Authors: wildannuette as Simon and kitsunesan as Jayne
Word Count: 7623
Warnings: Just smut. XD
Feedback: Desperately craved.
Notes: This is pretty much just an excuse for more sex, but it does serve the purpose of revealing their relationship to the rest of the crew. We were having some problems deciding where to take this since we no longer have the series to rely on for plot, but we did some brainstorming and actually came up with something that should prove to be fairly plotty and hopefully interesting. ^^ These may take a little longer to come out now that we're not sticking to the mini-fic format, and finding breaking-off points could be tricky. But we'll do our best! The only thing I love more than writing like this is posting what we've written in the hopes of getting comments and encouragements, because I'm the annoying type of person who needs constant reassurance. -_-;
Simon wasn’t sure what woke him, wasn’t sure what interrupted the natural rhythm of sleep to drag him from the dreamless rest he’d been enjoying, but something made him stir. Nuzzling against Jayne, he listened to the deep breathing of his lover and the reassuring thump of his pulse, which reminded Simon not only that he was alive and only wounded, but that he was back where he belonged. They were back where they belonged, in Jayne’s bunk.
Or were they? Simon sniffed, not smelling the familiar smell of gun oil that was Jayne’s bunk, nor the slight must of incense which was his own. His eyes cracked open, squinting in confusion as the night before ending came rushing back. Sitting up, he bit off a curse as his leg protested at the treatment, staring at the infirmary around him. It took a good minute for his heart rate and breathing to settle down, a good moment to realize that no one else was in the room with them or peering in the windows. In fact, Serenity was extremely silent, only a slight hum that came with the ship coming to Simon’s ears. He settled back against Jayne, knowing he should wake his lover before they were discovered, his brown furrowing in confusion as he took a second look around. I don’t remember closing the curtains and door.
Simon's shifting and muffled curse roused Jayne from his nap, and he opened his eyes blearily, taking a moment to figure out why it was so damned bright in his bunk. Not his bunk, the infirmary.
Not only that, but a quick glance was enough to show him that the door had been closed and the curtains drawn, something he specifically remembered not remembering to do.
Okay, this was not the time for panic, this was the time for logic. Not his strong point, but still, if he freaked out now it would only make Simon mad again. Point number one- someone had obviously found them. Point number two- that someone, rather than causing a scene or murdering Jayne, had chosen instead to leave. They had not, however, gone without leaving a trace of their presence, but had left them a subtle reminder to be more careful if they wanted privacy. That ruled out Mal, Kaylee, and Wash right there. Probably River too, though you never could tell with her. That left Inara, Book, and Zoe.
Of the three of them, Book was the one most likely to have come to check on Simon in the first place. He was also the one most likely to have closed the curtains rather than just turning and leaving the room untouched. That was good, because of there was anyone on this boat that Jayne trusted to keep his mouth shut, it was Book.
So, not the most ideal of circumstances, but not the worst by far. Nuzzling against the back of Simons neck, Jayne muttered, "I think we been caught..."
"Caught?" Simon was still half asleep, so it took a moment for his mind to put together his own thoughts, the closed infirmary and Jayne’s statement. "Oh." Simon wasn’t sure what else there was to say. The idea of being caught certainly didn’t bother him now that Jayne had voiced it. Only the idea of hurting Kaylee, who he ideally needed to tell before anyone else, was a worry. Whoever had come in had left them closeted and separated from unwanted eyes rather than causing a fuss and mass annoyance. Rather than lament over who it could have been, Simon tilted his head, half squinting up at Jayne, surprise and pleasure both equally obvious on his face. "You didn’t leave."
He groaned inwardly the moment he’d said it, knowing how that had to make him look, but Simon couldn’t help grinning as he gritted his teeth, using his hands as leverage and kissing Jayne firmly on the lips. "Good morning."
"I think it's afternoon, actually," Jayne grumbled, returning Simon's kiss before admonishing him, "Don't turn like that, you'll hurt yerself. And 'course I didn't leave, stupid. Where else would I rather be?" Maybe not the sweetest sentiment, considering that he felt the need to throw a mild insult in with it, but Jayne still wasn't entirely comfortable with expressing those kinds of feelings. "I am hungry, though. You okay ta make it to the galley, or should I go an' bring you something?" Because someone had caught them, and even if that someone had been tactful about it, it was only a matter of time before the news spread. May as well give in to the idea of it now.
