Title: Water Damage

Author: Sonya

Email: sonyajeb@swbell.net

Summary: First impressions aren't always right, as Simon is beginning to learn.

Rating: I dunno... PG13 maybe? Nothing worse than on the show at any rate...

Word Count: 1014. I missed the mark just a bit. Hope nobody minds too much.

Characters: Simon, Jayne and a little UST thrown in for good measure

Spoilers/Timeline: Sometime in the distant future, though it's fairly vague as to exactly when. As far as spoilers go, there are none. As long as you know who all the charries are, you'll be fine. :)

Disclaimer: Why, oh why, won't Joss give me Simon?!? I'd be extra, super nice to him! *pouts*

Note: Another challenge fic. My Firefly muse is working overtime lately! *g* This time the challenge was to use the following line to open the story: "I won't let anything eat ya..." Then, when Simon started musing on first impressions part way through, I suddenly remembered the challenge at ff_friday, too! And thought, hey, this sorta fits! So here it is. Hope you guys enjoy it! :)


(Thanks are owed to Tara O'Shea for the first two! Wish I could've made the accents and other special characters work, but alas, they just spewed out gibberish. Blah.)

ni shou shang le - you're hurt
liumang - bastard/asshole/criminal/gangster
dong ma? - understand?


"I won't let anything eat ya, Doc. Trust me."

Simon arched one eyebrow in wry amusement. "Somehow, I hardly find that very reassuring, Jayne."

The big mercenary grunted and turned back to the sewer entrance they were kneeling over. He muttered something that sounded suspiciously like "gorram prissy doctor" but Simon decided not to comment on it. There were more important things to worry about than Jayne's love of insulting him. Namely, how they were going to get out of the mess they were currently in with all their limbs still intact.

It never ceased to amaze Simon how often things went wrong for the crew of Serenity. How many jobs had he seen go south in his time as part of the crew? Dozens? Maybe more? He'd lost count.

This particular job had definitely not been an exception to the trend. And now Simon was stuck hiding out from Alliance officers with Jayne as they tried to figure out a way to get back to the others so they could get the hell off this rock. Hence the sewers.

Simon covered his mouth and nose with one hand, making a face and staring down dubiously at the murky waters that awaited them. "I just hope the smell is the worst thing down there," he muttered.

Jayne frowned and sniffed the air. "Aw, hell. It ain't *that* bad. I've smelled worse."

Simon rolled his eyes. "Of course you have. And so have I. Your body odor."

Jayne smirked, seemingly not taking offense at Simon's comment. "Hate ta tell ya this, Doc, but after we get out of this mess, even *you* won't be smellin' all clean and pretty."

Simon shot his companion a glare, though it was half-hearted at best. "I shudder to think."

Slinging Vera over one shoulder, Jayne placed his hands on either side of the grate and smoothly dropped through into the sewers below. There was a splash as he landed. After a moment's pause, he looked up and asked impatiently, "Ya comin' or not? We ain't got all day, ya know."

Simon nodded and took a deep breath of the relatively clean - in comparison - air up above ground before he, too, dropped through the opening. His feet hit the ground with a splash and then promptly slipped right out from under him, landing the doctor on his ass in the disgusting water. He felt something squish in a decidedly unpleasant way beneath his hands and had to bite his lip to keep from shrieking in horror. Simon scrambled to his feet as quickly as he could, but the damage was already done. He was soaked.

A low chuckle from behind him made him whirl about, fixing Jayne with an angry scowl. "What the hell is so funny?!"

The larger man snorted. "You are. Bet that lily white skin o' yours ain't so clean now, eh?"

Simon shoved sopping wet hair out of his eyes and tried to think of a comeback to that. He failed miserably and settled for a silent glare instead. The taste of blood gave him pause and he cautiously ran his tongue along his lower lip, frowning slightly. He must've bit his lip a little too hard a moment ago.

There was a soft curse and a muttered "Ni shou shang le" that made Simon glance over at the hulking mercenary... who was suddenly standing just a bit too close to him for comfort. Simon shifted uncomfortably as a large hand reached up and lightly touched his bleeding lip.

"I'm fine," Simon said, quickly taking a step back. The murky water sloshed about his calves with the motion. His mouth felt dry when he added softly, "It's nothing."

Jayne looked at him for a long moment, his face inscrutable, and finally nodded once and turned away, tromping off into the darkness ahead.

Simon watched him go, his brain still trying to make sense out of what had just happened. But he wasn't having any luck.

Jayne Cobb was a contradiction that never failed to confound Simon. On the surface, he seemed to just be a brutish man-ape who cared for nobody but himself. Simon's first impression of him had been one of mild revulsion and he'd wondered why the Captain had allowed such a man to join his crew. He had seen Jayne as being a rude, ill mannered, mean spirited liumang with no love for anyone but himself. But as time passed, the man continued to surprise him. He was rude and ill mannered, no doubt about that, but Simon no longer saw him as mean spirited. He couldn't, not after how he worried over Kaylee like she was his own little sister. And he couldn't see him as entirely self centered, either. Sure, he had his 'me' moments, maybe even more than most people, but then he would turn around and do something out of character like buy everyone real apples or help Kaylee decorate the scrawny, little Christmas tree she'd smuggled onboard Serenity despite Mal's continual objections to the holiday.

No, Jayne was definitely turning out to be more than met the eye. And Simon didn't know what to think about that.

Something River had said the other night came back to him. At the time, it hadn't really made much sense and he'd just smiled and nodded like he did whenever she went off on one of her tangents and completely lost him. But now, in retrospect, it gained a certain kind of clarity that was a bit unnerving.

An apple a day keeps the doctor happy. He knew, that's why he bought them.

She couldn't have meant... could she?

"Doc! Hurry them fancy britches o' yours up! I wanna get back to the boat before dark, dong ma?"

Gulping, Simon pushed his convoluted thoughts to the back of his mind and hurried off after Jayne, water splashing in his wake. His last thought on the matter was that maybe first impressions weren't everything after all. He wasn't sure yet if that was a good thing or not.