toxic_corn: Summer Glau is pretty. (FF: rayne: words divide us)
[personal profile] toxic_corn
Title: Back in the Day
Author: toxic_corn
Pairing: River/Jayne
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: Everything is Joss's. Not mine.
Summary: [livejournal.com profile] sunshineali wanted River and Jayne to spend the night at the Tam House. This may not be what she had in mind...
Notes: Written for [livejournal.com profile] sunshineali at my Rayne request post.


It’d gone bad. Ai ya it’d gone bad. Jayne could feel the bullet in his thigh, where it’d ripped through tissue and muscle and probably other stuff that probably shouldn’t ever be ripped ever Not unless you wanted to be in a world of hurt like he was in now. And it probably weren’t good that his eyes were going out on him. Blearily, he looked around him as he stumbled through the rich fancy neighborhood he’d gone into about an hour ago. The man was probably out after him now. Gorram it all, this was supposed to be an easy job.


The old codger wasn’t supposed to be sitting there waiting for them with a shotgun.


Jayne stumbled to a halt and checked his thigh. He’d wrapped part of his sleeve around it and to his annoyance, the blood had already soaked through the cloth and apparently been leaving a spotted trail for any fed with half a brain to follow. Might as well turn himself in now.


But then the ground rose up to meet him and Jayne only had time to say “Buh?” before he was out.


~*~



River fiddled with her new telescope and sighed to herself. She knew her uncle Michael had meant well with the gift, but this particular telescope was only good for casual stargazers. With this one she could barely find Beaumonde, it was so weak. Like most people in her family, Michael judged objects by how pretty they were and the telescope was shiny and impressive looking but she would’ve much preferred one of the clunkier, less attractive models if she could see beyond her own quadrant.


In the long run it didn’t matter. She was going to see the stars up close one day. It was a feeling she had and she could never quite explain to Simon how she could be so sure. She just knew one day they’d be out in the black, exploring. It didn’t matter that he always laughed and told her there was nothing left to explore. As if destinations were the only things one could explore.


Sighing again, River focused on the street in front of their estate since looking up into the sky only depressed her. Maybe she could catch Mrs. Covalis’ Pomeranian tinkling in the Overmeyers’ hydrangeas and finally put an end to the years of denial and frustrating block meetings.


Instead, a large figure shambled into view and River gasped, leaping back a step. How did a Reaver get on Osiris?! They were supposed to be make believe! Shaking, River stepped up to the telescope again and took a closer look, automatically feeling childish and ridiculous. It was just a large man, not a Reaver. With some strange paint smeared all over his face. And… limping. He was injured.


Under her horrified gaze, the man wobbled and then hit the concrete with sickening impact.


“SIMON!!!”


~*~



Simon looked up from his books and review sheet, groaning in frustration. “Why aren’t you in bed? I told Mom and Dad you’d be asleep by the time they got home.”


“But someone needs our help!” River grabbed his arm, eyes wide. She was still in her nightgown and in her haste had thrown on one of her more ridiculous jackets with a feather boa stitched into the collar and put on her ballet slippers.


“River, I don’t have time for your games! I have an important exam on Monday morning that determines if I become a doctor or a refuse collector.” Simon tried to turn back to his study material but her sniffle stopped him short. Don’t look. Don’t look.


He looked. Her eyes were big, brown, and brimming with tears. She knew how pathetic she looked when she did that and though Simon knew he was being manipulated, he found himself humoring her. He threw his pen down and got up out of his chair.


“Fine. Who do we need to save?”


“The man who fell down in front of our house.”


“All right, show me to him.”


~*~



“River! This is a real person!”


Ignoring her brother, River knelt down by the man’s side, feeling for a pulse. He had one and it was strong but ebbing. “He’s bigger than I realized. We’ll need the wheelbarrow.”


“The wheel--! River, we need to call for help!”


“We can’t. He’ll be arrested.” River looked up at her brother who was fish mouthing at her in astonishment. Really, were the dots that difficult to connect? “He’s wearing face paint. The last I heard, the circus wasn’t in town. Besides, this sort of paint is sold in sporting good shops to hunters as camouflage. I think he was trying to rob Mr. Archuleta’s estate.”


“How do you know--”


“Because it has the most dense foliage, making camouflage necessary. Please Simon, there’s no time for us to play Holmes and Watson; go get the wheelbarrow so we can get him inside.”


“I still say we should call the authorities,” Simon said weakly, but he hurried away all the same just as she knew he would.


The man stirred and River jumped a little. “S-sir? You’ve been hurt but we’re going to take care of you.”


