A/N: Welcome to my first Firefly fanfic! It's first, but not last. There's another, much longer, one-shot in the works which should be up within the week. This one is very lightly implied Jayne/Simon slash. It's set just prior/in the beginning of the episode War Stories, right after the events of Ariel. It was prompted from watching War Stories and wanting to write a fanfic that was Jayne explaining why he buys the apples for the ship. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: I watched the entire season of Firefly on Netflix. Does I sound like I own anything?

Apples and Sins

The way Jayne Cobb sees it, there ain't really a point to playin' by all the rules laid out in some book that religious types lug around. He likes his guns and explosions and drinkin' and…well, there's a lotta things he's pretty fond of that the Good Book seems to frown upon. He doesn't have a problem with hurtin' or killin' someone, so long as he gets paid well enough for it. But that's not to say that he don't have a code of morals. Mama taught him right from wrong. And she smacked him with a cane enough times for him to learn it, too.

So while he ain't the do-gooder turn-the-other-cheek forgive-and-forget kinda man that the Book preaches, he does know when he's done something wrong that needs correcting. Which is why, once they get off Ariel and once they sell off the first batch of loot and his cut is crisp in his hand, he goes out and buys a bushel of apples for the ship. The other crew members look at him sideways, wondering what his motives are. Only Mal and River look at him a little differ'nt, like they know something. He sets the carton down in front of Mal and shrugs his shoulders and bows his head. It's close as he'll get to an apology, but Mal seems to accept it, 'cause the hard look in his eyes goes away a bit. River he ignores, but he sees her watching him, following him with her crazy, odd eyes. He gets shivers, lookin' at her. It's like she's lookin' into his soul, like she knows exactly what he did back there on Ariel, and is waiting to decide if she passes judgment on him or not.

River passes him in the corridor, pauses, and turns and looks at him and he's scared of that creepy little smile on her face. "An apple a day keeps the doctor away," she sings. She tilts her head. "D'you want to keep him away, Jayne?" He feels his throat go tight and his lips open and close and he don't know what to say. She's crazy, right through. Moon-brained. "Why apples?" She asks, and she skips away, humming to herself, before he can answer. That, at least, is a question he knows the answer to. It's easy. Mama taught him—readin' right from their tattered old copy of the Book—that sins came from apples. The first humans took a bite of an apple from a special tree—one they weren't s'pposed to touch—and all the sins came burstin' out. And since sins came from apples, he might as well do penance by them.

Well…that and he likes to see Simon's pretty mouth against the bright red peels.

But that don't need discussing, now do it?

Reviews are love!