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The Only Thing that Hurts is My Pride
August 1st, tag Jax
Star Trek-AOS

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#1
Jaya was in the "family quarters", because at the moment she didn't want to be around anything Terran. Anything that reminded her of how she'd screwed up, anything that reminded her of the humiliation of getting tossed across the room. No one else thought it was a huge deal, and she took comfort in that, but at the same time it was not remotely how she'd wanted her evening to go.

So she was sitting at the table in the dining area, picking at her food, and trying not to brood.
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#2
God damn, he was hungry.

Jax honestly didn’t like the ‘vacations’ he had to take from the Goddess. They were never pleasant, even if they weren’t always bad. They were the sort of thing that weighed on you, and more than that, they just weren’t him. Jax knew, more or less, who he was. He didn’t always like who he was, but he’d come to a sort of peace with the fact. He was an outlaw. He hurt people when he had to. He tried to moderate this by adding codes of honor and moral limits on his actions, but at the end of the day, he was a thug, and he was good at it. He even liked it, when he let himself. It wasn’t much, and it wasn’t really good, but there was a sort of peace in knowing who you were. He was an outlaw, and he tried to be a good man in spite of it. It kept his life interesting, if nothing else. Being here at the Goddess felt good, felt relaxing to him, and so he’d slept heavily on his off-shift, and woken up ravenous.

“Morning, darlin’,” he said with that bad-boy smile as he sat down at the table with a heaping plate of food.
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Star Trek-AOS

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#3
Jaya had been trying not to brood, but she failed. She was supposed to be the senior woman here. Was supposed to be the one who ran things, who kept everyone safe. Who dealt with problems before they became problems. Instead, she'd miscalculated, and miscalculated badly. So badly that a male had actually laid hands on her.

That was one of the occupational hazards of being an Orion slave girl, of course. Sometimes the mission required going into a truly dangerous place, and dealing with truly dangerous people, and sometimes accepting an owner who would find a reason to mistreat his property, and sometimes the mission required accepting abuse. Jaya knew that. But those were acceptable risks on a mission.

At home? On her own turf? She should never have had a male put hands on her. The fact that it had happened because she'd interfered in an alien male's personal life, had allowed herself to forget that he was an alien, and that, more importantly, anyone he was interested in was also an alien. That stating things so bluntly was not something that Terrans would understand, or welcome.

That was humiliation beyond humiliation. Even when she'd been finishing her training at home, not yet ready to be sold for the first time, she'd never made such a profoundly stupid mistake.

And now, there was a reminder of her failure. A alien male, worse, a Terran male, in the family quarters. There because she'd invited him inside. Let him closer than any Terran, any alien should be allowed to come.

He greeted her with a familiar endearment, as though she was-something. Something not alien. "Good evening." Jaya said, not returning the smile "You slept most of the day."
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#4
Jax was, sadly, completely oblivious that anything at all had happened. To Jax, this was another day of getting ready for work, and one that he’d been looking forward to, all things considered. When he got the cold reception that she welcomed him with, though, that made him wonder if he should have reevaluated his life a little bit.

“Yeah,” he said, slowly, as though that one little word contained all of the incomprehension that a man could feel at the mysterious whims of the female mood. “I was up late getting the loose shelves behind the bar replaced this morning. Figured it was a good idea since I was on the late shift tonight,” he said. One of the easier things for him to get used to was the Goddess’s shift. Given the extracurricular activities of his life, he was used to taking late nights and then sleeping into the day to be ready for another late night… something that hadn’t seemed to be a problem. “Why?” He knew he wasn’t on shift yet, he’d set his alarm to give himself enough time to get ready without rushing. Hell, he could have gotten a ride in before he really needed to be here, but he hadn’t really been feeling it.

Damn, things had been so much simpler when he'd been the one who ran the brothel, hadn't it? Yeah, aside from the dead bodies...
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#5
"Yes." Jaya said, her tone neutral "Ruvet mentioned you'd done that." not indicating if she thought it was a good or a bad thing. "You aren't late, if you're worried about that." he hadn't done anything to give offense, and she knew that, but his presence, his very existence annoyed her at the moment. "Why what?" she asked, returning the question to him. Not willing to give him even so much as an inch. The Terran had been let in too close already, and she couldn't forget about that. Couldn't let herself forget about that.
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#6
Well, at least today, Jax was given one answer for sure: Yes, women were the same on everyfucking world. Seriously, there was no winning. He’d gotten back, checked to see how everything was, gotten to fixing stuff that needed fixing, then gone to bed. Now he was getting up and he had the Bitch Queen PMSing all over him. Had he pissed off some god of women issues (or goddess, he guessed)? Actually, thinking a second further, he didn’t want an answer to that. He’d probably pissed off all sorts of gods.

