Runaway Part 4
Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Charlotte and River reconnect. Continuation of Runaway: Teaser-Part3. Best to read from beginnig or this will not make sense! S/K, M/I


A/N: So here is another installment. This one was written just today. I had another post planned but this particular sequence popped into my head last night and I wrote it when I woke up. I just love that everyone has such a distinct reaction to Charlotte and I am so loving all your thoughts on her! People aren’t black and white, we have lots of differently subtlties and I am truly trying to explore them with Charlotte. Hope you like this and please comment! Oh and if you are going to rate it, you might as well leave a comment (as Leiasky says!) Thanks to Leiasky for the beta! Disclaimer: Not mine just writing for fun. Link: Runaway Part:Three. All the other stories can be linked through here!

~~ "River!" After a fitful night of tossing and turning, Charlotte had finally drifted off to sleep only a few hours before, only to awaken to a pair of deep brown eyes gazing questioningly at her. Perched on the edge of her bed, River stared intently at her cousin, barely blinking. Charlotte arose, pushing the sheet off her body to reveal the same dress she had now been wearing for over twenty-four hours. She felt grimy and disheveled, and certainly not ready for company. "Oh River, you scared me!" She cocked her head to one side, a small smile creeping across her face, "Sorry." Charlotte smiled back with a shake of her head, surprised at the early morning visit, but still happy to see her cousin, "You always were one to sneak about." River blushed as Charlotte's mind recalled the time River had found her kissing the Dwyer boy behind the bushes at one of her Aunt and Uncle's dinner parties. The ten year old River had watched keenly before letting loose string of giggles that had escaped her mouth, parting the two adolescent's wandering lips. Charlotte had chased her from the garden, irritated at the interruption, but there had never been malice between them. Now that she thought on it, River felt a rush of warm comfort radiating form her cousin, the memory a fond one even if at the time she had been ready to throttle River within an inch of her life. "He was a good kisser." The sentence shocked Charlotte, and not knowing what else to do, she responded honestly. "Yes, yes he was." She stared back at River, who had begun to climb off the bed. Reaching out with a quickness, Charlotte grasped a hold of her wrist, pulling her back to sit on the bed. "How do you know?" River shrugged her shoulders, "Always a way." Charlotte ran her hand along her cousin's face, brushing the hair that had fallen in front of her eyes and smiled, "Well, now I know why you were always in the right place at the right time, at least for your own purposes, that is." River giggled at her cousin's implications and then jumped from the bed rushing over to the dresser where a pile of clothes had magically appeared from the night before. Charlotte watched as her cousin picked through the garments pulling out a pair of long flowing black pants that cut off right below the knees and a small pink wrap top, thrusting them into Charlotte's arms. "River where did-" "Put them on!" "But who's are-" "Inara. Kaylee will give more later." Charlotte looked down at the outfit she had picked quizzically. River leaned down and smiled widely, "Put them on." Having no defense against such an ardent plea, Charlotte arose from the bed and quickly changed, the clothes feeling wonderfully soft against her skin. Reaching down for her crimson slippers, the motion was interrupted by River clasping her hand and practically dragging her form the dorm room. "Don't need them." Catapulting her forward, River raced them in from the passenger dorms, her blue dress fluttering behind her in her haste. Charlotte was nearly tossed into the empty infirmary, River skipping in from behind. She went directly to a small shelf, pulling out a white box and setting it on the counter. Charlotte looked about the room and found it had Simon's signature all over it. Every thing was placed in a neat and orderly fashion, the counters pristine, even the floor had a blinding shine as the fluorescents burned brightly above them. Pulling out a roll of medical tape, River quickly closed up the box and placed it back on the shelf, exactly where it had been before. Grabbing her cousin’s hand again, she pulled the woman along with an exuberance that Charlotte hadn’t felt in a long time. Running into the cargo bay, River sat her down on the stairs leading up to the catwalk and plopped down right beside her. Charlotte watched with fascination as her cousin quickly wrapped up the toes of her left foot, binding them with the tape, and moved onto her right. The practiced motion of her hands stirred Charlotte, her own remembrance flooding back. River’s beaming smile at Charlotte’s realization melted her cousin’s heart and taking the tape, she began to do the same to her own toes. River bounced from the stairs and rushed over to the com, punching the controls speedily. The soft notes of Adolphe Adams’ Giselle lilted through out the cargo bay. Racing back over to Charlotte, River pulled her from her sitting position to the middle of the bay, letting go of her hand to begin stretching. “River, stand up and turn around.” River did as she was told, Charlotte gathering up her hair and twisting it into a bun at the top of her head, pulling the ends through a loop of hair to secure it before doing the same to her own. The two women stared at each other smiling, Charlotte’s faltering a bit. “I haven’t danced in years.” River’s smile was infectious as she reached out and squeezed her cousin’s hand. “It’s more fun when you have someone to dance with.” ~~

