Walking After Midnight

Author: malgalfan

Disclaimer: Don't own 'em. Just playin'.

Rating: PG

Summary: My contribution to a fluffy Friday. Just a little tidbit of fun before the angst starts again.


Mal climbed down into his bunk to find Inara already there. Now that it was obvious the crew knew about their clandestine activities, there was no need to go sneaking about in the wee hours. And Mal thought that it was all manner of pleasing to know someone was waiting for him when he finished his last check each evening.

"Everything secure?' Inara asked, oddly comforted to know Mal always made sure, even when Serenity was dirtside, as it was tonight.

"Yep," Mal said, pushing his suspenders off his shoulders. Noticing that Inara was still fully dressed, he frowned. "You plannin' on sleepin in all that?"

"No," Inara answered. "I thought it might be nice to take a walk."

"It's after midnight, Aberdeen time," Mal protested. "Where you gotta go?"

"I don't 'have' to go anywhere," Inara said, sliding up next to him, enveloping him in her intoxicating scent. Pulling his suspenders back up with her slender fingers, she traced little circles on his chest. "I just thought you might like to come with me for a little stroll."

"Last time I left Serenity for a little 'stroll', I ended up swingin' from chains in Atherton's little playroom," Mal grumbled, though he knew he would cave at any minute.

"Don't worry, dearest. I'll protect you," Inara said, the smile on her lips just begging to be tasted.

"All right, woman, I'll go with you. Just stop with the wiles," Mal said.

Inara widened her eyes innocently. "What wiles?"

"You know gorram well what wiles," Mal replied, opening the hatch and climbing back out into the corridor. He smiled at the sound of Inara's laughter as she followed him out.

Once outside the ship, they stood for a moment to look up at the stars. "They're beautiful in the Black, but sometimes I forget how they look dirtside," Mal said, squeezing Inara's hand. Turning to look at her instead, he asked, "Got any particular direction you aim to take?"

"No," Inara replied. "You lead the way."

Mal nodded, and started off down a small path away from Aberdeen's settlement. "Noticed this path today when we were in town. Wondered where it might lead."

A warm breeze blew pleasantly from the south, and the two lovers walked for awhile in companionable silence. Mal marveled at the ease of it, with Inara's hand in his and moonlight illuminating their path. "Man could get used to this," he said, breaking the silence.

"To what?"

"To walkin' about with a beautiful woman in the moonlight," he said, brushing his lips lightly against her ear. Inara shivered deliciously, leaning into his touch. "You cold, darlin'?" he asked.

"Not at all," she replied. "Quite the contrary, in fact." She ran her hands around his sides and up his back.

"That a fact?' he said, his voice suddenly two registers lower.

"Umm hmm," she answered, her fingers impatiently tugging at his suspenders and shirt tails.

"You are a wanton woman, you know that?" he asked as he helped her out of her clothing as well. Inara just smiled as she saw the desire flare in Mal's eyes. Spreading their clothes out like a blanket, Mal held out his hand. "Come lie with me."

Inara took his hand, and arranging herself beside him, pulled him to her. Mal went willingly, his hard body pressing against her soft curves in that most wonderful of juxtapositions. Reveling in the sensuous slide of skin against skin, Inara knew she would never tire of the feel of this man inside her, giving and receiving pleasure in equal measure. She knew that were she to express the novelty of the sensations he created in her, he would never believe it, not truly aware of the value of what he offered to her.

Mal paused to look at her, trying to decipher the play of emotions across her moonlit face. Urging him on with a well-placed roll of her hips, Inara snapped him from his momentary musings. "Mal," she breathed against his neck, sending desire curling down his spine. He knew he'd never get enough of the sound of his name rolled so deliciously off her tongue.

In a moment of mind-numbing perfection, they reached their release together. "Ai ya, but we're good at that," Mal gasped, still breathless from the exertion.

"Yes, we are," Inara agreed, a little winded herself.

They lay on their backs for a time, watching the stars until their breathing calmed again. Mal turned on his side to look at Inara. He smiled the slow, lazy smile that turned her knees to jelly, as he picked grass from her tangled hair.

Inara reached up, self-consciously patting her riotous hair back into place. "I must look a real mess," she said.

"Most beautiful thing I've ever seen," Mal said softly, cupping her face in his hand. And the wonder in his voice made Inara believe it.