BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - ROMANCE

SLAYERCHICK

Matters of the Heart - Chapter 5
Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Mal/Inara centric fic. When an old face from Inara's past arrives on Serenity, will Mal be able to handle the competition? Will the two finally be able to get over themselves and admit their feelings for one another? (Sequel to "Loyalties"...spoilers to prequel included!)


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 1642    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

The traditional obligatory offering to Boss Joss. Love his work, got bored, and decided to to run with it!

This is a story co-written with a very good friend of mine, aka DeanWinchester here at FF.net. Humor, smut, jealousy, with just a dash of angst thrown in later chapters to make things interesting. ;-D Bask in the Mal/Inara-ness!

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Jayne was snickering quite loudly from up on the catwalks. He had the boys clothes in his hands and was grinning like a mad man. Whistling slightly he turned and headed back towards his bunk. Holding the boys things he checked everything over. Nice looking wallet; least he got something good.

As he walked, he passed Mal looking mighty upset. Jayne gave him a wide smirk tossing the boy’s jacket at him. "Don't say I never gave you nothin'." He disappeared down another corridor counting his blessings.

Mal stopped walking once he reached the exit onto the catwalks. He looked down examining what he had. A jacket? Jayne was weird sometimes.

Kaylee had heard the commotion – well, several commotions – and headed out to the main hold curiously. “What’s going on out here…” her voice broke when she saw the naked young man seated on the weight bench. Kaylee was dumbstruck, glancing up at Inara as she came rushing down the stairs.

“Feyden!”

“I, uh…guess we missed the party,” the young mechanic smirked, arms crossing as Inara quickly draped the jacket over the young man’s shoulders.

“Liu tyen,” Inara muttered under her breath, shooting a venomous glare up at Mal as she slowly walked Feyden up the stairs and towards her shuttle. Any sort of guilt at her actions was steadily fading as the minutes wore on.

He was very confused by Jayne, but then again Jayne never failed to confuse Mal. All he really had to do was speak and Mal was already lost by the bigger man. He looked downward and the jacket was ripped from his hands. Inara went rushing down the stairs like a crazy lady. Why was she yelling at him. Mal's eyes softened up as he tried to get up to speed on everything. Why did Jayne have this kids things? And why was he naked?

She let go of the young man to make his way into her room, and Inara strode back towards to the captain. “I know you had something to do with this!” She yelled angrily, “Give Feyden his belongings back now!”

Oh, no. Jayne. He had left Jayne alone with the kid too long. He knew he would do something. Mal watched silently as Inara quickly threw the blame all in Mal's face. The captain was not sure if he wanted to take it or try to prove her wrong. She was apparently forming an opinion about him. He was a lowly man who killed and stole things. Mal looked down instinctively, shaking his head. Looking up at Inara, he simply smiled.

"Know what? Not gonna fight you on this one." Mal licked his lips letting out a low sigh.

He reached down putting his thumbs in his belt loops. "Inara, you’re bullheaded, bossy, and incredibly naive when you wanna be, but I don't think one of this crew would wanna have you change. Not even me." He looked off to the side down at Kaylee. He threw her a shrug and looked back up at her. "I gave 'em to Jayne." He was gonna take the crap from this one for Jayne. He just didn't really care. He moved past her heading down the stairs all the way down into the hold. He passed by Kaylee giving her a pat on the shoulder.

Kaylee watched in stunned silence as Mal walked passed her. “I…uh…” Her voice faded. She was out of explanations for what in the gorram ‘verse was going on. Kaylee watched the captain walk out smugly, and a glare set in on the young girl’s features. Now what had happened…

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Several minutes later, after a healthy argument with Jayne to obtain Feyden’s clothes, Inara was still fuming, helping Feyden to shrug his jacket back over his shoulders.

“Feyden, I am so sorry.” She smoothed the sleeves of the jacket as softly as she could manage. “Mal had no right to treat you like that. Sicking Jayne on you like some zou gou yequan…” She muttered angrily, “…Maybe you were right about him.”

She seemed almost saddened by the thought. Had Mal really changed so much? Maybe he had, maybe it was just her. But either way, it was done. They were done. She had no intention of staying now that Mal had shown his true colors.

Feyden glanced over his shoulders at her. “What are you talking about?” He asked, honestly confused. “Mal didn’t do this. That ape Jayne did.”

