Over The Hills and Far Away - Ch 10
Saturday, April 8, 2006

Set after OIS. Much to Inara’s chagrin, Mal accepts a job offer that takes Serenity far away from New Melbourne and to an unremarkable moon called Three Hills... Chapter ten. Gilbert and Inara... and Mal is not happy about it


Note: This chapter in NC-17. If you're uncomfortable reading about sex, skip the beginning.

Ch 10

September 12, 2510. Sihnon. Bedchamber of Inara Serra.

The knock on her door came five minutes before midnight struck. Inara was in her feet instantly, dashing soundlessly across the room. She pulled him inside by the shoulders and threw her arms around him, barely taking time to close the door. “Abaddon, oh Abaddon…” the words fell from her red, swollen lips. “Abaddon, my Abaddon… Thank goodness you’re safe…”

His arms engulfed her, his embrace so tight Inara feared that the force of it would fuse them together. “It’s okay,” he whispered into her ear – but his voice was trembling. Inara felt the tears beginning to fall from the corner of her eyes. Shaking as it was, hearing his voice, touching his skin, smelling him… Inara was overcome with relief. “It’s okay.”

“You didn’t come,” Inara cried, her voice threatening it fail. “You didn’t come, and then you didn’t send a wave… I looked for you and I couldn’t find you…”

“Inara, Inara, it’s all right.” He was crying, too. He put his hands on her face, forced her to look at him. “It’s all right, it’s all right.” He used his thumbs to wipe the remaining tears out of the corner of her eyes. “See, now there she is. My calm, composed, Inara Serra.” He kissed her forehead. She smiled without meaning to. “Ah, yes. Definitely my Inara.” He was smiling, too. “You know, for someone who all but just told me that she thought I was dead, you answered the door pretty fast.”

“Dougray. We had lunch today. He implied that…. I cancelled my appointment tonight, told my client I had a fever…”

Abaddon’s smile vanished. “Dougray shouldn’t be doing that,” he said sternly. “I could have waited, come another time.”

“But Abaddon….”

“He doesn’t know that you know, Inara,” Abaddon said quickly. “As far as Dougray is concerned, you are an agent of the….”

“Yes, I know,” Inara said, cutting him off. She curled her arms more tightly around him. He drew his arms around her neck and she rested her head upon his broad shoulder. “Abaddon, I’ve spent the last three weeks wondering if you were dead. Let’s not talk politics tonight.”

He was running his hands up and down her back, as if he couldn’t believe that he was feeling her. “Oh, then what do you say we do, wú míng jīng liàn?

“Make love to me, Abaddon.”

He kissed her.


Gilbert Crane kissed her.


He kissed her, his lips gentle but firm against hers. Powerful, eager. Their kiss was killed with longing, disquiet, and hunger, the epitome of young love, young lust…


The kiss was cold; his lips were clumsy and rough to touch. Inara felt almost as if her lips would start bleeding the moment that they touched his. The feeling of his arm as it wrapped around her waist sent shivers through her spine…


Warmth filled her. Before she knew it, Inara was in his arms. Abaddon carried her to the bed, laying her down gently on the silk sheets. He rained gentle kisses onto her collar bones as he pushed the light fabric of her dress off of her shoulders…


She undressed him quickly, sliding her hands down his sides and letting her fingers curl around the fabric of his t-shirt. She pulled it over Gilbert’s head in what must have seemed to be a moment of great passion and tossed it on the floor. She put one hand on the small of his back as the other unzipped his jeans…


Abaddon stood before her, naked. His body was unique. His flesh was the color of moonlight, but his hair, which tumbled over his broad shoulders and nearly touched his elbows when he let it down, was the color of jet. His sharp chin and long, pointed nose, juxtaposed against the small, black slivers of his eyes gave him the appearance of a hawk, but his body had the frame of a tiger – long, muscular limbs, board, strong shoulders, a chiseled chest. His lips were large, too large and sensual for the birdlike face. He had the body of a warrior but the soul of a poet, a poet’s lips, a poet’s sorrow-filled eyes….


