Data For Storage
Thursday, November 8, 2007

Inara and the art of observation. Jayne and the art of being Jayne. - post-movie, quiet, free for all ages. Written back in April '06.


Inara. Jayne. Kaylee. Post-Serenity. Free for all ages. Talkity talking.


Data For Storage


There's a spring in his step, or would be, if his bulk supported that sort of defiance of gravity and the whistling of something that sounds crude even wordless only gives greater strength to her theory.

"Oh, hey 'Nara!"

Then there is the shirt. Or, actually The Shirt.

Yes, with a probability approaching certainty, Jayne is about to step off the boat and partake in the less than savory nightlife offers of Ezra's biggest poor town, site of what has already been dubbed the Raisin Job.

"Good evening." Her smile is genuine in the way that it can be for Jayne when no one else is around to notice.

He has one muddy boot propped up on Mal's chair, polishing away at one of the more visible stains with the edge of his sleeve and maybe it's the boredom and maybe it's the lack of catastrophes this month but she is ready to consider it more adorable than paining.

"Where are you headed," she asks as if she doesn't know.

Mal and Zoe are taking care of business. Kaylee and Simon are up to private matters and River has taken to staring at the soles of her feet, offering up not much in the way of company.

Not that she really needs an excuse to make conversation with Jayne, but something in her demands one.

"Pal a few years back told me they's got a sorta union on Ezra, keepin' the whores all clean and purty. Figure I oughta get myself a samplin'."

Jayne has a way of grinning with his teeth apart that's both dirty and smeared with a sort of innocence, the kind that's more ignorant than pure.

Inara has a way of smiling - well, practiced - that's both polite and touched by condescension, the kind that's more pitying than mean.

"Sounds like an opportunity not to be missed."

He nods, obviously pleased at the agreement and it takes a little bit of work to hold back the sigh. Irony is everyone's best friend when dealing with Jayne.

"Yeah, if I'm paying for gettin' sexed, that's all I plan on payin' for."

He's chuckling.

Tea. She pours herself tea until the urge to judge-judge-judge goes away. Invigorating, energizing, delicious tea.


"Do you want a cup?

He frowns over at her. "That green?"

Her eyebrows do their own bidding and climb. "Yes, actually. It is."

"Maybe a little."

Jayne knows tea. Jayne. Tea. She pours him a small cup.

It's still too hot to drink, so there they are, fragrant steam and puzzlement. And shuffling feet. What this moment needs are words.

What this moment can provide, are words.

He leans forward to reach for the cup at the same time she speaks.


And he jumps a little.


"Have you ever," a pause is useful for gathering her words and she wonders why she wonders. "I know you enjoy sex no strings attached."

The cup in his hands looks vulnerable to indentation even though he's holding it with fingertip care, hot as it is.


So it's all she knows about him.

"Was there ever anyone special to you?"

A man who names his guns and loves his mother and shows more genuine respect to the women he pays than the man she loves has shown to her in the past. In the past.

A murderer, a backstabber, a ruffian. Who would die to protect his family, no matter what he says. She knows this. The collection of facts and data that represent slices of a person, fractions.

It was always the contradictions that she couldn't resist.

"You mean if I only ever been with whores?"

And blunt. Never forget blunt.


Jayne doesn't bother hiding the warranted look of confusion and an attempt at joking might not go amiss.

"Is there anyone you've wanted to kiss on the mouth?"

One shoulder shrugs. "'Course."

Tea is blown on. With force. Little droplets splash onto his hand, ignored and drying rapidly.

"Anyone recent?" A beat. Helpful. "I am not refering to myself."

His look is somewhere between a glower and a pout and he takes a generous sip.

"Don't see how that'd be any of yer business, seein' how I ain't ever heard you tellin' any stories."

Nowhere near gruff, but he doesn't smile quite as much as he should. If she didn't know better (which is a lie because Inara doesn't presume to know unless she can help it) she would imagine Jayne looked sad.

