Afterlife : Parts VII & VIII
Sunday, March 26, 2006

Zoe finds some peace and Mal and Inara make love...(Finally!)*Warning: Hot & heavy M/I goodness*


Title: Afterlife : Parts VII &VIII

Not Mine: All the characters and little plot references belong to Joss and Co...

Setting: Takes place after the movie. (Some spoilers). Everyone tries to move on. This part picks up where part VI left off...

VII Zoe wondered up to the bridge, to the one place where she could still feel closest to Wash. She sank down into Wash’s pilot chair and traced her fingertips over the arm rests as tears filled her eyes. She knew, realistically, that parts of the chair were replaced do to the damage caused by the harpoon, but in her heart it was the same. She closed her eyes and sighed deeply as she fell into a memory of simply sitting in his arms, staring at the stars. Their stars. “Do you want me to leave?” River asked softly. Zoe had merely forgotten that she wasn’t alone, and wiped her cheeks, “No, no, I don’t mind the company.” She managed a weak smile at River. River felt the other woman’s heavy sadness, “You’ll be alright,” she offered, “You’re brave.” Zoe shrugged, “I used to think so.” She picked up Wash’s toy stegosaurus and held it fondly, “Right now I’m just afraid.” River pulled her knees up to her chest and waited for Zoe to go on. She drew a ragged breath and met River’s concerned gaze, “I’m afraid I’m going to start to forget him.” “You won’t,” River assured her, “As long as you remember what he taught you, you’ll never forget him. He taught you how to live again, and how to love. Remember that, and Wash will always be with you.” Zoe tilted her head at River, surprised to have found such comfort in the young girls’ words, “What about you? How are you doing?” River smiled, “I’m better. I sleep. And I dream. My own dreams. And Mal lets me fly. I like flying.” “I have to admit you seem to have a talent for it,” Zoe said with a grin. River pointed at Wash’s dinosaurs, “He’s still here. He helps.” Zoe lifted the dinosaur in her hand to her lips, “He’s still here,” she repeated, “He’ll always be here.”



