Sometimes It Takes a Gun to the Head
Sunday, May 14, 2006

Rating: G Pairing: Zoe and Mal Mal/Inara implied A/N: This is part three to A Cargo Smuggler, His Girl, and Her...Well, You'll See. It is set after the smuffly second part, So Much for Fantasies, written by browncoat_2x2 because I refuse to believe that Mal and Inara are NOT doing it.


Zöe knocked once on his hatch and pushed it open. “You decent, sir?” “Mostly,” came the muffled response. “Jin lai.” She stepped down a few rungs and then dropped lightly to the floor.

Mal stood at his sink, shaving. He was dressed from the waist down, with his suspenders hanging loosely around his hips. “Zao hao.” His eyes met hers in the mirror and asked the question in the way they had. She tossed the leather pouch full of coin onto his desk in answer, and dropped down on his bunk. “Didn’t have a speck of trouble. You were right ‘bout the fair bein’ a good cover. They got another job. Told ‘em we’d talk and let ‘em know before we left.” He nodded, concentrating on his task. “Quiet job’d be nice. Jayne?” “Behaved. Watched over River.” She glanced around his bunk, wondering if anything ever changed. Mal’s bunk was the only place they could really be themselves, and when she was down here with him it was just like old times. There were no prying eyes here, trying to figure out their relationship, trying to decipher their short code. Wash had called it twin-speak, telling her about twins who had their own language. ‘Are you sure you and Mal aren’t twins separated at birth?’ he’d ask, almost seriously. Wash had found their codependency, as he called it, disturbing. He’d make the comment that people never got him and Zöe, and her eyes would meet Mal’s. Ai ya! What would they think about them? “Simon and Kaylee?” She made a noncommittal sound down in her throat that had him frowning at his reflection. “Huh.” “Need to spend some time in town today; wash some clothes, go by the tannery – stitchin’ on my gunbelt’s worked loose down the outside - and I need a new shower cap. Jayne stole mine.” His eyes asked the question. “Didn’t even want to know.” “Got a few things to do my own self, then we’ll meet up and see them boys about that job.” He finished shaving and reached for his towel. His hand fell on a bare spot. “Lookin' for this?” she asked, all manner of innocent. She pulled his towel out from behind her, never taking her eyes off his face. “Found it in the galley - under the table.” She pulled it back when he held out a hand for it, and brought it to her nose. “Mmmm. Smells good. I’ve smelled that scent before but I can’t place it.” She was toying with him. Because it was so good to see her smile, he let her. “Inara cut my hair. Towel, quig ni?” Her eyebrows went up a bit while the rest of her face stayed the same. “There was hair cuttin’ goin’ on here last night?” she asked. She said ‘hair cutting’ like ‘orgy’. He gave her a mock disgusted look and turned back to the mirror to dry his face. Her eyes studied his muscled back. “That don’t explain the smell.” “She had to wash my hair first.” The eyebrows went up a bit more. Mal sighed. She’d never let this go. He wanted to give in and get it over with, but she liked to work it out of him. “I never have to wash your hair.” “Must be a companiony thing.” “Hair don’t look a bit shorter to me.” He ignored her, turning to get a shirt out of the corner. “Hair washin’. Hair cuttin’. And then what, a round or two of wildcat wrestlin'?” “Shenme?” Keep an innocent face, act like nothin’s wrong, and you can get away with anything. Ain’t nobody didn’t know that. “Can’t figure what else woulda made welts on your back like that unless it was a wildcat…or,” she wandered over and bent her fingers until they lined up with the crescent shapes on his back, “maybe a wild woman.” He froze. Te ma de! He’d forgotten his back. He was so humped. He tried to stare her down. She grinned. “Ain’t no accountin’ for taste, I reckon.” She took pity on him and stepped over to the small med kit on the wall. She twirled her index finger at him and he turned his back to her and faced the mirror, hands braced on the sink. She squirted a dab of gel on her right hand and held his left shoulder with her other. “Hold still.” She smeared the antiseptic on while he hissed and stiffened under her fingers. He always had been a big baby over meds. “Lie kou shui de biao zi he hou zi de ben er zi, that stings!” he gasped. Their eyes met in the mirror and suddenly the levity was gone. “You love her?”

