Twenty Hours [A Firefly Fanfiction]

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  1. Secksy
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    Twenty Hours
    By Tyloric


    Dedicated to Sumaya.
    Beta read by youroctober.

    Part One:
    Counting the Seconds

    ***

    He had been counting the seconds in his head. Of course, he had lost track after the first few hundred, and so he had resorted to pacing around the common room. This steadied his nerves for a while, but eventually, the restlessness came back.

    To try to quell it again, he showered and put on clean clothes, hoping it would refresh him. It didn’t.

    He was aching to do something, anything, rather than wait here. So he brought his girls into the common area and started to clean ‘em.

    After they had broken atmo, Kaylee had come to sit with him. She was probably just as worried as he was, and to be honest, Jayne enjoyed the company. He continued to cast nervous glances at the closed doors of the infirmary, which were now tinted so that no one could see inside.

    It’ll be an easy job, Mal had said. Like he always said. Every time, like clockwork. Easy, his voice chimed in Jayne’s ears.

    Kaylee gripped his forearm with her hand. “He’ll be fine,†she comforted, “Simon’ll fix’em up good as new. You’ll see.â€

    Jayne wasn’t nearly as confident. Mal had pushed him out of the way, and he had looked up just in time to see the rain of bullets rip into Mal’s chest and abdomen, a fine mist of blood spurting after each hit. Tianna, the blood. There had been so much of it that you wouldn’t have known Mal’s blue shirt was blue. Crimson stained his entire torso, a small trickle leaking out the side of his mouth.

    Jayne had lost it then. Killed seven of them, Zoë picking off the last two. He had come back looking almost as bloody as Mal, though none of it had been his. He hadn’t been injured on this job, not this time. The Captain had seen to that.

    The mercenary took a deep breath, trying to force the images of a dying Mal out of his head.

    “Yeah, good as new,†Jayne whispered back to her, doubtfully.

    A couple of hours later Jayne had finished cleaning his girls, and noticed Kaylee was starting to drift off to sleep.

    “Why don’tcha go to your bunk?†he suggested.

    He was met with one of her trademark smiles. It was a look he had only ever seen the mechanic pull off. “I’m fine.â€

    Jayne rolled his eyes, wrapping an arm around her. She was asleep on his shoulder not ten minutes later.

    River made her way down the stairs then, stepping along with the grace of a feather. She ran the tips of her fingers along the windows of the infirmary ardently. Her face was completely blank, but aware.

    “Do you know if—?†Jayne had started to ask her.

    “There is still too much work to be done. Too early to tell,†she told him casually. Jayne felt a bit of his morale melt away. Not even moonbrain could tell if Mal was gonna make it. She floated lightly up to the couch, sitting down on the side of him opposite of Kaylee, and rested her head on his shoulder.

    Whatever, he thought dismissively, and wrapped his free arm around her. She didn’t say anything else, only leaning slightly into the embrace.

    Funny, Jayne mused, couple’a months ago and I would be celebratin’ havin’ two beautiful women in my arms.

    River let out a loose laugh then,.“You think I’m beautiful?â€

    Under other circumstances Jayne would be profusely irritated that she had been reading him, but he couldn’t find the will to yell at her right now. “Well ya ain’t completely unblessed.†He could practically feel her smiling at him, though he refused to look at her. She just snuggled up closer against him.

    They stayed like that for the next few hours, Jayne lost in thought, the two girls sleeping soundly next to him. He didn’t really mind, either. When did that happen?

    Eventually, though, River’s eyes snapped open. “It’s time,†she said as she stood up. Right on cue, the doors to the infirmary slid open. Gently easing his arm out from under Kaylee, he laid her down softly onto the couch before turning. Simon stood in the doorway, looking exhausted. He was wearing a bloody surgical apron. Jayne eyed it worriedly.

    Simon met his gaze. “He’s out of the woods, for now.â€

    An enormous wave of relief passed through the mercenary, some of the tension releasing from his shoulders.

    “But,†Simon continued, “I need to monitor him for the next twenty-four hours. Just to be sure.â€

    Jayne nodded understandingly, “Can I…?†Jayne trailed off, trying to look past Simon’s shoulders.

    “Hmm? Oh, yes. Of course,†he said, stepping out of the way.

    Jayne walked cautiously over to Mal, who was lying on the table a bit too motionless for his liking. An oxygen mask was planted firmly over his face, and his breaths were ragged and uneven. Bandages were wrapped around his entire chest and abdomen, no skin peeking through, with a blanket covering him up to his waist. His clothes lay torn and shredded in a pile at the back of the room.

    “When will he wake up?†Jayne asked weakly.

