Old Ties
Tuesday, September 19, 2006

This follows A New Beginning, which told how Freya becomes part of the crew. Now it's time for Mal and Inara ... Feedback would be great!


“Can I come in?” Mal asked from the doorway to shuttle one.

“Please,” Inara called, putting the tray she carried down on the side and pulling her skirt down into a smooth line. She looked up to see the captain of Serenity standing looking at her.


“Hey.” Inara smiled. “You don’t normally ask.”

“Well, I guess things have changed a mite.”

“And you haven’t been in here since I moved back in. And that was several weeks ago. I thought you were beginning to wish I hadn’t.”

“No. Not …”


They gazed at each other for a moment longer, then Mal conspicuously looked around the shuttle. “Didn’t take you long to put it all back,” he said.

“Well, I know where everything goes,” Inara said.

“That’s new, though,” Mal commented, pointing to a large brass table lamp that gave a warm glow to the surroundings.

“I bought it on Sihnon. I haven’t used it until now.”

“Right.” He looked back at her.

“Would you … would you like some tea?” She indicated the tray.

“No. Thanks.” He seemed to be searching for the right words. “Inara –“

“Then sit.”

“Yeah.” They both sat down, a safe distance apart. “I was … we’re going to be arriving at Highgate in about an hour, if Freya can make the fuel cells last. We’ll be taking on cargo then be off again.”

“Oh? Well, there’s not really any call for a Companion on that planet. Where will we be going after that?”

“Beaumonde. You’ll be able to … I'm sure you have clients waiting.” He didn’t look at her.

“A few,” Inara admitted. “I can make a few appointments.”

“Yeah.” Suddenly he stood up, surprising her. “I have to go. Do captainy things.”

She got to her feet a little slower, more gracefully. “Of course. I quite understand.”

They were only a foot or so apart. “What you’ve done … it’s nice to have it back the way it was,” Mal said quietly. “I kinda missed having it occupied.”

“I'm sure you could have found someone to rent it from you,” Inara responded, her voice barely above a whisper.

“Wouldn’t have seemed right.” He moved closer, just a little.

She echoed his movement. “I shouldn’t have left.”

“I wish you hadn’t.” Slowly, almost of their own accord, his hands came up to touch her face, holding her head so that he could dip his and kiss her lips, soft and gentle. “Inara …”

“Mal …” She put her arms about him, pulling him in closer, until the kiss became deeper and more passionate.

When they broke apart both were panting slightly.

“Don’t Companion rules have something to say about this?” Mal asked, running his fingers through her hair.

“They do … very specifically. And mostly they say … no.” She didn’t, however, move away.

“Really.” He dipped to kiss her again. “What about this?” He reached down and cupped her breast, then stopped, backing away.

“What is it?” Inara asked. “Mal?”

“This ain’t right … this ain’t right at all.”

“Mal?” She reached for him, then paused as he took another step backwards. “What is it?”

“It ain't right.” He shook his head. “You’re still a Companion. That ain't changed.”

“I thought … I thought you accepted it,” Inara said, her face confused. “You seemed to – “

“If I took you now … and believe me, I want to …” He glanced down at his crotch, and the purely physical reaction he was experiencing. “But it would be wrong.”

“Why, Mal? You want me. I want you. What’s wrong with that?” Inara asked, moving forward.

He put his hands on her shoulders, but it was just to hold her away from him. “I don’t know,” he admitted. “It just …”

“Do you want me to leave?” she asked, wanting him to kiss her again.

“No. Not asking that.” He shook his head again. “I need to think, Inara. You’ve made me all turned around again, and I ain't sure I know how to deal with it.”

“I can help you.” She smiled a little, although her heart was breaking. “Is it me?”

“No, no, ‘Nara,” he said quickly, the use of her pet name tearing through them both. “If anything it’s me. I don’t know what I want anymore, what I believe in. If I could I’d go talk to the Shepherd, but that ain't gonna happen.”

“He’d say you were doing the right thing in not sleeping with me, you know that.”

“Yeah, maybe he would. But I know I could argue with him, maybe, even if I couldn’t win.” He dropped his hands. “It ain't the right time, Inara. Maybe later … when I understand it more myself …”

Inara pulled a smile she didn’t feel from the depths of her soul. “We have time, Mal. Maybe we need to get to know each other better. Properly. Just a man and a woman.”

“Maybe. But right now I ain't gonna take advantage of you.” He took a step towards the door to the shuttle. “I'm sorry, Inara.”

“You’ve nothing to be sorry for, Mal,” she said, all her training allowing her to keep her composure. “And you’re right – the Guild wouldn’t approve either. Not unless you paid me.”

Mal looked at her, understanding her need to hurt, to strike out. He’d held something out to her, and now he’d snatched it back. “And I ain't likely to be doing that in the foreseeable future,” he said gently. “If I do, though, I’ll know where to come.”

