|Sometimes, being captain means you've got to know everything
that's going on. Other times, it means knowing – and seeing – way too
much. Mal doesn't look for those times. They just sneak up on him, when
he ain't being alert. So, it's generally his own fault.
He knows this. But hell if he's going to admit it.
Mal's been bellowing for Jayne for what seems like half an hour now. It ain't really been that long, but gorram it, why's Jayne gotta be right there when you don't want him around, but hard to find otherwise? They're landing in a hour, they've got cargo to unearth from hiding places, and Jayne should've been waiting before Mal even told him. Man might be moronic about manners and smarts, but he knows his job.
There's one place left to look, and Jayne better not be sleeping. Mal shouts, "Jayne!" as he kicks open the door to Jayne's bunk, looking down in preparation to climbing in.
And. Nope. Jayne ain't sleeping. He ain't even on his bed.
It takes Mal a moment to register what he's seeing. Top of Jayne's head, leaning back against the wall near the door. Shiny, glossy head of hair, lower down, pressed up close to Jayne's crotch. One hand just visible, gripping Jayne's hip. And then Jayne's head tilts back more, enough so he can see Mal looking down at him. Them.
"Mal." His voice is a touch strained.
Mal clears his throat, concentrates on keeping his eyes on Jayne's face, his shoulders, anywhere, because he doesn't want to see Simon looking up at him, sliding away from Jayne, mouth slick, eyes squinty like he's a little pissed off. He can't be seeing this. "We got cargo to haul out."
Jayne nods, but the angle makes his hips push out a little as his head moves. Mal looks up, away. "I gotcha. Be right up."
"Good." He shuts the door hard, and heads back down to the cargo bay.
Jayne always figured one of Mal's problems was his sense of timing. That, and his rutting stupid plans. And his aim's kinda off. Plus he don't trust others, 'cept maybe Zoe, to do what needs to get done.
Not that Jayne's all that trustworthy some days, but hell. He knows they got cargo to deal with, and still an hour before landfall. Won't take that long to get set out and up, get his guns in order, and be waiting for the drop.
Anyway, Simon had come to his bunk. Can't say no to that. He'd like to see Mal try.
And, he's gotta hand it to Simon. Man didn't flinch too much when Mal opened up the door, yelling. Didn't pull back all flustered. Just stayed down there, Jayne's cock in his hot mouth.
Simon's got a pretty mouth, and he knows what to do with it. Now Mal's finished with his interrupting and ordering, Jayne's free to look back down, get back to paying real attention. 'Cause it's kinda mesmerizing to watch Simon move, to watch his cock slide in, out of Simon's mouth.
Simon's got rules. Jayne ain't allowed to set the pace when Simon's sucking on him. Simon gets to call the shots here, though he don't much care about when it's Simon's turn. Then, Jayne gets to do whatever he wants, and Simon just enjoys the hell out of himself.
He said that once. Well, he put it in fancified words, but Jayne got it.
With Simon, it ain't like some of the whores he's had. Maybe they were real pros, mostly real good at getting him off, but Simon, he's got a way.
He makes – noises. Lots of noises. From the minute he starts unbuttoning Jayne's pants, he's making these noises, like he really likes what he's doing. Little huffy noises at first, deep breathes as he wraps his hand around Jayne's cock, and then deeper sounds, way back in his throat, as he sucks.
Figures that Simon can't shut up, not even then.
But Jayne ain't gonna say anything, ain't gonna gripe, nope, never, because all them noises, Simon's little grunts and hums and gorram whatever, hell they feel good. Causing these vibrations against his cock, and they get all tangled up with the slide of Simon's lips, the press of his tongue.
Simon ain't all tentative. He ain't gentle. He works Jayne the way he likes it, maybe even better. Like now. It's hot, sexy.
"Hell," he says, 'cause this ain't never getting old.
First time this happened, he figured Simon had lost his mind a little. Second time, he didn't bother thinking.
Now, he's almost there, and he's got his hand wrapped up in Simon's hair. He can't help himself, he thrusts forward, deeper into Simon's mouth, and Simon grunts, swallows around him.
And that's just – gorram. Simon moves his hands to Jayne's hips, grips real hard, and just holds still, swallowing, swallowing, until Jayne ain't got nothing left. As he pulls back, off, Jayne hisses a little, and watches Simon wipe his mouth, grinning.
Simon laughs, as he stands. It's a weird sound, not like a laugh at all. "I'm not sure Mal thought so."
Jayne ain't interested in what Mal thought, so he shrugs. Simon pulls Jayne's pants closed, steps back so Jayne can do them up.
After, Simon always rinses out his mouth.
First time he did that, Jayne had smirked and said, "Prissy," and that got him a flat look, hard eyes, so he'd just shut his mouth. Personally, Jayne don't bother with that afterwards. Not unless he's drinking some hooch anyway, when it's all part of the same fun night. Or afternoon, whatever. But maybe rich folk (or folk what used to be rich, anyway), maybe they got different ways.
So, Simon rinses out his mouth, and then does up pants, starts on his shirt. This time, he got his first.
Got Jayne's hand down his pants, Jayne's mouth on his neck. Shoved right up against the wall, one leg up on the edge of the bed, while Jayne worked his cock. Simon, he's got decent balance.
Jayne shakes off the memory, says, "I got cargo to carry."
Simon nods, looking up from the buttons on his shirt. "Have fun."
Yeah, Jayne thinks, as he climbs up the ladder. Cargo.
Mal's waiting for him in the cargo bay, arms crossed, faced relaxed in that way that means he ain't relaxed at all. "Wondered if you'd ever get here."