    “I… I don’t know. The anesthetics will keep him asleep for the next several hours. After that, it’s all up to him.â€

    “Twenty hours,†River said, simply.

    Simon looked over to her, worriedly,.“River?â€

    She looked at him squarely. “He will regain consciousness in approximately twenty hours.†She nodded to add emphasis.

    “You sure?†Jayne asked. She looked at him like he was an idiot. He felt like one; this was River, after all. She had a keen sense to these sorts of things.

    Jayne took Mal’s hand in both his own, feeling a newfound sense of worry coupled with an emotion he didn’t recognize. He didn’t like how it felt as though it was eating him alive. Mal’s skin was chilly. “He’s so cold…â€

    Simon nodded grimly. “He lost a lot of blood. But,†he added, pointing out a red bag that was hanging next to Mal, “I’m transfusing him.â€

    He ran a hand through Mal’s hair, finding it was tangled and oily. His skin was eerily pale and caused Jayne’s stomach to flip. He looked over to River hopefully. “Twenty?â€

    She nodded again. “Twenty.â€

    One

    Kaylee had woken up to the sound of Jayne pulling one of the chairs from the common room into the infirmary. She stared bleary-eyed at him for a moment, before realizing where he was headed.

    “Jayne!†she shouted.

    The mercenary jumped, his hand shooting to where his gun would be, had he been wearing it. “Gorram it, Kaylee! Don’t scare me like that!†He eyed her angrily.

    She ignored him. “Is he…?â€

    Jayne’s eyes softened. “Yeah, he’s doin’ fine. He’ll be out for a while though.†The mechanic rose to her feet, squeezing past Jayne into the infirmary. He continued with bringing the chair inside, setting it next to where Mal was laying. He plopped down in the chair and immediately took hold of Mal’s hand, rubbing the back of it with his thumb.

    Kaylee was standing on the side opposite to him, a hand over her mouth,.“He looks so…†She didn’t finish her sentence.

    “Yeah, I know.â€

    They stayed silent for quite a long while. Kaylee kept her gaze fixed on the Captain’s face, trying to hold back the tears that had formed in her eyes. Jayne took notice of this. “Why don’tcha go check on that Doc ‘a yours? He looked pretty beat.â€

    She looked at him, surprised, but nodded. With one last glance at Mal, she headed out of the infirmary and up the stairs.

    Jayne continued to sit there, not noticing the hours as they crept by.

    Four

    Simon came to check up on Mal after he had gotten a few hours’ shut eye. Grabbing Mal’s wrist and taking his pulse, tapping on the various machines that were monitoring his vitals, and scrawling down notes on pieces of paper. It was making Jayne, who had yet to move from his chair, twitchy.

    The silence eventually got the better of him, though. “Looks like ’es dead.†Jayne muttered.

    Simon didn’t turn around. “He’s going to be fine, Jayne.â€

    Jayne sighed sadly. “Shoulda been me.â€

    That got Simon’s attention. “What do you mean?â€

    “Hundan pushed me outta the way. Shoulda been me who got all blown to hell, not him.†His eyes narrowed in concentration.

    “Jayne, there was no way to see this coming. Be thankful he’s alive. Don’t waste your energy on what might have happened.â€

    The man’s face went neutral when he went to look into Simon’s eyes, taking in what he had just said. After a few moments, he nodded,.“Yeah, I guess you’re right.†When the doctor smiled, he quickly added, “For once.â€

    Simon rolled his eyes. “It’s late. You should try to get some rest. It’ll be morning in a few hours.â€

    Jayne’s gaze drifted back to Mal, “I’m fine here, doc. Thanks.†Simon frowned at the larger man worriedly before sighing in defeat.

    He took one last check of Mal’s vitals before turning back to Jayne. “I’m going to try and get a bit more sleep before morning. Call me if there is any change?â€

    “You’d be the first.â€

    Simon regarded him for a moment, then nodded and walked out of the infirmary.

    Jayne gripped Mal’s hand again, this time raising it to his forehead. “Don’t make no gorram sense whatcha did. Should be me layin’ ‘ere.†He pressed a kiss to the back of Mal’s palm. “No gorram sense.â€

    Zoë watched from the doorway, not letting her presence known. After a few more seconds, she turned to return to her bunk, hoping sleep wouldn’t be too hard to find.

    Seven

    Jayne could hear the rustling of the crew upstairs, each of them going about their morning routines. His eyes had gotten heavy, but he’d operated without sleep before, and he refused to take his eyes off of Mal for even a second.

    A knock drew his attention to the doorway. “I brought you some breakfast,†Kaylee said quietly, holding a plate of food.