“Unnghhh.” The man turned his head and looked up at her, blinking slowly before gazing at her with unfocused eyes. “Hey. You an angel? Cuz you gots… halo ‘n wings ‘n… stuff.”


“Shhh. Just hold on. We’re going to put you onto something so it’s easier to transport you. You’re quite large though so you’re going to have to help.”


“’m strong,” the man said defensively.


“I know,” River said quickly. “That’s why we’re going to need your help.”


“’kay.” Placated, the man looked up into the sky and swallowed. “Where’m I at?”


“You’re in Osiris City.”


Ta ma de.”


River blushed, unused to swearing. “Sir, I’m seven years old.”


“Good fer you. Bet that was a difficult accomplishment.”


For a moment, River considered leaving him on the road to bleed like a dog and just call the police like Simon wanted but then she remembered that he was hurt and disoriented. Manners weren’t high up on his list of priorities at the moment.


Simon arrived just then with the wheelbarrow, eyes wide with fear. “River, if we hide him we could get ourselves into a lot of trouble.”


“Only if we get caught,” she said flippantly. “Okay sir, it’s time to move you.”


“Oh hell,” the man whined.


~*~



It had taken four attempts to get him into the wheelbarrow, one of those attempts nearly successful except he’d slipped at the last second and crashed to the ground right on his injured leg and roared in pain. Jayne could hardly think, he felt so bad, but he could hear the two scared kids arguing with each other as the boy pushed him along, grunting with the effort. They moved along at a hurky jerky pace that was starting to make Jayne’s stomach flop around.


“How ‘bout I just get out ‘n walk?” Jayne mumbled and snorted at his own joke. His wit was wasted because the kids didn’t seem to hear him.


After what felt like five years, they came to a stop and Jayne jerked, looking around at a dusty little storage room. Nice place like this and they put him up in this dump?


“No one’s ever in here,” the little girl was saying. “If our parents come home, they won’t find you in here.”


“Shiny,” Jayne croaked. “What now?”


The girl looked at the boy, her older brother. “Go and get your medical kit.”


“My med-- But I’m not a doctor yet, Riv--”


“Think of this as some hands on experience. It could help with your test on Monday. Go.”


Looking worried, the kid took off. The little girl watched him go, brow puckered with worry and then sighed. She turned back to him and gave him a smile that Jayne guessed was supposed to put him at ease. “So. We haven’t been properly introduced yet.”


“Uh, yeah.” Jayne’s gaze darted to the side and he said quickly, “Stitch Hessian.”


The girl’s friendly look flickered. “I’m Fleuve.”


Jayne snorted. “Floof?”


“You could show some gratitude, Mr. Hessian. We could have easily left you out on the street.”


Her high-handed tone rankled him, especially since that tone was coming out of someone so bitty. “Yeah, well I didn’t ask for it girly, so stuff it.”


The boy came in just then with an armload of stuff: a black bag, towels, a bowl of water that was steaming, and a desk lamp. “I’m going to need your help. Hold the light for me while I work and mop off my brow before any sweat can get into my eye."


Floof nodded. “All right.”


Jayne started to get nervous. “Hey, uh, what’s gonna happen here?” He’d been to backstreet doctors so he was no stranger to pain but the thought of a pair of kids digging around in his wound didn’t sit too well. “Maybe we should--”


“Don’t worry, sir. You won’t feel a thing.” The boy pulled a jar out of his bag and poured some of its contents into his handkerchief.


“No, hang on. Hold on just a--” But the boy pressed the cloth over his mouth and nose and in moments, Jayne was unconscious.


~*~



When Jayne finally woke up again, his leg hurt a little less. It still hurt like a sombitch but at least it wasn’t oozing blood and making him feel whoozy. He raised up on one elbow and rubbed his face with one hand. He needed to get out of here soon. What time was it?


The door opened and he froze, hoping it wasn’t the parents. Luckily it was just little Floof and he relaxed, especially since she had a plate of some nice-smelling food in her hands.


“Good morning, Mr. Hessian,” Floof said and smiled, coming over to him with the plate.


“That mine?” Jayne asked, nodding at the plate.


“Oh. Yes.”


“Give it here, I’m starved.” She handed the plate over but managed to look all stink faced about it. Shit, even miniature women had rapidfire mood swings. Jayne started shoveling the food into his face, hoping the kid would leave but she kept standing there.


“Why were you trying to rob Mr. Archuleta?”


Jayne snorted as he munched his eggs. “Because he has money. Why rob someone poor?”


“Yes, but it would appear you’re not that good of a robber.”


