Past and Present
Monday, October 16, 2006

Fluff-angsty little standalone. Post-BDM. Mal/Inara. PG-13.


Past and Present By Kaynara *** Fluff-angsty little standalone. Post-BDM. Mal/Inara. PG-13. *** “C'mon, off with 'em.” “You can't be serious.” “You need help?” “You're insane!” “I'm known for that!” “For God's sake, Mal, hush. Everyone's asleep.” “That they are, darlin'. And unless you want an audience for what's about to happen here, reckon you best do your part quiet-like.” “This isn't funny.” “I'm not laughin'.” He swallows a chuckle. “We made a bet, Inara. You lost.” “And I'm perfectly willing to negotiate an Just—Mal, not that.” She lifts her face, all wide-eyed innocence. “ That was the deal, as I recall. And you just lost ten hands of tall card in stunning succession. So, I repeat, off with 'em.” “Wait, let's talk about this—” “Not in the mood for talking. We men of action prefer, well, action. C'mon, Nara. What's the big deal? Not like this is a first for you. I mean, surely you've done this before...?” “Of course I have.” She rolls seething black eyes at the roof of the cargo bay and wraps her arms about her torso. “Well, then? Strip.” He grins and waits, resting his back on the wall. She hesitates, and he can see she's a micro away from complying. Then her hands fly to the buttons of her shirt. “I'm wearing a corset. Under my blouse.” Holding his gaze, she slowly unclasps the first button, and he catches a peek of something black and purple with lace trim. His breath catches in his throat, and he's grateful suddenly for the length of his coat. He doesn't make it a point to tell folk this. Hell, ain't nobody's business. But Malcom Reynolds has always had a thing for corsets. Something about all that...lift. “I had it custom-made on Sihnon years ago. It fits my body perfectly if you understand my meaning.” She smiles. Lust is a punch to the gut, and he's fair sure she couldn't have done a better job of it if she used her fists. “I could be persuaded to show you. Just a small glimpse. Come to my shuttle.” He has to work to keep his brain from venturing too far down that particular path. “Oh, now, that's just playin' dirty. Anyway, I got that—me seeing what's under your blouse—scheduled for day after tomorrow.” “Mal!” she protests, all attempt at artifice forgotten. “Kidding! C'mon, Nara: be a good sport and give me the shoes.” With as much grace as she can muster given the circumstances, Inara balances her weight against an empty crate and removes first one ballet slipper, and then the other. Black-licorice eyes snapping, she flings both shoes at his chest. “Hou zi de—” “Hey, now.” He juggles the ballet flats somewhat awkwardly before setting them down along with his gun belt. He jerks his head at the boots standing straight and tall by the side of the mule, and she swirls her eyes at him before kneeling to lace them up. Sturdy, black and Kaylee's, they'll have to do till he can get her some of her own. He likes the idea of that: her wearin' pieces he bought with his own money. Isn't about ownership—he has no aim to own her. But a part of him wants badly to provide for her, even if all he can provide right now is somethin' to keep her toes warm. He's starting to develop some soft, fuzzy feelings about those toes of hers.... “Happy?” she demands. Hands on her hips, she models the boots. “Joyous.” He appraises her jacket and decides the thick, butter-cream suede will do just fine. “Put these on.” Resigned now, she hardly glares at all before sliding her small hands into his worn, leather gloves. Grinning, he takes her arm at the elbow and starts down the ramp. Outside, the snow slaps at their faces, cold air forcing its way through their lungs. Mal opens his mouth and breathes deep. Before them, the white is endless and spotless. A part of him hates to spoil its pristine expanses with footprints. He looks at Inara. “Too cold?” he asks, arching a brow. She glances up, and there are snowflakes in her eyelashes. Her cheeks are very pink, and he has half a mind to warm them with his lips. “Cold, but not's beautiful, Mal.” “Yeah,” he agrees. “C'mon.” They climb the hill at a slowish pace. It's steep, and a little icy, which provides a good excuse for holding her hand. She hesitates at the top, dark eyes rife with trepidation. “'s gonna be fine. Trust me.” He scans the landscape. In the west, the sun is just starting to rise, its rays shifting the sky from black to navy. “Looks like as good a spot as any.” She tries to smile. “Climb aboard,” he says, patting the space between his legs. His eyes widen, realizing how that sounds. “The sled, I mean. Have a seat on the....” They whiz down the hill with surprising speed. Mal holds tight to her waist and steers with his legs. He figures his chances of getting her into a hot shower after—or at least getting her to make him hot cocoa—are sure to plummet if he runs them up a snowbank. Halfway down the hill, Inara swivels on the sled. She cups his face in her gloved hands and presses a quick, breathless kiss to his lips. It's hardly a passionate embrace—close-mouthed and lasting mere seconds. But he loses control of his brain, and with it his feet. They take a sharp turn and tumble out of the sled, landing in a heap in the snow. He raises himself up off of her and finds she's smiling. Her hair is mussed, wispy-dark