Inara banged on Mal’s hatch door. She gathered her sheer robe up around her short burgundy and lace night gown. Upon trying to go to bed she’d thoroughly mulled things over and decided she was determined and frustrated enough to have it out with the stubborn Captain. “Come in,” she heard him call from somewhere below. She tossed the door inward and climbed down, the picture of grace until she nearly slipped on the last rung of his ladder in her slide on heels. She quickly took in the fact that he was still fully dressed and trying to hide a silver flask behind his back. “What are you doing?” she asked at the sight of his chosen solution. “What does it look like?” he countered guardedly as he closed the cap on the flask. “Hiding,” she jabbed, “Something you’re awfully good at.” He bowed sarcastically, “Thank you m’lady. Did you come down here to toss compliments at me?” She took a shaky breath to calm herself and nodded at the bottle in his hand, “It’s just that you’re better than that, Mal.” He laughed dryly, “Not always darlin’.” He finally focused on what she was wearing and tried not to concentrate too hard on what it didn’t leave to the imagination, “Thought you’da gone to bed by now anyhow,” he managed. “I was. I did. I mean I couldn’t sleep,” she rushed. “Suppose you don’t want me to sleep either,” he sussed out bitterly. He hadn’t counted on it being so difficult to make her leave. She moved closer to him and lifted her gaze to his, determined not to let him hide, “Mal, you have to let me in.” “I just did,” he told her, “An’ I’m leanin’ towards regrettin’ it.” “Stop it, Mal. That’s not what I meant and you know it,” she said, “You can’t keep putting up this wall between us.” He met her gaze, “There’s an ‘us’?” She leveled with him, “You know that there is. We’re just...complicated, Mal, but it doesn’t have to be this way. You could just let me in.” He shook his head. She just didn’t get it, “No, Inara, I can’t.” She wouldn’t let him shrug it off, “You could if you wanted to.” “It’s not that simple, darlin’,” he told her with a heavy sigh, “I want to, but I can’t.” “Why not?” she pressed. She was exhausting him and he held his hand out to the ladder, “Inara, just go. Please.” “No,” she told him matter-of-factly. He sighed heavily, gorrammit she was attractive when she was stubborn. “Why not?” she asked again. He passed by her and then strangled the ladder’s sides with both hands, “Because I don’t want you to get hurt ” He turned and crossed the room to face her, “That Operative came after you He knew he could get to me through you. That scared me, Inara. That was one time too many.” “So that’s it ?” she asked, “You’re just going to set aside everything we feel for each other because of some yu ben de sense of duty to keep me safe?” “That’s my plan,” he conceded. “What about me?” she cried, “What about what I feel every time you go out on a job? Or when you were shot? Or when Niska had you?” Tears threatened her eyes as she spilled her heart. He took her face in his hands and she went on, “Or when you went up against that assassin alone? ” She was crying now and he pulled her into his arms, stroking her hair as he kissed her forehead, “Shhh...Inara...” She shook her head, “He could’ve killed you, Mal...and I wouldn’t...” He kissed her forehead again as she took a shaky breath in his arms, “Ai ya, bao bei, it’s over. I’m alright...” She realized she was clutching at his shirt in equal parts of love and frustration, “You stubborn, closed off son-of-a-bitch ” she cried as she pushed against him at his sides. She noticed at once he winced with a painful intake of breath. Her fingertips flew to her lips as she realized what she’d done, “Oh, God, Mal, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to...” He shook his head, “Oh, no, it’s shiny. I am a son-of-a-bitch.” She reached for him and lightly checked his shirt to see that he wasn’t bleeding. “That’s not what I...I’m sorry for that too. Are you alright?” “I’m fine. It’s just a scratch,” he assured her. She lifted a gentle hand to his still scarred cheek and caressed him, concern filling her eyes, “You should let Simon take a look at you.” He lifted his hand to her wrist to lower her touch from his face. Her other hand found his and their fingers entwined. He shook his head, “Simon’s too busy takin’ a look at Kaylee. Sides’, doc’s got his own hurts to get over.” He lowered his hands to her waist and his fingertips spread out possessively over her curved hips as she moved into his arms. She lifted her hands to his shoulders, and then around his neck, “Then let me take care of you,” she offered in a voice that made him wish there was less clothing between them. He cleared his throat to find his voice, “Inara...I don’t...I...” She lifted her fingertips over his lips to silence him. He kissed her softly the turned to kiss the palm of her hand as she moved to stroke his cheek. His hands tightened their grip at her hips and he gathered the sheer material of her skirt up as he pulled her to him. “Let me, my love...” she whispered as she lowered her graceful hands to the collar of his shirt and carefully began to unbutton it. His lips brushed her forehead while she was glancing down, but he didn’t move to stop her. A weak protest started in his throat, but died on his lips as she lowered her hands to his waist and untucked his shirt, and he realized he wasn’t capable