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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“After we deliver the goods we can set Serenity down somewhere cold. See some real snow.”

Merry Christmas to everyone! Just another in my occasional series of Mal/Jayne conversations, this time with a season theme. Enjoy!

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?]