“ Don’t know if I got it in me to love anybody ever again, Zo.” “That’s a load a fei wu. Don’t ever wanna hear that kinda talk outta you again, dong le ma? You love ever damn person on this ship… well, cept for Jayne. And he kinda grows on you - like mold.” ‘Got nothin’ for her. Not a damn thing to offer.” “You ain’t wrong about that,” she agreed, "but she came back here to you. She’s one of us now. Sacrificed all that shiny life to be with you and your nothin’. What’re you gonna do about that?” “Who says I gotta do any damn thing about it? Me and Inara ain’t kids playin’ doctor in the barn loft. We both been around a bit. Don’t see no reason to haft’a hurry into anything.” He couldn’t help feeling a little cornered and a little betrayed that Zöe would take Inara’s part. “When you and Wash started humpin’ each other I never…” The words were out of his mouth before he even thought. If he’d had a gun on him, he probably would have shot himself in the head rather than endure that flare of pain in her eyes. “Wo de ma, I’m sorry, Zöe. I’m so sorry.” “I’d do it again.” “Shenme?” “If Wash come back today and I knew what was gonna happen, I would do it all over again. I know it’s what you’re thinkin’. Look what happened to Zöe. She let herself love and look what happened. That's why you need to hurry. Cause we both know there ain’t nothin’ certain in this world except that there ain’t no certainty. If Wash was here, I’d cut his damn hair two or three times a day. I see a chance for you to be happy, Mal, but I know you. You’ll worry, and fret, and brood until you drive her away. And deep down - you’ll be even feel good about it. All righteous as hell. Cause you don’t really deserve to be happy. Every damn thing that happens is your fault; and you don’t deserve a minute of peace, or joy, or love because you had the audacity to live when so many others died.” Nobody would ever be able to lay him open to the bone like she could with a handful of words, and he’d kill anybody else who even tried. “If she died… I can live with her not here…but I can’t live without her nowhere.” “But that choice ain’t for you alone. Remember when she left the last time? That time away from her wa’n’t livin’. I felt it. I can’t watch you go through that again. I can’t watch you spiral down into the dark. I won’t. That’s what I’m here to say. If you run her off, I’m leavin’, too. And I ain’t lyin’.” They sized each other up for a full minute without saying a word. He broke the silence first. “I ain’t promisin’ nothin’. Likely, after last night, she’ll be packed and ready to leave this mornin’ anyways. And that won’t be me runnin’ her off, either,” he added in a rush, just to clarify. She smiled at him and he nearly folded under its warmth, heaving a thankful breath that things were back normal. She wiped her hand on the towel and studied him in the mirror. She placed on hand on his shoulder as a gesture of peace. “You ain’t got a lick of sense, Malcolm Reynolds; and that woman ain’t got anything on her mind but you. And besides, how’s she gonna travel with that gorram goldfish bowl?” He reached up to cover her hand with his for a brief second, and then he shrugged back into his old self. “We still friends?” he asked gruffly. “We’re still somethin’, reckon we always will be.” He busied his hands, washing out the sink. “Don’t leave, Zöe. Cause if you do, you’ll make me beg you to stay, and I don't generally like to beg.” “You just play nice. And be kind to Simon, too. Boy’s gonna be an emotional basket case if you don’t stop glarin’ at him all the time. He’s good for Kaylee. Ain’t gonna let nothin’ happen to that girl.” “Shipboard romances complicate things. Next time I’ll cut my own damn hair.” “That they do,” she smiled. “But they can be fun, too.” She turned to go, then swiveled back around. “Oh, and …I gotta know…how was it?” He’d have shot Jayne between the eyes for daring to ask him that, but this was Zöe. She’d once had her hand crammed into a bullet hole in his side for thirty minutes to keep him from bleeding out until the medics got to him - it gave her rights. “Joey Farinacci,” he said simply, bringing back a fling she’d had near the beginning of the war when they’d both been green as grass and the war was still an adventure. He’d thought then that she was the most outrageous, wild thing he’d every seen. He’d been secretly captivated by her exuberant sexuality even as he’d prayed for her soul every night. She’d sneak in their tent after and describe every sinful detail of it to him, delighting in the way his eyes would widen and his face would turn blood red. She still swore it was the best sex she’d ever had in her life. Wash had made it a personal challenge to make her retract that statement. “Oh, hell no!” she gasped in delight, throwing her head back with a laugh. “My hand to God.” He grinned shyly, only the tops of his ears getting a little pink. “You gonna tell me?” “Nope.” “I told you about Joey.” “Never asked!” “Liked hearin’ about it. Don’t lie.” “Never had no choice; and was just curious was all. Still don’t believe you did half that perverted stuff anyway.” “Your momma kept you in church too much. Repressed you, I reckon. I never made up a thing. Inara’s gonna have fun with you.” “Still ain’t tellin’.” “Are you and me and her ever gonna…?” she teased him unmercifully. “No! I mean…you wanna…me, and you, and her? No!” His voiced raised a whole register, and he looked torn between indignation and fascination. She laughed deep in her throat as she started up the ladder. “That’s okay, Inara’ll tell me.” “Ain’t never doin’ nothin' depraved. Tell her that, too, durin’ your little chat.” “Wei!.” His voice stopped her near the top of the ladder. His eyes told her everything they’d never say to each other. She smiled down at him. “I know it.” He moved under the ladder, towel around his neck. “Don’t know what to do, really. Don’t know how to get started,” he admitted to her boots. Her voice came floating down. “Buy her a big damn goldfish bowl, sir – and try not to call her a whore.”

