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by Wrenn

[Story Headers]

River knocked on the door to Inara shuttle, "May I come in?" she asked the companion when the door was opened.

"Of course mei mei, would you care to join me for tea" Inara gestured toward the tea service she had set up.

Sitting herself down on the divan River nodded her acceptance, once again struck by the beauty of Inara's motions as she went through the simple act of pouring tea.

Inara watched the younger girl out of the corner of her eye, she could sense something was bothering River, beyond the fight she had with Simon.

"Do you want to talk about him?" Inara asked softly as she handed the cup of tea to River.

"No, Simon and I will get things sorted, oh" with a blush River took a sip of her tea, "you mean Jayne. There is nothing to talk about Nara, we are just friends, thrown together by circumstance." River looked up, and smiled at Inara "I know what everyone is thinking, that you can't trust Jayne around River, maybe everyone should be worrying about Jayne." River laughed when Inara replied, "I think you may have a point."

"Actually Nara I came to talk to you about something completely different." River placed her cup of tea onto the little side table, "I need to make money, lots of money, I know how to do it, but I need your help."

Inara looked at the younger girl thoughtfully, "Before I say anything I would like to know two things, one is this legal and two has Mal agreed to it?"

River said in one breath "I know who is going to win the Central Core Race next week, it is actually the last minute entry. He will win by 6 lengths, and the odds are 82 to 1, will you help me?"

"So you would like me to place a bet for you?" Inara asked in astonishment, this was the last thing she had expected River to ask of her.

"Yes please, only I don't have any money, that is where the favor comes in. I would like you to bet, and loan me 10% of your winnings. Which in turn I will bet on the Derby, being held the next day, I know who is going to win that as well. The odds are not as good as the Central Race, but they are not bad." River looked entreatingly at Inara after she finished her pitch.

Inara took a sip of her tea as she thought, "excuse me a moment", Inara moved to the cortex and pulled up some information and printed it out, she then handed the printout to River.

"Can you tell me who is going to win these races?" Inara asked, "I will need proof before I commit myself to any undertaking."

"That's easy, #2 in the first, #8 in the second and #29 in the third race," River replied, looking up she asked "Can you place bets from your shuttle?"

"Certainly, though I am not a betting person, so I usually do not do so." Inara smiled, she knew what River was getting at, and "So do you think 50 Credits will be enough to start" she asked.

Kaylee wandered across the catwalk, Simon was in a foul mood, and so after failing to cheer him up, Kaylee had left the infirmary in, what was for her a huff. River was no where to be found again, just like yesterday, so Kaylee thought she would go and see what Nara was doing. Her shuttle was just so shiny, and Nara was just about perfect.

Kaylee could hear laughter and Rivers whoop of delight through the shuttle door, knocking Kaylee stuck her head in "Can I come in?"

River was dancing in the middle of the room, which in it self was not unusual for River as she had a tendency since coming on board Serenity to dance whenever the mood struck her, what was new was the fact that Inara seemed to be dancing as well.

Inara smiled at her guest, "Kaylee, come in, River and I were just celebrating"

"Shiny, what are you all celebratin?" Kaylee sat down on the ottoman at the foot of Inara's bed.

"I am a genius," River announced with a huge grin.

"I know that, is that what you are celebratin?" Kaylee looked between the two women, it seemed rather odd to her but with River one never knew what to expect.

River laughed gaily, and Inara smiled "In a way," she told Kaylee, "River has the ability to pick the winner of any race. So far this afternoon we have deposited a very tidy sum of credits into my account, of which 10% goes to River."

Kaylee's eyes got wide as saucers, "Shiny, can I play to?" her face fell, "only I don't have an account." Never one to be down for long Kaylee immediately brightened, "River and I can play next time we're down side."

"Whatcha gonna do with your money River?" The girls fell to planning just what they would do with their winnings.

River found the captain sitting in the cockpit looking out at the black. "Magnets can attract and repel depending on which end you point them at, you just have to figure out if you are north or south and you will find your way home" she said softly, knowing that Mal would not acknowledge her advice to help ease his pain. That even to himself he would not admit he had feelings for Inara.

