Notes: This is set about three months pre-series for Firefly, and, oh, maybe six months before "The Empty Child" (Doctor Who Series 1) for Jack. (The timeline in Firefly can be problematical anyway, so let's just wave our hands at it, shall we?) I need to say here that I normally don't do crossovers. I don't like crossovers. But my beloved lemniskate inspired me to this by showing me badfic (sadly, I'm often goaded by the thought of "I could do better than that"); therefore, it is ALL HER FAULT.

Pairing: Malcolm Reynolds/Jack Harkness

Rating: R

Disclaimer: Firefly and its characters are the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and 20th Century Fox. Torchwood and its characters are the property of the BBC and Russell T. Davies. I make no profit from this fanfic.

Summary: Jack has a heist to pull off. Who better to help him out than the crew of Serenity?

The problem, Malcolm Reynolds thought, shivering, was that he couldn't pass up going into an Alliance-friendly bar on U-Day.

No, he revised mentally: the problem wasn't that he couldn't avoid going into an Alliance-friendly bar on U-Day. The problem was that he could never resist starting a fight in an Alliance-friendly bar on U-Day. Most of the time it came to nothing more than a few bruised knuckles and some shattered glasses. No one seriously got hurt. But this year, oh, this year just had to be the year when some off-duty purplebellies were sitting in the corner treating themselves to the finest alcohol the bartender could supply. Now here was Mal, a direct effect of that cause, freezing on a cot in the local jail, one thin blanket wrapped around him for protection against the chill, waiting for Wash and Zoe to make his bail.

Either that, or for them to find a way to pull him out of here without surrendering the money. Mal wasn't picky about the particulars. Sooner would be better, but after the first twenty-four hours, he was starting to figure they'd decided to go the money route. Which meant calling in a couple of favors. Which meant he was stuck here until--

"Captain Reynolds."

That voice he knew all too well. Mal pulled the blanket further over his head.

"Come on, Mal, why are you trying to hide from me? I came to get you out of here."

"Go away," Mal said, muffled through the layer of blanket. Maybe if he didn't look, he could pretend the voice's owner wasn't there.

"And here I came all the way from Whitefall -- where Patience is still asking about you, I might add -- with a business proposition for you. Serious platinum and thumbing a nose at the Alliance while we're at it. 'Course, if you're not interested..."

Against Mal's better judgment, he sat up, pushing the blanket away. Just as he'd expected, the face on the other side of the bars was smirking at him. It was a face made for smirking: square and clean-cut, a dimple in the chin and one on either side of that wide smile.

"Jack Harkness," Mal muttered.

"It's 'Captain' now," Jack put in. Mal ignored him.

"After you left us hanging on Boros, I oughtta--"

Jack shook his head as if dismissing whatever Mal was about to say. "Bygones, Captain. Let's focus on the present. I've got a job for you. Don't you want to hear about it?"

"Do I have a choice?"

Jack's laugh rang out in the concrete hall. "'Course you do! You can stay here in this dingy little cell waiting for your friends, who're still struggling to come up with the bail -- pretty sizeable, Cap'n, what'd you do, murder the magistrate? -- or you can come with me and make some money."

Despite himself, Mal had to admit he was intrigued. And the prospect of getting out of this cell was tempting.

The deal, Jack explained once he'd had Mal released from the cell, sounded fairly straightforward: a simple snatch-and-grab from a rich former arms dealer who made his home on Bernadette.

"Too close to the Core," Mal protested. They were walking back toward the docks, Mal irascibly shrugging his coat back on. Though it was early in the day, the sunlight was already strong, and after two days indoors, he soaked it up. "I won't go anywhere near unless it's legit."

"That's the beauty of it," Jack said. "You will be." He turned around to walk backwards before Mal, apparently feeling it necessary to deliver the full force of his smile. Mal scowled. "I've got a delivery run all lined up to get you there. Completely aboveboard -- well, as aboveboard as I know you like to get -- and gives you a perfect reason to be there."