Inara awoke to sounds of soft music and laughter echoing form the cargo bay. She rolled over and extricated herself from Mal’s arms, he in turn rolling to pull the covers over his head as he settled back into sleep. It was terribly early, no one should be about at this hour of the morning, but the giggling had intrigued Inara. She wrapped the soft warm robe that she kept near her nightstand on and slipped her feet into the delicate slippers that rested next to the side of her bed. Taking a quick peek at herself before running her fingers through her hair, the habits of being a Companion not lost even in the wee hours of the morning, Inara emerged from her shuttle. The sight before her stilled her motions as she became entranced watching the two young women dance about the cargo bay. River’s body moved with the grace born of a swan, her legs gliding in time with the music. Charlotte’s own movements were practiced and precise, lacking natural grace but making up for it with an accomplished knowledge. Inara stared in awe as Charlotte extended her body into an arabesque, the leg fully extending back as her left arm stretched out to the front. Not to be outdone, River performed a grand jete`, her legs splitting in midair before she glided back down to the floor. Charlotte stood in the middle of the floor in first position, her hands on her hips, and called out to her cousin, “Show off!” River giggled at the barb, smiling guiltily as she pulled Charlotte next to her and they began a pas de deux, each one perfectly mimicking the other with an exemplary symmetry. The smiles emanating from the two were infectious, Inara’s own lips rising, the splendid performance before her evoking her own memories of glorious nights spent at the ballet on Sihnon. She had attended many a night in the company of the elite, gazing at the beauty of the stories told through the dancer’s bodies. Her own thoughts raced back to when she was in training, learning the basics of dancing, her own feet and legs never quite capable of the feats the instructors could perform at will. She was, of course, schooled proficiently in the art of dance, and could waltz with the best of them, but, as she leaned over the catwalk to stare at the cousins, she sighed with longing. They had such an exquisite talent, one that she had overlooked in River all this time on Serenity. Simon had told them she could dance, but she had never witnessed it, not to the caliber that was before her eyes. Lost in her own train of thought, she missed the end of the dance. She was staring out into nothing when the tinkling of laughter brought her back out of her revelry. River and Charlotte stood hand in hand, looking directly at Inara and beaming widely , the soft sheen of sweat glistening off their flushed skin. Inara blushed at being caught intruding, her manners completely forgotten when she had happened upon the spectacle of the dancing cousins. “Come down, Inara.” River’s invitation echoed off the walls as the music switched over from the fast paced notes of Tchaikovsky to the sad strings of a lone violin. She graced the women with one of her most winning smiles. “The view is much better from up here.” Smiling, Charlotte gave Inara a quick curtsey, her hand pulling River along with her. Charlotte waved her hand to Inara, motioning for her to join them. “Please, come join us.” Inara looked back to the shuttle, Mal’s snoring reverberating off the hull walls and then back to the two lovely women beckoning to her. She rolled her eyes as another loud snore penetrated the air and decided that maybe a little female company would worthwhile, especially when the company she was currently keeping was sounding more like a bear than a man. Floating along the catwalk Inara took to the stairs and within moments was standing before the two Tam women, both of them eager to begin her lesson. Charlotte looked at the long flowing robe and pointed to the slippers. “You should take those off, they’ll only impede your movement.” Inara slipped out of the slippers, but clutched her robe, “I am not entirely dressed for this particular occasion.” Charlotte blushed at her meaning, but River smiled broadly before racing up the stairs, “Don’t worry, I’ll get you something.” The breakneck pace at which River sped up the stairs made Inara laugh out right, Charlotte smiling at her exiting cousin. “She was always so excitable about the things she loved.” Inara looked at Charlotte with a well schooled eye, the emotions playing about her face plainly read as she moved to sit on the stairs for a brief respite before River returned. “She’s very dear.” The guilt and shame at Inara’s words flooded Charlotte’s face, her lips drooping as she looked back up the stairs River had flown up just moments before. “She is.” Sighing at her melancholy, Charlotte pushed it to the back of her mind, not wanting to face those feelings just yet. “You know Charlotte, if you ever have the need to -” Inara’s words were cut off with the fleeting sound of bare feet against the cold metal crates, River’s voice cutting the conversation in half. “Got it!” River thrust the clothes into Inara’s arms, the Companion quickly pulling on the dress River had provided. Charlotte turned around for modesty’s sake, for which Inara smiled, her own modesty not withstanding. Inara pulled her hair back behind her shoulders and waited for the women to begin their lesson. River nodded for Charlotte to begin the instruction, River taking up next to Inara. Charlotte smiled at the two and then took the first stance. “First position.” Her feet were in line, heels together, toes pointed out in opposite directions. River mimicked the position perfectly, and while Inara’s toes were in line, she felt a strain in her hips with her feet in this particular position. Charlotte chuckled at the grimace that flashed across her face. “You get used to the stretch after awhile. River, help her with her port de bras.” The long, willowy arms of River encircled Inara’s own from behind, pulling Inara to stand with her back straight and lifting her arms and curving her elbows , positioning her hands as to not hyperextend, but turn gently out and slightly up towards the ceiling. Charlotte smiled approvingly, “There, much better. Now second position.” She moved effortlessly, sliding one foot along the metal grates to have her feet about a foot apart, never leaving the straight line they were positioned in. Inara’s own effort was admirable, if not a bit stilted, but she ended up in the same position as Charlotte and River, and felt proud at the effort. “Excellent.” The lesson continued for a few more minutes, going through the basic five positions before they moved onto plies. Inara was smiling along as River and Charlotte began to go over the seven basic categories of ballet movement, River again showing off as she displayed a plier saunter leaping across the cargo bay to which Charlotte gave her an indulging smile. “That was real pretty, River.” They all turned their heads to see Kaylee still dressed in her pajamas staring down at them. Simon was next to her, holding her hand and smiling at the women before him. Both of them looked as if they had just tumbled out of bed, and not from sleep. “Yes, that was lovely, River.” Her brother and Kaylee’s compliments washed over River to produce a broad grin. She curtsied before them and then ran over to Charlotte and Inara, leaning her head against Charlotte’s shoulder. Simon motioned for them to continue, “Please don’t let us interrupt.” “”Kaylee, come down.” River’s invitation caused a beaming smile to spread across her face before she bolted from Simon’s side, plunking down the stairs, her feet heavy against the metal steps. River pulled her into the spot next to Inara as Charlotte backed away from the three women, moving closer to the exit of the passenger dorms. “Excuse me all, but I think I should retire and prepare for the day.” River looked at her with a perplexed gaze, “But you’re the teacher.” Charlotte nodded to her cousin kindly, “Yes, but you are the more experienced and more patient, as well. Besides, I think you have worn me out.” With that Charlotte left them all to stand staring at her departure. Kaylee’s shoulders drooped with disappointment, Inara encircling them to give her a comforting hug. Simon’s own face was awash with conflict, his cousin’s actions certainly rude, if not masked with etiquette. Before any of them could speak, Mal’s voice barreled out of Inara's shuttle. “Woman, where the hell did you get too?!” Taking a long breath through her nostrils, Inara gave Kaylee another squeeze before glancing back towards the passenger dorms. And just when I was beginning to like her. Moving out of the embrace Inara began to take to the stairs, passing a still bewildered Simon and heading back for her shuttle. “’NARA!” Shaking her head in frustration she called back, “I’m coming!” Mumbling under breath about impatient men before slamming the shuttle door closed. Simon headed down the stairs and enveloped Kaylee in his arms gently moving them back up the steps to their bunk, “Maybe we should do the same?” Kaylee nodded her agreement, River’s whispered words barely audible to both. “Still angry.” Simon turned to his sister, “What was that River?” River shook her head, “Nothing.” As Kaylee and Simon looked back to where her cousin had exited, her heart breaking for the loss Charlotte had suffered, but seething with the anger she had just created. ~~

