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Remembering Inara Chapter 5-Part Of The Ship
Saturday, December 12, 2015

Emma pauses and smiles slightly. "I remember the time when I wanted Dad to be with us so badly that I pretended to see and talk to him. It wasn't real but..." "Actually it was." River says looking at Kaylee. "Can I tell her?"--Remembering Inara Chapter 5 Part Of The Ship


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River makes her way past Simon and Kaylee to stand with Inara.   Simon and Kaylee stay close so that they can return to their seats together. "I hear you in the engine room.  I see you at the table, when they are eating.  When we are eating."  River begins,  "You always sit between the boys like you used to.   When you were alive.  I have seen you become part of the walls and slide down to their rooms at night so you can watch them sleep.   First you go to Imala's, then Book and Wash's.   Finally Mal's.  You stay there the longest.   I tried to think of a way to show you to them.  So that they would know how much you love them.  Every time I get close you disappear.  I asked Shepherd Book why you do that.  He said that was the way things had to be now.  I told him that it was unfair.   I don't like being the only one that can see you."

Imala pales.

Simon approaches River.  "Thank you River.   Let's go sit back down now."

"I'm not done yet."  River says to Simon.  "She needs to know that it's not fair that only I can see her.  They miss her."

"I know sweetie but you're scaring Imala."  Simon says guiding his sister away from the child.

"Why am I the only one that can see them?   It's not fair!"  River continues as she is guided back to her seat.

"Imala looks pale.   I'll go next maybe I can help her relax."  Emma says to Mal as she rises from her seat.  She hears a quiet thank you from her uncle as she makes her way up to the front.  Emma begins by hugging Imala and smiling at her.  When Imala's bloodless pallor subsides she knows that she can begin.  "I have missed you a lot this past year.  You were always so nice to me.  You made sure that I knew everything I could about my dad.  Everyone..."  she says looking around the cargo bay, "has shared regularly over the years, but when I asked about something and Mom or Uncle Mal looked sad then I always came to you for answers.  When Mom and Uncle Mal were away working you always made sure that there was a comfortable place for me with you, Imala, Book and Wash." Emma pauses and smiles slightly.  "I remember the time when I wanted Dad to be with us so badly that I pretended to see and talk to him.  It wasn't real but..."

"Actually it was."   River says looking at Kaylee.   "Can I tell her?"

"Maybe when she's older."  Simon whispers.

"I took one of his shirts, those brightly colored ones and put it where you said he always sat.   The shirt was on that seat for months.  Uncle Mal didn't like it much at first, then you looked at him, he didn't say anything, he just walked over to the seat put Daddy's shirt on and told me a story about him.  Everyone who sat in that seat shared a story with me until I was ready for the shirt to come off of the seat again.  I just wanted to let you know that because of your kindness I never felt bad because I didn't have my dad with me.  You helped me know him a little better.   Thank you Aunt Inara.  I love you.  I miss you." Emma turns around to find her mother waiting to hug her.

"That was beautiful Emma."  Zoe says.  "You've said your piece and I guess it's time I said mine."  Zoe looks at Mal noticing that he looks less comfortable with each passing moment.  "Make sure you sit back down next to your Uncle Mal.  He needs the company."

"Yes mom."

Zoe stops in front of Imala and can't help but smile at the girl.  She reminds herself that this is supposed to be Inara and begins.  "I regret that we didn't spend more time together.  I wanted to thank you again for helping deliver Emma.  You helped me look after her from the moment that she was born.   You listened to me when I needed to talk about things that Mal couldn't quite understand.  You brought Emma into your family when I was..."  Zoe looks at her daughter, turns back to Inara and continues, "away dealing with things.  What I'm tryin' to say is that you made it possible for Emma to have a happy, stable childhood.  We all love you and miss you Inara."  Zoe takes Imala's hand for a brief moment, releasing it, she returns to her post next to Jayne.

"What?" Book asks after feeling Wash's elbow push against his.

"It's time to say something."

"I'm not goin' up there." Book says.

"We have to.  Mom said."

"Mom's not here.   I told her good-bye already."

"Dad needs us to."   Wash says.

Book turns and looks at Mal, turning back he says.  "Dad looks like he's got lit explosives in his back pocket.   I think he needs for this to be over.  It'll be shorter if I don't talk.  Besides you have what?   Six pages?  You go.  Go for both of us."

"These are notes to help me remember.   I'm not readin' the whole thing."

"That's a relief." Mal leans forward and places his hand on Book's shoulder.  "Your turn son," he whispers.

Book turns to protest. "Your turn."  Mal says again and points to Imala.

Book looks at Mal's face.  He's seen that face before.  There is no room for negotiating.  Not today. Book does as he is told.  Shuffling slowly to stand in front of his sister.  Painfully slowly.  The boy drops his head when he gets there,  pales a little and says. "Remember that time before the dummy back there was born?" He asks nodding towards his brother. "It was only ten minutes but it was my favorite ten minutes because I was with you.  Yeah.  It was just me and you.   I miss you Mom.  I have to go now because if I don't I'm gonna cry and Wash does that stuff not me.  I love you."

Wash is standing in Book's path when he turns to walk back to his seat.  When Book looks up Wash sees the tears in his brother's eyes.  "Say anything and you won't live to see mornin'."   He says.

Wash shakes his head and turns to say good-bye to his mother one last time.   "I've been working on this for a while."  Wash says.  The boy keeps shifting from one foot to the other and shuffles his notes nervously.  "Now I don't know what to say." "Relax."  Inara's words ring in Wash's head.  "Ignore the notes son.  Say what's in your heart."  For a few moments it's like his mom is still there standing in front of him.  "We miss you so much.  I want to tell you stuff.  Not just about times when Book is mean to me but good stuff too and you aren't here.  Aunt River says you are.  That you're part of the ship.  If it's true then I'm glad.  I'm not afraid of ghosts.   All the ghosts on Serenity are good ones.  I love you." Wash turns to go, turning back to his mother he says. "If you get lonely you can come and talk to me.   I'll keep you company."

"Thank you Wash." Inara says with a gentle smile.

Wash passes Mal on the way to his seat.

Mal stops just before he reaches his destination. "Jayne!" He calls.

"Yep." Jayne says as he crosses the cargo bay.

"I'm supposed to be talking to Inara." He whispers,  "I've got lots to say to her.  I'm pretty mad right now.  If you could..."

"I'm with you Mal."

"Good."

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