“Why am I getting talked to like the dog that pissed on the floor?” Jax shot back, not really hostile, but pretty clearly not thinking much of her tone. He was a good worker, he didn’t cause problems, he kept things quiet for her… what the hell could he have done wrong? This is probably Kaalth’s fault. Yeah, that was it. While he was gone, the guy had probably not stopped some big issue and left her to clean it up since Jax wasn’t there to pick up the slack. God damn it… he missed owning his own place and not having to deal with lip like this.
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#7
"You haven't done anything wrong." Jaya said, trying very, very hard to be fair and reasonable. "I am not in the mood to deal with Terran males and their...quirks...at the moment." hoping that this would cause Jax to drop it and leave her alone, because she really, really did not want to deal with him at the moment.
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#8
What the actual fuck was that supposed to mean? Terran males and their… quirks? He’d come in, said hello, and started eating, period. He didn’t know where there had been any room for ‘quirkiness’ in that, but apparently to the alien princess, there was.

Women, right?

Trying not to roll his eyes, Jax held his hands up to signal his surrender. “Oh-kay, then,” he said, slowly, his voice and expression managing to pack so much patronizing sentiment into those two words than a three minute speech could have. This was not worth fighting over. If there was one thing he’d learned about women, it was that the only thing you could do was lose an argument somehow.
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#9
Jaya saw his passive aggressive show of surrender for what it was, and it angered her. "Yes, yes, I know. You are a male, and because you have superior strength to a Terran female, that means that you are also smarter, and deserve to be in charge, and I should go along with whatever you want, without complaint. Since if I don't, well, its easy enough to throw a woman across the room or choke her, isn't it." her words as were angry, but her body language showed stress as much as it did anger.
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#10
Jax just dropped his fork at that. He’d dealt with enough alpha females in his life (hello, Mom) to teach him that when they were like this, you didn’t have any choice but to fight back, because later? The consequences might be a hell of a lot worse if you let this get turned into something that was your fault (when, in reality, she was pissed off at someone else). “Okay, what the hell are you talking about,” Jax shot back at her. “Look, I don’t know what or who crawled up your ass, but it wasn’t me. I’ve played by your rules, I’ve respected your rules, I’ve pulled my weight, and I don’t hit women. I’m just trying to eat my meal here, I’m not making some moral stand for my fucking gender. So either take this out on the guy who you really are pissed off at, or if it’s someone you need taken care of, tell me so I can go fucking take care of him.”
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#11
"You haven't hit me yet, you mean." Jaya said, finally snapping "You've followed the rules, and kept your nose clean and done what you've been asked, but one of these days, something is going to happen that will justify hitting me, or hitting one of the girls and then you'll do it. Because you're a fucking Terran male, and that apparently makes you biologically incapable of acting like a civilized being." some part of Jaya's mind was aware that she was being unfair to Jax, but right now, at that moment, she really, truly didn't care. "I don't need you to take care of anything. Safi is gone, and everyone knows that he isn't allowed to come back. That is the most I can do without pissing off Christian, which will involve pissing off Belle, and I don't want to lose her as a bartender. Which means that I have to put up with a gods cursed Terran male putting his hands on me, and another one bugging me about it, instead of leaving me alone." Jaya finished speaking, and by the time she was done she was almost trembling with emotion.
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#12
“Wow. Okay, first of all, fuck you,” Jax shot back giving her a disappointed glare. “You didn’t hire me to be civilized, you hired me because I’ve got two skill sets that you need: I’m an okay mechanic, and I’m a good outlaw. You needed a thug for when you need someone taken care of, or when you need someone scared off, and I told you that I’d do that. All the same? I don’t hit women, period, let’s say it again. And I’m not your fucking problem, here. You tell me one of my friends hit you? I’ll go beat them senseless or stand back while you do it yourself, lady’s choice. I’m not the fucking problem here, apparently Belle’s the fucking problem if she holds this over your head and doesn’t let you deal with it.” He could have just left this conversation go, but no, she was just bound and determined to go through with this whole shitfest… well, all right, then, so be it. “And knock it off with the racist bullshit,” he added caustically. “I dealt with that enough before I came here. I’m not some… lesser… animal, just because I’m not green. Or because I’m male. You might have Kaalth beaten down enough to think he is, but I know better, I haven’t been… fucking indoctrinated and drugged since I was born!”
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#13
Jaya listened at Jax spoke, and, well, it didn't do a great deal to improve her mood "Keep Kaalth out of this! He's a good man, and a better one than you'll ever be. He hasn't been drugged, or abused, or mistreated. He's an Orion, and he knows what he wants. What he wants is to feel safe in his own home, which is all any of us want." she took a long deep breath and let it out and continued, her voice starting to go from angry to hurt.

