TITLE: Morals

DISCLAIMER: Not mine


Jayne moved away from the galley with a spring in his step, counting his cards. No septic tank duty for a month, plus a garbage wild card that he could use whenever he really wasn't in the mood. Simon had been distracted, and Jayne briefly considered sending the moonbrain a thank you card. The girl's flights of lunacy could be ruttin' useful at times.

He paused in the hallway for a second, trying to pinpoint his discomfort. It wasn't as if she'd shot him a look as she left, wasn't as if her panicking face had been calm, possibly even playful.

Tricks, playing with his head like she did the other day.

He had a bottle of whisky stashed in his room, one he intended on becoming rather intimate with. If he was in the mood he might even offer some to the others later.

Maybe.

Possibly.

Probably not.

He dropped down, chuckling to himself, before freezing.

"Girl, what the guay are ya doin' here?"

She was perched comfortably on his bed, cross legged, with a large tome in her lap. She didn't bother looking up, tucking a strand of dark hair behind one ear and turning the page. Those crossed legs looked longer than they should, and his bunk, usually perfumed with the scent of dirty laundry and gun oil, now had the oddest tang of vanilla fighting with its usual smell. If the state of his room bothered her she didn't comment.

He suddenly grew irritated that he worried what she'd think of his room.

What was he, 14?

"34. Full grown man."

He watched her warily. "Damn right. Now git out."

"No."

He was briefly at a loss for words. This was really not his forte.

"But…s'my bunk! What the guay are ya doin' here anyway?"

"Reading."

He rolled his eyes, glancing around as if Mal was going to pop out from under the bed and shoot him while Book waxed lyrical on man's evil. It wouldn't matter that they were both fully clothed, or that he was deliberately standing as far from the bed as the tiny bunk would allow.

"Tamade, girl ya gotta get outta here."

She looked up, quirking an eyebrow. "But, I'm reading."

He rolled his eyes. "An' a nice talent that is, too."

He stepped forward, hooking one hand under her arm and grabbing tightly. "One I reckon you can practice somewhere else, dong ma?"

She slipped her elbow from his hand gracefully, rising to her knees fluidly. The movement caused her dress to hitch slightly, and he found himself staring at an expanse of pale thigh that made his mouth water. She smirked, tilting her head to one side to catch his attention from her position on her knees in the middle of his bed.

"Can she help you?"

For a second there his mind shot up an image that was both filthy and to the point. A few months ago he knew he would have been imagining her voice going all dark and sultry like that, he would have second guessed the seductive smirk and the way one hand was tracing the low neckline of her dress.

Now he knew better.

He glared. "Quit that, yer gonna get us both in trouble."

He placed a massive hand on either side of her waist, picking her up, turning, and standing her on the floor near the ladder. He ignored the feel of her skin under that dress, the way her hair skimmed his forearms, and the playful glint in her eye.

More than anything he ignored the tinkling laugh she let out when he moved her.

She pouted, stepping forward to run one finger down his yellow shirt, tracing the symbol. "Troublemaker. Since when does he shy away from trouble?"

He ignored the line that seemed carved into his skin by her movement. "Since it's a gorram perfect reason fer Mal ta throw me out the airlock, an' this is a good gig."

He reached up to grip her fingers, though for the life of him he couldn't quite move them away. "Now, quit it, dong ma?"

She shot him a playful smile, stretching up til she was on her toes and closer to his lips. "Wu dong. She will leave you alone."

He ignored the feel of her breath on his lips as she lowered herself and step back. Her playful look disappeared and she put her free hand on her hip, looking slightly annoyed.

"Besides, too many other women watching."

His confused look was instant, and he glanced around the bunk again. "Shenme? What the ruttin' hell're ya talkin' 'bout?"

She gestured at the wall behind his bed. He turned, unaware of the proud smile on his face as he looked over his weapons collection. Every single gun and knife polished, in perfect condition, ammunition neatly stacked and each weapon hung carefully on its own hook. Lux and Cara were with Binky, Carmine and Melanie were a matching set, Vera had a place right in the centre. Bonnie, Maria, Betty-May…

He'd done it over a week, proudly displaying each one for ease of access, ensuring a firm rotation of appropriate use and careful decision. It was magnificent, a thing of beauty.

He could almost hear her rolling her eyes. "Beautiful, yes. But each girl has proprietary claim, and this girl will not be sharing."

He turned to see her climbing back up the ladder, ready to argue that there'd never be a reason for her to share, that this thing she kept coming up with wasn't happening, that her turning 18 wasn't going to suddenly turn him into her whipping boy.

More importantly, he wasn't getting rid of his girls for anyone. Didn't matter how long her eye lashes were, how pink her lips were, or how flexible she might look when she danced around the cargo bay.

Her voice was quiet and hissed from the hallway.

"Not demanding destruction! Just some gorram privacy."

He couldn't help chuckling when she swore, and he knew the sound made her roll her eyes at him again.

As her feet disappeared he glanced down at the tome she'd left on his bed. Advanced Weapons Assembly and Care.

He sighed, reaching into one of the cases under his bed and pulling out a thin blanket. He rarely needed it on ship, the temp controls were Kaylee's pride and joy, and he hated feeling too warm anyway.

As he carefully pinned it up he couldn't help muttering under his breath.

"Girl better be ruttin' worth it…"