“Well, excuse me all to hell, sunshine. I sure don’t need career advice from someone who's probably only been wipin’ her own ass for about a year now.”


The girl’s eyes narrowed. “You’re the most ungrateful person I ever had the misfortune to meet.”


Scowling didn’t suit her little face and Jayne found himself laughing hard at the absurd picture she made. “Yeah, I like ya, too,” he said, chuckling.


Floof’s scowl faded and she just looked confused as she watched him eat. “Do you need anything else, Mr. Hessian?”


“Nah, this about hit’s the spot though.” He polished off his last few bites of toast, considered a moment, then said, “Thanks.”


Now, Floof’s face hadn’t been made for scowling but it was definitely made for smiling. Jayne felt the corners of his mouth twitch slightly as the little girl took the plate back from him. She was gonna be a knockout once she grew up.


“I can bring you anything you need. Tomorrow we’ll try walking around on your leg but for now you just rest.”


“Anything I need, huh?”


“Yes. I can leave a mobile with you that has my number programmed into it. But in a few hours, okay? I have a harp lesson to go to first.”


“Harp comes first,” Jayne agreed.


Floof giggled and then scooted out the door. For a moment, Jayne lay back down then sighing, got right back up again. He heard what sounded like everyone in the house leave, then got up off the table. His legs buckled but he grabbed the table for support and after a minute he had his feet. He still walked with a limp though.


Carefully, he opened the door and looked up and down the hall. No sign of anybody. Limping and hoping to hell he didn’t get caught, Jayne headed for the door.


~*~



The neighborhood was alive with excited chatter when Mrs. White drove River home from her lesson. “Oh my, what’s happened here?” the old lady murmured worriedly as people milled around up and down the sidewalk in pairs and clusters.


River got up on her knees and stared out the window, an uneasy feeling in her tummy. They pulled up in front of her house and she saw police vehicles in front of the house next door.


“Thank you for the ride, Mrs. White,” River said quickly and hopped out of the vehicle before Mrs. White could say anything. River ran back down the driveway to the street and pulled on the coattails of the first adult she saw. “What’s happened?”


The man frowned down at her. “Someone just stole Mr. Camberson’s new car.”


River ran back to the house, passing Mrs. White who was backing down the driveway looking puzzled, and hurried to the storage room, fully expecting to see that…


She opened the door.


Stitch Hessian was gone.


Disappointed, River slumped against the doorframe and felt her eyes well up with tears. It wasn’t fair. She was just starting to like him and she had a secret friend and everything… In the midst of her self-pitying thoughts, she noticed a scrap of paper on the ground and picked it up.


In big, awkward block letters, he’d written: “Floof - Thanx Stitch”


Her tears fell but she was laughing.


~*~



TEN YEARS LATER


“We got a bleeder, Doc!” Mal called as the mule came into the cargo bay. Mal and Zoe hopped out to help Jayne down while River looked on with an amused look on her face. She took her time getting down out of the mule, completely unconcerned.


“Get him into the infirmary,” Simon said tersely. “River, are you all right?”


“I’m fine,” she answered serenely. As everyone rushed Jayne into the infirmary, River followed at a sedate pace.


“Everyone out, I need to work,” Simon said once Jayne was settled in the chair. River stayed behind in the doorway, watching Jayne with that mysterious little smile on her face.


Jayne frowned at her. “You hear him, girl? He said get gone.”


Déjà vu.”


Jayne’s frown deepened. “No you.”


River giggled. “No masks and no false names this time. Nowhere else to go.”


“What the hell are you--”


“I’ll bring you food when you wake up again,” River promised, smile turning sweetly gentle.


Jayne’s expression relaxed. “Hey… hold on. Were you--?”


Simon stuck a needle in Jayne’s arm, making the big man growl and glare up at him. When Jayne returned his gaze to the doorway, the girl was gone.


“Floof?” he murmured before falling asleep.


THE END

Date: 2008-08-25 06:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gilove2dance.livejournal.com
That was pure original genius! Wow. How does your brain work so well for writing? *stares dumbfoundedly at the screen*

Date: 2008-08-25 10:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] toxic-corn.livejournal.com
How does your brain work so well for writing?

Being easily bored yet easily entertained helps, lol. Thanks for commenting!

Date: 2008-08-25 06:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] romanceguru.livejournal.com
*snort* Little Floof! That was pretty hilarious. I love your mini-River, from her miss matched outfit, to her adorable bluntness. *snuggles her* Also, great character interactions. : )

Date: 2008-08-25 10:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] toxic-corn.livejournal.com
Aww, thanks! Safe is one of my favorite episodes because I love mini!River and Simon so much.

