Moving Forward (Buffy/Mal)
Title: Moving Forward
Author: Emmy (email@example.com)
Disclaimer: I own nothing and seek no profit from this story. Joss Whedon, et. al., owns both BtVS and Firefly. No copyright infringement intended.
Distribution: Emerald Illusions, TtH, Fic for All.
Feedback would be lovely.
A/N: Written for TtH's Fic for All. # 227 Buffy/Malcolm Reynolds (Firefly)
Mal sat down next to her, drink in his hand, and smiled. Buffy grinned at him, happy to see that he was relaxing for a change. He rarely ever relaxed. He spoke first and there was a hint of laughter in his voice. "I ended up with a wife the last time I was at a party like this."
Buffy cast him a sideways glance. "Oh really?" There's a Mrs. Reynolds hidden on the ship somewhere?"
Mal's eyes went wide. "Oh, I surely hope not. She was a wicked, wicked woman. Married to at least three men, that I know of. Probably more. Tried to steal Serenity out from under me. Knocked me out with a kiss."
"A kiss? Now that is a crafty trick."
"And not a nice one. Left me with quite the headache. And I do believe I remember seeing some of them cartoon birdies you occasionally talk about."
Buffy giggled. "Those are never fun, even if they are kinda cute."
"You are an odd woman, Buffy Summers."
"I have been told that before."
"I'm sure you have."
Silence fell between them once more and Buffy found herself staring across the way, into the fire. She could remember a time, a life, when just the sight of fire made her blood run cold, a time when she'd longed to feel something, anything ... even pain. And now, so far away from the person she was then, she realized that the fire would burn her if she touched it, and that was surprising, somehow. She thought perhaps that was symbolic of her new life ... but she didn't dwell on it long. Because dwelling on her new life meant thinking of her old one, and that would just lead to tears. And she didn't like to cry.
She didn't realize, until her hand was in Mal's, that he'd not only asked her to dance, but that she'd accepted. Her eyes wide, she let him pull her to her feet, her free hand instinctively going behind her to wipe the dust from her pants. Mal grinned at her and she blushed, reddening even further as he pulled her close, realizing the song was a slow one.
"I have no idea."
Mal pulled her the tiniest bit closer and they began to sway, and Buffy felt his breath upon her ear. Shivering slightly, she felt herself stepping even closer, and Mal wrapped his arms around her. "You know, sometimes," he said, "I feel like I've known you forever, and that you know me better than any other person in the 'verse, and that I know you. Then others, it's like I don't know you at all."
"We've all got our secrets," Buffy whispered.
"Yes," Mal said, "I suppose we do. But the thing is, Buffy, I want to know yours. I want to know where you come from. I want to know why you sometimes slip away to a place none of us can go to. I wanna know why you wake up screaming every so often. And that ... that's not like me."
"I know." Her arms tightened around him.
"You're a mean old man."
"Exactly," Mal said. "I'm rough. I get the job done no matter what."
"You're a good man."
"I want to know why you think that. I want you to let me inside."
"Would you do the same?" Buffy couldn't believe she'd just asked that question.
"Would you let me in? Let me get to know you? Answer my questions if I answered yours?"
She had no idea what she was doing. The very idea of telling him the truth, of telling him where she came from, how she had gotten into his world, was frightening and all together insane. He'd think she
was insane. He'd think ... he'd not believe her and he'd turn her out, send her away. She knew this, and yet she'd asked anyway, made the offer anyway. Buffy rested her head on Mal's shoulder and waited on his answer. They swayed to the slow beat of the music, and the song was almost over. Buffy was sure he wasn't going to answer.
"I think I might."
His voice was so soft she barely heard him. Pulling back slowly, she looked up into his eyes. "Might isn't yes."
"You haven't said yes, either."
"It's a lot to ask, you know. Mine isn't an easy story to tell."
"I'm sure it's not."
She took a deep breath. "I think I might, though, tell you ... if you asked."
Mal took her breath away when he smiled then, and Buffy found herself swept immediately into another dance, the slow song ending, a faster one beginning. She made the transition easily, falling into step quickly. She grinned up at him. "You're not letting me go sit back down, are you?"
"No time soon."
Still smiling, Buffy let him lead her 'round the fire, laughter bubbling from her lips. She wasn't sure what the future held, but she kinda hoped it included Mal.
She thought she'd be okay with that.