The Light Was On

"I, uh, the light was on."

Mal startled around to blink at the figure in the doorway. Course it would be the doc setting him on edge. Of all the crew he was most skilled at that. Well, River was more than a mite unsettling but of the normal crew members, Simon grinded most on his nerves. Removing his hand from where it fell reflexively over his holster, he turned back to staring out at the black.

"I'm sorry if I surprised you," Simon took his silence as invitation to move inside. He stood beside Mal in the pilot seat and rested a hand on the back of the chair. "What're you thinking?"

Mal sighed, loudly. "Nothin'. Or it was nothing til you came yammering about the light."

"I didn't mean-"

"Don't suspect you did."

The night seemed to grow blacker and form a bubble around them. Only the odd star her and there pierced through the darkness. Neither spoke as they journeyed onwards, drifting smoothly. If they were to squint the outlines of their destination – a planet named Ruby out on the rim – could be seen, but only barely.

The air was cold. Mal had a blanket; Simon did not. Stepping back, Simon wrapped his arms around his middle.


Simon nodded.

"Take this." With no emotion on his face to explain what he was feeling, Mal handed him his own blanket. "Go back to your bunk. Get some sleep."

"Right." Simon agreed. "I should do that."

"Or you could take the other seat awhile," Mal added.

Without a word, Simon took the second option. He arranged the blanket over his lap. "So what are we looking at?"

Mal glanced at him and then began to explain. "That star right there..."