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Simon is in the medlab, organizing supplies when he hears River's voice from the doorway - she still won't enter the room unless absolutely necessary.

"He watches, listens. Hiding in the shadows, he swallows regret."

Simon turns and looks at his sister. "What are you talking about?"

"Big man. Swallows desire, holds it all in tight. Keeps the hurt from showing," she says cryptically, then flits away from the door. Simon stands there puzzling over his sister's words.

Jayne is stretched out on his bunk, fully clothed, boots on the floor. He's just beginning to doze off when he hears the faint knock at the door.

"What?" he asks grumpily, thinking it's Mal coming to discuss their next job. He's surprised when he sees Simon's shoes coming down the ladder. He props himself up on his elbows genuinely puzzled to see the doctor in his room.

"Hey Doc, what can I do for ya?" he asks.

Instead of answering, Simon walks across the tiny room and sits down next to Jayne on the bed, facing him. His hip pressed against Jayne's side, the doctor places his hand on the far side of the bed, keeping Jayne in his current position. Shocked into inaction, Jayne doesn't try to sit up any further.

"Why didn't you tell me?" Simon asks, looking deep into Jayne's eyes. "Why did I have to hear it from River?"

"What? Hear what? Tell you what? What's she babblin' about now?" Jayne asks, totally confused.

Simon leans in closer and says again, voice full of emotion, "Why didn't you tell me? It could have been you - maybe, maybe should have been you."

Sudden realization dawns on Jayne, he looks away from the doctor's searing gaze, and says, "No, it's better this way."

"Why?" Simon puts his free hand on Jayne's face, "Jayne, look at me and tell me why it's better this way. Why it couldn't have been you."

Jayne is overwhelmed by the doctor's closeness - the hand on his face and the hip against his side sending trails of hot desire through him. When he looks into Simon's eyes he blurts out, "'Cause I want ya too much. I wouldn't be able to go slow, wouldn't be able to stop."

Simon leans in, licking Jayne's lips between his words, and says huskily, "Show me. Show me how much you want me."

Jayne growls low and deep in his throat. Lust burning through him, he snakes one hand up Simon's back tangling his fingers in the soft, dark hair, his other hand going down to grab the doctor's bottom in a firm grip. In one quick motion, Jayne flips them over, and covers the doctor's body with his. Jayne tightens his hold, crushing Simon against him. Simon can feel Jayne's already steel hard cock pressing against his thigh. When the mercenary's mouth comes down over the doctor's, it's like an assault. He sucks hard on Simon's bottom lip until the soft mouth opens and then plunges his tongue deep inside, tasting every inch of it.

The ferocity of Jayne's passion initially frightens Simon, but his own desire for the man lying on him soon overwhelms him and he wraps his arms tightly around the bigger man. Moaning into Jayne's mouth, Simon pulls the mercenary's shirt up out of his pants. Jayne rears back, balancing on a knee, pulls the shirt off, and throws it across the room. Simon runs his hands up and down Jayne's bare chest, tugging lightly at the hair he finds there, and teasing the nipples with delicate hands.

Jayne reaches down and pulls Simon's sweater off, tossing it over his shoulder. Reaching down, he brushes a thumb against the kiss-swollen lips, working it between them to run the edge of it against the doctor's teeth. When Simon darts his tongue out to lick the digit, Jayne moans and pulls the doctor up against him with one arm, his other hand moving down to unbutton the Simon's pants. As he slides the pants down and lowers Simon back to the bed, he runs his hand against the doctor's erection, making him moan. Soon the doctor's pants join the other clothes on the floor. Sitting up, Simon helps Jayne remove the rest of his clothes and then pulls him back down on top of him. The doctor starts to move, rubbing their hard-ons against each other's bodies. The silkiness of Simon's skin is intoxicating to Jayne. His heart is beating like a trip-hammer and his pulse roars in his ears. He buries his face in Simon's neck, inhaling the doctor's scent deeply.

