Chapter 20a. A *zhen de shi tian cai* when it comes to plans.

by Kispexi2

[Story Headers]

TRAUMA MEDICINE: Chapter 20a.
A zhen de shi tian cai when it comes to plans.


RATING NC-17

WARNING m/m sex. Some violence.

THANKS to WEDJATEYE for the beta. and particularly for talking me out of rod and into cock. Sometimes I am an idiot.


Tongues. Clawing hands. Mouths and friction.

Tianna.

Dr Tam is struggling in vain to make himself heard over the blood roaring in Simon's ears. The healthcare professional's warnings about staying in control go unheeded by the head-over-heels crazy-in-love young man whose breath is being sucked out of him by the man he's wanted for oh so very long. Reminders that this isn't about what Simon wants - it's about what Mal needs - are blotted out by the rush of sensations caused by each movement of the Captain's hands.

Just moments ago - before they were actually touching - Simon's plan seemed so reasonable. Take it slowly, stage by stage. Identify Mal's trigger, confront it, disable it. The perfect treatment programme according to Simon's research.

Only now, overwhelmed by Mal's body heat - underneath Mal - Simon's recollection of the plan is getting terribly fuzzy. His blood supply has found somewhere far more interesting than his brain to flood, leaving him short of breath and unable to think clearly.

And Mal's mouth is relentless. Simon is vaguely aware of his own hands digging into the muscles on Mal's back and the weight of Mal's body on top of him. Everything else is electricity and nerve endings. Thoughts evaporate as soon as they form. Getting closer is the only thing that matters. Touching, tasting, feeling.

Simon's yieldin' and demandin' by turn an' it's drivin' Mal feng le. One minute the boy's mouth is openin' up and beggin' to be filled an' the next he's forcin' his tongue into Mal's an' suckin' an' bitin' at his lips. When Mal grinds their hips together, at first Simon seems content enough to move to Mal's rhythm, but before long he's tryin' to force the pace an' take control.

The intoxicatin' thought of lettin' him do jus' that makes Mal shudder even as it unsettles him.

It's Mal who finally breaks the kiss and Simon reels a bit under the sudden oxygen hit to his brain. He looks up into eyes so dark they're almost all pupil and the intent in them makes him shiver. Those eyes. That mouth. Simon wants more of that mouth on his - he wants that mouth on his body - but when he tries to take Mal's face between his hands, the Captain seizes him by the wrists and pins his hands down on either side of his head.

Mal props himself up on his elbows, nostrils flarin' with the effort of trying to control his breathin'. Of tryin' to control himself.

"This is your last chance, boy," he warns, his voice thick with desire. "You walk outa here right now an' we forget all about this. Pretend it never happened. You stay an'-"

He doesn't get any further because all of a sudden Simon brings his left arm across his body, taking Mal's right with it. He follows with a twist of his hips that rolls them both over and now Mal is under Simon, wearing an expression of stunned disbelief. The medic laughs out loud at the small victory and at the way Mal is blinking with surprise.

Mayhap cos the Doc's so polite an' proper in daily life Mal's always assumed he'd be kinda docile in the bedroom. Expected him to be timid, passive. Di'n't expect this.

Simon cups Mal's jaw in a hand, holding him still for a long, slow invasion of his mouth. "I'm not afraid of you, Mal," he breathes into it. and he's not. At least, not enough to want to put an end to this. He knows what may be coming. Knows Mal is sick. But what kind of a doctor would he be if he didn't at least try to diagnose the nature of his problem and treat it?

"Then you ain't very bright," Mal rumbles, turning his head away. "You don't wanna go down this road with me boy."

"Yes. Yes I do," Simon tells him emphatically. "I've got a plan, remember?"

An' then he's crushin' his mouth down on Mal's in another kiss that's all teeth an' thrustin' tongue an' Mal stops resistin'. Surrenders. To Simon an' to the ravenin' hunger within. Hands that are his an' yet ain't find their way to the small of Simon's back, slide under the waistband of his pants an' impatiently seek out skin. They scrabble against a conspiracy of fabric - shirt, shorts - liftin', pushin', burrowin' - until at last Mal's fingers find warm mounds of tight smooth muscle an' Simon inhales sharply, drawin' a rush of cool air against Mal's ear. Simon's tongue follows, tracin' the folds and curves an' funnellin' a torrent of burnin' want down into Mal's very brain.

"Too many clothes." The thought is Mal's but the words are Simon's. He pushes himself up into a sitting position straddling Mal's thighs and runs his hands up the Captain's chest, slipping the suspenders from his shoulders. Then he's undoing buttons, hands trembling slightly as he frowns in concentration.

Mal lies still, watchin' his face.

He really don't wanna hurt this boy.

