Sign Up | Log In
BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Maya thread. Post BDM. Inara has an announcement to make, and takes Simon into her confidence. Then a little Mal/Freya fluff to finish ... Let me know what you think!
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1616 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Inara looked up from her uneaten breakfast and gazed along the table to where Mal and Hank were discussing their next trip.
“Yeah, but if we take that route we could swing by Ortega’s place. He’s had jobs for us before, and he never minds us taking our ease for a day or two.” Mal absently stirred his cereal.
“But it’s summer on Verbena. He’s probably in the mountains.”
“So? We’ll wave him first and find out.”
“Mal?” Inara spoke, and the captain of Serenity looked over and smiled at her. “Will we be going by Persephone?”
“Weren’t planning on it.”
“I have to be there in a week’s time. Could you schedule that for me?”
There was silence around the table. Inara never asked specifically to be taken anywhere - her client base was sufficiently large that she could fit in with most of the Firefly’s destinations.
“And why would that be, Inara?” Mal asked softly. “Some General can’t keep it in his pants long enough?” He knew immediately, even without Freya at his side, that his words were insulting, because he jammed his lips tight shut.
For once Inara didn’t take offence. In fact she smiled, which was much more disconcerting. “I need to be on Persephone in one week, Mal. I have been summoned to meet with the House Priestess there.”
Mal sat up straighter. “Over Medori?”
Inara shook her head. “No. They don’t know anything about … although I suppose it could be considered indirectly linked.” She gazed into his eyes, knowing they were blue, but unable to see the colour in this light. “I’ve sent in my resignation. I’ve decided I no longer want to be a Companion.”
Mal stared, his mouth open.
Kaylee dropped her spoon. “’Nara, you mean it?”
“I really do,” Inara said, smiling at the young mechanic where she was sitting, feeding Bethany.
Mal closed his mouth. “I … do you … have you …” He gathered his wits. “What’s brought this on?”
“A lot of things,” Inara admitted. “But Medori and Grace … I suppose that was the final straw that broke this particular camel’s back.”
“Comparing yourself to an extinct mammal ain’t exactly helping.” Mal licked his lips. “You sure about this?”
Inara nodded. “I’ve been making arrangements for some time. Transferring money to a private account, that sort of thing.” She smiled. “You don’t need to worry, Captain. I’ll still be able to pay your rent.” The smile faded. “That is, if you’ll still let me live … you might want me off your ship.”
Now Mal was truly confused. “Why would I want that?” he asked.
“A Companion. Mal, I won’t be one any longer. The cachet of having one on board, the doors it opens –“
“You think I’d dump you on some planet just so’s I could open up my home to some whore? Sorry, ‘Nara, but if you think that you’re crazy.” He shook his head at her. “’Sides, Freya’d kill me if I even suggested it.” He grinned. “And we’ll talk about the rent. If you’re gonna be without a primary source of income, then you’ll be in the same boat as the rest of us. Quite literally.” He glanced around his crew, who were all nodding enthusiastically. “Hell, ‘Nara – you’re family.”
It was taking all of Inara’s extensive training to not burst into gratified tears. Instead she simply said, “Thank you, Mal.”
He nodded and turned to Hank. “So, can we get an ex-Companion to Persephone in time?”
Hank, a wide smile on his own face, said, “Even if I have to get out and push.”
“Simon, can I … do you have a few minutes?”
The young doctor looked up from his reading to see Inara in the doorway to the galley, and smiled. “Of course. I’m just catching up on some new research. Hank has a watching brief for me on the Cortex.”
“Is it interesting?”
“Dry as dust.” Simon laughed. “But the actual content’s worth it.” He put the portable screen down on the table. “Now, what can I do for you?”
“Could we talk in my shuttle? It’s more private.” Inara’s face was drawn, pale.
Simon got up immediately. “What is it? Don’t you feel well?”
“It’s not that,” Inara demurred. “I just don’t want anyone walking in.”
