Tomorrow (Repost)
Sunday, November 11, 2007

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


Mal awoke with a start, his eyelids feeling like sandpaper across his sensitive eyes and his throat raw from the recent shedding of unaccustomed tears. The bed beneath him was covered in smooth satin, and he realized with a jolt that he was still in Inara’s shuttle. Glancing quickly over at her, sleeping peacefully beside him, he cursed silently.

The events of the previous evening spooling out into his conscious mind, he hastily got out of her bed and began to look around frantically for his clothes. He was embarrassed beyond all reason as he thought of what he’d done, of what weird perversity on his part had brought him yet again to her bed. Each time he’d succumbed to the temptation of relieving his pain inside her willing body, he’d been filled with revulsion at his own lack of control. And last night, to make matters even more twisted than they were, he thought bitterly, he had broken in her arms, weeping like a child with all the grief and guilt he’d been carrying since Miranda.

Catching sight of himself in her mirror, he was horrified by what he saw. Four days growth of beard and red-rimmed eyes stared back at him mockingly. When once he had dared to dream of having Inara, he had never imagined ever letting her see him like this, so desperate, so needy, so dishonorable. Thinking back to the way he’d been using her body, just like she was a common whore, he could have wept again at the memory. There was no way in all of the nine hells he could think to make this thing between them anything close to right.

Shoving his fists into his pockets to avoid hitting something in her shuttle and adding insult to injury by breaking something valuable, he walked toward the door as quietly as he could, hoping he would not have to face her in the light of morning. His step faltered as he passed her table. He wondered with disgust for himself if he should at least leave coin as he had on his other nights with her.

“Don’t,” she said softy, sitting up in bed and fixing him with a burning gaze. “Don’t make what happened last night like the other times…. please.”

He sighed, defeated before her steady gaze. “Inara,” he began, his voice hoarse and his throat tight, “I can’t….I didn’t ever mean to...” He swallowed thickly. “To turn into such a sorry hundan,” he finished in a rush. When she continued to look so calmly at him, sitting there on her bed still as water in a jar, he continued, “I don’t know what it was I was thinkin’, to do the way I’ve been doin’. Up to now, I can say I ain’t always been proud of the things I’ve done, but at least I had some kinda eerie-ass reason for doin’ ‘em. But what I’ve been doin’ to you, well….it don’t bear close examination. And I’m…well, I’m all manner of sorry for it. I’ll take you anywhere it is you want to go. I know you must be eager enough to have me out of your sight.”

“I don’t want to go anywhere, Mal,” she said, outwardly calm despite the horrible pounding of her heart.

Mal bowed his head, staring at his boots and considering her words. “All right, it’ll be as you like,” he answered after a long pause. “But don’t worry on it. I’ll not be troublin’ you again.” Shoulders slumped, he walked toward the door.

“Mal,” Inara called out gently, “Please don’t go like this.” He paused mid-step, indecision in every line of his body. “We need to talk.”

He turned to look at her, and the naked emotion in his eyes made her breath catch in her throat. “Don’t think I got it in me to talk anymore than I did last night,” he said bleakly, his voice raw and wounded. “And I sure as hell ain’t expectin’ you to have to hear it, anyway.”

Inara rose from her sitting position, heedless of her lack of clothing. Mal’s eyes involuntarily took in the sheer perfection of her body, his own body’s reaction the final treachery to him. “Then I’ll do the talking,” she said, taking his hand and holding it firmly when he tried to pull it away. “I couldn’t endure watching the way you were hurting,” she said tenderly. “I wanted to help you, to ease some of the burden you carry. And when I saw you weren’t able to….let go of it…to talk to me about it, well, I…” Her words faltered as she stared into the depths of his startlingly blue eyes. “I was willing to do whatever it took to bring you back from this…this darkness you’ve stumbled into.”

“Why?” Mal asked, the question torn from the deepest part of his aching heart. “Why would you be willing to do…that?”

Inara cupped his cheek in her hand, forcing him to look into her eyes. “Because I’m in love with you,” she answered steadily. “And when you love someone, you’ll do everything in your power to stop their pain.”

Mal stared into the depths of her kohl eyes, reeling with the strength of her words. He shook his head, as if to clear it of distraction. “How can you say that, when you know what I’m capable of?” he asked tiredly.

“It’s precisely because of what you’re capable of that I feel the way I do,” Inara answered, her voice brooking no further argument.

“Glutton for punishment, I suppose,” Mal said, though his voice was beginning to lose its hard edge.

“No,” Inara answered, her lips curving in the slightest of smiles. “Eternal optimist, perhaps.”

Mal smiled thinly, the hard knot in his chest easing just a bit. “Thought that was Kaylee,” he said.

“She’s a good influence,” Inara replied saucily. She turned to retrieve the robe from her bedside, but Mal grabbed her hand.

“You’re willin’ to be with me despite everything that’s happened?” His tone was tinged with a faint trace of incredulous hope.

“Yes, I am,” she said, squeezing his hand reassuringly. “Provided that we go forward from here, and leave the past where it belongs. I know that’s not exactly your strong suit, but I think the result could be well worth the effort, don’t you?” She leaned forward, placing a small, chaste kiss on his startled lips.

Flicking his tongue along the places her lips had touched, he tasted the heavenly sweetness of her on his tongue. “I conjure it will be,” he answered in a reverent whisper, as he drew her gently into his arms, and began to live again. *************** For the next part of this tale, see "Starting Over."



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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.