BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - DRAMA

YANLEI

Drops of Jupiter - Distraction (Chapter 9)
Friday, March 16, 2007

Mal forces Inara and Simon to rest before they collapse, and later Inara is finding it hard to deal, so Zoe tries to make her feel better. Neither realizes the danger that awaits them... {{We're nearing the end! Only a few chapters (3 or 4 at most) remain!}}


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 2059    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

Drops of Jupiter – Distraction (Chapter 9) Summary: Summary: Mal forces Inara and Simon to rest before they collapse, and later Inara is finding it hard to deal, so Zoe tries to make her feel better. Neither realizes the danger that awaits them... Rating: PG… nice mild chapter :P Word Count: 2798 Author's note: I know this isn’t the most exciting chapter… but bear with me and believe me when I say the climax and ending are so close! Hope you like this one. Thanks to wanmei for beta-ing.

Miss a chapter? Click a link to read that chapter! Chapter one, Chapter two Chapter three, Chapter four Chapter five, Chapter six Chapter seven, Chapter eight


“Kaylee, what are you doing?” Inara asked in puzzlement, though her voice was laced with fondness for the younger girl. Kaylee was standing in front of the Companion’s closet, looking at all the rich, silken garments that were hung carefully inside. “Y’know I just love lookin’ at your clothes, ‘Nara.” she said, a dreamy note to her voice. “I wish I could be so graceful like you… Get all dolled up and go to fancy parties and such” She twirled over to where Inara stood, laughing softly, and took up the Companion’s hands. They danced around the room in an impromptu, clumsy waltz, laughing and enjoying themselves immensely. Inara closed her eyes as they spun around, soaking herself into the happiness of the moment. Suddenly she felt lighter and realized that Kaylee had let go. Inara opened her eyes, still smiling, expecting to see Kaylee in front of her, but to her surprise, the room was empty. Inara’s smile vanished instantly and she looked around with a confused expression. “Kaylee?” she said slowly, confused and alarmed at her sudden disappearance. “Where are you?” Inara walked around the room, looking behind curtains and in the bathroom, trying to locate her friend. “Kaylee?” She opened the door to the shuttle and took a step out into the metal corridor. “Kay-” Inara’s voice caught in her throat as she caught sight of Kaylee and gasped in horror. The mechanic’s small form was spread eagled on the ground, blood dripping from her head as she lay lifeless. Inara began to scream as she rushed to Kaylee’s side, searching frantically for a pulse…

