Coup de Grace

by J. M. Griffin

Author's notes: Many thanks to SF Fan for being so willing to leap in and beta for me. All mistakes are mine, of course. This story is dedicated to those who have written me LOCs. Since I have just begun writing Firefly and still feel like I am on shaky ground, your comments have been a great boost to me.

Coup de Grace
by J. M. Griffin

It had come to Zoe's attention that the captain was not sleeping. He had a habit of roaming the ship at night, almost always the last to turn in. Mal would walk Serenity's corridors "putting the ship to bed." She never thought to ask him the why of it. It was just something he did.

But tonight, she's heard his footsteps outside her bunk three times, and that wasn't usual. Remembering Kaylee's comment of a few days past about the captain's mood, and her own promise to herself to keep an eye on him, Zoe gave a sigh and slipped from her warm, husbandfilled bed. She tugged on pants and shirt, and with one longing glance at the man asleep on the bed, Zoe steeled her resolve and went to talk to the captain.

Mal wasn't where she thought he'd be; she looked for him in the stairways down by the cargo bay, and then up on the bridge. The engine room was dark, as was the infirmary. Zoe ended her search in the galley, and found the captain there. He was sitting at the table, slumped forward and sound asleep, his head resting in the crook of one arm. His other arm was stretched out before him, his hand palm up. As she neared, she heard him sigh in his sleep, and watched as he cupped his fingers as if grasping for something. Then Mal said a word. If she hadn't been so focused on him, she might not have made it out, it was breathed so softly.

"Simon."

Zoe closed her eyes briefly, then turned on her heel and headed back to the safety of her bunk. Suddenly, she had lot to think about, and she wanted Wash's sleepy arms around her as she did her thinking.

She reached the bottom of the ladder to find Wash standing with his back to her, half in and half out of his pants. When she said his name, he startled and almost fell over in his haste to turn.

"Zoe, what's happening? I woke up and you were gone and...is something the matter with the ship?" his blue eyes were still muzzy with sleep.

"Wash! For pity's sake, can't I just get up to get a cup of tea?" Zoe didn't mean to snap, but it just came out that way.

"In the middle of the night?" Wash said as he sank down on the edge of their bed. "And anyway, you don't like tea. You only drink it when there's nothing else available." Wash had given up trying to get his pants on, and now he tossed them back on the floor where he'd gotten them. "What's the matter? Is it this stuff between Mal and Jayne that won't let you sleep?"

Zoe sighed and went to sit beside Wash on the bed. "Do you even have a clue what's going on between the captain and Jayne?" she asked.

Shaking his head, Wash raised his blond eyebrows. "Does it matter? I mean, eventually Jayne will get over it, and if he doesn't, Mal will just beat the crap out of him, and then he'll get over it."

It was Zoe's turn to shake her head. "Oh, I don't think so, not this time."

Wash narrowed his eyes. "What do you know that I don't know, oh goddess woman of mine?" He stroked Zoe's back soothingly, in truth not terribly interested in the problem between the captain and Jayne, and hoping he could soon coax his luscious wife back to bed.

Zoe shrugged out from under his arm and gave him her best no-nonsense look. "Mal's sleeping with Simon," she said succinctly. "And Jayne is not amused."

"Oh well, if that's all...," Wash began, then he stopped. "Mal's what? He and Simon are....what? And Jayne's...what?!"

Zoe nodded her head. "Yep, that's what I said."


Simon sat on his cold, lonely bed. He wanted Mal in it so badly it was a physical ache. But ever since Jayne had found out, Mal had stayed away.

On one hand, everything seemed to be back to the way it had been...before. Serenity was on course for Narcissus for some rest and relaxation. Kaylee, Zoe, and Wash were looking forward to a few days off ship. Book, uneasy about going to a place known as a pleasure planet, had volunteered to stay on board and 'babysit' River. On the other hand, Jayne was hiding in his bunk when he wasn't working out down in the cargo bay, and Mal wasn't speaking much to anyone, and not at all to Simon.

