by skripka

Series: Focus
Warnings: Is this even angst?
Archive: Take and Enjoy! I just want to know about it. Feedback: Is very yummy.
Disclaimers: As much as I might wish otherwise, everyone in this story belongs to a certain Mr. Whedon. He's very kind, and lets me play occasionally.

The ever-generous-with-her-time sffan beta-ed this for me. Xie-xie!
Author's Note: See, I promised y'all some more plot.

Chinese translations, served with a smile: ge ge: big brother,
xiang muqinban zhaogu tuotong: mother of a headache

It was the sleep of the well and truly fucked.

Simon woke briefly three times before morning. First, he was startled awake by the sensation of having a warm body in his bed. A pleasant emotion sent him back to sleep almost immediately.

Second time, he heard a ruckus in the hallway. Quietly pulling on his pants, he caught his sister and Kaylee slipping past, trying to bring a bundle up to the mechanic's bunk. They both looked at him, and tried to stifle their giggles. River's whispered comment, accompanied by a grin and wide eyes, "Be good, ge ge," sent them giggling and scurrying away. A blush lit up his cheeks, as he stripped and crawled back into his warm bed, and was immediately gathered into the strong arms he found there.

An erection poking into his thigh woke him up a third time. Needing, wanting, no other provocation, he slid down, and proceeded to give Mal a slow, wet, and leisurely blow job. The older man was shortly writhing and moaning in ecstasy. He came with a quiet curse while Simon swallowed every drop greedily.

For some reason, however, Simon missed the moment when Mal left the bed.

When he awoke, he was cold and alone. Glancing at the chronometer, he read the time as 0623. Groggily he remembered the cargo, got up and splashed his face. Looking in the mirror briefly, he touched the bruises on his neck, and realized why Kaylee and River couldn't stop giggling before. The slight pressure, however, was bringing back the highly charged memories of last night, so he removed his fingers, took charge of his thoughts, focused on his task of washing up, and selected a high-necked sweater to wear for the day.

He entered the cargo bay and was confronted by the efficient and quiet bustle of Serenity's crew loading a cargo. No orders were ever given, because none were needed. Everyone knew where to fit things, what they could carry, and when to take a breather. Mal stood in the center of the whirlwind, seemingly controlling the chaos with his presence alone. Simon's gut did flip-flops as he recalled the mental and physical strength of the man.

Simon moved further into the action, but was stopped by a companionable arm slapping around his neck. Surprised, he looked up at Jayne, who looked happy and sated. Since he was wearing the same clothes as yesterday, Simon had little doubt in his mind what the mercenary had been up to the previous night. Not that he was one to judge, he realized, just as Jayne's voice rumbled a hearty greeting.

"You shoulda come with me last night, doc."

"Um...," He was really going to have to get himself together if he was going to get anything accomplished today. Like thinking.

"I had a grand old time. You coulda gotten some for yourself." Jayne was obstinately cheerful, and dragging Simon towards the next group of crates to be moved.

"Jayne...," Simon noticed Mal looking in their direction, so he extricated himself from the heavy arm. "I don't think that's really..."

"Ah, they had boys there too. We'll check it out next time we're here."

"That's not... but..." Jayne had already strode away, grunting as he shifted another box. Simon sighed, and walked over to Mal. "Good morning," he stated neutrally, unable to read the expression on the captain's face.

"Mornin'." Mal voice was neutral, too. Simon felt a headache settle into the groove between his eyebrows. "Glad to see you join us, you ready to do some work?"

"Sure." If Mal could play it cool, so could Simon. Even if it gave him a gorram xiang muqinban zhaogu tuotong. He followed the captain to the shiny metal cylinders stacked in corner.

Simon kneeled down, and tried to identify the contents. But these were contraband, and any identifying marks had been scratched out, marked over, and just generally obliterated. "Do you know if we have ova and spermatozoa? Or just cryoed fertilized ova? What kind of stock is this?"

"Don't rightly know. Doubt even the client knows." Mal shrugged. "Black let it slip there might be a few extra platinum in it for us at the drop if we can get the contents all sorted and identified. Think you can do that for us, Simon?"

The last was said in such a quiet and intimate tone, Simon looked up, startled. Mal's mouth was still neutral, but there was a shimmer of warmth in the blue eyes that was quickly shuttered. Simon blinked, and stammered, shocked, "Um, yeah. I'll just need some time."

"Time we got spades of. Gonna take at least week to get to Minerva." Mal showed his crooked grin again, and Simon had to close his eyes to prevent his body taking over and throwing itself on the man again. "Should I get you some help to move this stuff to the infirmary?" Mal's voice was barely audible under the pain-tinged blood rush the smile had produced.

No way was he going to take painkillers on an empty stomach. "No, no, I'll get it myself. That's if it's okay for me to have breakfast first?" He stood clumsily, and Mal placed a steadying hand on his arm. Their eyes met, and the same sullen heat that drove them last night collected in their gazes, in the suspended breathing, and in the fingerprints which burnt through Simon's sleeve. Mal felt it too, and suddenly jerked his hand away, shaking it out.

Suddenly all Captain, Mal turned, and focused on the rest of the work. Not looking at Simon, he waved his hand vaguely upwards. "Sure, help yourself. Preacher apparently found some grains in the marketplace, and even Wash can't screw up oatmeal. Much, anyway." He stalked off, leaving Simon to catch his breath.

While working in the infirmary later, Simon found himself distracted again. Raising a hand to rub his tingling neck, he turned, and found Mal leaning in the doorway. Sighing, he had a sudden premonition of what Mal was going to say, and crossed his arms. The errant thought maybe River's abilities are catching flashed by, even as he leaned against the counter, and focused his gaze on Mal.

"Can I help you, Captain?" Simon was getting much better at controlling his voice. The small push on the title was enough to make Mal's eyes widen.

Nodding towards the small stack of cylinders, Mal asked, "Everything going smooth here?"

Eyebrow quirked up, Simon replied curtly, "As well as can be expected." A dark part of his personality was gratified when Mal flushed and turned away. In guilt? Well, good then. "I haven't done DNA coding since MedAcad, so it's slow going." He half turned back, ready to return to the cool and collected task of data gathering, when Mal cleared his throat.

"Simon," Mal had moved into the room, his sheer presence seemingly overwhelming the air cooling system. Simon had to remind himself to breathe. "We need to talk."

"Do we?" Simon couldn't keep the bitterness out of his voice this time, as he faced Mal head-on. "Seems to me that we've said plenty, even if we haven't used so many words."

"Look, Simon. Yesterday..."

"Don't say it, Mal, I can guess ...," when Mal interrupted him.

"It was a mistake. I can't get involved with my crew. With anyone."

"Thanks for thinking of that. Too bad you couldn't have come to that realization, say, yesterday?" There was no point in hiding his anger anymore. Simon's eyes flashed. "Damn you, anyway."

"Simon...," an edge of despair and anger, and the older man moved in, pushing Simon back against the counter. Mal's hands landed on his shoulders.

His fingers brushed under Simon's collar, pressing directly against a bruise. Simon's eyes closed, as a rush of fire spread from that point. His lips were open, his breath was suspended, he could feel Mal's mouth mere inches from his own. Helpless, he leaned into the weight, the heat of the body, in front of him, only to be bereft suddenly at Mal's sudden withdrawal.

"I can't do this, Simon." And just as abruptly, he was gone.

Simon took a ragged breath, and thought what the hell am i supposed to do now?

If you enjoyed this story, please send feedback to skripka