of resisting her anymore. He wanted her too badly. She lifted her hands back up to his shoulders and slowly lowered his suspenders down to his sides. He took a deep, nervous breath as her hands returned to his collar. She leaned closer to him and kissed him softly on the cheek, and then lowered her lips to nuzzle and kiss his neck. Without hesitation she pushed his shirt off his shoulders and let it fall to the floor. Her eyes fell down to his bare chest and she drew a deep breath at the sight of a patternless series of bruises and wounds, “Jesus, Mal...” she whispered in disbelief. She lowered her hands to his waist just above his pants and gently stroked her fingertips up on either side of his chest beneath his arms. He closed his eyes as her touch feathered across his chest, dancing over his bruises with great care. She adorned him with a tender trail of kisses from his upper arm to his shoulder and ran her fingertips over his back in haunting circles. He pulled her to him like a starving man, seeking to place his hands anywhere he could feel her bare skin. In one motion her banished her sheer robe to the floor around her feet and spread his hands over her bare back where her gown dipped. He lifted her up to him and kissed her hotly on her neck, and she cried out in his embrace, rocking her hips to his. He dipped his hand beneath her skirt and lifted her leg up beside him, holding her against him. His lips continued their passionate assault of her neck and drifted up her throat to her chin. He lodged one hand in her dark curls and crushed his lips to hers in a passionate, hungry kiss. She responded to his seeking mouth with equal ardor. He parted her lips gently, tasting her. She opened her mouth to him willingly, tasting his whiskey and something that was only Mal. Something she wanted more of. She coaxed his lips apart, then slipped her tongue into his mouth, seeking his. He answered her quickly, and she drew his tongue deep into her mouth, entwining it with her own. Beneath her skirt he caressed her thighs and his palm passed over the damp front of her panties, lingering as he pressed against the warmth of her. Her knees buckled at the sudden contact and he lifted her back up and spun her around, pressing her against his wall. She rocked against him as he held her bottom and aided her up to where she could wrap her legs around him, cradling him against her. She held his face in her hands and kissed his forehead, his cheeks, and the bridge of his nose before returning her mouth to his. He held her around the waist and beneath her knee as he rocked against her. She tightened her legs on either side of him, “Inara, wait...wait...” he pleaded beneath her kiss. From somewhere through a blissful fog she heard him and lifted her lips and opened her eyes to face him, “What?” she managed breathlessly, “What’s wrong?” He lowered his forehead to the wall beside her and took a deep breath, “Our agreement,” he managed, “We had a business arrangement...” She tossed her head back and shifted her hips against him, “Ai ya, Mal, you’re bringing this up now? ” She fell into his blue eyes, clouded with desire, and leaned in to plant tiny kisses on his lips, one after another. “Although, I can’t recall it ever bein” in writin’ anywhere...” he reasoned as he kissed her back. She gathered her breath, “Besides, Mal, I’m not servicing you...I want you...” He grinned, “Well, that’s different, ain’t it?” She nodded, “So can we move this along?” He laughed and she trembled slightly in her somewhat awkward position, “You’re a bossy little thing, ain’t ya’ darlin’?” He lowered her to the floor again and they backed out into the center of the room. She’d lost her heels previously and he discarded his worn boots beside them. He lifted his hands to her shoulders, then down to her breasts where he loosened the tied ribbon below her collar. He lowered her gown off her shoulders and it slipped in a burgundy cascade down her body. He’d always known that she’d be exquisitely beautiful. He’s even allowed himself to picture her many times, but never did he do her quite the proper justice. She was breathtaking in the half light, bathed in equal shadow and glow, highlighting the curves and hollows of her siren figure. He pulled her to him, feeling the contrast of her soft, bare breasts against his chest. She left kiss after kiss on his shoulders and across his chest as she lowered her hands to where she feverishly undid his pants. Together they removed them, tossing them aside to the floor. Without a further waste of words he gathered her to him and laid her down on the tousled sheets of his bunk. Together they raised and lowered their hips in a clumsy, urgent dance as they removed the final obstacles of clothing between them. He settled between her slender legs and she clutched desperately at his shoulders. He slipped his fingertips between her slick thighs and stroked her gently, watching her writhe beneath him. “Mal, please...” she managed breathlessly. It was enough. He entered her in a single thrust, then sank fully into her as he drew a deep breath at the warm, tight feel of her sheathed around him. She lifted her hips to his as she adjusted to the feel of him inside her, hardly surprised that for all their bickering and denying they were a perfect fit. He caught her lips in a hot kiss, thrusting his tongue into her mouth, mimicking the movements of