translations: zao hao – good morning. quig ni – please wei - wait shen me – what? jin-lai – come in, enter ai ya - damn ta ma de – fuck me blind


Sunday, May 14, 2006 4:12 AM


That was AMAZING. You got the Zoe/Mal relationship down so well! I could see this happening. Keep up the good work. Will there be more?


Sunday, May 14, 2006 4:19 AM


Thank you. I really don't know if there will be more, but if there is I'll post it here.

Sunday, May 14, 2006 4:27 AM


“Buy her a big damn goldfish bowl, sir – and try not to call her a whore.”

You are a genius!!!

And... gotta love sushi! That fish should have been in the show from the beginning!

Sunday, May 14, 2006 4:31 AM


Why thank you!!!

I agree. We should have had a Sushi. Kaylee would have talkd to him. Simon would research him to see if he carried germs. Jayne would have tried to eat him. Book would have used him in a sermon about the loaves and fishes. Wash would have bought him a little fish-sized dinosaur for his bowl. Mal and Zoe would probably have just rolled their eyes.

Sunday, May 14, 2006 6:01 AM


You really do have the Mal/Zoe relationship perfect. These 3 fics togther are great!

Sunday, May 14, 2006 7:20 AM


I'll take credit for two and thank you!

::waves to NC from TN::

Sunday, May 14, 2006 8:16 AM


Loved, loved, LOVED this to itty bitty pieces! I like it how their shared history allows Zoe to get away with things no one else can and how Zoe isn't afraid to tell him harsh home truths if she thinks he might mess up a good thing otherwise. Always looking out for her Captain and friend, but also with an eye to the rest of the crew. This was brilliant! Bravo. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Sunday, May 14, 2006 8:34 AM


More Sushi, please. (holds out plate with chopsticks on it).

And more of the other people in the story, too, just to be clear about it.

By the way, the plate and chopsticks are to decorate the bottom of the big damn goldfish bowl. It fits, given the name.

Sunday, May 14, 2006 10:48 AM


Plates and chopsticks are kinda scary when you're just a little fish. :-)

I really don't know if there will be any more of the story; but if there is I'll post it here.

Sunday, May 14, 2006 10:54 AM



The more I think about this,the funnier it gets. I don't think they'd start out with these decorations, but it would make a great prank on the ship to put a plate and chopsticks in the fish tank. :-)


What's a BCS Panther??

Sunday, May 14, 2006 11:15 AM


Plates and chopsticks are kinda scary when you're just a little fish. :-)

I really don't know if there will be any more of the story,but if there is I'll post it here.

Sunday, May 14, 2006 11:18 AM


::sigh:: I hate the format here. Is there a way to delete comments? I hit that one above twice.


