Thursday, January 18, 2007

As they go to sleep in the bed they share, Inara remembers the first time she and Mal ever had sex.


Title: Lightning

Rating: PG-13 (sex)

Summary: As they go to sleep in the bed they share, Inara remembers the first time she and Mal ever had sex.

A/N: I posted this one at livejournal in November, but never got around to posting it here. So, here it is! I also wanted to thank everyone who has reviewed all my other m/i nonsense fics, "Snow Angels" especially. They mean a lot to me.


She still remembered the way the room smelled, the linger scent of jasmine incense mixed with the wet leather of his browncoat, discarded haphazardly, sacrilegiously, on the floor. It made sense, she supposed. They said scent was the strongest sense tied to memory. Still, it surprised her, just a little bit, the level of detail the memories contained, its layers, waves too vast for even her to wade through.

“You’re quiet tonight,” Mal said, leaning over and kissing her on the forehead. She smiled up at him, but didn’t sit up or speak. She was comfortable here, on the bed, and she didn’t feel much like talking. Mal smiled back at her, shook her head at her at her silly silence, and resumed removing his boats.

She remembered the sounds, too. There was the sound of the raindrops against the hull. She’d been listening to it for hours, getting lost in it. She hadn’t heard to rain in a time. It wasn’t something she realized until they’d landed in the middle of a thunderstorm. It excited her, the crash of each small droplet on the shuttle’s hull, the sound like a heartbeat, her heartbeat, pulsating through the room.

And then there was the lightning itself, lighting the sky with violent purple lines. Electric. They breathed in and out of the darkness of the storm like neon dancers, and the world, this small backwater world, was their stage. It made her remember childhood, the belief in some things were larger than they were supposed to be. Turbulent. Glowing. She sat at the shuttle’s controls, just watching.

It was in those quiet moments, all alone, that she knew she was going to live forever. And then his arms were around her, embracing her from behind, and she knew she wasn’t alone.

“Do you remember Valkyrie?” she said.

Even with his back to her, Inara could tell Mal was smiling at the memory. He tosses his shirt on the floor next to his pants. He turned, ready to climb into bed. “How could I forget?”

There were other events, things she couldn’t remember with such clarity. Linear motions of time sometimes faded away and all she had left was the feeling in her spine as his eyes met hers, shutters induced by intensity that was overwhelming. The strange thing was that she couldn’t remember why anymore. Where Mal was going, what the job was… it just ceased to matter after a while. All the bullets, all the bloodshed blended together. But she remembered the shutter in her spine when their eyes met and remembered the feeling, overwhelming, of the weight of the reason she was staying behind.

“You should put a shirt on,” she said to Mal as he climbed into bed. “It’s cold. You’ll freeze in your sleep.”

“You ain’t one to talk, darlin’. Last I checked, lacy lingerie ain’t exactly standard snow-gear.” He pulled her into his arms as he said it, his hands moving through her hair then down her back as her held her. “Guess we’ll have to keep each other warm.”

So here they were now. And she couldn’t deny that they were happy, but she still couldn’t quite embrace it. She couldn’t wrap her arms around it when the weight still hung from her wrists like shackles that she denied and he couldn’t see.

“We made love for the first time on Valkyrie,” she said quietly. “You came to the shuttle during the storm, threw you soaking coat on the floor… and we made love in the cockpit.”

“If I recall rightly, that was your preference,” he said teasingly.

And it had been. Not because it was a place where she especially desired to have sex, but rather because that’s where she was when he came to her. And she wanted him. She knew that, at least, amid all the other things, the turbulence that surrounded them. Lightning shattering the sky with a mighty roar, splitting it open so that even the stars are blinded.

“I was serious about the shirt,” she said.

He didn’t even bother formulating a response, he just pulled her closer.

And so she closed her eyes and saw the stars, blind fools shimmering through the galaxy, all of them haphazard, rushing from here to there to anywhere without any real idea of where they’re heading. Pulling out, pushing in, victims of forces, the cosmos, gravity and magnetic fields and mass and fusion and a hundred other things that Inara didn’t care to name because it was too much. It was beyond the realm of what she could handle, what she could understand.

She didn’t talk about it. She couldn’t. So, she let him hold her.