his hips below. The double penetration was enough to draw a cry from her beneath is kiss. Inara bit her lip, surprised at her loss of practiced control. Most men treated her as an unattainable beauty, too fragile to truly love, but then the Captain wasn’t most men. Malcolm Reynolds made love to her with an intensity that altered her state of being. She didn’t feel much like a reserved Companion, laying only for the passion of her lover. She felt like a woman, actual and whole. She felt alive. She cried his name at a particularly well placed thrust, and he returned again, deep into the heart of her. He lowered his lips to her neck and kissed her and muttered her name like a chant in alternate turns as his motions quickened. She lifted her hips to his, her legs straddling him on either side and she stroked the muscles of his back with each thrust. Sensing she was close to breaking he slipped his hands beneath her to her bottom and lifted her up to him, deepening the angle of his penetration, and she unwound beneath him. Her legs went limp at his sides and she trembled beneath him as her orgasm gripped her. Her head dipped back and a spiraling moan escaped her swollen lips as a fire exploded within her and she came around him. He cried out to her, following her release with his own. She gripped his shoulders as he fell against her after three forceful thrusts. Together they caught their breath in the warm sweat slicked aftermath. Their bodies glided together, shimmering in the half light as they smiled shyly at each other. “I been thinkin’ about that for a while,” he confessed as he brushed her hair away from her cheek. “So have I,” she whispered as her arms encircled his neck, “Only since I came onboard,” she added with a smile. “C’mere,” he told her softly as he rolled over with her, placing her on top, easing his weight off of her. Her fingertips grazed a blue bruise and she shifted over to his side, afraid to add pressure to his injuries. He caught her gesture and he kissed her hair as she rested her head in the crook of his arm, “I don’t even feel most of em’ anymore darlin’. They’re just scars now.” “Where from?” she asked softly. He gave her the laugh that she loved, when he thought she was bein’ difficult or cute, “Which one darlin’?” She lifted her hand and her fingertips played through his spiky bangs. She caressed the splattering of scars on his cheek and was suddenly afraid he’d shut down on her again, “I’m serious, Mal. I really want to know.” She leaned in closer to his neck where she grazed him with a small open mouthed kiss before slipping her tongue out to taste him. He closed his eyes, wo de taina, she was licking him. She slipped her tongue upward in a tiny trail to where she planted a second, more ardent kiss. “Do ya?” he managed as he found his voice, “Pick one.” She lifted her lips and traced a small scar on the top of his shoulder, “How about this one?” she asked. He thought for a moment, reaching back into his past, “Bullet graze. Hera,” he told her. “It was one of the more smallish battles ‘fore Serenity Valley. This kid, not a minute over eighteen, name a’ Dalton, got shot in the leg. I was tryin’ to drag him outta the line of fire and got clipped.” “Did he live?” she asked. “Yeah,” he told her, “But he lost the leg.” He wrapped one arm around her shoulders then lifted the other up behind his head. She spotted a jagged faded scar on the underside of his upper arm as he moved. “What about this?” she asked as her fingertips brushed his arm. “That’s from my first tour,” he told her, “It was an armored ATV explosion. I took shrapnel in both arms and my lower back.” “And this?” her fingertips grazed a barely visible would beneath his bangs. He grinned, “Bottle to the head in a bar fight on U-Day fore’ you met me.” She moved her attention to his chest where she recognized three of the wounds herself. One where Niska’s soldier had pierced his shoulder with a jagged blade, one from his sword fight with Wing, and a gunshot wound acquired when a stalled Serenity was boarded months back. She laid gentle hand over the bandage covering his most recent stab wound. “That and most the others courtesy of our friend the Operative,” he told her with a grin, “I gotta knack for pissin’ people off.” Her touch drifted over a long, nearly straight bruise across his lower chest, “God, Mal, what in the world?” He shrugged and lifted her hand to his lips to kiss her, “Oh, that? Fallin’ thirtyish feet and landin’ on a chain tryin’ to get to Mr. Universe’s broadcast equipment.” She shook her head, “And here I am all entangled with you. You’re in no condition,” she said sweetly as she rolled over on top of him and lowered her mouth to his. She took his lower lip between hers and traced her tongue across before nibbling him gently and releasing him, “You need to rest,” she told him. He wrapped both arms around her, “You’re not leavin’ that easy,” he told her. She leaned into him until her lips were brushing his, “Who said anything about leaving?” she whispered as she shifted her hips over his feeling him grow hard again beneath her. She slipped her hands between them and she took hold of him, guiding him inside her as she lowered her hips down onto him, holding him within. If he hadn’t been aware of her skill in her art before, he was now. She adjusted her knees on either side of him and began to carefully raise and lower her