Title: Bring Me to Life

Summary: What if Wash was wrong, and Zoe and Mal had slept together, years before? Zoe/Mal comfort oneshot. In the wake of Serenity Valley, they needed each other more than ever. Reviews appreciated.

Disclaimer: I don't own anything in the Firefly universe. It's Joss Whedon's. I love that man and his brain.

Author's Note: This has been a bunny in my brain for quite some time. And…I don't know. A lot of inspiration came from a single line in the Buffy musical, though. "This isn't real, but I just wanna feel." It's sung by Buffy at the very end, before her kiss with Spike. Anyway, please R&R.

!!

Mal groaned as he thrust into the woman underneath him, felt her hands clutching at him and her hips rising to meet his own. The sweat that broke out over their bodies mixed with the dirt and smears of blood, leaving them even dirtier than before. For her part, Zoe was mostly quiet, breathing heavily and her breath catching in her throat as Mal hit certain parts of her with his thrusts, but otherwise she made no sound.

It wasn't beautiful, this coupling. There was no bed, no candles, no pretty sheets or rose petals spread around them. They barely knew what they were doing. They both shook with exhaustion, emotional and physical, and both had their eyes squeezed shut as they fucked, trying desperately to forget, even for a moment what lay around them. The dirt of the battlefield, the bodies of the dead, and the blood and cries of the wounded; they tried to drown it all in the feel of each other's skin. This wasn't making love. This wasn't a meeting of two souls destined to be together, or even a coupling of two people who wanted to be together. They didn't. This wasn't real.

It wasn't real, but they both needed to feel so desperately. They needed to be reminded that they were alive. They had to feel something besides pain, besides loss, besides abandonment. They had to witness something hot and moving, instead of the chill of death that had surrounded them for so gorram long.

As Mal shuddered his release mere moments after Zoe had thrown back her head and her breath had caught in her own climax, he knew that this would never be spoken of again. They would both be ashamed of this in the morning, and it wasn't to be taken seriously or even mentioned ever again. They'd needed to forget.

Truth be told, he couldn't remember how it had started. They'd been sitting together, both taking a break from helping to nurse the wounded or trying to get in touch with someone, anyone, about coming to get his men. Just sitting, and suddenly they'd looked at each other, and both seen how broken, how lost the other was. They'd forgotten what it was to live, stuck in this limbo. And suddenly they'd been kissing, ripping clothes off, and touching with a desperation neither had known they had until they were already caught up in it.



It wasn't real. It wasn't making love. In years to come, Mal would never admit to sleeping with Zoe, even to himself. In the life that followed the war, Zoe would put that night in a box in her mind, never to question it again. They'd done what needed doing. Surrounded by death, breathing it in, they'd brought each other back to life again. Years later, when Wash told Mal that he wished Mal had slept with Zoe, Mal resolutely did not think of that night. It hadn't been real, after all. And when he and Zoe joked about it in the galley after, it didn't ring any bells for either of them, because she hadn't asked him to take her, and he hadn't put his hands on his hips, and there had been no awkward anticipation of a kiss.

There had been sweat, and skin, and heat, and, more than anything else, there had been life again. They never talked about it. They'd simply looked into each other's eyes, once clothes had been replaced, seen the spark alive again, the desire to live again, and moved on. No one questioned. They just moved on.