It wasn’t the most gushing of reassuring answers, but Simon preferred it like that. It wouldn’t be Jayne any other way. "Good afternoon then." He grinned, hand winding around Jayne’s neck to pull him in close, to claim his lips in a quick, brief kiss that had Simon wishing he could turn his body more and properly kiss Jayne. His leg was still sore, Simon doubted he’d be able to put weight on it, but there was a crutch in the infirmary cupboard that he had every intention of using. It wasn’t just that Simon hated to be inactive, or that doctors made the worst patients, or even that he was hungry, but if the person who’d found them out had chosen to tell anyone, Simon didn’t want Jayne being the one to face them alone.
"No, I’ll come with you." Simon gestured to the cupboard above the sink, shifting his body slightly. "Think you can grab the crutch? It’s in that cupboard, I’d do it myself…but I prefer the excuse of watching you stretch."
Smirking at that, Jayne slid carefully off of the bed, turning to kiss Simon properly before taking a few steps and stretching his arms up over his head. And since Simon was watching, he may as well make a show of it, stretching first to one side, then the other, then leaning forward, pressing his hands to the floor. It may just have been his pride talking, but Jayne swore he could almost hear Simon drooling at that one, and he stood back up with what Simon would probably say was an entirely too self-satisfied look on his face. Finding the crutch was easy enough, since Simon kept the infirmary so anal-retentively well organized, and he brought it back, leaning it against the bed and offering Simon his arm to help him slide down.
Simon shook his head, smirking a little even though he kept his eyes on Jayne. Watching the bulge and curve of every muscle as his lover stretched, leaning forward, body taunt and tense, Simon bit back a groan, feeling a definite tightening which told him one part of his anatomy was uninjured and up for anything. Clearing his throat, Simon grinned mischievously, taking Jayne’s arm.
"I just thought of one imaginative idea to combat the lack of imaginative sex." He paused, leaning forward to whisper huskily in Jayne’s ear, "You stripping, touching yourself for me, doing exactly as I say." Nipping at Jayne’s earlobe, hoping his words had affected the merc as much as Jayne’s stretching had him, Simon slid off the bed.
Jayne shivered, wondering just when Simon had managed to perfect the sexy growl that Jayne had always thought himself the master of. "Now that just ain't right, doin' that to a man before he's about to go out in public. I have half a mind to haul you right back up onta that bed and refuse ta leave until we do just that." Careful to avoid putting any pressure on Simon's injured leg, he pressed the smaller man back against the edge of the table and claimed his mouth in a searing kiss, hips nudging forward so that Simon could feel for himself just how much of an effect his words had had on Jayne.
"I have half a mind to let you." It was more than just a tempting thought, and only the pain which flared up his leg as he tried to sneakily put weight on it tempered the idea. But then Jayne was nudging him back, Simon taking the weight off and relaxing moments before Jayne was kissing him, capturing his lips in a deep kiss that had Simon groaning, a second groan muffled by the kiss as his swollen length pressed against Jayne’s demanding one, sending delicious sensations up his spine as Simon wound a hand around Jayne’s neck, tongue tangling with Jayne’s as they kissed.
Growling into the kiss, Jayne's hands fell to Simon's hips and he gripped them hard, hauling him up and depositing him unceremoniously back on the bed. Because there was no way he was leaving this room now, he was far too worked up. He broke away from the kiss, little as he wanted to, in favor of dashing to the infirmary door and locking it from the inside, just in case whoever had come in before (or anyone else, for that matter) decided to drop by again. That being accomplished, he stepped back towards the bed, stopping about five feet away from it so that he was just out of Simon's reach. "Well then," he purred, running his hands down his chest, "where should I start?"
Shifting on the bed, getting himself comfortable and trying to stop his pants from chafing quite so much against his very enthusiastic crotch, Simon stared at Jayne, a hundred or so ideas teasing at his mind, some of which unfortunately neither one of them would be able to do right now. "Take off your shirt." His voice was soft, but there was a firm edge to it as Simon laid his hands either side of his hips, looking at Jayne through half open, lust-filled eyes. "Make sure you touch yourself, nipples, neck." Simon grinned. "Then take off your pants."
Jayne locked eyes with Simon, making sure that the man was watching him as he slipped his hands under his shirt, pushing it up as he went, hands trailing slowly up his stomach. Once the shirt was up around his shoulders he slipped it off, tossing it to the ground unthinkingly before bringing his hands back to his neck. He closed his eyes then, leaning his head back, massaging his hands over the back of his neck slowly and pushing them down, over collar bones and chest, fingers straying to tease at his nipples as they worked their way down, finally coming to rest at the closure of his pants. Eyes opening again, drinking in the sight of Simon watching him so intently as he unbuttoned his pants and worked them open, letting them pool to the floor.