Which shouldn't have mattered, except Simon had gotten used to the captain having something to say about everything. The wise-cracks, the in-your-face opinions, were part and parcel with the man. It had been days since any of that had gone on, and Simon found he sorely missed it. But there were other things he missed even more. With a heavy sigh, Simon closed his eyes and let go of the images that had been crowding in on him, begging for release. Mal on his knees in front of him. Malcolm Reynolds, alpha male, ship captain, down on his knees sucking his cock. It had made him think Mal wanted him, that it wasn't just sex. That maybe, just maybe, Mal loved him. But then Jayne had caught on to what was happening, and Mal had clammed up tight. And Simon hadn't a clue what to do about it.

"Stop thinking so hard," a voice said firmly.

Simon's eyes flew open and oh god it was Mal standing in the doorway to his quarters and he hadn't even heard the door slide open.

Mal shut the door carefully and then crossed over to Simon. Reaching out, he placed a finger under Simon's chin and closed his mouth. "Good thing Serenity don't have flies," he mocked. Simon couldn't help himself, he took hold of Mal's hand and pulled the bigger man down, down so he could kiss him, and Mal went easily onto Simon's bed and into his arms.

"Hey, hey," Mal said, because Simon was shaking. "I'm sorry, I just needed some time to think. I didn't mean to upset you."

Simon nodded, trying to still the tremors that wracked him, "I...I....,"

"Shh," Mal said, kissing him softly on his open mouth, not pressing him, just reassuring. "It's gonna be all right."

Tears leaked from Simon's eyes at Mal's soft words, and he turned his head away so Mal wouldn't see them.

Mal would have none of it. He licked delicately at Simon's cheek, following the tear tracks to his mouth. "Simon, don't," he said. "It ain't worth all this anguish."

"Oh, Mal," Simon whispered, because he wanted, more than anything, for it to be worth it.

"Ah, I didn't mean it that way," Mal murmured against his mouth. "You're worth it, xin gan, you are well worth it. Just stop crying."

Simon gave a choked laugh and Mal hushed him again, then took his mouth in a kiss that quickly went from reassuring to hungry and demanding. Simon felt his insides ignite, and he began kissing back, pushing Mal down beside him on the bed, only letting him up occasionally to breathe.

He'd only been wearing a pair of sleep pants, and Mal's suspenders were missing tonight, so it only took them a few seconds to strip, and then they were skin on skin. Simon's hands were trembling as he ran them down Mal's chest, down his abs, and all the way to his thighs.

Mal grunted softly, whispered, "no, wait," and then suddenly, he had reversed them and he was on top, skimming his sure hands down Simon's body, licking teasingly at his belly button, tweaking his nipples, then laving them, until Simon began to whimper. Mal ducked his head to lick at the soft insides of Simon's thighs and up into the crease of his groin, but he never, never touched Simon's aching cock.

He clawed at the bedclothes with his fingers, but found no purchase, so he buried his hands in Mal's sleek hair. Finally, finally, Mal closed his big hand round Simon's cock, stroking him with such maddening intensity that it wasn't too long before Simon climaxed with a cry, filling Mal's hand with his hot come.

Simon had barely finished his orgasm before he spread his legs and lifted them with his hands. He looked up into Mal's blue eyes to see them hot on his body, burning with a crazy lust.

"Do it, do it now, Mal," Simon urged.

Mal mouthed the word 'no,' though the effort obviously cost him. Ducking his head, he tongued the entrance to Simon's body. Simon groaned and rounded his back, giving him even better access. Gently, Mal slipped one slick finger inside him, moving it just so, making Simon's cock thicken and fill once again.

His eyes heavy-lidded with desire, Mal husked, "We need something more."

Reaching out frantically, Simon scrabbled around on the shelf near the bed until he got his hand on some salve he had there. "Use this," he breathed.

Mal did not hesitate; he anointed his own cock, and then, positioning himself between Simon's legs, centered in and pushed.

Simon cried out, a sharp, needy sound. Mal froze.

"No, no, don't stop. I want you in me, Mal," Simon babbled. "Don't you stop, gorramit."

Mal's eyes flared wide, and he pressed further, burying himself in Simon's body.

