Waking up, Jayne realised two things: First, he felt like he'd been run over by a herd of cattle; and second, there was one damn-bad smell in his bunk. And it weren't 'cause of any cattle. He pushed the covers aside, wincing as his head throbbed.
It took a few minutes, but eventually he realised the smell was him. What the hell? Hadn't he had his weekly bath already? The smell was ungodly. He looked down at his clothes, and quickly stripped them off. He'd burn'em. But first, it was time for a bath. Might help with his hurting head too.
Naked, he stalked down the hall. There was no use putting on fresh clothes while he stank this way. It was just too damn bad the water facilities were on the other side of the ship.
Not that he'd ever had a problem being naked. In fact, it was damn comfortable, and he looked damn good, even if he had to say so himself because no one else was sayin' anything.
* * *
He started to feel better once he began walking. The thought of that bath was almost enough to get rid of the headache.
The ship was pretty quiet, and at first he thought he'd make it to the bath without encountering anyone. Didn't want to offend his crewmates with his smell. Course, things never quite went the way he planned 'em.
The first person he ran into - not literally - was Inara. She looked him up and down, an expression of horror slowly covering her face. "Jayne, you're --"
He held up his hand to cut her off. "I know. I reek. Gonna take care of that right now."
She sniffed delicately. Come to think of it, Inara did an awful lot delicately, including walk in her pretty little dresses. "I don't really smell --"
"No need to be polite, girl. I'm going to scrub down now." He headed back on his way.
"Jayne! Where are your clothes?"
He turned slightly, confused when Inara quickly flicked her eyes away. "Oh, I'll burn'em, don't you worry."
As he strode away, he was pretty sure he heard her mutter, "That's not what I'm talking about."
Halfway to the bath, he met up with Kaylee. He wasn't all that surprised when her eyes widened and she covered her mouth and nose. "Kaylee. Just on my way to the bath."
"Bath?" Her voice was muffled.
"Yep. 'Bout time I wiped this stink off me."
"Stink? I don't smell anything."
"You keep your pretty little hand over your nose, and you won't."
Looking even more startled, she removed her hand and gazed at it. "Pretty?" The hand in question was covered in grease and small cuts.
"Wouldn't say it if I didn't mean it."
She gazed at her hand a moment more, a slightly silly smile on her face. "That's real nice of you to say." Then she looked up and blanched once more before averting her eyes. "I don't smell anything different on you."
Jayne snorted. "You been down in the engines too long. It's messing up your senses." He moved passed her and kept on his way.
He encountered Zoe as he passed through the mess hall. He didn't notice her sitting in a darkened corner, doin' who knows what, until he heard her yell at his retreating back,
"Thought I told you to keep your clothes on!"
Shrugging off her strident voice -- whatever had made him think about doing her anyway? -- he smiled as he saw the open door to the washroom. Nearly there. He couldn't wait to get in some nice hot water and scrub away at his skin. He hoped Inara had left her fancy-ass scrub brush.
He was just walking through the doorway to the bath as he heard the captain's voice. "I can't help but notice you're naked there, Jayne."
Turning around, he nodded. "No point in washin' with clothes on."
"Uh-huh." Mal looked doubtful, his eyes resolutely fixed on Jayne's face.
"I'm gonna burn my clothes after the bath."
"Not all of them, I hope. I'm not sure the crew would be too happy with you walking around naked all the time."
"Nah. I got extras. I woke up dressed in some pretty rank clothes. Just can't stomach wearing anything that smells that bad again."
"Since when were you concerned about personal hygiene?"
Ouch. That was just hurtful. "You don't have to be unkind. There's a difference between not being too worried and smellin' this bad. This is crossing the line. I woke myself up with my own stink."
Mal sniffed deeply. "Jayne, I can't say I smell anything
usual on you. Didn't you just have your weekly bath?
Jayne was astounded. "You got olfactory problems?"
"Cain't you smell? I smell like I spent a month-long bender in a cheap brothel on a mud colony that raises pigs in their spare time." He should know. He'd done that once. Shuddering at the thought of being around so many women with sex on their minds, he continued, "I'd love to chat some more, Captain, but I got me a date with some bubbles."
Mal's eyes widened, making him look oddly like Kaylee for a moment. "Bubbles?" His voice was faint.
"Uh huh," Jayne nodded cheerfully and ducked through the door of the washroom.
* * *
He was sitting, eyes closed and chin-deep in some flowery-smelling liquid when Simon walked in. He didn't need to open his eyes to know it was the doc. He'd recognise that cautious little walk anywhere.