Clenching his fingers into the bed was about the only thing ensuring Simon didn’t start touching himself. His eyes fixed on Jayne, appreciation and arousal dancing in them as he watched every movement, ever motion in answer to his commands and, tian a, wasn’t that thought more arousing than it should be? The idea of giving Jayne commands and the man obeying them, touching himself and stripping where Simon ordered.
He wasn’t sure if it was himself, Jayne, or perhaps even the both of them groaning when Jayne’s pants dropped to the floor, flushed and demanding cock on full show, making Simon want nothing more than to get onto his knees. But that wasn’t happening anytime soon, much as Simon wished it could; he had to settle for watching, and maybe later touching, than anything more stimulating. A hoarseness to his voice, Simon’s mouth twitched into a grin. "Touch yourself slowly Jayne. Run you hands between your thighs and cup your testicles, don’t touch anything else till I tell you too. Tease yourself where you are Jayne, use your hands and fingers and tell me what you want."
Stepping out of his pants, Jayne settled his feet far enough apart to give himself easy access to the parts that Simon wanted him to touch, running his hands up the inside of his thighs to cup his balls, fingers brushing over them teasingly and making him groan. It felt awkward to be doing this, to be touching himself with someone else watching him, but the look of obvious want and arousal on Simon's face was enough to make it more than worth it, to have his fingers straying lower, over everything but his cock, which Simon had told him to ignore.
"What I want? Well, if you didn't have that bullet hole in your leg, I wouldn't mind you bendin' me over that bed there, gettin' me ready with fingers an' tongue 'til I'm callin' out your name, whimperin' while you slick yerself up and slide inta me so slow I feel like I'll go crazy, 'til I'm pushin' back against you for more."
He stopped there, blinking in surprise at his own words. While he'd long-since come to terms with some of the desires he had, he'd never given them voice before now, and to have done so now so... explicitly, was the only word that came to mind, was more than a little surprising. But Simon seemed to have that effect on him, had him saying things that he never thought he'd want to say, so he went with it, eyes burning into Simon's, waiting for further directions.
Simon was the one biting off a whimper at Jayne’s words, fingers clenching all the more into the bed as heat shot through him. There was nothing he wanted to be doing more than just that. Teasing, stretching and lavishing Jayne’s body before sliding into him in one movement, claiming him and feeling warmth and tightness surround… Simon shuddered, feeling pre-come leaking, aroused by Jayne’s words, Jayne’s descriptions and the images and memories that surfaced.
His breaths hitching, Simon suddenly noticed Jayne’s silence, cheeks flushing as his eyes met the surprised ones of his lover. Ai ya, I hope he doesn’t stop now… The thought was instantaneous as Simon placed the surprise, his smile growing as he realized just why Jayne was so shocked. They’d glossed over this every time Simon had been the one literally in charge or on top, at least until this moment, and for Jayne to have gotten past his unease and uncertainty…
"Touch your jiba, start at the bottom and run one hand over slowly, then the other. Keep twisting your hands, touch it all Jayne, bottom and top, run your thumb over the head and tell me what you want now."
Jayne's eyes were on Simon's hands, clenching at the edge of the bed until they were white-knuckled, assuring him that Simon was enjoying this thoroughly, that he didn't look or sound like a fool. His ego sufficiently bolstered, Jayne wrapped one hand around his cock, moaning at the much-needed pressure as he stroked slowly, switching hands just like Simon said, drawing in a shuddering breath and trying to compose himself enough to keep talking.
"I wanna feel you stretching me open, feel your teeth at the back of my neck, biting hard enough ta leave a mark, claimin' me and makin' me yours while you" don't stop now, just go with it "fuck me slowly, makin' it last, takin' your time while your hands tease over my body, touchin' me everywhere but where I want it most until you can't hold back anymore, until you can't think about anythin' else but me underneath you and your hips slam forward and you scream my name as you come."
Stunned speechless, eyes glazed over as his hands clenched at the bed, Simon was unable to voice or even think of a reply. His entire attention was focused on Jayne, on the merc’s hand sliding and stroking and teasing groans from Jayne’s lips. Fixated on those lips which Simon desperately wanted to muss and make swollen, those lips he wanted to capture in a deep kiss moments before doing all those things Jayne was talking of doing.
"Ta ma de." The words were almost a whisper as his cock twitched and throbbed, making Simon ache to touch it just as Jayne was touching his own. "Suck on your finger Jayne, then use it to breach yourself. Don’t stop touching your jiba, just use your finger and open yourself up. Spread your legs and don’t stop touching till I tell you to, rotate your finger Jayne, show me what you enjoy."
