The Speed of Choices (Four)
by dirty diana
no warnings, no spoilers
Disclaimer: I didn't invent these characters. Obviously. Translations: bi zui=shut up
Notes: Sequel to The Speed of Choices part three. I tried to make up for taking much longer than I meant to between parts by putting smut in this bit. Chocolate and Shirtless!Simon to sffan for the beta.
Simon wakes up slowly, his head aching.
Hesitantly, methodically, his brain struggles to unscramble itself. Serenity. His quarters. The ceiling, the walls all look perfectly familiar from this vantage point. But something isn't right, he knows that, and he searches to name what it is.
He tries to sit up, quickly forced back into a reclining position by the pounding pressure at his temples. Simon groans out loud.
Breathe in. Two. Three. Four. Breathe out.
"It can't be as bad as all that."
Simon doesn't dare open his eyes again, not just yet. But the voice is roughly, unmistakably, Mal's. Breathe in. Two. Three. Four.
The captain seems to hardly notice the heavy dangerous silence. "You gotta be hungry. Book's been cookin'..."
But the mention of food is like a heavy upward motion on his stomach. He breathes in again, pushing down the desire to retch. "Mal," Simon whispers, "bi zui."
Mal is quiet.
The silence isn't silence, really. It is punctuated by the dark whirring hum of Serenity, a sound that the doctor would barely have noticed two days ago. Now, it is the loudest thing that he has ever heard.
The moments stretch out. Finally Simon struggles once more to sit up, this time conquering gravity, the blankets slipping from his bare torso.
Simon glances down at smooth naked skin, glances up again. "You..."
"Thought you'd be more comfortable."
Mal can see Simon thinking about that one, turning it over in his head. Finally he says, "River?"
"She's fine. In her bunk, sleepin' just fine."
That information gets filed away too, behind bright eyes. Mal didn't understand, not until they started fucking, that what appears as dismissive rudeness to most people is simply Simon's natural way, his inability to deal with more than one thing at a time. But nothing gets left out or forgotten.
Some days, that is a good thing. Today, Mal doubts very much that he will appreciate it.
Simon is getting out of bed, naked, all the lines of his body sharp and tense. He fumbles for pants thrown over a chair, and pulls them on. He bites him lip to suppress another groan, as the blood rushes to his head, increasing the pressure. The forgotten moments on Beaumonde are coming back to him, all of a sudden, in a rush of pictures and sounds that he doesn't entirely understand. "Where are we?" he asks.
Mal is watching him carefully, speaking carefully, as if dealing with an unknown animal. "On Serenity," he answers slowly.
Simon shoots him a dark-eyed glare. Then he repeats the question. "Where. Are we?"
"About a days' travel from Beaumonde. We picked up some cargo there. We're headed to Boros."
Simon touches a hand to his mouth, and winces as he finds it swelling, slightly bruised. "I've been out for twenty-four hours?"
Mal shuffles slightly in the doorway, and Simon won't stop staring. "How long to Boros?"
"Wash reckons six more days. Give or take."
Simon nods. "We'll be getting off there."
"I ain't sure that's the safest idea. Boros is an uncivilised place. You'd have been better off on Beaumonde for a bit, except Zoe got wind of the Feds makin' a landing." Mal knows that Simon hasn't asked for an explanation. He hadn't meant to give one. It's a long way, though, from an apology. That Simon isn't getting. "You weren't safe," he finishes flatly.
Simon looks at him, a glare harsh enough to melt steel, and takes one shaky step forward. Two steps. Three steps, and his legs buckle beneath him.
Mal's hand reaches out, to give him an anchor. "Whoa, steady."
A dark flush rushes quickly to a pale face, as Simon pushes Mal's arm away, righting his body through sheer force of will. "I have," he said slowly, precisely, "a mild concussion."
"Yeah," Mal agreed, "you got knocked up some on Beaumonde. Jayne got a little..."
"I have a concussion," Simon repeated, enunciating clearly as if he thought that Mal hadn't heard him. "Yesterday, you came to retrieve me from the hotel at Beaumonde. I declined to go with you. So you knocked me unconscious..."
"Jayne..." Mal began, but Simon couldn't be interrupted.
