At her side stood Jayne, his hired gun; their hands joined is a way that looked all kinds of intimate. The gun appeared in Mal’s hand quicker than you could blink; the hammer cocked and muzzle drawing a shadow right between Jayne’s eyes.

“Jayne,” Mal spoke, his words slow and menacing. “What are your intentions with my little albatross?”

Mal wasn’t sure who spoke first. It might have been Simon, demanding the man-ape unhand his sister. It could have been Inara, imploring that he put the gun down. It might even have been little Kaylee, begging everyone to calm down. Zoe, though, remained silent. Well, Zoe, River and his target.

Bi Zui!” Mal shouted, bringing his requested silence to the room. “Now I’ll ask you again, Jayne. What are your intentions with my pilot?”

Jayne wondered if he could spare a glance a River. She was mighty good at using words in times like this, but the business end of Mal’s weapon was a powerful draw on his attention. Jayne took a deep breath and spoke, praying to whatever god there may be that the truth would set him free. “I love her Mal.”

“You given any thought to what I’d do when I found out?” Mal asked, pistol still pointed square between his gun hand’s eyes.

Jayne gave a slight nod, not daring to break eye contact.

“You just keep thinking on that,” Mal said with menace clear in his voice. He lowered his gun, holstering it as he continued. “I find out you hurt her, in any way; I’ll make those dreams come true.”

“What?!” Simon’s indignant shout filled the small space. “Captain, you can’t be letting him go? That man-ape and… What he’s forced River to do…”

The captain ignored Simon and took his place at the head of the table as he addressed his crew. “Best eat up, ‘fore it gets cold.”

Simon would not be deterred. He crossed the room to confront the new couple, or at least the portion there of which he was related to.

“River, what has he done to you?” Simon asked and then followed up his own question before she could answer. “Have you used protection? Do you know what kind of diseases…”

“Their relationship has not been consummated, Simon,” River answered cutting her brother’s diatribe short, but refusing to meet his eye. “Agreement has been reached; we will wait until she reaches her eighteenth year.”

Mei mei, you can’t trust him to keep his word. No matter what he’s promised you he’ll…”

Simon’s tirade was interrupted by mumbled words from River.

“What was that?” Simon asked.

“Was not her choice. His is not the promise being kept.”

As the weight and meaning of her words sunk in, several sets of eyes tuned to Jayne, who was busy filling his and River’s plates.

“Jayne?” Mal asked.

“Yeah, Mal?” Jayne answered between spoonfuls.

“Care to comment on River’s little revelation?” Mal inquired.

Jayne paused, placing his spoon back on his plate. He seemed deep in thought for a moment before speaking. “You talking about the sex thing?”

Mal glanced to Inara, looking for support. She reached out, taking his hand and giving it a gentle squeeze. With her support, he tried again. “Yeah, Jayne, about that.”

“On Fremont, where I’m from,” Jayne began, “age of consent is 18. Now, I don’t know how young they marry off girls in the core, but if’n my ma found out I was sexin’ a woman ‘fore she was old enough... No offense, Mal, but she scares me a hell of a lot more than you do.”

Jayne thought for a moment, reviewing what he’d said before adding, “’sides, it ain’t right. Girl should be a woman before she decides who to share that with.” He turned to River before adding, “That make sense?”

“Perfect sense,” River replied, answering his question with her brightest smile.

Jayne met her smile with a goofy grin of his own before returning his attention to his plate. When the others did not join him in eating, he added, “Mal’s right, better eat up ‘fore it gets cold.”

Inara was two mouthfuls into her meal before she realized what was still nagging her about the morning’s revelations. “River dear?” she asked. “If you and Jayne haven’t… Well… Then how can you be with child?”

All attempts at eating again stopped. Mal’s hand began a slow journey toward his hip.

River looked up from her plate. The confusion was evident in her expression as she met Inara’s eyes.

“I’m not pregnant,” River stated, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.

“Oh... go se.”


Part 4: Bedtime is for Bargaining

Comments

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
goddessofbirth
Nov. 13th, 2011 03:54 am (UTC)
Uh oh!! Well, I know who it is, since I got the peek, but still all kinds of stressful! And I do enjoy fics where Jayne is trying to be the good guy and River's making it as hard for him as possible;)
truthmaker
Nov. 13th, 2011 02:43 pm (UTC)
I like the idea of Jayne having morals. They may not be the standard morals, but he's got a set just the same.
cedelede
Nov. 13th, 2011 03:56 am (UTC)
Heh heh. Pregnancy tests for everyone! Well, you know what I mean.

And I kind of just love Jayne to pieces in this chapter.
truthmaker
Nov. 13th, 2011 02:44 pm (UTC)
Fear not, the truth will be revealed (before the end of the fic).
night_lotus
Nov. 13th, 2011 04:37 am (UTC)
A big ole "awwwww" for Jayne taking the high road and being all noble and such.

As I told you before, while it's certainly tense, I enjoy the underlying thread of family that runs throughout this chapter.

I can't wait to find out who's pregnant, although I have my theories. Nicely done. :-)
truthmaker
Nov. 14th, 2011 12:02 am (UTC)
Jayne can be awesome like that :-)

Should hopefully have the last part (where all is revealed) done tonight. Then I can get it posted as soon as it is edited/betaed.
mieystrapurore
Nov. 13th, 2011 08:33 am (UTC)
Aww! I read the first of this series a while back and I was hoping that you'd finish it! Thanks for the read! Jayne was pleasantly noble in this =)
truthmaker
Nov. 13th, 2011 02:46 pm (UTC)
pleasantly noble...

I like that.

And yes, it will be finished. Getting through the mess hall scene was what had me stumped.
sunshineali
Nov. 13th, 2011 08:38 am (UTC)
Poor Jayne, always having to fear Mal. I'm glad he got to explain himself and loved the confusion with River. Can't wait to see what happens next.
truthmaker
Nov. 13th, 2011 02:47 pm (UTC)
Next update should be soon.

Well sooner than 12 months anyway.
scarfman
Nov. 13th, 2011 03:42 pm (UTC)

Looks to me like you're writing the prequel to my last Firefly story.

truthmaker
Nov. 13th, 2011 07:05 pm (UTC)
Well considering you posted that this spring and I wrote the first two parts of this in October 2010, I would think it more likely you're writing a sequel to this story. :)
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )