(Not So) Shiny and New

Author's Note: Another snippet from my WIP folder. Set between Serenity and Leaves on the Wind.

***

Mal kissed her before she told him that she'd lost her license. Before, and that made all the difference. Made her wrap her arms around his neck and kiss him back like she'd dreamed of more often than she'd ever admit to, swallow his surprise with her mouth until his arms came up and pressed her to him as if he'd had the same dreams.

Maybe he had, because there was a softness in his voice when their lips finally separated a few inches that sent shivers down Inara's spine. "I gotta say, I was not expecting you reacting like this."

"Then what did you kiss me for, then, if you didn't expect me to kiss you back?" Inara smiled, her whole body full of warmth and something very close to bliss. Her eyes slid shut with a happy sigh when Mal trailed a finger down her cheek, his breath ghosting over her skin.

"Don't rightly know, except that I didn't want you to leave again without… without…" He trailed off, but his eyes did the talking for him, and Inara nodded gently, curled her fingers in his hair, the memory of friends torn away without having the chance to say goodbye hanging in the space between them.

The words came easily, now, but there was no rush and for once no risk of exchanging hurts like they had in the past. For a couple of heartbeats Inara simply breathed, relishing the weight of Mal's regard, the calloused fingers cupping her neck, the hand heavy and warm on her hip. Finally, she spoke, unable to stop herself from lightly teasing, "Does that mean you have plans for my shuttle, Mal? If that's so, I'm sorry to disappoint you, since I have no intention of giving up occupancy."

"You mean to stay?" A look of startled happiness began spreading across Mal's face, and Inara couldn't stop the smile on her own.

"I was rather hoping to, yes. And I'll need a new profession." Now he looked more confused, so she elaborated, "Because of my involvement in recent events the Guild has disbarred me. Apparently the Alliance made it quite clear I am no longer acceptable as a registered Companion."

She couldn't help the slight stiffening of her spine, although she managed not to pull away from Mal's embrace. She'd decided to stay on Serenity, but now, after the kiss, she wasn't sure she could stand any further disparagement of her chosen profession from him. Even if said profession no longer wanted her. A hand running up her back in what was almost a soothing motion made her look back up into Mal's eyes. They were warm, non-judgmental, as was his voice. "It ain't news that I haven't any love for your job, Inara, but the Alliance got no business taking it away from you."

It was such a typical response, all principled indignation despite his own disapproval, that Inara leaned up and placed an impulsive kiss on his lips. They parted at the slightest pressure, and she was lost, exploring the depths of his mouth with her tongue, getting to know the taste of him, the texture, the hitching of his breath. He had one hand tangled in her hair, pulling her to him with the other, leaving no doubt to his growing arousal as the kiss went on and on. Inara let her hands wander freely around his shoulders, enjoying the width of them, the tensing of muscles down his back, until she grabbed a fistful of shirt and pulled it free, allowing her access to smooth skin.

Something like a giggle escaped her when she slipped a hand down the back of Mal's pants to explore a body part she'd admired more than once, and Mal broke the kiss to growl in mock-disapproval, "Something funny? Men don't usually take kindly to being laughed at. Might hurt our delicate feelings. "

Shaking her head, Inara replied quietly, "No, not funny. Just… happy." Mal had obviously expected something other than this simple truth and was looking at her with wide eyes. Smiling, Inara took a step back, out of the circle of his arms, and pulled her dress over her head, grateful she'd chosen to wear only a simple shift and underwear. Mal tracked her movements hungrily, drinking in every inch of bare skin, but remained where he was until Inara teased him with a smile, "I usually don't have to spell out an invitation like this - should my feelings be hurt?"

Shaking himself out of his stupor, Mal grinned and undressed hurriedly, pushing down his suspenders, taking off his shirt and stepping out of his boots. Inara watched intently from her bed, her pulse quickening as Mal unbuttoned his pants, heat pooling deep in her belly, and she trailed a hand over her breasts, her nipples hardening. Then Mal was on her, his mouth plundering hers greedily, his hands traveling over her body, their touch sending tingling sparks through her whole being.

Her legs fell open, and she wrapped them around his middle, feeling him hard and hot against her flesh. He fit perfectly, and before she could have second thoughts, Inara tilted her hips and allowed him entry. She'd rarely gotten so wet so quickly, so he slid home easily, and Mal cursed into her hair, making her gasp a laugh of sheer exhilaration.

The past years felt like so much foreplay, and for now she just wanted him inside her, filling her, which he did admirably. And to his credit, after that first moment of surprise Mal quickly rallied and met her thrust for thrust, pulling almost all the way out only to plunge back in. Their rhythm was faster than Inara normally preferred, but then, nothing about this situation was normal, and she dug her hands into Mal's broad shoulders, enjoying the play of muscle.

She hadn't expected him to be a talker, and he wasn't, but they were both starting to sweat, and Mal's breath sounded harsh in her ears, sharp gasps that were almost moans. However, he did say her name, hoarse and breathless, when she fell apart with a deep shudder and a wordless cry that seemed to go on and on.

He stopped moving long enough for her to regain enough control to catch his mouth in a kiss that she hoped said what she couldn't, not yet at least, and from the way he wrapped his arms around her, cradling her to him, he understood. They were still locked together, though, and finally Inara used her legs to manoeuvre him onto his back, swallowing his surprised laugh with another kiss as she leaned forward, using her weight to trap his hands above his head. His eyes widened, and she could feel him twitch inside her. Grinning, Inara filed this reaction to her taking control away for later use and began rocking her hips. She moved slowly at first, moving her hips in tight circles, stopping Mal from resuming the quick pace from before despite his obvious frustration.

"You're an evil woman, 'Nara!" he finally bit out, but he did not put up any real struggle, just looked at her with dark, hungry eyes, pupils blown, and Inara shivered and leaned down, let her hair brush his chest. When she captured one of his nipples between her teeth, his whole body stiffened but his control held, and she repeated the gesture on the other side, swirling her tongue around the hard nub. He cursed in Mandarin, but it sounded more like a plea, and since lust was once again coiling tightly deep in her belly Inara relented and began moving faster, rocking back and forth.

She let go of his arms, and Mal used the opportunity to reach up to touch her breasts, the rough pads of his thumbs on her nipples sending delicious sparks through her. Then one hand trailed down her body and found her clit, and Inara dimly heard herself cry out, but she couldn't tell whether it was just sounds or actual words. Mal seemed to love it when she lost control like that, because this was when he spilled himself inside her.

It was almost noiseless, but his whole body arched beneath hers, his eyes sliding shut, his hands gripping her hips so tight it was almost, but not quite, on the wrong side of painful, and Inara tightened her muscles around him and rode it out. Finally he was reduced to the occasional shudder, and Inara gently let his softening cock slide out of her body. His arms came up and held her close, trailing a hand up and down her naked back, and for a long moment Inara closed her eyes and simply felt the rapid beating of his heart against his chest, until his harsh breathing slowed.

Finally, he seemed to have gathered his wits again, but his voice was low and smooth, like velvet instead of the usual leather. "Now, I can't claim to be a professional, but I haven't had no complaints either, so allow me…"

With that he rolled her onto her back with one quick motion, and Inara couldn't hold back a laugh of sheer delight when he dove between her legs, eyes sparkling.

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