Mal claps him on the shoulder, and Kaylee smiles at him when she's not looking sad over Simon. Wash don't make too many jokes at his expense for a while, just grins at him, and moons over Zoe. Some things, they don't change.
His guns are in O.K. shape, but he's pleased to be able to get some time with them, clean them and oil them good. They got neglected, and that ain't right.
That's what he thinks about. He stays focused, now that he's back.
"Simon. You've got to eat. Please." Kaylee's pleading, sounding real sweet and kinda desperate, using a voice she'd never use for Jayne. But no matter how sweet she sounds, it don't make Simon budge an inch. He just looks at the wall and ignores the crap-smelling food in front of him. Gorram doctor might be addled, but it don't make him any less stubborn.
Jayne snorts. All the hand-holding, the careful words, they're doing nothing for Simon. Putting his mug down, he raps on the table hard enough make the plates jump. Simon looks at him. They all do. "Eat. Now."
He should feel something when Simon picks up his chopsticks and starts slowly eating. He should feel something other than annoyance at the way Kaylee and Mal look at him, sad and irritated. Instead, he just shrugs.
When Kaylee clears her throat and says, "Um, thanks," Jayne grunts. "Don't coddle him. He needs tellin'."
There's silence around the table. Once, he would've wondered at it - now, he just ignores it, and eats his food. Silence, noises - don't pay to give either much mind in prison, so he don't see the point in bothering now either.
Finally, Mal asks, "He always been this way?"
"Yeah. Or worse."
Nobody says much, after that, but Simon keeps eating.
Jayne gags his own food down.
It shouldn't surprise him that after a few nights back on the ship, he comes down to his bunk to find Simon sitting on the floor. He should've known.
"Can't sleep down here." Hell if he's going to share his bunk again, after all that time. Mal hired him with the promise of his own gorram bunk. It's one of the few things that kept him here, before. His own bunk, and ten percent. That's all he wants.
"Can't sleep up there."
They're the first words he's heard from Simon since the day they got back. Maybe he's been talking to Kaylee, or Mal, or maybe the preacher, but if so, Jayne hasn't heard about it. He tries not to care one way or another, because Simon finally ain't his responsibility alone. "You got your own gorram bunk. Ain't in prison no more."
But Simon just looks at him, and Jayne wonders if maybe he still is.
"Git." He tries to make it sound serious, but Simon almost smiles, crooked-like. Aw, hell. "Fine. But you ain't sleepin' on my bed."
And he gets undressed, 'cause Simon can deal with seeing him naked if he's in Jayne's own bunk. He gets into bed, sheets pulled up close, and turns to stare at the wall with his guns. They're clean and shiny and they fill up the space real good.
He falls asleep with the lights still on, and he won't ever say, but hearing Simon's breathing, regular, maybe that helps. He hasn't been sleeping so good either.
It's less than a week back when Jayne goes out on his first regular job. His reflexes aren't as good, he can tell, but it's easy work, just busting a few heads, shooting a few bullets. They get the job done, get paid, and Jayne gets back into a regular routine. Target practice, weights, pull ups. He's got to get back into peak form. Mal won't keep him around if he's a dead weight.
Simon's a dead weight, worse even maybe than little sister ever was. Maybe it's just that they all remember when he could patch them up good; or they got not-so-good memories of him being bossy and pushy in the infirmary. Now, they got no doctor, and a boatload of crazy, even if that crazy is quiet and creepy, instead of loud and annoying.
So, it's almost like old times.
He's walking up to the cockpit, moving quiet like he learned in prison, when he hears the talk.
"What are we going to do about him, sir?"
There's a long pause, then Mal answers, "I got no idea. Didn't think he'd be like this, and we got no one to ask about what best to do for him. I'm glad we got him out, but we ain't what he needs."
"Jayne seems to know."
Mal snorts. "Right. Jayne knows how to get him to eat, but that ain't gonna make him better. Hell, having Jayne around might make him worse."
That ain't right. Rutting Mal, figures he would start up with those thoughts. Never once saw the things Jayne did for Simon; or the things he <i>didn't</i> do to Simon. Nope, Mal, he's got to be the big hero, trying to find ways to fix what got broke real bad. Things that ain't his business.
"And we ain't exactly needing more crazy. Jayne's not in peak form and I think he's a mite messed in the head himself; we got no doctor, and I don't need a destabilizing influence."
"Big words, sir."