Kaylee had piled all of the nicest things she could find to give to Charlotte to wear, folding up her pretty floral dress, the one she had worn on their disastrous first date, placing it at the top of the pile, smoothing out the fabric. “I don’t think she likes me much, Simon.” Simon kept quiet as he pulled on his pants, running a hand through his hair before coming behind her. He snaked his arms around her waist and dropped a light kiss to her neck, “Give her some time, Kaylee.” Kaylee leaned back in his embrace, pouting as he continued to kiss up to the spot right behind her ear, but even the soft gliding of Simon’s lips against her flesh wasn’t improving her mood. “She likes ‘Nara well enough.” Simon stopped his ministrations, leaning his chin against her shoulder. “They come from the same world Kaylee, she’s something of home to her. Inara is what she sees as the Core out here, something she has never lived away from till now.” Kaylee sighed at his explanation, “Yeah.” Simon noticed the pile of clothes Kaylee had amassed reached out from behind her to lay a hand on the garments. “Kaylee, these are some of your best clothes.” Kaylee turned in his arms, smiling wanly, “Thought Charlotte could wear them, since I really don’t have much need for nice things.” Slipping out of his embrace Kaylee gathered up the pile into her arms, depositing them into a bag, and headed for the ladder to exit their bunk. “Kaylee?” She turned and gave Simon an indulgent look, “I’ll be back in a sec, I’m just gonna drop these off for her.” Simon watched as she climbed the ladder, his heart sinking at the hurt that played on her features and having no clue how to fix it.


