The Last Warm Day Of Summer
Saturday, July 22, 2006

The fork in the road, the alpha and omega of beginnings and endings, the saying goodbye. - Inara/Nandi, pre-series. A short moment written in late April for the wonderful 2x2.


Drabble for 2x2, who is a darling for choosing such a pretty prompt. *G*


Inara/Nandi pre-series Rated PG-13 but really, it's almost squeaky clean.


The Last Warm Day Of Summer

She looks up when the grass behind her gives away a soft-footed approach.

She looks up and lowers the map-reader, stuck on the sixtieth version of Nowhere-with-a-desert-view and takes a deep breath to fight back the burn in her eyes.

But she doesn't turn.

Patiently, like they have tried in vain to teach her, she awaits the blessed tickle of fingertips on the back of her neck, right along the roots of her hair. Gentle, a little cold and perfectly aimed to brushed her scalp without disturbing the carefully pinned mass of red and silky.

She will miss this, so much more than anything else will she miss this.


It's a sigh more than a word. The sad loving sigh of mothers for their wayward children. It's Inara's double-bladed sword.

So close and yet so far.


She leans back into the touch, lets her eyes travel around the small patch of garden. All that green, that vibrant, wet green. She has yet to find its match in any of her likely destinations.

It frightens her, but not so much as to regret.

Inara kneels, still at her back, and with her comes a blanket of fragrance. Jasmine, today. Maybe roses, tomorrow.

Fickle in the small things, steady in the big.

Nandi lets herself fall back into the embrace she knows is waiting. Arms wrap around her chest and hold tight. Oh, for all constriction to be this tender...

"What have you done, Nandi." It's murmured into her ear and the sting returns to her eyes. "What were you thinking?"

"I wasn't thinking, at all." Her voice is just as low. "Just doing what I felt for once."

And she hasn't felt more alive than that in years. Her chest, so full and humming, thrumming.

"I'm not meant for this life, meimei. Not like you."

Not like the woman behind her, grown to be that, just like she had, but so differently.

It had been in her, that first day she laid eyes on long brown curls and shy brown eyes. Eyes like wells, just as deep and just as giving.

"You have such lovely hair. It's so... red!" A twelve-year-old Inara's greatest compliment.

They took to each other. Hands held in hallways. Whispers during the lessons. A first, testing, rosy kiss. And a little bit more than that, too.

A little bit more than that, always. For Nandi.

Nandi who had such potential. Nandi who had so little drive. Nandi who one day exploded.

It's the right choice, leaving. But it comes at a price, such a terrifying price.

"I don't know where to go."

Inara has no words for that, apparently. Just holds tighter.

One hand, then, slips down. A teasing slide, a gentle diversion taking the path over one breast, down her belly and into her lap, to land on the map-reader.

"Not there."

She can't not chuckle. "By God, let's hope not."

Finally, she leans forward and turns, reveals her red-rimmed eyes in exchange for... Inara's red-rimmed eyes.

It's so much more than she expected and it takes away her words.

Slim fingers, black nails, the bracelet in place, they draw her face close, ghost over her cheek, like Inara has taken to ghosting through her life. There but not, but there.

Swallowed up by something Nandi stopped becoming long before she realized it.

"I will miss you so much."

Said like this, like it will be true, Nandi takes it and locks it away. The first of her things to be packed up, the one most often to be unwrapped, these next months.

"Wo ai ni, meimei, I'll miss you, too."

They kiss for a few moments, warm and wet and salty, before that touch gives way to what is even closer, a clinging hold for both of them.

"You have to wave me. As often as possible."

She nods into Inara's shoulder, lets round and lazy tears take their course into expensive fabric.

Maybe there will be adventures to share.

"And tell me if you ever need anything. Anything."

This, she wants to say. I will need this.

But she isn't so selfish to burden Inara with a need of this kind. It's not for her to carry her through the choices she's made.

It's for Nandi to do by herself.

"I will," she lies and smiles. "I promise, I will."

- - -



Saturday, July 22, 2006 6:55 PM


Wow...this was beautiful, AgentRouka...totally fitting for these two characters and what they feel for one another:D

Though this does make the wonder if Nandi came to regret finally making good on her promise to Inara...especially at the moment of her death or when she realizes the truth of Inara's feelings for Mal:S


Sunday, July 23, 2006 1:12 PM


Ah, how I love this story... every time I read it, I love it all over again!

You're so good to me, darlin'!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006 1:40 AM


Thank you for your comments. *G*

2x2 - you deserve it, dearest!

BEB - I'm so glad you liked it! I don't think Nandi regretted calling her, but probably was all the more sorry for the gulf between them that would prevent her from seeing what Inara felt. *sigh* I love Nandi and Inara's friendship...


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