It took her a moment for his words to register, but as soon as they did, she felt like scum. “What?” Wincing quietly, she prayed that she had heard him wrong.

Feyden spun back around, tugging on his shirt gently to shake out any remnants of Jayne from his clothing. “Jayne said he came up with my ‘welcome’ all by himself. Your captain was just bothering me.” She held her breath for a moment, gazing at the door.

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Mal hadn't exactly planned for this, but the captain found himself right back in the kitchen. He wanted to be close to the bridge in case something did happen. He had his weapons though. Spread out the cloth. Guns, knives and whatever else he used to clean house. He was currently in the process of running the rag over the smooth steel when he heard footsteps come into the kitchen.

He didn't bother glancing up. He knew who it was. Zoe. Light on her feet. Like she was checking the ground for bombs still.

"Heard it all did you?" He asked cocking an eyebrow.

He was kind of surprised how short of a time it took for Inara to start actually buying into what that Feyden said. He kind of hoped she would resist and continue to think otherwise. The moment she saw her little lost lamb in trouble though she jumped onto the ‘blame Mal’ train all because he expressed a dislike for the boy. Kids. Sometimes Mal didn't like being so old and other times it had its advantages.

He switched his rag and hold to another gun as Zoe took a seat at the table with him. "Sir, maybe you should talk to her?" She suggested. Mal let the rag glide over the metal and willed his eyes a glance up at her. He shook his head silently.

"She wants to believe what she wants to. Ain't nobody gonna change Inara's mind except Inara. I doubt little boy blue in there will say I didn't do it. He did firmly express his dislike for my bad-man ways." Zoe tilted her head to the side and stared hard at Mal.

"Don't get it, sir. You hear someone say you’re this terrible person and you don't even try to show them your not? You let her think you stole that boy’s clothes?" Mal simply shrugged and gave a shy smile.

"I guess it's easier for Inara to blame everything on me. I mean the kid wasn't far off. I steal things and I take money for it. For a living. If that don't scream ‘Bad Guy’ I don't know what does. 'Sides it don't matter much to me. Inara expressed her feelings for me in that there hallway. Says I'm beneath and gave me a nice slap to reassure me."

He rolled his neck and got up from his seat. "Watch my guns. Make sure Jayne don't come looting. I'm gonna take a break." He covered them with some more cloth and moved out of the kitchen. Heading down the hallway he went for his own bunk. Pushing the hatch open he went down the ladder into his room. He went towards his bed taking a seat. He removed his suspenders and lay back for a moment in his bed.

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It only took about a half and hour or so for them to realize that perhaps it was high time Feyden went on his way. Inara escorted Feyden out to the exit of Serenity’s hold, and along with the crew that actually wanted to wish the boy well – namely Simon, Kaylee, and River – they stood quietly on the main floor.

Feyden gave Simon a firm handshake, and moving down the small line they’d made, lifted a hand to Kaylee, who simply bypassed his hand to give him a friendly hug. It was simply her way. Startled at first, Feyden warmed up to her, and hugged her back for a moment. When he reached River, the girl seemed barely interested, just offering the boy an odd smirk and a wave from her perch up on several cargo crates.

“Right, well, I guess I best be off,” Feyden said finally. “It was a pleasure meeting you three.” He smiled at them as he stepped over to Inara, several feet away.

“I’ll wave you when I get a date for the memorial,” Feyden volunteered softly, giving Inara one last tight hug before pulling away. “…So we can discuss your offer more practically.”

Inara smiled appreciatively, grabbing hold of the young man’s hand, grasping it gently. “Thank you Feyden.” She was relieved to hear him agree with her proposal. Feyden let out a playful smirk, brushing a strand of raven hair from her face.

“And you just say the word if that captain of yours ever gives you lip again. And I’ll…” Inara raised a brow incredulously as his open ended threat. Feyden’s confidence waned as he thought about it for a moment. He coughed, his voice wavering. “…And I’ll be sure to give him a stern talking to from across a vid screen. Many, many systems away.”

“You’ll be the first to know,” Inara promised with a calm smirk. The companion pulled him into one last, longer hug. Feyden let go moments later, still holding her hand.

“Goodbye, jie jie.” He kissed her on the cheek. “Stay safe.”