It was better than Mal remembered, hotter, tighter than in his dreams. His sweat dripped down on Simon's chest, and he couldn't take his eyes from where they were joined together. Simon had his eyes shut tight and he was trashing his head from side to side with each plunge Mal made into his lithe body. Gorramit, why did he have to be so ruttin' beautiful? It took Mal's breath away, so he opened his mouth and gasped out Simon's name, softly, so softly. But Simon heard, and his eyes opened, blue to match Mal's own. Blue as the sky Mal loved so much. His climax broke over him like a wave, releasing him to fly freely up into those blue depths and Mal was only dimly aware of Simon crying out as he came for the second time.

Not too much later, Mal woke with a start, his mind telling him he'd forgotten to do something. He ran quickly down his list of things he needed to get done in the near future, but none of them seemed so pressing they couldn't wait until sleep shift was over. And speaking of pressing, Simon was lying with his head pressed against Mal's shoulder, and he had absolutely no desire to make the younger man move so much as an inch.

Mal slid his hand along the curve of Simon's shoulder and then down his arm to his hand, where he laced his own fingers with Simon's. The doctor's hands were soft with not a callous there, but strong and sturdy all the same. Like the man himself, soft, but not weak. Mal liked that, he liked it a lot.

He'd tried so hard not to feel anything for Simon, joining in on the teasing, and not giving an inch when it came to decisions about the Tams. He'd been fooling himself all along. Simon's face had danced before Mal's eyes every time he'd closed them. In his effort not to feel anything for the young man, he'd managed to think of him incessantly. He'd lusted for Inara; he'd fallen in love with Simon.

Suddenly, Mal realized what it was he needed to do. Relaxing his hand, he carefully slipped his fingers from Simon's, then edged away slowly until he was off the bed. He found his clothes and donned them. Picking up his boots, he decided to carry them rather than put them on. It was difficult to actually step away from the bed. Simon's nude body drew him like a siren's song. That creamy skin and those broad shoulders, the dip at the small of his back and the sweet curve of his rounded ass. Though Mal was well sated, he felt desire kindle in the pit of his belly. He always felt it when he looked at Simon; he reckoned that had been his trouble all along. He closed his eyes briefly, because the only thing he could think of to break the spell and get himself gone was to not look at the man. Turning away, he took a step toward the door in self-enforced darkness.

"Mal."

He dared not turn back.

"Mal, will you come to me again?" Simon's voice was hesitant.

"Yes," he answered firmly, and then he was to the door and out.


Kaylee had been sleeping in her hammock in the engine room. He'd seen her there when he'd walked the ship in the night. Since his engineer tended to be an early riser, Mal hurried, hoping to speak to her before anyone else had stirred.

Thankfully, she was still there, wrapped in a fluffy robe, humming softly to herself as she folded her coverlet.

"Kaylee," he said softly, so as not to startle her. "Got a minute?"

"Sure, Captain," she turned her pretty face toward him and gave him a sunny smile.

Mal didn't return it. "Listen, mei, mei, I need to talk to you." He stopped to clear his throat. Of all of Serenity's crew, she was the one he least cared to hurt. He didn't realize how long he paused until she spoke from not two steps in front of him.

"Captain, if this is about you and Simon, well, it's okay. I mean, I know and all."

Mal looked down at his engineer, not sure he was hearing what he was hearing. "You know?"

Kaylee nodded.

Mal grimaced. "I'm that transparent?"

Kaylee made a face and tilted her head, and Mal braced himself because when she did that, it was unadulterated truth she would soon be speaking. "You've taken to watching him all the time, Malcolm. And," she shrugged her slim shoulders, "I know how you like pretty things."

"Little Kaylee, this has gone way beyond 'like,'" Mal admitted.

"I know," she said gently. "That's what makes it okay by me."

"So who else do you think knows?" he dared to ask.

"Maybe Zoe."

"Maybe?"

"And then, of course, Wash."

Mal nodded, "Because what Zoe knows, Wash knows. Yeah, I get it."

"And Jayne." Kaylee batted her eyes sweetly.

"Yeah, and ain't that a pisser," Mal said with a snort.

"You're going to have to talk to him, captain. Soon."