Jayne's eyes gleamed at the sight of Simon actually stunned speechless. Speechless! More than enough encouragement to have him continuing this little game, bringing his hand to his mouth and slipping one finger between his lips, slowly, his tongue flicking out over it as his lips slid down, like he wished it was something else between them. Something he planned to have between them once he was finished, since Simon was still gripping the bed instead of his cock.
Once he was sufficiently slick, he replaced his hand between his legs, teasing wet fingers down his balls, then behind them. This was something he hadn't done even in private, let alone in front of an audience, but if it had the same kind of effect on Simon that his talking had, it would be well worth any awkwardness he might feel. In a fit of inspiration, he turned a bit to the side to give Simon a better view as he reached back and pressed one slick finger into his entrance, a hiss escaping through his teeth as he did.
A strangled noise somewhere between groan and cry left Simon’s lips as Jayne teased him, literally teased him by lavishing his finger and then turning to one side to give Simon a view he would applaud at given another situation. A situation that didn’t involve Simon wishing for the use of both legs and wishing to be Jayne’s finger all at the same time. Pulling at his jumper, Simon pulled it over his head, tossing it to one side as sweat ran down his back, the heat uncomfortable and only adding to the need within him.
"K-keep teasing yourself." Simon bit down on his lower lip, closing his eyes for a moment as he sought for control. Fibula, patella, clavicle, sacrum, coccyx… Feeling the heat and shudders abating, Simon opened his eyes, finding enough voice to continue with his firm commands. "Show me you’re enjoying this Jayne, work your fingers in and out, twist them around and show me what makes you groan."
Sweat-glistening bare-chested Simon was certainly not helping Jayne hang on to his composure, and neither were those strangled moans, and knowing that it was the sight of him that caused them to be pulled from those beautiful lips. Jayne added a second finger, sliding them in and out like Simon wanted him to, trying to keep the movements slow but he was so close now, between the dual assault of his own hands and Simon's presence.
He fought to keep his eyes open, to keep watching Simon watching him, the hand still working over his cock stroking faster because he couldn't hold back anymore, as fun and weird and interesting and sexy as this was. Just a few more strokes, and his fingers brushing over that spot inside him and Jayne was coming, moaning out Simon's name as his knees went week and it was all he could do not to sink down onto the floor, the odd and extremely random thought that painting the infirmary floor in this manner was hardly sanitary. Oh well. He could clean up later.
Simon shuddered as Jayne came, watching his lover intently as he moaned his release, wrapping his lips around Simon’s name and making him wish it was his cock instead. Swallowing hard, unwilling to look away from the mesmerizing image as Jayne jerked and twitched, Simon wished he could walk over and kiss Jayne till they were both breathless. But since he couldn’t, he did the next best thing the moment Jayne seemed to regain his senses.
"Come here, Jayne. Kiss me."
Gladly. He couldn't say it, as he was still panting for breath, but he thought it damned hard as walked shakily back over to Simon, resting his weight on the edge of the bed and leaning down to press his lips to Simon's. Gently at first; soft, shallow kisses that gradually grew more desperate as need overtook him until he was pushing his tongue impatiently past Simon's lips, claiming his mouth, moaning the last of his pleasure into it.
Winding hands around Jayne’s back, Simon eagerly parted lips, tongue tangling with Jayne’s, pulling him closer and deepening the kiss as his hands stroked up and down the man’s back. Mouth too occupied to give anymore orders, body too aroused to be able to formulate any coherent thoughts, Simon gasped back a hiss, his leg smarting as he thrust against Jayne. Needing completion, needing his lover and unable to shake the image of Jayne pleasuring himself, the taste of the man he now kissed…
"You stay still," Jayne growled, nipping at Simon's bottom lip in reproach. "Don't go hurtin' yerself. Now stay here." Quick as possible, he dashed over to where the pile of his clothes lay and nudged them over towards the bed where Simon was sitting. A grin twitching up the corners of his lips, he dropped to his knees on the pile of clothes, running his hands up the inside of Simon's thighs until they met at the closure of his pants, working them open. The moment Simon's cock was free Jayne's lips closed over it, sliding down, taking him in as deep as possible and sucking hard. Simon had already waited long enough that there was no reason to draw this out. To the contrary, he wanted to shove Simon right over the edge, give him the most intense climax possible after he'd denied himself his release while watching Jayne.
A thrill dashed down Simon’s spine at Jayne’s words, so possessively growled and a complete contradiction to when he was obeying orders. Much as Simon liked being in control, he also liked relinquishing it, especially since he’d found such a desire just to hear Jayne speak; his name, commands, descriptions… If Simon wasn’t careful, just a simple word from Jayne would be getting him aroused, and given some of their situations and lack of privacy, that would be embarrassing.