"Jayne. That's an interesting floral scent you're sitting in."
He shrugged. "It weren't my first choice, but you know, take what you can get. It's better'n what I was smelling like before."
"About that smell --"
Jayne sat bolt upright, alarmed. Precious water and bubbles splashed over the side of the tub. "You can still smell it?"
Simon shook his head. "I've talked to the captain, Kaylee and Inara. They all said they couldn't smell anything on you."
"They're all damaged in the head. You been experimenting on them or somethin'?" He realised how tactless that comment was only after he'd said it. Course the doc wouldn't be experimenting, not after what had gone and been done to his sister. He thought about apologising, but maybe that was a little weak. He just looked contrite -- he hoped -- instead.
Simon didn't even seem to have noticed the slip. He was staring at Jayne with a slightly hungry look on his face.
"The captain wanted me to check you out, to make sure you were feeling fine. I was about to gather up a medical kit and come and examine you. I thought maybe you had a head injury or some other pathology. River stopped me on my way to the infirmary."
Yeah, she probably had some crazy fit. "So?"
"So she mentioned that perhaps she knew what it was you were smelling."
"Oh yeah? Was it something to do with a brothel, a mud colony and a pig farm?" He enjoyed the momentary confused look on Simon's face.
"Not quite." Simon was moving closer to the tub. "I didn't take you for a bathtub kind of man, Jayne."
"Nothing wrong with a hot bath after a long day." Or after waking up, feeling slightly off and not quite himself. "Takes out the knots in the muscles."
"Uh-huh." Simon was at the edge of the tub now, standing in a puddle of water and looking almost greedy.
"What were you saying about the smell?"
Reaching down to grab a handful of the bubbles, Simon smiled. Jayne found himself admiring the toothy grin. Doc should smile more often.
"Well, River said something about washing off a certain scent that only you could smell. It's a smell you woke up to."
Jayne went from admiring the doc's grin to starting to get annoyed with this round about conversation. Couldn't a man have a bubble bath in peace? He could be lying here thinking about cleaning and lubing his weapons or something. "So?" He used his best 'get to it or I'll break your nearest bone' voice.
Simon flicked the bubbles off his fingers. "She said you were in the bath washing off the stink -- " he started to unbutton his waistcoat.
Jayne was oddly transfixed.
"-- of heterosexuality." The waistcoat fell away, and Simon pulled his shirt over his head, dropping the cloth to the floor.
"Huh?" Jayne was too entranced with Simon's fingers working on his belt to be paying much attention to the words. They took a few moments to sink in. "Heterosexuality?"
Simon started to wiggle out of his pants. "So I thought to myself, Simon, there is only one way to find out if River's right. She is, after all, a little crazy, and we shouldn't take her proclamations at face value."
The doc had some pretty prissy underpants on. Maybe it would be best to just take them right off. Jayne opened his mouth to offer the suggestion, but Simon cut him off.
"Are you thinking about women right now, Jayne?"
"Would you maybe like Inara to walk in the door and get in that tub with you?"
"Hell no!" The words just jumped out of his mouth. He didn't even have to think about it.
"She's pretty and elegant and all, but no." He had nothing against elegance, even if it had something against him. He could just think of someone else who had that elegant edge he'd rather be in a tub with.
"So. Would you like Kaylee to be in the tub?"
Jayne laughed, and then started to choke as Simon pulled his underpants down and stepped out of them. Delicately, the doc sniffed at his own skin.
"You know what, Jayne? I've realised two things: One, I'm pretty sure that River was right -- you woke up today and weren't quite as straight as you thought; and two, I believe I may detect a faint smell on myself as well. Would you mind if I joined you in that tub? You could scrub my back, and I could scrub yours. I'd make sure you got rid of all that smell you object to so much."
Quickly, Jayne drew up his knees, making more room for another person. "Get in."
More water spilled over the sides of the tub as Simon climbed in. It was a waste of water and Mal might have his hide, but Jayne didn't care. Simon was going to clean him. Simon was going to clean him real good.
Disclaimers: Not my characters.
Summary: There's some kind of funky smell out there, and
needs to wash it right off. Now.
Notes: Wake Up Gay. Humour. Satire. Poking fun at ridiculous stereotypes. Harrassing Jayne.
Squeaky beta read this for me, which was super-cool of her. Thank you! Also, thanks to Juli and her poetry, from which I've borrowed the concept of Jayne's weekly bath.