GENIUS SERIES: 18. "Pursuit"
Sunday, February 19, 2006

"Inara uses her wiles on the Captain. Thadius tries to convince Zoe he and the others are no threat to the crew. Simon wants to go on the hunt but first he has something important to do."


TITLE: "PURSUIT" AUTHOR: Alison M. DOBELL FANDOM: "FIREFLY" PAIRING: No specific pairing. RATING: Inara/Mal. NC-17. STATUS: SEQUEL to "BELIEVE" ARCHIVE: Yes. Just let me know where. FEEDBACK: Welcomed. EMAIL: WEBSITE:

SUMMARY: "Inara uses her wiles on the Captain. Thadius tries to convince Zoe he and the others are no threat to the crew. Simon wants to go on the hunt but first he has something important to do." The usual disclaimers apply. The characters and 'Firefly' are the property and gift of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. No infringement of copyright is intended.


"Firefly" story

Written by Alison M. DOBELL

* * * * *

Inara had tried to ignore the odd mix of tensions. That and the disappearing Captain were causing her to lose the sense of calm detachment critical to her equanimity. Plus she had to admit, if only to herself, she missed him. A day and a half out of Greenleaf and nothing to do to wile away the hours. Even Inara could not meditate that long. Choosing a moment when everyone seemed to be busy or distracted, Inara slipped away and went to the Captain's bunk to see if he was alright. She paused at his hatch, about to knock, when a little smile quirked her lips. Lowering her hand she swung the hatch inwards and descended into the Lion's Den.

Malcolm Reynolds was sitting at the end of his bed. Head bowed, hands loosely entwined. Something about the way he was sitting stabbed at Inara's heart, concern taking the edge off the ascerbic retort she had been going to greet him with. "Mal? *Shenme shi*?"

He looked up and Inara's breath caught. The man looked terrible. Without realising she had moved, Inara closed the distance between them and knelt in front of him, a hand lifting to cup his cheek, her eyes searching his for reassurance. What she saw did not comfort her. "*Wode hao, fang xin*." He lied. "Not nothin' to worry about."

The Companion frowned slightly. "Who's worried?"

The way she said it suggested the opposite. Mal sighed and dropped his eyes. He felt ten times the fool and didn't know how to put this right. Sensing his mood Inara surprised the Captain by leaning in and wrapping her arms gently around him. "'Nara..."

She did not let go but whispered in his ear, voice low and soothing, her breath making him shudder inside. "You don't have to talk, Mal."

He swallowed hard. It would be so easy to take her comfort but he felt like a thief. Gently he pulled back so he could see her face. Inara was troubled to see how pale he looked and brushed a hand down his cheek, her eyes locked on his, willing him to tell her what was wrong. He caught her hand in his and raised it to his lips. The kiss made her tremble inside, desire stirring even as her concern deepened. "I think I've made a mistake."

She tried to lighten the mood, if only because she was hoping like *diyu* he was not talking about their relationship. Inara could not bear to lose him now. "Just one?"

The rallying glare did not come. "Those kids..." He broke off, not sure how much to say. Was it fair to drag Inara into this? Was it right to leave her in the dark?

"They needed you Mal and you did the right thing."

The Captain looked unsure and that was something she was not used to seeing. The man could radiate a positive aura no matter how deep the *goushi* he was wading through, with bullets flying and up to his *pigu* in Alliance. She could not imagine what could possibly rock the man's indefatigable confidence in himself. "Mal, you're beginning to scare me. What's wrong?"

He sighed and rested his forehead against hers, briefly closing his eyes and inhaling her perfume. Made him a mite light headed if he was being truthsome but it was better than how he had been feeling a moment ago. He kissed her forehead and looked into her eyes. "Apparently me an' the kids have imprinted."

It was not what she had been expecting to hear. Shock robbed her of words. He chuckled drily but without humour.

"River says I wasn't supposed to wake 'em."

"*Wo bu dong*, Mal. You're not making any sense."