He began his walk out of Serenity’s hold, letting Inara’s hand fall away as he moved too far out of her reach. He turned only once more, waving at her quietly. She held her hands together at her lap, watching him turn past the entry hatch and out of view. Inara stood there silent for a long while, while Kaylee broke off from Simon, standing next to her friend.

“Somethin’ wrong?” the girl asked cautiously, hand wrapping around Inara’s shoulder.

The Companion stared out at the dusty landing field in front of them, her brow furrowed in thought. “I don’t know,” she answered vaguely, thoughts spinning from the action-packed events of the last few hours. She was afraid that a lot had changed for the worst.

River sat up on the storage containers, fiddling with a tool of some kind that Kaylee must have left in the hold a while back. “Damage control,” River whispered knowingly, not lifting her eyes from the stranded tool in her hands.

Inara sighed at the girl’s annoying perceptiveness. Clenching her teeth, she glanced up at the catwalk entrance to the kitchen, and gracefully headed up the stairs, leaving the others to their own devices.

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Kaylee watched Inara head up the stairs with a sigh. “Either she’s gonna try and patch things up with the Cap’n, or go kill him in his sleep,” she commented to Simon, moving over to stand by the Tam siblings.

Slipping to Simon’s side, she pulled his arm over her shoulder, glancing up at the empty doorway above them in anticipation. Though the only way they’d now what would have happened is if things blew up in their faces, and Inara would come stampeding through that door back to her shuttle.

Simon hadn't wished any ill feelings on Feyden. He kind of enjoyed him. If not for the simple fact that the man had managed to keep the mercenary off his ass by annoying Feyden. Selfish? Yes, but he had a right to be. Jayne was downright rude sometimes and he didn't find it the least bit funny at most times.

He stood back with a quiet smile as he watched Kaylee approach Inara. He glanced back at his little sister. His arms were crossed tightly over his chest. Simon was starting to wonder what his sister knew. Turning he walked over, arms still crossed over his chest. Once he was closer, he gave her a soft smile.

"What exactly do you know, River?" He asked, tilting his head to the side. His sister knew more than she would tell and he could tell. She knew these peoples inner workings because of her special gifts. "You seem a bit more in the loop about all this than anyone one of us. Especially Mal and Inara."

Simon’s question to his sister perked up Kaylee’s attention, and she too looked to the younger girl for a response. River saw that the spotlight was on her, and out of her complete love of manipulation, put on the most convincing innocent face that she could muster.

“The two of them are just stubborn, is all…” River hopped off the crates, scampering up the stairs and heading into the kitchen. “They’ll figure it out,” she finally let out before disappearing through the doorway.

Simon watched his sister worried. She knew it all. River was equipped to handle it all. He almost smiled as she jumped up and took off. He tilted his head to the side and looked at Kaylee. His arm slung over her shoulder tightened around her shoulders a bit.

"I do believe my little sister is scheming. I think in some weird way she’s trying to play matchmaker with our captain and Inara." That was strange. Sticking his empty hand inside his pants pocket he let out a low sigh.

"The great lengths my sister will go to get her happy ending. You should have seen her when we were children. In the story books my mother would read River insisted on coming up with her own ending. One that would fit to her liking."

That alone brought a large smile to his face. He missed them sometimes. It was strange considering they didn't seem to care too much, but it was just something he would never be able to let go completely.

“Well here’s to River’s matchmaking,” Kaylee smirked, tugging Simon toward the door to the infirmary. “Maybe her meddlin’ in other people business will finally get us some piece and quiet around here.”

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Inara made it to Mal’s quarters with little difficulty, but mustering the will to enter was another . Somehow she was going to have to swallow her pride and apologize, otherwise they wouldn’t be speaking to each other for days. And for some reason beyond her stubborn mind, that was an entirely unpleasant concept for her.

Mal hadn't moved from his bunk. He didn't want to be up there. He ran the risk of running into Inara and that was just not sounding fun. Usually he loved torturing her. Coming into her cabin unwanted was a great past time. Now it seemed like he was expecting a smack or something. Or half expecting to hear he'd never hear from her again. If that was to happen he wanted to hear the news alone so he could face it alone.

Taking a deep breath, she pushed at the closed ladder, expecting it to be locked tightly, almost praying that it was so she could back down from this horrible idea. But it slid open easily, and her stomach dropped in anxiousness.

