Compromising Positions | Into the Black | Contact


Notes: Written for kelly_girl for virtualinsomnia’s Simon Ficathon on LJ. K_g wanted some snark, some angst, and a possibly happy ending. Hopefully, this is some of that. Turns out I’m not so great at writing to spec. I was having a horrid, wretched time writing this and then Zoe, of all people, came riding to my rescue. Now that’s a big damn hero. Thanks to skripka for the instant beta and the help finishing and titling the darn thing.

“Oh, hey, awake now, are you?” Mal asks facetiously, looking down into Simon’s bleary eyes.

Simon blinks slowly and then again. “Where?” he asks, his voice slurred.

“Infirmary. Looks like my reflexes aren’t as fast as they used to be,” Mal says with a sheepish grin. “I pushed you out of the way, but you got tagged anyway. You’ve got a nice new bullet scar in your side to go with the one on your leg.”

“Huh?” Simon responds, his brow crinkling in confusion, obviously too drugged to follow Mal’s explanation.

Mal pats him on the shoulder. “You were shot. Don’t worry, Zoe did a good job, you’ll be fine. Go back to sleep. We’ll still be here in the morning.”

Simon gives Mal a wobbly smile. His eyes focus for a moment and he stares intently at Mal’s face before reaching out a hand and touching Mal’s nose.

“Broken,” he states, running a finger lightly down the bridge of Mal’s nose.

A bit startled, Mal shifts away, and Simon’s hand rests warmly on his cheek. “Uh, yeah. When I was a kid. Fell off a horse. I suppose you could fix it, huh?”

Simon rocks his head back and forth on the pillow. “Nuh huh,” he murmurs. “Adds character. Handsome,” he adds, patting Mal’s face with his hand.

“Uh, yeah. Wow, those are some drugs Zoe gave you, Doc. Best you sleep them off before you get really silly,” Mal says uncomfortably, gently removing Simon’s hand from his face and placing it on Simon’s chest.

“’K,” Simon says, yawing widely. “Love you,” he mutters as his eyes close. In seconds, he’s asleep.

Mal sits, frozen on the stool, stunned. He hears a slight cough and turns his head to where Zoe’s leaning against the wall, unseen by Simon. “It’s the drugs,” he states firmly.

“Whatever you say, Sir,” Zoe replies, her face a stern mask.

“It is. It must be. Why else would he say something so damn foolish?” Mal asks getting up and moving over to Zoe so that their conversation doesn’t wake Simon.

Zoe doesn’t say a word, just raises an eyebrow.

“He *can’t* be in love with me. That’s just plain ridiculous. I HIT him…twice!” Mal exclaims and then immediately lowers his voice again, glancing quickly over his shoulder to make sure that he hasn’t disturbed the patient. “I’m mean to him, make fun of him and his fancy ways, there’s no way he could…”

“Uh huh,” Zoe says, crossing her arms, her expression telling him that somehow, it is all his fault.

Mal looks hopefully at Zoe, “Don’t suppose it’s hero worship? Or a crush?”

Zoe shakes her head solemnly at each suggestion.

“Damn,” Mal says and goes very quiet and his face loses all expression. “Will you stay with him?”

Zoe nods and Mal leaves the infirmary. She takes the stool next to the bed, and runs her fingers lightly through Simon’s hair. “Poor boy, you have no idea what you just did, do you?” she murmurs.

Simon wakes groggily the next morning, a dull ache in his side and another in his head thudding a slow counterpoint. He opens his eyes and realizes fairly quickly that the ceiling he’s looking at belongs to the infirmary, not his room. Frowning, Simon tries to figure out how he ended up here.

“Morning,” Zoe says, looking down at him.

Simon nods and asks, “Water?” in a rough voice.

“Sure,” Zoe replies and gets up and goes to the small sink to get Simon some water.

When she returns, he struggles to sit up, hissing as he pulls at the wound in his side. Zoe stops him by putting a hand on his chest. She fiddles with a control on the bed and the back rises.

“Better?” Zoe asks and hands him the water and sits back down.

Simon nods and takes a drink. “Much. Thanks.” He pauses for a moment as his memory shifts. “I got shot again, didn’t I?”

