The sun is hot on your back, and when you move, sweat trickles down your neck. You think of taking off your shirt, but the thought of hands later pressing into your sunburnt skin doesn't really appeal.
There was a fight in the bar last night, one of the worst you've seen in months. Fights aren't exactly rare here, but they're generally more scuffles than anything. This one was started by a couple of off-worlders looking for trouble, and it broke some of the tables and chairs, not to mention a few faces. Now you're out back, looking to see what furniture you can salvage. One of the tables is irrevocably smashed, but another was broken in half when some drunken fool landed on it. You can fix that one.
You're good with wood, and you like working with it. There's something satisfying about shaping it under your hands and coaxing it together. It's a decent, cheap way to spend the afternoon. Gathering your gear, you move towards the table pieces, sit on the dry ground, and start.
First, you smooth out the broken edges. You think you'll graft the table halves together with a piece of spare wood you've been hoarding. When you're done, there will be a long scar bisecting the table. It won't look too pretty, but it will fit with the other pieces of furniture, and many of the customers.
As you work, the smell of wood and warm dust mingles around you, and you breath deeply. It's a comforting scent, one that reminds you somehow of childhood. You're almost done with the sanding when a shadow falls over you. At first you think it's Marcy bringing you a drink, so you don't look up. When she doesn't say anything, you set down the sandpaper and get up from your knees. You're dusting your hands on your pants as you turn.
A man, familiar in his build, is standing close to you, his arms crossed over his chest. It takes you a moment to place him, but you remember. Part of the interesting crew from a while back. You remember the night and waking up to money under your pillow.
His name is on the edge of his tongue, but you can't quite grasp the memory. It was unusual, you know that much.
Once you recognise him, your first thought is that this is your time, your chance to do something you enjoy. It's not time for work. But you smooth the irritation from your mind and grin. "Hey."
He nods his head in the direction of the table and asks, "There a fight?"
This man would know what kind of mess a fight leaves behind. If he walked through the bar to get here -- which he must have done -- he's likely seen the others still cleaning up inside. "Yep. Last night." You keep your replies terse, trying to remember his name.
He nods, and takes in the tools strewn on the ground. "So, whorin' just a side-job for you?"
You shrug. "I've got many talents." And you get it. Jayne. You relax slightly.
"I remember some of 'em."
You want to laugh. Jayne hasn't seen most of your talents. He wanted straightforward, and that's what he got. "Can I help you?"
He looks momentarily confused, like it should be obvious what he wants. It is, but you're slightly annoyed at being interrupted, and you want to make him ask for it. You usually don't take customers in the afternoon anyway, unless they want you for the day after and they've arranged for it ahead of time.
"I was lookin' for some fun. Got a couple days on this rock." He looks you up and down, a little doubtfully.
Abruptly you realise what you must look like. You're sweaty, dusty, and there're probably wood flakes on your face. You don't really care about being spotless, but you know from experience that the better you look, the more likely customers will think you're worth the price you ask for. You pull off your shirt, a slow, calculated move, and use it to wipe your face.
When you look up, Jayne is smirking at you. He probably recognised the move for what it was. You're sure there's a merc equivalent, probably something to do with shooting or comparing guns.
Slinging your shirt over your shoulder, you shrug. "I don't work in the afternoons." You can't help but smile as you say it though. He looks desperate, and you don't like to say no to money. Still, you're not interested in sacrificing the rest of your day for him.
He frowns at you, and you square your shoulders. Then he smirks again. "Put on a pretty display for someone who ain't interested in workin'." He grabs your shirt. "Wanna do it again?"
You move closer and take the shirt from his hands. "I don't think so." You don't object when he pushes his fingers inside the rim of your pants, pulling you against him. Instead, you whisper in his ear, "Hands only, against the wall. Fifteen minutes and then you leave. I'll meet you for more later, if you have the coin." You name a price, and he nods, already breathing fast.
You think he's damn good at taking orders -- even ones that aren't obvious -- for a man in his profession. For the man who's paying. If you tried pulling that kind of stunt on some of the customers you've had, you'd be face down in the dirt right now, and then you'd be watching your back until they left planet. Maybe worse.
