Save The Last Dance For Me
Sunday, January 21, 2007

Post BDM, a Mal/Inara fanfic. Has nothing to do with any of my other fanfics.


Disclaimer: These characters and places are owned by Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy... Sadly, neither of those are me.

He watched her silently as she set the table for tea. He had been standing there for several minutes now, and had spent a long time outside the shuttle trying to decide whether or not to go in. Once he had, he didn't know what to say, hence the standing quietly. She didn't seem to have noticed him yet.

Then he realized she had set the table for two. "Well, are you going to stand there all morning, or are you going to come sit down and have a cup of tea?" she asked without looking up at him, putting the finishing touches on her table setting.

He started, then smiled. Of course she had known he was there. She always knew.

He walked over and sat down on the couch in front of the table. She sat on some cushions on the other side. Her rippling brown hair was down, her gown was a simple, red silk wrap. She looked like an angel in human form.

"You invited me in to have tea with you, should I be worried?" he asked.

She laughed slightly, "I don't always have an alterior motive for being civil with you, Mal." she said.

"Well... good." he replied, "Was just makin' sure." he picked up his tea and took a sip, it was sweet, but not too sweet. It also had a lemony tartness to it, kind of like the woman sitting across the table from him.

"It's good to be back in my shuttle. I missed it more than I expected." she said, also sipping her tea.

"I think it missed you too. Was your home for nearly a year." he said with a smile, then he added in a slightly more quiet voice, "I'm glad you decided to stay, Inara." he was somewhat shocked that he had admitted that to her.

"Me too." she said, and she wondered why she had let him know that. She sipped her tea to give herself a moment to think. "So, got any jobs right now?" she asked.

He pointed his finger at her, "See, I knew there was an alterior motive. There's always an alterior motive. It's never, 'Oh it's nice to see you, Mal' or 'Hey, Mal, how's it goin' or-"

She cut him off, "No, Mal, I was just curious. This is purely social, but if you feel I have an alterior motive, you can leave if you choose."

He had been standing, upon which he promptly sat down. "No. I'll stay." he said, then to try and salvage his dignity, "I knew all that, I was just testing to see what your reaction would be." he took another sip of tea to cover his blush.

She smiled into her cup as she silently laughed at him. "I see." she said.

"Now that you mention it, though, we are planning to land on Triumph perty soon. We got some supplies to sell to Gomman."

She laughed but covered it up with a cough. "Isn't Triumph where your wife is from?" she asked, already knowing the answer of course.

"She ain't my wife. I ain't even sure that's legal. Girl has more husbands than St. Albans has rum." he said defensively.

"Right. Ok." she said, giggling slightly, although she was a little jealous. "Triumph doesn't exactly have my kind of clientele."

"Triumph has good people. Maybe not the richest, but no one said you had to be workin' while you're there." Mal replied.

"I didn't say they weren't good people." she retorted. "I will be happy to see Gomman again, he's my friend too."

Mal looked down, a sad expression crossed his face, "He was good friends with Shepherd and Wash too. Now I'll have to tell him..."

Inara wanted to reach across the table and tell him it was ok, it wasn't his fault. Instead she said, "Gomman will probably hold some services in their honor." Then when Mal didn't cheer up, "It's not your fault, Mal. It's not anybody's fault."

"You're wrong. I failed them." Mal said, standing and crossing to the shuttle door, "Thank you for the tea, Inara." Then he left.

"Mal..." Inara whispered after he was gone. He had thanked her, he'd never done that before.


Mal walked back towards the cockpit. He had left River flying all by herself.

Why couldn't he just tell Inara? Why did he have to make it so difficult for himself? Why did he have to argue with her when all he wanted to do was reach out and touch her, kiss her, hold her, and be there for her?

Arriving at the cockpit, he sat down in Wash's old seat. "So, where are we?" he asked River.

"'Bout an hour away from Triumph." she said. They sat in silence a moment. "A fire will never burn without first being lit, Mal." she said after awhile.

"What's that 'sposed to mean?" Mal asked, though he had a pretty good idea.

She gave him one of her looks that said 'Don't be silly.' "Never know how someone feels unless you ask them. Never know what they'll say unless you tell them." she said.

"You do." he said, trying to make the conversation turn.

She gave him another look that said, 'Nice try.' "Yes I do. YOU will never know unless you ask her. Don't be afraid. Birds can't fly until they spread their wings, but when they do, they soar to heights they only dreamed of before."

"She might not want to fly." Mal replied. River gave him her 'Don't be silly' look again but didn't say anything else.


The landed on Triumph a short time later, and recieved a warm welcome from Gomman. They traded and Mal told Gomman of Shepherd and Wash's death.

As Inara had predicted, they held a funeral service in their honor. Then thay held a celebration, for that was their way. Send the dead off in good cheer.

Zoe didn't join in the celebration, she merely sat, talking to Gomman. Kaylee and Simon danced and Jayne found a pretty local girl to dance with. River danced her heart out, of course. Even Inara joined in the dancing.

Mal simply sat and watched, drowning in his thoughts. River was right, and he didn't know if he could take it anymore.

The song ended and Gomman stod up to speak. "Let us send our dear friends off with this last song of love!" he said, then coaxed Zoe into dancing with him.

The song was slow, and somewhat sad, though it had a very happy undertone. Mal made up his mind, he was going to tell her.

He stood and crossed to Inara, who was on the other side of the bonfire. A handsome young boy was about to ask her to dance, but when she saw Mal approaching, she stopped listening and watched him, her heart skipping a beat.

"May I have the last dance?" He asked her quietly and politely, holding out his hand to her. She was hardly breathing. Nodding, she took his hand.

They danced for a few seconds without speaking. "Inara..." Mal whispered, "I have something to tell you. It can't wait another second, you can't stop me from saying it this time."

Inara looked up into his eyes, "Yes?..." she whispered back, her breath cathcing in her throat.

"I..." it was harder than he thought, "I love you." he said finally.

Inara stopped, unable to breathe for a moment. "Mal, you don't know how long I've been waiting for you to say that." she said after she remembered to breathe again.

They resumed dancing, "Why didn't you let me say it before? You knew it was what I was going to say."

She looked down, her answer was delivered in a shaky tone, "I was hurt, Mal. And scared. My heart shattered that day and I had to get away. Away from the hurt. I didn't want to hear what you had to say, I felt betrayed."

He sighed somewhat sadly. "I wish I hadn't slept with Nandi." he said, "Because it hurt you so, and hurt me because I knew that's why you left."

"No." she said looking back at him, "I'm glad you did, at least she found her happiness on her last night in this 'verse. I was terribly foolish."

He suddenly leaned down and kissed her. "You don't know how long I have wanted to do that."

"And you don't know how long I have wanted you to."


Monday, January 22, 2007 6:17 AM


Well now...gotta say this was pretty dang sedate for one of Mal and Inara's moments...but this tale was made all the better for it;)

Oh and River's moment with Mal? Perfect bratty teen moment of superior airs;D


Monday, January 22, 2007 12:15 PM


thanks, and i know it wasn't necessarily up to snuff. There was a little problem with what was in my head and what came out lol

Wednesday, January 24, 2007 7:54 AM


Very touching.

I really liked this.


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