hips, sliding up and down the length of him. She shifted her hips forward and back, drawing him deep inside her with each motion. She drew an inaudible string of Chinese from him as he lodged his hand into her hair. He slipped his fingers through her curls and pulled her mouth to his. He kissed her more roughly than he’d meant to, thrusting his tongue into her mouth with a hot urgency. She responded to him with an insatiable hunger, nearly biting his lip as she entwined her tongue with his in their unforgiving kiss. He kissed her now for all the times he wished he’d kissed her before. All the times she’d taunted him, teased him, infuriated him, driven him mad with desire. He knew she possessed an equal desire for him. Too many times he had been tempted to take her, her dress pushed up around her waist, against the cold corridor wall, in front of his broken God and everyone. Gorrammit all to hell, it would have been worth it to break her, which was what he set his mind to now. Despite the protesting pain of his injuries he found a little leverage in his back and thrust his hips up into her, forcing a strangled cry from her that died into a whimper against his lips. He pulled her to him and sat up with her in his lap, holding her as she gathered herself in her new position. She rocked back and forth in his lap as she rose and fell along the length of him. He lowered his lips to her breasts where he kissed her gently and tasted her, darting his tongue across her warm skin. He let her increase her efforts under the notion that she was in control, and then suddenly clutched her hips, stilling her. He held her as he moved in and out of her, threatening her, nearly leaving her before burying himself in her slick depths again. She released her grip on his shoulders and lowered her fingertips between them to the place where he penetrated her and stroked him as he moved in and out of her. He felt her tighten around the length of him and he let her go. Her hips came crashing down on his and he slipped his fingertips between her legs and played at the edge of her as he stilled within her. She lost all her practiced grace as he came within her and shook in his arms helplessly as she fell against him. Her damp thighs trembled beside him as she cried out his name, a sound that would be forever burned into his memory. He slipped his fingertip beneath her chin and tilted her face to his and kissed her. “Inara...” he whispered her name against her lips in a tender, gentle kiss designed to bring her back down. He laid back with her and pulled the covers up around them. She rolled over onto her side and he pulled her back to him, and wrapped his arm around her as he kissed her shoulder. For a moment he wondered if she’d fallen asleep until she broke her thoughtful silence, “Mal?” she shifted slightly, entwining her legs with his beneath the sheets. “Hmm?” he muttered as he kissed her cheek. “What can I be?” she asked. She’d lost him, “Huh?” he asked her sleepily. She smiled, “On your crew. What can I be?” She reached for his hand and their fingertips laced together. She was staying. He kissed her shoulder and the crook of her neck, “Be what you’ve always been, darlin’,” he whispered in her ear, spreading a wave of heat over her like wildfire. She turned her face to his, “What?” He kissed her lovingly on the nose, “The heart of this ship. ‘Sides’ like you said, I obviously need someone to look out for me.” “Yes, you do,” she agreed haughtily. He kissed her ear with a nip, “You takin’ the job?” She rolled over in his arms to face him and leaned up to kiss him. Her lips moved over his in a haunting dance before closing over his lower lip, letting go, and nudging her nose to his. “Guess that’s a yes,” he said with a grin, “Though I feel to warn you, I’m a handful.” “No kidding?” she said sweetly, “I think I know the man I fell in love with.” He grinned, “Do I know him?” She met his gaze, “You are him, Mal.” He smiled at her, “Oh, shiny. I was worried for a bit.” “Don’t be...” she leaned into him and their lips met in a kiss that was borne from passions too long denied.

****************************************************************************** Comments welcome! Next parts, the conclusion. Mal decides what the crew must do next, but how far can he carry his blame for the ones they lost?


Sunday, March 26, 2006 5:28 PM


Longish, I know, but well worth the typing cramps.I'll be in Mal's bunk...

Sunday, March 26, 2006 6:55 PM


Yeah, Mal/Inara goodness!
I just love them together - and the scene with Zoe and River on the bridge - heartbreaking, but pitch perfect!

Sunday, March 26, 2006 8:14 PM

BLUEEYEDBRIGADIER has to love Mal/Inara goodness. All that pent up emotion and denied damn "GUH"ish that one wants to light up afterwards;)

Excellent fic here, shinyfly!

Monday, March 27, 2006 12:41 AM


Loved this, about gorram time! This was beautifully done and makes me all manner of happy. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Monday, March 27, 2006 11:40 AM


mmmmmmm yummy Mal/Inara goodness...

yum yum yum....

Gotta go now... ya'll know where I'll be ;o)

Thursday, August 23, 2007 6:33 AM


Oh, that was just SO...

...*whew!* yep, I'll be looking for a bunk to be in...


Saturday, December 22, 2007 1:27 PM



It's been obvious how they felt toward each other since day one


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