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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
This is the morning after Annabelle. Still closer to home than I'd care to admit, but a little catharsis is good for the soul. As always, any feedback is well appreciated.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1087 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
There was no way she was going to let herself cry again.
She had cried for Malcolm Reynolds before this, cried in a whorehouse where her friend took him to bed. She had cried the night she had told him that she was leaving, hoping and praying that he would for once, just once, stop being so dense and tell her to stay. She had done everything but come right out and tell him that he could have her, body and soul, and had asked herself over and over why he couldn’t see it.
Now she knew.
She thought, not for the first time that night, of sending a wave to her to make sure she knew about Mal and Nandi, just to try and draw some blood. About the only thing that kept her from doing exactly that was her own dignity. She was better than that.
Inara Sera had no illusions about how nasty and catty she could become against another woman for the right man’s affections, and she had no fear of a fight. But how were you supposed to fight against a figment of the past that has destroyed the heart of the man you want?
Malcolm Reynolds was what her father would have called “old-time tough”. He commanded and led the crew of Serenity through the sheer power of his will and temperament. She couldn’t count the number of times she had seen him stare down Jayne, and man who could clearly take Mal apart physically, but was afraid to cross him. It was more than that, of course. She had seen the situations he had gotten himself, and his crew, through. She remembered his willingness to die on Serenity so that the rest of his crew would have the chance to escape it.
And this was the man that she heard gut-wrenching sobs coming from last night. He heart bled for him in his misery, and she wanted so badly to go to him, to comfort him, in any way that she could, but she knew better of it. She could not have imagined a love so powerful living beneath his façade of cynicism. She knew how passionate he was about his crew and their safety and wellbeing, but she would never have expected such a passion within him for a woman.
Oh, the hatred she felt towards this Annabelle. She hated her for what she had done to Mal, but more so, she hated her for the place that she occupied in Mal’s heart. Inara doubted greatly that any such opening would be present in Mal’s heart, not before her own ultimatum would force her to leave Serenity.
Tears rolled down her cheeks as she swore to herself that she wouldn’t cry, not again, but really, who was she kidding? She knew that she would. She would cry for the utter stupidity of it all, cry for the fact that she had a heart to offer to him, that she would do or be anything in the ‘Verse for him, cry for the fact that his head was so clouded by this damnable woman that he couldn’t see what was right in front of him.
She picked up the letter that Mal had left crumpled in the cargo hold, and read it again. How could this woman have done this to Mal? How could anyone in their right mind not snatch the heart that he had offered her? What kind of fool was she that she would blunder through life causing havoc and pain?
She went to seek out Zoe, and found her in the cargo bay, making routine checks on equipment and supplies. “Zoe?”
“Inara,” Zoe said. “Hey.”
“Yes, hey,” Inara replied, never having been fully fond of that greeting. “Have you seen Mal this morning?”
“Not yet, me anyway. I know he was bridge-side earlier, Wash told me, but no one’s seen him about since. I ‘spect he’s in his quarters.”
Inara stepped a little closer to Zoe and lowered her voice. “Things didn’t go so well I assume.”
“You know what, Inara? I really don’t want to go anywhere near that. I really don’t. The captain’s got a mean streak to him, we’ve all seen it, and it’d be powerful easy to find yourself on the receiving end of it right about now.” She lowered her voice a little. “That being said, no, I would say that went about as bad as bad could go.”
“Yes, I know, I saw him.”
“He know you saw him?”
“No, I don’t believe so.”
“Good. That man probably don’t have a wealth of pride left today, let him hold what he’s got.”
“Of course, but if you do see him, can you send him my way? I need to go over something in my shuttle with him.”
“Walk softly, girl,” Zoe warned her. “Walk very softly indeed.”
Inara smiled and said, “I will.”
Inara spent two hours in her shuttle, waiting for Mal to appear, when she heard a knock at the door. “Come in, please,” she said.
Mal entered, and she was shocked at what she saw. The undersides of his eyes were all puffed out, his face was haggard, and she could see spots where he missed shaving that morning. His hands were in his pockets, and his shoulders were slightly slumped. He looked like a man who had been beat.