"Big problem, Zoe."
Hell. He turns around and heads down to his bunk. Simon's already hiding out there, sitting on pillows on the floor. They're fancy pillows, shiny colours, and Inara must have given them to Simon, 'cause Jayne sure as shit don't own them sorts of things. He looks up when Jayne hits the floor.
"You plannin' on gettin' any more sane? 'Cause Mal and Zoe, they're having words about you." It's not like he cares none, but Simon should know that Mal's planning something.
He doesn't get an answer. Simon's staring at the wall. Mal might not know what Simon needs, but Jayne's got no clue himself.
He's half-expecting it when Mal corners him two days later. Hell, he expected it faster than this.
Mal looks kind of uncomfortable, and Jayne can count on one hand the number of times Mal's looked edgy around him like this. Like he got something he don't want to say or do. It makes Jayne want to smirk, the smallest bit, because for once, maybe he's got something on Mal. Maybe, for once, Jayne's got the high ground here.
So he don't make it easy. He just stares Mal down.
"We got a problem with Simon. Seems he's a mite unstable."
Jayne snorts. "You saw that back in the prison. Didn't have to break him out."
And Mal, he nods. "I've thought on that myself."
"So?" He crosses his arms.
"So, we can't do nothing for him here. He's no use to us the way he is, and him just being here ain't helping with his own problems."
"Had crazies onboard before."
"Yeah. And last time, we had a doctor who could cope with it. Kinda. Maybe. At least he was all there."
Jayne can't argue with any of it. So he doesn't say anything, and Mal gets even more twitchy. And, just like Jayne knows is his way when he gets to feeling like that, Mal gets pushy, starts lashing out at them who don't deserve it.
"Don't pass me by that he's staying in your bunk, Jayne." His eyes are narrowed now, suspicious-like. It makes Jayne want to laugh. "I ain't gonna sanction anything like that, not while you're on my boat."
There it is. The threat, typical Mal. Do as I say, or get off. No questions.
"You think I'm gettin' sexed by the doc regular? 'Cause maybe it escaped yer keen sense of observation that he ain't all there. Can't even properly see what's in front of him some days. And I ain't no Reaver."
Mal stares at him for a space longer, then backs down, the way he does when he knows he ain't got any ground to stand on. "Never said you were."
Right. Maybe not, but some days, Jayne's sure Mal thinks he's near enough.
"But I figure you got some say in maybe what we do with him."
And that's surprising. That's an apology, right there, Jayne knows Mal enough to see that. Ain't a usual thing, Mal offering people a say.
But it don't much matter, because Jayne's had enough. He never signed up for baby-sitting duty, no matter what he did back in prison. He pushes past Mal, heads for his bunk, saying, "Well, I don't."
When he climbs down, Simon's there. Again. Like he never leaves. Simon looks at him, face set in that blank look that is starting to damage Jayne's calm, and Jayne tells himself there's no accusation there. Doc's too addled to be accusing him of anything. And it ain't like he's done anything anyway.
It's Book who comes up with the idea. A colony, something he's been thinking about for a long space, not just now that Simon and Jayne are back.
Haven. Mal and Zoe, they know it, it's clear as day when it gets brought up.
A place where what Book calls 'lost souls' gather, settle, carve out a life for themselves. It's a place Book figures he could do some work, help ease burdens. And maybe a place where Simon can find some peace. Settle back into himself, if there's anything left.
Plus, Haven's a good hidey-hole, a decent place to go to ground when things get rough. Always good to have another friend planet-side.
It gets discussed over meals, bunch of times. Everyone uses careful words, speaks slowly. Each time, Simon's there, but he don't say nothing. Just sits. Eats when Jayne tells him. Stares. It's unsettling to most of them at the table, but not Jayne. He's used to it.
In the end, after another night of talking on it, Mal turns to Jayne. "Well?"
Jayne shrugs. "Yeah. I guess."
And that's that. Decision's made.
He's looking forward to having his bunk back.
Prompt: something from Glass Walls
Notes: I never intended to write a sequel for Glass Walls, as the story feels done to me, and I like it the way it is. But there are post-story scenes that I sometimes think about - so. These are them. They're a little disjunctured. I wouldn't call this a story or a sequel, so much as possible scenes/snapshots after the end of the story. A couple are older and have been sitting on my hard drive for ages - they've been cleaned up and added; some are new; one refers to something from the movie.