Mal's shirt is swiftly removed and tossed across the room. Simon sucks in an admiring breath. He's seen Mal without his shirt many, many times before but somehow this is different. Because this time it's okay to trace the muscles with his fingertips and relish the surprisingly soft texture of the Captain's skin. And it's more than okay to bend his head and circle a nipple with his tongue if the way Mal's arching up into him is anything to go by.

"I want you naked, Malcolm Reynolds," Simon declares, his lips moving lightly against the hardening nub.

Mal's voice is slightly strangled as he replies, "Sounds like a plan."

Simon smiles into Mal's chest and slides a hand down to find the waist of Mal's pants. The noises that Mal makes as he slowly, slowly unbuttons them sends Simon's pulse racing and by the time he's pulled them and Mal's shorts off he's harder than he's ever been in his life.

God, but he's beautiful. Not perfect and yet so absolutely perfect that Simon can't help but kiss him. Over and over again. Eyes, mouth, nose, throat, chest, belly and thighs. He pushes Mal's legs apart and buries his head between them. "Wo de ma, you smell wonderful," he whispers running his fingers up the inside of Mal's thigh and into his own mouth to wet them.

Mal closes his eyes and his head arches back as Simon's tongue starts exploring him lightly, teasingly at first and then more firmly. Every contact brings heat and wetness, every withdrawal shivering cool.

"Lao tian ye!" Mal gasps when at last Simon takes him into his mouth. He's shakin' already, he ain't gonna last ... an' then Simon's easin' a finger inside him an' then another an' no-one ain't never done that before an' Mal ain't sure he likes the way it stings and stretches an' he wants to tell Simon to stop but somehow he can't get the words out because of that thing - zao cao that thing! - that Simon's doin' with his tongue an' all of a sudden Mal don't want him to stop at all, not now, not never, cos this feels good, so ruttin' good ... this havin' Simon's fingers deep inside him, teasin' some place Mal di'n't even know he had, some place that's throbbin' with need an' it's loosenin' Mal's failin' self-control, floodin' him with too much feelin', too many sweet sensations to be able to keep track of any one of them an' Mal ain't gonna be comin' quiet an' restrained like he normally does, he's gonna be thrashin' about an' hollerin' an' ... an' ...

Mal's body convulses and goes rigid. His hands twist in Simon's hair an' he hears himself sayin' all manner of stuff that don't mean nothin' - stuff like God an' Yesu an' baobei - as he comes in shudderin' hot pulses down Simon's throat.

Simon swallows, wipes his mouth with the back of his hand and stretches out, still fully clothed, if a bit rumpled, next to Mal. He pulls the Captain's limp body into his arms and kisses his forehead.

Still tremblin' a mite, Mal starts to apologize. "Sorry. Shoulda oughta warned you - let you know I was gonna-"

"Come?" Simon's eye twinkle. "You think I didn't know? I'm a doctor, Mal and I'm a man. I knew."

"Oh."

Mal is silent for a while. He feels strange. In his head an' in his body. Ain't never come quite like that before.

"That thing - that thing you did, Simon - that thing with your fingers. What the hell was that?"

Simon laughs. "You really aren't sly, are you?"

Mal grimaces. "Don't know what the hell I am," he admits, strokin' Simon's face, pleased beyond words it ain't got no new marks on it. He smiles brightly, hopefully. "Looks like your plan mighta worked."

Simon's own smile disappears and his face becomes serious. "I don't think so, Mal. We just haven't identified your trigger - whatever it is that evokes a violent response in you - yet."

"Yet?"

"Yet."

Mal looks sheepish. "What I see you're forgettin' of, Doctor Tam, is that I'm an old man. Think I might need a few."

"I should look in on River anyway," Simon reassures him, getting to his feet.

Mal catches Simon's wrist in one hand and places the other over the obvious bulge in his pants. "Don't you want me to get you off too?"

Yes, Simon does - more than he's wanted anything in his life - but somehow he finds the strength to take a step back and out of Mal's reach. Because even the simple pressure of his hand is nearly enough. Nearly enough for Simon to lose control of this situation completely and utterly.

"I most certainly do," he says forcing a grin and ignoring the way his body is protesting at the loss of contact. "and I'll be back later. Why don't you get some rest so you're ready for me?"

Mal don't wanna let him go but he ain't ever gonna to ask the boy to choose between him an' his sister so he grunts a reluctant agreement and rolls onto his side.

Simon climbs the ladder and heads not to his sister's room but straight to his own. He locks the door and quickly undoes his pants, positively vibrating with lust. So incredibly turned on that it takes only a few jerks to have him spilling hot and wet all over himself and struggling against the urge to cry out.

He falls back onto his bed, breathing heavily, and waits for his heartbeat to return to normal.

A quick wash down and a change of clothes and he's ready. Back in control now that he's taken the edge off his hunger for Mal.

When he returns to the Captain's bunk, he finds him lounging, still completely naked, in his battered old armchair.

And he's looking all manner of cocky.