It all sounded a little too neat. Mal watched Jack suspiciously, but as always, Jack radiated blinding confidence that made his true intentions impossible to determine. He was saved from a response by the appearance of Kaylee, running up to him from Serenity's docking pad, her face astonished. She ignored Harkness completely to jump on Mal and hug him tight.

"How the blue Hades did you get out? Wash 'n Zoe're still tryin' to get bail money outta--" Kaylee broke off suddenly as she caught sight of Jack, who gave her his most charming smile.

"Oh," she muttered. "It's you."

Jack clutched a hand to his heart. "Kaylee Frye! I'm mortally wounded."

Rolling her eyes, Kaylee turned back to Mal. "Where'd you pick up the snake?"

Snickering at Jack's crushed look, Mal put an arm around Kaylee's shoulders to walk her back to Serenity. "Now, be nice, little Kaylee," he admonished. "He got me out of jail."

"What for?" She cast a suspicious eye at Jack, now trailing after them.

"He has a job for us."

"Oh, no."

By the time Wash and Zoe had been called back to Serenity, Jack had established himself in the kitchen, wandering around, inspecting the contents of the cabinets under the watchful eye of Jayne. Inara was still out at the home of a client, a place Mal sincerely hoped she'd stay for as long as possible. She and Harkness had gotten along entirely too well last time.

"Oh, isn't this a lovely sight," Zoe said, coming into the kitchen and catching sight of Jack. Mal glared at her.

"Zoe!" Grinning that toothy grin, Jack came over to her and pressed a kiss to her cheeek. Behind her, Mal saw Wash casting an expressive upward glance. "I knew one of you had to miss me," Jack smiled at her. "Trust it to be you."

An amused look dancing at the corners of her mouth, Zoe shook her head. "Don't start with me, Harkness. Mal," she continued, turning to him. "Glad to see you not behind bars, sir."

"Happier to be out," he said. As she and Wash took their seats at the table, he nodded to Harkness. "Now, since we're all in one place, we have a business proposition to entertain."

"Cap'n--" Kaylee started. Mal gave her a quick, firm shake of the head.

"We'll hear him out," he said. "He sprung me; we owe the man that much."

"You're uncommonly gracious," Harkness said, with a nod to Mal. "And before I start, I want to apologize for the way things happened on Boros. It was beyond my control--"

"I say we shoot 'im," Jayne remarked casually, shifting the rifle in his hands.

"No shooting," Mal said.

"Can we drop him out the airlock?"


"Not that it isn't tempting," Wash muttered.

"I can just see myself out," said Harkness, beginning to look distinctly nervous now.

"Enough," Mal snapped. "Say your piece, Captain Harkness."

The plan, as Jack described it, was in fact fairly straightforward. They'd be delivering some wares to Bernadette; the buyer there was conveniently located in the same city as Ryoku Tenji, an arms dealer who'd supplied the Alliance during the war.

"This time of year, Tenji vacations on Ariel," Jack said. "He's already confirmed as being there. His estates are guarded in his absence, of course, but he keeps some of his greatest treasures in a vault... here--" and he pointed to a spot on the map he'd laid out on the kitchen table. The document detailed the layout of the grounds and building locations.

"What about proximity alarms?" asked Zoe, her professional eye assessing the map.

"I've got the override codes."

"What are we for, then?" Kaylee put in, still clearly suspicious.

"Well, besides to collect a nice fat take--" Jack gave her a lower-watt version of the grin-- "you have the transport and manpower. And I know you can do this quickly and quietly."

"Why are you trusting this man again?"

Inara stood up from her couch to face Mal. As usual, he'd barged into her shuttle without asking, a move guaranteed to put her back up. Now, he paced back and forth before the low table, each step making the tea service shiver on its tray.

"Just-- stay on the shuttle, all right?" Mal stopped, finally; he folded his arms and focused his gaze on her. Inara glared right back.

"Don't forget I've met him, too," she snapped. "I'm not going to fall for his charm."

"Again," Mal said, only half-under his breath.

