Thursday, November 16, 2006

Ninth in the short episodes following BIRTHDAY. Inara cleanses the last few days ... Please let me know if you like or hate this.


Inara closed the door to her shuttle and locked it tight. It didn’t happen very often, as usually she left it open for anyone who wanted to talk, but right now she needed some time to herself. She particularly didn’t want Mal barging in, not when she was in the middle of what she planned.

Setting out the candles, she lit them carefully, the scent of lavender and soft rosemary filling the room. Catching her long dark hair back in a silver clasp, shaped like a swan, she shook the padded mat out and placed it on the floor. She undid her robe and dropped it behind her, standing naked in the soft light. Running her hands across her flesh, she stretched upwards, trying to touch the ceiling before sitting gracefully cross-legged on the mat.

She closed her eyes and took in a breath, holding it until she felt a little dizzy, before blowing it out slowly until her lungs felt completely empty. Again she breathed in, exhaling and throwing away all the tensions of the last few days. And again, until she was light-headed with the oxygen in her system.

Then she opened her eyes. Placing her hands, palms up, in her lap, she brought to mind what Simon had told her.

Red Dress

“I never knew anything could be so painful, Inara.” He sat on the sofa, his hands tightly clasped. “Even when I’ve been shot it wasn't so bad. I knew there was an end to that, some hope of unconsciousness at least, but this … it was only going to get worse and I wasn't going to be able to stop it.” He looked up at her. “I felt like my body was burning, all the skin sloughing away, only the nerves still there, consuming me.” He was shaking. “And those men, they just … they were talking as if it was the most natural thing in the world. That they’d often held men … or … or women … at this point, when you’re praying to go mad so that you don’t feel it anymore.”

Inara didn’t touch him, but moved a little closer so he could feel her warmth. “They were evil, Simon,” she said softly. “What they did was evil, and they died for it. Freya killed them both.”

“I know.” He took a deep, shuddering breath. “I wish it had been me.”

“No, Simon. You’re a doctor. You saved Freya, and Hank.”

“I wanted it to be me.” He looked back at his hands, clenched so hard that his knuckles were white and his nails were leaving grooves in his skin. “I wanted to take a gun and …”

“And what?”

He shook his head. “I wanted to kill them. But I wanted to beg them to stop first.”

Inara breathed slowly, letting her body soothe itself.

Green Dress

“I couldn’t stop myself. They were asking these questions, and I was screaming at them, denying them everything I knew, but I told them. About everyone. About Kaylee, Bethany, you … everyone. If they hadn’t died …”

“They can’t hurt you any more, Simon.”

“They took away my … my resolve. What makes me me. Simon Tam didn’t exist, just this shell of a human being with no more power than a baby.”

The flickering candlelight threw shadows onto the wall, and she watched them turn themselves into figures, two men standing, a third in a chair. The hum from Serenity’s engine turned into a silent scream.

Gold Dress

“How can I be a proper father, Inara? Bethany needs a man who can protect her, keep her safe from all the terrible things out there.” Simon was pacing the room, throwing his hands wide.

“You will. You are.” Inara watched him from where she sat. “She’s healthy because of you. She’s perfect, because you made sure of it. Freya told me what Lee said, that you were giving her medications to make sure. Bethany is perfect because you made her so.”

“I wasn’t even there when she was born!”

“But you’re here now. And Kaylee will forgive you.”

He turned to look at her, beseeching in his eyes. “How can you be so sure?”

“Because I know Kaylee. And I know you. You’ll do the right thing and you’ll be a proper family, the way it was always meant to be.”

“And if I can’t help River?”

Inara smiled a little. “Simon, everyone on this ship – and I mean everyone – is helping River. You’d be surprised.”


The shadows shifted to a man on a cliff, a girl next to him, her hair blowing in the wind. He stepped forward, his body falling forever.

Black Dress

“I should leave. I should have left when Mal threatened to kill me the first time, not stayed here. So many people have been hurt because of me.”

“And how many would be dead if you hadn’t been here to save them?”

“Mal would have found another medic.”

“Simon, he wasn't looking for a doctor at all. But he took you on board because you needed a place to be.”

“To hide.”

“Yes. But to help your sister too.”

“Have I helped her?”


“But I betrayed them.”

“Then ask forgiveness.”

She hadn’t had to use this ritual, not for a long time. Normally what her clients told her were innocuous details of their lives, their hopes and fears, but nothing that would climb into her dreams. But the emotion that had poured from Simon, the pain and fear, the absolute desolation at having been so powerless, that she recognised. Not since Gregor, and the baby …

She lifted her hands in front of her breasts, cupping them as if catching water.

“I will not hold these images. They are not mine to keep. I give them to the stars, to the black, to the great unknown outside these walls.”

She opened her hands, slowly letting all the pain and fear she had taken into herself flow away, a grey mist that dissipated in the air. Standing gracefully, she moved around the room and blew out the candles, until she stood alone in the dark, comforting silence. ---

Let your love flow outward through the universe, To its height, its depth, its broad extent, A limitless love, without hatred or enmity. Then as you stand or walk, Sit or lie down, As long as you are awake, Strive for this with a one-pointed mind; Your life will bring heaven to earth. Buddhist Forgiveness Prayer


Thursday, November 16, 2006 3:33 AM


As always fantastic

Thursday, November 16, 2006 4:33 AM


A perfect snapshot of Inara. I particularly like the Buddhist dimension. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Thursday, November 16, 2006 6:36 AM


That was amazing ... and I also loved the Buddhist aspect. Terrific!

Thursday, November 16, 2006 6:09 PM


Ya know...I am mighty glad Inara's got a way to basically deal with the fei hua that can get lumped on her through the counselling portion of her job. Plus it gives a person another bit of information about Buddhist culture, which is always cool;D


Monday, November 20, 2006 2:56 PM


Hey you just get better and better. Not enough people pick up on the Buddhist elements in the show but theres a tonne. Watched The Message tis morning and notced that the Battle of Du-Khang is being fought in a Buddhist temple. (so whadda ya know?)

Great work.


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Now and Then - a Christmas story
“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!]

Monied Individual - Epilogue
"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
She’d seen his memories of his Ma, the Christmases when he was a boy on Shadow, even a faint echo of one before his Pa died, all still there, not diminished by his burning, glowing celebrations of now with Freya.

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

Monied Individual - Part XVII
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!]

Monied Individual - Part XVI
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!]

Monied Individual - Part XV
“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!]