“This ain’t a good idea,” Jayne said, not that he expected anyone to listen to him. His voice weren’t worth two credits on this ship. He’d leave, only somehow Mal had gotten under his skin and Jayne couldn’t rightly imagine life without Mal snapping out some order.
Mal graced him with a disgusted looked. “I’m not turning a submissive out on his own. He’s got the whole gorram government after him and his sister.”
“Even better reason to dump them,” Jayne pointed out.
“Jayne!” Kaylee said, all shock and big eyes. “We can’t do that to a submissive. They aren’t like us. They ain’t good at looking out for themselves."
“Yeah, Jayne,” Wash said with a ridiculous grin. “We submissives are horrible at taking care of ourselves. We need lots of tending.”
Zoe looked up from her computer and raised an eyebrow at him.
“Right dear?” Wash asked her.
The eyebrow went up farther. Jayne could feel the disapproval radiate from the woman. It was enough to make Jayne shift uncomfortably. He hid his submissive nature, but Zoe and Mal did make him feel those long buried tendencies more than anyone else. If he were even a little smart, he’d run now because having an unattached submissive onboard wasn’t going to work well. Jayne could already see this Simon was using his submissive wiles on both Kaylee and the captain. Fact was submissives were plenty able to take care of themselves. Mostly they just found a dominant to do it for them. Dominants with their instinct to care for and control submissives lined up to take care of pretty boys like Simon Tam.
“We aren’t leaving them,” Mal said in the tone of voice that meant he weren’t up for any more discussing on the matter.
“Then I’ll be getting off on our next stop,” Jayne said as firmly as he could. His guts were knotted in about a dozen places. His own instincts screamed at him to stay with Mal. Mal was strong enough to dominate him, and there weren’t many who could. But the fact was that no dominant wanted the sort of fight Jayne brought with him. Jayne didn’t submit easy, and watching some pretty boy sink to his knees and bend his will to the captain would rightly kill Jayne.
Jayne got up to leave, but Mal was up just as fast and he grabbed Jayne’s arm. “Are you trying to blackmail me?” he demanded. He had his other hand clenched, and Jayne could see Mal’s body tensed for a fight. If Jayne were the dominant he pretended to be, he probably would throw a punch. Hell, if anyone other than Mal had grabbed him, Jayne would have thrown the punch just to maintain his cover. However, he was too busy trying to avoid baring his neck. He didn’t have the strength left over to fight. He shouldda left months ago.
“I’m just sayin’ that I’m out. There ain’t no blackmail in that.”
Mal frowned, clearly confused by Jayne’s answer.
“Sir, this is dangerous,” Zoe said.
“I’m not leaving a submissive or a crazy girl,” Mal repeated.
“Not suggesting we do,” Zoe said. “But maybe we should make an effort to change a few of our habits, avoid the worlds where people know where to find us. In fact, I think we should head over to St. Albans. They always have some minerals to trade.”
Jayne narrowed his eyes. That piece of shi planet was colder than a witch’s tit in winter. If the Serenity went there, getting off would be plenty stupid.
Mal grinned and let go of Jayne’s arm before taking a step backward. “I think that’s a real fine idea. Wash, change course for St. Albans. So, Jayne, are you still getting off?” Mal asked.
Jayne looked at the captain and he knew what Mal wanted. Mal wanted him to give in, to yield the way one dominant might yield to another. He wanted the same loyalty he demanded from Kaylee and Zoe. He’d proved himself, and so he wanted the right to demand their respect. The problem was that Jayne couldn’t give him that. If Jayne ever started on the path of yielding to Mal he’d end up on his knees. So the only alternative was to fight every step of the way.
“I reckon I am,” Jayne said. “I’ll go pack some winter clothes.” Turning his back on the whole lot of them, Jayne headed for his room. If he didn’t get out fast, he wasn’t going to be able to walk away at all.
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