Compromising Positions | Into the Black | Contact

The Right Thing

Notes: Written for the fireflyslash challenge on LJ. Once again, emungere has acted as my bunny enabler.

“You’re sure this is the place?” Simon asks looking up at the nightclub. “Seems like a strange location for a meet.”

Mal shakes the piece of paper in his hand. “Same address that’s on this piece of paper.” He can hear the pounding music from ten feet away. The neon sign above the heavy steel door says Paradise.

“Well, I hope your connection gave your name to him,” Simon says as they approach the very large bouncer guarding the door.

“Why?” Mal asks, frowning.

“We’re never getting into a place like this dressed the way we are,” Simon replies matter-of-factly.

“What’s wrong with my clothes?” Mal asks, a bit outraged, gesturing at his regular outfit of tight-fitting pants, dark shirt, and suspenders. “They’re clean.”

Simon smiles slightly and says, “There’s nothing wrong with your clothes, Captain. Or mine for that matter, but we’re just not dressed appropriately for this place.”

“How would you know?”

“I didn’t spend ALL my time with my face in a book, Captain. I did go out every now and again.”

“To this place?” Mal asks, suddenly worried that Simon might be recognized. It had been a calculated risk taking Simon on this mission, but Mal knew he needed someone who knew Core worlds with him. Inara had a client and River was, of course, out of the question.

“No, but ones that were fairly similar,” Simon replies nonchalantly.

Mal ponders the idea of Simon in a nightclub and realizes he just can't picture it. He realizes that he doesn't know the quiet man by his side quite as well as he thought he did. He doesn't like it.

They approach the bouncer, who disdainfully eyes them up and down before saying in a deep voice, “May I help you?” in a way that makes them feel like something he'd stepped in.

Mal gives his alias, which, fortunately, is on the list and they're allowed into the building. They are assaulted by a wall of sound and flashing lights as they wind their way past the dance floor full of gyrating bodies and up to the bar. Mal eyes the patrons and realizes that they are, in part, both under and over dressed. Most of the revellers are wearing upscale clothing that bare far more of their bodies than they conceal.

“You've been to places like this?” he asks Simon incredulously in a somewhat louder voice than usual.

“Yes,” Simon replies a bit testily. “Why is that so hard to imagine?”

“Because you wear more clothes than any three of the people in here?” Mal says as they stop at the bar. He gestures to the bartender and orders himself a beer. “Do you want something?” He asks Simon.

“A Galaxy Burst, please,” Simon says to the bartender.

Mal raises his eyebrow and repeats, “Galaxy Burst?”

“It's very good,” Simon replies. He takes a sip of the drink – a bizarre, moving combination of blue, red, purple and gold. “Want to try it?”

Mal eyes the drink dubiously and says, “I think I'll stick to beer, thanks.” He takes a swig of the beer in his hand.

They wait about ten minutes before Mal is approached by a tall, dark-haired man dressed head-to-toe in navy, wielding a silver tipped cane. “Ah, Captain Harbatkin, so good to see you. Perhaps I should have mentioned that there was a dress code….ah, no matter. I believe we have business to discuss. Who is your companion?” The man turns to Simon and suspiciously eyes him up and down.

“Crew member. Don't let the prissy clothes fool you. He knows about a hundred different ways to kill a man,” Mal says with a sly grin.

Simon frowns at Mal and offers his hand. “Peter Smith,” he says, giving the alias that Mal had assigned him.

The men are so busy with their introductions that no one notices the laughing young man at the bar that tips the contents of a small vial into Simon's drink. He wiggles the glass slightly and the twirling colours obscure the clear liquid as it infuses the drink.

“You may call me Robert. Although that is not my name, as no doubt you have not given me your true identities either. No need for alarm! I am more than willing to continue. Shall we talk business, then, Captain?”

Mal and Robert get down to business, discussing the varying details of the pick up, drop off and payment for services while Simon sips at his drink.

“Is it hot in here?” Simon asks no one in particular before answering his own question. “It’s definitely hot in here.” Mal frowns as he sees Simon removing his coat and unbuttoning the top button of his shirt.

Mal looks at Simon’s flushed cheeks and the way he’s fidgeting and says low enough so that only Simon can hear, “I think maybe you should lay off that drink.”

Simon glares at him and downs the last of his drink. He folds his overcoat up neatly and puts it over Mal’s arm. “Hold this. I’m going to the men’s room.”

As Simon saunters off, Robert laughs. “Looks like you’re having some trouble controlling your man there. Is he always that unreliable?”

“No,” Mal says frowning at Simon’s retreating back. “Anyway. Never mind him. Let’s get back to business. 150 credits, no less.”

“One hundred and fifty! Do you think I am a fool? Seventy-five,” Robert replies haughtily.

They continue to negotiate, making faces and exclaiming robbery at each other’s offers and finally settle on 110 credits. They are just about to shake hands on the deal when Mal is distracted by a series of cat-calls and whistles emanating from the dance floor. He glances over and his jaw hits the floor. It couldn’t be…and then he realizes that Simon has not returned to his side.

Mal looks again and confirms that the person on the dance floor is, indeed, Simon. Mal’s never seen a man move his hips the way Simon currently is as he dances with a tall, lean, impossibly beautiful, yet somehow utterly masculine, man. Simon’s vest is wide open and his shirt is undone half-way down his chest. He’s got one arm thrown up over the other man’s shoulder and he’s playing with the strands of wavy, dirty-blonde hair that have fallen out of his hair tie. Simon’s other hand rests on the other man’s hip. The stranger has his hands curled possessively around Simon’s hips, fingers stroking his ass. The man leans in and Simon arches his neck back so that the other man can run his tongue slowly up the exposed column of flesh.

