BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

KACIDILLA

Waiting to Act
Monday, April 16, 2007

Fourth and final in the Waiting series. If you don't know what's going on, please read Waiting to Hear, Waiting to Speak, and Waiting to Understand before starting this one. All characters and whatnot belong to Joss... i hope everyone finds what they need in this.


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 2256    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

"Hush, little baby, don't say a word, Papa's gonna buy you a mockin' bird. If that mockin' bird don't sing, Captain's gonna steal you a diamond ring. If that diamond ring turns brass, River's gonna find you a lookin' glass..." Mal turned to face River in the co-pilot's chair. She gazed out peacefully at the stars as she continued to hum. "You know that ain't funny," he warned. She nodded. He looked back at the consul in front of him, trying to forget the way Inara had looked when he had left her shuttle. "It wasn't meant to be," River replied. He sighed heavily, knowing River couldn't often help reading people, but still felt this was none of her business. "This is none of your concern," he said softly. "You'd be doin' me a kindness if you left it alone." "Pushing dust under a rug doesn't make it go away," she returned, still looking out at the darkness. "River," he said sternly, turning to her again. "Leave it." "Yes, Captain," she nodded. She looked at him, then, with those eyes that saw too much. He fought the urge to look away. "I mean it," he insisted. She nodded again and turned back to the stars. He returned his gaze to the workings before him. It had been several weeks since Mal and Inara had talked. The next day, she had taken on a client for a week. When she returned from that engagement, she explained she was going to have a full schedule for some time. She needed Mal to keep to his schedule. Mal had agreed. Things ran smoother when she wasn't around and the jobs had been almost regular lately. He stuck to his schedule with only a few small changes that didn't concern Inara's dealings and spoke to her only at the few meals she attended. He had almost forgotten about the child that never was...and never would be. Today, however, Simon and Kaylee had announced their happy news. Inara had smiled and congratulated them. She had hugged Kaylee and the newly announced Aunt River. Mal watched her face light up and the joy that almost bubbled out of her...and wondered if she would have been as happy if Simon had told her she would be the first mother on Serenity. After his own congratulations and good-natured teasing, he had retired to the bridge in hopes of forgetting it all again. But her face - serene and emotionless as he had opened up again - kept swimming across his vision. River wasn't helping. Or maybe she was, in her own way. Each time he allowed his mind to wander to the idea of a child with his name, River would come up with some new lullaby twisted with her own words. At least this one wasn't as bad as some of the other ones. "If that lookin' glass gets broke, Zoƫ's gonna buy you a billy goat, If that billy goat won't pull, Kaylee's gonna build you a cart that will..." "Enough," Mal said, standing. "You know where we're headed better'n I do. I'm going to get some sleep." "I'll call you when we're close," the young girl said to the retreating captain. "I'm sure you will," he sighed. He heard voices coming from the common room - most likely more congratulations - and decided to get the sleep he didn't feel he needed. Inara was probably there with Kaylee, discussing baby names and maternity clothes. He didn't need to be there for it. He climbed down into his bunk and turned to see Inara sitting on his bed. She looked like she'd been waiting a while. "Now I know why you always want me to knock," he said as a greeting. She looked up at him and smiled. "Mal, I wanted to talk to you," the woman said, not as easily as she had planned. He crossed his arms and leaned against the wall; the picture of patience. "I know the last time we discussed...things...it ended rather awkwardly," Inara began. Mal scoffed, but said no real words. She continued. "I was confused about what was happening," she explained. "Both in my heart and in...yours. I didn't want to force you into a situation you didn't want to be in, but I know now that I...I did want Simon to tell me I was pregnant." "I 'spect you ain't the first woman to want a child after the idea has been imminent," Mal said slowly. "Kaylee certainly seems to be warmin' up to the idea herself." "That's--she's the reason I felt now was the right time to discuss this with you," Inara said, stopping herself from fidgeting. "Unless...their announcement didn't...remind you..." "I seem to recall a long list of why we shouldn't's coming outta you," he drawled. He wouldn't make this easy for her. The last time they'd talked, she hadn't made it all that easy for him. "In all fairness, Mal," Inara said drily, "You did contribute to that list yourself." "I found ways around it," he responded. "You kept sayin' the cons without considerin' the pros." "I've considered them," Inara whispered. "With your busy schedule?" Mal asked harshly. "You've had time to think that through with all those busy clients you been keepin' happy?" "Mal, my clients--" "I'm thinkin' of one of your reasons," Mal interrupted, stepping away from the wall. "You said our child wouldn't know love. Is that cause you think that maybe - just, maybe - watching his momma go off to entice and entertain men who ain't his father would have some effect on his idea of love?" "I suppose I should be grateful you didn't refer to it as 'whoring,' as you normally do," Inara shot back. Mal's returning smile wasn't kind. "You seem to get tetchy and distracted when I do," he replied. "I was tryin' to keep you on one argument at a time." "Mal," Inara sighed. "I didn't come here to fight." "Well, what did you come for, then?" "I...my clients lately haven't...they haven't been clients, exactly," Inara stumbled her words out. She took a breath to steady herself and went on. "I've been making contact with friends of mine," she explained. "Most of them former Companions, but all of them mothers. I've been...I've been trying to find out if...if I could be one." "One what?" Mal asked. "Be a mother," she answered, looking him full in the face. Mal's knees tried to give out on him, but he caught himself before it was too late. "Well, 'Nara," he replied, putting one hand out to the wall at his right. "I don't know what you want me to say. Exactly." "I thought if you hadn't...changed your mind..." Inara said, trying to keep her heart from leaping into her throat. "I have put thought into this and I'm willing to..." "There's an awful lot that would go into this," Mal warned. "I ain't about to just visit your shuttle on occasion...I mean, just cause we thought we'd have to don't mean that's how I want it." "I know," she nodded. "I'd want...hell, 'Nara, there's more to it than what I want," he insisted. "What do you want?" "What do I want?" she repeated his question back to him before standing and walking towards him. "I want to be complete. Ever since I came here, I've felt incomplete. I thought I knew what I was doing when I started renting your shuttle, but I didn't know. I didn't know that you were so completely stubborn and thick-headed and rash and...honorable and good and..." She broke eye contact to brush away the tears she could feel stinging at her eyes. "You made me forget how to be alone," she went on. "I need to be around you and everyone here, but mostly you. I want to share your life; if I don't, I can't imagine how you'll get out of some of your more intriguing traps or who will remind you to come back in one piece and I...I feel as though I'm missing a part of me. I need to be here, with you and this ship and this life." "It ain't that easy, 'Nara," Mal said softly. "I know I want it to be, but it ain't. I can't ask you t'give up--" "I've already resigned," Inara interrupted. "Whether you take my offer or not, I won't take any more clients. I've received offers to teach with Sheydra again and others, but I can't...I need to know you don't want me around before I leave here again." "Thought I made it plain to you how I feel," Mal said, reaching for her hand. "But is this...is this enough for you?" "Well, my things will look rather cramped in here, but I think we'll manage," Inara smiled playfully. She let out a breath she hadn't realized she was holding when Mal blinked and looked at his sparse decorations fearfully. "Mal, you're enough for me," she whispered as she leaned into him. "That's all that matters." The kiss that followed was tentative and innocent of the fear they'd held onto for so long. It deepened into a need to feel the love they shared before it developed into a need for leaving walls behind them with their guards, barbed words and second glances. *** On the bridge, River sang quietly to herself... "Hush, little baby, don't say a word, Daddy's gonna steal you a mockin' bird. If that mockin' bird don't sing, Momma's gonna give you her diamond ring. If that diamond ring turns brass, Daddy's gonna kick that hun dan's ass..." ~end~

