BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

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Remembering Inara Chapter 6 - Mal's Turn
Tuesday, December 29, 2015

You took everything good you ever did and in the blink of an eye you undid it. --Mal Reynolds


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 2600    RATING: 10    SERIES: FIREFLY

“You left me. Alone. You changed me. You made me fall in love with you and then you left. How could you do that? You pushed your way in. You made me open myself up. Show my struggles, my fears, and my pain then when I felt loved and cared for when my heart felt not only safe but fuller than it had ever been more healed than I thought possible you left. You took everything good you ever did and in the blink of an eye you undid it. As much as that hurts, I've been around a while. I grew up with only my mother. I saw the world I was fighting for crushed by unification. I'd already lost my home, my dreams, and my faith."

Mal turns his head and looks around the room. At all the faces. All those left behind. He turns back to Inara.

"When you married me and kept your sickness a secret you hurt our children. The babies that you gave birth to and held to your breast. You carried them in your womb knowing that they would grow up without a mother.” Mal's face grows redder with every breath his expression grows more intense with each passing moment. “Do you remember when we were first married? Before the boys were born? I didn't think that we should have a family, work being as irregular as it was, the Alliance searching for us, me growing up without a father. I didn't know how to be anyone's father. We talked about it for months. You showed me that I did know how to be a father.” Mal leans in and looks into those familiar dark eyes. “You said that you would be here to make sure that I was a good one, to see that these children grew into adulthood.” Mal growls angrily. “You promised me.” He says stepping back. He starts pacing in front of her. His words coming out quickly like bullet fire. “When it was too late I found out you were sick, you were dying, and you knew you were dying the whole time? You made that promise knowing that you wouldn't be able to keep it. You didn't trust me. Inara, you didn't trust me to be the father you kept telling me that I was. You abandoned our family, you broke your promises, and you put too much on Imala. Do you know what makes me the angriest? What you have put our daughter through. She's just a little girl. How could you do this to a little girl? You were wrong. I love you with everything a man can. But you were wrong. You're also damn lucky that you're already dead because if you weren't...I'm of the frame of mind to kill you myself woman.”

Mal sees something in his peripheral vision. He refocuses and sees Imala standing on the stool in front of him, not Inara, her eyes are wide, her face pale, and tears are rolling down her cheeks. Mal's sadness, his anger starts to give way to a feeling of sickness and remorse.

“Mal.” Jayne says.

Mal looks at Jayne.

“Sir.” Zoe says from his opposite side.

“I'm scaring her. This is wrong. Inara was wrong to ask for this. I can't do this. I won't.”

“If you'll step back for a minute sir I think that we can get this sorted out.” Mal takes two large steps back.

Zoe and Jayne step forward to talk to Imala.

A few minutes and a big hug later Zoe returns to Mal. “Imala insists that she's all right. She wants to continue.”

“No.” Mal says.

Jayne talks to Imala, hugs the child briefly, and returns to Mal. “Imala says that we need to finish this. It's hard but she says that she can handle it. She says she's ready to be a little girl again.”

“No. Inara was wrong about this.” Mal says to Jayne. “I won't hurt keep hurting my daughter.” A soft voice crosses the distance between father and daughter. “Please Daddy.” He looks at Imala. Her tears have been dried, the color returned to her face. He looks at his daughter's sweet round face and big dark eyes, his eyes well with tears and more than anything he wants his little girl back. Mal's heart aches at what it is costing them both to get through this. He bows his head for a moment. “Okay.” He agrees quietly. He looks at Zoe then Jayne. “There's gonna be some changes.”

Within a few minutes it has gone from three people standing near the altar to four. Mal faces Jayne who has taken Imala's place, the little girl's ribbon has been pinned into his hair. Imala stands on her stool next to Jayne and holds his hand. Zoe stands on the other side of Imala in case the child needs to be moved out of the way quickly.

“Where was I?” Mal asks.

Jayne thinks for a minute and says, “I promised you that we would raise our young'uns to adulthood.”

Mal tries several times to speak his mind to the new Inara stopping before a word can escape his lips. “I'm having a little trouble with this.” He says.

“Is it the ribbon?” Jayne asks. He looks at Imala. “I told you that this color didn't look right.”

Imala and Zoe start to protest.

“It's the....” Mal says. “Inara didn't have facial hair.”

“Not even a little bit of a lady mustache?” Jayne asks.

“A lady mustache wouldn't be as distracting.”