Mal stops breathing. Everything in the bar fades away except Simon and the stranger. He can’t take his eyes off them as they twist and shimmy against each other. Seemingly out of nowhere, another, slightly taller, broader, yet equally beautiful man with hair the colour of pulped raspberries appears behind Simon. He drapes himself over Simon’s back and quirks an eyebrow at the blonde. The blonde shrugs and then reaches up and pulls the other man in for a long kiss.

Simon keeps moving between them, eyes closed, lost in the music. The kiss ends and the red-head runs his hands down the outside of Simon’s thighs and back up again. Simon tilts his head back and just as the red head is about to kiss him, Mal’s hand drops onto his shoulder.

Mal hasn’t got a clue when he decided to move or even how he got there, but he pulls on the other man’s shoulder and says, “Mine,” in a dark, low voice that he barely recognizes as his own.

Cool lavender eyes meet his and Mal just barely prevents himself from taking a step back. He is filled with the sudden and certain knowledge that this man is dangerous – very dangerous. Mal removes his hand.

The blonde smiles at him and takes the other’s hand. “Well, you shouldn’t let him out alone, then, huh?” A shiver runs through Mal as he realizes that although he covers it with an easy-going smile, the blonde’s eyes are hard and cold – judging him. Simon looks over at Mal and exclaims, “Mal!” before flinging himself at Mal.

“Let’s go, Aya-love, looks like it’s just the two of us tonight,” the blonde says and grins at Mal and the two glide away into the crowd.

“Dance with me,” Simon demands and starts to move against him.

Sucking in his breath as Simon’s groin brushes over his, Mal takes Simon by the shoulders and pulls him away. “What the hell is *wrong* with you?” Mal looks down into Simon’s face and sees the flushed cheeks and hugely dilated pupils, half obscured by heavy lids and says, “Holy fuck. You’re stoned.” He knows Simon would never take anything of his own volition and he somehow gets the feeling that it wasn’t his dance partners that slipped him whatever’s got him flying.

Simon sways in time to the music. “Dance with me, Mal,” he says, almost pleading.

“C’mon, Doc. We’d better get you back to the ship so you can sleep this off,” Mal says putting an arm around Simon’s shoulders and leading him off the dance floor.

“Don’t wanna. Wanna dance, Simon says, pouting.

“Simon,” Mal says, running out of patience. “Let’s go. Now.”

“Fine,” Simon says grumpily, crossing his arms over his chest. “Ruin all my fun. First you chase Yohji and Aya away and now you won’t dance with me. I hate you.”

Simon sounds like a petulant teenager. Mal can’t help it, he laughs.

Simon elbows him in the ribs. “Stop laughing at me. I do hate you. You’re a mean, no-fun bastard.”

Mal rubs at his ribs. “Behave yourself or I’ll fling you over my shoulder and carry you back to the ship.”

“Caveman,” Simon states, pouting again.

“Ah, I see you’ve retrieved your crewman,” Robert says out of nowhere. “I trust that he will not prove a disruption on this mission?”

“No. He’ll be fine, he just needs to sleep it off. I’ll meet you back here in five days, just as we agreed. Just have my 110 credits and I’ll have your goods,” Mal says, holding Simon tightly around the waist to prevent him from shimmying away, and doing his best to ignore the hand that is groping his ass.

He and Robert shake hands and as soon as the other man leaves, he pulls Simon’s hand off his ass. “What did I tell you about behaving?”

“But it’s such a nice ass, Mal. It’s just begging to be squeezed,” Simon says with a lopsided grin.

Mal has no answer to that and just keeps a tight grip on Simon’s hand as they leave the bar. Simon shivers and Mal helps him back into his coat, which he has, miraculously, managed to keep a hold of during this whole time.

“Still cold,” Simon says, so Mal puts an arm around him and lets Simon snuggle against him. He just makes sure that Simon keeps his hands above the waist. The make it back to the ship and Mal helps Simon, who has become more and more unsteady on his feet, into his bunk. He removes his jacket, vest, and then gets Simon to sit on the bunk and he takes off his shoes. Mal feels a hand in his hair and looks up to see Simon staring down at him, his lips parted slightly. The hand slides through his hair and down to his jaw. Before he can pull away, Simon leans in and kisses him.

Mal tries to pull away, but Simon’s hand is tangled in his hair, and suddenly his tongue is in his mouth. The kiss is sensuously erotic as Simon’s agile tongue glides slowly over and around his. Simon tastes like liquor and candy. With a pained groan, Mal manages to pull away from Simon.

Simon looks at him in a mixture of hurt and confusion, his eyes glazed with drug and desire. “Don’t you want me?” Simon says in a quiet voice.

“Tamade,” Mal mutters, running the back of his hand over Simon’s cheek. “You have no idea how much. But not like this – not with you stoned out of your head. Please, Simon. Go to sleep. We can talk in the morning,” Mal says, knowing that Simon won’t remember a thing in the morning.

“Really?” Simon asks earnestly.

“Really,” Mal replies. “Now, get into bed.”

Suddenly pliant, Simon says, “All right.” He swings his legs up onto the bed and gets under the covers. “Stay until I fall asleep?” Simon asks.

“Sure,” Mal replies. He sits on the floor next to Simon’s bed and strokes Simon’s hair until the younger man drifts off. He gets up to leave and pauses in the doorway to look down at Simon who is twitching slightly in his sleep. He closes the door and tells himself he did the right thing.