Inara sat bolt upright, panting. She looked around in alarm, confused and dazed for a moment before she realized it had been a dream. The ship was silent aside from the soft hum of the engines, and the soft beeping of the medical instruments in the infirmary. Inara wiped the cold sweat from her forehead and shrugged off her blanket, getting up from the couch where she had lay, unwilling to go to her shuttle. A dim, blue glow filtered into the room from the infirmary, and Inara began to walk towards it, slightly unsteady on her feet, unsettled from her dream. She quietly slid open the infirmary’s door and walked in, seeing Simon dozing uneasily in his chair beside Kaylee’s bed, his bruised face lying in a seemingly uncomfortable position on the edge of a tray of medical utensils. Inara silently seated herself on a stool on the other side of Kaylee, taking the girl’s hand and stroking it gently, her eyes settling on the mechanic’s peaceful expression. Inara didn’t move for a long while. She sat still, stroking Kaylee’s hand, watching her face for any sign of wakefulness, but to no avail. Simon grunted in his sleep once or twice but didn’t wake, and Inara was sure she was going to go crazy soon if the silence wasn’t broken. Finally she stood and moved closer to her fallen friend, one hand stroking Kaylee’s limp hair. “Come on, meimei…” she whispered, stroking a little more firmly, as though doing so might encourage her to wake up. “Don’t leave us… you can come back to us, I know you can.” She leaned closer, slipping her other hand on Kaylee’s opposite cheek, being careful not to touch the stitched-up wound, gently cupping the girl’s face in her hands. “Please…” she whispered desperately, as though pleading would help. Inara thought she heard Simon stir but didn’t look away, her tear-filled eyes focused on Kaylee’s face. “I’d do anything to have you back.” A tear slipped down Inara’s cheek. This time she was sure she heard Simon move, but again she paid no attention. “Take one of us instead… take me, take someone, but don’t take Kaylee… she has so much to live for…” Inara wasn’t even sure who she was talking to anymore, whether it be Buddha, God, or whatever other deity might help; all she wanted was to have her meimei back to the way she used to be. “Inara…” Simon’s voice floated softly over to her, and she started slightly as he lay a hand gently on her shoulder. She let out a shaky breath and slowly let go of Kaylee, giving her hair one last loving stroke before straightening up, wiping tears from her cheeks. “Are you okay?” asked Simon gently, looking at her with similar pain in his eyes. She nodded briefly. They both knew she wasn’t okay; neither of them were. But she was able to control herself for now, and that was what mattered at the moment. “You go and sleep.” She told Simon, nodding in the direction of his bunk. Simon shook his head immediately, as Inara had known he would. “No, really. Go check on River and get some proper sleep. I can watch her until you wake up.” “Inara, I really shouldn’t leav-” “Go.” The both spun around in surprise to see Mal standing in the doorway, looking saddened and firm at the same time. Inara wondered how long he had been standing there, but said nothing. She glanced at Simon and noticed a muscle twitching in his cheek, the doctor clearly having not forgotten his brawl with the Captain the day previous. “Both of you. Go get some sleep.” Mal ordered, and Inara was surprised to find herself included in the command. “Mal, I’m fine.” She protested stubbornly, despite the fact that she was very tired and had bags under her eyes. But how was she supposed to sleep when her best friend, her meimei, was dying? “Go.” Mal repeated again, but he wasn’t looking at her. His and Simon’s gazes were locked, a silent battle of wits raging between them. She looked from one to the other, the tension tangible in the air. Finally Simon relented, glancing down briefly before squeezing Inara’s arm gently and walking out of the infirmary, making sure not a speck of himself touched Mal as he slipped past him. Inara fidgeted slightly as Mal’s full attention fell to her. She looked down as he stepped towards her, averting her eyes and looking at Kaylee again, though the sight did nothing to relax her. Every time she looked at Kaylee she worried more, felt more anxious, felt like her heart was about to explode. “You really should get some sleep.” Mal said to her gently, touching her arm. His touch made her flinch. She didn’t mean anything by it, but the brief splash of hurt in Mal’s eyes made her feel guilty. “I’m fine, really.” She lied. The truth was that the genuine concern in Mal’s voice was somehow breaking through her seemingly tough exterior, as much as she wanted to ignore him completely for beating on Simon the night before. “Come on, Inara, I know you better than that.” He said firmly, taking her elbow and gently leading her away from Kaylee’s bed. She hesitated at first but slowly came around, following his lead. She knew he was right. Mal lead her up to the dining area where a cup of steaming tea sat on the table, waiting for her. She gave him a small nod of thanks as he gestured to it and sat down, wrapping her cold fingers gratefully around the hot cup, the heat penetrating her skin almost painfully. She hadn’t even realized she’d taken to staring off into the distance pensively until Mal broke the silence, making her jump slightly. “Drink. It’ll help.” He urged, sitting down in the chair next to her. He let out a long sigh as she took a sip, the hot tea warming her insides, but it gave her no pleasure as it normally would have. Everything tasted so bland, so dry. It was amazing how quickly the energetic vibe that Kaylee normally infected everyone with had died now that she was out of commission. She’d never seen everyone so subdued, nor had she ever heard the ship so quiet. It was eerie, strange and completely unpleasant. Mal seemed to be sharing the same thoughts and Inara felt a flicker of fondness towards him, as though they were sharing in some terrible secret, though the truth was plain as day. Kaylee could die. None of them had yet had the courage to say it aloud, but they were all wondering. The thought was so dreadful that Inara almost choked, and had to concentrate on forcing her hot tea down her throat the proper way. She frowned as she began to feel slightly light headed, and wondered if she actually had choked. “Oh...” she said softly, nearly dropping the almost empty cup as her muscles began to feel inexplicably weak. She felt Mal watching her carefully, and suddenly realized something. “My tea- did you…?” she didn’t finish her sentence, though she knew before he’d even answered that he’d drugged her. He nodded grimly. “I told you you needed sleep. But I knew ya wouldn’t listen, so I had ta take matters into my own hands.” He told her, pushing the cup away from her so she didn’t accidentally spill it and burn herself. Inara rose shakily to her feet, a weak surge of anger flowing through her. “Mal, you- are a c-conniving….” She stumbled and didn’t finish her sentence, nearly falling over as she tried to walk and found herself becoming increasingly dizzy. Mal hastily stood up and righted her, carefully half-leading, half-dragging her back to her shuttle. He scooped her into his arms as she lost the ability to walk at the door of her shuttle and gently lay her down on her bed, covering her with a blanket. “Sleep well.” He whispered as her eyes closed, her body slumping. He gave a tiny, sad smile and shut off the lamp near her bed before leaving the shuttle. He wandered aimlessly up to the bridge and gave Wash orders to land on the planet they were currently orbiting, and then went down to the infirmary, taking up Simon’s vacated position at Kaylee’s side, wrapping his hands around one of hers, silently sending a prayer up to the God he hated for doing things like this to him.