Sunday, May 14, 2006 11:41 AM


Anonymous ( Sunday, May 14, 2006 - 11:18

You've written the best Mal and Zoe I have ever read - and I've read a lot!

Thank you very much. That is very encouraging. I don't know if I'll be writing much more, but I'll pos if here if I do.

Sunday, May 14, 2006 11:42 AM


you and 2x2 should keep this series going!! ;)

I am hoping she'll pick up another chapter, just to see what she'd do with it.

Glad you enjoyed it.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006 6:59 PM


Now this is something that's been a long time coming! Zoe should have done a variation of this before Inara left the first time, and used basically the same argument (though adjust the 'do the same thing again' line concerning Wash to something more suitable) to get Mal to pull his head out of his ass;)

Anjulie (and 2x2), I salute ya!


Wednesday, May 17, 2006 6:28 PM



I loved this - you have captured the character's voices perfectly.

cant wait for future installments.

Friday, May 19, 2006 10:05 AM


Yay! Excellent wonderful perfect Mal/Zoe chat, and the sparring at the end is just too good!!

"My hand to God"

wow, thanks!!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006 11:58 AM


That was brilliant! I'm so glad I found this place...

Friday, December 18, 2009 9:36 AM


Rereading this, because you know that's what I do ;o)

Have I ever told you how effing amazing your Zoe is? You're my all time favourite Zoe ever, darlin'. You just have her, so brilliant.

Love this. More than ever!


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The Edge of a Petal
Rating: Squeaky clean <br>
Paring: Mal/Inara <br>
Setting: Pre-series. Months before the Firefly
pilot. <br>

From the Journal of Inara Serra
Genre: G Mal/Inara
Characters: Inara Serra w/mention of others
Summary: This is another Sushi!Fic that takes place after Ain't Never Gonna Be Easy and before isha_libran's most beautiful, gorgeous story called <a href=""Just Another Day In the Black.</a> Avery is the name of the planet with Abel Stoddard.

Ain't Never Gonna Be Easy: Sushi!fic
Rating: PG-13 Fluff is a given with my fic.
Pairing: Mal/Inara
Summary: A new installment in which there is shoppin' and kissin' and some sex against the wall, (but you have to imagine that part.)
Posting this here because of hate mail for LiveJournal. Sorry, 'bout that. I don't write the code, people! :-D

Sushi!fics Listing
Links to the Sushi!fic in order. More may be added at a later date.

A Question of Trust
Disclaimer: It all belongs to Mr. Whedon et al -except for the fish.
Pairing: M/I always!
Rating: PG-13 or so
Summary: More of the Sushi Series set right after Well An' Proper by 2x2.

Sometimes It Takes a Gun to the Head
Rating: G

Pairing: Zoe and Mal Mal/Inara implied

A/N: This is part three to A Cargo Smuggler, His Girl, and Her...Well, You'll See. It is set after the smuffly second part, So Much for Fantasies, written by browncoat_2x2 because I refuse to believe that Mal and Inara are NOT doing it.

A Cargo Smuggler, His Girl, and Her...Well, You'll See
Disclaimer: All characters are Mr. Whedon's except for ..well, you'll see.
Pairing: Mal/Inara
Rating: It's squeaky clean and full of fluffy Mal/Inara love. You have been warned.
Summary: A one-shot Mal/Inara piece that I needed to get out of my head.

Author's Note: Special thanks to agent_rouka for the "cooking" prompt and trying to keep me f*o*c*u*s*e*d.

Time On Their Hands
Ficlet written for the agent_rouka Amuse Me, Minions!! Challenge which went something like this:

Kaylee is holding a box and glaring at Inara.
Inara is bewildered.
Jayne is glaring at both.
Mal is walking in, unassuming.

Cross posted to mal_inara

Look at Me
Drabbles written for prompt: look at me
One inference to sex (or a good foot massage.) Very sappy - tooth decay even. M/I Cross-posted to mal_inara

In the Shadow of the Cross
Zoe has a talk with Mal. Not Mal/Zoe. Written for Easter. Contains Christian religious references - if this offends you, please don't read it. Joss is not my god, but he is a mighty fine storyteller, even if he did kill Wash. His characters are used without permission.