"Brought my medicine, Doc?" Mal leans back, arms crossed behind his head, and grins broadly. "Cos I'm feelin' a mite feverish. An' I got this swellin' I think you oughta take a look at."

Simon smiles fondly at him. "Mal ..." he begins, wanting to tell him, warn him, that they're not out of the woods yet, but he looks so relaxed and happy that Simon finds he can't bring himself to. Not yet.

"You ever gonna take them clothes off?" Mal demands as Simon stands there hesitating. "Or do I gotta make you?" He reaches out a hand, picks up his gun from the table and levels it at Simon. "Shirt. Off. Now."

Simon rolls his eyes. "Very Freudian."

"Shirt," Mal repeats, gesturing with the pistol. "Off."

"Okay, okay. The shirt is coming off now." Simon swiftly unbuttons the front and cuffs and drops the garment onto the floor.

"Pants," Mal demands. "Lose the underwear too."

Simon is sure being ordered around shouldn't be so arousing. He's no more meek and submissive than Mal is, and yet Mal's commanding tone is making him tingle. He steps out of his pants and shorts and is about to cross the room when Mal stops him.

"Stay where you are, boy. I wanna look at you."

Instantly Simon is hard again. His balls tighten and he's aching to be touched. He takes a deep breath to try to calm his response to the feel of Mal's eyes on him, but it's only partly successful.

"Turn round."

Oh God. Simon feels like he might explode if Mal doesn't touch him soon. He looks down at his own hands and sees they're shaking. This isn't part of the plan. He's supposed to be calm now - strong and in control - not weak with want and need.

And then Mal is standing behind him, skin on skin, his body hot and hard against Simon's back, one arm around his waist. With his other hand he begins trailing a light caress down Simon's arm, making the medic close his eyes and shiver with pleasure.

Mal kisses his hair, breathin' the smell of it in deep before nuzzlin' Simon's head to one side so's he can nibble at his ear an' neck. Gorramit, he don't only smell good, he tastes good too. Almost as good as he looks. How the hell does this boy keep his body so perfect? Mal flattens the palm of one hand against Simon's chest, smoothin' it over the planes of muscle. His other hand he places lightly on Simon's stomach an' slides it down, gradually applyin' more pressure until the boy gasps. Mal smiles to himself and wraps his hand loosely around the heat of Simon's erection. He don't know what in the 'verse he's done to deserve this but he sure is grateful to have it.

"So," he murmurs against the nape of Simon's neck, "About that swellin' that's troublin' me, Doc. You got somethin' for it?" He grins again as Simon quivers against him.

"I don't know," Simon answers unevenly because, as if the words weren't enough to dissolve him, now Mal is brushing a nipple with one thumb and the head of his ji ba with the other. "You could try finding out."

Mal spins him round and kisses him hard. "Guess I mean to."

"Bed," Simon tells him firmly, when Mal finally lets him up for air, in a determined attempt to restore the balance of power between them. "Now."

Mal smirks at the urgency in his voice. "All right, Doc, I get it. You're in a hurry. Can't wait to have your wicked way-"

"Bizui," Simon interrupts, surprising himself as much as Mal by delivering a smart slap to the Captain's backside.

Mal grabs him by the hair. "Just for that," he promises darkly, "I'm gonna take this so ruttin' slow you're gonna be beggin' for it."

"I don't beg," Simon informs him haughtily, despite the disturbingly delicious image that's forming in his mind.

"Reckon you will," Mal replies with such total certainty that Simon wonders if his sister might not be the only one able to see inside other people's heads.

He pushes Mal gently away and forces himself to remember the plan.

"I think," he says, all medical seriousness again, "It might be better if you do what you normally do. It's the only way we're going to work out what the problem is."

"What I normally do?" Mal asks, a touch sadly. He sinks down onto the bed and his shoulders sag. Wo de tian - he don't wanna do what he normally does. The notion that he might scares him. Mayhap it's not too late to put an end to this. He stares down at the floor.

"This ain't exactly normal for me, Simon. Not sayin' I ain't ever done it before but I ain't in the habit of beddin' menfolk."

Simon sits beside him and takes his hand. "In that case," he suggests, "Do what you'd do if I were a woman."

Mal raises an eyebrow.

"And try to ignore the obvious differences. What do you normally do?"

Mal looks away again, struggling with the words. "Turn into a ruttin' monster," he says at last. "Remember?"

At medacad, Simon could never understand it when his fellow students wept over a patient. He decided early on in his career that the best way to help his patients was to remain objective, detached. But right now, he could cry for Mal. He looks so lost and empty and dejected. Only Simon won't cry. He won't indulge himself. He's going to stay professional and help Mal get over this.

"Yes. and that's why I'm here. We're going to fix this, Mal," he insists gently but when Mal refuses to meet his eyes, he tries a tougher approach. "Now, unless you want to suffer this disorder for the rest of your life, drop the self-pity and concentrate. What do you normally do?"

There's a spark of anger in Mal's eyes when he looks up. Good. Simon can use that fire.