Without taking his eyes of the black Mal waved River into the cockpit. "I didn't get a word out of Simon, even when I threatened him with Zo" the captain said, "Zo figures it has something to do with you." Mal spared River a glance "Maybe you know somthin ya'all care to tell me?"

"I have spoken the matter over with Simon Captain, you could say the conversation did not go well" River replied, "Which is why I have come to speak with you, I have a business proposition."

The whole ship had 'heard' River's conversation with Simon, or at least Simon's half of the conversation as he had been yelling at the top of his lungs.

The captain turned the chair and his attention towards River, "A business proposition, huh, what kind of business proposition a little girl like you be talking about on my boat?"

River cut in, "I would like you to remember that I am going to be 20 years old in a few months Captain, and I am capable of making my own decisions based on gathered data, and that you keep an open mind." River paused, at Mal's nod she continued. "I have done the calculations and I believe that the amount I am offering in remuneration is more than fair. I calculated how much having Inara as an ambassador was worth and added a 1.32% value increase per annum for such, to the forecasted revenue based on our previous intake of funds." At Mal's furious hand waving River stopped and looked at Mal.

"One what are you talking about and two where did you get money?" Mal well knew that the Doctor had been spending every penny he had on medications for his sister.

"My apologies Captain, I though I was being perfectly clear, I wish to pay my way, as I do not have a job." River paused and looked sheepish, "I have been making small, investments through Inara and they have been paying quite well."

Mal looked at River in astonishment, he rose from the chair and exited the cockpit. As he reached the center of Serenity he flicked on the com and demanded that everyone meet in the mess in 2 seconds, or dammit he was going to shoot someone.

Kaylee came rushing out of the infirmary, Simon at her heels catching Mal in the aisle. "Captain what is the matter, is something wrong with Serenity?"

Mal looked at Kaylee, "were you involved in Rivers mad scheme?" he asked in a very quiet voice.

Kaylee's eyes got as big as saucers; she looked over Mal's shoulder to River who was coming down the companion way followed by Zo, Wash and Book. Biting her lip, Kaylee said, "No, I was not involved in River's mad scheme." Unfortunately Kaylee's face was not made for lying, one look and Mal saw the whole story.

He could hear Simon in the background 'Mad scheme what mad scheme, Mei Mei what is going on and why is the Captain going to shoot someone'

River moved forward, "Perhaps we should move to the Mess as the Captain requested, I can explain everything there." As they moved down the companionway, River reached out to Jayne, she mentally felt his acknowledgement that he would be at the mess in a few minutes.

River moved around the mess making coffee and tea as the crew settled themselves down at the table.

"Alright Mei Mei, we're all here, what is this all about?" Simon asked.

River cocked her head as if she was listening to something only she could hear; a bright smile broke out over her face. River felt a blush heat her cheeks, as she sensed what Jayne had been doing in the shower, she giggled if she ever got that man in bed she now knew exactly what to do to make him lose his mind.

"Jayne will be here in a few moments, we must wait for him" River replied to her brother, she moved around putting out place settings. Ignoring Simon's spluttered questions and the astonished gazes of the rest of the crew.

Digging out the remainder of the dessert, River placed a single piece in front of everyone, and placing the last eight in front of Jayne as he sat himself down at the table.

"I thought I" Jayne grumbled,

"Hush Jayne, you have enough, you can share" River admonished him as she poured coffee into his mug. To the further astonishment of the crew Jayne subsided and said no more.

Ensuring everyone had a drink and snack River sat down at the table.

"As you all are aware I have certain abilities, that of late have become somewhat more reliable, other than letting the Captain know where Serenity should go to make the most profit and be safest" River ignored the grumble from Jayne of havin no fun, "I have been able to pick winners. Winner of games, races, the stock market, I very carefully calculated the odds of how many times I could win before I had to lose to avoid attracting attention. I asked Inara to help me, she had her doubts but I had a plan in place so she agreed."

