AIB 34: Friend or Foe
Sunday, September 20, 2009

I know it's been a bit, but Angelle is back and ready to deal with Inara, but first, she has to take care of another matter.


Angelle is mine, the rest is Joss'. ----------------------------------

Sunshine....the light given off by the sun which can be rather bright and slightly disconcerting when one is woken by it at the crack of dawn. It was mornings like this that I remembered why I rather be in the black. No sun when there are no windows in your bunk.

Yawning, I stretched feeling a strong arm wrapped around middle and a slight snoring near my head. Mal lay asleep, his face buried in his pillow to keep from the light penetrating through my curtains. Funny that he was using mine instead of his. The thought to yank it from him crossed my mind, but I had things to do and the thought of talking with Inara without Mal sounded like a rather decent idea.

Careful not to disturb him, I climbed out of bed and yelped, covering my mouth to stop it from being too loud. My warm foot rested in the pile of cold wet clothes Mal had shed last night, a sensation no one should have to deal with at six in the morning. Reaching down, I went to gather them up and then tossed a look back to my bed. A smile crossed my face and I stood up, moving my way to the closet. He stole my pillow, after all.


"You really haven't changed a bit, Angelle." A voice behind me made me reach for the knife at my side. Swamp surrounded me as I had made my way to Serenity, figuring the weather was dry enough to get Inara off and into a place she would feel more a part of the world around her. Somehow, it was going to be postponed.

I turned, my hand resting on the bone handle. It was a voice i recognized, but more than one person had told me he was dead. Guess it's what i get for believing what I hear without confirming it. "Well, well, didn't think you'd be stupid enough to come back here, Jericho."

"You know me, Marcs. Anywhere a job takes me." His gray eyes flashed a look at me that made me second guess myself for not taking a gun. "Relax, ain't huntin' you or any of your kin."

"Daddy know you're here?"

"Who'd you think got him back in one piece?" He sat down on an old stump, his black hair slightly wavy and damp. "Ain't burning my bridges here. Place is all I got for a home. Most of us are like that and you know it."

"He never mentioned you."

"Told him not to. Figured you had your hands full enough with that Browncoat of yours. You know there's a pretty good price on his head."

"As well as yours, Co." I smiled at him, both of use knowing that I was the better killer, but when it came down to dealing with people. Jericho Hail had me beat hands down. Man had a silver tongue and balls of steel to go with it.

"Already told you. Ain't burning my bridges. Your daddy is pretty forgiving, but I think that even I couldn't talk my way out of, though it might be fun to try." He winked at me.

"You'd never get a chance." I sneered. "One reason I haven't stuck you dead is what you did for my dad. Now, why are you really here?"

"Heard your captain's got himself a Companion on board that Firefly of his. One Inara Serra..." Jericho waited for my reaction, but he found nothing to suggest it to be true. One thing I had learned...when a hit man asks about a person no matter how pretty, it's usually not for a date.

"Never knew you to need a Companion's touch, Co. Need to pay for it now."

He frowned at my statement, letting me know I had gotten to him. "I've never had to pay for it. Silver tongue has its advantages all over the spectrum. Only reason you said no is because I didn't force the issue."

"Really? I thought it was because after the second 'no', I threatened to cut your balls off if you asked me again. I don't sleep with killers. Find that the morning after can be a real pain."

"We don't all play the Black Widow, Angelle." He smiled. "The Companion has a reward out for her, a very nice size sum that we could split."

"Ain't letting you turn her over to the Purple."

"Alliance? You got to be shitting me. You and I know that the Alliance pays jack shit for anything and half the time they take you in as well. Ain't looking to be captured." He shook his head and reached in his pocket for a piece of paper. I could see Inara's face on it from the distance that separated us. "Magistrate Higgins of Higgins' Moon...Says here she was an implement in the escape of Jayne Cobb. Got one on him, too, but way I hear it, Whore got a thing for your captain. Ain't like you to share a ship or anything else with the competition."

"So I give you Inara and you'll bring me back half of the money?" I smiled, not once even thinking about his deal...okay, but only for about three seconds. Hey, I am an assassin and Co's right, I never was too good at sharing.

"You don't sound to sincere."

"She's still his crew, Jericho."

"Your generosity is matched only by your stupidity," He shook his head. "You'll regret protecting her, Marcs."

"Might be right, but I've learned to take care of my own mistakes. Don't need help with them."

"Higgins wants her alive. Something to do with his son. Guess the Whore was his first time."

"She's a Companion. Whores are what you can afford." Yes, you heard me right. I defended her. Why? Well, that's a question I ain't sure I can answer or if I'll ever be able to. Maybe it was just the way my daddy raised me.

"You trying to tell me to leave her alone."

"Ain't tellin' you nothing, Co, but if you are worried about bridges, that would be one way of burning it."

"I know my territory, Marcs and I will abide by it, but the day she steps off that ship is the day she's mine." He growled at me, his hands fingering the gun at his side.

"Just watch your back. Ain't the first time you went after something you shouldn't and had it bite you in the ass." His glare made me smile as did the slight flinch from the memory of Needles having to dig the bullet from his ass.

“So, am I invited to the wedding?” His quick change of the subject came at no surprise, but I just shook my head.

“Depends on the gift. Your head on a silver platter would be nice.”

“When'd I become first on your hit list?”

“Just don't pick any fights and leave the Companion alone.” I turned from him, not usually one to turn away from an assassin, but if Co was gonna kill me, he would have already done it.

“Hell must be damn cold if you're finally tying the knot. I mean after Nick's death and all.”

“Even the coldest winters break way from spring's warmth, Co.” My feet began to move toward where Serenity was located, the rain's depth already subsiding to the swamp.

“Eventually, I will need to meet this man. Got to be something to melt the Snow Queen's heart. “ I heard him yell, but with a smile, I just ignored him. Mal and Co would cross paths and I could see bullets and words flying. One just hoped it was after we took our vows.

I might have continued with that thought had a scream not pierced the calm early air and maybe it was just me, but it sure sounded like Inara and the growl of a very big and hungry lizard.


Sunday, September 20, 2009 12:19 PM


OOoh, did the lizard get Inara first? So happy to have another chapter after patiently waiting. The reward from you, as always, is worth it! Hope the next chapter is up before long. And yes, I know my friend, I am a greedy little fic-hound, but only for the good stuff - honest! Ali D :~)
"You can't take the sky from me!"

Monday, September 21, 2009 2:48 AM


Silver tongue and balls of steel - I absolutely love that description! And Inara tangling with an alligator ... this should be fun! Just don't leave us hanging around for too long, dong mah?


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