DUPLICITY Series: 1. "Trauma"
Wednesday, April 30, 2008

"Simon overhears a conversation which rocks his understanding of certain crew dynamics. What he learns leaves him struggling with the dilemna of what to do."


TITLE: "TRAUMA" AUTHOR: Alison M. DOBELL FANDOM: "FIREFLY" PAIRING: Zoe/Wash, Kaylee/Simon. RATING: PG-13. STATUS: First in in the "DUPLICITY" Series. ARCHIVE: Yes. Just let me know where. FEEDBACK: Welcomed. EMAIL: WEBSITE: None. All Firefly stories archived at

SUMMARY: "Simon overhears a conversation which rocks his understanding of certain crew dynamics. What he learns leaves him struggling with the dilemna of what to do." The usual disclaimers apply. The characters and 'Firefly' are the property and gift of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. No infringement of copyright is intended.


"Firefly" story

Written by Alison M. DOBELL

* * * * *

There was a ragged pain to her silence, bleeding from her eyes like unshed tears. He listened because there was no choice. Trapped in the kind of emotional trauma upon which nightmares fed. Every wave of emotion hit him harder than the last, building and building until anger outweighed the pain and every breath was agony. Her pain magnified into his. Over and over again, ad infinitum. When she at last spoke her words lashed him, the sound cutting his senses to ribbons.

"If you think you are in pain now you are mistaken."

Forming words hurt, thoughts becoming sluggish. Each one a mountain he was forced to climb because his survival depended upon it. Yet a growing part of him wearied of the struggle. Longed to lay down arms and just have it end. It was hard to remember why that was a bad thing. Her hand reached out and touched his sweat soaked cheek. It burned but not as much as the smile on her twisted face as she kissed him then blessedly he tumbled into darkness. Consciousness had never felt so foul nor oblivion so sweet.

* * * * *

Wash couldn't feel his legs any more. Sitting in the pilot's chair he tried to ease Zoe's languid form into a position which would allow him to work on the numbness. Zoe moaned softly, teetering on the edge of sleep, eyes closed. Wash huffed gently in her face. "Sleepiness is a sign of weakness of character, ask anyone."

Her smile intoxicated him. Wash watched the satisfaction lazily spread across her relaxed face knowing she was actually awake but boneless right now. She stretched like a cat, a big powerful panther, keeping her eyes closed but with every emotion visible on her usually closed face. It fascinated him and made his heart hitch with love for her. He had done that and not through hours of sweet loving making either but through the simple joy of being with one another. Touches, kisses and the gentle foolish banter of folks in love. Constantly he wanted to pinch himself to confirm that this wonderful exotic creature really was his.


"Mmm hmm?"

"Not that I don't love havin' my own warm, livin', breathin', sensuous blanket of womanly virtue..."

Her eyes slid open and he floundered, caught in the magnetism of her orbit.

"Um, I mean, that is to say..."

"Wash, you were sayin'?"

Rolling her body like that should be illegal, at least anywhere where he wasn't at that time the roll-ee. Wash groaned. Zoe's smile grew bigger, a perfectly knowing tease in warm eyes turned predatory. It made him feel hot, his body so sensitised to her touch that it was like a current wired straight to his libedo. "Uh, not so much with the speakin'." His voice squeaked, pitch rising.

A rich deep chuckle luxuriated its' way through her body and then rumbled intoxicatingly through his, vibrating through his skin and the cells of his body as she continued to rub against him, the slide of skin on skin a delicious friction causing a burn to ignite deep in his belly. Zoe gyrated her hips so incredibly frustratingly slowly, every point of contact branding him with need. He could feel his interest rising quickly, his body clamouring for more contact. Then there was her hands. Oh God, her hands! The last thing his brain registered was the hungry look of triumph in her eyes before he completely surrendered, melting into the kiss that would devour him while their bodies writhed in heated accord, discarding their clothing like a messy layer of sloughed skin they no longer needed.

* * * * *

At first Simon thought it was just one more quarrel between the Captain and the Companion. One more needle match in private following their very public one in the common room. Only as he paused before the part open hatch did his mind scramble to make sense of what he was hearing. Discretion being the better part of valor he stopped, lowered the hand he had raised for knocking on the partly open hatch, and listened.

