Title: The Pain of Distance

"Now, I ain't sayin' that I gotta approve who you wanna take into y'er bed, Jayne, and I wanna be real straight about that..."

Said mercenary sighs, sitting on the bottom steps of the stairs outside the med lab, head held in his hands.

"...but that don't mean you can do what'cha want and not think about no consequences! You can come onto that girl all you want, but you know the second the doctor finds out, we gonna have a situation." Mal stops in his pacing, glaring at the bowed head. The bigger man really doesn't look particularly shamed - more like resigned. And that only makes the captain's glare harden. "'Zactly when did you decide it'd be a good idea to get y'er jollies with 'crazy', anyway?"

"Gorrammit, Mal!" It's the first time Jayne's looked up at him since he started, looking frustrated and all manner of pissed off - just not at Mal. "Weren't my idea! She done come in there, offerin' t'"kiss it better" and I just... well, I just..." He shifts now, trailing off and avoiding Mal's gaze uncomfortably for more than a few long moments before letting out a sigh that sounds more like a growl and finishing up with a rumble of, "Been a damn long time f'er me an' I can't help it if I respond t'an offer like that."

Staring at the mercenary for a long moment, Mal's face holds no expression-- especially not when he raises a hand to rub it tiredly against his brow. "We're gonna ignore that you spent all y'er time in a whorehouse when we set down on Euripides last week, all right? 'Cause I don' wanna know the specifics of y'er situation. But what we ain't gonna ignore," his hand drops to his side, the other coming up to brace against the wall next to the stairs so he can lean down and glare at Jayne, "is that I got a very upset doctor, a twitchy l'il bit that's been screamin' at him the last twenty-four hours, and a merc that ain't really necessary on our next job."

A pause follows as Jayne waits for the next blow to his pride and fan to the flame of his anger... before Mal's words sink in. His chin rises slowly and anger takes over hurt pride to let his eyes flash at the captain's. "...You lettin' me go, cap?" he demands in a low hiss-- and then explodes. "Weren't my fault, Mal, she offer'd, how was I s'posed to know what she actually meant! You wanna git rid a'someone, you'd be better off tossin' crazy and her pansy-assed brother out the gorram airl--"

"We ain't far from Gomorrah, Jayne."

And that, somehow, cuts the bigger man right off, eyes wide and blinking where he sits on the stairs. There is a face-off of the worst kind between them, where one glares and the other gapes and knows he has lost. And the latter finally hangs his head again, mumbling like a child that's been sent to his room. "...How long?"

"Good week should do it, I'm thinkin'," Mal replies shortly, straightening up from the wall but keeping his gaze on the mercenary. "Won't take long 'fore we get there. Might wanna start packin'."

"...Yeah," Jayne mutters, sensing the dismissal and getting to his feet. Shoulders hunched and head bowed, the picture of shame that knows he done wrong.

"...crazy ruttin' bitch, on th'other side'a the boat right now or I'd wring her gorram neck, little jian huo, bu huihen de pofu..."

Or not.