Compromising Positions | Into the Black | Contact

The Departure

Notes: I've been meaning to write this one for a while. Sorry about all the angst folks.

Series: Another 'Verse

Sequel to: The Rescue

Jayne enters the galley and sees Simon sitting at the table, staring miserably off into space, clutching a cup of tea. They had all been on Serenity for about six months now and Simon seemed fine most of the time, but every now and again he seems a little lost.

"Hey Simon," Jayne says, patting the smaller man on the shoulder, "What's wrong? Is River okay?" Jayne sits in the chair next to Simon and keeps his hand on his shoulder.

Simon turns tormented eyes on Jayne and whispers desperately, "Why doesn't he want me?"

Before Jayne gets a chance to answer, Simon practically crawls into his lap and starts kissing him frantically. "Take me to bed, Jayne, please," Simon murmurs against his lips and then kisses him again.

It would be so easy - too easy - to just pick the smaller man up and do as he asks. Far too easy to fall into old habits and take Simon into his bunk and fuck him 'til neither of them could walk. Very gently, Jayne pushes Simon away and says quietly, "Simon, stop."

Simon pulls back abruptly, wraps his arms tightly around himself, and says miserably, tears welling in his eyes, "He doesn't want me, you don't want me. Why? Am I so disgusting? Wha..."

Jayne cuts him off, "Simon, stop being dumb. Yer not disgustin'. Yer just not mine ta have. Be honest with yerself Simon. Do ya really want me? Would ya EVER a come inta my bed in the first place if ya hadn't felt ya had to?" Even though he knows the answer, it still hurts when Simon shakes his head. Jayne reaches out and brushes a tear off Simon's cheek. "And if ya think fer one minute that Malcolm Reynolds don't want ya so much it hurts, yer crazier than yer sister."

"Then why won't he come near me, Jayne? Why? I've let him know he can have me whenever he wants, however, and he still won't touch me." Simon whispers, his voice choked with emotion.

"Because Simon, Captain Reynolds is a man a honour. No matter how much he may want ya, he figures it's takin' advantage." Jayne says with some bitterness, knowing that he is not that kind of man. Knowing that if Simon asks him again, he'll take him to bed, no matter how wrong he knows it is.

"But it's not. I want him. Oh, God Jayne I want him so much. You must be wrong. He doesn't want me. How could I ever think anybody would want me after what I've done?" Fresh tears fall from Simon's eyes and he covers his face with his hands and he sobs. Jayne quietly strokes his back and makes soothing noises. It's killing him seeing Simon this way and he decides it's time to have a talk with the Captain.

It takes Jayne a few days to work up the courage to talk to Reynolds and when he finally tracks Mal down, he's standing in the shadows just outside the medbay watching Simon as he treats his sister.

"Beautiful, ain't he?" Jayne says, approaching the captain.

Mal jumps a bit at the sound of the voice behind him. He's not sure how the big man does it, but Jayne's about the only person he's ever met that can sneak up on him.

"You shoulda seen him....before," Jayne says, watching Simon move around the medlab preparing the syringe for River. "Before he was broken, when he was still strong and sure of himself. He was...breathtakin'."

"Considering you had a role in the breaking, why would you be bringing that up?" Mal asks, a bit taken aback that the merc would bring up such a sensitive subject. He's had a difficult time dealing with Jayne since he's been on board. He's found himself stuck between liking and despising the man and he can't seem to settle on one or the other. Jayne had done absolutely reprehensible things when he was with Jenkins, but ever since they'd been aboard Serenity, Jayne had been Simon and River's strongest protectors.

"'Cause he thinks ya don't want him," Jayne says.

Mal frowns at Jayne, even more confused. "What has one thing got to do with the other?"

"Because it's killin' him, Captain. He thinks you don't want him 'cause a what he done ta keep him and his sister alive. He's hatin' himself right now and it's eatin' away at him. He's never gonna be the way he useta be, but he might get some of it back in time, but not if he keeps this up."

"Maybe he should talk with the Shepherd, get some counselling," Mal says warily.

Jayne rolls his eyes and says heatedly, "He don't need no counsellin' you fool. He needs you. He needs a good man who'll show him what it's supposed ta be like. All he's ever known was what happened on that gorram ship - he was a virgin when he came on board. He don't know what it's like to be touched with carin' and affection."

Seeing how Jayne's eyes follow Simon's movements around the medbay and hearing the emotion in his voice, Mal very much doubts that last statement.

"You could show him, if you got the guts," Jayne continues. Before Mal gets a chance to respond, Jayne walks quickly away.

Reynolds must have taken his words into consideration, because over the next few weeks, Jayne notices some changes in his behaviour towards Simon. In fact, it sort of looks to Jayne as though the Captain is trying to court the young doctor - he sits next to him at dinner, brings him small gifts whenever they make landfall, touches him lightly when they speak.

A few weeks later, Jayne decides it's time to leave Serenity when he rounds the corner and sees Mal lean down to give Simon a soft, intimate kiss and he notices that he's gripping his gun in response to the wave of jealously that floods him. He's not sure why he thought he could handle seeing those two together, but it's become obvious that he was very wrong.

"But why do you have to leave?" Simon asks, again.

"I just got to, Simon, okay?" Jayne replies, "I never made no promises to stick around. Besides, you and River are all settled in now, there's no need for me to stay. You gotta get on with your lives and I gotta get on with mine. Havin' me around ta remind ya of what happened ain't good for either of ya. River still screams every time she sees me. Reynolds'll take care of ya." Jayne continues, trying to keep the bitterness out of his voice.

"I'll miss you," Simon says. "I owe you so much, we never would have gotten off of that ship without you."

"You don't owe me nothin' Simon. Not a ruttin' thing," Jayne says quietly. He reaches out and strokes Simon's cheek lightly with a finger. "I'll miss you too. And the moon brain. Say good bye for me, eh?"

Simon smiles at the slight dig at his sister and hugs Jayne tightly. "Be careful out there in the black."

Jayne returns the hug and rubs Simon's back gently. "C'mon, let go. I'll miss my transport and I still gotta talk to the Captain."

Simon lets go of him and he picks up his bags, slinging them over his shoulders as he approaches Mal.

"You sure you can't stay on? We can always use a good fighter," he says.

"I think it's time I moved on," Jayne replies. "It's fer the best, ya know that."

Mal nods, knowingly. He's seen how difficult it's been for Jayne the last few weeks. He offers the merc his hand, "Come back anytime. You're always welcome."

Jayne takes his hand and they shake. "Thanks, I may just do that some day," he replies.

Jayne turns and walks down the ramp and out of the ship.

Simon approaches Mal and puts his arm around his waist. Mal slings his arm across Simon's shoulders and pulls him close. "He's not coming back, is he?" Simon asks as he molds himself to Mal's side.

"No," Mal replies. "I don't think he is."

Six weeks later Malcolm Reynolds receives an anonymous package. Inside is Jenkins' head.