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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Post-Series, Pre-BDM; Still PG. Fifth chapter (there's only one more after this): Inara is back on Serenity...again, if you don't know what's been going on, please read parts 1-4. All characters and whatnot belong to Joss...except the title, which belongs to Lewis Carroll.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 891 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
"What happened to her?" Kaylee asked, her voice a quiet hush against the whinings of the engine. Zoë shook her head.
"The doctor and the captain are talking now," she explained. "But so far, it looks like she was drugged...and..." She couldn't go on once Kaylee looked away.
"Poor 'Nara," Kaylee whispered, sinking to the steps. Zoë sat next to her, quietly wrapping her arm around the mechanic's shoulders. The two women sat in silence, each lost in her own thoughts; each thinking about Inara.
"She'll wake up soon," Shepherd Book explained to River in the kitchen. "But we're not sure what she'll need. If she wants her privacy, you need to let her have it."
"She doesn't want privacy," River said, still watching Zoë comfort River in the doorway of the engine room. "She wants it to have been a dream, so that it wasn't real."
"River," Book tried again. "She may need some space...we can't be sure of what happened in there."
River looked at the Shepherd with dead eyes.
"I can," she whispered.
"It just ain't right," Jayne grunted, pulling a crate from its hiding place. Wash looked up from the other side of the crate.
"The drugging a registered Companion or the kidnapping a Companion?" he asked, slightly out of breath. "Or could it be the parts we don't know about?"
"Well, that, too," Jayne admitted. "I meant the leavin' that wormy piece a'garbage livin' in the lap of luxury after gettin' her out. What was Mal thinkin'? Just blowin' some holes in bushes ain't gonna teach that hun dan a lesson."
"Well, who knows," Wash said, stretching his back as they went to retrieve another crate. "Maybe the Captain will have me fly us back there again so we can all take turns beating him with whatever comes to mind."
"That ain't such a bad idea," Jayne approved. "But I say we kill him, too."
Jayne glanced back in the direction of the infirmary, remembering how fragile Inara had looked when Mal brought her in.
"Slow and painful," he added. "Real slow."
"No more," she pleaded, her breathing ragged. "Stop, please, stop..."
Mal held Inara's hand, his heart breaking with every word she uttered in her sleep. Simon had hooked her up to an IV, to replenish the fluids in her body. She had been diagnosed with malnutrition, and it had taken him some time to identify the drugs in her system. She was finally coming around. Simon was treating the wounds on her arms and shoulders, but it wasn't his actions that cause her words...she was still dreaming.
"Please!" she gasped, her hand clenching against his. He clenched his jaw with fresh anger towards the creature that had done this to her.
"Inara, shh," Simon whispered to her. His words only made fresh sobs escape her lips.
"Stop talking," Mal ordered. "Do your job."
"But she's in pain--"
"Your words ain't helpin' her," Mal said thickly.
"Mal?" she whispered. "Mal?"
"I'm here," he answered. "I'm right here."
"Don't..." she begged. "Don't leave me...don't go..."
"I won't," he said, aware of the doctor's presence. "I won't go anywhere."
She calmed at his words; he watched the doctor finish up.
"Don't tell any of 'em what you learned in here," Mal instructed.
"I know the patient-doctor rights," Simon responded, removing his gloves and washing his hands.
"Just keep her secrets," Mal said quietly. Simon nodded.
When Inara woke, Mal still held her hand. The lights had been dimmed, but she could breathe easily and see into all the corners of the infirmary. She glanced at the man's hand, his knuckles were split and she suspected not all the blood was his. She raised her eyes to meet his...he was waiting for her to speak first.
She could not find the words.
She let her eyes fall back to his hand, sensing how tightly she held his hand for the first time. She relaxed her hand...he did not let go. She let her thumb run across the cuts in his skin. She pulled his hand to her mouth and kissed the injury softly, then let go of his hand.
He crossed his arms across his chest and stared down at her, his worry showing in his eyes.
"You'll be wantin' some sleep, I expect," he said gruffly. He made no move to leave.
"I fear I've slept enough," Inara whispered back. He nodded.
"D'you want some company?" he asked, nodding to the doorway. "Kaylee and River and...well, everyone...have a mind to stop in..."
"In time," she answered.
"D'you want some privacy?"
"No more than I have right now," she said softly. He relaxed a little.
"I hope I didn't delay your plans in any way," she tried. His mouth turned up into a half smile.
"We're makin' up the time," he said truthfully. "You're worth it. Little Kaylee re-wired and is pullin' power from every possible corner to get us there in time. Kept her busy."
"Is that why the lights are dim?" Inara asked.
"I didn't think you'd mind yet," he said, stepping closer to her bedside. "You kept your eyes closed pretty tight in the gardens back there."
"I thought I was dreaming," she whispered.
"Dream of me often?" he joked, trying to make her smile. She looked at him with pain in her eyes.
"How did you find me?" she gulped, trying to sit up. "I thought I would never..."
"Hey, now," he said, pulling her into his arms. "That's a foolish thought. You know I ain't the type to just let you go off without sayin' good-bye. Next time a thing happens, you don't wanna be there, you hold your head up and you know we ain't gonna let it go on."
"I'm so sorry," she whispered, clinging to him. "I put everyone at risk..."
