My Heart Don’t Wish to Roam
Friday, December 22, 2006

Inara's settling in at the Training House but is it really where she ought to be?


Disclaimer: Joss is creator of all.

A/N: A fic written as a Christmas gift to 2x2. It’s starting look like she’s the one who can get me off my butt and write something. So a big thanks to 2x2!


Inara breathed deeply, letting the mountain air fill her lungs. It tasted different, if that was possible. The atmosphere on a ship was stale, recycled, but up in the mountains where the Training House was situated the air was crisp and clear.

A fountain bubbled merrily behind her as she looked out at the valley below the House. The view from the front veranda provided the best vantage point and it was often where Inara found some of the girls before class. It was a beautiful sight, one she was growing accustomed to. After more than a year travelling through the stars in Serenity she had gotten used to seeing nothing but black.

“I thought I would find you here.”

Inara turned and was greeted by Sheydra, the Head Mistress of the House. The older Companion was holding a tray laden with a teapot and two tea cups.

“Have you gained some deep insight about me?” Inara asked with a smile.

“New teachers can’t tear themselves from the view for the first month or so. Tea?” Sheydra headed over to a small metal table placed in the shade.

“It is quite a view.” Inara walked over to join her friend.

“I like to think of it as incentive. Not many Companions have volunteered to come out here to teach. Most of them expect some backwater slum out in the desert.”

“They’re not all bad. There are a few decent cities outside of the Core.”

“And you would know, wouldn’t you?” Sheydra lifted the teapot and skilfully filled each cup without spilling a drop.

Inara watched Sheydra go through the movements so familiar to every Companion. She herself had learned them such a long time ago. Now she was expected to pass those skills on to the next generation. “Renting a shuttle from Captain Reynolds certainly took me to places I never expected to visit.”

“It seemed like you never knew where you might end up.” Sheydra handed Inara one of the cups. The scent of jasmine tea was invigorating as the mountain air.

“Oh, there was something new every day.”

Sheydra smiled. “I heard you were teaching your students about the Companion Greeting Ceremony today. You left quite an impression on them.”

“Everything we do has meaning. I want these girls to understand that.” Inara took a sip of her tea.

“They’re saying you’ve been swept off your feet by a powerful man.”

Inara nearly choked on the tea. She quickly swallowed and coughed a few times to clear her throat. Sheydra watched with an amused expression on her face. “I never said that,” commented Inara the second she could speak.

“I know you didn’t. The life of a Companion has been romanticized by countless writers. It’s those stories the girls are familiar with. I think most of them expect to meet their ideal man and have a torrid affair.”

“I only suggested that a man might come along and truly surprise them.”

“And that’s true, but if one teacher even hints of the possibility then the girls will latch on even tighter to the notion. Companions can’t afford the luxury of thinking with their hearts, Inara. We both know that.”

Idly, Inara swirled her teacup, tossing around the leaves at the bottom. “One could argue the first Companions were following their hearts. It was their ambition and passion that made it possible for Companions to be seen as something more than a body.”

“You’re changing the subject,” Sheydra commented casually.

The tea leaves settled at the bottom of Inara’s cup as she looked up to regard Sheydra. The other woman had no scorn in her expression, but Inara could see concern in her eyes. “I didn’t realize the topic of discussion was so restricted.”

“Inara.” Sheydra reached out with her right hand and placed it on Inara’s shoulder. “We all know why you’re here. You may have much to teach these girls, and you probably have the best insight of any Companion here, but you don’t belong at a Training House.”

Turning away from Sheydra, Inara walked to the railing that enclosed the veranda. Her gaze went to the pristine blue sky above. The planet’s moon was close enough that it was visible during the day but it was still a small orb. She had seen the same moon from orbit the day Serenity had dropped her off. Every crater and pockmark had been visible then. It looked so different from down on the planet.

“I left on my own terms.” Inara didn’t turn back to address Sheydra. “Should it matter where I belong?”

“No, but I wouldn’t want you to pass on your mistakes to the girls. If you’re undecided, there are better places to make up your mind.”

Inara tightened her grip around her teacup. She took a moment to take a deep breath of the mountain air before turning to face Sheydra. “Well, then I would be denying these girls the benefit of my superior wisdom.”

Sheydra chuckled softly. “All right, it’s your decision. I won’t interfere with your lessons. It’s not every day that these girls get a teacher who had two men fighting for her honour in a swordfight.”

Inara was about to chastise Sheydra for her remark but the sound of muffled giggling caught her attention. Looking to the entrance of the veranda, she spotted two girls from her class crouching nearby. When she locked gazes with them, the two quickly straightened up and ran away down the hall. The sound of their retreating footsteps was intermingled with their laughter.

“You said something about romanticizing the life of a Companion?” asked Inara in disbelief.

“How is that romanticizing?” responded Sheydra. “That was real life.” Taking Inara’s teacup, she returned to the table and placed both cups on the tray. With only a smile as a parting comment, Sheydra picked up the tray and left.

Fózǔ gěi wǒ lì, thought Inara as she looked back out over the valley.

Fózǔ gěi wǒ lì = Buddha give me strength


Friday, December 22, 2006 10:16 AM


“You said something about romanticizing the life of a Companion?” asked Inara in disbelief.

“How is that romanticizing?” responded Sheydra. “That was real life.”

Nicely done :)

Friday, December 22, 2006 6:48 PM


Great job, Ness! I can't wait for your next fic.

Friday, December 22, 2006 7:27 PM


Very nice. I quite enjoyed it. You have a great ear for dialogue.

Saturday, December 23, 2006 9:47 PM


One could argue only one man was fighting for Inara's honour...and it sure as Hell wasn't Atherton Wing;)

Still...gotta love how you had Sheydra be politely blunt with Inara about whether she truly belonged at the Training House. Though it was truly Inara's decision...even if the decision was less than stellar:(



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