Pregnant Pause

Author: justslummin

Disclaimer: I own neither of these characters, but I do love them.

Rating: R

Pairing: Mal/River

Summary: Utterly unabashed short fluff piece. Mal and River enjoy a happy little side effect of second trimester pregnancy. Originally intended as the final scene in "Rock and a Hard Place", but scrapped in favor of preserving the timeline more accurately.

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River stood at the mirror, head tilted to the side, looking at her reflection in fascination. Now finished with the morning sickness that had plagued the first trimester of her pregnancy, she felt much better. Truth be told, she admitted to herself, she could see the beginnings of the glow she'd heard that pregnant women mysteriously acquired. She knew, scientifically speaking, that the increase of certain hormones was the cause of the phenomenon, but she could not discount the effect of the sheer joy she felt at the life growing within her either.

Mal, feeling almost like himself again after the brutality he had endured at the Alliance prison on Salisbury, padded on bare feet to stand behind her. He took a moment to admire the same view she was studying so intently. He, too, was fascinated by the subtle changes in her body. Always more than satisfied with her form, he found himself now unable to tear his eyes away from the new curves that were manifesting themselves so enticingly.

Sensing his thoughts, River leaned back against him as one of his arms encircled her still-small waist. Sweeping her hair back from the nape of her neck, he brushed his lips lightly along the smooth skin there, eliciting a small sigh of pleasure from River. Sliding his hands softly up her ribcage, he cupped her breasts gently, surprised by the new weight of them in his palms. "Still sore there?" he murmured, lips ghosting now along her collarbone.

"Not sore now, just more sensitive," River answered, her breath hitching as his thumbs brushed lightly across her tightening nipples. She shifted her backside against him, feeling his body's arousal with a delicious anticipation. She was not precisely sure of the science behind it, but she was vaguely surprised by her own increased appetite for physical intimacy.

Serendipitously, Mal seemed to be experiencing a similar surge in desire. Reluctantly releasing one breast, his hand moved down to skim the slight swell of her belly, curving with the growth of his child. He lifted his lips from her shoulder to catch the reflection of her eyes in the mirror as his hand traveled lower.

River's lips parted in an 'O' as his nimble fingers slid insistently to their goal. Leaning her head back against his shoulder, she arched against his hand, suddenly more urgent than even she had anticipated.

"Well now, darlin'," he said, his voice low and gravelly against her ear. "You seem a mite eager."

River's clever hand reached down between them, her intimate touch sending a jolt of pure lust straight through her husband. "Ai ya," he moaned, lifting her effortlessly into his arms and depositing her quickly onto their bed. He paused for a moment to drink in the sight of her, a faint flush covering her dewy skin and an unmistakable hunger in her shining eyes.

Moistening her lips with the tip of her tongue, she whispered, "You coming, ai ren?"

"I'd expect so," he answered, climbing into the bed and sinking into her warmth like a weary traveler finally coming home.