BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

KISPEXI2

NOT GOOD ENOUGH
Friday, October 10, 2003

Mal, Kaylee, Zoe and Inara reflect on their feelings about each other and themselves.


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 2779    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

Disclaimer: These characters belong to Joss Whedon but they've taken up residence in my head.

In “Objects In Space” I thought I noticed a flicker of pain and envy in Zoe's eyes when Mal told Kaylee he had no problem with her not killing anyone. It started me thinking about they way Mal's women think about each other and him.....

NOT GOOD ENOUGH.

Kaylee. Inara's shuttle sure does smell pretty. Flowers and spices and somethin' warm and welcomin' I ain't never smelt nowhere else. And everythin' in here feels so good. She got silks and satins and velvets all over the place. It's like bein' on a central planet. Opulent. Luxurious. Don't get me wrong. I like my bunk just as much. More maybe. But mine's a mechanic's home. I've got a few girlish things like that ballgown the Cap'n bought me, but you can still tell you're on Serenity. Goin' into Inara's shuttle is like enterin' a fairytale castle.

And look at Inara. Ain't she just like a fairytale princess? So beautiful, with her dark hair and eyes and her milky skin. She moves like an angel. Poised, graceful and liquid. She's so classy. A Registered Companion, no less. Got all that schoolin' in how to please and how to make a person feel good. No wonder the Cap'n's in love with her. What man wouldn't be? She's perfect.

Hey! That's my reflection in the mirror above Inara's bed. Don't often see my own self. Not much call for preenin' in my line of work. My hair's working loose from the band I used to tie it back so's it wouldn't get caught up in Serenity's engine. I got engine oil and grime on my face and overalls. Look a bit like a scruffy boy.

My Daddy used to say I ought to have been born a boy. I was always tinkering about, taking things apart, tryin' to put 'em back together again. Always wanted to be a mechanic. Joining the Cap'n's crew was the best decision of my life. They're good people and he's a good captain. Always looking out for us, taking care of us. Oh for sure he likes to pretend to be a mean old man, but it ain't so. He's a real nice man. I love my Cap'n. He's the kind of man it's easy to fall in love with.

Inara. Being a Companion has taught me a lot about people. About their hopes, dreams and desires. Before Serenity, I thought nothing about people could surprise me.

Well, the people on this boat never fail to surprise me. One of the biggest surprises was to discover Zoe was married to Wash. They would have been the last two people I would have guessed to be a couple. Wash is a talented pilot, but he's a clown. He acts like a child a lot of the time, playing with dinosaurs up there on the bridge. He can be childish too. His petulance over Zoe's relationship with Mal nearly got them both killed by Niska. I don't think I'll ever understand why Zoe chose him.

Because I think Zoe could have had her pick of men. She exudes womanliness. When she walks into a room, she fills it with her stillness and strength. And she is a natural beauty. I work hard at my appearance. Zoe doesn't so much as brush her hair some days. But her skin is rich and smooth and her eyes clear and deep. Knowing she has killed men twice her size adds a frisson of danger to her appeal. But she's not one for wiles. She saves her sexuality for her husband and to everyone else, she's a comrade, one of the crew. Loyal and totally reliable. No wonder Mal leans on her. Old habits die hard, I suppose. I think he trusts her more than he has ever trusted anyone, man or woman. He owes his life to her and she hers to him. There's an unbreakable bond between them that nothing – not marriage to Wash, nor his desire for what he can't have – can sever.

I'm a Registered Companion. And I know I'm good, VERY good, at what I do. I could have Mal any time I wanted. He's easy to read. A little encouragement, a little pretence at unwillingness and a lot of flattery would do the trick. Yes, he'd be putty in my hands. I know what he thinks he wants and I would enjoy giving it to him. But it wouldn't be love. Because for Mal to really love a woman, he has to respect her as well. That's why he'll always be in love with Zoe.

Zoe. On bad days – days when my husband and the Captain get tortured and need rescuin' and some crew members insist on joinin' a raid when they can't handle a gun - I'd like to slap that smile off her face. We could all smile like that if we'd led her life. Spent a cherished childhood and fallen into a dream job, working for one of the finest men – no, the finest man - in the 'verse. If we hadn't seen the worst of people. If we hadn't had to toughen up or die.

But then I remember what we were fighting for. Wasn't it so that children could grow up happy and free and so that people could follow their dreams? I'm sure that's what the Captain would say, die-hard idealist that he is underneath that grouchy exterior. I think when he looks at Kaylee's unselfconscious smile and her shining eyes, he likes to think at least he was able to help one person live her dream. She helps him forget for a while how we failed our mission. How we gave everything we had and it wasn't enough.