"Inara, this has gotta stop. Interferin' with my crew, gettin' folk all on edge an' twisted up emotionally - just ain't right."

Her smile was not sweet and her tone was underlined with pure venom. Shocked, Simon was careful not to show himself. Inara was moving closer to where the Captain stood in the middle of the shuttle, back to the door, hands hanging at his sides curled into fists. "What do you intend to do about it, 'Captain'?" His title came out a taunt.

"Gonna get Wash to set course for Sihnon. Do what I should'a done months ago."

The smug look on her face froze. "Sihnon? Are you asking me to leave?"

"Nope, ain't askin'." The Captain put his hand in his pocket and drew out a wad of notes. He dumped them on her dressing table. "Seein's as how you won't be usin' up the full month's rent on my shuttle I'm returnin' it - in full."

Her tone snapped, no longer amused. "Take it back, I'm not going anywhere."

Now a hint of dark humour crept into the Captain's voice. "You don't call the shots on my boat, Inara, or whatever the good gorram your real name is. An' no," He raised a hand, palm outward. "Don't tell me, don't wanna know. Just want you gone is all."

A devious sly look crept over the matchless beauty of her face. "You can't get rid of me that easily, the crew won't let you."

Mal crossed his arms to stop himself lashing out. So tense he was liable to snap and with Inara he couldn't afford the loss of control. He needed all his wits about him. "An' why d'you suppose that is? Could it be 'cause you been sowin' dissent among my crew? Makin' out that you're the beautiful, compassionate creature of their dreams an' I'm the big bad Cap'n messin' everythin' up?"

"We know who'll they'll blame Mal and it won't be me."

"That supposed to scare me, 'Nara? 'Cause I have to say you stayin' on my boat's the bigger threat."

Her eyes glittered, hard, adamantine. "I'm not leaving and there is nothing you can do about it, Malcolm Reynolds. I won't leave until I've accomplished what I came here to do."

"An' what might that be?"

Inara took another step towards him, her smile softened to the point of almost seeming genuine. "Your complete and utter ruin."

It took effort for Simon not to cry out in shock. He had always liked Inara. Considered her the most cultured and genuine soul on Serenity and a good friend. It hurt him to witness this side of her, an ugliness that was wrong in so many ways he had difficulty taking it in. Stunned he stared with widened eyes, hardly able to credit what he was hearing but knowing with a terrible sinking feeling that it was the truth. He felt sick.

"If that's the case - an' I don't doubt it is - why the wait, Inara? Why the big gorram game? The pretendin' to care, the endless manipulation?"

"I gave you the answer when I first looked over your ship, Captain. I told you I supported Unification - what I didn't tell you was that I still do."

"War's over, Inara." He said softly.

"As Commandant Harkin once told you, for some the War is never over."

A long painful silence followed. Simon was about to carefully slip away when the Captain spoke again. As cold and abrasive as the tone was, Simon could still detect an underlying layer of pain. "You want me, come at me. Don't do it through my crew." "Where would be the fun in that? You care about them, I've seen it. A good soldier doesn't discount any ammunition for the upcoming battle."

"You ain't a soldier an' this ain't a battle."

"Are you so sure?"


"Then what am I?"

To Simon's surprise the Captain did not call her a whore. "You're a gorram spy."

Inara's laughter sounded wrong, off key. It made Simon wince.

"Didn't you know all Companions are little more than expertly trained spies? Who else can come and go where we do? Have access to people in places of power from both sides of the conflict? The Guild isn't powerful simply because it protects an army of whores."

The Captain was nodding slowly. "Don't do this, Inara. You wanna take me into Alliance custody an' what not here I am. Don't use my ship an' crew to turn this circus into an even more grotesque form of entertainment."

"Why Captain that sounded almost poetical."

"*Bizui*, Inara!" The Captain snapped. "You know well as I do when all this comes out it'll break Kaylee's heart, probably River's too, not to mention the rest of the crew. You got no call to hurt them."

