Friday, May 5, 2006

Written for goldy_dollar in LJ as a very, very belated b-day gift Prompt: Post-they've-gotten-together-and-all-is-happy-and-shiny, and then Inara gets injured on a regular old, rock&roll drop that should have been a breeze. Mal feels bad.


Written for goldy_dollar as a belated (really, really belated) birthday fic. Rating: PG-13 ish for violence Word Count: 843 Pairing/Character: Mal and Inara, slight crew Prompt: Post-they've-gotten-together-and-all-is-happy-and-shiny, and then Inara gets injured on a regular old, rock&roll drop that should have been a breeze. Mal feels bad. A/N: Special cookies to anyone who can point out the somewhat obscure movie quote I used in this fic *G*

Stay by 2x2

It wasn't supposed to happen. Not like this.

"Hang on, bao bei. Simon's coming…"

She'd been on countless jobs with him now, had fit into their team seamlessly and with such efficiency he wondered how they'd ever managed not to get screwed before, without her there. He'd expected her to do fine, but had been surprised at just how well she'd took to it. Her talent for reading folk had proved invaluable, negotiating deals, sussing out lies, and sweetening their take; they'd never been bringing in more per job, even with the extra share to factor in.

"Reach for it, mister!"

"Mal…?" Her voice stopped him cold, his name little more than a breathy whisper, something in her tone freezing the air in his lungs…

There was always risk, nature of the job, but this… so senseless…

It was an easy job, one the two of them handled easily, and the idea of a night in town, just for them, had lured them into being less cautious than they might otherwise have been. Not that they'd have played out the situation any differently, like as not, but… a couple of gorram kids

"Reach for it…"

"No! Mal, wait! Don't--"

He ran a hand over his face, paced the area outside of the infirmary as Simon and Zoe worked within.

"Get him out of here!" Simon shouted and Jayne and Zoe caught him under the arms, ignoring his threats and struggles as they dragged him from the room physically, his hands still stained red, red with her blood…


Fear and rage slithered through him as he paced helplessly, guilt settling on him like a bitter taste in the back of his throat. It shouldn't have happened, it just… shouldn't have…

He sat, held his head in his hands, fingers fisting in his hair.

They'd been strolling through the outskirts of town, hand in hand, a pocket full of coin… together… happy…

"Reach for it, Mister!" a young voice rang out, and Mal's heart was in his throat suddenly, his hand falling to his pistol even as he whirled, only just managing to stop his finger's pull on the trigger as Inara called out for him to wait, the barrel coming face to face with two kids, neither one a day over seven, eyes suddenly wide and scared as they stared death in the face…

He cursed them out fiercely, eyeing the old pistol the one had slung over his hips, the barrel reaching well past his young boy's knee.

Inara tried to sooth the frightened children and Mal both, but he knew the trouble these kids were heading for if he didn't put the fear into them here and now. "Where'd you get that gorram pistol?" he growled, neither boy answering as they cowered in the face of his anger. "You'd better get your pi gou's home and put your daddy's gun away before I fill you both with lead! Dong ma?" he roared and away they ran, terrified of his fierceness.

"Mal," Inara chastised him for being so harsh, but he didn't see the humour, a reprimand on his own tongue when heard the kids yell a curse in Chinese back at them that would make even Jayne blush. Clamping his jaw shut, he turned and flinched as the shot rang out, pistol finding its way into his hand again and he took two steps toward them, intent on tanning their hides but good when Inara's voice stopped him cold.


He turned back and stared at her, not comprehending the stunned, pale expression on her face until she pulled her hand away from her chest, breath leaving his lungs in a pained whoosh as he took in the rapidly spreading crimson stain beneath…

"No," he breathed as she fell, legs buckling…

He squeezed his eyes shut, tears escaping to splash unheeded on the floor between his knees as he prayed to a God he'd turned away from years before, to any God that would listen… Please don't take her…

Simon's curse and his barked order to "hold it!" had Mal on his feet and across the room in seconds, Jayne's arm coming around his chest in the doorway as he strained to see what was going on.


"Hold it… right there…" Simon gasped, working frantically as Zoe grunted, a grimace on her face.

"Inara…" Mal breathed, watching from the door, hands clutching at Jayne's arm—

"Reach for it, Mister!"

"I can't get it!"