She smiled shakily and led the way to her shuttle. Simon followed, intrigued and concerned in equal measure. As well as they got along, unless there was a medical reason Inara didn’t usually seek him out to chat to, preferring Mal or Kaylee’s company, and lately Freya’s. Not that she ever really spoke about what was troubling her – it wasn’t her style. In fact, Inara was probably the most self-contained person he knew, after himself, and he’d only blossomed since coming on board Serenity and being in daily contact with people who tended to wear their hearts on their sleeve. But Inara still seemed to be apart to some degree. Not aloof, exactly, but always in control, never opening up totally. Probably something to do with her still being in love with Mal …
“Please, sit,” Inara said, indicating the red satin sofa.
“Inara, if it’s something I need to examine you for, then surely the infirmary -”
“It isn’t physical. Well, not really.”
“I think you’d better explain.” Simon waited for her to sit down before he joined her. “Is this to do with your resignation from the Guild?”
She perched on the edge, her hands grasped tightly in her lap. “I … there’s not really …I needed to …” She stumbled to a halt.
Simon reached out and put his hand on top of hers, feeling her trembling slightly. “Inara, take your time. Whatever it is, I’m here.”
Inara took a deep breath. “Do you know why Mal and I never got together?”
Simon was taken aback. “Well, um, I thought it was because of you being a Companion, and him being an idiot.”
Inara laughed, grateful to him for trying to make this easier. “I don’t think we’ll pass that on, shall we? Not unless you want him threatening you again.”
“I can live with that.” He squeezed her hands. “I gather that wasn’t the only reason then?”
“No. Not really. And I don’t just mean Freya being in his life before me. I had … there were reasons I couldn’t let him in, only I was the stupid one for not recognising them.”
“You’d better tell me.”
She nodded and licked her lips. “There was a man. His name was Gregor. Gregor Andreyev. He was an officer in the Alliance, a Commander.” She glanced at him, then stood up, unable to be still. She began to pace the small shuttle. “He was a client originally, but he became something else.” She shook her head. “So many men said they loved me, wanted me to be their personal Companion, but Gregor was different. He didn’t want a Companion.” She leaned on the bedpost. “He wanted a wife. He wanted me.” She smiled a little at the memory, walking again. “Always there, leaving me messages, flowers, gifts, asking for appointments.” Suddenly her strength seemed to fail her and she sat down again next to him. “I know how Mal felt with Freya, how she wore down his resistance, made him love her.”
“I don’t think that’s quite how it happened –” Simon began but she wasn’t listening.
“I fell in love.”
“Inara?” Simon was shocked, not least after the conversations about and with Medori Donato. Love wasn’t something Companions were allowed to experience.
Inara’s next words confirmed it. “So totally against the rules that I left him, wouldn’t speak to him for weeks. But he didn’t go away. Nor did the way I felt. I …” She looked down at her hands. “I decided to leave the Guild.”
“Leave? Before this?” Simon shook his head. “So what happened? Why didn’t you?”
“It’s almost impossible. Very drawn out, very convoluted. It’s not just a case of sending in a letter of resignation.” The breath caught in her throat. “I wish it was. No, it’s interviews, counselling sessions, going before the Triumvirate – all designed to give you a chance to see how stupid it would be to leave, to come to your senses.” She glanced at him, her eyes very bright. “It takes a year, from first notification to final and irrevocable removal from the Guild registry. No wonder Medori didn’t apply. There haven’t been many rogue Companions, who just ran, but a few couldn’t wait. But I had to be different. I had to do it properly.” There was bitterness in her voice now. “He wanted me to just leave. He didn’t want to wait, but when I told him I had to follow the rules he understood.” Two large tears splashed onto her hands.
“I sent in my request, saying I no longer wished to be a Companion, and had the first interview a week later. And all the time Gregor was waiting, being there to show his support. We weren’t meant to be sleeping together, but one night … That was all it took. I became pregnant.”
Simon sat up straight. “You? But that’s not –”
She smiled a little at him. “Guild doctors are very proficient. And you’ve never had the need to examine me in that way, or I’m sure you’d have realised.” Tears slipped down her cheeks. “I’ll never really know why I let it happen in the first place,” she said softly. “Why I didn’t renew the contraception, but I didn’t. I suppose I wanted it.”
“What did you do?”
“I told Gregor. He was so happy I thought he was going to explode.” Her face softened at the memory. “Kept telling me how beautiful our baby was going to be, how special, how perfect. But I had to tell the Guild. And there could be only one outcome from that.”
