Prompt:writerverse challenge 28 December table of doom, prompt 18 ‘a thousand pieces’
Word Count: 348
Pairings: implied Jayne Cobb/River Tam
Summary: “Rattle in the brainpan. One bit breaks loose, knocks everything into teeny little pieces.”
Note(s): originally posted to the writerverse wv_library
Bits and Pieces
“Too many pieces!” River muttered, over and over. “Too many pieces!”
“Pieces of what, mei-mei?” asked Simon.
“Rattle in the brainpan. One bit breaks loose, knocks everything into teeny little pieces.”
River was pacing the cargo hold in short angry strides, changing direction abruptly and for no apparent reason. Kaylee tried to catch her arm as she passed, but River danced out of the mechanic’s reach; when she neared Jayne, he turned and left the hold; and Zoe kept very still, arms crossed, as she tried to project a watchful calm.
“Too many pieces!” River repeated. “All broke loose and nothing left.”
“River…” Simon began, but then Jayne was back, carrying a cloth-wrapped object.
He shifted it to one arm so he could catch River by the shoulder, pushing her to sit on the lid of a large cargo crate and shoving the object into her lap.
“Oh, Jayne-Man,” said River, pulling the cloth away.
“River, no!” cried Simon, as Mal yelled, “Jayne, you gorram—”
“It ain’t loaded,” he interrupted, watching River’s slim fingers curl around the rifle. “Crazy Girl, you know what this is?”
“She is Vera,” said River, softly. “His favorite.”
“Got a lot of parts, don’t she?” said Jayne.
“Well, see this one here?” He pointed to a small pin in the middle of the trigger assembly that wasn’t quite the same color as the rest of the gun. “Piece came off during a fight with some hun duan and I couldn’t find a new one. So I made it.”
“Yes,” said River. “Took a bit that didn’t belong and reshaped it, made it work again.”
“Took a long time,” Jayne added. “Didn’t get it right on the first try.”
“She understands. Little by little, putting the bits back.” River straightened, holding the rifle out to him. “Thank you for introducing us.”
“My pleasure,” he said. “Now, you gonna stop pacin’, all crazy?”
“For now,” she agreed.
“Good,” said Jayne, and helped her back to her feet.
“What just happened?” asked Mal, when they’d left.
Kaylee just smiled. “I think it’s cute.”