Date: 2008-08-25 07:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] samson28.livejournal.com
Shiny! I enjoyed. :)

Date: 2008-08-25 10:17 pm (UTC)

Date: 2008-08-25 08:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fluties-flake.livejournal.com
Another awesome fic! How are you coming up with all these? Do you have Adam Baldwin tied up naked to your bed for inspiration or something?

*demands you share him*

Date: 2008-08-25 10:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] toxic-corn.livejournal.com
HA, no Adam Baldwin here. *looks sadly at my empty futon* I just have a garden of bunnies who nibble carrots and once in awhile offer me up a few ideas. Some are more evil than others.

Date: 2008-08-25 08:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] an-ardent-rain.livejournal.com
Oh, that was just adorable! I love little River - so practical and smart. It's always fun to see Jayne and River meet in some previous part of their lives, and I think you did it really, really well. Good job! :)

Date: 2008-08-25 10:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] toxic-corn.livejournal.com
Thank you! I like those kinds of stories too and have always wanted to attempt one.

Date: 2008-08-25 11:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] an-ardent-rain.livejournal.com
I don't know if this is the best place to ask, but... ahh well! I have a new fic idea that's similar to your "Girl Anachronism" (I actually had the idea before I read the fic, but hadn't done anything with it). It involves a child of Jayne and River's - a boy in his teens - going back in time along with a daughter of Wash and Zoe's. That's really the only similarity, I believe (the child's older in mine, and the story is longer, also dealing more with some vague mechanics of time-travel) but since it doesn't seem to be a very common idea, I just wanted to make sure that you wouldn't mind. I'd credit you for the idea, if you'd like, of course!

Date: 2008-08-26 12:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] toxic-corn.livejournal.com
Oh. Wow, that is weirdly similar. :/ It sounds different enough, though.

Date: 2008-08-26 12:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] an-ardent-rain.livejournal.com
Thanks so much! Really, I have a lot of ideas that are very different; only the time travel thing is the same. In my story, Serenity picks them up from Badger, the future-kids stay much longer, and the Alliance has nothing to do with the reason for going back in time. It'll be posted at rayne_shippers when it's written, and if you EVER think I've gone even the slightest bit into a gray area (or taken something from your story), just let me know and I'll take it down/stop writing/whatever. Writing integrity is a big deal to me, so I promise any other similarites are completely unintentional. I appreciate you taking the time to respond to my little plea (heh), and for not minding I use the same idea. ^_^

Thank you!!!

Date: 2008-08-26 12:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sunshineali.livejournal.com
Yay! this was purrrrfect. Thank you so much. The beauty of requesting a story is to see where the author goes with it. I love what you did. I loved how she felt sad that he left without saying goodbye to her but how tickled she was to read his note. Very, very nice. Thank you again. :)Ali

Re: Thank you!!!

Date: 2008-08-26 12:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] toxic-corn.livejournal.com
Awww, good, I'm glad you liked it!

Date: 2008-08-26 03:30 am (UTC)
ext_25347: (Default)
From: [identity profile] bookaddict43.livejournal.com
Love little River and Junior Doctor Simon and the fact Jayne can't pronounce her pseudonym correctly! *grins* What an excellent glimpse of what might have been...

Date: 2008-08-26 09:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] toxic-corn.livejournal.com
Thanks! This one was a lot of fun to write.

Date: 2008-08-26 09:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] idyllictorture.livejournal.com
This was great! I really enjoyed it. I loved the younger versions of the characters. The aliases. Jayne thinking of River as a miniature woman. A lot of good stuff here.

Date: 2008-08-26 09:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] toxic-corn.livejournal.com
Aww, thanks. "Miniature woman" was my nod to the first (and imo best) Pirates of the Caribbean movie.

Date: 2008-08-27 11:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] idyllictorture.livejournal.com
*slaps head* I didn't realize it was a reference. Can you tell I haven't seen the POTC movies? Well, a friend forced me to watch one of them, but I don't really know them.

Date: 2008-09-06 05:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] karanina.livejournal.com
OMG I can't believe I hadn't read that already! That was so cute! I loved it! I bet there were some interesting explanations once he woke up!

Date: 2008-09-06 06:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] toxic-corn.livejournal.com
Thanks! I'm sure it was a fascinating conversation, lol.

"Howdja come up with FLOOF?"
"Your French is appalling."
"What's that gotta do with the price of beans?!"

Date: 2010-07-19 01:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theneis.livejournal.com
I love it! "Floof?"

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toxic_corn: Summer Glau is pretty. (Default)
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