“So that demerit Grace found … was yours?” Simon asked gently.
She nodded. “I realised I’d fallen into exactly the same trap as Medori … allowed my feelings to become more important than my career. I just needed to check … I must have left the demerit in the ledger that day.” She laughed a little. “Mal always says the wheel never stops turning. He’s right. It all comes back around.” She paused and wiped her fingers under her eyes, smudging her perfect make-up and leaving black smears. “Not that I was in quite the same position. Because I told them immediately, and was already in the process of resigning, they didn’t make it a complete shunning. But I’d still broken their rules. They still applied the demerit.” She stood up again, crossing to the mirror and tutting silently when she saw the state of her face. She began to repair the damage.
“What happened?” Simon quickly went on, “I mean, you don’t have a … something must have gone wrong.”
“Do you remember the riots on Osiris, seven years ago?” she asked in turn as she stared into the mirror.
“I was working in the ER when they brought in some of those who’d been hurt. Over the rights of the border moons, wasn’t it?”
“Mmn.” Inara put down her brush.
“I remember people saying the Alliance was afraid it could start another war.” He grimaced. “That didn’t excuse what they did. They put the rioters down pretty hard.”
“A number were killed,” Inara agreed, turning to look at him. “And some Federal officers.”
Simon stared. “Gregor?”
“We were going to travel, see the ‘verse. He was resigning his commission, just as I was. These were going to be his last duties.” She seemed so calm, so back in control …
“I’m so sorry, Inara.” His mind raced with the images from seven years before, the laser burns he’d treated, the broken bones, and worse. There hadn’t been any Alliance officers amongst those he’d seen, but he could believe … “I wish –”
“So do I,” she agreed, taking a deep breath. “But when I heard he’d been killed, I didn’t know what to do. All my adult life I’d been a Companion, and in training for years before that. So I went to the Guild, told them. Asked for my resignation to be withdrawn.” She looked at his appalled face. “What else could I do, Simon? I didn’t have friends, not really, not outside the Guild, and those I did wouldn’t want to take in a woman with a baby, with no other skills than whoring.”
She held up her hand. “That was how I was thinking. I never said I wasn’t crazy with grief at the time. If I hadn’t been I wouldn’t have …” She stopped.
“Wouldn’t have agreed for the Guild to have my baby.”
“Inara, no,” Simon said, shaking his head with shock.
“I’m not proud. Exactly the opposite. But at the time I felt I had no choice. At least I would have. If the baby hadn’t been still-born.”
Now the look on Simon’s face was deep sympathy. “How … I mean …”
Inara shrugged. “I don’t know. Only that when I asked to hold him they told me he was dead.” She sat down again and took his hand, holding tightly. “I know how Freya felt because I’d gone through it. How it tears you up inside. Almost kills you. And if I hadn’t had the support of the Guild, I think it would have done.”
“That’s why you –” He stopped.
“Why I seem to support them, even after what I knew they’d done to Medori? To Grace?”
He nodded, his lips tight.
“They looked after me. Allowed me back. I took their demerit, allowed them to chastise me, to curtail my privileges, anything they wanted. Because I didn’t have to think. They were doing it for me.”
“But they let you travel.”
“Eventually. After I’d shown proper respect and repentance.” She laughed a little. “And what do I do? I find myself on a ship with a captain who not only annoys and irritates me intensely, but who I find myself falling in love with.” She gazed at him. “I couldn’t say anything, not and risk being hurt again. Not if I couldn’t be sure of … of …”
“How he felt?”
She nodded. “And I’ve come to believe I was right. He’d never have …” Suddenly she didn’t care that her fresh make-up was being ruined as her eyes screwed tight and tears burst from under the lids to roll in sooty streaks down her cheeks.
Simon awkwardly put his arm around her shoulders, pulling her closer. “He would have. He loved you.”
“Not enough.” She wiped her nose on the back of her hand. “Never enough.” She sniffed. “And always there was Freya, somehow between us.”
“Inara, I wish …I wish I could say something to make it better.”
She sat up, wiping her cheeks again. “I know. And I’m sorry.”
“No, don’t be.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out the linen handkerchief he kept there, holding it out.