“Only if I choose it, Captain,” Inara said, returning to her formality as a shield to protect herself.

“Always,” Mal said, and left the shuttle.

Inara stared after him, long after he’d walked back to his bunk, just trying to control her feelings. There was something else, she knew that. Something holding him back, something that had always held him back, and it wasn't that she was a Companion. Well, not just that. If she didn’t know better she’d say it was another woman, but the only other regular females on board were either too young for him, starting a new relationship, or grieving. That left Freya, their new pilot. It had to be her. He’d known her for so long, and there was no doubt about her feelings for him. He must feel the same way, even if he hadn’t admitted it to himself.

She managed to get to the bed, sitting down on the satin counterpane, her knees too weak to hold her. She’d lost him, somehow, before she’d even had him. All this time, to come so close and have it torn away from her. She wiped the tears angrily from her cheeks. Perhaps it was time to do something about her.


Tuesday, September 19, 2006 11:50 AM


very nice!!! you got the characters really well! particularly when you didnt hav Inara give up being a companion. more very soon please!!!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006 6:24 PM


Oh...I hope Inara isn't gonna do something rash. Cuz that would not make Mal rush into her arms...only ensure the gulf stays wide and deep:(

Still...I certainly can't wait to read of how Inara decides to "do something" in concern to Freya;)


Thursday, September 27, 2007 9:15 AM


Yes, this is good tension between the characters. I'm sure Inara will do something and Freya's reaction will be very interesting.



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“Then do you have a better suggestion? No, let me rephrase that. Do you have a more sensible suggestion that doesn’t involve us getting lost and freezing to death?”

[Maya. Post-BDM. A little standalone festive tale that kind of fits into where I am in the Maya timeline, but works outside too. Enjoy!]

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"I honestly don’t know if my pilot wants to go around with flowers and curlicues carved into his leg.”
[Maya. Post-BDM. The end of the story, and the beginning of the last ...]

Monied Individual - Part XX
Mal took a deep breath, allowing it out slowly through his nostrils, and now his next words were the honest truth. “Ain’t surprised. No matter how good you are, and I’m not complaining, I’ve seen enough battle wounds, had to help out at the odd amputation on occasion. And I don’t have to be a doc myself to tell his leg ain’t quite the colour it should be, even taking into account his usual pasty complexion. What you did … didn’t work, did it?”
[Maya. Post-BDM. Simon has no choice, and Luke comes around.]

Monied Individual - Part XIX
“His name’s Jayne?”

“What’s wrong with that?” the ex-mercenary demanded from the doorway.

“Nothing, nothing! I just … I don’t think I’ve ever met a man … anyone else by that name.”

“Yeah, he’s a mystery to all of us,” Mal said. “Even his wife.”

[Maya. Post-BDM. Hank's not out of the woods yet, and Mal has a conversation. Enjoy!]

Monied Individual - Part XVIII
Jayne had told him a story once, about being on the hunt for someone who owed him something or other. He’d waited for his target for three hours in four inches of slush as the temperature dropped, and had grinned when he’d admitted to Hank that he’d had to break his feet free from the ice when he’d finished.
[Maya. Post-BDM. The Fosters show their true colours, Jayne attempts a rescue, and the others may be too late.]

Snow at Christmas
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[Maya. Post-BDM. A seasonal one-off - enjoy!]

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Jayne hadn’t waited, but planted a foot by the lock. The door was old, the wood solid, but little could stand against a determined Cobb boot with his full weight behind it. It burst open.

[Maya. Post-BDM. The search for Hank continues. Read, enjoy, review!]

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He slammed the door behind him, making the plates rattle on the sideboard. “It’s okay, girl, I ain't gonna hurt you.” The cook, as tradition dictated, plump and rosy cheeked with her arms covered to the elbows in flour, but with a gypsy voluptuousness, picked up a rolling pin.

[Maya. Post-BDM. Kaylee finds the problem with Serenity, and Jayne starts his quest. Read, enjoy, review!]

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“Did we …” “We did.” “Why?” As she raised an eyebrow at him he went on quickly, “I mean, we got a comfy bunk, not that far away. Is there any particular reason we’re in here instead?” “You don’t remember?” He concentrated for a moment, and the activities of a few hours previously burst onto him like a sunbeam. “Oh, right,” he acknowledged happily.

[Maya. Post-BDM. A little with each Serenity couple, but something goes bang. Read, enjoy, review!]

“Did we …” “We did.” “Why?” As she raised an eyebrow at him he went on quickly, “I mean, we got a comfy bunk, not that far away. Is there any particular reason we’re in here instead?” “You don’t remember?” He concentrated for a moment, and the activities of a few hours previously burst onto him like a sunbeam. “Oh, right,” he acknowledged happily.

[Maya. Post-BDM. A little with each Serenity couple, but something goes bang. Read, enjoy, review!]