Fun and Games - 2.4 - Hangover: Inara
Saturday, October 7, 2006

A very late fourth part, but hopefully it's still a welcome one. Continuation of the Hangover saga, this time we'll take a look on how Inara's day went by.


AN: I know, I'm horrible, 6 months, I know. But it's still better than nothing, right? And at least I finally got over the block I had with this chapter. For those of you who followed this series from the beginning, well you just read on and leave shiny comments. Those of you who hasn't even read anything written by me, well just click on my name and search out "Spin The Truth", which is the first story of this series.

AN2: So, we've seen Mal's, Simon's and Zoe's day after the big drinking game, lets go on and see Inara's. Who to look out for next? Well it'll be our very own mercenary, man-ape, the maaaaan we call Jayne.

AN3: Many thanks to Steph, who betas my Gilmore Girls fanfics and was kind enough to do it for this one as well :)

*** Fun and Games - 2.4 - Hangover: Inara ***

The first thing that came to her mind as she woke up, was that it was too early. She barely glanced over to the side to have her alarm clock confirm it. That was the true annoyance with drinking. She rarely got headaches and she had at least a nice tolerance for alcohol, unless she truly went in for getting shit-faced, a 'term' she wasn't known to use. In fact the only time she had ever uttered it was that one time she and Kaylee had gone all out on the egg-nog they were making for Christmas Eve. A smile always crept to her face as she thought of the two of them stumbling out from the ship, giggling in the wee hours of dawn, neither of them able to sleep, in order to stock back up on 'nog ingredients they had so conveniently consumed whilst making.

A big yawn escaped her lips as she pondered how she could be so tired, yet so awake at the same time. This would be an uneventful day. She had the feeling that no living soul would emerge to the surface for many hours to come. Glancing over to her bedside, she took in the sight of her robe, contemplating whether or not give into the temptation of taking a quick trip to the galley for some tea without having gone through the long morning ritual.

She was no slave to her occupation. Inara took great pride and joy in her appearance, even when she was alone. Many liked to compare her and Simon, as they were the ones with most understanding of manners and etiquette, out of the entire crew, but the difference was that his was nothing more than clinging onto something old and familiar in this new world. Hers came from choice. She hadn't been forced into her profession, she had chosen it. For her, the lessons at the academy had been more than training, they had become who she was. But she had one weakness... tea. Most mornings she made herself a cup in her shuttle, but she had run out of anything short of her ceremonial tea and that was not something she would divulge in before it was absolute a necessity. This was why the idea of a trip to the kitchen was so appealing and made her consider postponing dressing properly.

She walked softly in her morning sandals on the grated catwalk, taking the direct route. The only sounds she heard were the sounds of Serenity herself. Comforting. Nurturing. A slight sadness came over her at the thought that she would be leaving this home. As soon as she could find a decent place, she had decided. Mal had been kind enough to keep that information to himself, no one besides him knew of her plans. But as today was not the day to announce it, she shoved the thoughts to the back of her mind, instead focusing on enjoying the silence and comfort of this amazing ship.

For a second, she just leaned her hands on the railing as she peered into the cargo bay. As she usually wasn't up this early, let alone when no one else was, she hadn't really had the chance to truly study the bay in silence. It was funny how a room made out of almost only metal could feel so warm. Could be because her memory was filled with moments of joy and laughter. Like watching the crew get into a round of hoop ball. Or seeing Kaylee's face light up whenever they brought a new face on board, passengers or crew. Or that time the bay had been filled with cattle. That had been one of the most interesting smuggling jobs she had observed Mal getting involved with.

Eventually she turned and headed up to the second level. As she walked the corridor, she suspected hearing sounds coming up from the helm, but then again it could also just be her ears playing a trick on her. She entered the galley, intending on heading straight for her storage locker, when she froze in her steps.