“I can be a woman." Jayne declares. "A damn fine woman.”

Soft laughter rings throughout the cargo bay.

“Well I ain't shavin'.”

“Let me concentrate.” Mal says.

He tries a couple more times but still cannot say any more. He turns to face his daughter. “I guess that's all the angry words I have right now. I only have one more thing to say Inara. 'Thank you'. Thank you for choosing me. Thank you for helping turn Serenity into a home.” Mal looks at everyone sitting in the cargo bay. “Thank you for keeping us all together.” He looks at his sons Book and Wash. “Thank you for the three most exasperating, annoying, smart assed, and beautiful children a man could ask for. I will always love you. I will always miss you. Be at peace.” He reaches out and hugs Inara for a long time. The candles surrounding the altar go out. When they are lit again Mal is hugging his daughter. He looks at Zoe.

“I think we did it sir.”

Mal, Zoe, and Jayne look at Imala for confirmation. The child shrugs.

“She's over there.” River says pointing to the walk way in front of Inara's shuttle. “She's smiling.”

Everyone looks up hoping to see a glimpse of Inara. All except River see an empty space.

“Book! Wash!” Mal calls. The boys rise from their seats and make their way to their father who hugs them the moment they get close enough. “Your sister was left in charge, did you listen?” All three children look at each other and nod in agreement. “Why do I get the feeling you are covering for each other?" He says, brow raised. "I'm proud of all of you for respecting your mother's wishes. The year is over and this is my ship. I'm in charge now. Got it?” There is more nodding.

Mal stands up and makes an announcement. “Now that this business is done and over with let's get this place put back in order. I need to get Serenity back on course for Aberdeen."

Kaylee runs across the cargo hold and whispers in Mal's ear. He nods and says, “Kaylee says that we're having a special...”

She pulls him back down to her height.

He continues “...meal to consisting of some of our favorite foods to commemorate the end of mourning.” He looks at Kaylee. “Is that it?”

She nods.

“That's it.” He announces.

The words are no sooner out of Mal's mouth than Kaylee pulls him back to her again.

“Kaylee made her special chocolate cake so leave room for dessert.” Mal says and turns to go.

Kaylee stops him again.

“This better be important.”

“I wanted to tell you that you did a right shiny job there Captain Tightpants,” kissing him on the cheek.

“Thanks.” Mal says and heads to the bridge. “Book. Wash.” He calls, “Ready for another navigation lesson?”

Both boys fall into step next to their father.

“Sure.” Book says.

“Dad?” Wash asks.

“Yeah.”

“Why did Aunt Kaylee just call you Captain Tightpants?”

“It's a long story. You had to be there.”

An hour later Mal, Book, and Wash are on the bridge pouring over a map of the 'Verse when a heavy pair of footsteps announces another arrival. Followed by a much lighter set.

“Mal.” Jayne says.

“Yeah.” Mal responds turning in his chair to address the new arrivals.

“It's Imala. She's changed into some play clothes. Well, Zoe said to bring her to you.”

“Come forward for inspection.”

The little girl emerges from behind Jayne. She is wearing a modified Browncoat uniform complete with suspenders and boots. The elegant hairstyle of earlier in the day has been replaced and she is now wearing two curly pigtails that bounce as she moves. Imala is carrying a geisha doll with an over sized head that wobbles in time with the pigtails. “Do I pass muster?” She asks using Mal's expression from earlier in the day.

“Come here.” Mal says.

Imala complies stopping to stand in front of her father. “This is the prettiest I have seen you look in a long time.” Mal says scooping Imala up into his arms and hugging her.

“Thank you Jayne.”

Jayne nods and turns to go.

“You know Jayne I remember you doing this once before.” Mal says not removing his gaze from his daughter's smile.

Jayne turns back to Mal.

“I remember that day too Mal.”

Mal looks at Jayne squarely, “Thank you.”

“Yeah. You're welcome.”

“What day was that?” Imala asks.

“The day you were born.” Mal answers. “Your Uncle Jayne introduced us. He named you too.”

“He did? Where was Mommy?”

“It's kind of a long story...” Jayne begins.

COMMENTS

Wednesday, December 30, 2015 3:34 PM

BUCKSHOTPILOT


A real tear jerker!

Saturday, January 23, 2016 8:57 PM

WHOZIT


Wow

Sunday, May 1, 2016 11:45 AM

BUP


I have notes and drafts for the story surrounding Imala's birth and her name.


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