    Jayne took the plate, noticing what was on it. “Eggs? Scrambled eggs? Where the gorram hell did we get eggs?â€

    Kaylee beamed. “I bought ‘em while we were on the ground.â€

    “You bought eggs? With your wages? Must’a cost ya a pretty bit’a coin.†Jayne frowned.

    “Don’t worry none, it’s worth it. Eggs is good for ya.â€

    Jayne looked down at the plate. It didn’t feel right to be eating something someone else had bought for themselves. Eggs were expensive.

    The mechanic rolled her eyes. “Oh, would you eat them, already? They’re already cooked and everyone else has gone and eaten already. They’ll just go to waste if ya don’t.â€

    Jayne frowned at her again before nodding, taking the fork that was on the plate and scooping some of it into his mouth. He nearly melted as the taste of smoke, salt, and egg assaulted his taste buds. He’d forgotten what fresh food tasted like. “It’s good.â€

    “Told ya.†She smiled sweetly.

    After a while, she looked at him with concern. “How long have you been sittin’ there?â€

    Jayne paused, thinking. “Well, I can’t feel my pigu anymore, so you tell me.â€

    “Well you can’t stay in here all the time. That just ain’t healthy.â€

    Jayne’s eyes narrowed, but there wasn’t any anger. “I ain’t leavin’ him here, Kaylee. My fault he’s on this table’n the first place.†He handed her his now empty plate. “I appreciate it.â€

    She was half-frowning at him, brow furrowed in thought. “Well, alright… But if you’re still in here at lunch time, I’m coming down here to drag you out myself, Jayne Michael Cobb.†Jayne winced. She and Mal were the only ones on the crew who knew his full, name and he had learned that when either of them used it, they meant business.

    “Fine,†he huffed.

    She stepped over, putting a hand on his shoulder. “He’s gonna be fine, Jayne. My man knows how to fix people up.â€

    He smiled weakly. “Yeah, I guess he does.â€

    “Did you not sleep at all last night?â€

    “Nope.â€

    Now she just irritated. “Well, why not?â€

    Jayne hesitated, wondering if he should answer that truthfully. “I, uh…†he started, but the words got caught in his throat. But, when she didn’t look away, he tried again. “Just feels weird.â€

    “What does?â€

    “Him not being next’ta me. Just feels… weird. Can’t fall asleep.†He looked away, as if ashamed.

    Kaylee, on the other hand, was grinning like an idiot, “You love him!â€

    His head snapped back in her direction, scowling. “What?! No I don’t!â€

    She persisted. “You do! You love him! Oh, Jayne, I think that’s swai.â€

    “I don’t love him, girlie! Best get that outta your heard real quick like,†he growled.

    She raised her hands in surrender. “Fine fine, you don’t love him.†She turned, a bounce in her step as she exited the infirmary. “Remember, Jayne. Lunch time.â€

    “Get!†he snapped. She laughed and left. He turned back to Mal then, lost in thought. Sure, he cared for the guy, but Jayne Michael Cobb was not a man to fall in love with anyone.

    Was he?

    Ten

    He had started pacing around the room, becoming antsy, eventually forcing himself to go up to the galley to make some tea only when the doc came in to do his routine check on the captain. He was on edge, but he wasn’t sure if that was because of Mal, the lack of sleep, or if it was because of what Kaylee had said. Either way. he was irritated.

    The galley was deserted, everyone else probably going about their chores on the ship. Chores, Jayne realized, he was skipping out on.

    Grabbing a pot from one of the cabinets and filling it with water, he flicked the stove on and set the pot full of water down on it. Going through the rest of the steps like clockwork, he then moved to sit at the table, his head in his hands.

    He breathed in deeply and held it for a few seconds. It was a practice his ma had taught him to get oneself to calm down. Just hold your breath, and then release it. Gets your breathing steadier, and damned if it didn’t work.

    Could he love Mal? He’d never loved anyone other than the family back home, but if memory was to serve for anything, living on Serenity had a strange way of changing folk. When he and Mal had first started servicing each other, Jayne had been in it just for the ruttin’. Free sex whenever you wanted it; how could that possibly get complicated?

    Mal had to complicate it, just like he did everything else. Had to go and open that mouth of his. Thinking this might be more than just sex, Jayne. Always had to open his gorram mouth. Always had to make something simple complicated. Jayne didn’t do well with complicated; he was a simple guy. Eat, sleep, fuck, shoot people, get paid. That’s all he needed in life to be happy.

    At least, it had been. Now, he couldn’t even sleep without Mal nearby, and he didn’t have any interest in ruttin’ with anyone that wasn’t Mal. He had eaten earlier, but that had just been to please Kaylee. He had killed the guys that had shot at them, but that had been in a blind rage. A rage that Jayne hadn’t felt in a long time.