Kaylee knocked gently at the shoji door that stood between her and Charlotte’s dorm room. Her feet shuffled as she waited for Charlotte to answer, not knowing what kind of reception she would receive. Upon opening the door, Kaylee was bowled over by how well put together Charlotte appeared. She wore one Inara’s older frocks, the light yellow sari Kaylee had seen her wear on a few occasions, when Inara had first joined Serenity. The gold of the intricate stitching and embroidery shined against the soft yellow and marigold color of the fabric, lighting up her fair skin and darkening her deep brown eyes. Kaylee’s own gift of clothing paled in comparison to the beauty that stood before her, insecurities warring in her brain as she extended her own offering to Charlotte’s wardrobe. “Thought ya could use some of this. I know it ain’t what you’re used to, but still just the same.” Charlotte reached out tentatively for the bag, gingerly taking it from Kaylee. “Thank you.” Those were the first two words Charlotte had ever said to Kaylee directly, outside of their introduction, and though they were courteous enough, she felt no genuine gratitude fall from her lips. Charlotte gave her a small smile, “Excuse me now, I am still not prepared for the day.” Backing up into her room Charlotte reached out and began to pull the door shut. She stopped mid-slide, tilting her head and offering Kaylee a few more words. “Don’t worry, I will return your clothing just as soon as we reach port. Then I can purchase some decent clothing of my own.” With that, Charlotte slid the door the rest of the way closed, leaving Kaylee take a deep breath before heading back up the stairs. She had begun to head towards the galley and a little breakfast but took a left instead of a right, deciding that maybe some quality time with her girl would help raise her spirits, maybe even give her a notion of why things had to be so wrong between Simon’s family and her.




Tuesday, August 8, 2006 12:10 PM


Hate, hate, HATING Charlotte again. Simon better put his cousin in her place and soon and defend his lady to that mean little spoiled brat.

Tuesday, August 8, 2006 12:57 PM


Ouch. Not even dumbass Simon manages to say such mean things (or if he does, it's not on purpose).

How come River isn't giving her cousin the riot act? She no doubt knows what Charlotte is thinking. Maybe slap her a few times?