She also took note of the fact that he had knocked at her door. Mal’s typical way was to stroll in and out of her shuttle as it pleased him, more for the fact that she found the fact hugely irritating than anything else, she was sure. If there was one thing the two of them had always been able to do correctly, it was fight, but the man she saw in front of her didn’t look like he had any fight in him.
Her heart broke at the sight of him. There was none of the playful mischief in his eyes that she found so damnably charming, in spite of herself. Neither was there any of the grim determination that she had seen in his face when confronted by overpowering odds. Regardless of how badly he could get under her skin, no matter how far out of his way he seemed to go to irritate her, she would always remember the man on Persephone who almost got himself cut to pieces to defend her honor. By the same token , she would never forget the man who was quite ready to send her and the Tams to safety in her shuttle and face down pursuing Reavers.
She couldn’t see any of that man today, and it made her want to cry even more.
“Zoe said you had something to go over with me about your shuttle, Inara,” Mal said. “You having problems with it?”
“No, no troubles, it’s running fine.”
Mal’s face looked deeply distracted. “Then……..what is it you need?”
Inara sat on her couch and held her hand out inviting him to sit. “Would you like to sit down?”
“Honestly, Inara, and I mean no offense to you, but I’d really rather not. Do we have some business here? If not, I don’t feel to be making a social call today.”
Inara reached behind herself and retrieved Annabelle’s letter. “Mal, I only called you up here because you left this behind you last night, and I didn’t think you’d want anyone else to see it.”
She handed it to him, and he took it delicately, like it might break, and carefully folded it and placed it inside his pocket. “I suppose I am to understand you read this?”
“Mal, I wasn’t trying to pry, I just--”
“Just what, Inara? Just what?”
“Mal, I’m not trying to get into your business. Believe it or not, I’m just trying to be your friend.”
“I don’t have any friends, Inara.” Mal said dryly. “I have a crew who work for me. I have a tenant who rents from me. That’s it and everything.” He turned to walk away.
Inara took a chance. “I wanted to go to you last night, Mal. I got to your door and I heard you and I’m sorry, but I didn’t dare bother you.”
Mal stopped in his tracks and put his hands to his face. He turned to look at her. “How much amusement did you take from that, Inara? Tell me, honestly. You probably would have never gave me credit for feeling for someone, so how much did that hold your interest?”
“Mal, stop it,” she said firmly. “You may not see it, but I am sitting here offering, or at least trying to offer, some sort of comfort.”
“Comfort?” Mal said sardonically. “You know what, Inara? There ain’t any such of a thing. I got a hole inside of me the size of a moon, and there is nothing in this whole ‘Verse can fill it, not nothing.” Mal swallowed hard. “You want to comfort me? Pay your gorram rent on time, and stay out of my ruttin’ business.”
“Mal, you may not see this right now, I doubt you can, but she is not the only woman in the ‘Verse.”
“Yes, she is, Inara. Yes, she is. I was all ready to leave Serenity for her. Yes, she is.”
Inara didn’t expect that. “You would leave you ship? Your crew?”
“I’d send you all to hell!” he barked at her. He closed his eyes and swallowed hard again. “I’da gone there m’self, if I had to. But none of it was enough, Inara. None of it was enough.” His voice shook on the last couple of words, and he breathed deep to compose himself.
Inara stood and placed a hand on his cheek. “Then she was a fool, Mal. Please, believe me when I say that. No man ever showed me that sort of passion. They show me money and things, but I never saw that depth of devotion.”
She looked him square in the eye. “I wish you would have shown me that kind of passion.”
“What are you saying to me, Inara?”
“I’m saying that when you get over this, when that day comes, to look closer to home.”
Mal didn’t want to be here, didn’t want these thoughts. “Inara, I’m sorry, but that day ain’t never gonna come.” With that, he turned and walked out of the shuttle.
Sitting there by herself, despite her determination, there was no way for her not to cry.
Tuesday, November 7, 2006 12:42 PM
Tuesday, November 7, 2006 1:04 PM
Tuesday, November 7, 2006 9:26 PM
Wednesday, November 8, 2006 10:09 PM
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