But all those thoughts were chased away as Jayne dropped to his knees, freeing Simon’s cock and literally inhaling it into his mouth. And then Simon was really groaning, was really close to coming, hands gripping the bed, legs curling under the bed. Simon didn’t even have a chance to thrust (which was probably just as well, might have killed the mood a little) before he felt heat rush through him, a shudder shaking his body, eyes screwing closed and Jayne’s name on his lips as every sensation coalesced into a full body shudder; dizziness overtaking the tremor, almost making him fall back onto the bed as he came.
Jayne didn't let up until Simon was whimpering, hips twitching at the stimulation to his over-sensitized flesh, and even then he couldn't suppress a little murmur of disappointment as he pulled back with a parting lick, tucking Simon back into place and doing up his pants again. Although on the plus side, sitting back on his heels gave him the opportunity to look up at Simon, take in the gorgeous sight of him all flushed and sweat-slick and panting, eyes hazy with lust as his chest heaved. If only he'd had a capture on hand. Instead he just memorized the image, burning it into his mind until he was sure that he'd be seeing it every time he closed his eyes. Which could cause some problems when he had other things to be concentrating on, like not getting shot, but he'd worry about that when the time came. For now, he just reached up and brushed Simon's hair off of his face, trailing his hand down Simon's cheek where it came to rest, thumb brushing absently over his cheek bone. "Tian xiao de Simon, you are gorgeous," he breathed, unthinkingly.
Dazed, a silly grin on his face and breathing just about coming to normal, Simon’s hand was idly stroking at Jayne’s hip when he spoke the words. Words that brought a deep blush to Simon’s cheeks, snapping him out of his orgasm-induced high and making him focus on Jayne. He opened his mouth to say something, blushed deeper and closed it again, searching for the words to describe what he felt and what he wanted to say.
Curiously, simpler seemed the best option and so, unwilling to break eye contact of the caress, Simon answered, "You’re pretty shuai yourself, Jayne."
Jayne laughed a little and got to his feet, slipping his arms around Simon's waist and leaning down for a kiss, soft and slow in a way that he'd really learned to appreciate, savoring the feel of Simon's tongue running gently along his as their lips slid together, tender and unhurried and thoroughly intoxicating. Perfect. Just like Simon was perfect, and his, and it was enough that he no longer cared that someone knew they were in here, that for all he knew all hell might break loose on him the minute he unlocked the infirmary door and stepped back outside. Especially since he'd have to stop kissing Simon in order to do that, and that wasn't something he was planning on doing any time soon.
Simon relished the kiss, eyes closing as he put every emotion he could into it, everything he stopped himself from saying. The most sensual and almost loving of kisses Simon would remember them having, speaking volumes (at least in Simon’s case) about the words he longed to say. His hands were on Jayne’s back, drawing him closer, though not with the need or desire to arouse either of them again, just the want to be closer, more intimate with his lover. What the day would bring wasn’t even on his mind, nothing was on his mind but the here and now and Jayne.
Simon's hands were so warm on his back, drawing him in in more ways than one, and Jayne took a moment to marvel at how lucky he was to have this, especially with how downright stupid he could be at times, and all the things he did to very nearly ruin it. He almost wanted to stop the kiss just so that he could say something, though he wasn't entirely sure what, so he just kept what he was doing. Words got in the way anyway, had all sorts of meanings and things attached to them that were never quite right. Much better to say it this way, to slide his hands up Simon's back in a way that said you're incredible, and I don't deserve you, and I'm so glad that even though you know that, you're too stupid to care, because I'd be lost without you. It scared him just how much he meant it.
If Simon had been thinking, really thinking, he would have been eagerly analyzing Jayne’s kiss, reading into it whatever he could and hoping that it equaled his own feelings towards the man. But he wasn’t, he was reacting, kissing back, feeling the warmth of Jayne’s arms, the security, the need Jayne had to not let him go coupled with the need to not be let go. He wasn’t willing to break the kiss, not when it seemed to be saying what they both couldn’t, not when Simon could sink into it as Jayne was and let the man truly know how he felt. Only one small thing teased at his mind, putting more emotion into the kiss; I can’t lose you Jayne, don't ever let me try. I love you too much.
It was bound to happen eventually- nothing that good could go on forever. Simon's stomach growled, reminding them both rather forcefully that food was a requirement, not a luxury. Jayne pulled back from the kiss to chuckle at the blush that he felt heating Simon's cheeks, pressing a kiss to his forehead. "Let's get you fed, shall we? I'm more'n a little hungry myself." He didn't want to stop touching Simon, didn't want to give up the warmth and comfort that his body offered, but they could hardly stay closeted in here together for the rest of their lives, lovely as the thought might be. Gathering his clothes about him, he set about getting dressed, then made his way over to the sink so that he could clean up the mess he'd left on the infirmary floor.