"For God's sake, Mal," Simon persists. "Answer me!"

Mal seizes him by the shoulders and presses him down onto the bed covers.

"Not talk so much," he snaps. "Leastways, not about 'normally' and 'differences'. Kissin'. Reckon I normally start with kissin'."

He covers Simon's mouth with his own and kisses him angrily. Thoroughly.

"Kissing is good, " Simon all but purrs as Mal's mouth moves to his jawline, down his neck and along his collar bone. "Very good. Then what?"

Looking down into the undisguised affection in Simon's eyes, Mal's rage ebbs away and a surge of tenderness rushes in to replace it.

"Then? Maybe somethin' like ..." He runs a hand up Simon's side, from hipbone to ribcage and then over his chest. He homes in on a nipple and rolls it between his thumb and forefinger. "You still with me, Simon?" he asks as the medic closes his eyes and goes very still.

"Mmmm."

Mal grins. "Good. Cos then most like I'd do this." His hand moves to Simon's thighs and slips between them. Simon's eyes open wide only to flutter closed again as Mal's fingertips start moving in small hypnotic circles, lightly at first and then more firmly. Simon's thighs part involuntarily and Mal's hand pushes back further.

"Mal-" Simon catches his wrist.

"Don't worry," Mal tells him softly, "I got some."

Simon watches breathlessly as Mal reaches up to take a small tube down from the shelf near his bed and as he squeezes out a large blob of clear, glistening gel onto his hand. Simon's heart is hammering. He can't quite believe this is really happening. Up until this point he might have been dreaming but the prosaic necessity of lubricant suddenly makes this very real.

He's about to have sex with Mal.

Oh God. He feels dizzy, almost sick with anticipation, and yet horribly impatient as Mal slicks his fingers and squeezes out another blob of gel.

Simon scoops it from his palm. "Please. Let me."

A smile tugs are the corner of Mal's mouth. "Okay." He leans back and waits as Simon warms the gel in his hands - rubbin', twistin' an' slidin' them over each other, slow an' deliberate. Fingers interweavin', palms slidin' one against the other.

Mal realizes his mouth's gone dry.

And then it's difficult to know anythin' for certain, because Simon is strokin' his hand up the length of Mal's erection, from base to tip an' jus' when the sensation oughta stop it don't cos his other hand is strokin' him downwards. Up an' down, up an' down an' there's no respite from the build up of tension. It goes on an' on an' on ...

Mal bats Simon's hands away and rolls him onto his back. "My turn," he declares, skimmin' his hands over Simon's chest an' stomach. "Most definitely my turn."

Been a long time since he's done this, cos to tell the truth, he never much cared for it. Only did it a coupla times back in the early days with Cody Bain but his heart was never in it and Cody soon took the hint. An' yet, for some reason that Mal don't fully understand, he really wants to taste Simon. Tentatively, experimentally he mouths the head of Simon's cock. Sharp an' salty with an edge of bitter. Mal points his tongue, flicks lightly at the ridge an' the muscles in Simon's thighs tighten and when his hips lift from the bed, Mal slips a hand under his ass, distractin' the boy with a bit of light suction to work a finger inside him.

Simon's head rolls to one side and he exhales deeply as a little tremor goes through him.

Mal slides a second finger in and starts seekin' out that place that it turns out can melt a man's spine when it's hit right. It ain't easy, tryin' to find the right balance between gentleness and pressure. How come Cody Bain never showed Mal how to do this? How come he never demanded it of him? Mal fervently wishes he had cos he wants to make Simon see stars that exact same way he did. He wants to make the boy come so hard he forgets his own gorram name. Now, where in the name of Fozu is it?

Mal twists his fingers and pushes them in a little deeper. Simon gasps and his hips buck. Right. That must be it. Mal pulls his fingers back a fraction and tentatively presses them forward again. Simon moans deep in his throat. Yeah. That's definitely it.

"Like that, don't ya?" Mal lifts his head to murmur against Simon's ear, as he takes up a deliberately slow rhythm of tiny movements.

Simon doesn't reply. Can't. The excitement winding his nerves into ever tighter coils has robbed him of the ability to speak. All he can do is rock himself on Mal's hand and try to breathe.

"Please ..." he manages to whisper at last.

"Please, what?" Mal asks, absurdly proud of Simon's unprecedented inarticulacy.

"Please ..." Simon repeats, unable to form any other word.

"Thought you di'n't beg?" Mal teases gently. "You want me in you - that it?"

"Please ..."

Mal thrusts his fingers a mite deeper an' harder. Simon gasps again an' clings to Mal makin' strange little noises.

Mal's throat tightens. "Simon-" he begins, then stops, because the words are too hard to say an' words don't mean nothin' anyway. They get blown away. Can't hold onto words.

