A little too late
Friday, September 8, 2006

Mal/Inara fluff. Written for a fanfic challange by my friend Jordanna. Reviews welcome!


Just a little M/I fluff with some S/K thrown in for good measure. This is going to only be 2 chapters long *hopefully* Written for my friend. Jordanna and her fanfic challenge to me.

Just a little too late…..

Inara sat in her sumptuous room. Alternating between smiling and frowning at two little piece's of paper that she held in her hand. These two little pieces of paper could start so much trouble if she went ahead with her plan. But how could she resist? She’d been over this debate with her mind for over a week and still hadn’t reached a final decision. But time was starting to run out for her.

The papers had been given as a gift from her latest client once she mentioned that she hadn’t been to any plays or opera's in quite a while and missed culture, now that she was out in the black so often and spent so little time planet side. Then, since receiving them, she’d been through so many scenarios in her mind of what could play out. To hell with it. She’d give them out. It was now or never. And she could either act on her very first instincts or let the moment fade away and spend the next few months living with the regret and could-have-been situations. She’s never been a fan of regrets. Not since……her eyes fade into a wistful stare and then just as suddenly everything snaps into crystal clear clarity.

Her dilemma solved at last and her mind once more peaceful. She stood decisively and makes her way to the kitchen where everyone should be having supper. Her beautiful dress swirling around her, the ornate slipper’s on her feet making not even a whisper of sound. And a small smile fixed on her painted lips while her eyes danced to a merriment the rest of her body doesn’t echo.


In the kitchen Mal is sullenly chewing his portion of the protein meal set before him. The ship was heading for a port near Persephony to unload his latest smuggling job. And the cargo in question was another avenue he had never planned on going down.

Baby Diapers. Gorram rutting Baby Diapers! He sighed and visably slumped. What kind of new low had he sunk to? Cattle was bad enough. And those wobbly headed geisha dolls were also a black mark in his mind. But to go and smuggle lah-so baby diapers made him wonder if his idea of being a criminal mastermind to a dashing smuggling ring was slightly out of range. Not that he was a criminal mastermind. And he didn’t have a smuggling ring. He had just enough to keep flying. And for the most part, a loyal crew. That had always seemed to be enough but now he was doing dead end jobs just to keep Serenity together. He had started wondering if he was descending to the level of being just a petty criminal. The kind of one Inara kept implying he was .

The rest of the crew laughed and joked as normal round the table. Not a one of them caught on to the captains bad mood except for maybe Zoe and River. But Wash started nuzzling Zoe gently and she smiled and turned her attentions back to her loving husband. While River murmured more cryptic comments then usual and had Simon devoting his full attention to what she was saying. She was murmuring odd words like T.B and death. Nothing out of the ordinary really as the Shepard pointed out in a dry matter-of-fact tone.

And cue Inara’s arrival. Always jaw stopping in polite society but on the ship she was merely given a warm-as-sunshine smile from Kaylee. A barely disguised leer from Jayne and a grunt from the Captain. Sitting delicately on the one available chair she dished herself a small helping of food and ate with a bird like grace. The papers firmly hidden in her belt pouch.

“So Inara. How’s the whoring going?” Asked Mal with a pleasant smile on his face, but his eyes as cold as glaciers. “ You should know Mal. I haven’t had a client in over a week.” Inara responded as quickly as a dagger to the heart. Her smile full of sugar. “Been nice having you on board. With many secrets. More than usual.” Muttered River audibly and Inara flashed her a started look, masking it before she turned back to Mal and hoped he hadn’t realized that River’s comment had hit home. “Yes well I was hoping to stop off at our next port for at least a half day.” Said Inara, continuing as if River had never spoken. “That’ll be a bit hard,” responded Mal “ we ain’t gonna be on land for that long. Heading off to Isis for a spell once we’ve done our business.” “Would it really be that bad to stay for slightly longer then intended?” asked Kaylee butting in slightly. Her eyes wide as she realized that she’d spoken aloud. “ Well little one. It would put us behind and make us late for an appointment. And Inara being a business lady and all should understand how unprofessional it looks when one arrives late.” Said Mal flashing a devil-may-care smile to Inara and a warmer one to Kaylee to let her know he wasn’t upset. “ Well in that case these will be of no use to anyone.” Said Inara pulling out the two papers and putting them flat on the table. “I picked these up and hoped most of us could have a half day out from Serenity seeing as we haven’t been planet side in awhile.”

