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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - ROMANCE
A little M/I fluff piece- inspired by the recent nickname posts.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1335 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Pairings: Mal and Inara
Characters: Mal and Inara, quick cameos by Kaylee and Jayne
Disclaimer: not mine, I don’t get paid.
Author’s Note: A lot of people are doing experiments on M/I nicknames, so here’s my paltry contribution. A bit of fluff before I continue my Life’s Too Short story.
“Watcha got there, Nara?” Inara turned to see Kaylee, a smile spread across her pretty face. The older woman smiled back, beckoning Kaylee over to the counter where she stood. Kaylee caught sight of what Inara was doing and gasped with pleasure. “Oh, it’s pretty! Where’d you get it?”
“I picked it up from Sihnon when we stopped for my things.”
“So you’ve had it since yesterday? I didn’t see you bring it on.”
“It was sort of a last-minute thing.”
“Well, it’s real nice. I’m gonna go find Simon, okay?”
“Go ahead, sweetie.” Kaylee bounced away, and Inara smiled with a shake of her head. She turned back to the counter and continued.
Boots clanged against the floor, and Inara pursed her lips. She’d been avoiding Mal since her decision to stay on Serenity as much as possible, afraid of a confrontation. She wasn’t sure how he’d take her choice.
“What’s that?” He sounded pleasant enough, so she moved to the side a little so he could see what rested next to the sink. “What is that, a plant?” No, Mal, it’s a hamster.
“Yes, it’s an African Violet.”
“Matches your dress,” he commented. She frowned, and then caught sight of her sleeve. He was right.
“Mmm.” She kept her eyes on the flowerpot, carefully patting soil around the two seedlings she’d added. It had been two months since Miranda, and things were unsteady between her and Serenity’s captain. Half the time they bantered just like old times, and the other half they tiptoed around each other like a couple of teenagers. It was uncomfortable, but she couldn’t leave. Damn it.
“Where’d you get it?”
“Sihnon. I brought it with me when we left.”
“It’s real, uh, real nice.” She glanced at him in surprise.
“It’s a common flower, Mal. Not a Royal Rose.”
“Yeah, well, Royal Roses have thorns.” Inara blinked.
“I suppose you’re right.” She looked back to her work, taking much longer than necessary. Hoping he’d leave. Hoping he’d… not leave.
She jumped when his large hand suddenly appeared on the side of the flowerpot, fingers brushed one green leaf. He’d come up behind her, arm reaching around to pat the soil she hadn’t gotten to yet.
“Mal, what are you doing?”
“You’re transplantin’, right? Gotta make sure the stem is… all steady, like.” He was still mostly behind her, so she had to crane her head around in order to stare at him.
“How do you know that?”
“My mama did a lot of gardening,” he said simply.
“Oh. Th-thank you,” she managed. She could feel the heat of his body against her back, though he wasn’t touching her. Or maybe that was just her imagination. Who would have thought that Mal Reynolds knew about flower planting?
His fingers trailed up the stem to gently touch the base of one of the purple flowers, rough fingers barely making the petals bob. Inara caught her breath unwillingly.
“Where you gonna put it?”
“I was thinking… on the kitchen table, maybe.” She picked up the pot and stepped to the side, meaning to back around him. However, Mal stepped to the side too, meaning to let her turn and walk away. Her back pressed against his chest for a second, and then both of them gave a little jump. Mal stepped to the other side just as she did the same, and once again they were pressed together.
“Sorry,” Mal said, taking two big steps backwards.
“It’s all right,” she replied, regaining her composure. Thank God her back had been to him. Inara walked over to the table and placed the African Violet in the center, stepping back to admire it.
“Looks good,” he said, shoving his hands into his pockets. Inara smothered a sudden urge to laugh.
“It does, doesn’t it?”
“So, it needs… water, right? And, uh, light?”
“Yes, honey, it needs water,” Inara said with light sarcasm. “And light.”
“Did you just call me ‘honey’?”
“I was making fun of you, Mal,” Inara said, trying not to laugh. Again.