River paused for a sip of her tea, continuing "I do not have a job here on Serenity, so I decided I had to pay my way. At our last stop Inara and I collected some of the credits."

River reached down under the table and pulled out a bag, she placed it on the table with a solid thunk. "As everyone knows a portion of every job goes toward Serenity's upkeep, this is Serenity's 10% portion of my winnings;"

"How much is in there?" Wash asked, he reached for the bag, and shot a hurt look at his wife when she slapped his hands away. River named a number that had the whole crew gasping in shock.

"This is only Serenity's portion?" Book confirmed and River nodded.

Leaning back she started to drink her tea, "I would also like to have my own room."

"Mei Mei, What, Where you need" Simon stuttered "You can't I mean"

"Simon I am nineteen years old, I think it is time I had a room of my own" River smiled "Besides you could you some privacy yourself."

Simon sat there looking stunned, seemingly unable to process the fact that his baby sister was on her way to having a 'normal' life.

River put her cup down on the table as she rose and gave Simon a hug, "Thank you Simon, I am getting better now, you don't have to worry so much"

Everyone pitched in to help River move into her new room. Inara and Kaylee were helping River to hang a piece of fabric across the space to soften the lines of the room.

River was standing balanced on a crate hooking the fabric to the ceiling of her new room.

"Thanks Nara this fabric is beautiful", Jayne entered the hatch, and as usual he had been drafted as a pack animal and was carrying an armload of pillows and blankets. Just as he crossed the threshold River lost her balance and fell backwards off the crate, Inara let out a small scream, Kaylee just froze in place.

Jayne caught River in his arms, "Easy Pixie Girl, don't want ya scrambling your brains when ya just got them working again"

"Oh Jayne, that was just shiny the way you caught River, just like them knights on the cortex!" Kaylee cried out.

"Yes thank you for your timely arrival, Jayne, Kaylee could you please help me?" Inara requested as she exited Rivers room.

River grinned at Jayne, "Scrambled brains, huh, is that a proper medical diagnosis doctor?"

Jayne smiled down at the tiny woman in his arms, his eyes traveled down her body, he chuckled as her nipples hardened and pushed out against her shirt under his gaze.

River lifted her hand to Jayne's cheek and lifted his gaze back up to hers.

In a voice gone scratchy Jayne asked "So where do you want these?"

Without taking her eyes off of his River moved the curtain aside and waved at the pallet on the floor. Lowering River down onto the pallet along with the bedding, Jayne once again looked into Rivers eyes.

Jayne wondered what in the hell this woman was doing to him, she drove him insane, one minute he wanted her off the ship forever, the next he could not imagine life without her. She made him laugh and saw things in him that no one else did, worse she made him see them too, hell she even made chess fun.

Jayne wanted her in a way he never wanted another woman, he like his women knowledgeable, they knew what they liked and how to ask for it, preferably blonde with huge tits and a bit on the taller side so they could accommodate his larger size.

He knew she would be a tight and hot but she would be too small to take all of him, where was the fun in that. Innocence had never been his thing, pissing people off and killing them was more his style.

Rivers quiet "Jayne" cut through his thoughts, he could see the questions in her dark eyes, leaning down he captured her lips with his.

Her lips were pure sweet innocence, they tasted better than they had any right to, and he wanted to drown into her kiss. The scent of cinnamon surrounded his senses when his lips his tongue parted her lips to explore her mouth. Their tongues danced around each other, at Rivers low moan, Jayne slowly released her lips.

"Think you'll remember that one?" he asked before rising and exiting the shuttle, leaving River dazed with passion on the pallet.

Jayne slapped Simon on the shoulder with a "hi doc" he moved past him, Simon stared after Jayne in shock. A smiling and whistling Jayne had Simon very scared there was something just not right in the verse.

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Fandom:  Firefly
Title:  Winnings
Series Name:  Bananas Are Evil; Apples are Good
Author:  Wrenn   [email]
Details:  Series  |  PG-13  |  gen  |  13k  |  03/15/05
Characters:  River
Summary:  What will they do with all that money?
Disclaimer/Other:  Dont own anything, darn it!

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