Jayne starts to slide down the doctor's body, his tongue leaving a warm wet trail behind, his beard scratching lightly at Simon's porcelain skin, leaving faint red marks. His hands alternately rub and lightly pinch Simon's nipples as he licks his way down the doctor's body. The hands on his body are rough, but skilled and soon Simon's breath is coming in short, hard hitches, and his own hands are twisting in the bedcovers. Jayne runs the tip of his tongue up the length of Simon's cock, making it twitch. When he reaches the top, he laps teasingly at the head, licking up the pre-come. He continues teasing in this fashion until the doctor is writhing on the bed, hips thrusting involuntarily, and he's whimpering with desire. Jayne takes the swollen member in his mouth and slides down it slowly, pressing it against the roof of his mouth with his tongue. When it touches the back of his throat, Jayne begins to suck, hard. Simon comes almost immediately, the force of the orgasm bucking his hips off the bed. Jayne keeps his mouth on the doctor's cock until it is completely soft, then kisses his way back up to the panting mouth.

While holding the still quivering body, Jayne reaches under the bed for the tube of lubricant he keeps there. He turns them on their sides and pulls Simon's leg over his hip. The brush of Simon's soft skin against his throbbing erection makes Jayne gasp. He coats his fingers liberally with the lube and reaches around to Simon's tight opening. Even gripped in lust, Jayne is gentle, knowing that he could seriously hurt the doctor. Running a trail of hot, moist kisses along Simon's neck and shoulder, Jayne massages the opening and slowly inserts a finger. Simon gasps hard, arching into the hand on his bottom. The sensation makes him squirm with desire.

Jayne inserts a second finger, and slowly starts to move them in and out. He can feel the scar tissue and it shakes him out of his mindless desire long enough to ask softly, "Are you sure? I don't want to hurt you."

"Ooh, Jayne," Simon moans breathlessly, "Yes, I'm sure. I want you in me. Don't make me beg."

Jayne rolls them over and lifts the doctor's legs up onto his shoulders. He coats himself with a generous handful of lubricant and leans forward and slowly slides into the doctor. Feeling the warm body under him open and contract around his cock is almost too much for him, and he stops, savouring the feel of the warm cavity enveloping him. Jayne leans forward, propping himself up on his elbows and kisses Simon deeply. Jayne begins to thrust. His strokes are long and deep, brushing Simon's prostate with each pass. Simon digs his hands into the muscles in Jayne's back, groaning with passion, and begins to rock his hips into the motion.

"Harder," Simon orders, his voice deep with lust. "Nail me to the bed."

The hunger in Simon's voice, combined with his rocking motion, send Jayne over the edge of control - he rears up onto his knees and grips Simon's hips in his hands. He begins plunging into the warm body beneath him, hammering harder and harder, the doctor's soft cries and moans encouraging him to go faster and deeper. With one last hard thrust, Jayne stiffens and comes hard, his whole body jerking. Twitching with after shocks, no longer able to hold up his own weight, he collapses onto the doctor.

He slides gently out of Simon and brings the doctor's legs down off his shoulders. Simon wraps himself tightly around Jayne's body, pressing in as tightly as he can, body still trembling with desire. Jayne starts to roll them over onto their sides, but Simon stops him.

"No, I want to stay like this. I like the weight of you on me." He cups Jayne's head and pulls him in for a long, slow, wet kiss. Jayne shifts a bit so that he's not completely crushing the air out of the doctor and rests his head on the smaller man's shoulder. He looks down and notices that the doctor is beginning to stiffen again. Jayne reaches down and slowly trails his fingers up and down the length of Simon's cock, making the doctor gasp and twitch. When it reaches its full length, Jayne encircles the erection with his hand and begins to stroke. He takes his time, altering his rhythms in order to bring Simon closer and closer to the edge, but never quite there. When Simon begins to moan his name over and over, back arched, head back, and hips thrusting, Jayne finally finishes him off. Simon's cry as he comes is silent - he has no breath left. Warm come spurts all over Jayne's hand and onto the doctor's stomach. Jayne cleans the mess up with his tongue and then snuggles back into his position against Simon's shoulder. Exhausted, Simon has fallen asleep. As he reaches about to wrap the blankets around them, Jayne wonders what the hell he's going to say to Mal.