He didn't flinch when he heard his hatch open. His hands were interlaced and resting underneath his head. One leg crossed over the other. Eyes focusing on the ceiling. He listened quietly not really looking at her.

Now forced to take action, Inara climbed down the ladder with little noise, soon catching sight of Mal sulking on his bed. Either he was sleeping, didn’t notice her, or was outright ignoring her, Mal didn’t acknowledge her presence.

Taking advantage of their equal hesitation to speak, she stood there without a word. Inara watched him for a long time in silence from across the room. She crossed her arms, only speaking up as her eyes stubbornly burnt a hole through a spot on the far wall.

“Alright, so I am bullheaded,” she conceded quietly.

She could have stopped, in fact should have. But this was Inara, and this was Mal she was speaking to. Could she ever keep it simple? “But that doesn’t change the fact that you have a seriously overactive imagination, not to mention an atrocious listening problem.”

She wasn’t really trying to start another argument; in fact, by her tone, it almost sounded as if Inara was offering some sort of warped kind apology. It was their way with each other, though, she supposed.

Finally when he heard no more he turned his head some. With a sigh Mal pushed himself upwards now sitting up in the bed. "If this is the Inara version of an apology you don't gotta do it. I mean if you can't blame me who can you blame? Half the crew here now don't do much wrong. Unless you count Jayne and River. Half the time River don't know no better…and oddly enough Jayne too." He said with a strange look. He pushed off the bed not bothering in pulling his suspenders up.

Stepping over to her, Mal glanced down at her wearily. "I’m glad you agree with me that you're bullheaded, though."

Inara wrapped her arm around a rung of the ladder, finally revealing a sheepish smirk as Mal stepped closer to her. She met his gaze with a much warmer expression than earlier. “How about both of us?” she suggested.

There was a deep silence, and Inara searched the captain’s expression for some read on where his mind was at right now. She knew how unfair this entire situation had been for him to be thrust into. “Mal…” Her eyes traveled to the floor, and she stared there for a long time, trying to sort things out in her mind.

“Feyden’s mother, Oren, was a business associate of the Sihnon Training House for many years,” she explained quietly. “A good woman; honest, decent, loving…not an unkind or selfish bone in her body. She’d donated enormous sums of money to the Guild. Was in the highest standing within the Houses than any non-Companion could ever hope to reach.” Her voice wavered slightly as she continued. “But to me, in the grand scheme of things, all those accomplishments don’t do her an ounce of justice.”

She broke away from the ladder, taking several steps into the middle of Mal’s room, as if pacing would help her with the story. “There was a girl…Alima…raised on Sihnon, many years ago,” she started quietly, “Born to a good family, very respectable…and very old money.” She turned to face the captain, studying her own hands awkwardly. “During what she naively assumed was a loving relationship with a rich and… handsome baron, she found out that she was pregnant. So here was a girl, now with child…and out of wedlock, no less. It was…a scandal, to say the least.”

She looked up at Mal, the words truly painful to say. “Her father, however, saw it as much more than that. It was a betrayal of their family’s honor. He…he disowned Alima, sent her packing with barely enough money to keep herself alive, let alone support her child.”

“She was a pariah; not a single respectable person in the Sihnon aristocracy would even touch her. Her own family completely abandoned her. Some called her a whore…” the words dripped out like venom, “…Most called her worse. But Oren…she took the girl in, no questions asked. Welcomed her and the unborn baby into her home and family. She adopted the girl as a sister. Oren was already well respected among the Guild Houses, but she didn’t care how it would ‘tarnish’ her reputation.”

Mal stood in silence listening She was explaining things. It took a while for Mal to formally catch on to what she was driving at. She explained about Feyden's mother and he turned around to watch her. His eyes carefully focused on her small form as it moved about.

It never occurred to Mal how tiny she was until right now. Least in his own eyes, she was not a scary woman. When angry, maybe that was a different story. She wasn't like Zoe as in the fearless soldier sense. She wasn't like Kaylee who had the heart of gold and the brightest smile he could ever imagine. She wasn't like River who was crazy all on her own. She was just Inara and he liked that. She'd put Mal in his place and she wouldn't blink doing it.

Inara had taken a spot leaning against the far wall across from Mal at this point, staring out into the air wistfully. “Her son Feyden was born a few years after Alima gave birth to her own daughter.”