She fell, legs buckling…


"Got it! Yes, there! Yes… okay… okay…"

His heart kick started with the relief he heard in Simon's voice and he closed his eyes. Thank-you… thank-you… thank-you…

Everything else passed in a blur, until, finally, hours later, he was at her side, her pale hand clasped between his large ones—

Red, red with her blood… --and he bent his head over it, pressing his forehead against her knuckles, lips trembling as he dropped a kiss to her fingers.

"Stay with me," he whispered, voice roughened with emotion.



Friday, May 5, 2006 4:46 AM


Aww... :-( Poot guilt Mal. Between you and me, Inara is haveing a really, really bad day. I like the format of the piece. You do a nice job of intercutting between preasent action and the event. Nice job!

Friday, May 5, 2006 5:31 AM


Heh! I read this over on lj this morning!

Liked it then as well.

I'll be interested to see who here gets the movie reference!

Friday, May 5, 2006 6:50 AM


I really want to let you guys know how appreciative I am of how many amazing fanfics are posted on this site. Are there always this many every day? I am really impressed by how great every one of these short stories really are. Do you guys ever send these to Joss or Tim or Brett or Drew or Jane or Jose or Cheryl? If not, you should. They're freakin awesome man!

Friday, May 5, 2006 7:12 AM


Loverly loverly fic 2x2 :) great job... keep 'em coming plz??? and when are you ever gunna updated part 12 C or 13 A or what ever it is you wanna do with it?? Im still waiting on pins and needles to see what happens to Mal and Inara!

Friday, May 5, 2006 8:17 AM


I agree

Friday, May 5, 2006 12:36 PM


Loved this but please let Inara be alright! Just when things were good between her and Mal this has to happen. Gorrammit, talk about angst and you did it so wonderfully well - sob. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Tuesday, May 9, 2006 8:51 PM


Absolutely wonderful please write more


Thursday, August 24, 2006 7:05 AM


You gave me chills woman. Wonderful piece!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007 4:30 AM


Some absolutely fabulous work here, 2x2! Definitely glad that I stumbled on this when I did;)



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History of an Object
There’s no reason to keep it, damaged as it is. Save one. Doesn’t matter that it’s finer than any other cup on the ship, even with the crack. Doesn’t matter that it would never hold liquid again without some of it seeping through. Burning your fingers. Was only one reason he still has the cup.

Five Years' War
The night was warm. Clouds, low on the horizon, blue black in the last light of the setting sun. Nothing but the breeze and the buzz of the cicadas breaking the stillness. A perfect evening.

The Close Shore, At the End, Untenable
“Dead ’re in my head tonight,” he said finally. “Can’t get ‘em out. Don’t got the booze or the bar to distract me. Don’t know why I’m here ‘cept I don’t think I can go through it alone.”

The Slower Path: All the Difference - Part 15 - Sequel to The One Less Traveled By
She let out a breath, saying nothing for a long moment before she raised her eyes again. “There are some things I want you to know,” she said softly. “Things I want you to understand.”

Much as he wished he could ignore it, he could see it was important to her that he know whatever it was she wanted to tell him. He knew he wouldn't have let himself see it in the past, but that weren't where they were anymore, or at least, not where they wanted to be, either of them. Their relationship had changed, was changing, and he weren’t so stupid he didn’t recognize that. He didn't know that he wanted to know it, much less understand it, but she was reluctant enough to talk about any aspect of her life as it was; could be he might ought not stop her when she wanted to.

Unlucky at Cards...
“I… You can’t be that lucky!” Mal moaned as Inara beat him again, laying out her cards with a flourish.

The Slower Path: The One Less Traveled By - Part 14 - Sequel to Regrets
They fell silent again, struggling to find the ease that they had found, before; before the argument that had almost ended things.

"I feel like-," she started.

"This is-," he said at the same time.

They looked at each other. "Awkward," they both said, laughing lightly.

Always Had Faith
Faith in a higher power? That was always Mal's thing, the Captain, back in the war.

Loved and Lost
Love’s the biggest kind of hurt there is.

And I wouldn't trade that love for nothin'.

The Mood That Passes Through
He felt the first trembling shudder go through her, heard her breath hitch and felt her fingers grip his skin; knew it was comin', the wave that was cresting the walls she'd built to hold it back, whatever it was. Knew they were about to come crashing down around her. The first sob still hurt though, still lanced through his heart like a searing hot blade to hear her make that sound.