Title: How Noble in Reason, part 5 (in which Simon gets some sage-like advice and Jayne hides.)
Word Count: 1577
Warnings: Nuthin' special.
Disclaimer: None of this is mine except for the mediocre writing.
Feedback: is the nectar of the gods.
Jayne dropped the gun like it had bitten him, staring at the thing in abject horror. He couldn’t see straight. He couldn’t think straight. It felt like his skin was on fire. He wanted to run after Simon, tell him that he wasn’t mad, that he was sorry, that he understood. But he didn’t think that he would be so well received after pulling a weapon on him like that. What he really wanted to do was hide, but he couldn’t stay in that room. It still smelled like Simon, and it was getting harder and harder to breathe.
Jayne was half way up the ladder before he realized that he was still naked. He slid back down, threw on some pants without bothering to button them, and was out of there as fast as he could manage, holding his breath until he was half way down the hall.
Simon made it back to his room without incident. He’d just started thinking that he might be able to avoid people all together for a little while when he opened the door and walked head first into River. He let out an embarrassingly girly little cry and scrabbled for his clothes as they fell, trying to arrange them around his nakedness.
“It’s nice to see you, Mei Mei, but could you please turn around so that I can get dressed?”
She turned around, and Simon grabbed a pair of shorts out of the drawer and pulled them on. “There, you can turn back around now.” He tossed himself down onto the bed face down, well aware that he was being rude to his sister by ignoring her this way, but not caring at the moment. He actually hoped that she would go away. Luck was not on Simon’s side today, though, and instead she sat down on the bed next to him.
“You missed breakfast.”
“Yes, I know.”
“It wasn’t very good.” Simon rolled over on his side and looked up at her helplessly.
“I’m really, really sorry Mei Mei, but I think I need to be alone for a little while.”
“Don’t apologize, Simon, it don’t bother me none. I’m a beast, remember?”
Simon shuddered fiercely at hearing Jayne’s words repeated on his sister’s lips. It was bad enough that his private life seemed doomed to being public, but the knowledge that she could most likely see everything made him feel violently ill.
“Don’t-” he gagged, “Just- don’t… say things like that. Don’t use words that aren’t yours.”
River’s lip started quivering and Simon instantly regretted lashing out at her like that. He reached out and gathered her into his arms. “I’m sorry, River, I didn’t mean to yell at you. You didn’t do anything wrong. I’ve just been having a bad day. I shouldn’t take it out on you.”
She nodded off-handly. Of course, he thought, she already knows. “He’s afraid. Afraid we’ll know.”
Simon shook his head. “What more is there for us to know?”
“Not us. Us,” she corrected him in frustration. Then she seemed to consider his question. “Everything,” she said simply.
“What do you mean by that?”
But River had nothing left to say. She rested her head against his chest and patted his shoulder absently, as he had done for her so many times. He accepted the scant comfort with guilty pleasure. It felt nice to be the one being taken care of sometimes.
Mal wasn’t sure he was psychologically ready to discuss the concept of Simon and Jayne just yet, but it had to be approached some time, and the sooner he got it over with the better. It was with that in mind that he made his way towards the guest quarters in search of the doctor. If anyone was able to discuss this rationally, he figured it’d be Simon. Him being Captain and all, he walked right into Simon’s room, not bothering to knock. After what he walked in on this morning, Mal didn’t think there was much left that could surprise him. None the less, about the last thing he expected to see upon entering Simon’s room was the young man sitting on his bed, crying softly into his sister’s hair. He hadn’t even bothered looking up when the door opened. Shifting his weight a little awkwardly, Mal cleared his throat. When Simon continued to ignore him, he came in and sat down on the edge of the bed next to him.
“I hate to interrupt a family moment like this River, but if you don’t mind, I’d like to talk to your brother for a minute in private.”
River extricated herself from her brother’s embrace, placed a parting kiss on his cheek, and was gone without a sound. Simon wiped the back of his hand across his eyes and sighed.
