Difference, The

by writingpathways

The Difference

Nothing on the trip to Jayne's hometown was turning out as Simon had expected. The past few days had put him in positions that felt impossible and surreal to the pampered doctor from the Core that was inside of him. It had stopped being the driving force of who he was because his experiences as a fugitive and a doctor to criminals had unexpected twists and dangers that could invade what was normally a mundane and repetitive life. As a result he'd become rather adept at quickly processing sudden changes and odd situations, but what he found himself nose to nose with in Jayne's childhood bedroom had the pampered doctor on the inside speechless. And it startled Simon more than any of the other realizations he'd had about himself since leaving Osiris.

The image in the mirror simply could not be him. Simon reached out and tried to push the hair in his eyes out of the way, wondering how he hadn't noticed how much it had grown, and staring at where the sun had reddened sections throughout the nearly black strands. The second he removed his hand his hair fell back and brushed against his eyelashes. It hadn't helped, it hadn't changed the image, it was him, Simon, reflected in the old dirty mirror against the wall of a tiny room.

It was him with skin made darker by sunlight. It was him wearing a dingy and worn white muscle shirt from the Cobb family hand-me-downs. It was him with torn pants and work boots. It was him, Dr. Simon Tam, with dirt under his nails and calluses starting to form on the palm of his hands. His hands. His most vital surgical instruments; his slender fingers that had always been one of his biggest vanities. Simon looked down at the palm of his right hand, tracing the hardening the skin with his left index finger and found that he wasn't upset by the change, only awed.

Awed and amazed were becoming familiar feelings to him. Everything about Jayne's home and family had turned out different than Simon had assumed it would. Including his own reactions to the family, the home, and the ways he was helping them out - he was doing things he had never known he could do, had never thought he could enjoy doing. It felt bizarre, shocking, unstable, terrifying but he wasn't fighting any of it. And that was where the basis of his awe, his shock and his fear, the changes and the challenges this trip had forced on his perceptions were interesting, intriguing... he wanted to keep it up and see where it went. Because there was only two weeks left until Serenity landed and he and Jayne would leave and Simon smiled and then frowned as he realized how much time was left, yet at the same time found that time also felt too short.

A loud creak from the door caused Simon to look up again and into the mirror's reflection. Behind him he watched Jayne walk into the room, wearing a towel around his waist, and beeline for the bed and tossed himself bodily onto it with a satisfied groan. Simon couldn't stop the cringe as he heard the bed's old frame creak under Jayne's weight and he wondered how the bed had yet to fall to the floor in wooden shards. Especially since they were sharing it. Another experience Simon found himself wanting more of and scared the crap out of his inner snob.

"What're you doing? Ogling your pretty self?"

Simon grabbed the hem of the shirt and pulled it over his head and a whistle punctured the air in the room between them. "Yep. Ogling your own pretty ass," Jayne said his voice low and smug. Before Simon realized he'd made the decision his shirt connected with Jayne's face and Jayne sat up from his prone position in shock.

"I think you're the one ogling," Simon snapped and he was beginning to think that their was something about the air of this planet that was affecting his senses. He wasn't supposed to act on these types of thoughts. He'd been diligently acting oblivious to Jayne mentally undressing him since the day they met. It had been the plan to never let him know he knew Jayne was turned on by him. Jayne was an uncouth mercenary that he only trusted out of necessity, he was rude, crude and it didn't really matter he'd provoked in Simon more than a million lustful thoughts, there were some things that just wouldn't change. And despite callused hands, and dingy clothes there was no way that he, the pampered doctor and the Core raised snob, was going too cave in to...

Jayne's towel smacked into his chest and dropped to the floor by his feet, Simon looked up from the towel as slowly as he could but faster than he wanted to admit, and there was Jayne standing by the side of the bed and smirking. Simon knew he was blushing and that his sunburn wasn't masking it from Jayne, he was sure he was shaking with his mouth hanging open in shock at the sight in front of him.

Simon started to laugh, because he was self-conscious and mortified and he liked it. Jayne was a solid mass of muscle, he'd known that of course Jayne's clothes didn't hide the fact he not only looked hard and solid but that he was in fact hard and solid. Knowing and seeing were as different as thought and action, something Simon was beginning to understand were world's apart. He and Jayne, however, were not. Jayne moved, somehow as Simon stared and laughed the naked man had crossed the space between them. Simon wouldn't have to reach to touch the body and front him and he could feel the body heat radiating off of Jayne. He swallowed, trying to stop the laughter and focused his sight on to the Jayne's face.

A fresh wave of laughter flowed out, because Jayne looked so damn confused. His brow was furrowed and his mouth was twisted into an hysterical cross between a grimace and total bafflement. "I'm...Jayne, I can't help it," Simon stammered out between laughs. "I..."

"Ain't nothing funny about..."

"No," Simon stammered trying to get the laughter to subside but Jayne furrowed his brow even more and another peel left his throat before he could stop. "I'm not..."

"Normal? No, you're not. You're crazy, going all space crazy or something."

"We aren't in space."

Jayne growled and turned around. "Ain't nothing funny about me being naked..."

"Not at all," Simon said, unevenly as he suppressed the laughter. "I mean it's good..." he stammered. "Well, I mean it's...I am ogling here," Simon trailed off, Jayne had turned his back on Simon so he now had the perfect view of Jayne's butt.

"You're what?" Jayne asked, turning around his expression pure confusion, which Simon had to admit was the only expression Jayne had he could read with any ease.