“That you did. It was a clean shot – went straight through. All I had to do was stop the bleeding and put in a few stitches.” Zoe shrugs.

Simon frowns. A bullet to the side didn’t explain why the last thing he remembers seeing was a gun being drawn after Mal’s contact decided to keep the money instead of paying for Simon’s doctoring services.

Zoe notes the frown. “Having trouble recalling what happened?”

“Yes. I remember a gun being waved at us, but that’s pretty much the last of it until now.”

“That might have something to do with you getting a bit of a knock on the head when the Captain shoved you out of the way.”

Simon decides that since he’s apparently not brain damaged, except for a slight gap surrounding the immediate events, he won’t bring up the very real possibility that he’d had a concussion. Yet.

“So, where is the Captain? I should probably thank him for saving my life – again,” Simon says.

“He’s out trying to find us our next job,” Zoe replies, casually. “Finish your water. Are you hungry? I can send Kaylee by with some food.”

Simon looks over Zoe’s shoulder and smiles. “I think someone’s already beat you to it,” he says, nodding towards the doorway.

Zoe turns and spots River and Kaylee entering the infirmary, Kaylee carrying a tray laden with a bowl of soup and a few slices of bread.

“*Told* you he was awake,” River says smugly giving Kaylee a playful nudge with her shoulder before she dashes away from Kaylee to her brother’s side to give him a careful hug. “What am I going to do with you? You’re *such* a handful, always getting into trouble,” River says grinning.

Simon hugs her back and says, “Brat.”

River sticks her tongue out at him. He sticks his out at her. River gets up out of the way and lets Kaylee settle the tray over Simon’s lap. Kaylee fusses about him until he takes her hand and squeezes it.

“I’m fine, Kaylee. It wasn’t much more than a flesh wound, from what Zoe tells me.”

Kaylee smiles with relief and Simon can feel the tension practically ooze out of her. “Can I see your scar?” she asks playfully.

Simon flushes bright red and starts fumbling for the spoon. Kaylee laughs and pats him on the shoulder.

“I think I’ll leave you in the girls’ capable hands, Doc. I have a husband that’s probably gotten himself up to mischief by now,” Zoe says, relinquishing her seat to River.

Realizing that Zoe must have spent the night in the infirmary, Simon looks up from the soup and says, “Thanks for sitting with me.”

“It’s no more than you would have done for me,” Zoe replies and with a final nod, she leaves the room.

Simon sits, eats his soup, and chats aimlessly with Kaylee and River. He yawns, suddenly very tired. He drifts back to sleep between mouthfuls of soup.

Mal sits in his bunk at his desk, not so much doing paperwork as staring at it. He shuffles a bit of paper from one pile to another, then sighs and drops his head into his hands, takes off his glasses, and rubs at his temples. He doesn’t hear the hatch open, so he jumps in shock when he hears the voice.

“Headache, Sir? Maybe you should go see the Doc,” she says casually from her position next to the ladder. “Oh, wait. You can’t do that can you? Because you’re still avoiding him.” Zoe’s brow arches in disdain. “What’s it been? Three days now?”

“I am not avoiding, Si… the doctor. I’ve just been busy,” Mal says waving his hand at all the paper on his desk. “Ship doesn’t run itself, you know.” Zoe looks at him steadily and he starts to squirm. He tries to cover his discomfort by growling at Zoe, “You shouldn’t sneak into other people’s bunks. It’s not polite.”

“So that’s how it’s going to be?” she asks, taking the seat across from him. “He doesn’t remember a word he said, you know. There’s no need for this.”

“Don’t matter what he does or doesn’t remember. *I* remember it Zoe,” Mal says sadly. “I can’t…”

“You mean you won’t,” Zoe says plainly.

“Can’t, won’t same difference,” Mal replies flatly.

“No. One is you being an idiot and throwing away a chance at something that could be something pretty special. Don’t let what happened with *her* make you shy away from this,” Zoe says, showing no mercy.

“Zoe,” Mal grinds out, dangerously quiet.

“Mal,” Zoe says calmly, the rare use of his name stunning him into silence. “Love is such a rare thing, don’t walk away from it when you find it”

“You’re making a pretty big assumption, don’t you think?” Mal says quietly. “Who says it’s not one-sided?”

