What was that sound? Silence. Only the gentle purr of Serenity's engine could be heard. His crew was gone into town to spend some needed down time. Sadly, for Captain Malcolm Reynolds, the work never stopped. He was sitting in his bunk checking all of the documents for his ship and crew, a task he hated to do. But it came with the job. So there he was, alone in his ship working when he could be on vacation. He was more than surprised at the sound of his hatch opening. Instinctively, he reached for his gun. He stopped when he saw two tiny bare feet appear on one of the bars.

"Little one, I thought you was off someplace with Simon or Kaylee." He said calmly as she continued the graceful descent.

"Simon won't let me. Dangerous."

"And what brings you to my bunk?"


She sank onto his bed, sitting cross-legged against the bulkhead. He looked at her for a moment. What did his crazy little fugitive want from him? He returned his attention to the documents. She looked at him, intrigued by the paperwork and his level of concentration.

"What are you doing?" she asked.

"Captain things."

"What things?"


"I see that. I meant whatare those papers?"

"Documents for us 'n the ship. Gotta make sure everythin' is shiny. Don't want any unexpected problems."

"Wise. Hungry birds don't eat leaves. Camouflage…"
She definitely had her own way of putting things.

"Guess so."

He tried to continue his work, but he felt her eyes on him. He turned towards her.

"What do you need?"

"Under stimulated. Need more to do."

"How can I help you with that problem?"

She eyed his classic maroon shirt. She hated that color on him.

"You need help," she stated simply.

"What kind of help?"

"Fashion help."

He couldn't believe what he was hearing. She was wasting his time and interrupting his work. The frustration was building, but he'd go along with it just for a bit longer. He did hate paperwork.

"What do you propose?" he had just a hint of humor in his voice.

"Fashion advice."

"Fashion advice? Can't say I ever got any."

"It shows."

"Will you leave me alone after this so I can get back to work?"

"Yes, Captain."

He sighed. "Alright. Let's get this over with."

"Bad attitude."

"Can't say I ever had a good one, darlin'."

She got up and made her way over to where he kept his clothes. This is gonna be interestin'…he thought quietly. She looked at him carefully. It made him a bit edgy having someone looking at him that closely.

"Maroon looks terrible on you."

He vaguely remembered the first time she told him that. It was around the table in the galley while they were discussing a job Badger told them about.

"So you've told me."

"Yet you keep wearing that shirt."

"This is my favorite shirt!"

"It doesn't look right with your complexion. Dark color, paler looking skin."

He found her comment amusing, since she was in a purple dress and she looked white as a ghost. She sensed his thought and rolled her eyes.

"I have dark hair, dark eyes. You have blue eyes, not so dark hair. Doesn't work. Not compatible."

He decided that it was best to avoid arguing the point. She moved onto his other shirts.

"Blue is the best for you."


"It brings out your eyes."


"This tanish gray is good too. Works well with your hair."


"Olive green…doesn't really go with anything else you own. But you pull it off alright."


"I'm not through yet. The pants, good. You figured that out just fine. The boots go well."

"Uhm hmm…"

"The suspenders."

"What about them?"

"You look good in them."

"Okay. We almost done?"

"Lucky that you were the Browncoats and not the Limegreen coats. Brown goes with everything."

"Okay that was helpful, now if you don't mind-"

"The maroon has to go."

"No it don't!"

"It has to go."

"I love it!"

"You have to do something about it!"

She gave him a stern look, clearly conveying her hatred for that shirt.

"Like what?"

"There's only one place it would look good."


"In a pile, on the floor."

"Well…wait, did I hear you right?"

"What do you think you heard?"

"A come on."

"Then you'd be correct."

He paused, considering what he had just heard. He had to let her down gently.

"River, I don't know if I gave you the wrong idea but-"

She walked over to him and then sat down on his lap. He froze. His mind kept screaming, PUSH HER AWAY! MOVE HER! But his body didn't move to comply. He was in shock. She traced his clenched jaw with her finger. He swallowed hard, trying to find the strength to talk to her. For some reason, he had momentarily forgotten how to talk or even breathe. Finally, after she had traced all of his features, he remembered.

"River…I like you, but not like…" his voice was a whisper, instantly silenced by her gentle touch as she caressed his cheek. She leaned in and planted a soft kiss on his lips. He did everything in his power to avoid kissing back, but he wasn't sure if he succeeded or not since his mind went numb. After she pulled away, he finished his original thought. "…that…"

She ran her lips down his neck and then up and down his face. He was over the initial shock, and started to reason with her. Never reason with River Tam…

"Look, I'm flattered and all, but this can't happen. I'm over twice your age, and Simon…he'd kill me. You don't wanna get involved with an old…worn out…thief…" he finished weakly. She hovered just beyond his mouth. He felt her warm breath.

"Never said anything about being involved." Her lips barely met his.

Ai ya! I need to stop this! He thought after she pulled away again. He wanted to pick her up and move her. She was a light little thing, but for some reason he didn't. Maybe it was the thought of actually having to put his hands on her waist, or wherever they had to be, that made him avoid that option.

"I ain't the type of man that would just use a lady like that! 'Specially a girl, one that I know and happen to care 'bout…just not like that…"

"Both know that you would have thrown me out by now if you weren't interested."

"No…that's not why…"

"It is."

"But I have work-"

"Wouldn't have let me distract you if it was that important."

The girl had an answer for everything. He felt her long, soft hair fall against him as she wrapped her tiny arms around his neck. She looked deep into his eyes and he looked into hers. She moved in again, kissing him harder than she had before. He was pretty sure that for a second he kissed back.

"There's a million reasons in the 'verse that I shouldn't do this…"

"Shouldn't not won't."

"Darlin' after this there ain't no turnin' back."

"Once. Under stimulated, Captain. You asked what you could do to help."

"I didn't expect that sexin' you would be the answer!"

"I'll leave if you want me to."

She got off of his lap. He found himself missing her body against his. She saw it in his eyes. She smiled and tightly gripped his maroon shirt, pulling him submissively to his feet. He wanted to stop; his mind was telling him to. His hands and lips had other intentions. They embraced, kissing more passionately than Mal ever could have imagined himself doing to River Tam. There was a lot he never saw himself doing to her. Practically ripping her clothes off, kissing her in…interesting places, caressing her delicate skin and loving the feeling off it, tossing her onto his bed after she had undressed him, and then of course, bedding her and enjoying every second of it……just to name a few.

She was pressed against his chest, calmly and silently breathing on his neck. His arms were around her small form, holding her loosely. His hand roamed her smooth, bare back very slowly. She sighed under his touch. This is wrong. This is wrong. This feels right. This is wrong…He thought quietly. He had gone through with it and loved it. Well it was only once. If they never spoke of it again, things would be fine. It would all be fine. Problem was, he didn't know if once would be enough.

She lethargically rolled off of him and then out of the bed, getting dressed quickly. Without a word, she slipped out of his bunk leaving him dazed beyond words. He wasn't sure that they had actually done anything until that night. They ran into each other in the hall. She looked at his maroon shirt and smiled simply saying, "That shirt has grown on me."

"Has it now?" he asked with a smile.

"Yes. Although I still prefer it on the floor."

She floated away with a breezy smile, practically knocking the wind out of him. He was more than pleased when he heard his hatch open up while he was unbuttoning his shirt to go to bed. River appeared behind him smiling. He smiled back and dropped the shirt on the floor. She pulled him into an open-mouthed kiss. Oh yeah, this is wrong. Has to be if it feels this good. He thought as he set her on his bed. Apparently, once wasn't enough…

The end