"That's where you're wrong. They're loyal to *you*. This won't be over between us until they revile your name and everything you stand for just as much as I do." There was a heavy silence. Inara's voice dropped, becoming low and dark with hatred. "I *will* destroy you, so utterly and completely that even former friends will spit on your grave."

A longer silence stretched, the combatants only inches from each other but not moving. "Huh," said the Captain softly "I get a grave?"

When Inara did not answer the Captain took a step back from her and Simon took that as his cue to leave. The last thing he heard was the Captain's parting line. "Best get packed, we'll be on Sihnon in three days."

* * * * *

She moved swiftly, her body movements fluid and graceful despite her hurry. He lay slumped, a rag doll with no life of its' own to give the body animation. She paused only long enough to smile down at him and draw the cuff of her dress across her lips, wiping them clean.

By the time his servants came she would be long gone and with no outward marks of violence upon his body it would be assumed that his heart had simply given out. They would not know who had given it an almighty nudge.

* * * * *

Anger, deep and all consuming, threatened to unman him. Malcolm Reynolds took a detour before heading for the bridge. He needed to calm down *mashang*. Wouldn't do for the crew to sense something was wrong, it would only play into the gorram *pofu's* hands. Best to steady himself some then give Wash the change in orders. Badger's job could wait even if it meant losing a cut of what they were being paid. Wasn't as if the Grade A foodstuffs were going anywhere. Protein blocks that rich were a highly desirable commodity. Compressed protein fortified with vitamins, essential minerals and such like. Looked like bars of candy, tasted like cardboard and were as valuable as gold.

Shepherd Book looked up as the Captain entered the commons room. At first the Captain didn't notice him, thought he was alone. Book watched the concern on the Captain's face, the weariness etched in every line, the slump of his shoulders. He frowned and lowered his bible. "Captain, is everything alright?" With a start the Captain pulled himself together, the barriers going up so fast that Book marvelled at the change in the man. His frown deepened. The Captain gave him a nod and moved passed the table to pour himself a hot cup of coffee. "Shiny Shepherd, just a change in plan."

Book closed his bible. "I thought we were delivering the foodstuffs to Demeter?"

The Captain took down a cup and poured the black stewed coffee up to the brim. He didn't bother with dried milk or sugar. The blacker and more bitter the better. He needed something to match his mood. "That we are, just makin' a little detour."

Book's eyebrows rose. "As I understood it we were on a deadline."

"Ain't nothin' in the cargo gonna spoil."

"Maybe not but if it's late Badger will cut the payment at the other end, at least that was my understanding."

The Captain took a deep draught of the coffee, letting it burn down his throat in a most satisfying way. Dark like his mood, it was oddly comforting. Didn't think he could stand anything light and airy right now. "*Fang xin*, we'll still get paid."

"If I might ask Captain, where are we going?"

Mal wished the Preacher hadn't asked, at least not until he was ready to make an annoucement to the whole crew but he could hardly not tell him. "Sihnon."

Before the Shepherd could levy another question the Captain left the commons room, coffee in hand, and decided he best speak to his pilot. The sooner this whole unseemly charade was ended the happier he would be.

* * * * *

Simon didn't know what to do. What if he was wrong? What if he had misunderstood? And yet the conversation had been unequivocal. He paced the infirmary, trying to sort through his thoughts and mull over everything he had heard. There must be some mistake, he simply could not imagine Inara being as callous and calculating as he had witnessed. The Captain must have done something, pushed her into saying things she didn't mean. He paused, thought it over, then shook his head and starting pacing again. No. He might not be the world's best at interacting with other people but he was not only Top Three Percent in his class at MedAcad, he also had an eidetic memory. Once he heard or saw something it was etched in his mind forever. Unfortunately that also included every crude sentence that spilled out of Jayne Cobb's mouth. Even a photographic memory lacked the luxury of being selective.

* * * * *

Kaylee laughed, catching the jacks as they spilled from River's hands. "I win!"

To her surprise River didn't argue. In fact, her friend seemed to have zoned out. Kaylee tried to hide how much that disturbed her especially as River had been getting so much better.