Once he was done, Simon had his shirt back on, and Jayne walked back over to him, straightening his hair. Satisfied that they looked passable, he offered Simon a hand down off of the bed. "Ready ta face the music?"
Damn his stomach for untimely interruptions. Simon had had no intention of stopping what he was doing, stopping kissing and caressing Jayne, not wanting the kiss-conversation they’d had to be over. But the moment was gone, and Simon couldn’t help grinning now too, his blush fading as he watched his lover get dressed, watched him hide his shuai body beneath fabric, leaving Simon with only very happy memories and anticipations of more to come.
"As I’ll ever be." Simon took Jayne’s arm, using it as leverage to slide down, grasping the crutch with his free hand and cautiously finding a balance between foot and crutch. "May just have to ask for a hand with the stairs." Simon grinned. "Hopping won’t be a problem, but I can’t hold this between my teeth."
"I could just carry you, ya know. Not like you're heavy." He kept his arm wrapped around Simon's shoulders, helping him balance, though he was still kind of hoping that no one would be around. Since it was most likely Book who'd found them, it was probable that he'd kept that little bit of information to himself, and the sight of Jayne helping Simon with anything, let alone something that involved body contact, would probably send anyone who saw it into some sort of fit. But he was tired of hiding, and this was as good a time as any to stop. So he unlocked the infirmary door and stepped out, taking a deep breath and readying himself for whatever was going to happen.
"I may take you up on that later." Simon tested the crutch, enjoying the steady arm around him, resting his head against it briefly for a moment before Jayne moved to open the door. Ideally he didn’t want for them to be caught, for there to be anger and betrayed feelings, especially from Kaylee. Simon knew hinting wasn’t enough now, knew he had to admit the truth. A truth he was happy to admit, tired of hiding it for so long. It was no one’s business but their own and he was ready to tell them all that, ready to defend his choice of lover and be defended as well.
Ignoring the pain that flared as he half hopped, half walked, Simon took a deep breath. eyes moving to Jayne as he realized there was no welcoming (or unwelcoming) committee outside the infirmary. "Breakfast?" The word held a wealth of meaning, as did the smile on Simon’s face.
"More like dinner," he reminded Simon with a laugh, relieved to find that no one was waiting to pounce on them the moment they stepped out. The little hiss of pain that accompanied Simon's first steps made him wince himself in sympathy, knowing only too well just how unpleasant it was to be shot. They made their way down to the galley without much incident, the reason for which became clear the moment they entered it. Lucky as they were (and Jayne meant that in the most ironic way possible), they'd managed to waltz right into the middle of dinner. Stunned into momentary silence, Jayne glanced around, taking in the various reactions of the crew. From the look he noticed in the Shepherd's eyes, it became immediately clear that he'd been right in his thinking that it was Book who'd found them earlier.
Well, no time like the present to be moving past all this unpleasant awkwardness. He led Simon to the table and helped him into one of the empty seats before taking one for himself. "Y'all make enough fer us too?"
"Made enough for all crew." Mal’s reaction was a grunt, the Captain having not looked up at them yet, too focused on his food, having not seen what the others had seen and were now reacting to. River was giggling, looking more than mischievous, although Simon saw her hand reach under the table to curl in Kaylee’s. Unnoticed by most, he squeezed Jayne’s thigh in support, smiling at the merc before turning back to everyone else, waiting for Jayne to take his seat and waiting for the comments to come. It didn’t take long. Kaylee was the first, though she didn’t so much speak as react, glancing from Jayne to Simon, hurt and resignation giving way to an anger that flashed briefly in her eyes when they met with Simon’s. Guilt flared within him as she stood. Back rigid and holding her dignity intact, Kaylee turned on her heel and strode out, Inara following a moment later throwing, an apologetic look their way.
"Have we stepped into an insane universe now?" Wash was paused in the act of feeding himself, food falling from his fork as he looked from Jayne to Simon.
"I miss somethin’?" Mal glanced up, looking around at them, perplexity obvious.
"'Parantly," Jayne snorted in response to Mal's query, throwing a glare Wash's way and helping himself to a bowl of the questionable-looking foodstuffs on the table. Zoe was characteristically silent, something that Jayne was glad of. He wasn't sure what her reaction would be, but given what she and Wash had gone through at Mal's hands when they'd gotten together, he had a feeling that she'd understand. He felt sorry for Kaylee, though. The girl had to find out sooner or later, but this was hardly an ideal way for that to happen. Granted, they hadn't exactly walked in holding hands and kissing, but it was still fairly obvious that something was going on. Once Simon finished eating, he should really go after her. Hopefully Inara would've calmed her down some by then.
