Turning the Corner - REPOST
Monday, November 26, 2007

Maya. Post-BDM. Sam and Inara talk of love poetry in the orchard.


As Inara opened the front door to her house, the scent of the early morning filled her, and she breathed deeply. Summer had barely put the ravages of winter and the cool rains of spring to flight, but already there was a wonderful feeling of innumerable possibilities. For perhaps the first time since Han had violated her, she felt hopeful. That there was something waiting out there in the world, something good. And the man who had made that possible was sitting in the orchard right now.

She’d seen him from her window, under the trees still fresh with new leaves, apparently reading. He’d given up making her get up to breakfast early with him a few weeks ago, and somehow she missed it. Perhaps she should make him breakfast with her.

Stepping out into the day, she walked towards him, through the spikes of tender grass, not taking her eyes off him. He was sitting in one of the wrought iron chairs Mr Boden had purchased from a local blacksmith, all curlicues and lattices, that looked as if they had always been there. As she got closer she could see that his long black hair had been let loose, or perhaps he hadn’t caught it back at the nape of his neck yet. It swung in the slight breeze, and she felt the almost overwhelming urge to run her fingers through it, just to see if it felt like the silken water she imagined. How would it feel against her skin, she wondered?

She shook her head. He was her doctor, for heaven’s sake. She was getting as bad as Freya.

“Good morning,” Dr Nazir said, startling her out of her thoughts. He looked around at her, his veil of hair revealing his olive-toned face.

“Good morning.” She was relieved he couldn’t read her mind. “Breakfast is almost ready.”

He smiled. “Almost?”

“A few minutes.”

“Then I can enjoy my book a little while longer.”

“I didn’t mean to interrupt.”

“You weren’t. I love this time of the morning,” Samuel said, his face lifted towards the sun as it rose higher above the mountains. “The promise of a new day, the knowledge that the fears of the night are over … I can organise myself, contemplate my place in this universe. Gird my loins for the fight ahead.”

“I am sorry to interrupt you, then.”

“As I said, you’re not.” He tapped the seat next to him. “Why don’t you join me?”

“Gird my loins?”

“A figure of speech.”

She sat down, arranging her skirt around her knees. “And are we fighting?”

“Another figure of speech. Or perhaps the same one, merely extended.”

“Are we?”

He shook his head. “No.” His eyebrow raised a little. “Unless you’d like to.”

“Not particularly.”

“I’m glad. I felt no urge to put on my body armour this morning.”

“Then I’m cured?”

He grinned, looking much younger than his years. “Do you want a certificate to prove that you are entirely sane?”

“Is anyone? Particularly in a therapist’s eyes?”

He placed his book face down in his lap. “Inara, I have met perhaps five truly sane people in my career, and they were the ones who needed me most.”

“And did you cure them? Make them … what, less sane?”


She smiled. “Patient confidentiality?”

“Yes. But they were boring anyway.”

Her delighted laugh rang through the trees. “You are bad!”

“It’s the company I keep.”

She gathered herself again. “So what are you reading?”

“Poems, from Earth-that-was.”

“Read me one.”

“What?” He shook his head. “No, Inara, it really isn’t -”


Staring at her for a moment, he sighed and lifted the book. “I’m not very good at this.”

“I’ll make allowances.”

He took a breath, and began to read.

“In noon-tide hours, O Love, secure and strong, I need thee not; mad dreams are mine to bind The world to my desire, and hold the wind A voiceless captive to my conquering song. I need thee not, I am content with these: Keep silence in thy soul, beyond the seas! But in the desolate hour of midnight, when An ecstasy of starry silence sleeps And my soul hungers for thy voice, O then, Love, like the magic of wild melodies, Let thy soul answer mine across the seas.”

Inara couldn’t speak for a moment. “That’s beautiful.”

“It’s by a woman, Sarojini Naidu. She wrote it five hundred years ago.”

“Are you a romantic at heart, Samuel Nazir?”


The magic of wild melodies …“ With the words still echoing in her mind, Inara shivered.

“Are you cold?” he asked quickly.

“A little.”

“The chill of the night still hangs around the orchard.”

Her smile grew. “You read poetry, but I think maybe you’re a poet yourself.”

He didn’t blush. Not quite. But the swing of his silken hair hid his face for a moment before he looked her in the eye again. “I used to write. Very badly.”

“I doubt that.”

He grinned. “Don’t. They were truly terrible. Even my wife, who was supposed to love everything I did, agreed.”

“I’d like to read some.”

“No!” He held up a hand, laughing. “I would never put anyone through that, ever again.” He shook his head. “Even at their best they were sentimental drivel that barely rhymed.”

