A Waste of Water and Mud
Thursday, June 26, 2008

A job gone wrong, as usual.


A Waste of Water and Mud by: 2x2 Rating: PG Word Count: 477 Spoilers: None Characters: Mal, Inara. Notes: Drabble thing written for my dearest Ness who prompted me with Mal and Inara waist deep in mud after a heist gone wrong. This didn't quite meet the criteria, or go in a 'Mal carrying Inara' kind of direction either I'm afraid. And the only 'Waist' is the 'Waste' in the title, which incidentally comes from TS Eliot. It's different, I can say that much, but not much else. Maybe someday I'll write a real story out of it, but until then, I hope you at least find it interesting :o)


A flash – lightning, illuminating the dreary mud-swollen street and her combatants – and then a crack of thunder splits overhead, rolling between the buildings with an echoing rumble. A heavy, wet smack of fist on skin and the expelled grunt of its receiver came after; the rain intensified, the roar of the torrent a near deafening cacophony as it struck the tin surface of the surrounding rooftops and thundered to the ground.

Two men circling each other raggedly, every step a struggle against the suctioning force of the morass of mud at their feet, breathing in heavy, ragged pants. A roar of effort and they clash again, fingers grasping for damp purchase against rain soaked skin, hair, clothing. Grim determination and angry desperation, bared teeth to bared teeth, struggling.

A hand wins free; its fingers curl and find the soft underbelly of its foe and one man staggers, a Chinese curse swallowed by the rain as mud turns traitorous and gives way beneath booted feet with slick and slippery betrayal. Then lungs screaming an airless scream as one lands atop the other, mud crawling into ears, eyes, nose; grasping, pulling down.

Crackling white and a thunderous boom felt chest deep as fingers claw and feet fight desperate to be free of the wet sucking death as hands push down.

Choking gasp.

A sudden clink of wet metal sounds as the bag swings, its wielder grunting with the weight of it, the coin within making a satisfying jingle as it strikes the top man's head with a resounding purchase. The man falls like a stone, coins spilling around him in a rain of shimmering gold and silver as a delicate hand reaches down to help the other out of the mud.

Mal takes the proffered hand and lets Inara pull him up, shaking the muck and rain from his eyes with a gasp as air burns in his lungs again. Cursing his ever-rotten luck – not a jot of this job has gone right from step one - he begins to scoop up the muddied coins, stuffing his pockets full fast as he can as the deputy groans on the ground beside him.

A shout floats on the wind swept rain towards them as the posse comes into view and the companion tugs on the thief's arm, urging him up quickly though more than half the money still remains, sinking fast.

Cursing again, they run, slogging through the mire, taking what cover they can from the surrounding buildings and the blinding flashes from above. Neither stops until they reach the shuttle and are in the air at last - safe and free if a less than clean getaway.

Mal dumps the mess of coins and sludge from his pockets, leaning back with a frustrated and weary groan. Sighing, Inara flies them through the storm and into the open black beyond.


Thursday, June 26, 2008 6:44 AM


this was great - almost a noir touch - loved it.

Thursday, June 26, 2008 7:30 AM


It's good, if a little short, and as always I wanted to know more! You know, you don't really need the indication that it's Mal and Inara until the very last paragraph - somehow you'd know it was them, and I love the phrase 'the companion tugs on the thief's arm' ... it's all there!

Thursday, June 26, 2008 10:03 AM


I loved it too....and I could see it all in my mind's eye.

Thursday, June 26, 2008 10:05 AM


Weee! Another Eliot fan!

Thursday, June 26, 2008 1:24 PM


This would make a wonderful story - it's already an exceptional drabble.

Sunday, June 29, 2008 6:40 PM


Very eloquent word choise in there. Interesting.


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History of an Object
There’s no reason to keep it, damaged as it is. Save one. Doesn’t matter that it’s finer than any other cup on the ship, even with the crack. Doesn’t matter that it would never hold liquid again without some of it seeping through. Burning your fingers. Was only one reason he still has the cup.

Five Years' War
The night was warm. Clouds, low on the horizon, blue black in the last light of the setting sun. Nothing but the breeze and the buzz of the cicadas breaking the stillness. A perfect evening.

The Close Shore, At the End, Untenable
“Dead ’re in my head tonight,” he said finally. “Can’t get ‘em out. Don’t got the booze or the bar to distract me. Don’t know why I’m here ‘cept I don’t think I can go through it alone.”

The Slower Path: All the Difference - Part 15 - Sequel to The One Less Traveled By
She let out a breath, saying nothing for a long moment before she raised her eyes again. “There are some things I want you to know,” she said softly. “Things I want you to understand.”

Much as he wished he could ignore it, he could see it was important to her that he know whatever it was she wanted to tell him. He knew he wouldn't have let himself see it in the past, but that weren't where they were anymore, or at least, not where they wanted to be, either of them. Their relationship had changed, was changing, and he weren’t so stupid he didn’t recognize that. He didn't know that he wanted to know it, much less understand it, but she was reluctant enough to talk about any aspect of her life as it was; could be he might ought not stop her when she wanted to.

Unlucky at Cards...
“I… You can’t be that lucky!” Mal moaned as Inara beat him again, laying out her cards with a flourish.

The Slower Path: The One Less Traveled By - Part 14 - Sequel to Regrets
They fell silent again, struggling to find the ease that they had found, before; before the argument that had almost ended things.

"I feel like-," she started.

"This is-," he said at the same time.

They looked at each other. "Awkward," they both said, laughing lightly.

Always Had Faith
Faith in a higher power? That was always Mal's thing, the Captain, back in the war.

Loved and Lost
Love’s the biggest kind of hurt there is.

And I wouldn't trade that love for nothin'.

The Mood That Passes Through
He felt the first trembling shudder go through her, heard her breath hitch and felt her fingers grip his skin; knew it was comin', the wave that was cresting the walls she'd built to hold it back, whatever it was. Knew they were about to come crashing down around her. The first sob still hurt though, still lanced through his heart like a searing hot blade to hear her make that sound.