“But you called me ‘honey’.”
“Don’t let it go to your head.” She knew she shouldn’t do this, not if she wanted to remain unscathed. But… fe hua. She didn’t want that.
“Ha,” he scoffed. “Takes more ‘n that to go to my head. I’m really quite modest.” She chose not to say anything. Out loud, that was. The look in her eyes and the smirk on her face said it all. “Well, I’m pretty modest.”
“I’m all right,” he allowed finally.
“Mm-hmm,” she replied innocently.
“Oh, shut up.”
“Did I say a word?”
“You were thinkin’ it.”
“Ooh, are you a Reader, too?” He folded his arms.
“You’d be out of luck if I was.”
“Why’s that?” Inara knew she was flirting with danger. She edged over so that the table was between them. Very subtly, of course. See, that’s strategy.
“’Cause then, I could tell everything you thought.”
“Bet I know what you’re thinkin’ right now.” I bet you don’t, palsy.
“What am I ‘thinkin’’?”
“You’re thinkin’… that you should wear violets in your hair.”
“I should what?” She was completely nonplussed. Mal reached over and plucked the biggest flower, ignoring her outraged gasp. He leaned across the table and stuck it behind her ear, his fingers lingering for a moment. Or maybe that was her imagination, too.
“See, now you’re thinkin’ you wanna tell me what a great idea that was.”
“No, I’m thinking I want to tell you not to pick my flowers!” But she didn’t take it out of her hair. Mal saw this and smiled, just a slight curve of his lips.
“I just did.”
“You gonna yell at me?”
“I- Mal, those flowers-” She stopped. He smiled.
“Look real nice in your hair,” he finished quietly for her.
“I- thank you.” How? How did he do this? How did he manage to catch her off her guard, every single time? This was why she’d been avoiding him!
“Now, I got Captainy things to be done. Don’t forget to water your flowers.” He turned and sauntered away, hands still in his pockets. He even had the nerve to whistle.
“Mal!” Now why had she done that? And why was she suddenly on the other side of the table? She honestly didn’t remember coming around. Mal spun on his heel, taking a few steps towards her.
“I’m not your Ambassador anymore,” she said, grateful for the conversation starter. She hadn’t had anything to say.
“Right, right. Yes, Ambassador?”
“Whaddaya want, Kitten?”
“Did you just call me ‘Kitten’?”
“You called me ‘honey’.”
“I was teasing!”
“Don’t call me ‘Kitten’.”
“What’s wrong with ‘Kitten’?”
“It’s degrading, and- and- Mal, it’s ‘Kitten’!”
“I like ‘Kitten’.”
“You’re not the one being called it.”
“Ooh, that’s gonna call for retaliation.” He was walking towards her now, but this time Inara’s pride wouldn’t let her back up. If she backed up, he would know he’d gotten to her.
“I’m not afraid of you. Puppy.”
“Oh really?” He reached out and grabbed her shoulders, holding her in place. Mal leaned forward, his breath mingling with hers. Inara was frozen, eyes huge. Waiting. “We’ll see about that.” He turned his head and shouted, “Jayne!”
There was a banging. Inara was frowning in confusion, but just as she opened her mouth, the big mercenary strode in.
“Just wanted you to admire Kitten here’s new flower. Ain’t it purty?”
“Yeah, Kitten. Inara, you know?” Jayne stared for a moment, then burst into loud, raucous laughter. He clanged out again, his voice echoing as he went.
“Kitten! Ha!” Inara gaped at the empty doorway through which he’d exited. Then, she gaped at Mal.
“Gotta think faster’n that, Kitten. Stutters an’ stammers win no wars.” She gaped at him some more, absolutely furious.
“How dare you!” He winked at her.
“Ma always said flowers did me in.” He leaned in and stole a quick, teasing kiss before she could answer. Then, Mal let her go and strolled out.
Sunday, June 04, 2006 9:49 AM
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Sunday, June 04, 2006 1:10 PM
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Sunday, June 04, 2006 2:40 PM
Sunday, June 04, 2006 3:59 PM
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