"Mal..." Simon kept his voice low, his tone just short of husky, he wanted this, could almost taste the want in his mouth, but more that, he needed to know that Mal wanted this as much as he did. There would be no going back, not once they started.
"You drive me crazy, you know that," Mal said, eyes dark, his body tense.
They were mere inches apart, it would take barely any movement for Mal to crowd into him, push him back against the bulkhead. Simon wouldn't fight him. But Mal kept himself in check. Simon wasn't sure he could have done the same in Mal's place.
"You're dangerous. To me, this ship and crew... the Alliance will keep coming..."
Simon almost smiled. "We're on your crew."
Mal snorted. "That's not the same thing as being in my bed."
"I should hope not," Simon did smile now, just a little quirk of his lips.
Mal's eyes closed briefly, but he couldn't prevent the curve of his own lips and Simon almost, almost gave into the urge to lean forward and kiss the smile, claim it as his own... Mal smiled, but he rarely meant it and Simon longed to capture each one he did mean, to treasure them.
"I don't take people to my bed lightly Simon, I never have and... you're crew, that makes this..."
"I never expect you to put my welfare ahead of the ship," Simon said. "I dare say I'd be rather annoyed if you attempted to coddle me in any way. And River is and will remain my responsibility."
"You know it's not that simple," Mal countered, sighing softly. "I do want you."
Simon nodded his agreement. "But if believing it is that easy helps, then believe it."
Mal bowed his head, half turning away and Simon closed his eyes, sagging against the wall, certain Mal was going to turn away from him again. Gasping in shock when a warm, firm body pressed his into the wall and work rough hands clasped his jaw in the seconds before Mal's mouth settled over his.
It was everything he'd dared to dream, firm and warm, Mal's tongue twisting with his own, fingers stroking his jaw, down his neck, clutching his shoulders firmly as their kisses revved up and wound down, until they were hardly kissing at all, lips just barely grazing together.
"I won't coddle you," Mal said. "But I always put my crew ahead of anything and you're part of my crew. So is River, which makes her my responsibility too. And it's still not that easy... but you're worth it... I feel an ease with you, I haven't felt in more years than I'd care to wager."
Simon smiled and pulled him back for another kiss.
Now that he had him, there was no way he was going to give him time enough to think of anything but how perfect they would be together.