Mal and Kaylee were very private about their sexual relationship during the period of the series, although it’s doubtful it was a secret to the core crew. And we saw Mal call it off when he decided that Kaylee was more interested in Simon than some “mean old man.” Kaylee did make Simon her lover at the end of the BDM, but he would remain distracted by his sister and at any rate is much more repressed than Kaylee. Although he did not come out until well after the movie, Sean Maher did allow his personal sexuality to show a little during the movie.
Mal watched Simon through the infirmary windows for some minutes before entering.
“Simon, got a minute for me?”
“Certainly, Captain. Are you unwell? I rarely see you here unless you are actually bleeding.”
“No. No. Mmm. This is… it’s …Look, you know I don’t like romances on my boat ‘cause it gets all complicated, but … Kaylee is not happy and you seem to be the reason.”
“Oh. Um. Yes, I know I’ve been less than forthcoming with her recently.”
“Yeah. To the point where she’s weeping on my shoulder in the engine room. I hafta take a towel in with me in self-defence.”
“Well, you are the sort of man who always knows where his towel is.”
“Bad joke, Doc. I’m not laughin.”
Mal grabbed Simon’s shoulders and held him stiffly.”What’s goin on in your head that you could treat the sweetest dumplin in the Verse so gorram cruel? We need…I need her happy and workin so’s this boat don’t drop out of the sky.”
Simon’s pale blue eyes gazed into Mal’s sapphire ones.
“I don’t want to be cruel. Kaylee is exactly what you say, the sweetest, nicest, most adorable girl I’ve ever met.”
“And she’s crushin on you but you are ignorin her…. Again.”
“I’m not comfortable talking about my, our, relationship.”
“Well, get comfortable. I need Kaylee happy. How do you intend to make that happen? She says you two ain’t had … relations for weeks. And I’m tellin’ ya, Kaylee needs relations. Bad.”
“Mal, I’m…It’s not Kaylee. I adore her, but …I’m not the man she thinks I am. It’s complicated.”
“Cain’t you uncomplicate it? Yer more free than you have been since you got on this boat. Yer lil sis is better, able to cope with flyin Serenity, and learnin how to be a grownup woman. You c’d even go back to doctorin’ in the Core if that’s what you want. Maybe-hap lil Kaylee doesn’t fit in with that plan?”
“I’d be proud to introduce Kaylee to my parents. She may have some rough edges, but my mother would see her true worth, I’m sure. My father might take longer. That’s not the problem. And I’d love to practice medicine in a real hospital again. I don’t think I really pull my weight here. That’s not the problem. And you’re right about River. Serenity gives her enough structure that she can be a useful and centered person, in spite of all the damages inflicted on her. That’s not the problem.”
“Then what is the gorram problem?”
Simon reached up and pulled Mal’s mouth to his. The kiss was hard and desperate.
“Yes. You’re the problem. I love Kaylee, but I want you.”
“Look. I’m sorry. Could I repeat my policy on shipboard romances? No. I’m sorry. Okay. This was unexpected.”
“So. No chance, then.”
“Yer a nice guy an all that. But… I really do lean towards women. One woman in particular.”
“Yes, I think we all know about you and Inara.”
“Beautiful woman. Mysterious. Never know what’s goin on in that head. It ‘ud drive me crazy tryin to live with that one.”
“I can understand the attraction.”
“What? I’d surely like to bed her, and I’m fair sure she might acquiesce in a weak moment, but I’d never know her, never know whether she was with me or just performin. Don’t know if she would know either. Such a thing as too much trainin. She’s a right smart woman but she’s a pretty painted doll, too. Like Mr. Universe’ Lenora.”
“Like a sexbot? Well. That’s a cold assessment.”
“Nah. I’m bein unfair.There’s a lot more to Nara than that. Course there is. Right smart woman and has the makins of a pretty good criminal, if she turned her mind that way. Them Companions… sometimes I wonder if that Saffron was as much of a rogue as we thought.”
Mal dropped his grasp on Simon’s shoulders, pushing Simon’s hands off him as he did.
“So, upshot of all this. You’re sly and Kaylee has the wrong plumbing.”
“If I can be as vulgar as that statement, sly as a fox in velvet britches.”
Mal laughed. “Okay. You’d better explain the sitchation to Kaylee. And apologize for wastin her time. And bring a towel. We good?”
“Do you mind being in a few late night fantasies?”
“I did NOT need to know that!”