The galley was dark and quiet, just like Mal wanted it. The bottle in the middle of the table glittered softly, reflecting the pulsing light of the engines.
It was empty, now.
Mal didn't feel like railing at the 'verse, anymore. As a matter of fact, he didn't feel like much at the moment, just letting the glow of alcohol fade from his bloodstream.
It kept the bitter away; for a while, at least.
Zoe had gone to bed much earlier, coaxed by her husband. Burying Tracey. Yeah. They had said their goodbyes, laughing despite the suddenness, the shock, only to have him jerked back to life.
Defeating death shouldn't have to result in dying again, thought Mal.
Their second wake had been much more somber. Inara wisely knew not to intrude this time. Zoe and he had polished off two bottles methodically, leaving nothing but dregs. Mal was sure there was more booze on the boat, somewhere, but officially? There was none until the next supply run.
The biggest problem with being drunk, thought Mal, was that it wore off. Just like honor, just like veneer, just like life itself.
Nothing left but ashes.
Mal looked glumly at the bottle in front of him, and wished he hadn't finished, wished he had more to drink. He wasn't ready to deal with sobriety yet.
He was so busy staring at the empty bottle, he almost missed the soft pad of Simon's bare feet on upper deck.
"Hey, Doc," Mal answered, a bit too cheerfully. "Late for a stroll." His voice echoed oddly, bouncing in corners, and making him wince
Simon looked startled, eyes wide in the darkness. He was dressed only in soft blue sleep pants, which were draped dangerously low on his hips. Mal's eyes were drawn to a fine trail of hair just below his bellybutton.
"Um, just looking for something to drink." Simon avoided looking at Mal directly as he walked to the counter.
"There's no more liquor." Mal pointed out, a maudlin tone in his voice.
Simon jumped again. "Um. Just water will do it for me." His head dipped down, looking for a mug.
Mal muttered, "Yeah, probably need it, after all your exertion." A soft, sarcastic snort popped out before he could stifle it.
Simon's head emerged quickly from behind the counter. "What was that, Captain?"
Somehow, Mal felt appalled by what he had let slip. "Nothing. You go on with your searching." He made sure he was facing away from Simon, but within a few minutes, Simon was sitting across from him, two mugs of water in his hands. He slid one across the table to Mal.
"Go ahead. Drink up. You're going to be dehydrated soon enough." Simon's concerned eyes followed Mal's every move. Even as he debated not drinking the water, Mal was touched. He brought the mug to his mouth and drained it.
Not that that meant much to his tongue. "So, you and Kaylee?" It wasn't what he wanted to say, but it was the only thing he could see. Kaylee's hand slipping into Simon's at the funeral. Dark gratitude tinged his smirk as Simon squirmed.
"No!" Then a bit quieter. "No, I mean. She and I...Captain, I said I wouldn't." Simon's voice trailed off to a whisper.
Mal grimaced. His buzz was slipping away faster than he could have imagined. Way faster than he wanted. "Simon..." and was that his hand reaching across the table?
"I'm sorry, Mal." And with that, Simon stood gracefully, and came around the table, heading back towards his room. Mal leaned, and reached out, and grabbed the younger man's hip, holding him still.
"No, Simon. I'm sorry. It's...it's been a long day." Heat flowed up through his fingers from beneath the thin fabric. Suddenly, his throat went dry as the very male scent of Simon accosted his senses. He pulled his hand away like it was burning.
Mal's eyes shot up to Simon's face. He was sure he had gone too far, when he saw Simon's slightly open mouth and darkened eyes. Unconsciously, he reached his hand back, and pulled Simon's unresisting body close to him. One hand pulled at the ties of the pants, the other pushed the waistband down, exposing hipbones and wiry hair and an elegant cock, just starting to flush and rise.
Mal dipped his head and took the organ into his mouth, loving the sound of Simon's gasp as he swirled his tongue around the head. His hands held Simon's hips close, preventing him from thrusting as his cock hardened quickly. Strong fingers clenched and threaded through his hair. Mal sucked hard, drawing strength from the younger man. He hung on for dear life, every molecule of his brain trying to tell him this was so wrong, but his body yearning for touch, for connection.
He pulled Simon even closer, sucked as hard as he could, held on to firm muscle tightly. An ache in his own groin focused him, made him want to drive Simon over the edge. Mal slid his fingers behind Simon's balls and massaged firmly.
With a yelp, Simon came, hot come filling Mal's mouth. Rolling the taste around his tongue as he stood and undid his pants quickly, he decided that Simon tasted green. Green and fresh, like a spring day. Mal's cock sprang free of its confines, finally, and he spat the remaining come onto his right hand, using it to slick up. A glance to Simon's face revealed desire and a faint hint of disgust.
Mal smirked, and turned Simon into the table. Legs spread easily, the leanly muscled body opening to his touch. His finger wormed its way into the waiting hole, followed easily by two others. Simon was relaxed and pushing back, and Mal couldn't wait any longer.
Lining up his cock, he slowly pushed into Simon. Heat, tight and strong, surrounded him. Mal was about to lose his mind from pleasure. Simon groaned underneath him as he thrust in and out of the velvet heat of Simon's body.
Rhythm and blood; it was all Mal had, all that he had left. Reason had left long ago, fled with his innocence. Now, he was nothing, just a man slowly splitting a shuddering body underneath his. Mal leaned down, and tasted the sweat rolling down Simon's spine, across his shoulders. He was mouthing the younger man's neck when his orgasm shattered him.
White hot pleasure and sharp pain pierced his heart. He bit down, breaking skin and tasting blood as his body convulsed. Confused, Mal pulled out, and fell onto the floor, overwhelmed by emotion.
Mal sat on the floor, no longer in control of his body, as it shook with silent sobs. An awkward arm came around his shoulders, and he leaned into the comfort offered.
Some time later, Mal let himself be led to his bunk and tucked in. When Simon turned to leave, he grabbed the younger man's hand.
"Are you sure?" Simon asked. Mal nodded, and Simon sighed as he curled up on the bunk. Mal's sleep was undisturbed for the first time in a long while.
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Title: Rhythm and Blood
Author: skripka [email] [website]
Details: Standalone | NC-17 | *slash* | 6k | 02/22/04
Characters: Malcolm, Simon
Summary: A coda to "The Message".
Notes: For rebecca and dirty diana. Insta smut, betaed by sffan.
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