"Yeah, I know." Mal turned to go, then swung back, reaching out to pull Kaylee into a hug. "Thanks," he said, and he kissed the top of her head.

She watched him go, thinking it was going to be a very interesting day, no doubt about it.


Simon watched as the cargo bay ramp came up and the double doors shut. Turning to make his way to the infirmary, he gasped in surprise when he almost ran straight into Book.

"Sorry," the shepherd said. "I didn't mean to startle you." Stepping out of Simon's way, he made a motion towards the closed bay doors. "You could have gone with them, you know."

"No," Simon lifted his chin. "I don't belong. I mean, my place is here, with River."

"River would have been just fine with me," Book said evenly. "I think you were just scared."

"Scared?" Simon scowled. "I'm not scared of anyone on Serenity."

"Not even Jayne?" Book asked a touch archly.

Simon rubbed his hand against his mouth; he had to think about that one.

Everyone had been so excited about getting planet-side, breakfast had been on the run. When all ship-board chores had been taken care of, the crew assembled in the cargo bay. The first step was to head for Narcissus' huge marketplace. Kaylee insisted Mal go with her to look at another engine part she wanted him to buy. It was expensive, but was sure to help with fuel economy. Zoe wanted to do some clothes shopping and Wash wasn't arguing with his wife about that. No, he was making noises about slinky dresses while Zoe just smiled. Jayne was supposed to purchase ammo for the crew's vast arsenal. Buying in bulk would help hold down the prices.

Simon had wanted desperately to go. Correction, he'd wanted desperately for Mal to indicate that he was along for the ride. But the nod never came, and when the five shoppers headed out the doors, Jayne, last to leave, had shot Simon such a look of triumph, it had made Simon's blood boil.

He was scared of Jayne all right, but not for the reasons Book thought.

"You might not be part of them, Book said solemnly, "but you are part of him."

"Wha...?" Somehow Simon knew Book was no longer talking about Jayne.

"It's a small ship, Simon. Do you think there is anyone on it who doesn't know by now? Besides, I'm not so puritanical I can't see what is going on before my eyes. Or hear what goes on in the guest room just down from mine."

Simon felt his ears turn deep red.

"You should go. If you hurry you can catch up with them." The preacher spoke quietly, but there was an edge of challenge in his voice.

"You'll take care of River for me?"

Book nodded. "I said I would."

"Then I'll go," he said quickly before he could chicken out. He bounced on his toes as he waited for the doors to open, not once looking back as he hurried down the ramp.


It ended up being amazingly easy to find everyone because, as it turned out, they'd stopped for a bite to eat at a little outdoor cafe, complete with umbrellas to shade patrons from the sun.

Simon caught sight of Mal first, sitting with his arm draped over the back of Kaylee's chair, laughing at something Wash was saying.

The laughter stopped abruptly as Simon approached the table.

Mal came half out of his seat, "Simon, is something wrong on board Serenity?"

"Uh, no," he stammered, kicking himself mentally for allowing Book to goad him into doing this. He knew this time more than his ears had gone crimson.

"I think he just got lonesome on the ship, captain," Kaylee said sweetly, trying her best to make it all okay.

As Mal sank down in his chair, Simon took a step back, away from the table, and wished the earth would open up and swallow him.

"Nah," Jayne informed them all with a crass smile. "He's just lookin' for a little lube job. Hopin' the captain would oblige."

Mal shoved his chair back with a violent movement, and it suddenly got very still at the table. "Jayne," Mal's tone was deadly serious and oh, so, quiet.

"Hey, I'm just calling it the way I see it," Jayne blustered. "'It's the truth, ain't it? You and him are doing each other."

"Jayne," Mal warned again, but the big merc had his dander up and he wasn't backing down now.

"Everybody knows, captain," he sneered. "You've been sniffing round him like a dog in heat since he came on board the ship. An' now the two of you are ruttin'. It's common knowledge he's your pussy boy."

"Jayne," Mal snapped, standing up so abruptly his chair went flying backward. "That's enough."

Simon couldn't stand it any longer, he started to say something, to deny Jayne's accusations, to say it wasn't like that, but when he opened his mouth, nothing came out. Pivoting on his heel, he sped away down the sidewalk.

