War Wounds - REPOST
Monday, November 19, 2007

Maya. Post-BDM. Dr Nazir arrives on Lazarus to begin therapy with Inara, and Freya checks him out first.


The liner didn’t usually divert its route, but for the illustrious Dr Samuel Nazir they were willing to make an exception. It wasn’t that much out of their way, and he was paying.

“The shuttle can drop you at the house, doctor,” Captain Shu said, her hand on his arm.

“Thank you, but the town will be fine. I always like to see a person’s environment. It can help with my work.”

“Of course.” She smiled, and he knew she was flirting, just a little. She’d made her interest very plain when he walked on board, but her position stopped her from actually coming out and saying it.

“And I am grateful,” he added, throwing her a morsel. She was quite striking, he had to admit, with her thick dark hair caught in a severe knot at the back of her head, her black skin glowing. In another life he would have let her know he was attracted to her, but he’d given all that up when he became a therapist. In a way it had ruined relationships for him, letting him see all the games and the subterfuge beneath. Except in Celia. And now she was gone, it was just easier to be celibate.

“I’ll arrange for a hover to take you, if that would help.”

“Most helpful.” He grinned, and her eyes sparkled.

Now he watched Lazarus speed by, his eyes scanning the horizon. For a planet this far from the Core, it was rather pretty, even though the trees were still bare. In a month there would be a green haze over everything, but he rather liked this sparseness.

His reflection caught his eye, flickering as they passed by a stand of what looked like oaks. A long face, sensitive, his skin a smooth olive colour. He blinked, and his alter image blinked too, dark eyes that held depths he used to get under the skin of his patients. His lips curved as he smiled. Far too introspective, he told himself, reaching up to tighten the tie around his long black hair. And perhaps he was getting too old for that affectation too, he thought. Still, there was time, and at least he wasn’t losing it.

The hover set him down at the edge of the estate, and he walked towards the house, leaving his luggage. There was too much for him to carry, and he hoped there wouldn’t be anyone around to steal it.

The air was still chilly, but there was the hint of something to come, the promise of long hot days and warm nights. He inhaled deeply, feeling the knowledge that he’d soon be back at work relax him.

A ship was parked a little distance from the house, looking almost like part of the landscape. Certainly not new, there was a homeliness about it, well-loved and respected, that made him want to step inside. But that wasn’t what he was here for. He passed it by and saw the main door of the house open, a woman step out.

As he approached he could see she was tall, her dark hair cut quite short, with something of a speculative look on her face. But that wasn’t the thing his eyes lit on. Dr Yi had said nothing about a pregnancy, and certainly not as advanced as this.

“Good day,“ he managed to say, trying not to stare at the mound at her waist. “I’m Dr Nazir.“

“I thought you might be.”

“Are you … Inara Serra?” He gathered himself. “My apologies. I’m not behaving as well as I should. “ He waved vaguely at her waistline. “I hadn’t expected …”

The woman smiled a little, obviously amused at his slight discomfiture. “Don’t worry,“ she said softly. “I’m not your patient. My name’s Freya Reynolds.”

Ah. “Of course. Dr Yi has spoken of you to me.” She’d initiated this turn of events.

“Really. Nothing in detail, I hope.”

“No. Only that you are a resourceful woman.”

The smile grew a little. “That’s nice. Inara’s a little busy at the moment, so why don’t we go for a walk in the orchard? Spring’s coming, and it’s rather pretty.”

“Of course.” He glanced back the way he’d come. “Only my luggage –”

“Mr Boden will get it for you later.” She led the way into the trees, apparently heading towards a lake he could see shimmering. “You’re married?” When he looked at her, she added, “Dr Yi said you had been visiting your daughter.”

He nodded, then shrugged. “I was. My wife died two years ago.”

“I’m sorry.”

“So was I.”

“Was she a therapist too?”

“No. She was an artist. Created sculptures.”

The woman next to him smiled. “Abstract?”

“Yes.” He stared. “How did you know?”

“I had the feeling they’d appeal to you. Looking beneath the surface, searching for patterns.”

He made a mental note not to underestimate this woman, then almost laughed. Dr Yi had said exactly the same thing. “It was her art that first drew me to her, yes. Something in it … I purchased several items for my offices before I ever met her.”

“And it was love at first sight?”

“No.” He sighed. “That took a few months.”


“Am I so interesting?” he countered.

“Just making small talk.”