    This realization made Jayne feel like he had been back slapped across the face. “Tamade!†he shouted, slamming his head down on the wooden table.

    “What’s the matter?†Zoë asked as she stepped into the galley.

    He turned to look at her, frustrated. “I think I love Mal,†he growled.

    “You just now figuring that out?†she asked as the tea pot started whistling noisily.

    “Mal di’nt hire me cause’m smart,†Jayne pointed out.

    Zoë snorted, pouring two cups of the hot liquid. Walking over to the table, she set down one of the cups in front of him.

    “Appreciate it,†he muttered.

    She sat down across from him. “You’re a good tracker, though, Jayne. Didn’t you see the signs that you two were getting closer than just rut buddies?â€

    “Don’t rub it in,†he said, tracing his finger along his temples. He lifted up his glass to take a sip, enjoying the warmth that spread in the back of his throat all the way to his belly. “Just ain’t ever loved someone ‘fore.â€

    Not even thinking when he spoke next, Jayne asked, “How’d ya know you loved Wash?â€

    But Zoë didn’t flinch, or tense, or do anything that showed she was uncomfortable with the question. “Just knew.†When he looked at her, confused, she continued, “We had just gotten done with a job. It was Wash’s first time as getaway. He just barely got to us in time. Mal gave him hell, and so did I. But when I got done yelling at him he just sighed, leaned in, and kissed me.â€

    Jayne’s eyebrows shot up. “Just like that?â€

    She nodded, “Just like that. Knocked him on his ass for doing it, too.†She chuckled at the memory, causing the mercenary to grin a bit. “But then things slowly just got a bit more serious from there, until he eventually proposed.â€

    “Huh. Wouldn’ta known the little man had it in him.â€

    “Can’t help who you fall for, Jayne. You just happened to fall in love with your boss.†She got up and, with a pat on his shoulder, walked off towards the bridge.

    Jayne sat there for a bit longer, lost in thought.

    Twelve

    “Jayne!†Kaylee called, walking into the infirmary. “Come eat lunch.â€

    His lips twitched. but he didn’t look at her. “Not hungry.†But he stood up anyway.

    “Too bad,†she said, dragging him up the stairs to the galley. “We made sandwiches!†Jayned huffed, beginning to feel the effects of no sleep.

    When they got upstairs, they found the other three crew members seated around the table. Kaylee made sure Jayne was seated before taking her place next to Simon. He lay his head on the table, sighing when Zoë pushed a plate in front of him.

    “’m not hungry,†he mumbled.

    “Eat,†she ordered. He scowled at her before sitting up straight, taking the sandwich in his hand. It wasn’t a sandwich, really; it was just protein that had been processed and made to mimic other types of food. Tasteless go se if you asked him.

    “Yes, you have too,†she said when opened his mouth to ask her. He groaned dejectedly. He took the food in a hand and bit off a small portion of it, trying not to make a face as the paste-like texture of it spread onto his tongue as he chewed. Didn’t taste too bad, though. Someone had added cinnamon. He was surprised how satisfying it felt when he swallowed, like an emptiness filling up. He must have been hungry, and just not realized it past the exhaustion.

    He could feel everyone’s eyes on him as he hate, and it started to make him uncomfortable, so he tried to start a conversation. “So, what we gonna do ‘bout work?†he asked Zoë.

    “How do you mean?â€

    “Well, even when Mal wakes up, it’ll be a while ‘fore he’s able to do much, right? Don’t that mean you’re in charge?†He took another small bite.

    Zoë’s brow furrowed in thought before she turned to Simon. “How long will his recovery time be?â€

    Simon waited until he was finished chewing before replying. “I had to open him up completely to repair the damage the bullets inflicted. It’ll be a few weeks before he’s even able to sit up under his own power, much less go out on jobs. And after that, the muscle atrophy will take even longer to overcome with physical therapy.â€

    “So…?†Jayne prompted.

    “A few months. Though knowing how stubborn he is, we’ll just say a month and a half.â€

    “Damn,†Jayne muttered, taking another bite.

    They discussed options over the course of the meal, Kaylee adding that her pa may need some deliveries done, and that she hadn’t been to the homestead in a while, anyway. Jayne just listened as they all talked, River making her way over to him.

    “He’ll need you by his side when he wakes,†she whispered in his ear.

    “What? Who, Mal?â€

    She nodded.

    “Don’t need’ta to remind me’a that, moonbrain.â€

    Eventually, the conversation winded down, Zoë coming to the conclusion that they had enough coin to last a few weeks, and she needed to talk to Mal before making any major decisions. Jayne was the first to leave the galley, not excusing himself. He was still too wound up to sleep, despite his exhaustion.

