River/Jayne

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Pairing
Pairing: River Tam/Jayne Cobb
Alternative name(s): Rayne
Gender category: het
Fandom: Firefly/Serenity
Canonical?: no
Prevalence: common
Archives: Pretty Deadly, Copper For A Kiss Memories
Other:
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Jayne/River is a popular ship in the Firefly fandom.


The Mercenary and The Little Assassin

A surprising number of fans ship River Tam, the crazy deadly psychic, with Jayne Cobb, the deadly overgrown man-ape. It is definitely an unconventional ship, as the characters have limited interactions throughout the run of Firefly and Serenity the movie. River slices open Jayne's chest with a knife at one point, and Jayne tries to sell her back to the Feds who are looking for her. Although there is little canon evidence to support the ship, fans make the most of the few canon interactions.

Fanon and Rayne Tropes

As with any popular pairing, Rayne shippers have developed a set of story tropes and fanon characterizations that are quite common, and even expected, in fanworks. Some common story tropes include:

  • Crazy Sitting - stories in which Jayne is left alone to care for a not-entirely-lucid River
  • Hair Brushing - wherein Jayne cares for River's long, often loose, hair
  • Weight Bench - stories involving use of Jayne's weight bench (mostly for actual exercise), often involving Jayne training River, or River watching Jayne lift weights

Many authors use similar fanon characterizations of the pair, for instance, emphasizing River's mental instability through "riverspeak" (referring to herself only in third person, using extended scientific or philosophic metaphores, hearing or feeling colors and otherwise confusing the senses). Jayne is often portrayed as introspective and cunning (rather than stupid and aggressive, as in canon), and great attention is paid to the naming of his weapons. Fanworks often relate the origin story of "Vera", his very favorite gun (as descriped in Our Mrs. Reynolds). There is frequent mention of the possibilty that Mal will airlock Jayne if the relationship is discovered.

History and Popularity

The earliest River/Jayne story found on fanfiction.net is Mosylu's "Void", posted in October of 2004.

"Copper for a Kiss", the main Rayne shippers' community on livejournal was created in the same month. That community currently has nearly 1,000 members, more than most shipping communities within the Firefly fandom. "Pretty Deadly", the main Rayne fic archive has nearly 2,000 stories posted by over 400 authors (as of September 29, 2010).

On fanfiction.net, River/Jayne is the most common of all possible pairings featuring two of the main characters, with a little over 600 stories; this is about twice the number of stories featuring River/Mal, and about 6 times the number of Jayne/Kaylee stories (the next most common pairing for each). Of course, fanfiction.net is not representative of all of fandom, but it does give some indication of how popular this pairing is in general.

Notable Stories

The Little Things series by Michmak is one of the earliest lengthy Rayne fics, published between October and December, 2004.

Dyce's five-part Horeshoe Nails series follows the River/Jayne relationship from the end of the Firefly series through an alternate version of the movie Serenity:


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