"Since when has that surprised you?" He sighed and got serious again. "Apparently my openin' the gorram crates meant I was the first person they saw. Made some kind of mental connection." At her look of alarm, the Captain raised a hand to gently stroke her cheek, wanting to brush away the worry settling on her face. "An' now Zoe's worryin' that my gorram mind ain't my own."

"*Wode tian*, what did they do to you?"

Mal smiled at the affrontery betrayed in her voice, as if ready to fight for him. Inara never ceased to both amaze and surprise him. "Hush now, 'Nara, not nothin' like that."

She frowned. "You said they did something to your mind, Mal. I don't call that nothing."

He stroked a hand through her thick lush hair, the clean silky strands teasing his fingers and soothing him even as he sought to calm her fears. "*Bu qu, xin gan*, that was Zoe."

"What did River say?"

"Just that the kids imprinted on me an' me on them. A two way sort'a deal. Zoe seems to think that means they're influencin' my decisions an' for the life of me 'Nara I can't figure how I can tell what thoughts are mine an' what might be their manipulation. It's drivin' me gorram crazy."

Inara nodded, she could understand that. *Wode ma* it would alarm her into a coma if the same thing had happened to her. She shuddered involuntarily and the Captain drew her into his arms, the steady beat of his heart next to her ear more comforting than it had any right to be. For several moments neither spoke, the Captain continuing to run his hand through her hair while he held her in his arms. Inara could feel the warmth of him, breathing him deeply into her lungs and wanting to kiss, reach out and make love until they were both dizzy with joy and spent from their exertions. Unable to be touched by the darkness of a world of hurt that always seemed to land on their rutting doorstep. Even if that doorstep had no firmer foundation that Serenity in the Black. Her grip on him tightened, not wanting to lose the Captain to his fears any more than to his demons. Inwardly she cursed River and Zoe for upsetting Mal, though another part of her mind was anxiously exploring the possibility that the five additions were going to prove more troublesome than any of them could have imagined.

The Captain eased out of the embrace but Inara was not moving. He paused and glanced at her face, his sombre look trying to reassure her. "Best I go speak to River."

With an unexpected shove Inara pushed Mal back as he was rising to his feet catching him off balance. The Companion effortlessly disrobing herself in one fluid movement as she followed him down, his back hitting the mattress, her now naked body draping possessively over his, lips closing over his mouth before the Captain could protest. They always seemed to communicate best without words anyway. The heat of her mouth on his was intoxicating, all the worry pushed out of his mind as he spun in her dazzling orbit. Warm lips, warm hands, her body fitting his as naturally as if it was made for him and no one else. A moan slid from deep inside him as Inara rubbed herself against his body, a slow gyration of the hips hampered only by his clothing. Mal got the message that she wanted to do more than kiss. Her hands adding to the enticement robbing him of the ability to think clearly. Agile fingers undoing the buttons of his shirt and moving on to his trousers, half naked before he realised what she was doing.

With an effort the Captain managed to speak, his voice husky and bordering on breathless. It made her heartbeat quicken. "Inara, you sure 'bout this?"

She shot him a wicked look. "*Bi zui* and kiss me." Then her hands were flowing ceaselessly over his body, her varying touch getting him all hot and bothered until he couldn't think at all, his heated skin reacting to her touch like a man on fire fueled by the heady delight of having her boss him into sex. Between the caress of her hands, the hunger of her lips and the way her body formed to cup his as she ruthlessly stripped the clothes off him he could hardly speak let alone think. His body on automatic, heart and mind and soul racing on a rollercoaster of emotion. With a groan of capitulation, Mal raised his head and caught her teasing lips in his, Inara's tongue sliding between his teeth and dragging out another moan while her hands homed in on their goal. He shuddered harder this time, his breath hitching, her grip tightening as she flexed her fingers around him and began to match the pace of her hand to the pumping of her tongue in his mouth. His mind was spinning, he wanted to flip her over and make mad passionate love to her but his last thread of control held him back, let her do this. Whatever she wanted she could have. And gorramit if it wasn't as sexy as *diyu* letting her take control like this.

