Common Goals
by Padre

"Goram Alliance!" Jayne spit his words out with noticeable bitterness as he punched the wall of large sewer that he and River were hiding in. "This far!" he raged. "We were this *#@%$* far from a fortune in gold." He turned towards the woman with whom he shared his present hiding place, his face showing disappointment. "It would have been a real sweet payday."

River, in what could best be called a Zen-like trance, leaned against the opposite wall, quietly looking at the mercenary with neither fear nor malice.

Jayne further ranted. "I had plans, you know?" He started pacing back and forth. "I was gonna get a girl-" He caught himself catching River's eye and found a strange urge to change direction. "And, uh, get Vera reconditioned, too." After a little more pacing, Jayne seemed to become more accepting of the present situation. "*#@$%#*, now, all that's gone." Then, "Do you think the others got away?"

"I do, Jayne. If we wait here for a while, we'll be safe, too."

"Yeah, okay. But I hate just having to sit around-"

"We were betrayed." River's voice was flat and very matter-of-fact in nature.

Jayne whirled around to face River. "It wasn't me! I didn't do nothing wrong."

Without flinching, the young woman went on. "I know; it wasn't you. It wasn't any of us. It was Weeker."

"Huh? Weeker? The guy at the shop? But he didn't know anything about our plans. It couldn't have been him."

"Yes." River nodded. "It was him. He may not have known what we were going to do, but he was the only one in a position to have the shipment's delivery times changed."

Realization came to Jayne. "So that's why we met a full squadron of Alliance goons-"

"And why we don't have any gold."

Seething rage began to visibly emanate from Jayne. Pulling his knife out of its sheath, he muttered an oath. "I'm gonna kill him."

River finally moved, gently putting her hand on Jayne's wrist. "No you're not."

"What? I'm not?"

Moving closer, River started to whisper in the large man's ear. "You're going to kidnap him and torture him. I'm going to help you."

Jayne was a bit caught off guard by River's words, but he started to listen more intently. "I am? Uh, I mean, we are?"

"Yes, until he tells us where he put the payoff he got for tipping off the Alliance."

Jayne finally turned and looked River in the eye. "And then what?"

River didn't even blink. "And then we kill him. You and me, together."

A slow smile came to Jayne's face. "Shiny."


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