"My clientele is private." She sips of from her own cup, mirroring him, providing a familiar picture. "I am not asking about your work, either. I would simply like to know you better."

And if his slack-working jaw is any indication, he finds this as believable as anyone would.

There is some anticipation on her part about what he might say, except at that moment their cozy awkwardness is disrupted.

"Hey, you two!"

A whirlwind in wrinkled overalls breezes into the galley, shiny with sweat and freckles and all flushed cheeks.

"Don't you let me be bothering you, I'm just here to get some refreshments for me an' Simon, is all."

She's around the counter and puttering with plates and provisions in a relation of speed that is comparative to fly vs. sloth.

The sloths being them and everything else not Kaylee.

"Boy, I'm sure hungry, even protein sounds good. I bet Simon won't even wrinkle his nose at this!"

Inara tries to catch up.

"Hey, you."

She receives happy beaming for her efforts.

Brightness follows her meimei like butterflies. Unpredictable and uncontrollable and fragile. On very sappy days, it makes her want to weep, the way Kaylee epitomizes sunshine.

It's not something she wants to take her eyes off.

"This look like fancy little party snacks to you, 'Nara?"

She leans forward to inspect the small cubes arranged like an audience around a lecturing pile of crackers.

Tea. She sips and chooses not to lie. "He will love it."

"Shiny!" Plate and Kaylee breeze door-wards. "Well, I gotta get, so you two have fun. 'Specially you, Jayne! be good to the girls!"

Out whirl overall and freckles, and like butterflies the giddy tingle lags behind a couple of seconds more.

The look on her face is probably what a mother would wear if she had a girl Kaylee's age to marvel at. But then, somewhere out there a woman has raised her that way and maybe the marvel lay in how she had accomplished that.

Proverbial dust starts settling.

"Well." A chuckle escapes. An elegant one, of course. "Where were we?"

When she turns back to Jayne, he's scowling into his empty cup.

Brightness puffs out.

It is moments like these that remind Inara that even the best of Companions tend to wear their all-knowing smiles as a disguise. The veil, the projection of being aware allows others to give up hiding.

Occasionally, what crawls out is surprising.

Occasionally, it crawls out unpexpectedly. At the oddest times. From the oddest people.


Occasionally, the response is the wrong one.

After so much time on Serenity, she should have learned to portion out sympathy with greater discernment.

Hard world, hard world.

"Well, there ain't nobody I need to go around kissin'."

She's still in the blinking stage of surprise and nods out of instilled instinct more than anything.

"Got myself somethin' else to get to, you get what I mean."

Cup meets desk at a speed that reminds her that indentation is a risk that never fades, where Jayne's hands are concerned.


Jayne stomps away in his Jayne way of stomping that could never be Mal or Zoe or, heaven forbid, Simon. No whistle, no bounce.

"Enjoy yourself," she calls after him. A moment too late, but it's the thought that counts. She hasn't much thought on him in the past.

Her hands pull his abandoned cup closer and she looks it over for a moment.

It wanders to the sink, takes a bath along with hers. A cloth wipes mud crumbs from Mal's chair and she's a little sad and a little baffled.

And alone again with nothing to do.

Missing the Shepherd and Wash is something that hits during moments like these, when there are simply two people less around where they used to be.

Maybe she'll go watch River watch her feet.

- - - END


Thursday, November 8, 2007 9:46 AM


This was delightful. Such good observations -- I really loved "She leans forward to inspect the small cubes arranged like an audience around a lecturing pile of crackers."

I'm so glad this reappeared, since I wasn't here when it was the first time.

Thursday, November 8, 2007 12:05 PM


y'got Inara down something wonderful:)

Thursday, November 8, 2007 6:22 PM


reserved and an observer, not much of a talker, how very Inara... and now we know why they got away with cutting all her lines, in the movie, LOL

I like how she reminds herself not to judge Jayne and how she is out of her shuttle looking to converse, but ends up bored and lonely.

Friday, November 9, 2007 8:14 PM


I really enjoyed this - you captured everyone perfectly


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