She went into something about a woman and he crossed his arms over his chest watching her move about. Kind of almost made him sick. He caught on when he said this woman had a child out of wedlock. He saw the pain in her eyes as she explained this. She was speaking of her mother. The woman who had given life to this glorious creature before him. Mal's expression softened a bit and he took one step closer. He didn't want to rush up and scare her. Plus he wasn't sure how to handle this situation. He didn't understand a lot of this like Jayne, but he tended to catch on a bit more than Jayne did. Jayne it took him a while to understand grief, but he would finally catch on like everyone else.

She met eyes with Mal, her expression full of meaning. “I love Feyden very much…he is my family in every sense of the word.”

Mal watched her not taking his eyes off her. When she looked up locking eyes with him expressing how she cared for Feyden he nodded slowly. He lifted his hand up putting his chin in his hand. He thought a moment before dropping both arms at his sides.

"I see." Mal said moving towards her. He was inching not wanting to seem like an eager dog ready to comfort. "Well seems like you and me ain't too different after all."

“Oh my, should you be admitting that?” she smirked when he implied that they were actually similar in many ways. In all honesty, Inara wasn’t sure why she’d just revealed so much about her past to Mal; she only had to explain that she and Feyden were childhood friends. Why had she decided to open up to him now? Inara couldn’t bring herself to address Alima as her mother, but it seemed that Mal got her train of thought well enough. Thankfully, it was something that didn’t need to be said aloud between them. Mal seemed to understand.

Mal gave her a head nod and lifted his face to hers with a slight smile. "I'm not gonna be apologizing about what I said about your family. I can't help how I feel 'bout the boy. But I can apologize to you...if you'll accept it that is. Didn't mean to make you feel bad earlier. Your boy just got me all riled up. As you can tell I'm not a fan of hearing those things. 'Specially since its all I heard growing up and from Draedon after the war. Hell, even during the war, not one person believed we could win. I did even if that was naively foolish. Apparently me and your mama ain't so different either." He said with a hint of a grin.

She nodded to Mal with a weak smile as he offered a request for forgiveness from her. “Apology accepted,” she responded softly. At least some manner of civility had returned to their conversations.

She smiled along with the captain, as her eyes traveled to the still reddish spot of skin on his cheek where she’d struck him. “Oh, Mal I’m so sorry,” she burst out, fighting off a chuckle. They had honestly acted like children earlier. She lifted a hand, lightly directing his face to the side so she could take a look.

“Does it hurt much?” she asked with a sympathetic wince. Granted, Inara knew that she wasn’t the strongest person, but there had been a lot of rage behind that slap.

Mal gave her a smile. "It ain't as bad as you'd think." Which was true. Mal would admit they came from similiar places. Growing up on Shadow with his mother wasn't so easy. Sure they had ranch hands to help and stuff, but that all ended real close to the time Mal became a man. The night he lost most of his real family. Still when Mal would go into town people would point and look. He was the boy who was no good. He was the kid most folks just didn't understand. They thought for a long time Mal was slightly challenged as he was growing up. Really not a great time in a young boys life.

As she forced his head to one side and looked over her "handy work" he gave her a bit of a chuckle. He diverted his eyes towards her face trying to look at her. "It ain't too bad. Not real fun to feel, but it could have been worse. You coulda decked me. Then that woulda earned me some giggles from everyone on board once they found out you had done it."

“Myself included,” she murmured, glad to see that the mood was lightening somewhat.

Mal nodded with a smirk. She had a mighty hand behind all that daintiness. He lifted his hand up taking the hand she was using to turn his head in his own hand. He let them lower and kept his hand with hers. "You hit good."

It was funny to think earlier he was ready to give up on the girl. Sure there was still the tiny fact he may have felt something for her. She'd never get to know either. It was a pity really. Mal was a man with many reasons for his doings. A lot of it was honor though. He had the most twisted sense of honor 'sides Jayne that is.

Inara swallowed tensely as Mal grabbed her hand, though. Damn those dreams of hers to the fiery pits of Hell. Heat rose up her arm, but Inara tried her best to mask it.

“I’m not sure if I should say thank you for that,” she mused with an odd smile. Her amusement faded, though, and she pulled her hand from his. It was a vicious circle that they played into over and over again.