“I’ll make it messy,” Inara said, hiccupping as she shook her head.
“Then I’ll wash it.”
Inara took it, wiping at her face, saying, “Kaylee says you’re very good at doing the laundry.”
Simon smiled. “I’ve become that way.” He watched her. “So why didn’t you talk to Kaylee about this?”
“Because I needed someone who wasn’t going to judge me.”
“You think any one of us would do that?”
“I … couldn’t be sure.”
He put his hand on her knee. “You should be.”
“Because I’m family?”
His lips twitched. “Exactly.”
Inara handed him the handkerchief back. “But it’s the reason I’ve renewed my request for resignation.”
“Really?” Simon sat with his mouth open. “I mean … really?”
“I’d been thinking about it for a long time, but seeing how happy Mal and Freya are, you and Kaylee, then Medori … Mal’s right. I had to make a choice, and I’ve chosen to stay here.”
“A choice? Did something else happen?”
Inara took a deep breath. “I received a wave. From the Triumvirate.” She smiled slightly. “Almost unheard of, you know. A direct communication from on high.” She shivered. “But I was expecting it. An ultimatum. Leave this ship or leave the Guild.”
“They know, Simon. That I was on Miranda, that Mal took me from the Training House. They could have done it then, but they … they gave me another chance. But since I didn’t move on, didn’t return to them …”
“And they thought this would make you change your mind?”
“They’re set in their ways, Simon. They believe that the Guild is the most important thing in the ‘verse, greater even than the Alliance. Of course they did. They never expected me to actually resign rather than leave Serenity.”
“But that’s what you’ve done. Won’t they be … surprised?”
Inara laughed at the mildness of the word. “I think they’ve probably gone into cardiac arrest.”
“But if you’re not a Companion, what –” It was something he’d wanted to ask ever since she’d told them.
“Me. I’ll be me. Maybe I’ll get Zoe to teach me how to shoot, and Jayne can give me lessons in swearing.” She grinned, looking as if a weight had been taken from her shoulders.
“I’d pay to see that,” Simon chuckled. “And you know how to shoot.” He remembered fighting the Reavers, Inara taking so many of them down with her bow …
“Then I’ll brush up on my techniques.” She sat back. “But speaking to you all today I realised I had to … I needed someone to know.”
“Who wouldn’t judge?”
She nodded, then went on, “This interview on Persephone … one of the House Priestesses will cross-examine me on my reasons, and things are going to be brought up that … well, that I wouldn’t necessarily want the others to hear, but I can take an advocate with me. I was wondering if you could … I’d like it to be you.”
“I … I don’t know what to say.”
He smiled. “Of course I will. As long as there won’t be any Alliance involvement.”
“No Alliance. The Guild is totally autonomous.”
“Then it would be my pleasure to accompany you.”
“Thank you, Simon.”
He smiled. “That’s what friends are for, Inara.”
“Absolutely.” He looked into her face. “So, why don’t I make us some tea while you clean up?”
Mal stepped down into his bunk and tiredly pushed the suspenders from his shoulders. “You asleep?” he asked softly, looking at Freya lying with her back to him, her tattoo vivid in the light.
“No.” She didn’t turn back over, but there was tension in her voice.
“What is it?” he asked, sitting down on the edge of the bed, putting his hand on her shoulder.
“Kaylee came down. Told me.”
Ah. “About Inara?”
“Not being a Companion any more.” Her tattoo seemed to be throbbing. “Why didn’t you come and tell me?”
“Been kinda busy.”
“Not that busy.”
“And you’re thinking I’ll want her now?”
She turned over to look at him, her eyes far too bright. “Won’t you?” she asked. “That’s what the problem always was, between you two. Her career.”
He sighed heavily. “You’re crazy, you know that?” he said, looking into her face.
“Well, it’s true!”
“No, it ain’t, and you know that, too.” He pulled his boots off, letting them drop. “There was a hell of a lot more between us than just her being a whore.”
“Mal,” she scolded.
He stood up, undoing his shirt and shrugging it off. “That’s what she is. To me. Always was, and always will be, because that’s how I see her … her career.” His tone was almost one of disgust as he unbuttoned his pants. “And if you weren’t pregnant, and full of hormones, I’d consider putting you over my knee and spanking you until you came to your senses.”