Gilbert was scrawny. He had the body of a beanpole, straight, linear. She could see his ribs jutting out from underneath the muscles of his chest, felt them with her chilled fingers as she caressed his body. She stood naked before him, her own body beautiful, proportioned, and radiant. She lay down on the bed, kissing him as he put his legs between hers…


She sat on her knees between Abaddon’s open legs, pushing him into the pillows of her bed as she kissed him. She ran one hand through his tangled, black mane while the other caressed the soft skin of his inner thighs. He had his arms around her, one hand supporting her back, the other playing with the smooth skin on her buttocks…


He entered her, and they both gasped.


Inara and Abaddon moaned in pleasure as she lowered herself onto his yearning penis.


Inara felt all of her insides freeze.


She felt the heat inside her grow as she rocked upon him, drawing him in and out of her as Abaddon kissed and sucked her breasts…


She was cold, still, as he thrust, strangled moans escaping his throat with each thrust. Gilbert made love mechanically, each thrust just a bit harder and faster than the one before, almost as if he had calculated each one in advance. Inara had merely to press her body against his body, to kiss his neck, caress his back and his buttocks with his fingers, scratching, digging pinching, but it was all cold. Cold sweat stained her sheets as it streamed down her back…


Inara’s fingers were entangled in his hair, her fingers digging into his back. Hot, sticky sweat poured from all their pores, streaming down their sweltering bodies. Abaddon was bucking into her as she bore down on him, their bodies forming a perfect, wild, dangerous, ever-changing rhythm. Their lips met yet again, sucking each other’s lips as they shared wet, passionate kisses. Abaddon had his arms around her, pushing her body eagerly to his flesh, her breasts rubbing against the muscles of his sweat-covered chest.

The heat of Inara’s coming orgasm was threatening to undo her. She could feel every muscle of her body buzzing, pulsing, tensing, as she and Abaddon shook and wailed and roared in their love making. He heat, was building inside her, in the bottom core of her belly, growing with each motion until it burst, flooding through her, ceasing the tips of her fingers and toes, elbows shaking, knees ready to falls off, neck and head jerking back as the moan, the scream, the roar of it escaped her and him at once, his penis pulsing inside her to the rhythm of the orgasm that spread throughout her entire body, leaving her warm.


Gilbert screamed with his orgasm. She could feel him pulsing within her, panting with each contraction of his penis. For several moments he hovered over and inside her. Then he push himself up, propping himself on his arms, looking into her eyes for the first time. Inara smiled up at him, her careful, satisfied smile, the one that made her look melted, like her gentlemen friend had just conquered her. It was ice on Inara’s lips. Smiling in turn, Gilbert dismounted, collapsing on the other side of the bed. Inara silently thanked… she didn’t know. She has always thought she believed in God, but she was freezing… she drew the satin covers of her bed to her chest.

“Inara….” She turned to him, gazing at him from her side of the bed. He seemed far away. Everything seemed far away, as if she wasn’t in the room at all. She was somewhere else. She didn’t say anything. She didn’t have to. “I…” fortunately, he didn’t spend much time stammering. “Thank you.” Inara flashed him her most gracious smile as he turned around. Within minutes she heard his breathing even out as he fell asleep. Inara lay awake on her back.

She hadn’t felt like this for a long time, a very long time. During her first year or so on House Madrassa there had been times when she’d hadn’t been prepared to perform her duties. Performing them anyway had been… troubling. She had been young then, inexperienced. She wasn’t inexperienced now, but that didn’t matter. It didn’t matter. For several minutes, she lay still in the bed, listening to the sound of Gilbert’s breathing. Then, satisfied that he would not waken, Inara pushed her covers back and rose from the bed, dressing carelessly and withdrawing from the room. She barely remembered to put slippers on her feet.

The empty catwalk of Serenity was a welcome sight. Inara felt better instantly, knowing she was in the place where Kaylee chased River around, where Jayne and the Shepherd lifted weights during sermons, the place where she and Mal had spent so many nights sitting side by side, talking endlessly without having ever meant to. She took a deep breath. She noticed, abruptly, that her arms were shaking. She was trembling. Closing her eyes, Inara took two long, deep, breaths before making her way to the kitchen.