They were in the cargo bay, Kaylee sitting cross legged on the floor while her friend knelt opposite her. The jacks and ball forgotten between them. A look of distress crept over River's face as if she was looking at something Kaylee could not see. She shook her head, her voice softened and tinged with dispair. "I didn't see it, why didn't I see it?"

"River, what didn't you see? D'ya want me to get Simon?"

The girl looked at Kaylee but it was as if she was looking right through the mechanic. It made Kaylee go cold. "He doesn't understand. Thinks it's a mistake even though he knows it isn't."

Kaylee made a decision, got to her feet and reached out to catch River's hand pulling the girl to her feet. "Come on, sweetie, let's go drag your brother out of the infirmary. He'll know what to do."

River went willingly but was still shaking her head. "No, he won't. He's as lost as the rest of us."

* * * * *

CHINESE GLOSSARY: (Mandarin - Pinyin)

*bizui* = be quiet/shut up *mashang* = at once/immediately/on the double/quickly *pofu* = bitch *fang xin* = don't worry (lit. ease your heart)


Wednesday, April 30, 2008 6:15 AM


I had just started this series when our stories got wiped off the site some months ago now and thought I had lost my notes so wrote another series instead. Now I have found it on another disc I am back to carrying on what I started so will be posting other chapters over the next few weeks. Enjoy. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Wednesday, April 30, 2008 6:40 AM


I thought it felt familiar! You've really made Inara loathsome, which is difficult to do in so few words. And Mal's pleading for her to get on and do whatever she wants with him, but to leave his crew alone ... an honourable man. Can't wait for more!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008 7:38 AM


Oh my....this is kind of scary, but I am impressed Inara being a bit evil. Lookin' forward to much more!!! Hint!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008 9:34 AM


OHHHHHHHHH scarey evil yummy....can't wait to see where this one goes. "I get a grave?" How perfectly Mal. Keep em coming sweetie....One more thing to keep me up late reading...sighs

Wednesday, April 30, 2008 6:02 PM


evil Inara? out to destroy Mal?... who? what? when? how?... and why?

Friday, May 2, 2008 2:20 PM


Just as chilling the second time around!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008 10:12 PM


I saw that I had a dedicated reader and that you wrote yourself... I enjoyed the spin here... This was amazing, truly made me wonder and marvel at what the series really could have been...

Saturday, October 15, 2011 5:57 AM


Thank you all for the shiny feedback, it is really appreciated. Ali D :~)
"You cn't take the sky from me!"


You must log in to post comments.



His head still ached from the rutting probe but after the men had satisfied themselves that his story was true a thousand questions peppered the air like machine gun fire.

The vessel was shiny, sleek and black with nowhere near the bulk of an Alliance ship. Something about the way it moved through the Black was more than a little creepifying.

Personally she didn't care if Serenity was towed off to a junk yard and stripped into spare parts. She had promised the ship to Jer and his crew as a bonus but it looked like scavengers had beaten them to it.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS: 2. "Counting Chickens"
The fact that her eyes were hard and sharp with intelligence kind of chilled him. Smart women always made him uneasy, it just weren't natural.

What in the nine hells were they so afraid of? Then he remembered Tracy. The body mailed to them by their old war buddy and all the trouble that had brought down on them.

If it was too gorram wet to hunt for rabbits what in the nine hells was his son really hunting? And was it something on four legs or two?

The man was in a terrible condition, his pulse weak, and for some reason he was soaking wet which did nothing to staunch the blood soaking through his clothing and seeping from the poorly tended wound where he had been shot.

THE DICHOTOMY SERIES: 9. "All The King's Men"
The man sighed like the weight of the of the 'Verse was on his shoulders but unlike anyone else he looked like he could carry the weight.

THE DICHOTOMY SERIES: 8. "All The King's Horses"
Without warning something came through the opening and rolled with a metallic clang across the ground before exploding.

THE DICHOTOMY SERIES: 7. "Friend or Foe"
Then he found himself falling, the whole world silent as in slow motion the hordes of *diyu* came to swallow him up and everything disintegrated in fire, blood and pain.