“Somehow, I doubt that.” He watched her, the way she was touching the trees as she walked, not waddling yet, but swaying gently with the extra weight of her child. “I … found it difficult to let go,” he admitted at last.

“To stop being a therapist and be a man instead?”

“Something like that.”

This time she laughed. “I know people like that.”

“I think there are more of us than there should be.”

She nodded, almost in approval. “And your daughter. How old is she?”

“Twenty three. She’s just had her second child. That’s why I was visiting.” He saw her sharp glance. “I know. I’m older than I look.”

“Is she happy?”

“Very.” He reached up, stroking his hand across his smooth hair, then realised what he was doing. Displacement. Something about this woman made him nervous, as if she was saying a lot more than just the words coming out of her mouth. And hearing a lot more than he was giving. He hadn’t felt like this since he was interviewed for his internship.

She smiled, like he’d spoken.

They’d reached the lake, and she came to a halt, staring out at the smudge of mountains on the edge of the world, the birds swooping across the surface of the water. “It’s beautiful, isn’t it?”

“Yes, it is.” He looked round at her. “What was it you wanted to say to me?”

“Did I give that impression?”

“Oh, yes.”

This rather unsettling woman smiled wider. “Dr Nazir, I just wanted to make it clear to you that you’re here to help Inara. Not to hurt her.”

“I don’t intend to hurt her. I have no idea as yet what she has gone through –”

“And I’m not going to tell you. That’s for her to broach, not me.”

“I understand.”

“But suffice it to say, someone hurt her. Badly. She has wounds that haven’t healed, because of what they did to her. And I don’t intend that happening again.”

“Why would you think I would –”

“Just making it clear.”

She looked along the lake’s edge to the small beach. Dr Nazir followed her gaze, saw a tall man with brown hair playing with a little boy, picking up pebbles and throwing them so they skimmed across the surface of the water. The child was laughing, counting the skips with the man, then rummaging to find another stone.

“Who is that?” he asked.

“My husband. It’s his Firefly out there.”

There was such devotion and pride in her voice that he felt a lump in his own throat. “Ah.” Then her next words made him swallow hard.

“Dr Nazir, if you hurt Inara, I will kill you. Then our doctor will revive you so that my husband can kill you. Do we have an understanding?”

Her dark eyes were gazing at him, judging him. Looking back, what he saw was intriguing, and he had to smile. “Mrs Reynolds, I think Dr Yi did you an injustice. I think you’re extraordinary.”

She laughed again, the sound ringing across the water, and the man and boy looked up. She waved at them and they waved back.

“I’m not extraordinary,” she said, discounting entirely what he’d said. “I just want the best for Inara.”

“I get the feeling you’re a very good friend.”

“I hope so.” She looked at him. “I got her to talk. But …”

“But?” he prompted.

She looked down at her belly, her hand resting on her growing child. “I know what it’s like. Sometimes you need someone who doesn’t know, doesn’t understand, who can tell you it’s not your fault.”

“Something was your fault?”

She glanced up. “I’m not your patient.”

“No, but Dr Yi did mention that if you were still here I might –”

“No.” She shook her head. “I’m not the important one right now. That’s Inara. She needs to talk to a stranger, someone safe.” She looked back towards the beach, where her husband had now got the little boy on his shoulders. They could hear his high-pitched squeals of laughter.

“Someone who won’t judge.”


“Mrs Reynolds, I can stay as long as your friend needs me. But I get the feeling that you’ve already done all the hard work.”

“And ducked a lot,” she admitted, somewhat ruefully.


“Plates. A whole service.”

“Ah.” He smiled, and the corresponding one on hers lit her face. “I’m glad I remembered to pack my body armour.”

“Just don’t let her near a sword. She’s far too good with it.”

Nazir wondered at the depth of feeling in that joking comment, but decided it would take a lifetime to understand this woman in front of him. Instead he merely said, “I’ll keep her away from sharp objects.”

Another squeal from the beach had them both looking, and he could see the man holding the little boy round the waist, flying him like a spaceship.

“He’ll make him sick,” he heard the woman next to him say softly, even as she sighed indulgently.

“Will you be staying?”

She pulled herself back, shaking her head. “We have a job to get to.”


“Transport. But if Inara needs us, we’re only a wave away.”

“And if you need to talk to me, the same goes.”

She smiled. “I have people to talk to.”

“A stranger …”

“I’ll bear it in mind.” She couldn’t keep from watching her husband and son. “Inara’s waiting for you at the house.”