She half-expected Mal to be there waiting for her when she stepped inside. In her mind’s eye she had pictured him sitting silently at the table, his face obscured by shadow, the silence of the room embracing them both. Instead, the silence alone was with her, surrounding her. Its hold was oppressive. Inara glided through in the best she could. She made some tea and told herself that her arms were not still trembling. It was just her imagination. She was jumpy and her mind was playing tricks on her. Tea made, she sat down at the table. The half-dimmed light of the room illuminated the barely visible cuts on the tips of her fingers.

She sipped her tea fiercely. She liquid burned down her throat. Inara was glad of this. She was glad that her tongue was throbbing, that she could barely swallow. She took a second sip, letting the liquid sting. Her throat burned and her whole body ached, throbbed with a tiredness she hadn’t felt in a long while, a tiredness that was always… it had never truly left her. She saw that now. All the things she thought that she was running from, they were still here. The past couldn’t change.

She felt like weeping. She didn’t.

Instead, Inara continued to sip her tea in the half darkness. It wasn’t nearly as hot now. It didn’t hurt her. Her body was still confused and shaking, but it no longer alarmed her. Her quivering, the ache inside of her, felt suddenly like an old friend. They were speaking again now after years and years of sitting together in silence. Inara could still feel the traces of Gilbert Crane’s fingers on her flesh, and in it she felt echoes of Abaddon’s caresses and the shadows of the dreams she had of Mal holding her tightly, letting her keep him warm.

When the tea was finished Inara cleaned her cup and put it away. She checked her supply of tea leaves in the cupboard, wondering idly if the market in town would carry the leaves she unusually liked to buy. It was unlikely, but Inara had been surprised before. Occasionally, she even managed to find teas finer than the ones she was accustomed to on backwards moons and frontier towns. The universe could be surprising. She was yet to find anything better, though, than the tea that Abaddon had once brought her from his home world, but that was to be expected. Perhaps she would look for flavored tea at the market. Peach tea was a guilty indulgence of hers. She had not indulged in a long time.

When she crawled back into her shuttle Gilbert Crane was lying on her bed exactly as he had been when she left him. She could barely make out his figure in the darkness. In the darkness, he could have been anyone. He could have been…. but he wasn’t. Inara crossed her arms over her chest as a slight chill passed over her. She sat down on the edge of the bed and watched as Gilbert dreamed.


Mal was surprised by how long he had to wait. Inara had always been an early riser. She was the third person awake after Book and himself on most days, though Simon had been known to beat her from time to time. Of course, if Simon was up before Inara that usually meant that he hadn’t gotten any sleep at all. It didn’t happen as frequently as it once had. Mal… that morning, he wouldn’t have said no the company.

When Inara did emerge from her shuttle she wasn’t fully dressed, which Mal found unexpected. She was wearing a short, black nightgown (her soft legs were glistening in the morning sun) that he’d never seen before and a blue, floral robe that was painfully familiar. Her hair was pinned back loosely. “Mal,” she said, a simple, soft exhalation escaping through soft, slightly parted lips. She did not meet his gaze. When he thought about afterwards, he couldn’t blame her.

“Noticed somethin’ strange this mornin’,” Mal said. “Seems there’s a bed in my passenger dorm ain’t been slept in. You wouldn’t happen to know a thing or two ‘bout that, would you ‘Nara?”

For a moment, she refused to look at him. The light pouring onto her face made her look like something else, something not from his world, even though he could clearly see the lines of sleep deprivation under her eyes. “Mal…” she began, facing him. Her eyes were overlarge, her lower lip quivering.

“I don’t want to hear nothin’ from you,” he spat, turning around.

“Mal!” she called after him. “Mal, wait…”

He turned around. “What’cha got to say, Inara?” he said, his voice low and furious.

“Mal,” she repeated. Why was she saying his name? His name on her lips, over and over again. He couldn’t get it out of his head. She screamed it in his dreams, she… “Mal, it’s not what it…”

“It’s not what?” he roared. “Tellin’ me you didn’t ask for no favor form me last night? ‘Cause I remember diff’rent.”


