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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - ROMANCE
This is my take on a scene that should have happened in the movie. Set right before Mal attracts the Reavers to fight the Alliance, from Inara's POV. DISCLAIMER: everything belongs to Joss, even the dialogue i borrowed from the movie for the epilogue.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1093 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Inara found no consolation in Mal’s plan. None.
Miranda was slowly fading to a blue-white orb behind them as Wash hit the thruster and hit full burn out of atmo.
What the government, the Alliance, had done there was monstrous. After nearly a year on Serenity, and seeing the ragtag band’s disregard for the central authority, there was always a part of her that clung to the notion that the government she supported – supported in their retrospectively ill-conceived notions of unification – had some part of it that was good and wholesome. After all, she had spent the majority of her life on a core world where only the good and wholesome was seen.
But after what she saw on that moon, there was no denying it.
The Alliance – it was monstrous.
There wasn’t a way that she could forget what she saw. The dead bodies, huddled in there peaceful positions of sleep. They had just laid down and died, peacefully. She remembered the children too, not even held close in there parent’s limp limbs. There was no trace of emotion on their pale corpses, not anguish, no horror. Worst of all she couldn’t remove the images of the Alliance scientist on the holo, her sorely repentant glances, knowing in full truth what had been done there, and the inevitability of her own demise.
When Mal had gathered them in the mess, she felt out of place, surrounded by people, her friends who had no love for the Alliance. It was guilt. She was guilty that she had fervently supported an entity that had caused so much pain and suffering; guilty that as Mal harped his stories of the Independent cause, she regarded them as almost fictitious, like a child telling a far-fetched fairy tale that he had just heard.
She was ashamed. Disheartened.
And she found no consolation in his plan.
She should have, too. She would have laughed any other time when Mal said “I aim to misbehave.” Mal had always aimed to misbehave. Only now he meant it. Now he had a purpose, a belief.
Inara looked away from the small ceiling window in the mess. Inevitably, the Reaver graveyard would soon be coming into sight, and it wasn’t a sight she particularly wanted to see again.
She was the only one there.
Simon had long since left to the infirmary, throwing together everything he would need for emergency situations in his bag.
Kaylee retreated to the engine room, more than likely preparing herself for making an all too probable last good bye with her “good girl.”
Jayne was stripping every last gun and ammunition pack from his quarters and finding some way to strap them onto his person.
Wash, Zoe, and Mal were in the thick of Mal’s crazy plan on the bridge.
That left River.
“You’re not alone.”
Inara could have jumped out of her skin at the sound of River’s voice behind her, but for some reason, she was unusually serene. Maybe it has something to do with her impending death. Inara turned to meet River, who had taken a seat on the floor in the corner of the galley. She was staring intently at Inara, unwavering.
“You’re not alone,” she repeated.
Inara momentarily glanced away before answering, “River, I didn’t see you there.”
River shook her head daintily. “Not what I meant. You’re not alone in feeling useless.”
Inara took her eyes away from River again. It was a sickening feeling, having someone else reveal your thoughts for you. It was true. She did feel useless.
Oh god, why did he save me? Why didn’t he just leave me at the training house?
Inara suppressed a tear and let her gaze fall to River. She did feel useless…hell, she probably couldn’t even fire a gun correctly. All she had was herself, her guilt, and an ornamental hunting bow which would largely prove ineffectual against Reavers with blades or Alliance with rifles.
She quickly changed the subject in her head. “What’s wrong sweetie? Why do you feel useless,” Inara asked River, her voice wavering only slightly.
River let a half smile come to her face. “Because…they know what was done to me… and they…still don’t trust me…and they shouldn’t…time comes …. I’ll just…”
River was now in tears. Inara rushed to the floor beside her quickly wrapping her arms around the sobbing River, hushing her quietly as she cradled her. When River at last quieted she continued.
“I just know that I won’t be able to….help them…and I hate it.”
Inara continued to rock her on the floor. “I know the feeling.”
River let a smile come to her reddened, soggy, face. “I know you do.”