"It's not such new territory for us," he said softly. "Just a new person to save. Hell, even the doc has--"
"Mal, please do something for me," she asked, relaxing in his arms.
"Tell me," he responded.
"Kill that...monster...back there," she bit out.
The next time Inara woke, it was Kaylee holding her hand. She smiled warmly at the young mechanic.
"You're awake!" chirped the girl. She turned to someone in the doorway. "She's awake, come in...that is, if 'Nara don't mind."
River's head peered around the doorframe, her eyes wide with concern.
"I don't mind," Inara answered truthfully. "Please come in. Tell me what has happened in my...absence."
"Oh, nothin' terribly excitin'," Kaylee said, smiling deeply. "I got some extra boost out of th'engines by rewiring the power converter t'accept more--"
"I poured several bowls of stew on Simon," River interrupted.
"There was that, too," Kaylee nodded, smiling. She leaned in, her eyes glinting with the humor she was about to impart. "It was so hot the once he actually took his shirt off right there in the kitchen!"
"Kaylee," Inara admonished. "You were, of course, a lady and looked the other way."
"If I did that I'd have no fun at all!" Kaylee laughed. Inara was glad to hear the sound. She looked at River and saw the girl watching her. She felt her smile start to slip. She returned her gaze to Kaylee...and saw the smile was forced on the mechanic's face.
"Cap'n said you wouldn't want to talk about it yet," Kaylee said softly. "Said we were t'keep your mind off it, if we were to be here at all."
"The Captain has a good heart," Inara managed. She tried to sit up and found her body tired, but able. It was a welcome feeling. She pulled her legs over the side of the bed and, keeping Kaylee's hand in her own, went to stand.
"What're you doin'?" Kaylee asked, alarm in her voice.
"I can't stay here, feeling...like an invalid," the Companion answered. "You both are going to help me to my shuttle."
"They said you'd be tired, though," Kaylee continued, still supporting her friend.
"If I sleep any more, I think my eyes will never open again," Inara said, starting to lose her patience. She took a deep, steadying breath in the silence that followed.
Then River took her arm and helped her stand. Kaylee smiled and squeezed Inara's hand and supported her on the opposite side. The three of them began the slow walk to the Companion's shuttle.
"Where did she go?" Mal demanded when he returned.
"Kaylee was sitting with her," Simon explained, just as confounded as Mal. "When I last checked on them, she was still sleeping."
"Find Kaylee," Mal ordered, turning to check the only place he could think she might want to go. "You find her and tell her she--"
"Did we get paid?" Wash asked, coming around the corner. Mal nearly walked over him. He glared instead.
"You seen Inara?" Mal asked impatiently.
"Kaylee and River helped her get to her shuttle, why?"
Instead of answering his pilot, Mal stalked past him. He had every intention of informing Inara she wasn't ready to leave the infirmary if someone had to help her leave it.
"Is that a 'No, we didn't get paid' storm off, or a 'Yes, we got paid' storm off?" Wash asked again. Simon shrugged in response as Zoë came into the small hallway.
"That would be a 'We didn't get paid full price,'" she explained softly. "We were late."
Wash looked to the empty bed in the infirmary.
"I don't think we were wrong, though," he said firmly.
"No one does," Zoë smiled. "Even Jayne thinks we did right."
"Really?" Simon asked, slightly shocked.
"That doesn't change the fact he wants to break some heads, mind," Zoë added. "Just...leave him be for a few days."
"Well, maybe we'll get another job soon," Wash suggested.
"Maybe," Zoë nodded. "But I think the Captain may have his mind elsewhere just now."
"Inara, what do you think you're playin' at?" Mal asked, entering the shuttle unbidden. Three sets of eyes looked up at him. He stopped short in the doorway.
She had dressed in a beautiful amber colored gown with sleeves that covered the markings on her shoulders and upper arms perfectly and flowed evenly to the floor of the shuttle, pooling at her feet, even as she reclined against a stack of pillows. Mal had never seen the dress on her before. River was intricately braiding the Companion's hair as Kaylee held up jewelry selections.
"Captain," Inara smiled warmly. "I have some news for you."
"It better involve you gettin' back to the infirmary," Mal snapped.
"My request earlier has been amended," Inara said, ignoring his thinly veiled orders. "I think you'll find this change most amenable."
"Kaylee, River, don't you have things needin' your attention?" Mal ground out. He was met with knowing smiles.
"River, I think I hear your brother callin' for ya," Kaylee grinned, standing. She held her hand out to the young girl.
"I want to stay," River frowned.
"Just go," Mal demanded. The two left, hand in hand.
"I told you I would kill him," Mal hissed. "I ain't about to go back on that."
"Murdering a man such as him will not give back anything he took from me," Inara said, folding her hands carefully in her lap. She looked up at him with shadowed eyes.
"It will give me some peace of mind," the Captain insisted.
"Mal," Inara said sharply. "The plan has changed from murder for free...to a paying job."
Mal looked at the Companion's eyes and seeing the determination there, gave in.
"Go on," he said, leaning against the door.
Thursday, March 15, 2007 4:17 AM
Thursday, March 15, 2007 5:58 AM
Thursday, March 15, 2007 5:19 PM
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