She’d slept with him. She’d come to him asking for a bed for that gou tsao de hwoon dahn Gilbert Crane, and then she’d kept the boy in her shuttle and slept with him. It tore Mal in two, walking up that morning, finding that bed still made, its sheets untouched. Gilbert… he’d never ever walked into the room, had he? Mal could see it, he could see it all too clearly. The boy’s arms around her waist, with Inara running her long, elegant fingers through his shee-niou greasy hair.

She was standing before him, her lips slightly parted, trembling. She looked like… Oh, mother of Jesus... She stood before him, and he showed her no mercy. “Next time you ask me for a favor…. don’t.”

“Mal, please,” she said quickly. “This isn’t your business.”

“None of my business?” He shouted back. “When a woman comes to me, askin’ me for my help, an’ then decides that zhēn shì zhí de yǐ nèi yī duī go se I think that’s my business.”


He shook his head. “It ain’t right.”

Mal saw something break within her. She turned away from him, her eyes out of focus. “You shot people all the time Mal,” she said, her voice, low, deliberate, and drenched in poison. “Now, that isn’t right.” She turned to face him. “But I don’t get on your back about it. I never have.”

“I don’t get no pleasure out of killing,” he shot back.

“Oh, well… you’ve got me there, Captain Reynolds.” Now she was shouting. She had let go. “I’m not doing a job. I’m not trying to keep my rent paid. I just…” She snorted at him. “I just… I crave the sex Mal.” He could see it in her eyes, the pain, the pain that she always carried, but now it was shining, burning in her eyes more brightly than he’d ever seen it. He looked at her. She was falling apart. It… Mal… He was falling, too, ripping in half. He looked away. “Mal…” His name, his name on her lips, always, and…

“Mal.” Now her voice was gentle. She put her hand on his cheek, turned her head towards him. “Mal, it’s all right.” Her fingers were stroking his cheek, just barely, but… “It’s all right.”

She had no idea what she was saying. Mal had no idea what he was hearing. He grabbed her wrist and pulled her hand away from his face, shoving her away from him. She looked into his eyes, horrified, shocked. Her pain, she wore it beautifully. Mal, he could have…. He shook his head. He could feel his face harden. He could feel his eyes grow dark as he stared into her eyes. “Don’t you touch me,” he said. It didn’t sound like his voice, but it sure looked like tears glistening in her eyes as she backed away. A half-shriek escaped her lips and she jumped back, further away, as he violently spat at her feet. “Don’t you ever.”

He left her there in the corridor, shaking. He turned away and left her there, his heart going black. All right? She had said it would be all right? He loved her. He never wanted to see her again. Oh, god… he’d forgotten. How was it that he had forgotten? Soon he wouldn’t see her. Soon, she would be going away….

Mal slammed his fist into the wall as his walked through the corridor to the bridge, violent angry pants escaping him. Oh, god… oh, god… she was leaving… she was leaving. She’d betrayed him. She…. she was so beautiful….

He stood there for several moments. He didn’t know what he was waiting for. The sound should have been loud. Zoe, Kaylee, and Wash should have come pouring out of there bunks, but… but not a sound was heard, except for the echo of a Shepherd’s prayers.


“So it was….?” Kaylee asked.

“Yeah,” Simon answered.

“And, they…?” she inquired further. “They’re…?”

“I don’t know,” Simon said quickly. “Maybe they talked afterwards, talked about it more rationally, but, I…” Simon’s eyes flickered towards the alcove between the infirmary and the cargo hold, his mind stretching further than that, visualizing the catwalk where the altercation had taken place. “Inara’s still in her shuttle.”

He’d woken to the sound of their fighting echoing through this ship. Simon hadn’t known what happened yet, but he could tell that it had been… it had been pretty bad. Simon had witnessed Mal and Inara’s fights before. Everybody had. Their spats were just part of living on Serenity, same as Wash playing with his dinosaurs when he thought that no one could tell or Kaylee getting engine grease on her chin. Their fights were heated, brief, and quickly forgotten. Simon could tell that this fight was… it was something else. He shuttered, remembering the malice in Mal’s voice.

