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.



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Monied Individual - Part I
Hank’s parents had died when he was young, and his grandmother had brought him up. Mal considered it was her fault he was the way he was, but that was unfair – Hank was who he was always destined to be. Or possibly he was meant to be someone else entirely.

[Maya. Post-BDM. A new story for your delectation and delight. Persephone, Badger and lawyers ... what could possibly go wrong?]

Secrets - Part XXVIII - Conclusion
River shook herself, turning from the rabbit hole. She didn’t feel like being Alice, and while Jayne’s grin sometimes made her think of the Cheshire Cat, the dormouse was asleep and likely to remain so. Of much more interest were the secrets. So many, some old, some new, some borrowed and some blue. And for once she didn’t care if she was referencing the Earth-that-was marriage ceremony. That wasn’t the point. Inara, the Bodens, Harper Lecomb and the Culver diamond, Randall Lecomb and his homicidal tendencies … all secrets, overlaid with the flavour of the Alliance and their need to control.
[Maya. Post-BDM. Secrets comes to a conclusion, but some are still waiting to see the light of day.]

Secrets- Part XXVII
“I don’t always trust him when he’s operating on Jayne. A slip of the scalpel, too many drugs, too little oxygen, and I would be a free woman. My worries. Not his thoughts. But he is my brother. For better or worse. For richer or poorer. In sickness and in health. And we have experienced them all.”
[Maya. Post-BDM. Home stretch now on Secrets, with the crisis passed for now and decisions made. Thanks so much for those of you who have stuck with this!]

Secrets - Part XXVI
"Have you never done that? In all those times you were treating someone in the hospital, when you were the great Doctor Tam, didn’t you once tell less than the truth to someone if it made them feel less desperate?”
[Maya. Post-BDM. Inara's fate, and what follows. My apologies for the wait!]

"Jayne, she’s psychic.” “So?”
[Maya-ish. Post-BDM. One of my occasional forays into standalone dialogue only, and to make up for the fact Secrets is still waiting an update. Mal and Jayne, and two cameos. Enjoy!]

Secrets - Part XXV
River sighed unhappily, and suddenly all the emotions were too much. She turned and ran back towards the lake, not stopping as she reached the water’s edge but continuing on, diving as she got deep enough, letting the cold fill her ears and eyes as if it might wash all feelings from her.
Breathing out and seeing air bubbles rise to the surface, she allowed herself to sink to the bottom. She ignored the pressure in her lungs, only considering how easy it would be to just breathe in, and she could float forever.

[Maya. Post-BDM. River sees everyone and everything. Things are about to happen.]

Secrets- Part XXIV
“My love, you must wake up,” Sam said so quietly it was doubtful anyone outside in the common area would have heard. “You must. If only to laugh at me and tell me how ridiculous I am. To touch my cheek and tell me I have to have faith. Please, Inara. Please.” A tear fell onto their hands, but he didn’t wipe it away, not caring if anyone saw.

[Maya. Post-BDM. Mal and River discuss life, and there are more visitors. This will all soon be coming to a head.]

Secrets - Part XXIII
Jayne materialised from the darkness and wrapped his strong arms around the young doctor, pinning him. “Not a good idea. Mal’s as like to give you one last chance then shoot you. If you’d tried that on me, now, you’d be bleeding into the dirt, but then Mal always was a soft touch.” “Let me go!” “Nope. Less you’d like me to hand you over to Frey, and don’t go thinking that’s the easy option.”

[Maya. Post-BDM. Couples talk, Simon's anger bubbles over, and Inara's time is running out.]

Secrets - Part XXII
Simon’s lips thinned. “The D17 might be the original problem, affecting a tiny number of those exposed, perhaps only one or two people of the same family, but the Anti-Pax wasn’t designed for it. Besides, that would be like using a hammer when I need a scalpel.”

[Maya. Post-BDM. Is there light at the end of the tunnel, or is it an oncoming Alliance cruiser?]

Secrets - Part XXI
“I don’t want to be pitied!” The words were out before she could stop them. “Pity? You think that’s what’s going to go through their heads? Inara, I knew you were stubborn, but since when did you catch stupid?”

[Maya. Post-BDM. A little more of the fall-out from Inara's revelation, and a message from Monty. And yes, another chapter in just a few days!]