COMMENTS

Monday, April 16, 2007 2:17 PM

AMDOBELL


Loved how Inara finally came round to admitting what she wanted. That had to be so painful for both Inara and Mal to be congratulating someone else when the baby they thought they might had wasn't. It was like an unspoken wish dying before it could breathe life into unformed lungs. Hopefully it will work this time and the two of them will let down the walls they have been building for too many long lonely years. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Monday, April 16, 2007 3:24 PM

TAMSIBLING


I loved, loved, LOVED River's last 'verse of the lullaby - that is just too priceless!

I think this is a great resolution to the story arc you've created and it felt very true for both Mal and Inara - bravo!

Monday, April 16, 2007 6:16 PM

DESERTGIRL


I cant say which I like more, the fact that Mal and Inara worked things out, or Rivers Lullaby.

Great story!

Monday, April 16, 2007 6:40 PM

SLUMMING


Love that lullaby! This has been a wonderful series! Tahnks for sharing it here!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007 3:17 AM

SWEDISHMYSTERY


I really liked this series. You are very good at writing Mal and Inara.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007 2:04 PM

PLATONIST


I love the slow, baby step, progression of your M/I. They are able to keep their own identities without sacrificing their dignities. Nice job.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007 11:13 AM

BLUEEYEDBRIGADIER


Utterly fabulous work here, kacidilla! Like Platonist, I think you really captured the right kind of gradual and plausible evolution of Mal and Inara as they are first forced to consider they have created a new life after a night of needed intimacy, then made to consider the loss of said idea's meaning and how it affects them, before this brilliant finale:D

BEB

Friday, April 20, 2007 6:44 PM

AGENTOMEGA


A fantastic ending to this series, Kacidilla.

I love Inara's reveal - that she had been talking to friends of hers who were mothers, instead of taking clients; trying to see if she was ready to be a mother. Also, Inara's comment about how Mal made her forget to be alone... that was very touching, and exactly the kind of thing I could see her saying.

And Mal, about to say that he knows that he can't ask her to resign, and that this is about more than what he wants; wondering if he can be enough for Inara... just the sort of comments I'd expect from his rarely-glimpsed sensitive side.

Congratulations on a job masterfully done.

Thursday, September 13, 2007 6:20 AM

LADYSAGE


This was a great little series and lots of fun to read! Thanks for sharing it with us. I love how you write the characters and keep them true to the series and movie while playing with them in new situations. Good work.

:-)


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