Instead he dots kisses on Simon's eyelids an' with his free hand holds Simon's hips steady so he don't accidentally tear nothin' pullin' out of him. As he withdraws his fingers the noises spillin' from Simon's mouth change, rise in pitch. They're no longer deep an' low from pleasure but high and thin and nasal - complainin'. Whines, almost. Whimpers.

Ta shi suoyou diyu de biaozi de ma! That hurt! The sudden blow takes Simon's breath away and yanks him back into the here and now. He thought he was ready for it, but he wasn't. What was it Jayne said about fighting? You gotta to expect the unexpected an' anticipate a little pain. Simon should have paid more attention.

But there's no time to berate himself, because Mal has raised his hand again and there's no way Simon's going to let him hit him twice. He grabs Mal's arm with both hands and pushes it back as hard as he can. Unfortunately, his hands are still too slippery with lubricant to get a decent grip and Mal shakes him off.

"Stupid bitch!" Mal hisses, seizing Simon by the biceps hard enough to leave bruises. The Captain's eyes are glazed and unfocused and Simon can tell that his mind isn't here in this room at all. Tianna, what in the 'verse is this about? What in the name of God did Mal do that he's so haunted by it?

"Mal! Stop it!"

A shadow passes over Mal's face. "Can't," he snarls, trying to get hold of both Simon's wrists in one hand. "Can't."

Mal's hands still have a coating of gel too and Simon takes advantage of the fact to pull free of his hold. He flips over onto his side and tries to wriggle off the bed but Mal snatches at him, clawing his nails down Simon's pale skin and raising angry red marks.

Pale skin, dark hair, bruises and long scratches. It's always the same. Always ends this way. Gotta get it over with is all. Try not to think about the bitter taste nor the crushin' guilt. Jus' get it over with.

Mal grits his teeth, seizes Simon by the hips and drags him back up the bed, using his own weight to keep him from getting away again. He's trying to force Simon's legs apart when his head is wrenched violently backwards.

Simon has him by the hair.

"Mal! Stop it!" Simon shouts again, tugging Mal's head to one side and shoving him over onto his back.

"Can't!" Mal spits, clambering back on top of Simon again and making another attempt at pinning him down.

Simon has no choice. He has to do this. He doesn't want to, can barely even to think about it and yet he has to. Never hit a man with a closed fist. Ensuring he's not going to fracture his own thumb, he brings his arm back, takes a deep breath and punches Mal hard in the mouth.

The Captain blinks - once, twice - and jerks backwards. Still astride Simon's legs, he sits back on his heels, shakin' his head, disoriented, and stares down at Simon, tryin' to make sense of the agony on his medic's face an' the pain in his own.

"Simon? What ..?"

An' then it call comes floodin' back - why he's naked, why Simon's naked. His eyes fall on Simon's lip. Bruised again. He don't remember doin' it but knows he did. Horrified, Mal squeezes his eyes shut and covers his face with his hands.

"Mal." Simon is stroking a hand down his thigh. "I'm sorry. I had to."

Mal shrinks away from the caress and climbs off him. "Go. Please. Go."

"I'm not going anywhere, Malcolm Reynolds," Simon replies firmly as he sits up. "I'm your doctor. And I am not terminating your treatment half-way through."

"But I hit you, Simon, an' Lord knows I'm like to do it again!" Mal exclaims, cos sometimes Mr Top Three Per Cent ain't so smart as he imagines an' needs things spelt out to him.

Simon raises his eyebrows. "You've done it before," he points out. "And at least this time, I hit you back." He attempts a grin, encouraging Mal to do the same.

The Captain rubs his jaw. "Yeah, you did at that," he concedes, the suggestion of an impressed smile deepening the lines around his eyes. "But I don't see how you an' me knockin' nine hells out of each other's gonna help."

"Let me worry about that." Simon stretches out and pats the empty space beside him in invitation. "Come back to bed, Mal."

He's so ruttin' gorgeous like this - all tousled an' flushed an' willin' - that Mal finds himself doin' jus' that. Even so, his dismay at havin' struck the boy has cooled the Captain's ardour some. "Not exactly up for it, am I?" he jokes, self-consciously.

Simon gives him the nearest thing Mal's ever seen to a leer on that proper face of his. "No. But I am. In case you hadn't noticed."

Despite himself, Mal laughs. "Yeah. I'd noticed," he says, cuppin' Simon's balls lightly in one hand. "Suppose you want me to do somethin' about that?"

"Uh huh," Simon murmurs, because Mal's gone ahead and started doing something about it already. His hand is warm and firm and tight around Simon, his rhythm perfectly in synch with Simon's need to thrust.

"Oh God."

Simon arches up from the bed, moanin' and Mal realizes he's gettin' hard again too his own self. Hard and desperate to be inside this body. Still pumpin' Simon slow and steady, he positions himself between his legs, liftin' one up round his waist to open Simon up enough for him to push two fingers into him at once. Simon's breath hitches in his throat an' for a moment Mal fears he's bein' too rough until a small moan of pleasure tells him otherwise.