“You ever fought like that?” Kaylee asked.

“Sometimes,” Simon said. “When River’s letters started coming, I got into some pretty big arguments with my father. He didn’t believe that anything was wrong, but I…. but I’m not in love with my father – well, that is to say, not romantically, I mean. I love my dad despite all that we’ve… but I’ve never, umm… not with a girlfriend,” Simon managed at last. “I’ve… I’ve gotten pretty mad sometimes, but never at someone who I was… dating.”

“Oh,” Kaylee said, smiling at him. “Well that’s good for me, ain’t it?”

“Yes… yeah,” Simon said, a goofy grin involuntarily spreading over his face. “What about you? Do I have anything to worry about?”

Kaylee chuckled. Even her laugh reminded him of sunshine. Everything about Kaylee was so… bright. Everything about her… “Well, I surly still up for myself an’ what not,” Kaylee said, “but… well, my daddy always said I was a lover, not a fighter…”

“Lovers are fighters,” said a voice from behind him. Simon jumped as Inara entered the infirmary. Her hair was pinned tightly on the top of her head. She was wearing a simple red dress and a gray, flower cover shawl.

“Oh, Inara…” Kaylee gushed instantly, throwing her arms around her friend. Simon watched the two women embrace, noting that, unlike Kaylee, Inara did not allow herself to become lost in it. She did not close her eyes. When Kaylee released her, Inara focused her attention on Simon.

“Are you going into the market today?” she asked him.

Simon nodded. “Book and I are going to do more relief work,” he said.

“Would you mind stopping in the market for me?” Inara asked, her voice hallow, unreadable. “I’m running low on tea and with all the re-packing I have yet to do, I’m not certain that I’ll have time to go buy some before I leave. So if you could just….”

“Yes,” Simon said, cutting her off. “That’s fine.”

Inara nodded. “Thank you,” she said, before turning around and heading out. Kaylee watched her go before turning to Simon.

“Do ya’ think she’ll really do it?” Kaylee asked him. “Think she’s really gonna go away?” Simon sighed. He didn’t quite have the heart to tell Kaylee that he knew she would. Inara’s presence on Serenity had always baffled Simon. It was easy to see that she had affection for the ship and everyone living on it, but… but there was really nothing here for her. Companions didn’t have much purpose in the black. Traveling from backwards moon to backwards moon, finding the one person out of a thousand who would be worthy of her services, then leaving and starting all over again… Simon didn’t know how she made rent.

“I…” Simon began. “I guess that depends on the captain,” he finished lamely.

Kaylee sighed. “I ain’t got much faith in that kuh-ooh duh lao bao jurn,” she said somberly.

“You… you never know,” Simon interjected quickly. “Men can be... they can… surprise you, at times.”

This earned him a smile. Kaylee threw her arms over his shoulders. “They sure can,” she said, grinning, before pulling him into their first kiss.


She watched them leaving, two by two…. Red gress, green dress, brown coat… no blue. The clouds above were full. It would rain soon, but it hadn’t yet because they couldn’t decide why they were raining. They all wanted it to rain for different things. River could choose which one needed the clouds the most, but the sky herself was indifferent. The sky didn’t love any of them more than the others. The sky… it would rain for nothing, and no one. She felt Zoe coming up behind her. Felt Zoe put a hand on her shoulder… and then, a moment later, Zoe put her hand on River’s shoulder.

“Are you ready?” Zoe asked.

River considered the question. So many things were about to come, a million things… Infinite possibilities in ever second… there was too much to prepare for. The wheel was turning, and it would never stop. “It’s going to rain,” River said quietly. “Down, down… like tears from the sky…”

“It’s just rain,” Zoe said dryly.

“Not only rain,” River whispered, “a storm.”

“Well, then, storm’s a comin’,” Zoe said. “Let’s go.” She walked past River and climbed into the mule. River stood still, watching as Kaylee came from the infirmary and climbed on, too. River blinked. She could hear thunder that was yet to come. Throwing her hair behind her shoulders, she walked over the Zoe and Kaylee. She was going for a ride.

