Steam curled heavy in the air as Jayne slipped silently into the tiny shower chamber, closing and locking the door without a sound.

He could hear her in the tiled cubicle, the slightest sounds of hot water sluicing down her bare skin, her hands sliding across the silky curves, slicking herself with that scented soap she used, the one that drove him nearly mad with need when he passed through her wake in the corridor. He shouldn't be here, he knew he shouldn't, too much at stake. But gorramit, he'd resisted the overwhelming urge for too long, no holding back now.

He'd caught a whiff of her moments ago, as he was heading through the lounge after his workout. Recognizing the light floral scent as the one she wore, he was near-about steered by his own hormones to follow her trail.

He wondered if she wore it knowing what that smell, gorram flowers mixed with the distinct chemistry that was all woman, all her, did to him. Made his tongue, and other parts, harder than a titanium axe handle. Made his good sense drain away, leaving only the need for the hunt, the need to claim her. He grinned at the idea that she coulda been thinking about him when she dabbed the stuff on her skin, hoping he'd sniff her out like a buck on the hunt for a doe.

Jayne smiled wide, pulled the sweat-drenched shirt from his torso, shed out of his boots and gaiters and britches and drawers and stalked with a predator's silent steps over to the opening of the shower stall. Leaning against the edge of the dividing wall, he drank in the sight of her, letting his hungry eyes roam across the naked feast she unknowingly presented.

He wet his lips slowly, letting the fingers of one hand trace the curve of his shaft as he watched her bathe. Trails of precious water cascaded down her raised arms as she worked thick lather into her long dark hair. The streams ran down her ribs and back, angling inward to meet up just above the juncture of her sweet, toned pi gu. Oh, yeah, he was gonna enjoy this, even if she did get mad. She'd come around, once he showed her good and all what he needed was exactly what she needed, too.

She was humming an old tune under her breath, her back still turned to him, turning her face up into the water. It was one of them classy tunes, one she'd prob'ly grown up hearin' in the great opera halls back in the Core, but she was singing low enough nobody'd hear her outside the door, and it was plain as to why.

He couldn't help but smile to himself. She was good at so many things, damned near perfect at most anything he'd seen her do. But this weren't one of 'em. Poor gal could barely keep a tune in a bucket, with the lid welded shut, but folks wouldn't never guess it. He didn't care. She was happy, off in her own little world with that song and the sensuous feel of the water drizzling down her body and Jayne couldn't help being conflicted about his choices.

He could stand here all day, watching her rub her pretty little hands all over herself, getting those bubbles in places his tongue ached to taste. But much as he'd enjoy just watching her be this unguarded, there were much better, much more enjoyable pleasures to be had. Pleasures he needed with a will so strong he'd risk everything just to touch her, here and now.

Quiet as the hunter he was, Jayne slinked up behind her, capturing her wrists in one hand, slipping the other over the surprised O of her mouth. Her dark eyes flew wide as she twisted in his grasp to glare at him and shake her head frantically, but he just chuckled, a low rumbling sound in his chest, as he shushed her.

"C'mon now, girl, you had to know this was gonna happen," he chided, moving his hand until just one finger remained on her plump lips in the universal gesture for silence, before letting that finger trail down her chin, the long, sleek column of her graceful neck, down across the tender flesh of her breasts. Tweaking one dark nipple between his fingers, he traced whorls on her skin between her breasts, plucking at the other hard nub as his mouth slid down the side of her neck, filling his senses with the taste of her. She gasped as he splayed his large hand across her wet belly, and pulled her back into him.

He couldn't hold back a groan as her slick skin wet the hair on his chest, her tight little ass squirmed just deliciously so against his rock-hard diao. "Had to know this was comin', with what all you been doin' to me. Sashayin' round under my nose, makin' me crazy with wantin' to dive into ya."

"Jayne, you shouldn't be in here!" she hissed, her black brows drawn together in outrage and fear. "You can't… someone will come by! The consequences…!"

"Consequences be gorramed!" he growled, whipping her around to face him as his need flared, fierce and insistent. He crushed her to him with one arm around the small of her back, hissing when her hardened nipples dug into his chest. "A man can only take so much, only be expected to hold himself back so long, 'fore he explodes. Can't hold it back no more, girl, you just better get used to that idea right now."

Maneuvering her body up against the cool tiles, holding her arms firmly above her head, he slid his arm down to cradle her bottom. He lifted her, lining up his engorged diao with her neatly trimmed jibai, he let his eyes close for a moment, and savored the feel of her hot, wet center opening to him.

Breaking the rule he told everyone he held to, he swept down to claim her lips, reveling in the soft, wet heat of her mouth sliding against his, made wetter by the drizzle of the shower now covering both their faces. With a moan that came from somewhere down in his toes and ended up gliding along her tongue, he eased his aching staff into her velvet core a millimeter at a time until, hilt-deep, he stood perfectly still as she tightened around him.