"...dragged me back to your ship, where you are currently holding me against my will. In addition to this, I have a concussion. Is that a fairly accurate summary?"
"It doesn't matter. We'll deal with it later." And here Simon began to stumble over his words, as his breaths became short, his body fast losing strength in the struggle to remain on his feet. "Right now I would like to see my sister. Can that be arranged?"
Mal nodded. "She's in her old room, same as always."
"Good." He starts to leave, and briefly changes his mind. "Mal."
"Don't touch me again."
Mal opens his mouth to say something, and changes his mind. He steps aside, and let Simon pass.
Mal wakes up like a shot, startled. Then he relaxes, breathing out, as the figure in his darkened room takes a familiar shape.
Simon answers by pressing his lips against the captain's, a kiss that runs hot and cold at the same time.
Mal's hand reaches out to him, and touches only naked skin. A shiver runs through him, surprise and just a hint of something more. "Thought you said no touchin'," Mal says, roughly. One day and half of one night has passed by on Serenity, and in that time Simon has managed never to be in the same room with the captain. If this is some new form of punishment, Mal isn't submitting to it. That's what he tells himself.
Simon's voice barely reaches a whisper, as if it hurts him to talk. "I did."
"So what's this, then?"
"I'm holding up my end of the deal."
"Ain't sure as I follow you."
"I live on the ship. You protect me and my sister. We fuck. I leave, you bring me back. The rules seem perfectly clear to me, Mal."
"It ain't..." Mal begins, but he is interrupted by the sweet, insistent pressure of Simon's mouth on his. He struggles to pull away. "It ain't like that."
"Tell me how it is then."
But Mal is lost for words. Simon's warm, naked body is enveloping his own, Simon's mouth wet against Mal's lips, his cheek, the dip and curve of his throat. His fingers on Mal's skin are demanding, unyielding. Simon knows what Mal likes. Mal taught him, too late to wish that he hadn't.
"You ain't see me play hard to get yet, Simon," Mal had told him, the last time that they had touched like this. And it had been true. But his body is nowhere near as stubborn as his mind, his body has not felt Simon's touch in over a week. A week too long, and the caresses make Mal's breath come faster, short gasps through his mouth. His skin draws in Simon's warmth, his nipples hard underneath Simon's palms as his body betrays him.
"Simon, this wasn't...it didn't have the meaning that you think." And Mal doesn't even want to think about that, the meaning that Simon thinks, the thoughts making him sick to his stomach. "I wasn't going to leave you there. You're on my crew."
Simon draws back, suddenly, and his eyes are bright shots of light in the dark. Watching, thinking, sorting. He takes a deep breath, exhales, as if spitting out a bad taste. "I know that," he whispers.
And he pushes himself forward again, pressing himself against Mal, hands slipping down over Mal's ass, squeezing hard. Mal groans, despite himself. Simon's hands, in his pants, fondling his balls, fingers traveling up the length of his cock. Firmly Simon strokes him, smooth firm motions, coaxing soft groans from Mal's reluctant mouth.
He won't do this, Mal thinks, this has gone too far already. He won't.
It's the last thought that he has before the world spins out of control, before all the stars in the 'verse crash and explode before his eyes. "Simon," he breathes out, and then the world is still.
He opens his eyes to find Simon watching him, wiping the sticky mess in his hand against the sheets.
"Simon," he says again, and Simon is against him again, close enough to be inside him, all breathy groans and hot, swollen cock, pressed against Mal's thigh. Mal reaches for him, it's a reflex, takes him in his hand and watches the beautiful lines of his mouth as the pleasure flows through him, as Simon grinds against him, demanding more. Demanding more and receiving it, as Mal's palm glides wetly over his shaft. Demanding more, without words. Then Simon bites his lip, moans, and comes with a startled shudder over Mal's fingers.
The silence that follows is heavy and painful to bear.
"Simon," Mal says.
Simon stares at him, but makes no sound.
"This ain't...I don't ever want you to come to me unless you want to." And maybe not even then, Mal thinks. But those words won't come.
Simon is staring at him, eyes wide and flat. "Mal," he says quietly. "I'm on your crew."
Then he gets out of bed.
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