    He moved down the stairs to his weight set. He normally benched a maximum of two-hundred fifty pounds, but being as he was all tired and such, he decided that was a mite too risky, settling on one forty-five.

    He grunted with exertion, feeling the blood pouring into his arms and chest. His breathing grew deeper and controlled, and for a while, all he could think of was the repetitive motions of exercise. At least, until he felt a pang of mourning when he remembered the Sheppard wasn’t there spotting him.

    Thirteen

    Clean clothes and shower gel in hand, with a towel slung over his shoulder, Jayne headed for the shower that lay branched off from the common room and passenger bunks. He paused for a moment, glancing over his shoulder to the infirmary. He could still see inside of it from there, though what the room contained still depressed him.

    Stepping into the white tiled room, he began stripping, peeling the now-sweaty articles of clothing from his body. Normally, he would be using the personal shower that was in Mal’s bunk, but it just didn’t sit right with him for some reason. Not while Mal was out.

    Turning on the stream of recycled water and setting it to lukewarm, he stepped into the stream, groaning as the warmth stretched his spent muscles. He doubted he’d be sore tomorrow, though, as he hadn’t exerted himself as he usually would. But it was still nice to feel all the tension literally circle down the drain.

    He stood there under the spray, trying to think of nothing. Wanting to keep his mind blank. He hadn’t known being in a ‘relationship’ would make him worry so much. Simon said he was gonna be fine. Hell, everyone was sayin’ he was gonna be fine, but for some reason he couldn’t get rid of that nagging feeling in his chest. He didn’t like it, but the more he tried to push it away, the more it seemed to want to grow.

    So now he was just trying to ignore it.

    Grabbing the bottle of shower gel he had brought with him, he squirted some into his hand and proceeded to lather it into the rag. He didn’t use this particular gel often; Mal had bought it for him on Persephone. Apparently it was good for your skin, but he just liked the way it smelled: mint chocolate. Jayne found it relaxing.

    He started scrubbing down his entire body, getting lost in the scent and the warmth of the water. Satisfied that he was thoroughly clean, he let the water wash the gel away, then reluctantly turned the shower off and stepped out.

    Wiping the steam off the mirror that hung on the opposite wall, he took a look at his face, realizing that he still looked like shit. Black rings gave the illusion that someone had given him a thrashing, and for some reason, the lines on his forehead and cheeks were more pronounced than usual. He must be more exhausted than he thought.

    He sighed and proceeded to get dressed after drying himself. Gathering the used rag, towel, and dirty clothes, he dropped them in a hamper that was kept near the entrance to the shower.

    Afterwards, he headed over to the infirmary and glanced at the clock that hung on the wall and gaped. He had been in the shower for an entire hour? It hadn’t felt like ten minutes.

    Fourteen

    He sighed, resuming his position in the chair, and immediately regretted it. Exhaustion crashed into him like a herd of horses. His limbs quickly began to feel heavy and weighted, his eye lids refusing to stay open. He was also refusing to close them.

    “Tried to stay awake, Mal. Don’t think I can anymore.†He gave the unconscious man’s hand a reassuring squeeze. He leaned forward, spreading his arms out on the bed, and then set his head down on them. Darkness encircled him soon after that.

    ***

    It replayed itself over in his mind. They all raised their weapons once, like a well-oiled machine. He didn’t react in time, but Mal did.. Jayne was on the ground before he knew what was happening, only to look up and see blood spewing out of Mal like a geyser.

    Horror clenched in Jayne’s chest, followed by a kind of rage he’d only felt the time that fed had shot Kaylee in the gut.

    Bullets whizzed dangerously past his head, but he kept running forward, firing with deadly accuracy, until he was physically upon them. When he was out of ammo, he let Betsy do the rest, cutting clean through their throats.

    Only when they got Mal back to the ship and into the infirmary did he realize he’d been crying the entire time.

    Seventeen

    Kaylee watched Jayne as he slept against the bed. It was one of the sweetest things she had ever seen.

    Simon squeezed past her, doing his hourly check-up on Mal to make sure he hadn’t begun to bleed internally, and to make sure none of the damaged organs had begun to fail.

    “Aren’t they adorable?†Kaylee whispered to him.

    Simon huffed a laugh. “They should be on the cover of a magazine.â€

    “Oh, hush. I think it’s swai how Jayne’s been looking after him.†Her smile met her eyes and it seemed to brighten the infirmary even more.

    “It is nice to see Jayne’s attention more acutely… focused,†Simon agreed.