Mal can't wait no more. He's comin' about as unglued as his medic jus' from watchin' the boy writhe an' squirm between the sensations in his cock an' his ass. Mal ain't even really thinkin' when he grabs Simon's hips with both hands an' pulls him closer.

"Mal-" Simon pants.

"Right here," Mal grunts. "I got ya."

Simon's fingers dig into Mal's thighs as he rides the sting of penetration an' Mal swallows back a cry, forcin' himself not to move. He wants this to last an' there's too much feelin' bubblin' up inside for him to control it any other way.

Frustrated by the lack of movement, Simon tries to urge Mal on, but Mal's not ready. Even so it takes all his concentration not to surrender to Simon's attempts to get him to drive deeper inside him.

Simon huffs in disappointment and when Mal fails to take the hint, he makes a sharp little noise of complaint at the back of his throat.

It wasn't planned. Simon didn't know that that would do it, but as soon as Mal strikes him, he knows he's found it. The trigger. and oddly, that thing River said about the way Mal's world ended springs into his mind. Not with a bang, but a whimper. His sister is an absolute genius! His heart beats faster with excitement, exhilaration and he can't wait to share this revelation with Mal.

However one look at the Captain's face tells Simon the red mist has descended again. Mal is staring - not at Simon, but through him - as he relives the horror that's tormented him for years. There's no point in Simon trying to talk to him or reason with him.

"I'm sorry," he says out loud, meaning it more than he'd ever thought possible, as he punches Mal again.

Because of the awkward angle, his aim's a little off centre this time and instead of his fist connecting with Mal's jaw as he intended, he catches him just below the eye.

Mal yelps with pain, pulling back and out of Simon so rapidly it makes them both wince.

Simon gets quickly to his knees and enfolds Mal in his arms.

"It's okay. Really. It's going to be okay," he soothes, combing his fingers through Mal's hair and smiling at him tenderly.

"It's the noise," he explains. "I think there's something about that noise I made that triggered a traumatic flashback. Does that make sense to you? Can you think what it might be?"

Mal's eyes are huge and desolate. "No."

"You said something earlier. You called me a 'stupid bitch' - although I don't think you were really talking to me. I'm usually a 'stupid boy'. I think you were remembering someone. A girl. Was there a girl, Mal?"

The implication of the question hits them both at the same time. Mal recoils an' all he knows is he wants out of here. He don't wanna face this but his medic is holdin' onto him tight an' ain't lettin' go.

"What happened Mal? Try to remember. I know it's hard but you need to talk about what happened."

For a second Mal stares at him blankly and then a picture starts taking shape. He scrubs at his eyes with his fists and looks away.

"She was just a kid," he whispers hoarsely. "Just a kid."

The hairs on the back of Simon's neck stand up. Oh God, no. Please, no.

"What happened to her?" he asks, fighting to keep his voice calm, neutral. "Tell me, Mal."

"Raped," Mal's voice is so quiet now Simon thinks if it had been any other word - any word other than the one he was dreading - he wouldn't have heard it.

"You .." A wave of disgust and disbelief cuts Simon off mid-question. He tries again. "Are you telling me you raped her?"

"Might as well've done. Cou'n't stop them," Mal replies. His eyes have that same terrified, faraway look that fills River's at times and Simon can see he's drifting away into his own special hell.

"Them?" he presses, trying to keep Mal with him.

But Simon's voice is distant, fadin'. Tamade - Mal can still see them. Still see their faces and the savagery in them. Brutal desire. Voracious self-gratification. Eyes glazed, unfocused in the heat of sensation. Mouths hanging open loosing bestial grunts with every thrust into her. Faces florid and dripping sweat. and then the hideous predictable grimace that signalled release ... ugly ... repellent. Zao cao!

Mal can still see her too. Still hear her. Sobbin', pleadin', whimperin'. The nightmare ain't faded not one jot over the years. Goes on and on, just like her ordeal seemed to. On and on, with him powerless to stop it an' prayin' to a God he no longer believed in that they would hurry up an' finish. All five of them. Get it over with.

"Mal."

Someone is sayin' is name.

"Mal!"

Louder now an' nearer.

"Mal!"

He's shakin'. No he ain't. He's bein' shook. Mal stiffens, readyin' himself for a fight but suddenly everythin' clears an' he's lookin' into Simon Tam's searchin' blue eyes. The wave of relief Mal feels at seein' him is followed by a swell of shame. What in the good gorram will the boy think of him now?

"I should've protected her, Simon. Or died tryin'."

"Tell me what happened, Mal. Tell me all of it."

Mal chews on a thumbnail, staring dead ahead an' afraid he's gonna be sick. Then he feels Simon's hand movin' in small comfortin' circles on his back an' his touch is calmin', groundin'. Mal swallows and turns to him. "Don't know if I can. Ain't never told no-one about it, Simon. Not even Zoe ..."

