Capacity Chapter 3
Monday, June 2, 2008

Inara enters the scene. Xiaofan has inappropriate dreams. Zoe waxes Motherly. Only NC-17 for a very short second.


Chapter 3

The room was silent, the only light source the brightness of the moon as it shone through the open window. The room was simple by Companion standards, lush by anyone else’s. A beautiful raw silk curtain of sapphire blue drawn away from the window. A low bed, mattress full of downy feathers, with bed clothes designed as much for there beauty as there warmth. Pillows stitched in vibrant colors and patterns, strewn at the head of the bed. The whiteness of the unadorned walls gave the room it’s austerity.

Nothing in the room gave her comfort. Inara attempted meditation. Repeatedly. She lit the candles, the incense, closed her eyes and recited the chant.

For the fourth time she opened her eyes, disheartened. In these times, Sheydra was a comfort. It was fortunate for Inara that Sheydra was a friend first and Companion second.

Inara joined the woman in her chambers, sipping slowly cooling jasmine tea.

“What is that you see, even while attempting to clear your mind?”

Inara sighed.

“Images from the recent past. My friends on Serenity-”

Sheydra interrupted, “And it’s captain?”

Inara sat silent.

“Often the heart speaks when the mind requests silence. You should listen to yourself, Inara.”

Inara scowled at her friend.

“This is how the priestess of House Madrassa replies to a plea?”

“I know you would like me to take the Companion stance, tell you that you must never see Malcolm Reynolds again. But,” here she paused, and looked wistfully out the window to her right, “I fear you have been lost to us.”

Inara’s eyes were wide with shock.

“What are you saying? I- That I am no-”

Sheydra looked her friend in the eye.

“We have very strict rules, Inara. But there is no law that says you must remain a Companion until the end of your days. There are ways to break ties with the Guild amicably, to remain in good stead with your contemporaries, even while you no longer use the title.”

Inara shook her head.

“If I am not a Companion…”

“There is always doubt along one’s path, uncertainty of one’s destiny. How could one truly call themselves human if they did not experience change?”

“What are you suggesting, Sheydra? Sabbatical? Or permanent dissolution?”

Sheydra regarded the tea leaves at the bottom of her cup intently for a short period of time.

“That, my friend, is entirely up to you. That should be the focus of your meditation.”

“I just got back Sheydra-”

“You returned out of fear to House Madrassa, the same way you left all that time ago. That was your weakness, Inara.”

“Fear?” Inara scoffed, “What am I afraid of?”

Sheydra blinked and regarded her friend lovingly.

“Answer that, and you’ll know where you belong.”

Unsatisfied, Inara inclined her head, stood and left the other woman’s room soundlessly.


~He was inside her. Her eyes were closed, but she could feel him, moving. She was on top of him, head thrown back, moving in time with his thrusts.~

~His hands on her shoulders, moving down to her breasts, holding one in each hand, rolling her nipples between his fingers, eliciting little mewls and gasps.~

~The world was black around her, touch her only sense. He made no sound as he filled her, rocking in languorous response to the motion of her hips.~

Xiaofan opened her eyes, heart pounding in her throat, the dream so real she could still feel the ache at her center.

So far, the dream man had no face, as she hadn’t opened her eyes in the dream. As far as sex dreams go, it wasn’t disturbing, but it was less than fulfilling. Xiaofan had no qualms with self amusement, but it only did so much good.

She was tense, irritable, generally unhappy. Knowing the source of her unhappiness was no assistance in alleviating it.

She missed her life, the routine of daily appointments. Meals at the local vendors, the occasional chat up with a passing gentleman.

All of that wasn’t to last anyway. She lived her life then, not knowing it was all borrowed time.

And now she wanted comfort. And there was not much to be had on Serenity. The temperature fluctuated, the food stores were utilitarian and sparse, Alliance capture a looming threat as they were still carrying the fugitive Tams. And her own situation, hardly resolved. But hopefully Blue Sun thought her dead, and she could find some semblance of normality soon.

And then there was Jayne.

His interest in her was clear. Xiaofan’s feelings were scattered, at best. While she wished for the feeling of sexual satisfaction, she did not wish to become A) a notch on Mister Cobb’s bed post or B) embroiled in a purely physical relationship.