    Kaylee beamed,.“Think they’ll get married?â€

    The doctor rolled his eyes. “A bit soon to be thinking about that, don’t you think?â€

    The girl was already lost in thought. “I’ve never been to a sly wedding before… Who walks down the aisle? Who hands who off? What’ll they do if they want kids?â€

    “Kaylee, baobei, I think you’re looking into things a little too far,†Simon said, finally turning back to face her.

    “A girl can dream.†Her eyes glittered.

    He laughed. “Yes, well, how about we go dream up something for supper?â€

    “Sounds shiny.†They walked up the stairs, fingers entwined.

    ???

    He felt he was in a pool of water; weightless, but still grounded. Floating.

    He could hear their voices, but they were far away and muffled. Couldn’t make out anyone, any of the words. Not even which language was being spoken. He couldn’t make out what was happening, where this was. No thoughts of his own. Until he heard Jayne.

    Awareness flooded his senses, struggling against water, trying to find some solid footing. He noticed a light in the distance, though, and because there was no earth to be found, he decided to try and swim towardty

    His eyes cracked open slowly, adjusting to the bright lights over head. A headache muddled his thoughts, and his entire body felt restrained. Instinctively, he tried to sit up, only to realize, too late, that that was a bad idea: pain ripped through his chest, causing him to groan loudly.

    Jayne awoke with a start, his head darting around, his eyes dazed, until he felt Mal’s hand clench around his own, causing him to look down at it, then up to Mal’s face.

    “Mal?â€

    Mal calmed down a bit. He couldn’t see who said it, as his vision was still too blurry, but he still knew that voice. He would recognize it anywhere.

    He tried to speak, but it came out as a croak, muffled by the oxygen mask he still wore. “Jayne?â€

    Simon entered then. “He’s awake?â€

    “Yeah,†Jayne sputtered.

    “Mal? Mal, can you hear me?†Simon asked the captain, shining a light in his eyes. Weakly, Mal moved a hand to try to remove the mask from his face, Jayne helping him when he recognized the motion.

    Swallowing first, Mal spoke. “What the gorram hell is going on?†His voice was still scratchy.

    The mercenary answered him angrily. “You jumped in front of a fucking barrage, you hudan!â€

    “Jayne!†Simon snapped.

    Mal looked even more confused. “I did?â€

    “Ya did.†Jayne leaned in close then, pressing his lips to Mal’s lightly. “Should’a been me on this table, you son of a bitch.â€

    He leaned back, not feeling like such an idiot now. “’m sorry. Next time I’ll let you get killed,†he joked.

    “Damn right you will,†Jayne replied, pressing his lips a bit more firmly against Mal’s.
     
  2. Secksy
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    Part 2:
    Recollections


    A few days ago

    “Higgens?†Jayne sputtered, “What the hell kind’a name is Higgens?â€

    Mal was giving him a look that was a cross between annoyance and amusement. “That’s just the name of the moon, Jayne. I ain’t never heard of it ‘fore now.â€

    The mercenary barked a laugh. “Well with a name like Higgens, I ain’t surprised. Hey, where you from? I’m from Higgens!†He tittered at his own joke.

    Mal rolled his eyes, but he was smiling all the same. Clasping the mug that sat in front of him, he took another long, slow draw of coffee. It was bitter, as they’d run out of sweetener, and it stung the back of his throat a bit on its way down, but damned if it didn’t wake him up something proper. Straight up black coffee, one of the only ways he stayed on his feet after a night with no sleep.

    Jayne’s partly to blame for him not sleeping; the man had the libido of teenager. Of course, last night had been their first real night of proper sexin’, as Jayne had just been given a bill of clean health by the doc the day prior, and Jayne had literally jumped at the chance to get his rocks off in a way that didn’t exclusively include hands and rubbing against one another.

    It hadn’t stopped Jayne from working out, however. In the week and a half Jayne had been confined to his, and Mal’s by extension, bunk, Jayne hadn’t been able to stay completely bedridden, despite both his and Simon’s constant warnings of reopening the bullet wounds. Naturally, he had graciously ignored them both, waiting until Mal was forced to leave on a job before doing his pushups, sit ups, and squats, forcing himself through the pain that any other man would have found excruciating. After a while he had started ignoring medical advice completely and moved on to his weight set, only to open up the gun wound in his bicep. Needless to say, that hadn’t been a very fun day.

    However, regardless of the fact that he was pushing himself, he had gotten the doc (more like threatened, really) to give him the okay to go out on a job. Simon had begrudgingly agreed.

    Jayne, on the other hand, was bouncing up and down in his seat, ready to get off the ship after weeks of confinement.

