Compromising Positions | Into the Black | Contact

Afternoon

Thanks to mays for the little tweak.

Series: All in a Day

Sequel to: Morning





We're going to have a fight. Not that anyone will really be able to tell if they walk past the infirmary. We won't yell and scream or wave our arms around. Instead, we'll be calm and cold - cutting each other to the bone with harsh words. The day had begun so wonderfully; it was barely after noon and it was turning to shit, and over such a stupid thing too.




About a year after I had come aboard, Jayne and I had had a torrid affair. As with all purely physical relationships, it had burned itself out pretty quickly, but ever since, Jayne has been rather affectionate with me - at least in private. In front of the others he's still his same rude, crude self, insulting me at every turn, but with the bite gone from his words.

It was about an hour after I'd left Mal dozing in my bunk and I was now in the infirmary sitting on a stool, hunched over the counter going over a new treatment regimen for River when I felt big, strong hands on my shoulders.

"Yer working too hard again," Jayne said.

I laughed, "I've barely started," I replied. "Mal wouldn't let me out of bed this morning."

"Then it ain't goin' good," Jayne said as he worked my tense shoulder muscles with his strong thumbs.

"No, it's not, " I agreed. "I just can't seem to find the right balance - it's driving me nuts. Every time I think I've got it, her brain chemistry adapts or something, faster than it should. I wish I could get another brain scan. Something really odd is going on."

I didn't expect him to reply - I just needed to vent. Jayne kept massaging my shoulders. I let out a sigh - a big, long, oh God don't stop that feels amazing sigh, and relaxed into his fingers.

Jayne chuckled and ran his thumbs up my neck. "I recognize that sound," he teased. "A couple more minutes and I'll have ya purrin' like a big ol' pussy cat."

I tilted my head back and said, "Meow," with a smile. And that's when I noticed the figure by the door. "Oh crap," I said.

"Huh?" Jayne queried and followed the path my eyes had taken and saw Mal standing in the doorway. He jumped away from me like he'd been touched by a cattle prod.

Mal stared at us, his face a mask, hurt and anger filling his eyes.

Jayne cast a worried glance at me and I smiled tightly. "You'd better go," I said. "I'll handle this."

Jayne left the infirmary, head down, giving Mal a wide berth as he passed him.




"What's goin' on here?" Mal asks moving into the infirmary to confront me.

"Nothing," I say.

"Didn't look like nothin' to me," he replies, folding his arms across his chest.

"You don't honestly think that there's something going on between me and Jayne, do you?" I ask incredulously.

"Wouldn't be the first time," he states coldly.

"That was over a year ago when you were still chasing after Inara, too blind to see me," I reply harshly. I know it's a mistake, bringing up Inara, but I do it anyway.

Mal's face gets even stiffer with anger and he says, "Leave her out of this. Fact is I saw what I saw. You and Jayne, him all over you, and you likin' it."

"You saw what you saw and then jumped to a conclusion," I say. "Jayne and I are just friends, that's all. Anything that we had between us is over and you know that."

"Didn't look like it was over from where I was standin'," he says stubbornly.

"Oh, for...Mal I LOVE you. I don't know how many times I'm going to have to say it, but I'm going to keep saying it until you believe me," I say in exasperation. "Until you believe in us."

He just stands there and stares at me. The silence becomes overwhelming.

"Mal, say something," I say and move a step closer.

"What do you want me to say?" he asks with an edge to his voice.

"That you believe me!" I exclaim. "Tell me that you don't honestly think that I'm the kind of person who could tell you I love you, spend the night and half the morning making love to you and then get up and go fool around with someone else."

Mal just looks at me and turns and walks away. I feel my heart stop in my chest and I stumble back to the stool and collapse onto it, shaking.