Jayne notices Simon; River notices Jayne noticing.
Kaylee had warned them beforehand, but it had been a far sight from adequate. The explanation of why she couldn’t wait until they were planetside to remove the thing and turn off the other thing and fix the one thing was the part of the warning had gone right over Jayne’s head, and when she’d said there might be some tossing about, she’d been underexaggerating, so in essentials there hadn’t been a warning.
Jayne obviously wasn’t the only one whose appreciation of the ship’s random pitching was less than perfect; from another part of the boat came Mal’s grumpy-sounding complaint, “Kaylee, aren’t you finished with that yet?” It really was enough to set a man’s nerves all jangling, not knowing when the ground was going to be steady and when it wasn’t. Still, a man also couldn’t help but chuckle at watching an uptight doctor at the other end of the table get splashed all over the face with his own lunch when another violent tremor rocked the kitchen and everything else.
Simon shot him a mild dirty look and mopped the mess first from his skin, then from the table, with a handkerchief. “This is a lost cause,” he murmured, and rose to clear his spot.
“Good thing I chose non-watery stuff,” Jayne grinned, pleased with himself, around a mouth of protein-protein sandwich.
“Yes, what foresight,” Simon replied, heading for the kitchen door.
Scratching at a recently-healed bullet graze on his leg, Jayne inquired, “That like foreplay at all?”
The troublesome itch on his thigh, Simon walking past him at that very moment, and another, especially violent toss of the under-maintenance ship coincided just then; the doctor was thrown right into Jayne’s lap and Jayne nearly out of his chair, the result being that the gunman’s hand was suddenly pinned, palm-up, between his nether regions and Simon’s.
Huh. Maybe he was just going bibbledy, but it sure did seem like Simon had about the damn nicest ass he’d felt for a long while. Which was funny, because Simon was a man and Jayne didn’t much give men a second thought when it came to their asses or other parts not visible in typical moments. Sure, he’d had a thing or two with the odd fellow — who hadn’t? — on those outposts where ready women were scarce or, worse, dirty, but that was necessity, not predisposition.
Still, a nice ass was a nice ass. Jayne’d have thought, if he’d ever given the matter a hair’s worth of consideration, that Simon was too scrawny and didn’t do enough in the way of physical exertions to have much worth considering; maybe it was some kind of doctor specialty. Made Jayne wonder what Simon looked like naked, what else he might have hidden under all that frilly stuff.
He was about to make a comment to that very purpose, but Simon, who’d risen with half an apology and was now eyeing him like he’d suddenly gone green in the jowls, backed out of the kitchen before Jayne could get breath for a single syllable.
Jayne shrugged and went back to his meal. There’d be another time.
“Time is an abstraction, at which we arrive by means of the changes of things,” said River.
Starting halfway out of his seat and then settling again, Jayne growled, “You know, you could warn people when you’re in the room; crazy’s better when I’m prepped for it.”
She stepped into his line of sight, her bare feet just as silent as they’d obviously been when they brought her in here. The ship saw fit to heave again, and River, swaying with it, kept eerie impeccable balance without even needing to grab the table for support. Her next spot of creepiness was to lean over, resting one elbow on the table and her chin in her hand, and stare at him fixedly, thoughtfully.
“What?” wondered Jayne, eyeing her right back. Gorram off-kilter psychic.
She stood straight and turned her head very slowly toward the door Simon had used.
“What?!” Jayne demanded a second time.
“Where will you arrive by means of the changes in things?” she mused. “Where will he?”
“We’re headin’ for Craterside, if that’s what you’re askin’.”
She gave him that narrow-eyed expression that said she didn’t have the patience for… whatever her patched-up brain had conjured this conversation concerned… and, turning, walked silently toward the door. As she passed him, she very pointedly ran a hand over her petite left buttock and cast Jayne an inscrutable look down her nose.
“Simon!” she called as she passed through the doorway out of sight, and Jayne suddenly figured he maybe fathomed her meaning. Looked like it came down to a toss between letting River say it as twist-brained sisterly advice, or saying it himself. And when you put it like that, maybe lunch could wait a spell.
“Hey doc!” he called, getting up. “Deng yi miao!” And a little unsteadily in the midst of the next tremor, he left the kitchen, following the Tams.
Aletsan beat me at the Quote Guessy Game, and requested a Jayne/anyone/Jayne ficlet. So I ventured for the first time into the realm of writing Firefly. I think I hit all the obligatory points: fangirl Chinese, personal and probably inadequate interpretation of River, glossing over even what basic physics I understand, and a half-assed attempt at getting into the space-western voice without losing the finer points of my own narration.
River’s line about time is a quote from some famous physicist or philosopher or philosopher-physicist or something. It fit my needs. And then I had to throw in some (debatable) implication with her that this isn’t just Jayne/Simon, but River/Jayne/Simon.
Anyway, it’s a cute little fic, and definitely not bad for my only Firefly attempt. I’ve rated it . What do you think of it?