It wasn't as if she had forgotten. She really hadn't thought much about the events from the night before just yet, still being so early in the morning for her. Seeing Mal in his, or more correctly her torn dress, though it hadn't been torn before the idea of putting him in one of her old gowns had been suggested, brought it all back. After the annoyance with having to dress up the very drunk captain, the sheer humor in Mal's attempt to be a companion for the evening had made it worthwhile. But nothing compared to the scene right in front of her... Mal being held in a lovers embrace by a sleeping and very naked Jayne. A very un-ladylike giggle escaped from her lips before she could prevent it.


She tapped the door lightly, careful not to disturb her, should the girl still be sleeping. Normally she would just turn and leave, but she just had to know. She gently tapped the door one more time.

- Go away, Rivers muffled voice cried out, startling her.

Had it been anyone else, Inara would've obeyed their wishes, but one never knew with River. The girl could act completely like any normal girl one minute, whether it was sitting somewhere reading, drawing, writing or running around the ship, playing games with Kaylee. The next she could be screaming, hurling things about. One never knew, so instead of listening, Inara carefully entered the room, finding the younger girl, curled up on her bed, clutching a pillow over her head.

- Go away, River moaned, the pillow continuing to muffle every word spoken.

- What's wrong, sweetie, Inara asked as she sat down on the bedside, attempting to remove the pillow.

River hung onto it with a fierce grip and refused to let Inara have it.

- Close the door, she begged, desperation apparent in her voice.

The companion did as told, closing the door behind her, before returning once more to the side of the bed. River still refused to let the pillow go and Inara knew very well that once the girl had made up her mind, there was no way of changing it, so she would just have to accustom herself to talking to a pillow.

- Do you want me to get Simon, she asked.

- Can't, the girl replied. - Make it worse.

- River, if you're not feeling well, then you should let your brother help you.

- Can't, River replied. - The ramifications of copious amounts of alcohol lead to symptoms such as tiredness, nausea, headaches and sensitivity to loud noises and bright lights.

The girl gave a slight chuckle, that due to the pillow was barely audible for the companion to hear.

- Copious amounts, she repeated in a silent giggle.

Not knowing what else to do, Inara did a second attempt at retrieving the pillow from River's grasp. The girl was more co-operative now and once the pillow was removed from River's face, Inara found herself thinking that the younger girl seemed to sport all the signs of a hangover, despite her, to Inara's memory, having had the least to drink out of all eight of them.

- Do you want me to get you some water, Inara asked. - Maybe some painkillers?

- Won't help, the girl replied, sadly.

Inara sighed. She was getting nowhere and decided it was probably best to wake up Simon and have him help.

- Not there, River whispered.

Shaking her head, Inara got up to leave, but as she reached the door, she turned around.

- River, she asked. - Did you by any chance take Jayne's clothes off last night?

- First one to pass out gets stripped, River replied, matter-of-factly. - Rules are rules.

Refraining from laughing as she remembered when the rule had been specified the night before, Inara simply nodded.

- Yes, she replied. - Rules are rules.

- Close the door, River begged as Inara exited the room.

Seeing River already clutching the pillow back over her head, Inara silently complied and then took the few steps over to Simon's room, opening the door after getting no reply from her careful knocking. Peaking inside, she realized what River had meant. Although she wondered where Simon was, as he obviously hadn't gone to check on his sister yet, her mind reminded her of her unkept presence. And with the lacking desire to let more crew members see her like this, she headed back to her shuttle to get dressed.


It wasn't until she was applying the finishing touches of her make-up that she realized in the midst of everything else she had forgotten to make some tea and the craving for it had doubled in intensity. This time with a more elegant presence, she walked the same path as she had before. The kitchen was empty when she reached it and while heating herself some water, she slightly regretted not having been there for when the two had woken up. She could very much imagine the awkwardness of the two seemingly straight men, though Inara felt the need to classify ones sexuality as one or the other to be highly overrated. True she, herself mostly took male clients and therefore could be classified as a straight woman, there were times where she found herself longing to feel a woman's touch, as well as applying the touch to a woman herself. Truth be told, the idea of choosing one over the other was somewhat ridiculous.