“You know,” he whispered, “there’s still a part of me that’s waitin’ for you to have at me for throwin’ down that coat.”

Another thing that she remembered, the puddles all over the floor, all caused by the coat he had thrown down. It would have been horrible six months before. Six months before all rainwater would have soaked into well-chosen carpets and there would have been no way to ever rid the shuttle of that smell, of wet leather, the scent of Malcolm Reynolds after a hard day’s crime.

“I’ll let you off the hook this time,” she said. “But if you ever do it again….”

“Nope. Never again,” he whispered, voice just slightly slurred with the onset of sleep. “Scout’s honor.”

Inara smiled. “You were a scout?”


And he was out, sleeping soundly. He was oblivious to the world, to the storm that was inside her. She was content to watch him sleep, watch every breath. He should have listened to her about that shirt. She could already see goose bumps on his chest. So she moved his arm off of him and adjusting their bedding, covering them both up, then pulled his arm back over her and closed her eyes. She wasn’t sure who she was, really, anymore. Valkyrie was more to her then the memory of the consummation of their relationship. A part of her had died there, lost in the storm, in the sex, in the dance. The part of her that had strange dreams of returning to her old life had died there, gone in a lightning crash. And she supposed it was okay. Overwhelming, but okay. Because, at the end of the day, she was exactly where she wanted to be.


Thursday, January 18, 2007 9:19 PM


Oh, nice. It turns angsty for like a split-second, but in the end is absolutely beautiful.

Love it!

Friday, January 19, 2007 1:38 AM


This was beautiful, had a kind of poetry to it. Loved Inara being introspective without the angst, finally at peace with her decision not tearing herself up over it. Lovely, thanks! Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Friday, January 19, 2007 6:46 AM


I think this is all the more beautiful BECAUSE of Inara's lingering angst and confusion about her choice about leaving her old life behind...though I am glad she resolves her feelings by the end;D


Friday, January 19, 2007 7:38 AM


Perfection. A tad angsty, but completely romantic - just the way I likes it! Bravo, Arcadia!

Friday, January 19, 2007 3:02 PM


I really loved this - the last paragraph was really beautiful.

Friday, January 19, 2007 6:46 PM


Love the analogy of Inara's inner storm and the physical one from her memories.

I wanted to comment on "Snow Angels",
but the network filters at work are set on high.

"Snow Angels" ranks as one of my top get together stories. It's perfect!

Anyway, love the way you write M/I, my favorite ship.

Saturday, January 20, 2007 5:57 AM


Wonderful bit of introspection on Inara and her past life - you've written the essence of what would be most important to her at the most basic level, and let the rest of their relationship build from there. Very elemental and powerful!

Saturday, January 20, 2007 6:59 AM


There isn't a thing here that I can say that hasn't been already said. In short, this is a beautiful fic.


You must log in to post comments.



Bullet Tears
Inara has a rude awakening during her early days in the black. Written for firefly firday.

As they go to sleep in the bed they share, Inara remembers the first time she and Mal ever had sex.

Snow Angels
Mal takes Inara long to make a delivery on a snowy planet. Two or so months post-Miranda.

Definition of Something Different
A small M/I fic, set post-Serenity. Inara needs to see to her living arrangements.

How He Dies
How Mal Reynolds dies. Sorta.

Mal and Inara play cards. The loser has to share a secret. A good one.

Over the Hills and Far Away - Ch 19 - Final Chapter
Set after OIS. Much to Inara’s chagrin, Mal accepts a job offer that takes Serenity far away from New Melbourne and to an unremarkable moon called Three Hills...Everyone finds so peace. Inara recovers.

Over The Hills and Far Away - Ch 18
Set after OIS. Much to Inara’s chagrin, Mal accepts a job offer that takes Serenity far away from New Melbourne and to an unremarkable moon called Three Hills... This bomb has gone off! Is Inara okay? Is Mal?

Never Left
A sequel to <a href=""Don’t Leave Me </a>. What would Inara’s life be like if she never left Sihnon?

Don’t Leave Me
Written for FireflyFriday. Inara makes a wish, and Mal has a not especially good dream about it. Kinda corny in the “It’s a Wonderful Life” way. M/I, of course.