Cracking open the door that lead to the south alley, Mal confirmed that no one had detected them. As usual, their contact's information had been on the nail. Over the course of the five jobs for Chow, the man had proven himself trustworthy. This job was hovering in milk run territory. The hardest part, the actual breaking into the warehouse, had gone unsurprisingly well.

Jayne and Zoë worked their way into the secret room not-so-cleverly concealed behind the manager's office leaving Mal as lookout. Leaning against a crate, he casually surveyed the dimly lit warehouse. Most of the illumination originated from the big advertisement just outside the window. Through the reflection on the opposite window, he saw a huge mermaid with emerald hair promoting some hair care product. Her exceedingly vibrant tresses cast a greenish light over the big room filled with inventory bound for the kind of stores that sold wares to working people with homes, pets…kids.

He started to fold his arms but winced as a jolt of pain shot through him. Gritting his teeth, he inhaled sharply cursing the hun dan that had managed to get the drop on him not only causing him to get shot but placing him in a world of domestic trouble. Face it, Mal thought, you could have sat this one out. That thought was immediately ousted - no way was he going to let a wound or a woman call the shots in his life. Besides, someone had to keep watch. He hadn't missed Jayne's not-so-discreet interest in several pairs of pants but them taking stuff not from within the safe wasn't part of the deal.

Deciding that he needed to walk off the pain, he pushed himself off the crate intending to check the windows but his eye fell on something across the room and he abruptly stopped. Pretty. He stared a bit more before resuming his walk around the perimeter but as he walked, his gaze kept straying back. Looks about her size.

Walking over to a window, he glanced outside to confirm that the coast was still clear but his thoughts were distracted. What is that on the front? He walked over to another window closer to where the object of his increasing interest was saucily displayed. His eyes scanned the room until he could rationalize sneaking another peak. They were white and from what he could tell they were some of the daintiest bits of nothing his eyes had ever beheld. Well, that wasn't exactly true but these things surely had no place in the myriad of work clothes and other hardy wares that were destined for a basic commodities type department store.

But he still couldn't make out what was on the front; not enough light to see properly. Not from here anyway. Mal noticed that two windows converged in the far corner which would allow him the optimal location for keeping watch. The fact that the location was also right next to the rack was a bonus. Glancing over his shoulder to make sure that Jayne and Zoë were still occupied in the office, he headed across the room peering outside not surprised to see only an empty alley.

Finally, enough light to see that no, they weren't white. Ivory. Shimmery ivory with a small, pink rose on the front. Make that a rosebud; a tantalizingly innocent little pink rosebud full of promise. Innocent, sweet, tender, and alluring as hell.

Tilting his head, he noticed layers of what looked like ruffles on the backside. Lacy, dainty ruffles. Those ruffles would look heavenly cascading over the appealing curve of her backside. Ruffles would tickle. But tickle the right way.

The ruffly getup wouldn't look right under clothes, he decided. And she was particular about those kinds of things. Outfits fitting just so, no seams out of place, no wayward bits of undergarments peeking out that weren't meant to be peeked at. No, these fancy drawers weren't meant to be worn with regular clothes. More like under a full skirt of the same ivory shade.

He needed to be closer. Casting another cursory glance outside the two windows, he hurried over but as he drew closer, all remnants of coherent thought fled. The front of it dipped down in a vee. A pleasing vee that would fall several inches below her navel teasing him at what was lower.

The soft whirr of the drill reached his ears reminding him of where he was and what he was supposed to be doing. Got the gorramn combination and ain't no one coming around this place. But his attention had been hijacked and he abandoned all pretense of looking out at the alley. His mind no longer registered the pain in his shoulder but flew right out of the warehouse and landed in a place it should not be at this particular moment. An image of his finger dipping into the lace waistband easing it down over the curve of her hips surfaced. Slowly, he slid the shimmery ivory over her skin, that golden skin of hers that seemed to glow all on its own even in the darkness. He wondered if the material was as soft as her skin; hers being the softest thing he could ever imagine touching.

He glanced behind him and caught the distant murmur of Jayne's jabbering indicating he and Zoë were almost finished wrangling with the safe. Seizing the opportunity, he reached out and lightly touched the soft material that was destined to grace the hips of some rich woman. Silk. Not some cheap knockoff but the real deal. He knew the difference.

He rubbed his chin as he studied the ivory silk, the beguiling rosebud shyly peeking at him, the delicate lacy ruffles. These were special occasion drawers. Something old, something new, something stolen…

"Aimin' to add to your collection, sir?"

Damn. He hadn't heard her coming. He said a little prayer to whomever was up there that Jayne wasn't beside her. "Maybe." He tried to adopt a nonchalant look but when he saw Jayne's expression, he opted for angry Captain. "We done here?"

"I don't know," Zoe replied giving Mal her best amused non-grin. "Are we?"

"Them look too small for your ass," Jayne observed. "Thought 'Nara'd be a red drawers kind of gal."

Black actually but Jayne didn't know that. Mal gave him a glare not in the mood to trade insults. He had made a decision. Following them out, he surreptitiously yanked the silk panties from the hanger and stuffed them in the pocket of his brown coat.