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A Little Matter of Payment

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"Now there's just a little matter of payment."

Slivers of ice slid down Simon's spine. Every single warning bell that had been waiting all this time to chime went off at once. "I paid you," he said.

"You paid me for the information," Badger replied. His mouth twisted into thoughtfulness and he slid pinched fingers down the lapels of his coat. His grin spread like an oil slick. "You didn't pay me to keep that information- How shall I put it?" Badger paused to eye Simon up and down. "Our little secret?"

"We had a deal," Simon said, the bottom of his stomach dropping out. This was far from the first time he'd dealt with scum like Badger, but it used to be that throwing a few extra thousand in to the pot didn't mean a thing. Until the rescue had drained the last of his reserves, he'd been sitting on enough to buy a ship like Serenity a thousand times over.

Badger gestured at the chip clutched in Simon's fist. "What's it worth to you?" he asked. His shark-tooth smile vanished, and his bodyguards went with it. Funny how Badger losing the muscle made Simon feel more in danger.

A fresh chill settled at the low of his back when Badger's eyes narrowed, calculating, and Simon hated the part of him that piped up to say Mal would have known how to deal with the situation. It might be true, only Mal wouldn't have been in this situation in the first place. The office grew cavernous as Simon counted up the distance to find just how far he stood from each of the exits.

"Well? Speak up."

Unarmed and without an escort, Simon gave the only answer he could: "It's worth enough."

"Is that so," Badger said. He skirted around the edge of his desk, strolled around Simon like the centre of his office was a slave block on Aigaion and not just a scrap of cheap real estate near the docks. It might as well be that far from the Core, Simon thought, closing his eyes so he wouldn't flinch when the first touch found his body.

"How do you want to be paid?" Simon asked, fighting the tremor in his voice. Men like Badger preyed on weakness, and Simon was desperate not weak; a fine but important distinction. He didn't move a muscle when he felt Badger's mouth press against his shoulder and spread into a lazy smile.

"Why don't you put your pretty hands flat on my desk and we'll just go from there," Badger said. His knuckles drifted down Simon's side and back up again. He smelled like metal filings and smoke, earthy and crude, everything he purported not to be when strutting cocksure into business dealings. Something twisted and wrong rolled around in Simon's stomach, pushed a fresh dump of adrenaline into his veins even as his cock twitched in his trousers.

Simon wet his lips and did as told, the chip with the information he needed kept safe beneath his palm. He waited for Badger's hand to find his belt, but the touch never came. It shouldn't have been a surprise that Badger preferred first and foremost letting others do the dirty work.

"How about you give me a bit of a show," Badger suggested. A wooden crate creaked as he made himself comfortable, one leg drawing up off the floor and his hand settling loose against his thigh. "Well spoken lad such as yourself would sound better panting and moaning, I should think. Make it convincing and we'll call things square."

Simon peeled a hand off the desk, his breath already coming quick and shallow. He'd done worse for River's sake, and this was nothing in the scheme of things. When it came down to it, his pride lay elsewhere. Dropping his trousers and spreading himself didn't cost him a thing. Fucking his fingers in the middle of the day for a relative stranger, risking almost everything in the process and finding his cock straining during every second of it was the real price.