Title: Scar Tissue
Author: Michmak
Characters: Jayne, Simon, Mal
Pairing: River / Jayne
Disclaimers: if only they were mine, I would die happy. But they're not, so don't sue.

Summary: Jayne and Simon have a little chat in the infirmary

A/N: Fifteen in The Little Things Series, which should be read in the following order: Expert, Slippers, Letter Home, Gifts, Rats, In Dreams, Holes, Simon, Bob, Splinters, Salutations, Blood Drops, Pas des Deux and Butterfly.

Betaed by bugchicklv, who has the uncanny knack to make everything better.

Thanks for all the reviews for this series – I can't say enough how much I appreciate them and how much they spur me to keep on writing. Also, for those who are asking where I'm getting the Chinese from, if you google 'Firefly Chinese' it pulls up a couple of good sites.

Scar Tissue

Of course, the night didn't end quietly. Jayne grimaced as he sat in the med bay, trying not to flinch while the Doc stitched up his shoulder.

"What did I tell ya?" Jayne snarled at the Captain. "Din't I say somethin' bad was gonna happen?"

"You did," Mal agrees, "but you failed to mention you was gonna be the one startin' that somethin' bad."

"That liu kou shui de biao-zi he hou-zi de ben er-zi shouldn't 'a grabbed at Crazy. She done tol' him she weren't interested in dancin' with him. Shoulda just let her be!"

"You dislocated his shoulder, Jayne. I conjure it woulda gone a whole lot smoother if'n you'd just told him to back off."

Jayne scowls disagreeably at the Captain, "He shouldn't 'a touched her. He's ruttin' lucky I didn't rip his gorram arm off. 'Sides, his Pa stabbed me - you forgettin' that?"

"You're lucky that's all he did considerin' the brawl you and River started," Mal states calmly. "When did that bitty girl decide to become your bodyguard?"

"She ain't my bodyguard. Ta ma de, I'm the one that does the body guardin' 'round here, right, so lay off. I'd apurciate it if you would tell Crazy the same thing – little girl's gonna get us both killed, if'n she keeps it up. That gonna scar, Doc?"

"It will be a lovely addition to your collection, yes." Simon replies tersely. "Xie-xie ren-ci de Fo-zu I managed to pick up some supplies while we were on-world. Is it too much to ask for one visit planet-side to NOT end in my infirmary?"

"How's your jaw?" Mal asks the Doc, "That was some powerful punch you took back there."

"Someone hit ya?" Jayne asks, noticing the swelling along the side of the younger man's face.

"Doc stepped in fronta a sucker punch being aimed in your general direction," the Captain says. "Sent him flyin'. I'm surprised he's still got all his teeth. You do still got all your teeth, right?"

"All present and accounted for," Simon replies. "But I think I'll be eating soup for a while. Is there anything else I need to stitch up for you while you're here, Jayne?"

The large man shakes his head, "Think that's it, Doc." He studies the younger man for a second, before adding, "Don't know what it is with you Tams lately, getting' in the way of bullets and fists meant for me. Next time, let me get hit."

"Next time, I just might," Simon responds wryly.

"Well, if that's all, then I better get up to the cockpit and make sure our little albatross hasn't changed the flight plan without my say so," Mal says. "Girl's getting to be a good pilot, but sometimes she gets a mite too creative when it comes to mappin'. Don't wanna go by no star cluster four planets out of our way again because it's pretty."

Simon and Jayne watch the Captain leave, then the larger man tries to get a better look at his stitches. Doc always does them so neat and precise he don't leave much of a scar. Jayne's not sure if'n he likes that too much – if'n he's gotta go through the inconvenience of getting stitched up, he'd like a souvenir to remind him of it.

"My best shirt's ruined, ain't it?" It isn't really a question, because Jayne can see it hangin' off 'a the counter. It's all bloody with one sleeve mangled. "I liked that shirt."