"It doesn't matter." Inara turned aside, picking up the tea set and returning it to its storage cabinet. "I've got appointments lined up on Bernadette already. I'll be well away until you're done with this insanity."

Mal's brow furrowed. "I thought you liked that hun dan."

Inara allowed herself a private smile. "That's neither here nor there, Mal. Don't worry. I won't be anywhere near your crime."

"Good," Mal said gruffly. When Inara turned around again, he was gone.

The worst part, Mal thought later, was that he'd actually started to believe the scheme would work.

It had all started off according to plan. The delivery was made on time, the wages earned for their work (split, as agreed, between Harkness and the crew of Serenity). But that was the last thing that had gone right. At least Zoe and Jayne had made it back to Serenity with the cargo; it really was only disastrous luck that the guards had come upon Harkness and Mal trying to close the vault so that it looked like it hadn't been monkeyed with. And now...

"How in the bloody, goddamned, monkeyshitting hell did I let you talk me into this?" Malcolm Reynolds said for approximately the ninety-fifth time. Jack had started keeping count.

He offered his best rakish grin. "I'm a smooth talker?"

"Not smooth enough," Mal muttered, ignoring the grin. He turned back to glare out the window.

The cell might have been cleaner and more high-tech than the one on Persephone, but a cell it remained. One cot (with one rough-spun blanket) against a wall, a commode in the corner, a shatterproof window letting in filtered light, a narrow steel door bolted securely into its frame, which was permanently molded into the wall. And Jack Harkness, lounging indolently on the cot as if he was on vacation. They'd been scanned for weapons and tools, then allowed to keep their clothes. Mal would have counted that a kindness if it wasn't for the fact that Harkness wore that long coat of his like a promise.

"Relax, Mal," Jack advised him. "They can't hold us in here forever. We got the goods off the property, they're safe with your people--"

"And we got caught red-handed in the act. Was that part of your grand scheme?"

Jack sighed. "You might as well stop brooding and come over here. The standard procedure here is a twenty-four hour lockup before we're allowed any legal counsel or calls outside."

"Maybe I can ask for them to just shoot me now," Mal said thoughtfully.

"What, do I smell?" Jack experimentally sniffed under his arms.

Mal's gaze went back to the window. Jack sighed. It was going to be a long twenty-four hours.

"Are you going to stand there all night?" Jack asked when the lights went out.

"Piss off," Mal said in the darkness.

Jack sighed again. "The way I see it, you have two choices. You can sit over there and make yourself miserable, or you can relax and be better prepared to face things in the morning. You know I won't bite." A pause, and he couldn't resist adding, "Unless you're into that sort of thing." His eyes were starting to adjust to the darkness; he could make out the shape of Mal sitting with his back to the wall, the brown coat furled around him. "Come on, Mal," he said quietly. "I'm not one of your crew. You don't have to put up the tough act around me."

Mal was quiet for so long that Jack had given up hoping he'd move; had, in fact, even started to drift into a doze. Then the sound of someone moving startled him back into wakefulness and he sat up, blinking, to see the dark figure of Mal rise and cross the cell to the cot.

"I don't cuddle," Mal said, sitting down and shucking off his coat. Jack smothered a snicker and shifted to lay on his side with his back to the wall.

With Mal's warm body in front of him, Jack wasn't feeling the least bit sleepy anymore. Neither was Mal, as far as he could tell -- something he found most interesting. He'd figured Mal to be the type to present his back and fall asleep; he'd been a soldier, he'd had to learn to sleep when and where he could, after all.

Jack Harkness had always had a thing for a man in uniform. Or a man out of uniform.

Mal's breathing remained steady, too quick for him to be sleeping, a little too restless for him to be in any way relaxed. Jack knew Mal wasn't going to talk. At this point, it wasn't even about seduction. (Well, mostly. Jack didn't mind admitting that most of his motivations revolved around getting laid.) Jack just wanted Mal to allow himself to rest. After that, if something happened... Well, Jack would certainly be prepared for that eventuality.

