TITLE: Flight or Fight

DISCLAIMER: Nothing is mine.

A/N: I mentioned the flight or fight response in another fic, thought it would be fun to have a quick look. As always take my "angst" terminology with a grain of salt. I know it's usually referred to as fight or flight, but it works the other way around here! Also, quick note, if you aren't really into the pairing of River and Jayne, mayhaps reading these fics is a little pointless? Just a theory…

FLIGHT

He reckons he could take all the secrecy. He knows it's necessary, knows there really isn't any other choice. Knows that if the rest of them knew what he was doing with the girl he'd wind up a close personal friend of the black. Or a syringe. Or possibly a clever combination of the two. The doc don't look like much but Jayne has heard the cool tone of his voice when he's in "doctor mode", has thought before that such a calm voice would be mighty creepifying if the doc had a little more evil in him. But he can handle the secrecy; it's worth it to feel that cool, smooth skin beneath his hands, to hear those breathy pants, to smell the scent of her on his own body hours later.

He reckons he could take the threat of discovery. Needles and airlocks might be worth the sight of her resplendent above him, writhing and moaning and keening his name in a way that makes his spine tingle. The threats and the yelling might be worth being able to touch her in public, to be able to run a hand possessively down that long hair, to allow him to feed his addiction whenever and wherever he wants. He even reckons he could find a few defenders amongst the more romantic members of the crew (cough, Kaylee, cough).

He reckons he could cope with her craziness, could cope with the way her eyes would glaze over and her hands would shake and her body would be strung out so taut it looked liable to snap. Reckoned he could cope with people knowing his girl wasn't all there in the head.

But calling her his girl in the first place? That he don't reckon he can handle. Things like that lead to rings, lead to bouncing baby brats, lead to commitment and arguments and never being able to touch another woman. Things like that lead to heartbreak, lead to regret, lead to openness and vulnerability and all that go se. Things like that just lead to pain.

He can't stay. He can't be on the same ship as her, can't be in the same vicinity, knows he doesn't have the self-control to refrain from touching her, from wanting her. He knows he can't step aside and stand by as young bucks take their shot, knows he couldn't watch her eyes grow warm and her smile become inviting for another man. Knows he can't be around her and not have her. And because he knows all this, he knows what he has to do.

He has to leave.

A/N: Stay tuned, gentle readers.