“Are things always going to end like this between us?” she asked wearily, stepping away slightly. “With all the arguing…and the hitting?” that part almost made her smirk, but she was genuinely concerned about the dynamic of their relationship, if it could even be called that. “We never seem to be able to hold a conversation without someone’s feelings getting hurt.”

Mal wasn't as thrilled when she pulled her hand away quickly. He didn't falter though. He stayed straight up with his eyes on her. He wasn't about to show her how unpleasant it was to not have her hand in his own. Mal thought over her remarks and moved his head to the side.

"Well in all fairness you sorta start it most of the time. What with all the making me feel bad when I got a job. One minute were speaking fine and the next you’re teasing about my lifestyle. Like my guns for instance. When I wanna clean them up on the kitchen table I should be able to without you making me feel like a petty crook. And the time we had that job. Well we have a lot of those, but you know what I'm talking about. You always seem to have a problem with what I do. That’s what starts our fights really."

He wasn't even about to touch her job. He was trying to go around it without her knowing. He didn't want too much trouble from her. But he figured he'd get it anyways. She seemed to always wanna fight with him no matter what. "So you see. It's simply your doing."

“Wait, its my fault?” They had just lost a little footing with that comment. “The only thing I’m at fault for is of being terrified of you coming back in pieces from some of these “legitimate business enterprises” of yours. Since when did fearing for your safety become such a crime?”

Mal's eyes almost rolled right out of his sockets. He shook his head watching as her voice raised and she got upset. "Inara you don't care if I come back dead or alive. As long as I can get you to the high paying planets to get to your men on time. You got one thing on your little mind and it certainly ain't my safety!"

Inara met his gaze head on, clearly ready to stand her ground on this. “Don’t get me started on you,” she shot back at him, slightly louder this time. “I distinctly recall you bringing back some old favorites when you mentioned my “job” today.” She marched away from him, turning around only to reveal that good old how-dare-you expression she had coined so well during her and Mal’s bouts.

Mal waved his hand at her. "Your job? Yeah again great job! I mean you get to service such wonderful people and the senator is not included in that mocking." He sort of owed his ear to that woman. And the kid who lifted the land lock on them. Him too, but that was it. Otherwise he hated them all with a burning passion. Couldn't get no women on their own. Had to pay for it.

“Admit it, you couldn’t stand it when I brought a client on board Serenity. No matter how many times I’ve opened doors for this crew that would have otherwise been locked tight…or…or how many times I’ve saved your neck, you always manage to belittle everything I have stand for. You say you’re only disrespecting my job, but everything you say disrespects me personally. I am my job!” That outburst startled even herself. Was that honestly true? She exhaled quickly, trying to regain some composure. “But you’re not, Mal.”

"Oh yeah I couldn't stand it. I was just dying." His voice was full of sarcasm. It was bland and cynical. "So you opened doors. Big deal! I coulda gotten through somehow without your help. I always have been able to. Course I would have had a couple more bullet holes than normal. Saved my neck? I distinctly taking two bullets for a couple weeks ago." Mal stood, a bit stunned.

He stepped over to her. His eyes going downward to look at her. "That’s the thing there Inara; you ain't your job. You never ever gonna be your job. You see there’s one thing different 'bout you and me. I can't stop who I am. I'm a thief and a bad, bad man on my off days. You don't gotta sleep with men just to survive."

She scoffed, feeling a bit stifled by how in her face he suddenly was. “What are you saying? That I’m dependant? Oh please, I haven’t taken a client since leaving Serenity,” she countered sourly, only a bit off guard by the argument he was trying to make. She paused suddenly, realizing what she’d just told him.

But it was too late to go back now. She marched forward. “Well if I’m so free to do as I please, than you’re just as free to stop taking those jobs! There is plenty of honest, paying work out there, Mal,” Inara pleaded with him, “Admit it, you enjoy pulling heists. What, does breaking the law give you some kind of rush? What is it that keeps you wanting to put yourself and this crew in deeper and deeper risk?”

She glared up at him angrily, a remarkable amount of conviction in her voice. “You couldn’t stop anymore than I could. It’s who we are. It’s all we have.”

"I pull those jobs because it pays a lot of money. My crew don't exactly look like a bunch of model citizens with the exception of Little Kaylee here. You think I could get a job? I was a browncoat in the war, Inara. They don't give jobs to guys like me. Unless I end up being a ranch hand. Which is not gonna happen unless I die and go to hell."