****

Many hours later Inara began to stir, and after a few moments slowly opened her eyes. She blinked several times and slowly sat up, fumbling for the switch of her lamp. She sighed as she brushed her hair out of her face and tied it up out of the way. As much as she hated to admit it, she appreciated what Mal had done. She was still mad at him for the way he’d treated Simon, but she at least knew he cared. She rose and slipped out of her clothes, crossed to her closet and pulled out a warmer dress, trying not to think about the dream she’d had not long before, of Kaylee standing in front of this very closet, beaming at the dresses with her innocent grin. A few minutes later Inara walked into the kitchen area to find Zoe and Wash seated at the table, just finishing a meal. After nodding a greeting, Inara headed to the counter to make herself some tea, glancing at the time and noting it was early afternoon. After the water had boiled and she’d poured it over her tea bag, she joined the couple at the table. They sat in silence for a while, lost in their own thoughts. Finally, Wash broke the silence. “So… we’ve settled on land.” He commented to Inara, who gave a brief nod of acknowledgment and went back to idly stirring her tea with a small spoon. She saw Zoe nudge Wash out of the corner of her eye but didn’t comment. Wash tried again. “We’ve landed near one of your friends…” he told her, obviously trying to cheer her up. Inara didn’t look up, though the tiniest flicker of a smile swept through her as she heard Zoe sigh. “Yeah, okay. Inara, you and I are going to Famke’s. I want you to stop thinking about Kaylee for an afternoon and relax. There’s nothing as can be done right now, and its not gonna help sitting ‘round here, bein’ all depressed.” She told Inara matter-of-factly, yet gently, and Inara looked up at her, knowing she had no choice in the matter. Normally she would have been thrilled to see Famke, an old Companion friend of hers, but she also normally would have gone with Kaylee. The mechanic loved visiting Inara’s friends with her; she was always so amazed by everything around them. Going to Famke’s with Zoe just wasn’t going to be the same. But she sighed and nodded, knowing that the woman was only trying to help, and she should at least try to be accommodating.

Ten minutes later she stood outside the ship with her purse and Zoe, blinking rapidly in the bright sunlight. She hadn’t said a word to Mal as she’d passed him in the corridor, still angry at him, but it was eating at her now. She shouldn’t be so hard on him. Sure he’d be an ass, beating on Simon like that… but she knew he was hurting just as bad as she was, he just didn’t know how to deal with it. She made a promise to herself to reconcile with him when they got back. “Er… I hate to say this, but Famke’s place is about a mile that way…” Inara said to Zoe, pointing down a street full of shops and people wandering around, shouting and laughing. Zoe nodded. “I know. I thought maybe we could go shop around a bit, have some lunch, and then meet your friend.” Zoe looked slightly uncomfortable at the thought of shopping around, and Inara appreciated the effort. Zoe had never been one to like shopping, always preferring to grab what she needed and leave, but she was trying for Inara’s sake. “Thanks, Zoe.” Inara said softly, putting her hand on Zoe’s arm. Zoe smiled and nodded, and they set off down the street towards the first shop. It was a small gift shop that sold jewelry, ornaments and other useless knick knacks. “Is there really a reason for these kinds of shops?” Zoe wondered aloud, picking up a silly bobble-headed ornament and setting it back down, a look of mild disgust on her face. Inara smiled genuinely for the first time in days and shrugged. The two women wandered around the shop for a moment, not really looking at anything too closely, until something caught Inara’s eye. “What is it?” asked Zoe curiously as Inara began to rifle through some necklaces hanging from one of many pegs extending from the wall. “Something for-” Inara muttered distractedly as she looked, finally locating what she’d seen. “-Kaylee.” Zoe finished, a smile forming as she saw the pendant Inara pulled from the rack. Dangling from Inara’s fingers was a delicate silver chain with a small strawberry charm, just perfect for Kaylee. “Maybe there was a reason for this place afterall.” Inara said to Zoe with a small smile as the Companion reached into her purse, pushing aside a long decorative box in search for a few coins. Zoe noticed the box and frowned. “Do you always carry that?” she asked, nodding at it as Inara pulled out three gold coins. “Yes.” She said sharply, glancing at Zoe and then closing her purse. Zoe shrugged it off and didn’t comment further, following the Companion to the man that stood behind a cash till. Inara was just handing over her money when a shrill scream overrode all the other noise from the streets. Inara, Zoe and the man behind the counter all looked towards the door as another scream followed, quickly followed by more and more. Inara began to run towards the door to look out, when Zoe grabbed her arm and yanked her back. Inara looked up at the woman and her heart skipped several beats when she saw the look of fear on Zoe’s normally unshakable face. Her eyes were locked on something out the window, something Inara couldn’t quite see. “What is it?!” Inara asked in alarm, hearing more screams from outside. The grip that Zoe had on her arm alarmed her even more, and she gasped as Zoe answered her question with a single word; the only word that could instantly make her heart stop. “Reavers.”

Please comment!

COMMENTS

Friday, March 16, 2007 9:24 PM

BLUEEYEDBRIGADIER


Damn Yanlei...this was all kinds of "Whoa!" Especially the Mal-drugs-Inara and Zoe noticing the case that Inara keeps her mysterious vial in...cuz those are some powerful moments in exploring character behaviour. That and I can imagine Joss & co. writing stuff like this;)

BEB

Friday, March 16, 2007 11:25 PM

AMDOBELL


Gorramit, we still haven't got Kaylee out of the woods and Reavers turn up! Don't tell me they go shopping too? Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Saturday, March 17, 2007 5:49 AM

YANLEI


BEB... I'm impressed that you caught on to what that decorative box was! Good Job! :D

Thank you both for your comments... I'm very excited for the next parts!


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