Disclaimer: I own none of these characters. They apparently own me.
Summary: Little tiny piece of Mal/River fluff before the new arc begins. Mal and River communicate in the dark.
Mal slipped quietly into bed beside River, trying not to wake her. He knew from experience that she needed much more sleep when she was pregnant, and he had no wish to disturb her.
"I'm not asleep yet, ai ren," she said, the merest hint of a smile in her voice. "And regardless, you never disturb me getting into bed."
"I take it you're readin' me again, darlin'," Mal said, pulling her back flush with his chest. He brushed the hair away from the nape of her neck, and nibbled gently at the exposed skin there.
River shivered happily. "Always good to have some nice bedtime reading, don't you think?"
Mal's chuckle vibrated through his chest and tickled her back. "S'pose so," he agreed, as he rested his hand on her still-flat abdomen. "Haven't seen you much today. Were you sick at all?"
"A little," River said. "But not anything like with Adam, so far. Simon says each pregnancy is different."
"Maybehaps you won't be gettin' as bad off as you were last time then," Mal said. "Least I hope not. I'm fair certain if men got the morning sickness, there'd be a whole heap less babies in the 'verse."
River giggled. "Perhaps, though I think it would be the actual delivery that halted the process altogether."
"You worried about that part, now you know how it's gonna be?" Mal asked curiously.
"Not really," River said, sighing. "It will all be worth it, just like it was with Adam."
Mal stroked her belly lightly. "Any idea what this one's gonna be yet?"
"Too soon to tell," River replied, her stomach muscles contracting at the ticklish sensation created by his work-roughened hand.
That hand moved up to cup one of her breasts. "Sore here?" Mal asked.
"Not much," River breathed out in a sigh, as his thumb brushed lightly across one tightening nipple. Feeling his arousal pressing against her backside, she wriggled her hips just a little, sending a jolt of pleasure to his groin.
A little strangled moan escaped Mal's lips as he pulled her closer still. "I know you must be tired," he said, as he brushed his lips lightly behind her ear. "Don't want to interfere with your sleep."
River hooked her ankle over his calf, pulling his knee between her legs. "Not so tired," she whispered, as Mal's hand traveled further south, gently coming to rest at the apex of her thighs.
"You sure?" Mal asked, achingly hard for her.
"Oh yes," River moaned as one of Mal's fingers found her sensitive nerve bundle. Her breath began to come in short puffs as he continued to explore her wet heat.
Mal grasped her hips, sliding slowly into her as his own breath became ragged. For a long time they moved thus, drawing out each other's pleasure as long as they could, the only sound in the room their breathing and the slide of skin against skin. Finally, when they could withstand the force building in their bodies no longer, they surrendered to their fall, the sound of their release mingling in the dark.
Pulling gently away from River, Mal kissed her tenderly. "Love you, bao bei," he said. "Don't think I'll ever get enough of lying with you here in the dark."
Turning to face him, River's eyes shone with the brilliance of diamonds in the darkness. "Love you too, ai ren," she said, her mind and heart full to bursting with the feeling flowing between them. "I'll lie with you always." So saying, she curled into his warmth and fell asleep.