Stepping away slightly, you hold out your hand. After he counts the money and hands it over, you slip it into your pocket and seal the deal by reaching out and undoing his pants.
The wall of the bar is behind him and you walk him backwards. When he connects with the rough brick, you undo his holster and belt. letting them drop to the ground. Pushing his pants aside, you reach in and grasp his cock. Hard already, and you suppose you should feel flattered.
You remove your hand and lick your palm slowly. His eyes follow the movements, and you'd bet the money he just gave you that he's already thinking about what he wants for later. You keep licking, teasing him with your eyes, until your palm is decently slick. As you reach back down into his pants, you ask, "Do you want me to kiss you?"
Grunting as you start to stroke him, he replies, "Nope." His hand reaches around to your ass, pulling you closer.
Nodding, you fit yourself under his arm as best you can. Your hand goes behind his back and around his waist, and you press your leg and chest against him. You go with long, slow strokes of his cock, circling your palm around the head when it starts to get decently wet. His hips cant and his head falls back against the wall. You lick at the skin around his collar bone.
His skin is hot in your hand, his breaths harsh in your ear. You keep with the slow pace, your fingers drawing out his pleasure as your wrist twists. Letting go of his cock, you push your hand down further to awkwardly squeeze his balls. When he curses and twists a little, you grin into his neck and then let go to move back to his cock.
You change to a faster pace, and the hand on your ass starts clenching. Pressing into him, you push your teeth along his neck, drawing out the movements until he's grunting fast and then coming hard into your hand. You keep sliding your palm over his cock until the pulses stop, and then you just keep still until his breathing slows.
His eyes are closed, his head still tilted back, and there's something about the image that tempts you to clean him off with your tongue. But no, that's not what you arranged, and if he thinks you're in the habit of giving free services, he'll take advantage. So, you grab your shirt and use it to clean him off. After wiping your hand, you do up his pants, tuck in his shirt, and refasten the belt and holster.
You go to the well and draw enough water to wash your hands. When you turn back to him, he's staring at the broken pieces of wood strewn around, looking a little lost. In the late afternoon sunlight, his hair gleams. You can't help but watch him. Then he scowls and the spell is broken.
"They got food in there?" He jerks his head back towards the bar.
You shake your head. "Strictly alcohol. There's a place a few stores down." You don't often spend your money there, but you have other goals for your earnings.
"What are you looking for?"
He shrugs. "Meat."
Of course. He probably doesn't care what kind, as long as it was alive once. "Meat's expensive."
"I got money." He looks a bit uncomfortable when he says it, and you wonder what he did to get the coin.
"They'll do a fine hunk of pig."
He tucks his shirt back into his pants and checks his holster. Then he turns and walks away, his pace slow and deliberate. You notice the bruise at the base of his skull.
"I'll be here, drinkin', after."
He doesn't sound so sure you'll be meeting him. Fingering in the money in your pocket, you wonder why. Then you pull your shirt back on before turning back to the wood. You've got a couple of hours left of decent sunlight, and you want to get this table as close to being done as you can.
The horizon is a deep, dark red when you get back to your place. You stand outside for a moment and watch the colour fade, silhouetting the hills. You're going to have a place in those hills one day. Somewhere with some water. It'll be yours, and you'll be left alone, maybe just occasionally seeing those few customers you actually liked.
You've figured out your finances, and you think maybe nine more months of business in town, and you'll have enough to buy some decent land and build a house. Nine more months.
You close your eyes and shake the daydream off as you turn and open the door to your room.
After a fast wash, you choose clothes. You don't own anything fancy, but that's not the part you tend to play anyway. You decide on beige pants that are a little too tight and a dark shirt that shows your subtle muscle definition. Your hair -- dark and rich, like your dark eyes, a drunk, pathetically romantic customer once uttered -- is wet and messy, and when you smile in a certain way, you know you make men and women feel weak.
The room is reasonably tidy, and you make up the bed. Customers never notice these things, at least not consciously, but they're important to you. They're part of what makes you more than a common street whore.