Inara didn’t let River’s words faze her. She knew River meant well.
The two sat there for a good while, just holding each other in silence. Inara had always found she had an affinity towards River, even when she wasn’t so lucid. It was similar to Simon’s attitude, though she could never replicate the intense love he had for his sister, but she had a strong desire to see River healed. Now River was so close, so very coherent. Inara shuddered at the thought that it may not last so long.
Out of nowhere, River began to speak again. “He wants to see you again.”
Inara was a bit shocked at River’s mention of Mal.
“River I …..I don’t want to distract him from what’s important.”
River giggled slightly as she wiped away at her nose. “Yes you do.”
Inara recoiled a bit. Sure she had been giving thought to talking to Mal, but in the manner River was suggesting?
Who was she kidding? She had been thinking about it ever since Mal had come into her shuttle almost a day ago, when the realization of impending death had been made and he sat by her on the cot.
“Why did you leave?”
“Why didn’t you ask me not to?”
She wished to god she had said something else there. She hated how whenever she was around him and even slightly provoked, the only things she could say …
She couldn’t even finish that thought.
When he had come like a knight in shining armor to whisk her away from the companion house, her heart nearly leapt out of its chest.
Now being near him again confused her….and she hated it.
River shook her head, staring deeply into Inara’s eyes. “I….know things…I don’t…like it…but I do…now none of us knows who is going to come home after play.”
Inara shuddered at the idea of what they were about to do as “play.”
“But I’ll tell you one thing I do know,” River continued. “After you left, there hasn’t been a day gone by that he hasn’t thought of you.”
Inara darted her eyes from River’s.
“And I know the same applies to you.”
She could have objected to the reader’s accusations, but it would be of no use: she was correct.
River finally let go of Inara.
“Don’t you want him to know?”
River said nothing more as she drifted serenely out of the mess and into the adjoining corridor.
Inara was only a couple of feet from the stairs leading to the bridge. Wash’s voice was stumbling out the doorway.
“You’ll only have a handful of moments to get back inside before I hit full burn.”
The slightly metallic sound of a zipper also echoed through the corridor as Mal answered.
It wasn’t a very convincing “shiny”, Inara mentally noted.
Mal began to make his way out of the bridge as he tapped his radio earpiece. “We’ll be in touch.”
Inara’s heart began to race. She suddenly felt stupid….years of companion training couldn’t compensate for the nervousness she was feeling. Then it donned on her that companion training was the art of deception, not love.
“’Nara,” Mal said. It was quiet with little inflection. Still he stopped. He was all suited up in his spacesuit, except his helmet.
“Mal….I….,” Inara was at a sudden loss of words as well. “I ran into River…she’s doing better.”
Mal blinked. There was obviously a lot on his mind. “That’s good.”
He walked past her, heading deliberately for the air lock.
“There’s not much time ‘Nara.”
“I know,” she said sullenly. “I thought about what you said.”
Mal seemed to suddenly know what she was talking about…and he wasn’t so brusque. Still he said nothing.
Inara was aching throughout her entire body.
“I left…because…I was afraid.”
Mal’s expression loosened. “Inara, you ain’t got to explain anything to me….there’s been plenty times that I wish I had bit my tongue or said something, anything else.” He looked down, his face tightening again, and he added to himself, “Lord knows it was me that drove you off.”
Inara looked up at him. “You didn’t…I ran.
“I ran like I always do. When I’m afraid. Whenever I felt myself falling closer to you, I pushed you as far away from me as I could. And when I couldn’t push anymore… I think that’s why I ran to the training house.”
Mal said nothing, groping for something, anything, to say.
“I left serenity. Every day at that house, something would remind me of this ship… the giggle of one of the girls, the whirr of an incoming vessel, the laughter of people gathered around a dinner table. I couldn’t escape it. For the longest time I hated it too.”
She hesitated briefly before continuing, “But when I saw you, when you came for me at the training house, I knew there was no more running. I didn’t want to run anymore. All this time I had been looking for serenity elsewhere. I never expected it to come to me, to save me.”
