Careless (three stories)
a Firefly story
by dirty diana

for kernelm in the Naughty Space Pirate ficathon. beta by sf. a five things story, except I only had three things.


He never trusted her. Not for a moment, not even on their wedding day (their second by her count, but not by his), when she stood facing him, in red, and smiled.

"I must be losin' my mind." Mal's hands shook. He couldn't think why. "Zoe, am I losing my mind?"

"Reckon it was already lost, sir." Zoe stood beside him, and didn't say a word else.

Saffron had no one to stand beside her. "Think I can manage to give myself away."

"I don't doubt it," Mal said, and she rolled her eyes. Half-turned away from him, and then she smiled.

Mal smiled back. Didn't quite trust her. But he had never been able to make a thing go away by pretending it didn't exist. Her least of all. She just kept turning up when he didn't need her, like an Alliance warrant, like a burr underneath his saddle.

"Saddle?" she asked him, on their wedding night. She had stripped away her veils, and let her hair down. Mal couldn't hardly breathe, or think. "Were we talkin' of riding?"

"Reckon we were," he said, and she was warm in his arms then. Warm and bright, and the dead light he'd noticed in her eyes on the very first day he'd met her seemed to be gone. Gone or hiding, Mal wasn't sure which. Either way, he was sure this boat wouldn't hold her.

He didn't trust her, not then, not when she had the child (a son, good luck), cursing his name in between the pain. Mal couldn't do a thing.

"Ch¨sheng xai-jiao de xiang huo. I wish I'd never met you, Malcolm Reynolds."

"Is that a fact." He'd let her hold his hand, her nails digging into the palm, drawing blood.

They named their son David, after some story she knew, and Mal spoke of teaching him to fly. She spoke of teaching him to lie, to shoot and steal. "The black's a dangerous place, for those as can't defend themselves."

"I'll defend him."

He didn't trust her, not then, not on the day when she walked away, with his son in her arms and a bag slung over her shoulder. Didn't think to check the safe until later.

"It was a waste." Her face flushed with anger, and she didn't say what she was speaking of. "You broke it, you remember that."

"I usually do," Mal said, and didn't trust her still.


It had been a long time. He hadn't been lying about that. When it turned out later that she had been lying about everything, he still remembered the smell of her. And the taste of her mouth, even if it had been poison.

Wasn't going to shoot her, though, and Mal had known that when he walked in.

"You assume the payoff is the point." She was angry. Mal couldn't think what he had done to anger her, except take back what was his.

"I ain't assuming anything." The gun didn't make him feel stronger. It made him feel weaker, and she knew that, used it, her hips in her wide skirt rising up to meet him.

"Why don't you put down that gun, husband, and we'll finish what we started?"

Mal started laughing, could hardly stop himself. "You must think I'm stupid."

She smiled with him. "Think you can guess the answer to that one."

He could, didn't mean it wasn't tempting though, and maybe she was right. The fear in her eyes only showed once, and then it died, and she was fighting again, with all that she had, mouth and thighs and breasts, rising against his chest.

"Thought you weren't going to shoot me."

"Thought I wasn't," Mal agreed, and except for the one thing left (the trigger, warm against his fingers), it was all he had to say.


Mal couldn't remember the name of the man that she was married to. Remembering things was Zoe's job. Expecting trouble was his, and it didn't surprise him that things were looking to get a little more complicated.

She wore ribbons in her hair, and pearls on her dress. She greeted him as if they'd never met, but he recognised the look in her eyes.

"Pleased to meet you, Mrs. Tang." Zoe's gun hand twitched. She wanted to talk to him in private, and Zoe told him not to go.

Her bedroom was large and soft, silk and lace. Mal couldn't imagine her falling asleep there, couldn't imagine her standing still there, even for a moment.

"If you fuck this up for me, Malcolm Reynolds, I swear I will..."

"You will what?" A smile settled on his lips. He wasn't afraid of her, not anymore. When she came for him, he was expecting it, and he caught hold of her wrist with his fingers.

The kiss wasn't what he was expecting. The brush of her cheek before her mouth touches his was almost sincere, and his words stuck in his throat.

"You got your mark, and I got mine. I don't see a reason we have to get in each other's way."

"You wouldn't," he said quietly. She didn't pull away, and he was cornered. Her fingers pulled at the buttons on his shirt.

"Mrs. Tang." He shouldn't be laughing, he knew, shouldn't be this relaxed standing next to her, didn't know what she might do next. "Could be, you're bored, all alone in this big house?"

"Never bored." She smiled sweetly. "Never, sweetheart, not when there's company."

She had him. Knew it. Waited.

Mal leaned forward, and kissed her. Wouldn't have been surprised then, if the world had spun out from under him, into black, but it didn't, and he kissed her again, her mouth warm and full. Then all restraint disappeared, his hands pushing at the layers of her skirts, sliding between her thighs. She groaned, weighted with a frustration he understood, her fingers sharp against the skin of his back as she pulled him to her.

The taste of her would have been bitter, he thought, but she didn't give him a chance to find out, tugging at the zipper of his pants as his hand worked against her slippery skin. His cock rose, full, in her hand, each stroke only making him more impatient.

She screamed when he entered her. It wasn't slow. It was rough, and hard, like a contest, and he didn't know what they were fighting for or who was winning. Didn't rightly care, as her hips jerked against him, her skirts rustling and brushing the wall with every movement. "Harder," she whispered, against his ear. "Slower," and each order contradicted the last, her words a swirl of breath on his neck.

Her fall was quiet, her body shaking silently against him. Mal moaned hard when he followed her, into a trembling, shuddering descent.

"I meant it," she said, and when she fixed her skirts and her hair she was as neat and pretty as she'd been in the ballroom. Prettier, maybe, with still a bit of flush to her cheeks. "Don't get in my way."

Mal grinned. Didn't promise a thing.


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