"Do you think the crew made it out all right?" he asked, to start some conversation.

"'Course," Mal grunted. "They're smart. They knew the plan."

"So they'll know to wait for us?"

"Zoe's a good improviser," Mal said evasively. "She'll keep them in line."

"So I've seen," Jack murmured. He heard the annoyed sound Mal made and chuckled. "Relax, Reynolds. I'm not impugning your first mate's nature." After a moment, he added, "I don't hit on married folks, anyway."

"Could have fooled me."

"Oi! I have some standards." Jack tried for an affronted tone, knowing his chuckle spoiled it. "And I'm not stupid. It'd be one thing if she wasn't so obviously besotted with Wash -- and who could blame her for that, really -- but I like my nose the way it is."

There was a moment of silence before Mal said something that actually sounded like he was smiling. "And here I thought you hit on everything regardless of relationships."

"Oh, I do," Jack said cheerfully. "I just don't mean it all the time." He tried playfully dropping around his arm over Mal's side, laughed when Mal pushed him off.

The silence was beginning to stretch again when Mal said, "Not all the time, huh?"

"Well, it depends, doesn't it?"

"Do you ever think with anything other than your dick?"

"I wasn't aware there was another way to think," Jack said, grinning.

"What I don't get," Mal said, after a while, "is how it just don't seem to matter to you, whether it's a man or a woman."

Jack shrugged. "It just doesn't." He had to be careful here, he knew. "Where -- where I'm from, I was raised to be open to any kind of relationship. Taught that beauty is where you find it, be it a woman's lovely face or a man's kind eyes. And love -- all love -- is something to be cherished." He trailed off, caught for a moment by memory, then shook it off. "Haven't you ever fancied a man?" he went on, in a softer tone. "Not once?"

Mal went quiet for a long moment. "No," he said at last.

"Ever thought about it?" Jack's voice was so gentle, so quiet, Mal could barely make it out.

There had been men together during the war, right along with the men and women who came together in the field. Not Mal. Mal was the leader, he had to stay apart from everyone or be accused of favoritism or worse -- but he remembered men, boys really, who'd paired off occasionally for comfort. A desperate need for human contact, Mal had always thought, but fondly; he could hardly disapprove. In the trenches, comfort was where you found it.

Then he'd seen two of them one night. Benley and Swanson. Talking together, nothing more, over a campfire the night before a battle. But the warmth in their private smiles had made Mal feel like a peeping Tom, intruding on their intimacy.

"Once," he whispered.

Jack's arm came around him again. This time, Mal didn't push him away.

"Ever wonder about me?" Jack's voice was as soft as a caress.

Rather than answer, Mal turned to face Jack, touched his cheek with one hand, and kissed him. Jack inhaled, surprised and pleased, but restrained his initial impulse to surge against Mal; he kept the kiss light, not even opening his mouth. When it was over, Mal was on his back, Jack propped half over him, and Mal blinked up at him.

"All right there?" Jack asked.

Mal gave the shallowest nod. Jack touched Mal's jaw, the proud line that never seemed to relax. "This doesn't have to be anything," he said. "I know my reputation, but I won't ask for anything you're not willing to give."

"Shut up," Mal whispered, his hand hooking around Jack's nape, and he pulled Jack's mouth down to his again. This time, Jack gave in without reserve.

Mal may have been inexperienced with men, but he knew how to kiss, and his hands were anything but shy. Pushing under Jack's coat, he tugged Jack's shirttails out of his trousers and Jack gasped; he was still exploring Mal's broad chest with one hand, barely ready to unbutton Mal's shirt yet. "Slow down," he whispered against Mal's hungry mouth. "We've got all night."

Mal sucked in a breath but nodded, and Jack smiled, a pale grin in the darkness. He took a moment to shed his coat, letting it lie in a heap next to them, and slid his hands under the front of Mal's soft coat. Mal shifted up a little to yank the brown coat off; when he settled again, Jack found a comfortable place next to him, resting on his side, their bodies pressed together. Jack heard the double thunk of boots hitting the floor and toed his own off even as he leaned in to kiss Mal again.