Inara knew she had him. A small bottle finding its' way into her left hand while she kept the rythym going with her right. Mal so caught up in the passion he didn't know what she was doing until the warm spicy oil hit his chest, Inara's left hand working it into his skin, coating his nipples, his muscles and everything imbetween. Immolating him with a desire he could not control. The oil made their movements seamless, excitement and desire no longer constrained. He wanted her, wanted her now. The deep growl in his throat pleased her but before he could take over Inara changed hands, the oil slick hand now working the spicy heat into his foreskin, his eyes snapping open as the intensity of his arousal shot through the roof and set light to his spine. So full of razor sharp need it was almost painful. "'Nara!"

With a smile as triumphant as it was loving, Inara raised her hips off him for one brief moment that left him aching and sorrowing in the abyss. The glint in her eyes causing his heart to misfire for a split second, her hand on him taking longer slower strokes up his shaft, the brush of her oiled thumb over his salty slit making his hips jerk violently, precum leaking into her hand, getting him more than ready until Inara took mercy on him and eased her hips down - sliding him into her slick wet heat. Quickly engulfing him, interior muscles flexing round him. The intensity of feeling, the passion, was almost too much. The flood of emotion overpowering his mind, his body wired to hers, his heart long lost but now found in the molten heat of her and coaxed to give up everything. He was close, so very close that he was almost dying, but there was something else he wanted more. Easing a hand between them Mal slid his fingers into that heat, found the bundle of nerves that wired her libedo and made sure that when he exploded with passion, she came too. Stars exploding behind his eyes, she rode him hard as he bucked beneath her, not letting go as his hips snapped and fire whipcracked down his spine in the dizzying bliss of coitus.

As the stars began to settle and fall back into their mute orbits, the electric hum that buzzed between their sated and exhausted bodies evened out into the bliss of the Black.

* * * * *

Zoe was keyed up. On edge, her anger on a hair trigger. Jayne was tempted to say something but one look at the cold stony face warned him off. It did not take long for her to track him down. Once the awkwardness of their fast had been broken the five of them had left. Quietly disappearing back to the quarters the Captain had given to them. She didn't know how she knew, but Zoe unerringly went straight to Thadius's room. She did not knock and by the look on Thadius's face he had been expecting her. Well. Wasn't that shiny?

* * * * *

The Captain stirred first. Less than an hour after their coupling. Warm, happy, sated. But the burn beneath his skin was quickening again and little lightening pricks of heat flared up and down his body making him groan and twitch with need. He could feel himself hardening again, something that should not be happening for hours. At least until he was fully rested. The catnap would have to do, right now he was in danger of going insane until he got the lust out of his system and the wanting out of his loins. Inara stirred in his arms, her movements slow and langorous. Her beauty radiating in the warm heat of her body against his. *Tianna*, he could feel his shaft throbbing, the blood rushing through the tissues and inflating him with a need as urgent as time itself. What the good gorram had she covered him with and where in the nine hells could he get more?

Rolling her gently on to her back he paused to watch the sleepy sigh huff out of her slightly parted lips but she did not wake. Smiling, Mal bent his head and began to kiss and lick his way down her body, pausing to lave a nipple, caress a full breast, then suckle gently as Inara moaned in her sleep. The noises she made had him trembling with desire but he was a man with a mission. No rushing this time. Passion was something to be savoured, sex something to be drawn out and described in great passion. This time he was going to make love to her, not in frenzied coupling neither. He wanted to burn memories into her heart as well as her body that would be with her for the rest of her life. A rosy nipple rolled between his teeth, his tongue and mouth soothing and bringing the peak to its' highest and hardest point, his hand massaging then moving on until both breasts were full and heaving, proud pyramids glistening where his mouth had worshipped them.

Slowly moving down that creamy silk, he plied his passage with his mouth and tongue, his hands framing her hips then sweeping between her thighs to part the dark forest still fragrant from their earlier exertions. Smiling, Mal dipped his head and followed the path with his tongue, licking and lapping at her until she parted for him and he sucked, licked and caressed her until she spasmed. Feeding off the juices flooding his tongue as she roused from sleep, her body continuing to respond.


"Mmmm?" He nibbled, licked then paused just enough to mumble a response. "You expectin' someone else?"