The water now being hot, she fetched a tea bag from one of the cupboards. Though a companion usually lived in what was considered high luxury and could easily afford things such as sugar, lemon and honey, Inara was one of the few people who actually preferred to drink her tea bare. However she kept a box of sugar in her shuttle and a jar of honey, aside from her companion stash for whenever Kaylee or sometimes, River came over to visit, both girls having somewhat of a sweet tooth.

Intending to bring the tea back to the shuttle with her, she heard voices coming from the helm. Not really feeling the urge to retreat to her shuttle just yet, Inara went in the direction of the helm. As she entered she spotted Zoe giving her husband what seemed to be a hangover remedy.

Poor Wash, Inara thought, as she remembered how much the poor pilot had drunk the day before.

- Um... am I interrupting anything, she asked, unsure if the two wanted a private moment or not.

- Truth be told, Zoe replied. - I'd welcome the company.

Inara took this as a sign to enter.

- Morning, Wash, she told the pilot, making him clutch his head and groan.

- Ah, she nodded. - Hangover?

She was more stating it than asking as every sign pointed towards her being completely right.

- That and a side order of laughter and you've got where he is now, Zoe told her.

- Laughter, Inara asked, raising her brow ever so slightly.

- Mal came in earlier, the first mate explained.

The minute she said it, Inara instantly had a flash of Mal waddling around in her dress as only her sheer willpower prevented her from laughing.

- Oh, she simply replied. - That must've been quite a sight.

- Yeah, Wash said, laughing loudly. - Too bad you missed the show. I got some great captures of it, in case you're interested.

- Don't worry, Inara chuckled, imagining Mal, not to mention Jayne's reaction should anyone mention the pictures to either of the men. - I saw enough this morning to imagine it. One thing's for sure, I'm never coming near that dress again.

- Had a feelin' you'd say that, Zoe chuckled. - From what I saw, I think that'd be the best. You never know where Jayne's been.

- Yeah, Wash chuckled. - Being their wedding night and all, who knows exactly when they passed out

Being in mid-sip of her still hot tea, Inara went into a fit of coughing and as a result of it, almost dropped the cup, only she didn't. Getting back in control of her body, she gave them both a confused expression.

- Wedding night.., she asked.

Zoe caught her eyes and it was then Inara realized what was going on.

- The captain had a very busy night last night, the older woman said, holding her gaze. - He put that dress you gave him into good use.

A smile danced dangerously on Inara's lips as she realized exactly how much fun she could have with this before Mal found out the truth. With Mal being a man who wasn't afraid of humiliating another human being for the sake of a laugh, Inara couldn't help but love the idea of giving Mal a taste of his own medicine.

- I must say, she said, trying her best not to burst out laughing. - When he proposed, I thought he was just joking. So he went through with it, then. I was sure he wanted to wait for the Shepherd to do it.

- He ain't exactly a patient man, our captain, Zoe skillfully followed up, though Inara could already tell the woman was struggling to keep herself from bursting out laughing. - In the end he did it himself, took up place as both preacher and bride.

- I don't know which thought scares me the most, Wash silently pondered in his chair. - Mal as a preacher, or Mal as a bride...

It took every bit of her companion training for Inara to keep a straight face at Wash's words, but she managed, somehow.

- Gyaaaah.., Wash exclaimed, suddenly. - That image will forever be stuck to my brainpan!

- My poor husband, Zoe said, affectionately, stroking Wash's hair.

- Add traumatized in there, will you, Wash commented, shuddering, his arms gently circling his wife's waist.

Feeling that she'd overstayed her welcome, Inara searched her mind for a plausible excuse to slip away. She looked down into her cup and realized that in the short time she'd been there she'd almost drank it up.

- I'm... ah... I'm just going to get some more tea, she announced to a deaf audience and left the helm.


She expected him to turn up eventually, so when Mal entered her shuttle, once again without knocking, Inara barely raised a brow.