“Is it really that important, Captain? If you couldn’t tell, this is kind of a bad time.”
“I can see that, Doctor. I was kinda wonderin’ why exactly that was.”
“I don’t see how it’s any of your business.”
“My crew, my business. Out with it.”
“I’d really rather not.”
Mal sat on his hands, trying admirably hard to control his temper.
“Look, I saw you an’ Jayne this mornin’, so there’s no need to be shy about that. Thing is, I was expectin’ to find you glowin’ like a sixteen year old girl, not cryin’ like one. So what happened between then an’ now to put you in a state like this?”
Simon was emotionally exhausted, and the idea of having someone to talk to like this was all too tempting. He laid back on the bed, not quite looking at Mal, and related the events of his less than dignified departure from Jayne’s bunk. The Captain listened, nodding.
“Yeah, that’s about what I figured’d happened.”
“I beg your pardon?”
“Well, you bein’ you and Jayne bein’ Jayne, there’s only so many ways somethin’ like that could’ve gone. You both have a tendency to, now how can I put this nicely, overreact like a couple ’a teenage drama queens, so a tiff like that was really the most likely outcome.”
“Tiff? The man put a gun to my head, Mal!”
“Yeah, but he didn’t pull the trigger, did he? Considerin’ it was Jayne, I’d say that was a commendable piece ’a restraint actually. I probably shoulda gotten you both up this morning, but I figured you two’d want some more privacy, and that way we could avoid the awkward for a little longer. That was a bit ’a selfishness on my part, and for that I’m sorry.”
Simon waved it off. “There’s no need to apologize Captain. If you’d woken us earlier, I probably would have just reacted the same way.”
“So, what now?”
“What d’you mean, what now?”
“Aren’t you supposed to give me some sage-like advice on how I can straighten this all out?”
“Don’t see as it’s my place, son.”
Simon sat up in a fit of agitation. “But we’re your crew! It’s your job to help us in situations like this.”
“Jayne pulls a gun on you again, that’s my business, but it ain’t my job to straighten out lovers’ quarrels. That you gotta do on your own.”
Simon chewed his bottom lip, studying his hands forlornly. “If not as Captain then, how about as a friend?” he whispered.
Mal sighed. This was why he tried to stay outta other people’s affairs. He slipped a comforting arm around Simon’s shoulders. “Look, the only thing I can tell you Simon is to go talk to him. Hidin’ out in your room ain’t gonna accomplish anything. Some way or another, you gotta straighten this out. And hell, as unsettlin’ and weird as it is to think about, I do think that this thing between you two might just work. When I saw the two of you cuddlin’ together like a pair ’a pups, it woulda been just about the cutest thing I ever seen, if it weren’t you ’n Jayne.”
Simon felt his cheeks flush. “It wasn’t like that…”
“Well his arm wrapped around you all protective-like sure made it seem that way. If it wa’n’t like that, then, what was it like?”
“I don’t know….” He trailed off, just sitting there for a while, enjoying Mal’s comforting presence. Finally Mal broke the silence.
“I hate to be the one to bring up more complications, but there is one more angle of this that I’m not sure you’ve thought of yet.”
Simon tensed. He had thought about it, and he knew what Mal was going to say, so he said it for him. “Kaylee.”
Mal nodded. “You’re gonna have to tell her, and the longer you wait, the more it’ll hurt. For both of you.”
“I know. It’s just not a conversation that I’m looking forward to.”
“That don’t make it any less urgent.”
“I know, I know.” He growled in frustration. “It’s not only that, though. If you know, and River knows, and Kaylee knows, it’s only a matter of hours before the rest of the crew knows, too.”
“Is that really such a problem? Label it or not as you like, Doctor, that’s your choice. But you must feel somethin’ for the man or you wouldn’ta woken up next to him this mornin’. Is that so much to be ashamed of?” He was up and gone before Simon had the chance to answer.
X-posted to jayne_simon and talkcrazy