Tuesday, August 8, 2006 1:21 PM


I really don't like Charlotte, what a stuck up piece of work she is and treating Kaylee like that is unforgivable. I'm surprised that River doesn't give Charlotte a talking to for upsetting her friend like that. And Mal snoring like a bear? Oh priceless, maybe he and Jayne could be book ends. I'd make room on my shelf. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Tuesday, August 8, 2006 1:32 PM


In Charlotte's defense ... oh hell, what am I saying? She's a witch and Simon needs to knock her down a few pegs.

Or River - althought a Kaylee/Charlotte catfight would be all kinds of fun ... Kaylee could so take her!

Keep writing and posting - I loved all the ballet stuff, that was just excellent!

Tuesday, August 8, 2006 2:41 PM


Most of what I'd say has already been said. Even still I am looking forward to Simon and River taking Charlotte down a few notches.

Tuesday, August 8, 2006 4:18 PM


Oooh! Neat stuff in this chapter. I have much love for the dancing. River - trying so hard to sense what everyone wants, wanting everything to fall in place, everyone that she loves to love everyone else... and then failing.

And Charlotte!

[“Don’t worry, I will return your clothing just as soon as we reach port. Then I can purchase some decent clothing of my own.”]

So brutal! But with a bit of dry wit. I feel bad for Kaylee, I do, but I profess to liking characters with a bit of a haughty side.

Tuesday, August 8, 2006 6:52 PM


'Both of them looked as if they had just tumbled out of bed, and not from sleep.'


Tuesday, August 8, 2006 7:46 PM


So glad people liked the dancing! I had help with the terminology. One of my friends studied ballet for years and another used to perform for the Ballet San Jose, so they gave me soem good stuff ( I took ballet, but that was when I was five so...yeah, it's been awhile!) Aww, people are not happy with Charlotte, I couldn't imagine why!? :p! Stick around there may be something in the upcoming installments that will assuage your anger...

Wednesday, August 9, 2006 7:09 AM


I loved the dance scene, and Charlotte was very much in character by making her excuses to leave. I hope she learns to live out on the Rim like Simon and River had to.

“Woman, where the hell did you get too?!”
~LOL @ Mal

Poor Kaylee, she's the friendliest person in the 'verse and the rich core snobs won't ever see that (maybe some older man will come along and make a reference to Charlotte that Kaylee can laugh at).

Wednesday, August 9, 2006 7:53 PM


Gotta say, certainly know how to write the ole switcheroo. Charlotte was seeming almost human and likeable with her ballet dancing sessions with River and Inara...until Kaylee arrived. Woman definitely needs a good smack talking from River or a heartfelt lecture from Simon;)


Wednesday, August 9, 2006 7:53 PM


Gotta say, certainly know how to write the ole switcheroo. Charlotte was seeming almost human and likeable with her ballet dancing sessions with River and Inara...until Kaylee arrived. Woman definitely needs a good smack talking from River or a heartfelt lecture from Simon;)


Thursday, October 19, 2006 11:36 AM


Please write more!!!!! I'm loving this story, and although I HATE Charlotte, I'm hoping she has a change of heart towards Kaylee. Can't wait for the next installment to read, 'cause if I don't get it, I'll actually have to go back to work (and I don't want to have to do that).


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Runaway Part 5
Charlotte recieves some news that may shake things up for Mal and Co. Best to read from beginning. S/K, M/I.

Runaway Part 4
Charlotte and River reconnect. Continuation of Runaway: Teaser-Part3. Best to read from beginnig or this will not make sense! S/K, M/I

Runaway Part 3
Some of the crew have different reactions to the Tam's cousin being on board. S/K, M/I.

Runaway Part 2
There's a new passenger on Serenity, but she may be more trouble than she's worth.

Runaway Part 1
Mal and Simon bump into someone from Simon's past while on the run.

A job goes south, security is hot on Mal and Simon's heels and then, of course, things get even more complicated.

Kaylee fawns over injured Simon and then Jayne says something usual! Continuation of Wrong. S/K

Kaylee fixes up Simon after their fall, Mal and Inara have words. S/K, M/I. Continuation of Threesome, Proposition, and Cuddle.

Kaylee wakes up in Simon's arms, but of course, nothing ever goes right on Serenity! S/K

Simon helps Kaylee to her bunk after a night of drinkning. Continuation of Threesome.