- I take it the honeymoon's over, she remarked, carefully eyeing Mal's response.

Mal did not disappoint. A visible shudder went through him as he obviously thought back to whenever it was he and Jayne woke up. Once more Inara found herself wishing she'd been there to witness the event as she would never, ever let Mal forget it.

- Actually, I came here for some answers, he replied, clearly trying to get his mind of Jayne.

- Answers, Inara asked, innocently.

- To why's I wearin' this gorram dress to start with? Looks to be one of your get-ups, if you ask me.

- Mal, she said, shaking her head, willing herself not to burst out laughing. - Don't you remember?

- Would I be here if I did, Mal shot back. - The dress is yours ain't it?

- Yes, Inara nodded.

- Then why's it on me, Mal asked.

- You asked to borrow it and I said yes, Inara shrugged.

- An' the make-up, Mal enquired.

- You said you wanted to look good for the big day, Inara explained, keeping herself from laughing.

- The big day...?

- The wedding, Inara elaborated.

- Shu ma nyaow, Mal groaned. - So me and Jayne...

Inara nodded, hoping that whatever Mal asked her about it wouldn't contradict whatever Zoe had already told him. This was too good of a joke to have it end already. Mal gave another visible shudder as he asked the next thing.

- Which one of us proposed?


Saturday, October 7, 2006 9:42 PM


"- Which one of us proposed?"

....*laughter*...*more laughter*...*wipes tears from eyes*

Oh God, that was so good. Nice long wait between fics, but so totally worth it! Bring on whoever's next (please be River)!

Sunday, October 8, 2006 1:22 AM


Oh that is just priceless! What is it with our noble Captain and cross dressing? I can't believe it is all about air flow. Mind you, if Mal and Jayne are smart they could turn this joke around. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Sunday, October 8, 2006 4:43 AM


River is so cute when she's hung-over.

Monday, October 9, 2006 5:11 AM


ROTFL! I'm not sure what's more funny. . . Mal and Jayne's reactions (which we didn't get to see!) when they woke up, River drunk, or Inara walking around the ship. . .

Of course none of them can find Simon, isn't he in Kaylee's bunk? It's been so long since I've read these I need to go back and re-read a few.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006 3:33 PM


Ya's at times like this that I wonder if Mal ain't jonesing for some ancestral garb (i.e. kilt and other Celtric acoutrements). Cuz he does seem to have zero issue with wearing women's clothing;D

And River! The genius assassin gets her first hangover! Brilliant stuff...though I am suprised the Academy didn't make her a tad bit more immune to the effects of alcohol through getting them drunk or adjusting their body chemistry;)


Wednesday, October 11, 2006 12:06 AM


"...I am suprised the Academy didn't make her a tad bit more immune to the effects of alcohol through getting them drunk or adjusting their body chemistry..."

Since I don't know when I'll be putting up River's chapter I should put up an explanation here. River's "hangover" isn't physical. She did have the least to drink out of the eight of them.

However with River already being a reader as her "normal" self and the effect of alcohol is that you loose some self control, then River under the effects of alcohol should be even more vulnerable to the thoughts and emotions to the people around her.

When a high percentage of those people are in addition highly hung over, the combination of this and her even lessened self control, she's now suffering from a SEVERE empathic hangover.

This is why she tells Inara that painkillers won't work. Because it doesn't matter how sedated HER body is when it's the pain coming from the rest of the crew that's hurting her.

Monday, October 16, 2006 10:51 AM


Hee! The Mal and Jayne stuff has me giggling like a moonbrain. The mental images...hee!

And you are NOT one to talk about taking a long time to update, missy ;)

Monday, October 16, 2006 10:54 AM


oh missy your a funny as you are nice. lol I have fun.

Thursday, November 23, 2006 11:28 PM


"Rules are rules" mwah hah hah these have been too much fun.

Speaking of rules, you said you were planning on doing each one of the crew. We're going to hold you to that you know ;)


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