Then before she could answer he plunged right back in and began to tease her in ernest, her hips lifting off the bed as she cried out, his hands quickly sliding under her hips and holding her in place. This time it was Inara who was lost, her body and mind narrowing to the feel of his mouth on her sex, the tongue expertly titilating and teasing while she trembled and shuddered, a little cry expelling from her kiss swollen lips as she came. The warm taste of her flooding into his greedy mouth as he lapped and worked her again and again until she thought he would drink her dry.

Inara was hardly aware of Mal settling her hips back on the bed, his hands gentle, his look happy and smug while she trembled with delicious little aftershocks. She could hardly catch her breath. It was not how she had expected to wake up. But then sometimes reality outshone dreams. Now fully awake she noticed something else, his sheepish look making her smile and sit up. She could tell he was horny, barely able to move comfortably he was that hard. Biting back a sarcastic remark, Inara kissed him, let him relax for a moment or two, savouring the taste of herself on his lips. The wonderful tender passion of him a gift for her soul. Then Inara pulled back and gave a little grin. "My turn."

"That a fact?"

The warm amusement in his voice turned to a choked muffle as Inara went down on him, her mouth doing wicked things to him that made him gag with the effort to speak. "No, 'Nara, you keep doin' that an' I won't be able to stop myself." She knew what he was trying to say but didn't care. Turn around was fair play. He had woken her with an orgasm before coaxing her to come again and again. Did he think she would settle for anything less?

"'Nara," He stuttered, trying to be the gentleman. "I ain't clean, I should wash..."

"I'll wash you."

His brain really couldn't function beyond that thought. Her mouth sliding down over him, his throbbing shaft pumping hot blood into the straining tissues while he burned and ached for her. Hardly aware of her hand sliding beneath him, the other hand holding him and teasing his balls. He opened his mouth but nothing came out. Inara pulled her lips off him then began to lick and suck. The Captain closed his eyes, if he watched he would have no contol at all. Inara used the tip of her tongue to tease the salty slit, lapping the precum and watching Mal's face. Teasing him again and again to the edge but not letting him come. His hips began to rise off the bed but she straddled him, her knees holding him down as he trembled. Then he felt a slick tease that sprang his eyes open in surprise. She smiled back at him, slowly playing with him, her mouth and tongue making the breath in his lungs too thick to breathe. Then he felt the prick of penetration, her finger sliding in without restraint, not stopping as it burned its' passage into his body until it hit the small almond gland that kept his last bit of control in check. With a yell he jerked up into her mouth as sensation overwhelmed him in a brilliant flash of foaming white. Almost blacking out he hung teetering on the edge of consciousness as he watched through half closed eyes as Inara drank him down. Her finger brushing his prostate again and again until he stopped jerking in her mouth. Every last drop chased into her waiting mouth and swallowed down. Pulling back she paused to kiss the limp head of his spent cock then eased back to look at him. Smiling into his shocked eyes as if she had just won a dare. The last thing he recalled before exhaustion claimed him was the pleased smug expression on her beautiful face.

* * * * *

"What have you done to the Cap'n?"

Thadius did not pretend to misunderstand. "*Yiwusuoyou*. We are as committed to him as he is to us."

Zoe's eyes narrowed. "What does that mean?" His look softened. "We will not use or betray him."

"An' I should trust you why?"

He was going to say 'because the Captain does' but that was the crux of the matter. Zoe obviously wasn't sure how much she could trust her Captain's word was his own and was laying the blame firmly at their door. "You should not worry about us. The whore will hurt him more than we ever could."

Whore? Zoe's look darkened with a cold fury. "Inara isn't a whore she's a Companion."

Thadius raised his eyebrows slowly. "*Duibuqi* of course. Being a Companion means she won't steal from him after she beds him. It is the only thing that distinguishes her from a common whore."

The loud crack as her open palm slapped his cheek was like a gunshot in the small room. At the door Reuben, Carl, Michael and Helen appeared. Faces not so much anxious as quietly concerned. Zoe was too angry to even perceive them as a threat. Her focus kept them calm, a fact of which she was unaware. "How dare you speak about Inara like that! If you knew her you would be ashamed."