She took a step closer.
“Now with things the way they are, I’m not sure what’s going to happen.”
She couldn’t believe the words were coming out of her mouth like they were. She put a hand on his shoulder, drawing herself closer to him.
“Inara,” Mal felt like he hadn’t talked in ages, his voice was so scratchy. “There’s so much that has been left unsaid.”
She nodded. “I know. And if anything were to happen, I don’t want to leave things unsaid.”
She was so close now, inches from his face. Mal looked at her for an instant before letting his eyes close.
Her lips met his, locking for an instant that lasted for eternity, and when that eternity was over Mal let a trace of a smile come to his face. “I guess that clears up a lot.”
This time Mal drew her into a tight embrace, kissing her as he had always wanted to do.
Wash’s voice sounded over the intercom. “Mal, why aren’t you OUT THERE!”
Mal slowly let go of Inara. “I guess I gotta go,” he said, barely above a whisper.
Inara took one last gaze into his eyes. “Good luck,” she said even quieter.
Mal nodded, a nod that meant much more than an acknowledgment of Inara’s well-wishing.
The nod itself said “I love you.”
She returned the nod with a smile, a smile that said “I love you too.”
“She’s tore up plenty,” Zoe told her captain, “but she’ll fly true.”
For a moment, Mal almost thought that Zoe was referencing herself with that statement. Mal waited a bit considering carefully what to say.
“Make sure everything’s secure,” he ordered. Mal had known Zoe for a long time now, and with the loss of Wash, work was the best way to divert her. Zoe immediately turned with the compliant walk of a soldier. “Could be bumpy.”
Zoe continued walking, never looking back. “Always is,” she responded, half to herself.
Mal worked his way up through the cargo hold and into the mess. Simon and Kaylee were already hard at work stowing supplies, surprisingly an ear-to-ear smile on both their faces which made Mal wonder how much work was really getting done in the engine room. Jayne had already helped himself to a protein concoction and was shoving it into his face with Jayne-like dexterity.
Somethings never change.
Mal continued walking to the adjoining corridor to the mess, catching a brief glance of Inara.
He hadn’t spoken to her since before the battle really. Small talk. Besides, no one was really in the mood for talking, mostly in the mood for thinking.
There was a lot for Mal to think about: Wash, Book, the operative, the alliance.
And yet when Mal thought back to the eve of battle when she kissed him and he kissed her, he couldn’t help but feel conflicted. How much of what she said was sincerity? Tension can heighten certain emotions, Mal knew well enough, especially in situations in which death appears imminent.
Was that why she said what she said?
Was that why he said what he said?
Mal gave his legs a short jolt to catch up with her.
“We’re taking her out,” he said with that strictly business tone. It seemed like the best thing to do after all. It had taken all is strength to not say something too personal. He couldn’t be sure the crew wasn’t listening in. “Should be about a day’s ride to get you back to your girls.”
Inara looked at him confusedly at first, but then registered what he had said. “Right.”
Mal continued trying desperately to cling to his composure. “You ready to get off this heap and get back to civilized life?”
Inara didn’t wait to answer. “I uh…”
She stopped momentarily her eyes slightly darting as if looking for words to say. This was it. This was her way of admitting her foolishness when she kissed him. Mal waited for what seemed like forever. He wished so dearly that she would finish that sentence by saying “I don’t think so.”
He waited for another agonizing moment as she returned her gaze to him and finished, “…I don’t know.”
But her eyes, her smile, they betrayed her real meaning. What she really meant was “no.”
He smiled, comfortable with the notion of her staying for a good long while. “Good answer.”
He stole one last glance at her before he left. There was a smile on her face that he had never seen before. He smiled back, giving his answer, and that exchange was enough to seal the deal for Mal.
Malcolm Reynolds, former sergeant of the 57th “Overlanders”, was in love with a companion.
Friday, March 27, 2009 4:00 AM
Friday, March 27, 2009 4:24 AM
Monday, March 30, 2009 2:57 PM
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