All in all, though, this was a lot less dramatic than Jayne had feared. Granted, that was predominantly because Mal was still oblivious, but still, it was heartening. Shrugging, he tucked into his meal. Leave it to someone else to clue the Captain in. He wasn't gonna be the one to do it.
"Beginnings." River glanced up from under her lashes, giggling fit ended, smile still on her face. "Ge ge growing up."
Those words made Simon choke down the roll he was munching on, coughing to displace the food stuck in his throat as she glanced at Jayne, still smiling. Simon wasn’t sure how much he could eat, would be more than glad when dinner was over and he could retreat with Jayne, to his bunk. Food tasted almost like cardboard, and Simon was eating more because his body needed it than because he wanted to anymore. His appetite was gone, Kaylee’s hurt gnawing at him and playing at his mind.
Unable to touch Jayne, he tentatively reached out with his free leg, rubbing it against Jayne’s and offering up a half relieved smiled, only tempered by the worry and guilt he felt over Kaylee.
Mal was still frowning, Simon could feel his eyes moving from him to Jayne moments before the Captain asked again, half exasperated, half petulant, "What the goarram hell is goin’ on?"
"Well Mal, I woulda thought that'd be obvious. We're eatin' dinner. Thought you might could figure that out your own self, what with all your captain-y observation skills." Pissing off the Captain was probably not the wisest course of action, but it was way too much fun for him to pass up. "'Course, addin' in me an' Simon walkin' in together after a suspicious absence, and the fact that Kaylee's run off in a huff, maybe there's a little more to it than that." He took a bite of his food, creating an excuse for a pause that would let his words sink in. It had the desired effect. Mal's eyes widened and Jayne fought back a snicker.
"You mean ta tell me that-" Jayne nodded, his lips twitching into a grin. "Well I'll be." Mal blinked, and maybe it hadn't really sunk in yet because instead of threatening Jayne or breaking into a long-winded speech about just how very, very wrong this all was, he simply pushed his bowl away. "There goes my appetite...."
Still grinning, Jayne tucked back into his meal.
Mal had taken it better than Simon had expected. He’d half-thought the Captain might drag him to the airlock and throw him out for upsetting Kaylee and causing a ruckus, however tiny, on his ship. Blushing as he met Mal’s eyes and glancing at Jayne, who looked more than pleased with himself, Simon cleared his throat, but found nothing coming to mind. Nothing to say, nothing to react to… Aside from Mal staring at his bowl and Kaylee and Inara not being present, it was like any other day.
Simon’s eyes met Book’s, and the Shepherd gave him a discreet wink which had the blush on Simon’s cheeks deepening, mentally half groaning, half rejoicing as he realized Book was the anonymous benefactor who’d taken care to shield their relationship.
"So do we have any work on the horizon?" Simon was addressing Mal now, getting conversation back to normality and making it clear that this was no one else’s business but his and Jayne’s. "The infirmary needs restocking." And cleaning. The thought came to mind immediately, bringing up images of his lover naked, which had Simon glancing at his plate, a flush to his cheeks and small smile on his lips as he remembered their earlier activities.
Simon's casual remark snapped Mal back into reality. "Whoa-ho-ho, wait just a minute there, we ain't done talkin' about this! Jayne!" Mal turned to look at him and Jayne just lifted an eyebrow in response.
"What d'you mean ta be doin', beddin' my medic? Last I remember you weren't too keen even havin' him here, enough so that you-" He cut off there, giving Jayne a meaningful look before going on to say, "or does he not know about that?"
Fortunately for Jayne, he did. Nice move though, Cap’n, fer what you was tryin’ ta do. "Don't worry none Captain, we already been through all that. You ain't been to observant lately, else you'd've noticed months ago that Simon's been spendin' more nights than not in my bunk. Ain't been tryin' too hard ta keep it a secret." Which wasn't exactly true, but they had been reckless enough that it wasn't really a lie either.
"Been bedding with him for a while now Captain." Simon was very quiet as his eyes met Mal’s, challenging him to say more, to try to bring a wedge between them or slur Jayne’s name. The gleam in Simon’s eye spoke volumes about the responses he could formulate back. "And I don’t think our relationship is any of your business as long as it doesn’t interfere with our work. You have no grounds to question it." Calmly, though he was feeling anything but calm and half expecting Mal to whip out his gun, level it at him and declare ‘it ain’t over yet’, Simon set down his knife and fork. "If the idea still makes you queasy though, I’m sure there’s something in the infirmary that can help."