Jayne ain't in no mood for this now. Mal's always on him these days. Then again, he's like that with them all, except maybe Inara and River. He's tensed up, all the time. He ain't never been the picture of relaxed, but there was a time when he had some fun, at least. A few good laughs.
Not lately though. Jayne just shrugs, says, "Let's get on it."
They do, opening up compartments, hauling the stuff out, Jayne stacking it up nice. They're half-through when Mal says, "I ain't paying you to get your cock sucked."
Jobs have been scarce for a space now, fewer people sending stuff off world as the Reavers get closer. There ain't so much crime, neither. Like everyone's gone to ground, after the broadcast. And it just got worse after Reavers hit Beaumonde. Half their contacts got themselves killed.
Feds ain't doing squat about the Reavers either, just pulling back patrols. Mal says they're squaring for a fight closer to home. Where they figure people actually count.
All of it put together, it means it's harder to get jobs. So Jayne's right justified in asking, "You're payin' me?"
Mal scowls. He don't like to be reminded of the bugger they're in, it always makes him pissy, even sometimes yelling at Kaylee. Not as bad as back on Haven, but Jayne's starting to wonder, some days, if Kaylee was right, way back. Mal'll drive them off the boat, one day. Sometimes he wonders what it is even keeping him here. It sure ain't the food or the pay.
Might be safer to go to ground, anyway.
"It's a gorram distraction." As Mal says it, he stumbles, the crate nearly drops down, but Jayne catches the bottom corner in time.
"We ain't givin' each other google-eyes over food or nothin'. It's just fun. Anyway, looks like it's distractin' you more'n me."
If Jayne were into thinking on things, he'd probably be thinking that maybe Mal's worried Jayne'll get himself all torn up, one day, the way Zoe is since Wash got done in. But he ain't interested in them kind of thoughts, and anyhow, he ain't Zoe.
He don't got to justify himself.
Simon crosses his arms, and says, "I don't have to justify my actions, Captain. Not to you."
But Mal begs to differ. "If you're gonna be interfering with my crew, I think I ought to have a say-so."
And Simon actually smirks at him. He's getting more pushy each day, it seems. "Interfering? So, is that what we're calling it these days? And what exactly are you going to do? Punch me? That's hardly new, and I've weathered it before."
"Bad enough when you were making my mechanic starry-eyed, but Jayne?" And he ain't going to ask about what happened between Simon and Kaylee. Kaylee hasn't been moping around, or banging up things in the engine room the way she does when she's real upset. So he figures that it ended without tears, which is a gorram good thing.
This time, Simon sighs, and it brings to mind Inara for a minute, the way she gets when she thinks he's being stupid and proud. His voice is even kind of gentle when he speaks. Brittle. The way hers can get. "Mal. We're hardly gazing at each other over the dinner table."
It's a mite disturbing how this almost mimics Jayne's earlier words.
"We've all had –" he pauses, like he can't say it, but then he does, "a shock lately. And things are getting more dangerous out here, each day. Sometimes, though, people don't want to be thinking about danger only. We know what we signed on for, and we're not planning on leaving." Simon moves closer, just a little. "We're here for the long-haul, with you, even if that haul doesn't turn out to be so long. So, let us –"
Mal holds up his hand. He's not quite sure he can hear what Simon might be about to say. Same as he can't quite listen to what Zoe doesn't say to him every day. But Simon's not finished. He's never finished when Mal wants him to be.
"You've got to trust us."
"River told me what you said to her. About a ship running on love."
"Oh, please gorram do not tell me that you and Jayne went and fell in –"
Simon laughs, and it's harsh. Maybe bitter. "Hardly."
He feels himself relax a little, 'cause that's maybe all right.
"What I mean is, we all know what you're doing to keep us flying. We know the strain it puts on you. And you put it right back on us. So let us do what we need to keep flying with you. Because none of us wants to leave, not really. No matter what's happened."
The rest is unspoken. No matter what he might have done to get them to this place, no matter how hard he pushed them all, back on Haven. No matter what they all lost.
He doesn't want to admit it, but what Simon's saying makes some sense. A kind of logical, doctorly, touchy-feely sense, and he wonders for a minute how much psych training Simon's had. And what else maybe he's doing to try and keep the crew held together; to keep himself in one piece.
So he nods, and turns to leave the infirmary. They're landing in maybe five minutes; Zoe's at the helm. She's good, but not as good as Wash was, and the ship is already shuddering at the atmo entry.
Nothing better be falling off, this time.
He's a few steps out the door when he remembers the reason he was there in the first place. He hadn't even planned bringing up the abomination that was Jayne and Simon sharing a bed. Or a wall. It just – came up. With Simon, something always comes up that rubs Mal just the wrong way.
But he can't forget the real business, and he walks back to the door. Simon, he's still standing there, like he's waiting. He ain't surprised Mal's come back, and maybe even looks like he's fixing himself for a fight.
But all Mal's got to say is, "It'll probably get ugly, down there."
Simon nods. "It wouldn't be a job if it didn't." And he's kind of smiling, and the tension between them has decided to slink off, hide in a dark corner until the next time one of them does something to annoy the other.
So, probably a couple of hours, at least. "You set yourself up for taking care of my crew."
Simon nods, gestures at the neat rows of bandages, needles and various other things that it ain't Mal's job to look at, all spread out on the counter behind him. "I'm already waiting."
Good. Good. But he can't help himself, he has to make a little dig. Schooling his face serious, he says, "River's got a feeling she's gonna get shot. Leg, she says, but not fatal. I figure she can't handle pain the way Jayne can. Best get out your fancy drugs."
And Simon's eyes narrow. He's so gorram easy to set off, always has been, and it makes something in Mal grin. So, he waves and heads out the door, trying not to laugh at the sound of Simon swearing.
Summary: They all have adjustments to make. Post-movie.