He nodded. "*Qu* but not for the reason you suppose. If you really want to help Mal then make sure she doesn't hurt him." Thadius paused abruptly, his expression drifting just a moment. A sad look settled in his eyes. "Too late."

Zoe frowned, wondered it he was simply trying to distract her. All this time Thadius had been sitting on the narrow bed. Now he rose to his feet but made no move towards the first mate. "Zoe, we are no threat to either the Captain or this ship. We are grateful for being freed from our confinement and owe far more than we can ever repay."

"*Wo bu dong*, then what you up to?"

Thadius wasn't sure how to put it into words. Rueben eased passed Zoe and turned to face her. His calm deep brown eyes looking at her with such openness and honesty that she could not help but believe him. At least. Believe that he was being as sincere as he was able. "If we had stayed in those crates we would have been taken to Capital City. Integrated with a hundred other minds all being manipulated then cropped. Those of us that survived would be linked together into the biggest weapon this 'verse has ever seen."

A shudder of apprehension went up her spine, remembering that River had called them weapons. "Then what are you now?"

It was the girl, Helen, who spoke from the doorway. Zoe half turned so she could still keep an eye on Thadius and Reuben as well as seeing the girl and the others. "Component parts."

Zoe's frown deepened. "You're not components of anythin', you're people."

Michael spoke up for the first time. Usually he was content to silently add his comments non verbally to Thadius but this time he felt he should speak out. "You are wrong. Each of us is telepathic - what you call Readers - but we are the 'second' generation, *dong ma*?"

"What does that mean?"

"It means," Said Thadius softly. "That by storing different parts of our expertise into different minds, more can be crammed in so that when we are together again a more powerful result can be achieved."

She felt faint but Zoe was too alarmed to take a seat. "An' that result would be?"

For a moment no one spoke. Carl cleared his throat awkwardly, his soft voice was light, the words tentative as if waiting for the others to shoot him down but no one did. He wasn't in the Academy now. Was nowhere near the technicians who demanded excellence in all things and where emotion was outlawed. "Normally a Reader just reads minds, can interpret feelings, anticipate responses and so on. The really good Reader's can infiltrate a mind, a little prod or suggestion here and there to steer a person on a particular course. The really good ones are the Genius Edition."

Zoe was not liking this at all. "Genius?" That was what Simon called River.

Helen nodded. "She is one of us, one of the First Incarnation. More powerful than any of the others in her class."

"An' what happens when all you geniuses get together?"

"Instead of manipulating individuals we can influence groups."

A horrible thought was being born in Zoe's mind. At least, she hoped it was *her* thought not theirs. "What group are you supposed to influence?"

All five answered in one quiet but firm voice. That precision almost as unsettling as their answer. "Parliament."

* * * * *

Simon Tam had always been a stickler for detail and it played into his hand now. The space port was busy but not excessively so. The passenger terminals overlooking the huge landing apron. Hiding a smile he slipped inside the departure lounge and took his time, watching the people, the faces, the comings and goings. Which people were travelling with others and who was travelling alone. At last he settled on a man not much older than himself, sitting awkwardly and casting occasional looks out through the plexiglass as ships took off and landed. Vertical take off being the norm more vessels crammed onto the wide apron than could reasonably be counted. It was evident to Simon that this man hated flying even more than he did. Or maybe this was just his first time.

Now he had picked his mark, Simon pretended to read a magazine, his senses attuned to the nervous young man. He waited until the man rose to go to the bathroom. Counted off a minute before getting up and following him. The man took no notice of Simon, face averted from the doorway as he stood at the urinal. Perfect. The man's natural shyness making it easy for Simon to get ready. As soon as the man had zipped himself up Simon was behind him, the tiny prick in his neck acting before the surprise could reach the man's eyes. Quickly Simon caught him as he collapsed and dragged him back into an empty stall, put the toilet seat down then sat the man on it. Simon thanking every God that ever was that there was no one else in the bathroom at the time.