She was almost certain the dream man was Jayne. Strong thick thighs under her own, wide muscled chest under her hands. Not too many of them on board… Xiaofan found him attractive, in a physical, visceral way. There was no conversation or communication of interests, shared or otherwise. He did not express a desire for her other than sexually. And it appealed to her, thus the dreams. But she couldn’t bring herself to act on it.

So, Xiaofan lay in her bed, staring up at the dark, a very dim light emanating from over the sink. She closed her eyes and tried for some time to get back to sleep, to very little avail. She fidgeted and turned, finally sighed in exasperation, sat up and slung her legs on the side of the bed. Beneath the bunk she produced her medical bag and just as quickly a soother. A quick motion and then she stowed everything back where it was. She laid back on the bed, eyes fluttering closed, breath becoming deep and even.


River paced the ship. She circled the bay three times, climbing and jumping the stairs before heading to the galley and common room. Since Mal had taken the evil twin job, she was more restless than usual.

It was supposed to be a simple pick up and drop off. But they hardly ever were. Simple. River felt the duplicity in Fanty and Mingo, but couldn’t find a compelling argument to sway the captain. Most of her words came out disjointed and cryptic. And of course were ignored.

She supposed they would figure it out when the job went ‘pear-shaped’ as Mal would put it.

River spent some of her waking time thinking about the boy on Rosetta. They’d visited a large creek, thrown stones, sat at the edge and dipped their feet in. Terrence had put his hand over hers, surreptitious but casually. He didn’t ask anything of her, no questions, nothing implied. He made innocuous comments about the beauty of the area, the clearness of the water, his charming company.

For a fleeting time, River felt like a normal teen age girl must, enamored and pleased with herself.

Simon hadn’t pressed her for answers, just accepted the statements she’d made when Xiaofan asked about her ‘date’. She could feel him chomping at the bit, but Kaylee’s gentle restraint and Xiaofan’s quiet intervention kept her private life her own.

With that, River was actually pleased. Almost pleased. Daddy would not be happy until Mommy came home. And Mommy was so wound up in circles she couldn’t suss out what she really wanted from what she believed herself to be bound.

It was a tangle.


Zoe stroked her belly as Wash snored quietly next to her. She was not sure at all if life had begun, but she was going to make the effort to welcome the baby.

She knew Wash’s fears, and they were valid. She also knew she could not live the rest of her life not bearing this man’s child. Zoe never felt so strongly about anything in her life. Not even her devotion to her captain could compare.

“Come on, little one,” she whispered, “We’re ready for you.”

She looked at her husband, the man for whom she would kill and die. The man who loved every part of her. Even the scary, warrior side that would kill with no compunction. Zoe compartmentalized with the very best. Her man, her captain, her job, and eventually, her child.

She was ready.


“You have verified the sample?” a disembodied voice said through the comm.

A tall, wiry man, who seemed barely into his forties stood at the controls of a small vessel.

“All the markers are there. The deceased was one Lo Xiaofan Niu.”

“Then this chapter is closed, and your payment awaits you upon your return.”

“Sir,” the man said, turning the communication off with a click, and setting the comm for another wave.


Monday, June 2, 2008 11:12 AM


I got to beta this and I love it. Wonder what Xia's going to do about her feelings for Jayne...


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Capacity Chapter 15

Capacity Chapter 14
Just about to set foot on Markham and face the bad. One way or the other.

Capacity Chapter 13
Plot moves forward. People from the past poke there heads in. Serenity is quiet and mournful.

Capacity Chapter 12
Mal and the crew find out exactly how horribly they'd been used.

Capacity Chapter 11
The crew does not find what they expected on Kerry.

Capacity Chapter 10
It’s just not a normal day on Serenity unless somebody gets shot, threatened or beat up.

Capacity Chapter 9
It’s a long story… Mal and Ruby bond some more, Xiaofan gets her new face and… then she leaves. Wash and Zoe have a chat and Jayne gets over his issues with Simon and Xiaofan.

Capacity Chapter 8
Out in the black, heading to the next destination. Ruby gets on as a passenger and Xiaofan bullies Simon into getting her a new face.

Capacity Chapter 7
Still on Abaddon Station, Xiaofan confronts her brother, Mal confronts the mystery woman.

Capacity Chapter 6
A stopover at Abaddon Station, weirdness ensues.