By the time you get to the bar, Jayne's well into a night of hard drinking. If he keeps up it at this pace, he won't be getting much of what he wants from you. You watch him from the bar for a few minutes while you order a drink. What you see is different from the last time. Jayne is clearly irritable and alone. He might as well not be part of a crew, for all the isolation he's projecting.
You're not sure if this is the job you want tonight, but you sigh and walk over to his table. It's one of the few left standing from last night, and you figure he must have intimidated some of the regulars enough to get it. As you sit, he asks,
"You got any funny stories about whorin'?" He barely stops drinking to spit the words out.
Blinking, you nod. "Sure."
"Got a Companion on the boat, she don't share stories."
Your eyes widen in surprise for a moment. It seems unlikely, given what you saw of Jayne's crewmates. Then again, maybe he's with a new crew now. "I'm not a Companion." Taking a drink from your glass, you start on a ludicrous and half-made up tale. He laughs a few times, but it's a hollow sound. When the story's finished, he doesn't ask for another, so you sit quietly, watching him drink.
Finally, you decide that if he wants to do anything besides drinking, he'd better start soon. Setting your empty glass down, you stand up and cross the small distance between you. You settle yourself straddling his lap the way you did the first night. He doesn't object.
Working your hands under his shirt, you circle your thumb around his navel in slow, even movements. After a few minutes, you move one hand down to stroke him through his pants. "All alone tonight?"
He scowls, at the same time arching up a little. "Yeah. Best stay away from Mal for a space, and the doc's drivin' me batty." He smirks. "Anyway, ain't alone. Got you, don't I?"
"Mm-hmm." You stroke a little harder. He grins at you, finishes his drink, and orders two more.
You don't know quite how it happens, but in the time it takes to finish the two drinks, his mood lightens. Maybe he's one of those generally cheerful drunks. You grin in relief and start to tell him another story, this one suggestive as well as funny. His laughter is more genuine, and when you finish, you're both laughing pretty hard. He tells you about mudders and some song they sing about him, and how his crewmates looked liked their worlds had been turned upside down when they heard it.
You can imagine the look on the captain's face, incredulous and confused, and you say so. Jayne shrugs, circles his hands around your ass and says, "You're real nice. Fun."
"I can be more fun." You wink at him, but he shakes his head.
You nod and get off him, then head to the bar where you order another drink for both of you. When you get back, he pulls you back down on him and tells you all about the time they did a job on Triumph, how he got a rainstick and Mal got a wife.
You can't help but smirk at the idea of the man who would barely look at you getting hoodwinked by another whore.
There are a few more Mal stories -- how Jayne got his job, how Mal's got him out of scrapes a few times, how they pulled a crazy job on Whitefall -- until you're sorely tempted to ask what it is that has Jayne so worked up about Mal. Rather than speak, you use your tongue to tease his neck and earlobe.
Eventually, he slaps your ass and pushes you off him. As he stands, he wavers slightly, and you move to support some of his weight. He grins down at you, his smile gladness and anticipation, and together you leave the bar.
As you walk to your place, he utters more half-articulate, sentimental words about how you're nice, how you don't get all pissy when folks make mistakes. By the time you get to your door, Jayne's hand is up inside your shirt, and your pants are half-open. He's laughing as he fondles you, and you think that if anyone saw you, they'd see the picture of drunken happiness.
Inside, you push him gently against the closed door. His chest is warm beneath your hands, and you slip them under his shirt. Hair, skin, scars, your fingers catalogue the different textures as you run your hands back up his body, pushing the shirt up as you go. Jayne's hands are on your hips, holding you close and grinding against you. He lets go momentarily as you push his worn t-shirt over his head and off him.
When his arms come back down, they lock around your waist, pulling you back close to him. You're getting hard from the friction, and you grin up at him before sliding your mouth down his neck and across his collar bone. You work across his chest slowly until hands on your shoulders encourage you to get down on your knees.
Circling his navel with your tongue, a mimic of your thumb earlier, you work on undoing his pants, belt and holster. They fall to the ground when you succeed, and you sit back on your heels for a moment, taking deep breaths.