"Ogling," Simon repeated, realizing that he'd now admitted that he was attracted to Jayne and knew Jayne was lustful for him. And Jayne was naked. All the laughter vanished and he how hot he was, his entire chest was probably deep pink and Jayne was watching him his expression unreadable.

A deep throaty laugh filled the room, Jayne was smirking again clearly amused but his head started to shake back and forth as he opened a drawer of his childhood dresser. "Ain't possible...must be just what the rut it is," he mumbled as he pulled on a pair of shorts.

Simon crossed his arms over his chest, his self-consciousness returning and the voices in his head scolding him for being so reckless with his mouth. Think before he spoke, if one thing had always been drilled into him growing up, it was that. He had always had a talent for putting his foot in his mouth, and now he had both in his mouth, complete with the work boots he'd borrowed from one of Jayne's siblings. "Um..."

"We got an early rise, Doc." Jayne threw himself back onto the bed making it creak again in protest. "Better get your pretty feet out of those ugly boots."

"What did you mean?" Simon asked and he nearly growled in frustration that he hadn't taken the offer to go right back to normal like his moment of insanity hadn't occurred.

"Take off your boots, boy," Jayne repeated, his eyes steely as he watched, waiting for Simon to move.

Simon sat at the edge of the bed and bent down to untangle the ties of the boots. "I mean just now when you were talking to yourself..."

"That you ain't someone a man can ever figure out."

Simon bristled at the thought and he yanked a boot free a bit too hard. "I'm easy to understand."

"Ain't." Jayne muttered.

Simon rolled his eyes and he pulled off the other boot. Standing up he thought about putting them away but he didn't have the energy, or the inclination. Instead he turned and crawled onto his side of Jayne's old bed. The story was he'd shared it with two brothers, he and Jayne barely fit, and he couldn't figure out how three Cobb sons ever had. "I'm perfectly easy to understand."

"Nope. Ain't at all. I mean on one hand you are this snotty, rich boy with your pretentious city ways. All clean and pretty spouting off words that mean little out here. Then you're all stubborn and stupid, risking your neck and things to protect your sister or just give some stranger medical help. Been better at the farming and rebuilding the barn than I thought, figured you'd be all pansy about it. Not want to ruin those hands of yours... but there they are with scratches and dirt and all..." Jayne trailed for a minute and Simon glanced over at him and saw that he was looking at Simon's hands. Or was it his stomach, which was where they were resting, Simon rolled his eyes at himself, maybe Jayne had a point, he didn't even know where his head was at lately. "Really wanted Book or Kaylee you know. Mal wouldn't let me take either of `em. Still ain't got a clue why he couldn't lose the Preacher for a month, said he needed him though for some job."

Jayne continued on with his thoughts. "And well there you are. All pretty and clean one second, stammering and blushing. Then you get all dirty and pretty, stammer still, blush, but laugh and get all bold and such. You just don't figure."

Simon stayed quiet, staring at the watermarked ceiling and trying to relax his body into the hard mattress underneath him. He thought he figured, he was still him. Didn't much matter he was changing though did it, he was enjoying it and it made him nervous. He didn't want to take things back though, he didn't want to listen to the voices telling him take the truth back with an act of disdain for Jayne.

"Jayne?" Simon said, afraid the other man was already asleep, and he turned onto his side so he was facing him.

Jayne's eyes were open and he glanced toward Simon without moving his body. "What?"

"What would... I mean do you... what..."

Jayne smirked and moved into a position matching Simon's and putting them nose to nose. "Spit it out."

"What would you like to know?" Simon asked, unsure if he was expressing what he wanted to say, not even sure what he wanted to say. All he knew was it bugged him Jayne found him so enigmatic.

Jayne stared at him for a long while, but he didn't look confused so Simon had no clue what he would do or say. "Huh? Uh..." Jayne screwed up his face as he started to think. "I ain't no good at this, Doc. But uh, do you get off on it a bit?"

"Get off on it?"

"It. The crime."

"Oh." Simon eyes widened and he started to nod. "Well, yes, I do," Simon answered, knowing it was true but still a bit amazed with it. "It's uncomfortable sometimes though, still, it's so new."

Jayne was quiet again for a long while until suddenly his forehead was against Simon's, the tips of their noses touching and a hand was pressed hard against the back of Simon's neck. "And this?" Jayne asked, his voice gruff.

"What?" Simon started to ask, but Jayne's mouth swallowed the sound. His mouth covered Simon's, his beard scrapping lightly on Simon's skin and his tongue using Simon's open mouth to his own advantage.

It was hard, demanding, intense and over in less than thirty seconds. But Simon felt breathless and brainless when Jayne pulled away. "That get you off?"

Simon stared at him and he opened his mouth but nothing but an odd sound of strangled air came out and he felt his face redden not that he cared. Jayne was smirking and his eyes were glinting with amusement.

"Say it, Simon."

"Yes."

"Well that's a start."

"Huh?" Simon whimpered.

Jayne chuckled as he settled himself back down into the bed. "I ain't fucking you in my Ma's house, her gorram bedroom is across the hall. She'd come in with a rant about their being kiddies under her roof..." he trailed off and have Simon a hard look. "And my plans for your pretty ass don't have us being interrupted."

Simon shut his mouth and moved back down onto his back himself. He was hot, confused, bothered and he could feel how hot Jayne's skin was too. He was tired, sunburned, dirty yet he was still him, Simon, he was still the same.


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