"But it's true," Jayne said obstinately, his lower lip thrust out.

Mal leaned over and put his hands flat on the table, looking Jayne straight in the eye. "Yeah, it's true, Simon and I are bedding each other. That part's true enough, Jayne. But you seem to think what's between us is nasty and unseemly and I'm here to tell you, it's not. It's the real thing, one hundred percent, grade A, and I won't have you sully it. So, if you can't find a way to look on it as such, then you best find yourself another ship to crew on, and fast. Do I make myself perfectly clear?"

Jayne gulped and nodded, then hung his head.

"Anybody else got a problem with this?" Mal said archly, looking from Zoe, to Wash, and then to Kaylee.

"No, sir," Zoe said softly, while Wash just shook his head mutely.

"Oh, captain," Kaylee said. "I think we have a problem. Look over yonder." Everyone looked where she was pointing just in time to see a big, ugly brute of a man slug Simon squarely in the jaw.


"I wasn't looking where I was going, and I bumped into him, and he punched me," Simon slurred, holding a hand to his bleeding mouth.

"Shut up talking and let me see. He didn't knock out any of your teeth, did he?" Mal was kneeling in front of Simon trying to assess the damage.

The big goon who had knocked Simon down was sitting on the ground groaning, holding what, from the look of all the blood steaming from it, was most likely a broken nose.

"Captain," Zoe said sharply, making Mal look up quickly. "There's a little too much interest in your handiwork. I think it's best we be going."

Mal stood up, and then helped Simon to his feet.

Wash, Zoe and Kaylee were standing in a small semi-circle, waiting for instructions. Jayne was no where in sight. Mal sighed. "Listen, I'm taking Simon back to Serenity. Zoe, you and Wash go have some fun. Kaylee, take a look at that miracle gadget you want, and if it's what we need just buy it, okay. And if you see Jayne...if any of you see Jayne, tell him I expect everyone back by noon tomorrow. Got it?"

"Got it, Captain." Zoe spoke for all of them.

"You sure you don't need help getting the doc back?" Kaylee asked.

"Nah, don't worry about us. Go have a good time and I'll see you all tomorrow," Mal told her, then he put an arm around Simon's slim waist and headed for the ship.

Somehow they managed to get back on board without Book or River getting in their faces, for which Mal was mighty grateful. He walked Simon to the infirmary, then watched him rinse his mouth and wash his face.

"How's your head feel?" he asked when Simon was done.

The doctor just shrugged and began to tackle the buttons on his bloodstained vest. His hands were shaking so badly, he wasn't making much progress, so Mal stepped up and took over the job.

"I told Jayne...," he began as he worked, but Simon cut him off, saying quickly, "Oh, it's okay, I understand."

Mal pulled back a little so he could look Simon in the face, but the shorter man wouldn't meet his eyes. "Somehow I don't think you do."

"No, really, I do." Now Simon was speaking so fast he practically stuttered. "I know it can't go on this way, that we can't...."

"Simon, " Mal growled. "If you don't shut up and listen to me, I swear, I'm gonna smack you harder than that fool in the marketplace just did."

That made Simon look up and meet Mal's gaze.

"We are going to go on this way," Mal said firmly. "Well, not this way." He gave Simon's vest lapels a sharp tug. "But the way we were going on last night. Dong ma? Nothing that zha zi Jayne says or does can change that and he knows it. That's what makes him act so ugly."

"But it complicates things, Mal," Simon whispered. "And one thing this ship doesn't need is more complications."

"Gou shi, " Mal shook his head. "Every day on this ship is complicated, and you and me being together isn't going to make much of an impact on things one way or another."

"Are you sure?" Simon's eyes were still full of doubt.

Although, in truth, he wasn't at all sure, Mal looked his lover in the eye and told him crisply, "Yes, I'm sure." Which didn't seem enough, so Mal bent his head and kissed Simon gently on his bruised mouth. Simon's back stayed stiff and straight for a moment and then he melted against him. It was the taste of blood in his mouth that made Mal have the sense to break off the kiss.