"Which is what I can't have right now, because I made the mistake of letting my guard down and underestimating some Terran thug and he choked me and tossed me across the room. So yeah, I'm not in the best place right now when it comes to dealing with Terran thugs. Even if you've been a good one, so far. And no, I don't want him beat up. I don't think he'll be back, and the people who saw it thought that it was him and me fighting over Chris. They'll gossip and get over it."
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#14
“Yeah, he is. Too good to be all drugged up on pheromones and convinced that he’s a second class citizen just because he was born with a dick,” Jax shot back. “If he wants to feel safe in his own home? Well, guess what, he could do that himself, no matter what he learned growing up. My mother might have been a crazy bitch, but at least she taught me to keep me and mine safe.” Which, really, he’d assumed would include the people here, but this? No, this was way out of line. “So yeah, this shit? I didn’t earn this, I don’t deserve this, and I’m not putting up with it. If you’re going to make excuses for how you’re scared of this guy? That’s on you, but don’t put any of this shit on me. I didn’t hurt you, I’m not putting up with anyone hurting you, and I’m completely done with women taking their crazy shit out on my life.” He pushed his unfinished plate toward the middle of the table and stood up. “Good luck with the next guy. Probably ought to find someone you won’t need to look at like he’s some kind of animal, even if he does have a dick.” Shaking his head, he started to head past her to get his stuff out of his room.
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#15
"He's an Orion! Pheromones aren't a drug. They're part of how we are. Its part of how we communicate. Its why we know what other Orions are feeling, instead of going through all kinds of stupidity because we don't. I don't treat him like he's a second class citizen, and either does Nala. He was raised hundreds of years ago. It'd be like, well, if a Terran female from back then showed up here. How used would she be to having rights? "

When Jax started to leave, well, she'd been hurt and upset, still was for that matter. But she had been unfair to Jax, and she didn't want him to leave. As he started to go past, she grabbed his arm, holding him in place for the moment "Jax, I'm sorry. I was taking it out on you, and that isn't fair." the way that she let her pheromones loose to make him more willing to listen, well, that was fair, since she knew that otherwise he'd just up and leave "You're right. You aren't the problem, and you don't deserve to be treated like you're Safi. Because he is the one I'm pissed at."
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#16
“They’re a drug when you use them to control people!” Jax shot back. “Are you telling me that you don’t throw them around the room to make people behave? So yeah, they’re a drug.” He shot her a rather unpleasant, humorless smile. “You and me? When we do our thing, it’s the same thing, just making other people do what we think they should do. You’re no less of a thug than me, my way’s just more honest about what it is, and yours is prettier.” He didn’t address the bit about women from way back when, because… well, why argue a point that she was right about?

He almost- almost, jerked away when she grabbed his arm, but he held back the impulse. While hitting her was the last thing on his mind, some crazy women would take yanking his arm away as a ‘violent action,’ and right now? Jaya was being as crazy as they come. Thankfully, though, he didn’t have the Orion ability to actually smell the pheromones that were hitting him, or he might have gotten pissed off and actually left, but as it was, he did find his demeanor softening as she apologized… if only a bit. “No kidding,” he said, dryly, but he did stop leaving. She had been roughed up by someone, now that he was this close he could see the (well disguised) signs of it, and that was going to screw with even the most hardcore bitch there was (hell, he grew up with all the evidence of that). “What do you need me to do?” he asked, settling himself into the fact that no, he wasn’t peacing out just yet.
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