tendrils curling to frame her face. “You've got snow in your ears,” he says, and she apparently finds that all manner of amusing because she starts to laugh—a sweet, clear sound that pierces the stillness. “Flap your arms,” he says, and she does, lifting and lowering them like wings. He picks her up so they can see the imprint. “I'm no angel.” As if to prove her point, she thrusts a handful of snow down his collar. He lets out a growl and wraps her up in his arms. She squeezes her eyes shut and waits, bated, for retaliation that never comes. He lowers his lips to her face, kissing the snow from her eyelashes and her nose, the apple of her cheek and her soft, swollen mouth. “I love you,” he says in a voice both throaty and broken. “Have for so damn long.” “Oh, Mal.” A week later she shows him her corset. *** He didn't know till recently they make boots this small. He also didn't know they make 'em in periwinkle. “How 'bout these, Leelee? See, they're nice and...brown. Won't get dirty, or look it when they are. How 'bout 'em?” “Periwinkle's nice, Daddy.” She's Inara's. That he gets her in boots at all is compromise enough. “Periwinkle it is.” “You need help? With the laces?” “They velcro.” Proudly, she shows off the ankle fastenings she's worked all on her own. “They velcro. How 'bout that? You ready? Where are your mittens?” “My dolls are on the winter campaign in New Kashmir.” He raises a brow. “Sleeping bags,” she explains. “Ah. Well.” He pulls off his own gloves and sticks her hands inside. Her little fingers are swallowed up, but at least she'll be warm. “Good? We good to go?” “Will you put my hair back? Kaylee forgot.” “I can do that.” He fishes a hair band from the pocket of his pants—ai ya, if five year ago somebody told him he'd be carrying hair fixing in his pants' pocket—and gathers her dark curls in a secure, if lopsided, ponytail. He brushed her hair after her bath last night. Kaylee is the one to help her bathe, but after she always finds Mal, climbs up onto his lap. She burrows against his chest, her small, sturdy body still warm from the water, soft and snuggly in her PJs. He combs her hair with short little strokes, just like Zoe—who's accustomed to little girls with curls, having been one her own self—has taught him. “It's too thick!” Leelee complains, tossing her head dramatically. “It's a gift from your mama,” Mal tells her. He can't resist pressing a quick kiss to the top of her head now. She's an affectionate kid—free with her kisses and hugs. Hell, she even kisses Jayne good night. He owes Inara a debt for teaching her to be such. He owes Inara a number of debts but figures now isn't the time to start counting. They step off the ramp, and he wades with Leila into the snow. The thick powder comes halfway up her legs, and new flakes fall to dot her hair and her cheeks. Her skin, lighter than her mama's, more like his, is flushed a pretty pink. “Cold?” he asks, and she shakes her head, but she's shivering. He kneels in the snow to do up her hood. “Daddy.” She huffs out a sigh. “I look stupid.” “Wait till I make you wear coveralls for your first date.” “What?” “Nothin'.” At the top of the hill, he positions the sled and climbs in. Leila watches him, unmoving. “It'll be fine. I promise. I ever lie to you?” “No.” Her big brown eyes are thoughtful. He holds out a hand, and after a second she takes it and let him help her aboard the wooden sled. He settles her between his legs, holding her tightly about the middle. “Ready?” Without waiting for a response, he uses his free arm to push them off. She's silent the whole way down, and when they come to a stop she spins around, eyes sparkling with excitement and the cold and the sweet look they have just for him. “Can we go again?” she asks, and he chuckles and groans, and rolls out into the snow. “Your old man ain't as spry as he looks,” he tells her. “How old are you?” she asks. “Old,” he says, and she nods sagely. “Mama took me out in the snow once. While you and Aunt Zoe were on a job. We made snow angels.” He hoists himself onto his elbows. “She taught you how, huh?” “Yes. Want me to show you?” “That's be nice,” he says, trying for casual. “Flap your arms and legs.” She lies back in the snow to demonstrate. “See? You have to be careful getting up, or you'll ruin it. Look! You're an angel.” She smiles. He laughs shortly and clucks her on the chin. “I'm no angel, Leelee girl.” She smiles again,like he's amused her in some way. “What?” “That's what mama said. Except...Kaylee says she is now. An angel. Isn't that funny?” “Funny,” he says dully. He's kneeling in the snow now, the cold making his knees ache. Leila balances her gloved hands on his shoulders. “You miss her.” “Yeah,” he says, his throat thick. He makes an effort to clear it. “You wanna go again?” he begins, jerking his head toward the sled. “ 'Cuz we can....” “I miss her, too,” Leila says softly. She kisses the tip of his nose, and her breath is cool from the cold, sweet from the peppermint tea she drank with Kaylee. “Ready?” With a low growl, he scoops her up over his shoulder, collecting the reigns for the sled with his free hand. “Am I ready?” he demands. “The question, Leelee girl, is are you ready?” “Daddy, you're crazy!” “Yeah, well, I'm known for that.” He listens to the sound of her laughter as he scales the hill. ***