At his worried look, Simon gave him an apologetic smile. "I cut the inside of my mouth pretty badly when he hit me."

"Well," Mal drawled, "we'll just have to find something else to do besides kiss. Come on, I bet you have clean shirt in your bunk," he said, pulling Simon in that direction.

Once they'd slid the door shut, Mal made quick work of stripping Simon's shirt from him. While he was doing it, he backed him up until the back of Simon's legs hit the edge of the bunk and his knees buckled, then Mal followed Simon down onto the bed.

Simon's pants and shoes joined his shirt on the floor, but Mal's suspenders and boots slowed them down a bit. By the time Mal's clothing was in the heap with Simon's, they were both fully erect, and more than a little out of breath.

Mal gave Simon time to settle back against the pillows before he stretched out beside him. Mal ran one hand along Simon's torso, stroking firm muscle and fine, almost unblemished, skin. "Before you came to us," he breathed into Simon's ear, "you never had a scar on your body, did you?"

Simon shook his head and made a small gasping sound as Mal shifted and began to stroke lower. Mal loved the way the younger man parted his legs for him, opening up to him with nary a hint of hesitation. He slid down even further so he could mouth Simon's heavy balls, and when everything was moist with spit and pre-cum, Mal slipped a finger inside Simon, only to feel him tense up and hiss in pain.

"Whoa," he said, looking up into limpid blue eyes. "Did I hurt you last night?"

"No, no, it's okay, go on," Simon moved his hips to urge him on, but Mal would have none of it.

"No, wait, baobei, you've been banged around enough today, if you'll pardon the expression. I don't want to hurt you."

"It's just, well...," Simon blushed deeply, averting his eyes from Mal's intense gaze, but he kept on talking, "I'm just not very used to this."

Mal raised up so he could get a better look at Simon's face. "What exactly are you telling me?" he asked slowly. "Laotian fu, Simon, you don't mean to say...you don't mean to tell me you'd never done that before...before I...?" Mal sputtered to a halt.

Simon took advantage of Mal's shock and pushed him over, then he rolled on top of him, pinning him to the bed. He couldn't get enough of the feel of Mal's body, long and lean, with just enough bulk to be comfortable, pressed against his own.

"Don't change the subject," Mal ordered.

Simon smiled against Mal's skin. "The answer is yes, you're the first man I did...that...with."

"You'd never had sex with a man before we...? Is that what you're telling me?" Mal voice went high in shock.

"Noooo, I'd just never let a man penetrate me," Simon explained.

"Sheesh, Simon, do you have to make it sound so clinical?" Mal shook his head and groaned, then he looked back at Simon. "I swear, xin dan, if I'd known, I would have...I wouldn't have...guai, I am so sorry."

"Why? I wanted you, Mal. I wanted you so gorram badly it was hard to think of anything else. I know about bodies, even my own. I know how to prepare...."

"Prepare!" Mal gasped the word, making Simon laugh outright.

"I am a doctor." Seeing Mal's horrified look, Simon leaned down and kissed him on his nose.

"But Simon, that first time, I didn't even...and what you did...wo de ma, why didn't you tell me?"

"Because I was afraid you'd stop," Simon admitted, "and because...," his voice quavered then, and he couldn't go on.

"Tell me," Mal reached and touched Simon's trembling lips.

"Because there you were, my heart's desire, laid out before me, and I was afraid I would only get that one chance."

"I'm your heart's desire?" Mal asked in wonderment, his voice as soft and light as air.

"You are." Simon did not look away. "Don't you know that?"

Mal pushed Simon over onto the bed, then sprawled across him, cupping his head in his hands and kissing, first, Simon's forehead, then his eyes, and then the tip of his nose. Mal kissed his way down to his ear, then to the base of his throat where his pulse raced. Next, he made his way more slowly, lingering for a time at one nipple and then the other, tracing delicately with his tongue down Simon's sternum to his navel. Finally, Mal went even further down, where he did not stop, but instead swallowed Simon up so greedily that he arched his hips and shuddered as he spilled himself into Mal's waiting mouth.

And Simon figured that was answer enough for anyone.

FINIS


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