Because he hasn't reconciled himself to that yet. Doubt he ever will. Me, I decided to move on. Make my own world. Took a husband and plan to start a family. Going to focus my energies on the people I care for. Forget the rest of the 'verse. It's about time they started fighting their own battles. And if they're too dumb to realize they ought to be fighting Alliance control, well too bad for them. It ain't my problem anymore.

Kaylee gives the Captain something no-one else can. Innocence. Shiny innocence. I sure can't give him that. I can give him cover when we're in a tight spot and shoot his enemies between the eyes if I have to. I can carry him when he can't crawl and I can stitch him up if he's bleeding. But he stopped thinking of me as a woman a long time ago. To him I'll always be tainted with the stench of war.

When he looks at Kaylee, his whole being softens. 'Cos Kaylee smells of engine oil and freedom. And when she smiles up into his eyes, I swear you can see the tension melt out of him. Funny thing is, I don't think he even knows he's in love with her.

Mal. Back on Earth-that-was there was a time when women wa'n't allowed on boats. Some superstitious gou shi about them curdlin' the cargo or other such nonsense. Me, I'd rather have my whole crew be women.

'Course, it could be I've just been unlucky with my choice of male crew. A wet-behind-the-ears uptight pretty boy doctor. A back-stabbing, ape-man of a mercenary. A preacher who knows so much about the ways of the world it makes me nervous. And a puffed-up, jealous husband.

Gorramit, what's the matter with Wash? What was that jealous tantrum all about? She don't want me. She married him, didn't she? Chose him. Finest soldier I ever served with chose that buffoon for her bed. Used to think me and Zoe would end up together, bein' as how we'd been together so long. But things never seem to go smooth.

Then there's Inara. That woman makes me so mad. How does she always best me? How does a ruttin' whore make me feel so inferior, even on my own boat? Sometimes, just sometimes, I think there could be something between us. But she's used to fancy manners and flowery words and I can't – won't - do all that. Can't wield a sword like a gentleman. Can't dance like a gentleman nor talk one. And anyway, I can't give her nothing. Nothing she needs. Best she find someone of her own class and go to live on a Core planet..

Little Kaylee likes me well enough though, I think. Thing is, she's young and don't know much about men. Full of dreams and smiles that one. I got enough nightmares and scowls in me to sink her. So I gotta watch myself. Can't go pulling mei-mei in too close. Can't go crushin' that shiny spirit.

Only woman on this boat crazy enough to think about takin' me on is the doctor's moon-brained sister. But then again, she's a bone fide genius. Ain't gonna take her long to figure out I ain't worth the trouble. Hell, she's probably already done the math.

Nope. Probably gonna end up an even crustier ol' man than I am now.

COMMENTS

Friday, October 10, 2003 9:28 AM

AMDOBELL


I loved this. All the little insights from the various perspectives but no Mal, I think you got the math wrong Cap'n. You are worth a whole ton more than you think you are and it would take the women on your boat to tell you what it was. I chuckled at his comment about River too. Very good and such a nice shiny bauble, *xei xei*. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Saturday, March 13, 2004 11:57 AM

NEROLI


Love the differant perspectives on Mal from the women on his crew, and Mal's view on them and himself...you did a good job with each of their voices.

I can just see Mal doing the math on himself and finding it coming up short like that, totally clueless that his math is way off

Saturday, November 26, 2005 5:30 AM

OLDSOUL1987


I think you sort of were a bit off on the captain, he ain't like that. Or rather that is not how i see him, he is better then that. and in reality he respects inara, and she does not best him at all thing or even most of them. Space the rim crime all this is mals teritory. He can handel himself, in this fanfic you made him sound alot like i imagine Jayne might witht he exception of one or two things. But i supose this might just be a part of the character i dont see, you know the simple mean old man he claims to be.

Thursday, March 19, 2009 8:26 PM

GORRAMITGIRL


This is just fantastic! I love how everyone's perspectives seemed to flow and ebb into each others' and I love how each one acknowledges their insecurities as well as their strong points.

You did a great job on this. I really enjoyed reading this.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009 5:45 PM

ANOTHERSKY


I love this idea, and I really enjoyed reading their private insights. I think you nailed the voices(particularly Kaylee and Inara--the line about wash being a clown stands out in particular), except Mal's got a bit too sentimental, and he had some thoughts that I'm not super sure the canon character spends time on. Overall though, it was extremely enjoyable. Bravo.


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