The disclosure makes Simon's heart skip a beat but he warns himself sternly not to read too much into it.

"You can tell me," he says quietly.

Mal nods an' tries to compose himself by concentratin' on the warmth of Simon's hard on his back an' the look of gentle understandin' in his eyes.

"We thought it was all over when they finally sent their medships in," he says at last. "An' I was so ruttin' thankful - so pathetically ruttin' thankful - to see 'em - to see gorram Alliance troops! Thought it meant I wa'n't gonna lose any more of my men ..."

Simon listens aghast as the full story of Serenity Valley and the Browncoats' surrender comes tumbling out of Mal's mouth. Inwardly he rages at the petty stupidities and deliberate cruelties inflicted by the Alliance on the shredded remnants of the Independent Army. and when Mal starts grinding out the horrifying tale of that young girl and what was done to her it makes him want to scream and yell - throw and smash things - but that would hardly be professional and it won't help Mal. So instead he sits silently at Mal's side. Just listening and trying to bear it quietly. Like Mal has done for all these years.

"I was her sergeant," Mal concludes. "It was up to me to take care of her. An' I di'n't."

"It wasn't your fault," Simon insists. "There was nothing you could have done."

Mal gives him a weak smile, grateful but unconvinced. "That's a kindness. But it don't change the fact that I failed her. She was just a kid!"

"And how old were you? Twenty-seven?"

Mal frowns, trying to work it out. He's felt so gorram old for so long. "Twenty-six. Just," he realizes with some surprise.

"Younger than I am now," Simon points out. "The 'verse failed her, Mal. The Alliance failed her. Not you. You tried. Sometimes that's all you can do."

The boy's thinkin' about his sister, Mal can tell. That little crease between his eyebrows always appears when he's frettin' over River. Simon Tam's done everythin' a brother could do for his sister - an' more besides - an' yet he still punishes himself with the notion it ain't enough.

Somethin' sharp pierces Mal's chest. Somethin' he can't - won't - name. Instead he leans forward an' presses his lips to Simon's.

"What happened to your sis - that wa'n't your fault neither," he tells him, running a finger down his cheek.

"I know. But I still feel I ought to be able to fix her. Make her the way she was. Before."

"Mayhap you will," Mal suggests, an' then - cos he so wants to comfort this boy - he kisses him again, longer this time and deeper.

"I wish I could believe that," Simon sighs, adding with a bitter laugh "You know, at the beginning - when we were first on Serenity - I used to dream I'd found a cure for her. I'd wake up happy, elated .... and then I'd realize it was just a dream. For a while I even tried to do without sleep because I was so frightened of dreaming and waking up full of hope only to find that nothing had changed. Stupid, eh?"

Mal ruffles his hair. "No, not stupid. Understandable. Not a big fan of sleep my own self. Too many gorram nightmares."

They're quiet for a while. Simon rests his head on Mal's shoulder. "If we're not going to sleep," he begins slowly, laying a hand on Mal's abdomen, "We'll have to find something else to do."

Mal puts a hand under his chin and tilts his face up. "Not sure that's such a good idea," he says. "Don't wanna mark that pretty face no more than I already have."

"But we have to, Mal," Simon insists, trying and failing to not notice that Mal just described his face as pretty. "I need to know if we've correctly identified your trigger. If my diagnosis is incorrect, the treatment may not have been successful."

"Hunh?"

Simon laughs at Mal's bewildered expression and snuggles in closer against him. He slowly walks two fingers up from the Captain's navel to the top of his sternum and then even more slowly slides his middle finger back down again, looking up at Mal through his lashes. "I need you to make me whimper, Mal. Think you can do that?"

Mal swallows. Gorramit, but Simon Tam's persistent an' he's got an unnervingly direct way of speakin' about things Mal normally hedges around that's all manner of arousin'. Not to mention the way his eyes are borin' into Mal's.

Mal swallows again an', in a vain attempt at hidin' the effect Simon's havin' on him, crosses his legs."Don't think that's altogether wise," he begins but Simon ain't listenin'. Boy's leanin' across him for that tube of lube again, arm outstretched, the dark hair beneath ticklin' Mal's cheek an' the smell of it so heady Mal can almost taste it.

Oh, Mal's goin' to the special hell all right!

He pulls Simon's arm back, grips his shoulders from behind an' pushes him face down onto the bed. Chucklin' at the little squeak of surprised delight that gets him, he runs a hand down the length of Simon's spine from the back of his neck to the curve of his ass.

"You insist on doin' this, I reckon it might be safer with me behind you," he says, reachin' up for the lube. He applies a good coatin' of it to himself and works more inside Simon.

Because Mal's in too much of a hurry to have bothered with niceties like warming it first, the gel is cold and it makes Simon jump. A little noise escapes his mouth too. Not exactly a whimper, but close. Close enough to make Mal freeze for a second. He can see her, hear her. It's hot, there's that smell ...