Mal leaned forward and picked up one of the papers. Noting the fact it was a ticket. To the most expensive play house on ----- Moon. “ Huh…” he said surprised. No doubt there was some hidden agenda to Inara’s seemingly innocent offer. “ Well we aint got no use for these. Seems they was a waste and you gone to so much trouble to get em and all.” Inara flashed Mal a tight smile. “ I was going to give one set to Simon and use the other for myself.” She explained in an apologetic tone as she handed the remaining ticket over to Simon.

She smiled slightly. “ It invites you and one other to got to the play.” She said as he scanned over it eagerly. “ That was…uh….that was very thoughtful of you. Thank you.” Stammered Simon slightly as he put it away in his breast pocket.

Inara shrugged. “ Well it appears that as Mal said it was all in vain. I had hoped….but that doesn’t matter. “ she inflicted the right amount of anger and regret in her tone as she let it peter off. “I doubt that I could have gone though. Rivers not in any kind of stable enough condition that I’d let her venture out with me to such a public place. And the Feds would obviously be around.” “ Oh the Fed’s wouldn’t be there. Security is taken care of by an outside company and the camera’s around aren’t of a good quality. The chances of you being recognized are slim to none.” Said Inara with more conviction then she’d actually felt. “ I could have kept an eye on River while you were out.” Said Shepard Book “She hasn’t been any trouble in the past.” “Aww hell preacher. That girl’s all kinds of crazy. Last time she up-ended ripping labels off all the food and we ate dried peaches with spaghetti for more then two days. I aint keen on that happening any time soon.” Said Jayne gruffly from the side. Wolfing down the rest of his rations with gusto as if to make up for the mistake in the past. “It sure would have been nice to stretch my legs too.” Wash said from the sidelines. His arm wrapped firmly around Zoe’s waist. “ See the sights. Breathe the air…..” He glanced up at Mal’s cold gaze. “ But these four walls are all I really need” he added with sarcasm. “ Really husband?” queried Zoe. “ Well if that’s how you really feel….” She said moving slightly so his grip on her was broken “And my beautiful wife of course.” Wash quickly chipped in and just as hurriedly reclaimed his space on her skin. “A real opera house…” murmered Kaylee, shooting hopeful glances at Simon under her lashes. “That sure would’a been a sight to see. We aint got one of those where I came from….”

“Whoa now. We aint gonna have time off when we land. We do the job. Get paid and go on to the next job. There is no more discussion on this.” Mal stated flatly.

Inara smiled and excused herself from the table. Taking the last ticket with her. She’d seen Simon put his away and knew that the seeds of doubt for going straight to the next port without a proper stop had been sown. Mal didn’t realize it yet but the entire crew was now going to help her find a reason to stay planet side for longer then the Captain planned.

Walking into her shuttle she closed the door and sat slowly to start meditating. This would take a while but most likely the conversation at dinner would end with Mall saying they could all stay. If only for half a day. Her eyes closed the small smile remained on her lips.



Friday, September 8, 2006 6:47 PM


Way to go. I can totally see Inara manipulating the crew and Mal this way. Good story.

Sunday, September 10, 2006 6:58 AM


Lovely.... And you are going to KILL me but, you could use a beta.

But yes I like where you are going with this! Hehe, you do write a nice Inara, CAN'T wait to see how you go about this! hehehe, Mal is SO humped.


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A little too late
Mal/Inara fluff. Written for a fanfic challange by my friend Jordanna. Reviews welcome!