Monday, October 16, 2006 8:37 AM


Awww ... so warm and fuzzy and sad at the same time! I love the way you write Mal as a father - although why must Inara always be gone?

But I really loved this and I loved the contrast of showing him sledding with first Inara and then with Leila, that was great!

More please ...

Monday, October 16, 2006 8:43 AM


Oh, that was just excellent. I LOVE that the scene with Mal and Inara was so similar to the one with Mal and his daughter. The crack about coveralls on the first date was SO perfect!

>“My dolls are on the winter campaign in New Kashmir.”

Now that sounded like River's influence on the little girl.

Nicely done!

Monday, October 16, 2006 1:28 PM


Wow, break my heart why don't you? This was beautiful but oh so sad that Inara isn't alive any more and Mal is left to bring up their baby without her but it was also heartwarming too. Very shiny (sniff), Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Monday, October 16, 2006 4:53 PM


Awww! You made me all teary! But it was worth it. I love seeing Mal as a father. It gives me a case of the warm and fuzzies. Thanks, Kaynara! Another fic well done!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006 11:27 AM

BLUEEYEDBRIGADIER gotta have talent when you can write fluff and angst all in one story...and not have the shift seem obvious;)

Depressing that Inara died and so can't see Leila grow up...but at least she got to know her mum. Can only imagine the fun it would be for Mal to raise Leila and talk about Inara to someone who never got to know here:( definitely smashed my expectations to pieces. Cuz here I thought this was gonna be something lighty smutty with Mal's comments about Inara losing a bet and having to strip;D


Wednesday, October 18, 2006 3:23 AM


He didn't know till recently they make boots this small. He also didn't know they make 'em in periwinkle.
~ :D

Hell, she even kisses Jayne good night.
~ Now that's a hell of a woman

“That's what mama said. Except...Kaylee says she is now. An angel. Isn't that funny?”
~ Ah, a sad twist to everything.

Very sweet little piece, and I like the voice the story is told with, a bit different from the norm.

Friday, August 24, 2007 6:26 AM


I can't help it, I'm a sucker for such a sweet little story. Thanks for sharing it and making my eyes mist over here!



You must log in to post comments.



Water, Water Everywhere
This is a sort of companion piece to the first section of Two Times They Were Wet and Cold. It's also sort of crack!fic. While Mal and Inara were having a pleasant dialogue in the cargo hold, Kaylee and Simon spent some time getting to know each other in a broom closet. Takes place during the series. PG-13.

Stumbling Along
Post-BDM. Mal makes a delivery on a familiar moon. Inara reflects. M/I. PG-13

Two Times They Were Wet and Cold
Two things that never happened to Mal and Inara. X-posted to LJ for the Truthsome Ficathon.

Shore Leave or That Youthful Feeling
Post-BDM. The crew visits a drinking establishment on Beaumonde—no, not that one. Shameless Mal/Inara fluff ensues.

One-shot set after OIS. Kaylee/Simon. Response to the prompt: “Simon bent Kaylee over....”

Past and Present
Fluff-angsty little standalone. Post-BDM. Mal/Inara. PG-13.

This is a standalone set preseries (no Simon, sorry, Leiasky). I have no idea what kind of introduction to slap on this thing, so I'll just say, enjoy! Special thanks to Ann for curtailing the worst of my rambles. NC-17. Comments are love!

Just Another Day
Just another day on Serenity. Preseries. PG-13. Happy September 30th.

Standalone. Prompt: Leather. Simon, Mal/Inara. PG-13.

Bed and Wine: The Epilogue
Huh. That went well....