Buddha, but she was tight, and hot, and fit him like a glove molded just for his flesh. Her sweet jibai was flexing and fluttering around him like she was damn near to reaching her own fall, and here he'd only just filled her up. Felt so ruttin' good, like heaven, and been so long since he'd felt anything this gorram good, he had to grit his teeth and focus on the water hitting the side of his neck just to keep from blowing fast and hard inside her right this instant.

That wouldn't do a'tall, not one bit. Been wantin' her like this too gorram much, waited so long, he weren't gonna waste this opportunity on a quick-fire. Shuddering, letting his breath come through his nose, fast and harsh at first, then slower and steadier, he got himself back under control and slowly, oh, so slowly pulled back out of her depths.

He nearly got all the way out, just the head teasing along her plumped and throbbing lips, before easing back in all the way, nice and slow and easy. She wasn't so mad, not right now, anyways, with her head laid against his shoulder, her teeth biting into his skin where the muscle of his shoulders and neck came together. It was one of the spots that just sent shivers down the back of his thighs and back up to race along his nethers, and gorram if she didn't know it, sucking and nipping at him now, her breath rushing against the sensitive skin.

Letting go of her wrists, he wrapped his free arm around her, nearly losing it when her nails dug into his back, clawing and marking him, pulling him closer into her. Tipping his head up to let her have at him, he closed his eyes as he thrust slowly into her over and over for what seemed a minute and a decade and an instant. As the coiled up heat loosened in his gut, spreading wider and wider till it took up his whole body, he pushed harder into her, but kept the same pace, and ground into her every time he got her filled all the way.

Soon, too gorramed soon, he felt her come apart against him, her throaty cry muffled against his neck as she writhed against him, grinding down into ever inch he offered up to her. Between one heartbeat and the next, he joined her, clenching his jaws so tight his teeth could shatter, trying to keep the visceral roar from tearing out of his throat to echo throughout the whole ship.

Spent and resting his face in her hair, he gulped in great breaths of the steam-filled air as the throb of his pulse echoed through his limbs. She clung to him, breathing hard herself, and giving him tender little kisses along his shoulder.

"Damn, woman," he sighed, contented and worn out more than his earlier bout with the weight bench could claim. "You got any idea how gorram much I've missed you?"

Her laughter floated through the misty chamber like a melody to his ears. "I think I can imagine, my wēnshén. I've missed you, too. I truly didn't think it would take this long to find a moment together without risking discovery."

She raised her head and leveled a stern glare at him. "We must still be careful, or the others will find out… all our plans, gone in an instant. Much as we both needed this union, you shouldn't have risked coming in here today."

Jayne sighed. "I know, bao bei. We make Beaumonde in three days, plenty of chance to slip away by ourselves. But gorramit, girl…"

He looked at her with every ounce of wanting and missing and needing he'd felt over these long months she'd been away.

"Couldn't go one more single minute without you, darlin'," he said honestly. "An' I know, it all ain't for go se if anyone finds out bout us afore we're clear of things, but… damn it, a man has a burnin' need to sex his wife ever now n'again. 'Specially when she's been gone for months and months. 'Specially when she's the most beautiful flower of a woman he ever did lay eyes – or hands- on. An' most 'specially when she's the best Companion in the 'verse."

"Jayne, I believe you may be a wee bit biased on that score," Inara smiled. "There are several Companions with longer waiting lists than mine, and even more who command higher contract fees."

"Don't make 'em no better, darlin'," he said, bringing her hand to his lips and placing a tender kiss in her palm. "An' just cause I'm biased, it don't mean I'm wrong."

They stood there, wrapped in each other's embrace and the soothing warm water for as long as they dared, before reluctantly separating and dressing. Jayne stuck his head out of the door first, checking that none of their crewmates were in the lounge or the medbay, then signaled to Inara the room was clear for her to slip away.

Risking a parting kiss, he swatted her behind with a leer, getting himself back into the character his shipmates had come to expect from a Rim-rat gun hand. Jayne watched her float up the steps and into the cargo bay, then quietly closed the door to the shower, leaning heavily into the chill metal.

Three years. Just three more years, and Inara's obligation to the Companion's Guild would be fulfilled. Three years until they could drop the pretense, live openly as the husband and wife they had been for the past three years now. Jayne allowed himself a smile at the image of him strolling down the wide avenues of Sihnon, guns gleaming on his hip, and his gorgeous wife's dainty little hand tucked in the crook of his arm. To walk with her in the broad daylight, to let his love and devotion for her openly show, and see it mirrored back to him in her sable eyes as the worlds looked on…

"Half way there, boy," he whispered to himself, scrubbing his face with his hands. "Half done and she's free and Hell can take whoever don't like it. Don't rut this up, Cobb."

Squaring his shoulders, he straightened, figuring enough time had passed than it wouldn't look like they'd both just been in there together. With a relaxed, unhurried stride, Jayne loped up the back stairs, heading toward the galley, forcing the cheerful whistle on his lips to quiet. With one hunger eased (if not completely sated, and with Inara, he didn't reckon he'd ever get his fill), another type of hunger started prowling around his belly, and he hurried up a bit as he caught the trace smells of Kaylee's fine cooking.

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