Compromising Positions | Into the Black | Contact

Comfort

Notes: Okay, so llaras and I were chatting one night in chat and we got on a bit of a roll about how bad Jayne would be at comforting someone – the awkward back pat and all that – at the time it was hysterically funny. Well, the bunny came after me and guess what? Not so funny.




I can’t fix it and it’s killin’ me. He’s been sittin’ there on his bunk for hours, just starin’ off inta nothin’, fingers clenched in his lap, his face twisted in grief. He’s not cryin’, but I almost think maybe he should. He’s tyin’ himself up in knots, blamin’ himself for something he had no control over.

I don’t know what to do. I ain’t good with words, never have been. I can’t go kill the thing that’s makin’ him miserable, ‘cause it ain’t a person, so I kinda hover around him, feeling useless. I start fiddling with his Cortex unit, hopin’ that maybe he’ll get so pissed at me that he’ll start yellin’ at me and get rid of some of the tension, but he doesn’t even look up.

I put the unit down and sit beside him. I’ve still got nothing to say, so I awkwardly pat his back. He scowls and shifts away from my hand and brings his knees up to his chest and buries his face against them.

“Go away, Jayne,” he mutters, his voice muffled.

“No,” I say and put my arm around him. He pushes me away and gets up off the bed and wraps his arms tightly across his chest, glaring at me.

“Please, Jayne. Just go away,” he says roughly.

“I ain’t goin’ nowhere,” I growl back at him. “And you know you can’t make me.” The look he throws me could scorch metal. Simon turns his back to me and hunches in on himself.

“Dammit, Jayne. Why can’t you just…”

“Fuck off and leave you alone?” I finish for him. “’Cause I don’t think you should be alone right now. You ain’t thinkin’ straight.” I get up off the bunk and wrap my arms around him. He stiffens, but after a while he lets himself lean back against me. I stroke his hair and shoulders and I can feel him relax a bit. He finally turns around and wraps his arms tightly around me, grabbing a handful of shirt and burying his face against my chest “They’re dead, Jayne,” he whispers. “My parents are dead.”

I just hold him closer and continue rubbing his back. What can I say? ‘Good riddance?’ Where I come from, parents don’t abandon their kids, no matter what kinda trouble they get into and from what Simon’s told me, his just up and washed their hands of him when he started tryin’ to get his sister outta that school that made her all freaky. What they done makes me madder than hell and here Simon sits, torn apart by guilt for bein’ angry at his parents.

“Two years, Jayne. Two years, without a word from us. They died not knowing we were safe…,” he trails off and a shudder goes through him and his fingers clutch tighter at my shirt. “Why didn’t I try to contact them?”

“Shh, Simon,” I respond and keep running my fingers through his hair. “You were wanted fugies. It was too dangerous. Mal wouldn’t have let you anyhow, even if you wanted to.”

“Jayne, I should have….”

“No, you shouldn’t have,” I state firmly and reach down and tilt his chin up so that he’s looking at me. “You did what you thought was right for River. You don’t know how closely the Feds were watchin’ your folks. It was too dangerous to try.” I know I’m not tellin’ him stuff he don’t already know, but I’m hopin’ hearing it will help him.

He looks so…lost – it damn near breaks my heart. I pull him into a gentle hug. He resists at first and then just melts into my arms and burrows his face into my neck. I hold him close and wish again that I could do something for him.

“You done the right thing. You got good instincts. You knew somethin’ was wrong with your sister and you knew you couldn’t contact your parents. Stop beating yourself up over this, baobei. It won’t change nothin’,” I say quietly against his hair.

“I know, I just wish...”

“If wishes were horses...,” I interrupt.

“We’d all be eating steak,” Simon finishes. I can feel his lips twitch against my skin and I know he’s smilin’ at least a little.

He yawns and I make him lie down. It’s a bit of a fight at first, but I manage to convince him he needs to sleep. Kaylee’s lookin’ after River and she knows to come get Simon when the sedative he had to give his sister wears off in a few hours, so we have plenty of time for a nap.

I wrap my arms around him and hold him close. It’s the best I can do. I wish it were enough.

He leans back and looks up at me, touches my cheek and then gives it a soft kiss. “I’m glad you’re here, Jayne. Thanks,” he says and then makes himself comfortable against my chest.

I frown in confusion. Why’s he thankin’ me? I ain’t done nothin’.