Pairing/Rating: Mal/Simon, NC-17
Summary: Inara sees something she probably shouldn't have.
the Contrelamontre challenge on surprises.
Inara follows the sound of laughter, wondering who's on board. It's the
middle of the afternoon, planet-time, it's a gorgeous day, and she
hadn't thought anyone was still around. Her soft shoes make no sound on
the metal stairs as she heads for the lounge.
As she draws closer, she's able to make out words. "Mal--stop it,
Mal--don't!" Simon is saying, laughing. She stops in the doorway,
curious as to what's going on.
Simon stands at the counter, facing away from her. Mal is behind him,
body pressed against his, and he's--tickling Simon? Inara hides a
smile, glad to hear Simon laughing. He doesn't do it often.
"Don't want to stop," Mal says; Inara hears the laughter in his voice
"Someone's going to walk in on us," Simon protests, but he drops his
head back against Mal's shoulder, letting Mal kiss his throat.
"No one's around. They're all off in town--ain't gonna be back til
"But--Inara's due back," Simon manages.
"Not for another couple hours." Mal presses closer, bites Simon's
"Mal--" Simon reaches back, but Mal takes his wrists, putting Simon's
hands on the counter. Inara watches, more than a little surprised, as
Simon's breath catches in his throat and a shudder runs through his
body. She sees Mal tighten his grip on Simon's wrists and hears Simon
gasp in response.
Inara has two options. She can leave and give them the privacy they
think they have, or she can make noise and enter the room. Only, while
she's reluctant to spoil their time together, she can't bring herself
to leave. So she stays where she is, rooted to the spot.
She shouldn't be doing this. It goes against all her training, all her
beliefs in privacy and intimacy. She's a Companion--no one knows better
than Inara what lovemaking means. But as so often happens with Mal, her
training fails her. She wants--needs--to see this, although she's not
quite sure why. Yet that's not true either. Inara does know why; she
just doesn't want to admit it.
Whatever thoughts and dreams she might have harbored once, she knows
better now. Mal will never be hers. He'll never come to her bed, never
touch her the way she thought he might, never be anything more than the
captain and--possibly--her friend. And she's all right with that
knowledge. It's better this way, for all of them. Simon deserves some
happiness in his life, as does Mal, and Inara truly is glad they've
found it with each other.
It doesn't mean she doesn't occasionally wish things were different.
This is a chance to see a side of Mal she'll never experience, now, and
Inara can't look away. Won't look away.
"Turn around," Mal tells Simon, releasing his hands. "And keep your
hands on the counter."
Simon takes a deep breath, visibly fighting for control, before he does
as Mal has told him. His cheeks are flushed and he's biting his lower
lip. And then he looks over Mal's shoulder, directly at Inara, and she
sees him realize she's there. She freezes, unsure what to do next.
To her surprise--and shameful relief--Simon doesn't say a word. He
looks back at Mal, and Inara realizes he's tacitly given her permission
to stay. She doesn't know why, but she's not going to question it.
Mal bends his head, kissing Simon, and Inara watches as he forces
Simon's head back, drawing a groan out of Simon. "Don't move your
hands," Mal snaps; Inara looks down to see Simon grab the counter
again, his fingers white-knuckled.
"Tell me," Mal says, his voice softer now. There's a hint of something
languid and predatory in it that makes Inara shiver. "Tell me what you
"I--" Simon flushes, swallowing.
"Tell me," Mal repeats, tilting Simon's chin up with two fingers.
"Your hands," Simon whispers. "I want your hands on me."
Inara sees Mal drag his hands down Simon's chest, his stomach,
unbuttoning his pants. But her eyes return to their faces, fascinated
by the need on Simon's face and the intent focus on Mal's.
"Oh, God," Simon manages shakily. Inara glances down, seeing that Mal
has unfastened his own pants and is holding both of them in his hand.
She swallows, watching Mal's hand begin to move, stroking them both.
Tearing her gaze away, she looks back at their faces. Simon's eyes are
half-closed, while Mal is watching him with fierce concentration.
"That's it," Mal murmurs. "Just like that."
"Mal--" Simon makes an abortive move to reach for him, but stops
himself, gripping the counter so tightly Inara expects he'll have the
outline embedded into his palms.
"Leave them there," Mal tells him. "Or I'll stop."
"Bastard," Simon gasps.
Mal laughs, low in his throat. "And you love it."
"That's beside the point--oh--" Simon's head falls back. "Close," he
"Good," Mal says, leaning down to kiss him, biting at his lips. "Do it,
Simon groans into Mal's mouth when he comes, shuddering all over. Inara
swallows again, watching Mal close his eyes, tensing. He breathes
Simon's name, holding still for one long moment before slumping against
Eventually, Simon moves, reaching behind him for a towel. "I'll need to
wash this," he says, using it to clean them both.
"Yeah." Mal kisses him again, his mouth gentle against Simon's.
Inara doesn't hear Mal's answer; she turns and leaves, careful not to
make a sound. She'll go back to her shuttle and meditate, she thinks.
Try and forget what she's seen. And she'll never, under any
circumstances, mention it to anyone.