How She Broke His Heart
Thursday, July 27, 2006

This is set about 10 months after Serenity and details the end of Mal and Inara's relationship.


No-one on the crew knew why she did it. Kaylee was sure it was for the best of reasons. Jayne thought it was because other guys had more money - a lot more money. Even the workings of her mind were a mystery to River. But by the end, everyone knew what had been done - Inara had broken the link between her and Mal, and with it, his heart.

It wasn't a conventional relationship - never had been. But she knew how he felt about her, and he thought he knew how she felt about him... as if thinking made it so. They would spend as much of their free time together as possible, knowing that come the night, she would be with another man, who would also believe her heart was his. Mal never liked it, could never respect it. But she'd talked about "retiring", becoming a woman like the others, with a regular job.

Mal had said that as long as he had Serenity, she'd have a place to call home. She smiled at him and they sat talking through the day... then came the night. Every time the shuttle left, Mal would hate her work even more. But he knew one day she wouldn't do that job any more. One day she would be with one man. And he was right.

Mal paced in the hold. He didn't like waiting, especially when he knew something was wrong. She was due back hours ago and there was no sign of her shuttle. There was no point trying to mount a rescue - they didn't even know where she was.

"We wait." Zoe knew it was her duty to point out the other considerations that Mal wasn't going give a go se about.

"Sir, the cargo won't keep for long and we're expected at..."

"Zoe, we wait."

"Yes sir." Zoe tugged at one of the plants sticking out from a crate. Perhaps she could introduce the locals to her recipe for brown lettuce leaf soup. Memories of her own loss echoed again (still painful, still not quietened by the passing months) and she left Mal to his thoughts.

The cargo had been jettisoned the day before Inara finally returned to Serenity. She apologised, briefly; made offers to make good any losses which Mal declined, though Zoe accepted. Then came her next bombshell - she was leaving again. She wasn't sure for how long or where she was going. She just had to go. Mal watched her shuttle launch that last time, not with the anger or frustration that normally came, but with something worse. A sense of release.

There was a couple of waves from Inara, a week or so apart, then nothing. Silence. The jobs continued, as they had to - times were harder without a companion on board - but Mal was never quite there; he caved in on deals where he would have once have stood his ground till the sun died. Jayne caught a bullet in the leg due to Mal not properly checking all the attendees at a "business" meeting for weapons - he told Mal that unless he forget that dumb jinu he'd get them all killed. Jayne left Serenity that evening with a limp and a broken nose.

It was two months before he saw Inara again. She looked as beautiful as ever, regal in fact, which was appropriate for someone married to a minor prince. She called him 'Malcolm' when she introduced him to her husband and he managed not to flinch. Business was done, the shuttle collected, all matters settled. When they said goodbye for the final time, their eyes looked the same as they had done when they first met; his showing the familiar stain of disappointment, hers were luminiscent but betraying no hint of what light shone behind them.

No-one on the crew knew why she did it. Shepherd Book once counselled Mal that if you label someone often enough, they can believe it themselves, even change themselves to fit the label. Mal didn't say the word on that last day but his eyes betrayed his thoughts as he looked at her. Just another whore.

Mal climbed into the empty shuttle and flew on.


Thursday, July 27, 2006 9:37 AM


Not a filk, silly.

And this is so sad. Beautiful, but sad. :(

Thursday, July 27, 2006 10:31 AM



This is wonderfully written and heart wrenching!

More! More!

Friday, July 28, 2006 12:48 AM


hat's the saddest bit of writing I've ever heard(read).

Saturday, July 29, 2006 5:53 PM


Maybe I just wanna hope too much...but I just get the vibe from this that Inara's sudden decision to leave Serenity, then get hitched to a minor noble was more that it seemed. Like she was given a chance to protect her family in exchange for her fealty or sole contract with the prince.

Still...this was beautiful stuff, SimonWho. All manner of angsty and emotional:)



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