Mal couldn't remember the day he did not have a crush on her.
They had grown up together in a small New England town, gone to the same preschool, grade school, and high school.
The day she asked him out, in an awkward, "Oh, yeah, just friends" kind of way was the best and worst day of his life.
It all turned around when they were standing at the of a pier, gazing into each others eyes. He found himself lost, leaning slowly forward.
She met him halfway. The kiss was tender and so filled with promise and friendship, something too good to ever to be repeated in a life time.
So when she started to pull away from him as the entered college, he hung on like a drowning man. He couldn't stop loving her. And he couldn't be without her friendship.
It finally came to a head when they were teamed together on an alien death world intent of destroying the Earth. It might have not been the best time, but in a way it was the only time.
All his guilt at holding her back. All his rage at being left behind.
When it was over, he told her. Told her the things that his mind had been yelling to him, but his heart held back.
But he needn't have worried.
The kiss that followed was a flashback to that perfect moment on the pier.
Mal couldn't have asked a better ending to their childhood relationship. Or start to their adult one.