Jayne is breathing faster, his cock hard and straining towards your mouth. As you lean in to circle the head with your tongue, he leers down at you, his face eager and wanting. You close your lips and suck gently a few times, slowly coaxing his groans. You're not surprised when he moves his hands from your shoulders and grasps your hair, pulling you closer and pushing his cock further into your mouth.
You can imagine what he feels. Hot, slick mouth, skilled tongue rubbing against him. The brush of teeth and the inexorable draw of a throat that easily opens. If he could, he'd have this everyday, from you or anyone who could provide it. You move one hand from his hip, and as he pushes into you again, you cup his balls in your hand. He jerks hard, pulling out a little before hitting the back of your throat again.
You'd like to show this man the subtleties of a blow job, the long, drawn-out sensations that leave a body shaking even before orgasm. You don't think think Jayne is willing to entertain such possibilities though, so instead you focus on giving him the fast, uncomplicated pleasure that he wants.
His hands tangle in your hair, pulling just hard enough to keep your attention. His thumbs dig into your temples as he guides you, and you wonder if you'll have slight bruises in the morning.
He comes fast, and you're not surprised, given the long tease in the bar. You swallow quickly, still sucking lightly, until he pushes you away.
Leaning back on your heels, you look up at him. His face is flushed, his mouth slack. You watch for a moment, then turn your attention to undoing his boots.
"Got anythin' to drink?" His eyes are closed as he leans against the wall. You finish untying the laces and stand.
"Beer." You keep some bottles here, although never enough to get really drunk on. Sometimes customers want you to drink with them, but it doesn't pay for you to get shit-faced.
Nodding, you head to the low cabinet in one corner. It's battered and well-used, but the wood is good quality and it gleams even in the candlelight. Inside are five bottles, and you grab two, opening them quickly. Turning around, a bottle in each hand, you see Jayne has moved to sprawl on his back on the bed. He's not watching you, and you think he's likely dozing. He moved his guns away from the door, and they're on the floor by the bed.
As you cross the distance to him, he opens his eyes. When you're sure he's watching you, you take a slow drink from one of the bottles. His eyes narrow as you swallow. You hand him the bottle you drank from and set the other on the floor.
While you're bending down, you unlace your boots, stepping out of them when you're finished. He watches your movements carefully, taking long drinks of the beer.
You momentarily consider giving him a bit of a show as you undress, but you think such things would be lost on him, especially in his current state. Anyway, he'd probably recognise the artifice for what it was, so you just pull off your shirt and undo your pants the rest of the way. He grins as he watches, his fingers tapping against the bottle.
It only takes a few moments before you're naked, your clothes folded carefully over a chair. Jayne keeps drinking as you settle yourself across his thighs. His legs are muscled and wide, making a decent seat.
He watches as you tease your finger across his chest. His eyes cross a little when you stroke his cock, which is not quite ready for another round. It's quiet for a few minutes, as you touch him and he drinks, and then he asks,
"You been whorin' for long?"
You cover your surprise at the question by bending down to lick at his stomach. When you look back up, you say, "A while."
You honestly can't guess why he would want to know this, but you calculate the time in your head. "Almost eight years." Eight years of whoring and living as cheaply as possible, saving up your earnings.
You think maybe you're lucky you're not dead or diseased.
"Huh." There's a pause as he finishes the beer, and reaches down to trade bottles. "I been a merc for longer."
You watch as he swallows the beer.
"Can't whore forever."
The conversation is starting to make you uncomfortable. You don't get paid to share these kinds of thoughts. "No."
He nods, like he's empathising. "Can't be a merc forever neither." His words run into each other, but they're still understandable. "Time'll come where I ain't much good for more'n guardin' shit. That's what I'll be doin', if I don't get enough to set myself up pretty. Guardin', useless, bored."
You wonder how often he thinks about this. He's not much older than you, and just in what you figure is his merc prime.
"Might be dead before then anyway."
You're starting to feel slightly panicky at the direction of this is taking and the thought of what he might bring up next. How you got into the trade? How come you're a free agent and not associated with some whorehouse? Will he want you to relate the stories, stupid stories when you were just new, when you didn't have a fucking clue? You don't want to talk about those times, ever. Not with him. Not with anyone.