“Poetry isn’t necessarily meant to.” She nodded towards his book. “That almost didn’t.”

“Ah, but when it was as bad as mine, that could have been its one saving grace.” His dark eyes twinkled. “It was all heaving bosoms, proud members …”

“Love poems?”

“For my sins.”

“I’d still like to read them.” Her voice had lowered.

“Perhaps. One day.”

“Will I get a chance to?” she asked, unable to stop the words falling from her lips.

“You mean, am I staying?”

“I …” This time she blushed, a faint wash of pink that highlighted her cheekbones and disappeared into the neckline of her organza dress.

“Do you want me to go?”

“No!” She bit her lip. Damn it, she was a Companion. Well, an ex-Companion. And being an ex anything didn’t mean she’d lost her skills, her years of training to never tell a man what she didn’t want him to know, yet here she was behaving like a school girl. But he put her off balance, made her unsteady in her own beliefs. “I just … you must have other clients waiting for you back on Ariel. People who need you.”

“Don’t you need me?”

“You said I was cured.”

“Did I?”

She stood up, suddenly angry. “Don’t do that! Don’t answer a question with a question! I hate it! It’s a therapist’s trick and I … I hate it!”

Immediately he was on his feet, his hands on her arms. It was like electricity coursing through her, and she realised it was the first time he’d touched her.

“I’m sorry.” His dark eyes seared into her soul. “Please forgive me. I … I tend to fall back on the tricks of my trade when I’m wrong-footed.”

Her breath caught. “Are you? Wrong-footed?”

“By you? Yes.”


He let her go and it was like losing a part of herself.

Picking up his book from where it had fallen to the ground, he wiped imaginary motes of dust from its cover. “I don’t have clients to see. At least, no new ones.”

“Dr Nazir -”

He lifted his head to smile at her. “Not Samuel?”

“I’ve told you things I would never tell another living soul. Things I never told Freya. My fears, my nightmares … you know it all. Yet you’ve hardly let me into your life.”

“I’m the therapist, Inara. It isn’t up to you to help me.”

“Why not?”

They looked at each other for the longest time.

“Maybe I don’t want help, Inara. Maybe I want something more.” He looked down at his hands, his long fingers clasping the book of poetry so tightly the spine was twisting. “But I’m your doctor, and that would be wrong.”

She smiled, relaxing just a little. “Then you’re fired.”

His head lifted, hair flying. “What?”

“You’re fired. You’re not my doctor any more.”

“It doesn’t work like that …”

“Why not?” She reached out, uncurled one of his hands from his book, interlaced her fingers with his. “I could have died on Bellerophon. I would have, if my friends hadn’t saved me. And you’ve saved me too.”

“So this is gratitude?”

“No.” She stepped closer, giving in and running her fingers through his hair. “Not at all.”

Despite his training, his years of experience at dealing with clients, he shivered slightly. “Inara …”

“Read me another poem.”


“Another poem. Read to me.”

“What about … what about breakfast?”

“Oh, I’m sure Mrs Boden will reheat it for us.” She sat down in the chair, still holding his hand, making him follow her. “Please. Read to me.”

He stared at her, then slowly lowered his slim frame into the seat next to her, letting the book fall open where it chose. Barely able to pull his eyes from her face, he looked down at the page.

“Lift up the veils that darken the delicate moon of thy glory and grace, Withhold not, O love, from the night of my longing the joy of thy luminous face, Give me a spear of the scented keora guarding thy pinioned curls, Or a silken thread from the fringes that trouble the dream of thy glimmering pearls; Faint grows my soul with thy tresses' perfume and the song of thy anklets' caprice, Revive me, I pray, with the magical nectar that dwells in the flower of thy kiss.”

He stopped reading and lifted his head, knowing the words, written by a woman dead for five centuries, hung in the air between them, a glittering promise of what could be.

“Inara …”

“Go on. Please.” She smiled, her own hair curling softly around her face, her red lips curved, waiting, inviting.

He nodded slowly, and began again.



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Secrets - Part XVIII
“Can you be sure the parts aren’t tagged in any way? Because I can’t.” Freya shook her head, then put her hand on Monty’s arm. “We can’t afford to have this getting back to you. To us. Besides, if the ship isn’t found then I’m sure Harper Lecomb isn’t going to give up looking for his son. We’ve got enemies coming out of our ears – we don’t need to breed new ones.”

[Maya. Post-BDM. Randall Lecomb meets his final end, and Simon is still working on Inara's problem. Here's an extra long chapter to make up for the long, long delay in getting it to you!]

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 ...]