Doc shrugs, "Even if you could mend it, I don't think you'd ever get the blood stains out." The younger man disposes of the bits of bloody gauze in his hand before turning to face Jayne. "We're all finished here."

"Yeah, I know. The stitchin' is right fine," Jayne says, studying his shoulder again, before reaching over and picking up his ruined shirt, twisting it in his hands as he turns back to the younger man. There's an uncomfortable silence as the two regard each other warily, before the mercenary sighs, "Listen, Doc, about your sister…" He breaks off uncomfortably and stares at his hands.

"Thank you for stepping in and trying to defend her. I know she can take care of herself." Simon laughs a little ruefully at this: "But it's nice to know I'm not the only one looking out for her. Although, I agree with the Captain: dislocating the kids' arm was a bit excessive."

Jayne shrugs, "Maybe it'll teach him some manners. Are you…uhh…does it bother you that I was dancing with her?"

"Should it?" Simon questions lightly. There's another stretched out silence and Jayne twists nervously.

"I wouldn't ever hurt her, ya know. Wouldn't do nothin' that'd harm her. I'm not…not the same fella that tried to turn you in back on Ariel." Jayne rubs a large hand across the back of his neck, "My Ma'd have my hide, if'n she knowed I ever did somethin' like that."

"Why did you, then?" Simon asks before he can stop himself.

Jayne shrugs, "The money was too good; I got stupid. And your sister made me nervous – still does, truth be told, 'though it's a different type 'a nervous now. I just wanted to get you's offa the ship before the Alliance caught us and we all ended up dead. When I saw those pictures you took of her brain in the hospital – when you said what you did about them cutting inta her and making her feel everythin' – well, I started thinkin' right there I'd made a mistake. Din't feel so good 'bout givin' her back to anyone'd who'd do somethin' like that to a little girl, but I din't know how to get outta it. Mal almost killed me when we got back to the ship – threatened to flush me outta the airlock if I ever did somethin' like that again."

The Doc has leaned back against one of the counters and is studying Jayne intently as he speaks. "I didn't know that," he says, "about the airlock."

"I respected what ya said to me, after findin' out what I did. Coulda just killed me, or somethin', with one 'a them fancy drugs 'a yours. I wouldn't 'a blamed ya, if'n ya had."

Simon smiles at that, "I have to admit, the thought did cross my mind. Can I ask why you feel the need to tell me all this now, though?"

"I just don't want ya to think I'd do somethin' like that again, if'n the opportunity ever presented itself. I'd never do anythin' to hurt your sister. I'm startin' to get used to her. And yer a pretty handy person to have on board – we can always use a good Doc 'round here. I just wanted ya to know that," he says nodding once. "I…I wanted…." He pauses for a minute, searching for the right words, before giving up and shaking his head in frustration.

"She really likes you, you know," the Doc says when he realizes Jayne is finished speaking, even though it is fairly obvious he wants to ask a question. "She told me I wasn't allowed to yell at you anymore the day you brought her back to the infirmary when she was shot. She indicated to me that I had hurt your feelings. Did I?"

"Ain't got feelin's to hurt, Doc," the big Merc scoffs. "Can't hurt what ain't there. She yelled at ya, huh?"

"She called me a fei-fei de pi-yan and kicked me out of her room," Simon nods.

"Well, ya can be a baboon's ass crack, sometimes," Jayne grins. "And I feel safe sayin' so, on accounta y'already stitched me up. Thanks for taking that punch for me."

"Thank you again, for defending my sister."

"So, we're good then?" Jayne asks, as he slides to his feet.

"Yes, I think so," the Doc replies, watching the larger man as he heads for the door of the infirmary, before adding, "You have my permission to court my sister. Just try to remember that she's still really young, okay?"

Jayne doesn't reply, but Simon can tell from the way he stalls at the door - he's heard him.

liu kou shui de biao-zi he hou-zi de ben er-zi – stupid son of a drooling whore and monkey

Xie-xie ren-ci de Fo-zu – thank merciful Buddha

fei-fei de pi-yan – baboon's ass crack