“You think I need it?”
“I think living down in this box for the last six weeks has made you more’n a little insane.” He stepped out of his trousers, dropping them and his underwear on the chair.
“But Mal –”
“No ‘buts’.” He stood in front of her, totally at home with his nudity, his hands on his hips.
She sat up. “But,” she said firmly. “Of course there’s a ‘but’, Mal. She loves you, and now she’s giving up the one thing that stood between you taking her into your bed …”
He threw up his hands in exasperation. “Right. Fine. Let’s just work this out, shall we?” He sat down at the small table and pulled a pad of paper towards him, picking up his pen. “Let’s see …” He stared into the distance for a moment, then began to write, trying to ignore the chill from the seat under his naked buttocks.
Freya, now mystified and curious, slid out of bed and went to stand next to him, looking over his shoulder. “What are you doing?”
“Proving something to you.” He shook his head. “This is just like you. Starting to think things like this just when we’re going to bed.”
“Shh, I’m considering.” He paused for a moment. Then, “I don’t know how long Inara’s been whoring – sorry, servicing clients, but let’s say fifteen years. That’s fifteen times 365 days. Say a client a day, so …” He did some quick figure work. “About 4,475 clients. Maybe she takes Christmas off, so that’s fifteen less. But sometimes it’s more than one a day so I guess that kinda evens out. But let me be generous and say 4,000 clients.” He looked up at her, leaning on his shoulder. “All of those men – and women – knew Inara in the biblical sense. Now, how many men have you slept with?”
She took the pad and pen from him. “Well, then, let’s see …” She made notes, muttering as she did so. “Divide by … then carry … bring forward …”
“Roughly,” he finally prompted.
“Roughly? Oh, okay then.” She tossed the pad back onto the table. “Three.”
“Three?” Mal was taken aback. “As in …”
“More than two and less than four.”
Mal’s face was a picture. “How the hell did you get away with only three?”
“I kinda lost interest after you.”
He shook his head. “Since I was your first, I’m not sure if I’m being insulted or not. But my point is this. Do you think I want to have sex with a woman who’s had several thousand lovers, all of whom know her intimately, or make love to someone who’s had only three? And who, I might add, ain’t got more’n two to compare me to?”
Her lips twitched. “I’ll have you know, had I been inclined, I’d’ve been able to compare you with millions before the Naxom, if I’d wanted to.”
He blanched a little. “Did you?”
“Well, no. Mainly because I didn’t want to. Mal, you make me feel so special, and you certainly know all the right buttons to press.”
“So why’re you worrying?”
“Not worrying. Just …”
He took hold of her hand, gazing into her dark eyes. “Worrying.”
“She’s still on board, Mal. And now she‘s not going to be a Companion any longer.” Freya sighed. “You can’t blame me for wondering.” She patted her belly. “Especially now.”
Mal shook his head, smiling as he stood up, pressing his skin against hers, feeling the length of her body down his. “Frey, I know this ain’t gonna sound right, but I want her even less now. I married you. You’re carrying my baby, our baby, and that makes you special. Even more than you were before.”
“Yep – it doesn’t sound right,” she teased. “So I wasn’t special before?”
He laughed. “You go twisting my words around and I’ll …”
“What? Spank me?”
In answer he pushed her down on the bed, lying close next to her. “This,” he said, running a hand down her belly, over the swelling of his child, to the top of her thighs, then pressed further, cupping her gently.
“That all?” she asked, her voice growing husky just from the feel of his fingers so close to her core.
“That’s just the start,” he promised, and kissed her deeply.
Monday, January 8, 2007 4:15 AM
Monday, January 8, 2007 8:36 AM
Monday, January 8, 2007 9:41 AM
Monday, January 8, 2007 6:03 PM
Monday, January 8, 2007 11:01 PM
You must log in to post comments.
OTHER FANFICS BY AUTHOR
All FIREFLY graphics and photos on this page are copyright 2002-2012 Mutant Enemy, Inc., Universal Pictures, and 20th Century Fox.
All other graphics and texts are copyright of the contributors to this website.
This website IS NOT affiliated with the Official Firefly Site, Mutant Enemy, Inc., or 20th Century Fox.