Simon had delicate hands, fine-boned hands, surgeon’s hands. It made them easy for Jayne to crush. He didn’t
want to; he imagined the doc’s screams would be echoing in his head for a long, long time. But Simon was the only one
who could call River back. Handing River over was the only way the Feds would give Mal and Zoe back. Jayne was the leader
by default, the one left behind, and why hadn’t Mal ever told him how hard that was?
Reasoning with him didn’t work and there wasn’t time for coaxing and hurting him was the only other way Jayne
Wash and Kaylee would hate him when they found out. Inara, too, most likely. But the Shepherd- Book was standing right outside
the infirmary door. Book told him to do what he had to. That was what a leader did, right? What everybody else couldn’t
or wouldn’t do?
Jayne squeezed the doc’s wrist until he gasped and opened his hand. He pressed it down against the table and brought
the length of pipe down as hard as he could.
Maybe he was leading them all right down to Hell, but he didn’t know any other way.