Zoe merely raises a brow.

Sighing, knowing that Zoe knows him almost as well as he knows himself, Mal stops protesting. “It’s not going to be easy. There’s Kaylee…”

“It’s never easy, Sir. But it’s well worth the aggravation,” Zoe says with a soft smile.

“Is it? I could do him some serious damage, Zoe,” Mal replies sadly.

“The boy’s had so many choices taken away from him. Don’t take this one from him, too,” Zoe says. “He’s young, but he is an adult. Let him make his own decision. He knows you well enough now to know that you’re no walk in the park. And somehow, he *still* loves you.”

“Yeah. Do you think it’s space sickness?” Mal says, his lips quirking into a smile, despite his resigned sigh. “I hear that causes all sorts of dementia.”

Zoe laughs, “Could be, Sir. But you’ll never find out hiding in here.”

“You know, I think I have a bit of a headache. Could use an aspirin,” Mal says with a grin. “I think I need to take a trip to the infirmary.”

They get up and leave Mal’s bunk. Mal puts a hand on Zoe’s arm to stop her as she punches the lock on her quarters. “Thanks,” he says quietly.

Zoe pats his hand and says, “All part of the job, Sir.”

“Matchmaking?” Mal snarks.

“Pulling your head out of your ass,” Zoe says, with an utterly still expression.

She leaves Mal gaping at her and slides down the ladder into her own bunk.

Simon turns and jerks in surprise. “How long have you…”

“I’m sorry I startled…” Mal says at the same time.

They both stop and Simon shifts uncomfortably under Mal’s steady gaze. He can’t quite figure out the look in Mal’s eyes. “Um. Can I get you something?” he asks, breaking the sudden silence.

“Yeah. Have a bit of a headache, actually,” Mal replies.

“Let me get you some painkillers, then,” Simon says, turning to a drawer. He shakes a couple of pills into a small cup and gets a glass of water from the sink and hands them to Mal. While Mal is taking them, he says, “I didn’t get a chance to thank you for pushing me out of the way, the other day.”

Mal shrugs and says, “No big deal.” He places the now empty cup on the counter next to Simon.

Simon reaches out and puts a hand on Mal’s arm. “Not from what Zoe tells me. Seems to me you saved my life – again. Thank you.”

Mal looks down at the hand on his arm and then back up at Simon’s face. Simon inhales sharply at what he sees in Mal’s eyes.

“C…captain?” he questions quietly.

“Mal,” Mal says, just as quietly. “Call me Mal.” He reaches out and cups Simon’s face and leans in and presses his lips to Simon’s. Simon freezes, not responding, his heart thumping away a mile a minute in his chest, unable to believe what is happening, suddenly certain that he’s still drugged and dreaming. There’s no way Mal would be kissing him outside of a dream, except that he is. Mal’s lips are on his and he’s just standing there like a statue, frozen in fear.

Mal pulls away slightly and says, “You know, this works a lot better if you kiss me back.”

“M…Mal?” Simon stutters out, fingers tightening on Mal’s arm.

“Simon,” Mal replies gently. He strokes Simon’s cheek with his thumb and leans in again. This time, when Mal’s lips touch his, Simon kisses back, briefly, and then he pulls away and looks up at Mal in confusion.

“What…where did, why…?” Simon stammers.

Mal smiles kindly at Simon’s fumbling. “I think we need to have a talk about that little gap in your memory. You said some stuff when you were drugged up…stuff that put me to thinking.”

“Said stuff?” Simon asks warily. He's almost tempted to speak to Zoe about the concussion, but he doesn't dare leave the room now. Not with Mal staring at him so intently.

“Yes. Like how you thought I was handsome,” Mal says with a devilish grin. Simon can feel the blush spreading across his face and knows that there’s no sense denying it. Mal curls an arm around him and draws him closer. Simon smiles shyly at him and is treated to another kiss.

A shadow of doubt crosses Mal’s expression and his eyes shift away from Simon’s. “You may have also mentioned some feelings…” he trails off for a moment and then continues in a quieter voice, “feelings that …”

Whatever Mal is about to say is cut off when Simon’s lips lock onto his in a fiercely passionate kiss.