    “So what are we delivering to Higgens?†Jayne couldn’t help but over-pronounce the name; to him it was one of the funniest things he’d heard in a while. Mind you, it didn’t take much to amuse Jayne.

    “Illegal weapons!†Mal said, cheerily, “Donated very graciously by the alliance.†Jayne snorted at the donated part.

    “Don’t s’pose we--†he began.

    “No, Jayne. We ain’t keepin’ any of ‘em,†Mal finished for him, propping his feet up on the table in the galley, cradling his mug tenderly.

    “Aw, c’mon, Mal. They ain’t gonna miss one or two… or seven.†Mal actually enjoyed it when Jayne got this way, all pouty. It was, dare he say, cute, and a bit sexy. But mostly cute…. and sexy.

    “Buyers requested thirty G286 Semi-automatic rifles, and they’re gonna get thirty G286 Semi-automatic rifles.â€

    Jayne was looking at him, awestruck. “Semi-auto… semi-automatic… Rifles?! Aw, c’mon, Mal! Just one!†He was drooling a bit at the mouth, his eyes wide with interest like a kid on Christmas morning.

    ‘Okay, maybe it’s a bit more than cute’, Mal thought, ‘it’s kind’a funny.’

    “Sorry, àirén.†Jayne’s eyes always softened when Mal called him that. “They want thirty. Thirty’s all we got.†And Jayne frowned, genuinely disappointed.

    But then a smile spread over his face again. “Heh, Higgens.â€

    Mal groaned. “Oh, shut up.â€

    River chose that moment to step into the galley, bare feet treading lightly across the cool chrome floor.

    Mal regarded her. “Hey there, Albatross. We on course?â€

    “One hour until arrival, Captain,†she said smoothly, turning on the faucet to fill a cup of water.

    Jayne turned to look at her. “Hey, Moonbrain.â€

    She met his gaze.

    “Higgens.â€

    River’s lips tugged up into a smile while Mal just covered his face with his hand.

    ***
    “You can stop rubbing it in, you know,†Mal sighed, clutching an arm across his chest in pain.

    “All I’m saying,†Jayne continued relentlessly, “that a moon bein’ named Higgens should’a been our first clue.â€

    “So this is my fault, now?â€

    Realizing his mistake, Jayne backed off a bit. “No, it’s those húndàns fault for thinking they could double cross us and get away wid’it.†Jayne tried to bite his tongue, but it slipped out before he could stop it, “But you did jinx us again.â€

    Between the pain in his chest and Jayne’s constant nagging, Mal snapped, “Tiān xiăodé! Don’t get to startin’ that gŏushĭ again!†he spat angrily, a strained look on his face.

    “Sorry,†he mumbled, irritated with himself. Before he and Mal had ‘hooked up’, he would have had no reservations spitting out all sort of criticisms at the crippled man. After all, he was currently bed-bound and in a fair amount of pain, which meant he couldn’t do much to stop him. But that was before they were… ‘sweethearts.’ Now Jayne actually cared about what Mal thought about him, but years of training himself not to care about the opinion of others was hard to forget.

    “Want me to get the doc?†Jayne suggested, finally realising how much discomfort Mal was in. They were still in the infirmary, as it had only been a few days after surgery. Mal was going stir crazy, and he was also in constant pain, which was proving not to be a very ideal mix.

    “No,†he said, though he’d be yelling if he was able to inflate his lungs that far, “what I want is out of this gorram infirmary and into my bunk. Damn bed is harder than your skull and the lights are too bright.†In an act of uncharacteristic wisdom, Jayne let that skull comment slide.

    “At least now you understand why I couldn’t stay in ‘ere whenever I got all banged up.†The bigger man nodded, forcing emphasis on his point.

    This gave Mal reason to pause, thinking back on those couple of weeks. Good lord, if Jayne hadn’t been able to stand two weeks, how was he going to stand two months?

    “Shit,†he cursed quietly.

    Jayne grinned. “But don’tcha worry, I’ll be right here!†He snickered, and Mal didn’t take much comfort in that.

    “Wo de ma, two months bedridden with a man who had the sex drive of a twenty year old.â€

    Jayne’s smile met his eyes. “You know you want it.â€

    Mal didn’t have the energy to argue the point.

    ***​

    The first couple of weeks weren’t as bad as Mal anticipated they would be. After the first few days, he had gotten the okay from Simon (albeit threateningly) to go into one of the passenger dorms. It was a bit of an adjustment from Mal’s bunk; the bed was much smaller and there wasn’t a lot of room for his things. The latter didn’t bother him as much, as he realized he was only in the room temporarily.