His initial thought was to get Mal off, to make it about him, but again Mal surprised him. Pushing them over until Jack was on his back, Mal pulled Jack's belt from its buckle, undid his trousers with a deft hand.

"You don't have to," Jack murmured hoarsely, his free hand groping at Mal's shoulder.

"Shut it," Mal said again, and slid down Jack's body. Just enough light came in from the window that Jack could make out the shape of Mal's head, his shaggy hair as he bent... and oh, fuck, but for someone who'd never sucked a cock before, Mal was giving it his all. A little clumsy, yeah, but when Jack hissed in pain at the teeth, Mal pulled back at once and soothed with his tongue until Jack was biting his own tongue to keep from screaming.

Afterward, Jack couldn't do much more than lay on the narrow bunk and gasp for air, blinking sightlessly at the shadowed ceiling. "Jesus fuck," he said at last, and Mal's warm chuckle sounded close to his ear.

"You'll go to hell for swearing like that," he said, his mouth warm on Jack's jaw. Jack turned his head, catching Mal's mouth in an unexpected kiss.

"Then let's see if I can take you with me."

To his gratification, he managed to make Mal bite down on a scream of his own. He couldn't hide a little of his own eagerness; he'd wanted to do this since their first meeting, though Reynolds had struck him then as more likely to hump a tree than let himself consider the possibility... But Jack had it now and he wasn't going to waste it.

He shivered when Mal mouthed at his fingers, gave a groan of his own at the bite to his thumb when Mal came. Climbing up to lay down next to him after, Jack couldn't help but grin down at Mal. "Good?" he whispered.

Mal gave a low grunt, drawing Jack's hand down to pull him into a more prone position, and Jack smiled to himself as he lazily rebuttoned Mal's flies. "Knew you'd be amazing," he murmured.

"Not," Mal said, and turned over. With a little chuckle, Jack reached for a corner of the rough blanket and cleaned off his own belly, where Mal had jerked him to completion, and then finished buttoning his own trousers. He tentatively laid an arm around Mal's side again, gratified when Mal only covered it with his own.

Worked out pretty good after all, Jack thought to himself as he closed his eyes.

Mal woke abruptly when the overhead lights went on. Blinking out of sleep, he sat up, realizing almost at once that Jack wasn't on the cot anymore. That made him sit up with new awareness flooding his veins. A quick survey of the cell confirmed what he'd already gathered: Jack Harkness was gone.

"What the flaming--" he began to mutter. The barred door was still securely locked; Harkness couldn't have escaped. Grumbling, Mal reached down for his coat, then his boots. As he began to pull them on, he heard footsteps in the corridor beyond and looked up. It was one of the guards who'd put him them in here yesterday.

"Where's Harkness?" he demanded. Rather than answer the question, the guard turned an old-fashioned key (no doubt full of modern electronics in an old-timey shell) in the cell door's lock, and the door slid open.

"You're free to go," the guard said, bored.

Mal blinked, then shoved his other foot into its boot and stood, yanking on his coat. "Just like that," he said.

"There's no evidence connecting you to the crime that occurred on the estate last night," the guard recited. His eyes met Mal's briefly, eyebrows raising just a little. "I'd get moving if I were you."

Swallowing hard, Mal nodded, pausing and running a hand through his hair in an attempt to gain a little control over himself, if not over the situation. "Right," he said at last, lamely. "Th-thanks."

The guard nodded, and for a moment, Mal wondered just what Harkness had done-- Then he shrugged it off and moved out of the cell, hurrying down the corridor toward the jail's exit. It didn't matter. Maybe Harkness had greased some palms or used another method entirely. Whatever the case, as far as Mal was concerned, the whole night was best forgotten.

And for Buddha's sake, he would never strike a deal with Harkness again. No matter fucking what.

Extra note: "hun dan": Chinese for "asshole".

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this page last updated on 23 january 2010