Disclaimer: Just Joss' lowly follower.

A/N: Mal's PoV, post-Shindig, Mal/Inara implied. Read, enjoy, let me know what you think.

A man like Malcolm Reynolds ain't keen on wanting what he can't have.

He'll take food and coin and what he needs to keep Serenity flying and his crew safe but anything outside that was just a downright distraction that he really can't afford if he wants to live to see another job.

A man like Malcolm Reynolds ain't keen on wanting what he can't have but when it comes to her it don't make any kind of difference.

Because when it comes to her everything gets turned about, goes all pear-shaped right before his eyes and it don't help matters none that he's never really cared for pears. She walks around his boat with all the grace and dignity she reserves for them fancy socialites of hers—her clients—looking more outta place than little Kaylee ever could at any ball, and he can't help but want her away and all the more closer at the same time.

She makes things confusing, that woman, and it fogs his head up worse than Kaylee's home brew, makes him hesitate and ponder and feel all matter of uncomfortable in his own home.

Sophistication rolls off her like heat waves and she's smooth and polished silver against the grit and grim of the Black and he can't help the part of him that wants to muss her up.

He wants to undress her and removing her clothes is only part of it.

He wants to wipe away the shadow and the kohl and clean away the wine red paint on her lips. He wants to take away the brocade and the silk, the incense and the guarded eyes. He wants to make her laugh, see he blush, redder than wine, real and true. He wants it so bad his palms itch and he's got to make fist at his sides to keep from touching her, bronzed skin that he's tasted in his dreams.

And when she's got client and he's forced to watch her leave, all done up in perfection—perfect make up, perfect hair, perfect dress that shimmers and ripples round her legs so she looks like she ain't even touching the ground, part of him wishes he could call out and tell her to stop, rush down the stairs and muss her up real good with his hands and his lips 'til she was branded with crooked bad guy and simplicity and him.

Another part watches her go and doesn't want her to come back at all.

Because a man like Malcolm Reynolds shouldn't be keen on wanting things he can't have.


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