. . . . .

Translations: Wú míng jīng liàn… my dark eyed love gou tsao de hwoon… dog-humping son of a bitch shee-niou… shit urine zhēn shì zhí de yǐ nèi yī duī go se … it is truly worth less than a pile of dog shit kuh-ooh duh lao bao jurn…. tyrant

Hope you enjoyed the chapter. In Chapter Eleven, the job and the return of Jayne...



Saturday, April 8, 2006 12:34 PM


AWWW, I feel so bad for Inara and Mal!!!But I loved the first S/K kiss, very sweet! The scenes between Abaddon and Gilbert were interessting and well written, I like how they ran so well together! Love this post, great job!

Saturday, April 8, 2006 3:58 PM


Oh...cao....this is some angsty fic right here. Simon's right....Mal and Inara fight hot and passionate but things settle and are put to the side.

This fight however....this fight strikes me as a very plausible reason for why Mal is basically abominable towards Inara in the comic series. He just hurts so badly from seemingly discovering Inara capable of that kind of duplicity that he feels were perpetrated again him.

Definitely can't wait for more of this series, Arcadia:)


Saturday, April 8, 2006 11:42 PM


Oh Inara, what have you done? The Gilbert/Abbaddon scenes were well done but it feels so much like a mistake. Everything about to unravel in ways that may never be repairable. And poor Mal. I loved Simon in this, he shows quite a lot of insight which quite often we do not get to see with him as if he is starting to understand a whole lot more. Kaylee could do with listening to him a little more. Loved River at the end but oh dear, storm's coming. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Sunday, April 9, 2006 3:32 AM


Small things first: I loved the scene betwen Simon and Kaylee. That light-hearted sense of connection between them, Simon engaging in "gossip" both out of concern and for having something to talk about, his neutral observant nature, the fact that he is that sort of guy that oculd hide out unseen and store away the knowledge rather than try and interfere... I love that.

Now the big stuff:

Whoa. Gilbert. What a sneaky job you did, making me like him and them twisting that around, making his part of an enormously creepy scene, making him creepy by association and yet... how much creepier is he than any of her regular clients? Not much, not really.

It's all in the circumstances and attitude, sex itself is neutral, it's the how that informs it and in those two scenes that you contrast that becomes crystal clear.

There's the love and personal passion, there's the mechanical process and trained facade. Worse than ever before because of when she is forced to "perform", right after that moment of being NOT a companion where she is flooded with that honest emotion again.

Very creepy and painful and powerful to read.

And Mal's reaction. Oh. Ouch. I adore the disjointed nature of his POV, the half-started thoughts that stumble over each other and bring out the parallelity of every emotion. Betrayal, longing, loss, aggression. The whole spectrum of jealousy that would come out after finding that dorm unused after their moment the night before.

What I said in one of my earlier comments about them pushing and pulling and going back and forth with ever greater amplitude? Yup.

Pain is so pretty. *g*

More soon?

Sunday, April 9, 2006 5:26 AM


Oh my...

I liked the juxtaposition of the two different sexual encounters, the loving, warm moment between Inara and Abbadon as opposed to the cold, empty one with Gilbert, full of false smiles and lies, Inara practicing her art to the fullest.

Mal's reaction just about killed me... the utter vehemence at her betrayal, made all the more valid to him in the way she couldn't meet his eyes... if she'd been able to meet him stare for stare without shame or guilt, maybe she could have played it off as nothing, her job and nothing more... but to avoid his gaze implied an acceptance of the betrayal he feels she's commited and makes him all the more justified in his anger and... gods... I don't think I've ever seen Mal portrayed more angrily... and it was terrifying and horrible to see (that means it was good, of course)


“Don’t you touch me,” he said. It didn’t sound like his voice, but it sure looked like tears glistening in her eyes as she backed away. A half-shriek escaped her lips and she jumped back, further away, as he violently spat at her feet. “Don’t you ever.”

...some of the hardest stuff I've ever had to read... and I was screaming "NO! How could you do that?!" while understanding perfectly how at the same time....


I can't wait for more


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