When he implied that his life chose him, Inara scoffed. “Oh don’t act like you’re so special, Mal. Like this great burden has been placed upon you to be a criminal and you can never escape it.”

He got closer till finally there was no space between them. She was pushing him around talking about how he could take honest work. He was stuck. They both were. Very incredibly stuck.

"My job is who I am. You dun chose to be part of the guild. You chose this thing. Mine not so much. It's what I gotta do to stay alive and keep my ship in the air. It ain't easy, but I do it. I can't change who I am for you 'Nara just like you said."

She was thoroughly irritated when he tried to hold some kind of twisted moral high ground. Refusing to change for her? What kind of game was he trying to play at?

“And I will not compromise my livelihood so that I can be your personal whore!” she responded in synch, an icy glare shooting harshly at Mal.

There was no longer any space between them, their faces mere inches apart. With the combination of heated argument and awkwardly distracting closeness, Inara stood there, breathing heavily, her face almost flushed. It was a near sense memory of that horrid dream about Mal she’d experienced back in the kitchen. Although the source of her agitation was much different than back then.

Oh she thought she was so perfect. With her prancing around…Wait a second. Her words shot through him like knives. She’d just said his own personal whore? He never asked her to be his own personal whore. Least he didn't think so… He tilted his head to the left thinking it over. No, he hadn't done that.

Looking back down at her Mal noticed her eyes. Her face. She was red. It was like a flashback happening all over again. The kitchen. Her. Her words. She was as jumpy as she was right now. It dawned on Mal how close they were. Looking downward and then lifting his head back up to look her in the eyes. His eyes flashed with realization. It hit him like a ton of bricks.

Going backwards he retraced their conversation. She hadn't had a client since leaving. So that meant only one thing in his mind.

Inara was still fuming as she watched the gears turning in Mal’s head. What on earth was going on with him?

Before Mal could think or react top his own impulse, he was throwing an arm around her back. Without any warning, Inara gasped quietly as he pulled her against him till she was pinned, sending a jolt of electricity surging through her when their bodies touched.

She could barely form words, her breath stolen away at the contact. “Mal, what are you…”

She was silenced as his mouth crashed into hers, the force of the kiss overwhelming. Her hands lifted to press against his shoulders, pushing back against the forceful hold that Mal had her in.

After a few moments, Inara was finally able to tear away from his lips, her breathing coming in ragged gasps. Their faces barely touching.

As if with a mind of their own, her hands traveled further still to hook around his neck, holding him still against her as her nose traced his teasingly.

“…Mal…” she breathed out in a hushed whisper, more need and longing in that one word than she had ever been able to muster in her entire life.

This wasn’t happening. This wasn’t real. She would wake up from this, realize that she’d zoned out again. Her fingers traced the back of Mal’s hair. But this was too real; the heat and weight of their bodies connected only told her that this was reality.

She didn’t bother asking herself how they’d gotten this way as she leaned foreword, kissing him back intensely as her fingers tangled into the dark waves of Mal’s hair. The heated kiss was followed by one where neither held back.

..................................

To be continued! Please R&R

..................................

Chinese Translations: Liu tyen = My God zou gou yequan = lackey wild dog jie jie = big sister

COMMENTS

Tuesday, October 10, 2006 5:24 PM

TAMSIBLING


Yay! For Mal and Inara goodness ... more please ... don't leave us hanging! I want to be sure that Mal doesn't do something stupid and mess up what could be the best night of his life!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006 1:47 PM

AMDOBELL


Oooh, Loved Inara and Mal finally getting into that heated series of kisses, about gorram time too though Inara kept getting them so close to pushing away from each other again. She always has to be right even when apologising. Maybe they should just forget about words altogether, less chance of their feelings getting lost and tangled in translation. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Thursday, November 23, 2006 2:20 PM

HANDSOF


“And you just say the word if that captain of yours ever gives you lip again. And I’ll…” Inara raised a brow incredulously as his open ended threat. Feyden’s confidence waned as he thought about it for a moment. He coughed, his voice wavering. “…And I’ll be sure to give him a stern talking to from across a vid screen. Many, many systems away.”

Hilarious, you've come up with a great OC in Feyden. I like the depth you give Inara here. Joss always said he never got to fully tell her story, and I enjoyed this possibility.


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