In Pieces (Repost)
Sunday, November 11, 2007

Rating: NC17 for sexual situations. Please don’t read if easily offended or underage. Summary: Follows “Bone Deep Chill” and “Dark Side of Night”. Mal’s relationship with Inara takes a decided turn.


Inara watched Mal from the shadows of the corridor outside the infirmary, wondering if a man’s spine could possibly snap under emotional stress. He sat at Zoe’s bedside, staring at the tortured rise and fall of her chest as she struggled to breathe. For once, her armor had not protected her, shattered to bits by the blast of an armor-piercing Alliance-issue bullet. And Mal had brought her back to the ship, silent as grim death and covered in her blood.

Simon had, as usual, worked some sort of miracle with his meager supplies, and Zoe had made it through the first night, and then the second, and now, on the third night, she was breathing on her own, though she had not yet opened her eyes. And in that torturous span of time, Mal had sat, watching and waiting for a sign that somehow, through sheer dint of her considerable will, Zoe was going to wake up.

The rest of the crew had come and gone, floating in and out of Mal’s vision, as they checked on their friend. Kaylee had stayed the longest, taking Zoe’s limp hand in her own, and praying silently so as not to shatter what was left of Mal’s control.

Inara, more than ever unsure of her place in Mal’s life, had, after her first visit to the infirmary, hung back, waiting for Mal to indicate something. What she sought, she did not know. Seeing the abject sorrow on his face, she turned away, unable to continue her silent vigil. So it was that she did not see Zoe’s eyes pop open as she came back to consciousness. Nor did she see Mal, after Zoe went back to a more restful sleep, leave the infirmary for the first time in three days.

She wandered the ship, restless with the need to do something, though she had no idea what that might be. Finally, inexorably, she was drawn back to the infirmary, only to discover that Mal had left Zoe’s side once he had assured himself that she would live. Thinking that he would be in his bunk after three days of such intense strain, she stood for a long moment at his door, barely stopping herself from entering unannounced. He would come to her if he wanted her, she thought, shaking her head at her own indecision.

She walked into her shuttle, exhausted from fighting her own inner demons. Turning to the bed, she jumped, startled by the sight of him lying there naked, staring numbly at the ceiling. “Mal,” she said. “I….I didn’t expect you.”

“Didn’t you?” he asked, his voice flat in that horrible way that twisted her heart painfully in her chest.

“No, I didn’t,” she answered. “I thought you would be in your bunk, now that Zoe is…”

The pained look in Mal’s blue eyes stemmed the tide of all the words she wanted to say. “She’s gonna pull through,” he said hoarsely, returning his gaze to the ceiling.

“Yes,” Inara said, removing her dress quietly and sliding into the bed beside him. Her fingers itched to touch him, but she knew well the rules of their times together, and she balled them into fists at her sides, her nails digging painfully into her palms.

He turned to her and, as was his custom, slid his hips silently between her parted thighs, closing his eyes as he began to thrust into her. Inara, as was her custom, watched his face for the easing of tension she hoped to see, the one thing that kept her from stopping the destructive insanity of this thing between them. But there was no change in his expression for an agony of minutes, and she felt the increasing desperation of his movements as he sought his release. He stopped his motion abruptly, holding himself still on trembling arms. As Inara lay under him searching his face, she saw the first scalding tear slip down his cheek to fall on her breast, and she felt answering tears in her own eyes. His shoulders began to shake and he collapsed across her chest, tears falling in earnest as he buried his face in the valley of her breasts.

Unable to control her hands, she reached up, running her fingers through his hair soothingly as silent sobs wracked his body. His arms wrapped around her with a desperate strength, a drowning man grasping at the last lifeline he had. He began to mumble, unintelligible sounds at first, and then gradually clearer words as his tears began to subside. Like infection from a lanced wound, the words poured forth, speaking of all the battles he’d lost, and the people he’s lost along with them, the horrors that Inara had seen herself and others she had hoped to never know.

And through it all, she lay under him, offering him the pillow of her breasts and the comfort of her hands, murmuring quiet soothing sounds until his words dried up along with his tears. Exhausted as only the truly bereft can be, he lay quiet in her arms. Finally finding strength to look up at her with red-rimmed eyes, he whispered, “I’m so sorry, Inara. I’m so very sorry.”

She cupped his stubbled cheek in the hollow of her palm. “Shhh,” she said. “Sleep now. Tomorrow will be time enough to sort everything out.”

Though his eyes were still bleak, he kissed her softly, as gently as she had once imagined he would. She sighed, running her hands along the hard plane of his chest as he settled down beside her, his resistance finally burned away by the fire of her love for him. “Tomorrow,” she whispered again as she heard his breathing become deep and even in a deep, cleansing sleep. ******************** For the next part of this twisted tale, see "Tomorrow".



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Starting Over (Repost)
Rating: NC17
Summary: Follows “Tomorrow” for those who keep up with that kind of thing. Mal and Inara begin again.

Tomorrow (Repost)
Follows “In Pieces”. Inara has high hopes for tomorrow, but Mal still has some things to work out.

In Pieces (Repost)
Rating: NC17 for sexual situations. Please don’t read if easily offended or underage.
Summary: Follows “Bone Deep Chill” and “Dark Side of Night”. Mal’s relationship with Inara takes a decided turn.

Bone Deep Chill (Repost)
Rating: NC17 for sexual situations. Dark Fic. Please do not read if easily offended or underage.
Summary: Prequel to “Dark Side of Night”, because EmpireX asked so nicely to know how Mal and Inara got from the BDM to where they are in that story.

Dark Side of Night (Repost)
Rating: NC17 for sexual situations.
Author’s Note: This is a VERY dark fic. Please do not read if easily offended or underage.