“Not busy any more?” He raised an eyebrow.

“I lied.”

“Does she know you’ve cross-examined me first?”

“Honestly, doctor, I don’t care.” She smiled again and walked away. “And remember the sharp objects.”

“Do I pass?” he called out, not quite sure why he needed her approval.

“You’ll do, Dr Nazir,” she said over her shoulder. “You’ll do.”

He watched her stroll down the path to the small beach, and the tall man set the boy back down on the sand. He ran towards his mother, taking her hand and talking, nineteen to the dozen. Odd words filtered up, something about stones, and his baby sister. She laughed, reaching her husband and putting her arm around him. He stroked her belly.

Dr Nazir sighed. Something about her reminded him of his wife, Buddha rest her, but he wasn’t sure what it was. It would probably come to him, in the middle of the night, as insights usually did. Turning away from the little family, he strode thoughtfully towards the house and his patient.



You must log in to post comments.



Secrets - Part XVII
“Bored now,” River said and span on her heel. Her body moved out of the way of the bullet even as she lifted her leg, her foot connecting solidly with Linc’s jaw. [Maya. Post-BDM. While Inara's illness is no longer a secret, Mal and his crew go out to find Molly.]

Secrets - Part XVI
“Then do it again.” Mal was aware he’d used his sergeant’s voice from the slightly wounded expression on his old friend’s face, and made himself take a step back. “It’s like you said, Monty – in the dark there’s no knowing where that girl’s got to. Like as not she took it into her mind to go visiting, got lost and mistook the time. She could be huddled up in someone’s barn right now, fast asleep.” [Maya. Post-BDM. Serenity heads back to Lazarus and Inara finds her sickness finally getting the better of her.]

Secrets - Part XV
Monty stroked his beard. “Maybe they’re afraid of us for when the war’s begun, of what we’d be capable of. Considering we held the Alliance nearly to a draw last time.” [Maya. Post-BDM. Mal and Monty talk, Serenity takes a trip, but there's trouble on the horizon.]

Secrets - Part XIV
Jayne looked almost abashed, his usual expression when anyone mentioned his home planet. “Even took some work on a fishing boat on Melbourne once.”
“That must’ve been hell. For a man who hates fish guts with a vengeance.”
“Didn’t help.”
[Maya. Post-BDM. Just a little fluff before getting back to the nitty gritty ...]

Secrets - Part XIII
"Perhaps you want to think on this. Lecomb sent a bounty hunter – several, in fact – to find some jewellery and kill a girl on the quiet, so nobody knows he lost them in the first place. Perhaps you should consider whether he might not employ someone else to kill you, just so you can’t tell anyone either.” [Maya. Post-BDM. Simon finishes the job, and Mal talks to Philo again.]

Secrets - Part XII
Her face looked back at her, make-up only a little smudged and appearing almost normal. Almost. Hard to see that she was dying. [Maya. Post-BDM. Everyone's waiting for Simon to work his magic, but Inara has secrets of her own.]

Secrets - Part XI
Freya gazed at him for a long moment, and he felt her stepping through his mind. It wasn’t to find anything, and he wasn’t even sure she knew she was doing it – it seemed more as if it was some kind of displacement activity while she thought. At last she said, “Corrupt it.” [Maya. Post-BDM. Simon explains what he's found, and Mal makes a plan.]

Secrets - Part X
He went to check the coffee pot, and decided that, while it might do for degreasing the welding that needed doing in the aft storage locker, as a beverage it left a lot to be desired, and poured it down the sink. “We might as well go sit with the rest, considering River couldn’t keep her mouth shut and everyone’s waiting for Simon to come up with something.”
[Maya. Post-BDM. Mal/Freya-centric chapter, and longer to make up for not posting in a while!]

Secrets - Part IX
“Everything a good forger needs to create some first rate IDs. Think he is? A good forger, I mean?” “Well, Monty has better contacts in the shady side of life than even me.” “No. Really?” Hank’s eyes were wide with feigned disbelief. [Maya. Post-BDM. Moving towards the nitty-gritty ...]

Secrets - Part VIII
Mal looked at the man, seeing years put on him that hadn’t been there that morning, the lines around his eyes and the sallowness of his complexion. “I can’t say I blame you, not for any of it. People do bad things when they’re in a corner, and although a Shepherd might say a sin of omission is still a sin, I’m not like to hold it against you.”
Maya. Post-BDM.