    Jayne was, surprisingly, fairly patient with him. He got through Mal’s moans of pain, which the captain has begun to suppress. Mal knew from experience with Jayne that complaining about every little thing would just wear on everyone’s nerves quicker, so he only spoke up when he desperately needed something.

    Kaylee, Simon, and occasionally River helped him when Zoë and Jayne were out on jobs. It irritated and, to a point, scared Mal that those two were out there without him, and he half-expected Jayne to be a bloody mess when he returned after the few times he left.

    On the third week, he was able to walk around, within reason. He couldn’t leave bed without someone assisting him, as the muscles in his abdomen and back just weren’t strong enough to support his torso entirely. He’d started physical therapy by this point, and Mal would admit that it was a fairly excruciating ordeal, but this wasn’t the first time he was being gunned down within an inch of his life; that had happened more than once during the war, so he was not totally unfamiliar with the recovery process.

    The routine consisted of various stretches and strengthening exercises. The stretches were easy enough, but when it came to actually using his muscles, Mal found that he usually had to force it.

    Jayne helped him when he could, generally sticking around for moral support more than anything else. He helped with the stretches when Mal got stiff, and stuck close by whenever the currently-crippled captain found himself in a position he couldn’t get out of under his own power.

    Silently, Mal was grateful for the assistance. As much as he hated to admit it, he didn’t want to be going through this sort of pain alone, and the fact that Jayne stuck by at all meant a lot to him. Maybe there was something to this whole relationship business after all.

    It was the boredom that Mal was having trouble combating, and Kaylee’s romance novels could only sate that for a very, very short period of time. He had torn stitches more than once over-exercising because that was the only thing available to him. That and masturbating, and a fella’s hand could only keep him entertained for so long.

    “Bored,†he moaned.

    “ ‘m sorry,†Jayne would say.

    These two phrases became nightly rituals.

    And all that free time got a man to thinking.

    3 months ago

    Mal groaned, his head throbbing violently at him. He felt like a train had run him down. Sitting up groggily, he rubbed his forehead with his hand, and then stood up.

    Only to find he was naked. Mal didn’t sleep naked.

    It was then that he was able to tune into the light snoring. Turning around cautiously, he noted the sleeping figure he hadn’t noticed before, as the man was pressed back up against the wall. His lower section was still covered by the thin sheets, his hairy chest rising and falling as he slept. When the realization that this body was, in fact, Jayne, he panicked.

    “Liú kŏushŭi de biăozi hé hóuzi de bèn érzi.†It was at that moment that Jayne decided to open his eyes to regard him.

    “Mornin’,†he said simply.

    Taking a deep breath, Mal tried to steady his nerves,.“Jayne, wanna explain why you’re sleepin’ in my bunk… with me?â€

    “Ya invited me.†The mercenary had rolled over to face Mal, propping himself up with an elbow.

    Mal’s lip twitched. “I invited you?â€

    “Ya invited me.â€

    The captain just stood there, dumbly, trying to process this sudden turn of events. His thoughts of the previous night were foggy; he couldn’t recall anything.

    Jayne was frowning at Mal’s silence. “You okay?â€

    “Fucking shiny,†he said, irritated. No, not irritated. Distraught.

    Slept with a member of his crew. The captain slept with a member of his crew. This went against so many of his morals and rules. And with Jayne, no less.

    “How did this happen?†The question itself was rhetorical, though Jayne took the liberty of answering it anyway.

    “Well, you and I went out ’fer a drink yesternight. You got buzzed pretty quick there and got to talkin’ about how y’ ain’t had a thrust in a while. Once thing led to another…†The man-ape gone wrong was grinning like an idiot as he recalled the evening.

    “You took advantage of me?†Mal asked seriously, wondering why he sounded like such a prissy-core raised boy.

    “Maybe If I hadn’t been as drunk as you was, you could call it that.†He snickered, laying himself out on the bed so that Mal could see everything.

    Everything.

    Mal suddenly found it veryard to breathe.

    “Plus, don’t look like yer’ regrettin’ anythin’ from where I’m sittin’,†he quipped, gesturing towards Mal’s lower extremities.

    The captain looked down and was, in fact, deathly aroused. He shouldn’t be. He should kick Jayne out. Throw him off his boat.

    At that moment, though, his brain wasn’t in… total control of his actions.

    “Screw it,†he said sharply, moving to press his lips firmly against Jayne’s.

    ~tbc.​


    Translations
    àirén: lover, sweetheart
    Tiān xiăodé: in the name of all that’s holy
    gŏushĭ: crap
    Wo de ma: oh my god
    Liú kŏushŭi de biăozi hé hóuzi de bèn érzi: stupid son of a drooling whore and a monkey
     

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