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Quiet before the storm

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Someone puts a gun in his hand. It feels odd, cold, heavy. He knows how to use it. He was taught and taught well. Wash and Zoë rush by, the pilot eerily quiet. They are all quiet.

Quiet before the storm.

And he takes a deep breath. He knows that this is their only chance. That if this goes wrong he’ll spend his nights alone. Cold and miserable.

Jayne takes the gun away. He tries to protest. It’s his. He needs it. It grounds him. Forces him to deal with this insanity. It’s placed in his hands again. Jayne kneels down and lifts his pant leg up. Simon looks down and sees a knife being strapped to his leg.

“I don’t…knives…” he tries to explain.

“Ain’t no problem, Doc. Seen ya with a scalpel. Ya know more ways ta kill a man with a knife than I do.” Jayne pats his leg and stands up. The larger man looks uncertain but then speaks anyway.

“He’ll be all right, dong ma?” Simon just nods. Yeah. All right. This is just so strange. Things are happening so fast.

Only 12 hours ago they were fooling around in their bunk.

“I’m uptight?” he had asked.

“Well…” Mal tried to hide his smile.

“Gay?” he persisted.

“Ya are kinda naked in my bed…”

“Retarded?” he poked Mal in the ribs.

“Shit…look I was just trying to…”

“And then you hit me. In the face!”

“I’m not getting any am I?”

“What do you think, Captain?”

“No? But you being naked is all kinds of confusing” Mal looked at Simon’s naked chest.

The younger man stretched languidly.

“Ya’re punishing me, ain’t ya?”

“I wouldn’t know. I’m retarded, remember?”

But then Simon couldn’t keep a straight face anymore and he cracked up. Snorting and laughing.

Mal gently traced the bruise on Simon’s face with his thumb. “Like ya much better like this!”

“What? Naked?” he asked.

“Well that too…I was talking ’bout the laughing,” Mal said sitting up. “I’m sorry for hitting…”

“You had no choice. They needed to believe that I was of no use to them.”

“Still…” Mal sulked.

“Look it’s nothing compared to the first time you hit me…That really hurt!”

“Well…um…,” Mal reached out and caressed Simon’s thigh “while we’re reminiscing an’ all…that first time I dragged ya to my bunk…”

“There was dragging? I don’t remember that…I remember you all blushing and not knowing where to put your hands,” Simon laughed.

“Ya ready there, Doc?” Jayne pushes him toward the cargo bay doors and if he isn’t - ready that is - then it’s too late to do anything about it.

The sun is roasting the small desert planet. The sand glimmering. Zoë steps forward. Gun in hand. Wash is standing next to Jayne. Simon doesn’t know why but he ends up in the front. Close to Zoë.

Had they planned it like this? He doesn’t remember. Was there a plan to begin with? Mal is dragged out from behind a shuttle. There is subcutaneous bruising on his face. Jayne growls. Zoë is talking to the men. One of them keeps pushing Mal down.

There’s yelling and someone starts shooting. Simon is jumped and his gun flies through the air.

A silvery arch in the sky.

His face is pushed into the ground. Sand slices his cheek. The man on top of him says something about pretty boys. Simon tries to turn but the man is much bigger. Bigger than Jayne even and all he can do is squirm.

Somehow he ends up with his leg tugged beneath him. It hurts. His knee is throbbing. And by chance his hand, thrashing about, hits the handle of the knife strapped to his leg. He can’t get a good hold on it and ends up cutting his thumb.

Finally.

Finally his hand slides and closed around the handle and he pulls it out. Moves around a little until he can thrust the knife upwards and into the man’s stomach.

There’s screaming and then blackness.

Something is making his eyes hurt. He moans.

”Like ya much better like that,” someone says.

”Wha’?” he mumbles ”Passed out?”

”Naw, was talking ’bout the moaning.”

And he smiles.

Who needs plans anyway?