Even worse, what if he asks about your future? What you want to do with the money you earn? You don't talk to anyone about that. They're your dreams, your goals. And you're not getting paid for this kind of service. You're not some Companion, trained in pretty conversation and petty psychology.
Jayne's drinking again, and as you watch, you wiggle further down his legs, hoping your smile looks sultry, not panicked. When he moves the bottle away from his mouth, it looks like he's going to go back to asking questions, so you cut him off by going down on him.
It works. The only sound he makes is a groan, and his hand moulds the contour of your head. He lets you suck him for a few moments, but then he's pulling you up and off. You find yourself settled into a familiar position: face down on the bed, weighted down by an unfamiliar body.
You relax, pulling your legs up underneath you as you hear the well-known sounds of lubing up. At least you can be grateful you don't have to ask him to do that. When he pushes into you, you push back, and it's easy. The rhythm of his hips is easy to match. It's routine to gasp and groan, and mutter encouragements. You do it all without a second thought, and it's easy to stay hard until he starts to jerk you off.
After, he pulls out and rolls away. You collapse down and lie there, praying he doesn't start asking questions again. When he stays silent for a few, long moments, you slowly roll off the bed and go to clean yourself up.
This time, when you bring him the wash cloth, he lets you do it. You think it's because he's too drunk and tired to move too much.
Tossing the cloth aside, you wonder what to do next. Last time, he wanted you in the bed, so you climb in, carefully lying on your side. You fall asleep fast, but you wake up in the night, pulled close to Jayne, his arm wrapped around your chest.
It's rare. Your customers don't generally touch you this way. It makes you vaguely uncomfortable, but you will yourself back to sleep.
In the morning, you wake up to find Jayne sitting on the edge of the bed, his pants already on. You're surprised he doesn't want another fuck.
He nods at you.
"You hungry? I have some fruit."
He nods again, and you pull yourself out of the bed and head to the small cabinet where you store fruit and beer. Inside are apples and an orange. You hold them up, and he points to the apple, a pleased look on his face. You toss it to him, grinning as he catches it easily.
He bites into the apple with an eagerness that you're used to seeing among spacers. You sometimes feel sorry for them, stuck with protein powders and not much else for so long.
"Yes. There's a market twice a week. There's one today."
"Yeah? Close by?"
You give him directions as he eats. His eyes roam your body, but he doesn't make a move.
For a confusing moment, you think he's referring to you, but then you realise he's talking about the apples. "A bit. But they're worth it. And they're cheaper if you buy in bushels."
He looks like he's got an idea and nods his thanks.
Eventually, he finishes the apple, and the second that you offer him. He puts on the rest of his clothes.
You get paid, and you don't even have to remind him.
"See you next time I'm around."
You start to nod, but catch yourself. It seems unfair that he'll be expecting you when you might not be around. And, he's been a decent customer. He's never tried to cut and run, and he hasn't hurt you. Almost reluctantly, you say, "I'm getting out of the business. Nine more months."
He looks slightly surprised, and your find yourself wanting to say more, you're just not sure what. It's almost the direct opposite of last night, where all you wanted to do was shut him up. "I'm...it was a way to earn decent money in this town," You shrug, "Lots of ships coming in, and I've...I'll be able to buy some land. Build a house." It's strange to be telling him this, you've talked so little about it to anyone. But as the time gets closer, you find yourself almost wanting to talk about it, as though saying the words might make it more real.
You think there's slight envy on his face, but you're not sure. You half-smile, making a decision. "I'll probably need extra hands around the place, as I build it up. Maybe if you stop by, we could work it out in trade."
He laughs, surprise on his face. "Trade."
"Trade. If you can do basic woodwork."
Nodding, he heads for the door. "Maybe."
Spoilers: small bits up to War Stories
Disclaimers: I do not own Firefly, Jayne, or other related characters. This is not a profit exercise.
Sequel: Sequel to Prospect
Summary: You remember him: part of the interesting crew from a while back.
Notes: Set after Ariel, before War Stories. Dirty Diana was kind enough to beta read this for me. I am very appreciative!