"Mal?"

"Simon?"

An' the moment is gone an' all Mal's aware of now is the way Simon's pushin' back eagerly onto his fingers.

This time it might even be all right.

"Wanna get on your hands an' knees?" Mal suggests, spreadin' Simon's legs an' kneelin' between them.

Simon looks back at him over his shoulder to ask with a grin "Are you always this romantic?"

Mal slides an arm under his medic's stomach an' hauls him up onto all fours. "No," he smirks against his ear. "You're special."

Simon's answering laugh turns into a gasp as Mal enters him in one slow movement. His head arches back against Mal's chest and he squeezes his eyes tight shut against the prick of tears.

"You okay?"

"Mmm, I'm-" Simon begins, only to lose the ability to speak yet again as Mal starts thrusting into him. It's overwhelming, this sensation of fullness and heat, the knowing that this is Mal - Mal - inside him. Tianna - the way he moves, his ragged breathing, the smell of him ...

Simon could come from this alone but Mal is changing his position and Simon's too and his next stroke takes Simon's breath away, the pleasure of it is so intense. He tries to tell Mal to slow down but the only sound that comes from his mouth is a stream of little moans and whimpers because Mal's not slowing, he's moving faster, slamming in harder and deeper until Simon's so full he could burst.

"Mal. Please. God. Oh. Mal."

Whoever'd've thought tight-wound, panty-waisted, prissy Doctor Tam would end up here like this - naked an' wailin' on Mal's bed? Not Mal, tha's for sure. Nor Simon neither, Mal'd wager. An' yet it feels so absolutely right - almost like it was meant to be. They're about as perfect a fit as Mal came imagine - an' not jus' physically neither, although that's not nothin'.

Mal sits back on his heels, pullin' Simon with him so that he's half-sittin' on Mal's thighs. Holdin' him close with an arm across his chest, Mal takes the boy's cock in his hand.

"Gonna make you whimper properly now," he promises, with a sharp nip to Simon's shoulder.

Simon shudders and fights for breath but he's not in control of himself any more. Mal is. His hand is moving faster and faster and he's tilted Simon forward a little so that he can still manage to thrust into him hard. Simon is struggling and shaking and making little pleading sounds but Mal doesn't stop or ease up at all. Faster, harder, deeper until orgasm pounds through Simon's body, making him scream out Mal's name.

The feel of Simon's body going into spasm in his arms, the hot wetness of his semen on Mal's hand and the way that boy's near sobbin' his name would be enough to push Mal over the edge but now the muscles in Simon ass are pulsin' - clenchin' and releasin' around Mal - an' it's like nothin' Mal's ever felt before. He closes his eyes and lets the swell of sensation lift an' hold him suspended between tension an' release for an agonizingly long second until the wave breaks and he breaks with it, splittin' and spillin' deep inside Simon.

If Mal were anyone else he's be makin' all kinda promises an' demands right now, talkin' about forever an' other such gou shi. Instead he fastens his lips to the side of Simon's neck and sucks hard on the skin until the aftershocks coursing through him subside.

"Wo de tian, Simon," he pants as they fall forwards together. "You're one helluva doctor!"

Simon rolls onto his side to face Mal. Boy's hair is clingin' in damp tendrils to his face an' his cheeks are pink from exertion an' passion. An' there's somethin' much too knowin' about the way he's lookin' at Mal. Like he can see beyond Mal's light-hearted words into the gaping abyss of need within him.

"I'll get you to write me a reference when I start looking for another job," he replies with a smile but it's not exactly a joke because Simon needs to know. Needs to know there's more to this than simply him being Mal's doctor.

A flicker of pain passes over Mal's face but he blinks it quickly away. "You ain't gonna be lookin' for another job for a long damn while, boy," he declares, drawing Simon into a kiss. "Besides, who else'd have you?"

Simon laughs and spoons in against him. "Not many who'd be as good at it as you, I suppose. Is that the right answer?"

"Good enough," Mal answers sleepily. He puts an arm around Simon's waist and murmurs into his hair "Xie-xie."

"What for?"

"This. That. Everythin'. Cou'n't have done that with anyone else. Wou'n't've wanted to."

Mal's words make Simon so painfully happy he doesn't trust himself to reply, so he just squeezes Mal's hand and closes his eyes.

Within seconds they are both fast asleep.


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Title:  Chapter 20a. A *zhen de shi tian cai* when it comes to plans.
Series Name:  Trauma Medicine.
Author:  Kispexi2   [email]
Details:  Series  |  NC-17  |  *slash*  |  40k  |  07/04/05
Characters:  Malcolm, Simon
Pairings:  M/S
Summary:  As Mal remarks, Simon is one helluva doctor.
Notes:  Simon puts his behavioural therapy idea to the test. A little bit of violence and a lot of sex.
Sequel to:  Chapter 20. Sometimes you need a doctor.

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