The two battered and bloody men sit side by side on the floor of the cargo bay. Mal knows that the only reason why he's still conscious is that Jayne was holding back, his punches, mostly just defending himself. Nevertheless, the Captain is cradling his left side, certain that a few ribs are bruised, if not broken.

Jayne gently prods his right eye with a finger. "The eye, Mal?" He complains. "Why'd ya hafta hit me in the eye?

"Seemed like the thing to do," Mal replies, tersely, and rubs at a bruised jaw.

"Yeah, but the eye?" Jayne demands. "Ya coulda blinded me."

They sit in a somewhat uncomfortable silence, cradling their injuries. Jayne spits a mouthful of blood onto the deck. "Mal," he says softly, "he came to me. I didn't go chasin' him. He came to my room."

"You coulda sent him away," comes the short reply.

"Would you?" Jayne asks.

After a short pause, the Captain answers. "No."

They fall into silence once again. Mal snorts.

"Shit, look at us. Fightin' over him like a couple of school boys." His voice goes higher, "You stole my boyfriend..." he snorts again, shaking his head.

Jayne laughs quietly along with him and then says, "So... what are we gonna do about it?"

"Don't think it's us that makes this decision. He's gonna have to pick." Mal says.

Jayne looks down at his hands, anywhere but at Mal, when he asks, "What if he won't pick? You willin' to share?"

Mal looks sidelong at Jayne. "Are you?"

"I'll take anything he's willin' to give me," Jayne says in a soft voice.

"Me too," responds Mal.

The silence falls again.

"Reckon we've put off the inevitable long enough. Let's get ourselves to the medlab an' get fixed up. My ribs are killin' me. I think ya mighta broke a couple."

Jayne stands and helps Mal to his feet and they head to the medlab, trepidation dogging their echoing footsteps.

Simon is in the infirmary, his mind a chaotic mess. He's wracked with feelings of guilt and confusion, but at the same time, feels absolutely no regret about going to Jayne. He doesn't know what to do. He loves them both - he can admit that to himself now. The two men are so different - Mal with his quick wit and hidden depths of character, Jayne with his overwhelming strength and masculinity - each fill a void in his soul. Mal treats him like spun glass, soft and gentle, and he needed that, needed it so much, needs it still. But Jayne - he makes Simon's body sing like it has never sung before. Just thinking about the previous night makes him tremble with desire.

As if he conjured them with his thoughts, Simon hears heavy footsteps behind him and turns to see the Captain and Jayne hobbling into the medlab. Taking note of their injuries, he hands Jayne an ice pack for his eye and then gestures Mal up onto the examining table. He helps the Captain out of his shirt and examines his ribs.

"Just bruised. I'll wrap them up, and you should be good as new in about a week." Simon gets the bandages and starts winding them around the Captain's ribs. "What happ..." he trails off, looking back and forth between them, realizing what must have been the cause of the damage he sees.

"Way we see it Doc," Mal drawls, "You gotta decision to make. 'Cause we can't keep beatin' on each other over you, my ribs can't take it."

Simon is stunned to silence, shocked by the matter-of-factness of the statement. He stands there in confusion, the two men who have seemed to have come to some sort of truce - sensing no anger coming from either of them. Simon looks into their eyes, seeing in each the need for him to choose, to make this decision, to pick one over the other. Simon tries to speak, but can't, his mouth opening and closing, his hands fluttering uselessly at his sides. He can't make this choice, he just can't, he doesn't want to choose, he wants them both, needs them both.

It's Jayne that finally puts him out of his misery. "'Course, no one says it's gotta be me OR him," he flips a thumb in Mal's direction. "It could be me an' him. If ya like."

"Really?" Simon asks hesitantly.

They both nod.

Simon smiles widely and says, "I like."