Simon’s eyes flicked to Jayne, no longer smiling and annoyed by Mal’s attempt, but as he did his foot snuck out once more to just rest against Jayne’s leg, his eyes conveying exactly how he felt.
Jayne rested his hand on Simon's leg under the cover of the table. It was a subtle gesture, but it said a lot right there about Jayne and the effect that Simon had had on him. Mal caught it, and it stilled the next words that were going to come out of his mouth.
"My own ship," he said instead, shaking his head incredulously. "People tellin’ me what is and is not my business on my own ship." He turned to Wash and Zoe. "This is all your fault, you know. The minute you two disobeyed my orders and got married you ruined all my Captain-y authority. Now every time anyone wants ta follow in your shinin' example they always bring up, 'well, Wash an' Zoe got married and that didn't complicate things none'. Anyone ever remember what happened the last time you two had a fallin' out? Wash and I got tortured! I'd call that a complication!" But his grumbling was good-natured, and Jayne had a good idea that they wouldn't hear much more about it once the initial shock died down.
Just that touch relaxed Simon, made him bite back the snaky comments as Mal got over his disbelief. Locking eyes with Jayne, Simon smiled slightly. Glad to see dinner was winding up, knowing he had to go and talk to Kaylee soon, had to go and try to sort things out. The last thing he wanted was their friendship irreparably damaged. Unable to stomach any more, his eyes flicked to Inara as she walked back in alone, taking her seat quietly and with her usual grace.
Trying to read her was impossible; it was likely only River would be able to, if even that, but Simon caught a glimmer of concern and approval in her eyes as she caught his gaze and unspoken question, and nodded. Hand moving to his crutch, Simon envisioned an unhappy confrontation which was undoubtedly easier to get over sooner than later. "I should go and check on Kaylee." His next words were soft and meant only for Jayne. Should apologise for taking so long in telling her.
Jayne nodded, squeezing Simon's leg before he let go. "You need some help, or would this go better if I stayed here? Wait, don't answer that. 'Course it'd go better if I stayed here." He laughed ruefully, debated giving Simon a quick kiss before he left, then immediately thought better of it. My bunk, later, he mouthed, angling his head so that no one else would catch the words and smiling as Simon grinned and nodded in response.
"This must be an insane universe," Wash mused aloud to no one in particular. "Since when is Jayne considerate?" Jayne kicked him from under the table and Wash yelped.
"Jayne!" Zoe fixed him with a dangerous look. "Don't go damagin' my husband. I might need him later."
"Might?" Wash pouted incredulously, and this time Zoe kicked him. Back to business as usual, and Jayne couldn't have been happier. Standing to clear his dishes, he glanced over at the Shepherd. "Thanks, by the way." Book nodded and gave him a knowing smile. Mal blinked.
"Now what in the hell was that all about? My own gorram ship! People are keepin' secrets on my own gorram ship!"
Zoe chuckled. "Better get used to it, Sir. Been happenin' for a while now. Just some of us're better at keeping things secret than others."
Mal just shook his head. "Mutiny, that's what it is." But if it led to a cuddlier, occasionally considerate Jayne, he supposed that it wasn't worth worrying over too much.
Simon was still grinning as he managed to lever himself up, hearing the laughter follow him as he managed to make his way towards the engine room. He just hoped Kaylee was there rather than in her bunk; trying to navigate a ladder would certainly be harder than stairs. Though Simon was finding himself a little unsteady as he tried to maneuver himself and his crutch up the stairs, and much as he knew it would have been a recipe for disaster and slap in Kaylee’s face, he did wish he’d brought Jayne along. Not for moral support- he needed to speak to Kaylee alone- but to help him up the stairs.
"Silly Simon." River’s words surprised him, moments before she grasped the crutch from his hands, leaving him to teeter and grasp the rail. "Should ask for help."
"I thought I could manage myself." Simon smiled slightly, though the smile faltered at her stern look.
"Not help here, geographic help. Help with Kaylee, making soul see and mind forget what’s not meant to be. Should have done sooner, not later. Now you have Jayne and she has no one, least for now."
Simon had the grace to flush at that, even as he hopped up the stairs keeping up with her walk. "It’s not as simple as that River. I couldn’t just come out and tell her-"
"Why not?" His sister fixed him with a curious gaze that had Simon wondering himself- why not? Seemed there had been reasons, and many of them, but right now he couldn’t think of any. "Be nice."
Simon looked confused for a moment, then realized where he was, outside the engine room, outside Kaylee’s sanctuary. "Thank you, River." He could hear snuffling from inside, though he couldn’t see Kaylee from the door. Taking a deep breath and steeling himself Simon stepped inside, the mechanic's name on his lips.