"What the hell is it?"
Jayne stared at the small, pink critter warily, hand twitching towards his gun.
Kaylee rolled her eyes. "It's a pig, Jayne."
Jayne wrinkled his nose up as he watched the animal begin to root around through its own muck. "Well, it's just plain disgustin' is what it is." He gave Mal a plaintive look. "That there's downright unsanitary."
Simon made a choking noise, looking at Jayne with wide, startled eyes. "You're worried about something being unsanitary?" he asked incredulously. He shook his head miserably. "God, hell really has frozen over, hasn't it?"
The mercenary ignored him, focusing on Mal instead. "Ya gotta agree with me here, Mal. That just ain't right!"
The Captain raised an eyebrow to Jayne's comment, almost as surprised as Simon but not about to let on to it. "It ain't like we're just gonna eat it raw or nothin'," he informed the taller man. "Kaylee and Book are gonna be cookin' it up and makin' somethin' right special for dinner out of it."
He gave the two people in question a look that dared them to argue with him. They wisely both chose not to.
Jayne huffed, crossing his arms and glaring at anyone close enough to be glared at effectively. "Still say it's just not right, eatin' a critter that digs around in muck like that. It could've swallowed it, ever think of that? An' then we'd be eatin' swallowed pig muck for dinner." He made a face that could almost be called a pout... at least, it could if the person calling it that wasn't scared of the repercussions should Jayne overhear them. "One'a you could up and die from it and just see if I'd care."
Kaylee stood up and thwapped Jayne on the side of his head. "Don't be a dope," she informed him. "It's just a pig. Where else do ya think bacon comes from?"
Wash shrugged and added helpfully, "Seeing what passes for food on this boat, Jayne might not have ever seen real bacon before, Kaylee."
Mal shot the pilot a glare. "You implyin' somethin' with that remark there, Wash?"
Wash grinned easily. "Nope. Not implyin' a thing, Cap'n. I'm implication-free, honest."
River knelt beside the pig and reached out to touch its head with gentle fingers. "It has its place but it doesn't know it, so when the end comes, it's always surprised. People are the same way." She looked up at the crew with a strange, sad smile. "They never accept how things must inevitably end."
Simon quickly knelt beside his sister and placed a comforting hand on her arm. "River, you should move away from the animal. It's not clean."
River jerked her arm out of her brother's grasp. "It's all in the eye of the beholder. Clean, unclean. Some people look clean, but are dirty inside. And some look unclean but on the inside they sparkle like diamonds. You don't remember that enough." She looked at Simon with sad eyes and he didn't know what to say to that. Sighing, he pulled River to her feet and began to lead her away slowly.
Mal blinked. "Well. Now that we've had our daily dose of 'crazy', how's about somebody sees to dinner?"
Kaylee nodded and she and Book put their heads together, already making plans.
As the rest of the crew dispersed, Jayne looked at the pig once more, scuffing his feet on the floor. "Just ain't right," he muttered to nobody in particular. "Ain't right at all."