Swiftly Simon locked the door then rumaged through the man's pockets until he found his ID. Robert Charles Paxton. The card gave no more detail than that, all other data was encrypted. Simon stripped off his outer clothes then changed with Paxton. Unfortunately the shoes were not a match though Simon had carefully chosen a man with the same height and build as himself. Before dressing the man in his fine silk shirt, Simon retrieved the tiny transponder and unwrapped his scalpel. There was no time for finesse and he had nothing with which to clean and disinfect the blade. Carefully he turned the man so that he could get to his back, chosing an area between Robert Paxton's shoulder blades that he would not be able to reach himself. Cutting swift and deep he then buried the transponder beneath the skin. It was a work of moments to rethread the needle and sew up the little wound, a squeeze of liquid plaster over the site forming a tranparent breathable cover until the incision healed. When it did the plaster would fall off and no one hopefully would be the wiser until the real Simon Tam was very far away.

The homespun clothing was rough but clean and servicable. Carefully Simon brushed down the jacket, making sure none of his own things were left in his trouser or vest pockets. Transferring the small tell tale items to the serge jacket and trying not to itch. It had been so long since he had felt anything other than silk and the finest man made fabrics next to his skin. He realised it had made him soft. Dependent on the kind of casual luxuries denied anyone not born in the Core and with the income to support this kind of indulgence. But Simon Tam was not soft or indulgent any longer and the Core would never again be his home.

* * * * *

CHINESE GLOSSARY: (Mandarin - Pinyin)

*shenme shi* = what's the matter? *wode hao* = I'm good/fine *diyu* hell *fang xin* = don't worry (lit. ease your heart) *goushi* = crap/dog shit *pigu* = bottom *wo bu dong* = I don't understand *wode ma* = mother of God *wode tian* = dear God in heaven *bu qu* no (lit. no go) *xin gan* = sweetheart *tianna* = oh God! *yiwusuoyou* = nothing *duibuqi* = sorry *qu* = yes (lit. go) *dong ma* = understand? *bi zui* = be quiet/shut up


Sunday, February 19, 2006 6:41 AM


oohhh Wiles indeed! <g>
I'm very worried about what those gorram kids are going to do to Mal's perceptions of things... I see a lot of pain coming for Inara... and Zoe, what is she gonna do? Smart thing would be to space em all, deal with Mal after, but then, how do you sneak up and space a bunch of readers? Genius readers at that?

This is gettin' all manner of interestin'.... and tiana! I'm worried!

Sunday, February 19, 2006 11:13 AM


Yes!! A reveal! Fantastic!!!

Monday, February 20, 2006 1:50 AM


The scenes between Mal and Inara were great.

Simon making his escape worries me, because what's he going to do next?


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His head still ached from the rutting probe but after the men had satisfied themselves that his story was true a thousand questions peppered the air like machine gun fire.

The vessel was shiny, sleek and black with nowhere near the bulk of an Alliance ship. Something about the way it moved through the Black was more than a little creepifying.

Personally she didn't care if Serenity was towed off to a junk yard and stripped into spare parts. She had promised the ship to Jer and his crew as a bonus but it looked like scavengers had beaten them to it.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS: 2. "Counting Chickens"
The fact that her eyes were hard and sharp with intelligence kind of chilled him. Smart women always made him uneasy, it just weren't natural.

What in the nine hells were they so afraid of? Then he remembered Tracy. The body mailed to them by their old war buddy and all the trouble that had brought down on them.

If it was too gorram wet to hunt for rabbits what in the nine hells was his son really hunting? And was it something on four legs or two?

The man was in a terrible condition, his pulse weak, and for some reason he was soaking wet which did nothing to staunch the blood soaking through his clothing and seeping from the poorly tended wound where he had been shot.

THE DICHOTOMY SERIES: 9. "All The King's Men"
The man sighed like the weight of the of the 'Verse was on his shoulders but unlike anyone else he looked like he could carry the weight.

THE DICHOTOMY SERIES: 8. "All The King's Horses"
Without warning something came through the opening and rolled with a metallic clang across the ground before exploding.

THE DICHOTOMY SERIES: 7. "Friend or Foe"
Then he found himself falling, the whole world silent as in slow motion the hordes of *diyu* came to swallow him up and everything disintegrated in fire, blood and pain.