Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Well, here it is. An attempt at Mal and Inara post BDM, after Serenity has been fixed, but before their first job. I've also wondered about Inara's background and I basically took Moreana's comment that being a Companion was a "family business" and let my mind construct a back story. Many thanks to Phyrelight and Taimdala for the Beta workd


“I got what?” Mal said with a puzzled look on his face. His voice sounded like it had cycled through his nose once too often.   “A cold, an old fashioned cold,” Simon told his patient.   “I had plenty of gorram colds but nothing like this.  Don’t you have anything for this?”  Mal sneezed loudly.   “We still don't have the cure for the common cold.  There are too many viruses and they mutate too rapidly.  The best I can do is to give you an immune system booster but you’ll still be miserable for a day or two.”   “Guess it’s better than nothing.” Mal rolled up his sleeve to get ready for the innoc.   As Simon bent over Mal’s arm to give him the booster. Mal let out his biggest sneeze so far.   “I wish you'd turn your head when you sneezed. Oh, and by the way, you’ll have to stay in your bunk the rest of today. I don’t want the rest of the crew getting sick.”   “I’ve got captainy things to do.” Mal whined. “Got a meet up in two days on Verbena.  It'll be our first real job since Miranda. Gotta be better by then. Need the coin to keep this bucket in the sky”

“If you follow my orders, you'll be better tomorrow.  I’ll look in on you later on today and see how you’re doing.”   Mal sneezed again almost spraying the Doc.   “Just go... go  to your bunk!” Simon almost shouted, waving Mal away.  Simon turned toward the sink as Mal left the infirmary. Mal could hear Simon muttering to himself something about the infection rate of the common cold in a closed environment and caught a glimpse as Simon washed his hands up to his elbows and started to wipe down everything in the infirmary with disinfectant.   A few hours later Mal was in the half asleep state of the sick, when he heard someone coming down the steps.  From under his half-closed eyes Mal could see a female shape coming down the steps of the ladder into his bunk.

The shape crossed the room and stood next to Mal as he lay sprawled on his bed. A delicate hand felt his forehead, accidentally running her fingers through his bangs and messing with his hair in the process.  He smiled, thinking automatically of of his Ma.   “No fever. I brought you some tea?” The female form slowly turned into Inara as he opened his eyes wider and they focused.   Mal struggled to a sitting position.  He realized with a start that all he had on was the thin pair of dark pants that he slept in. Not good being half naked in front of Inara, thinking about the one time she'd seen him with nothing on. Not naked mind you, but no clothes.

And his bunk was a mess. Not the usual immaculate, male space with an almost military spartaness. His life, his crew, his ship and his bunk had gone into a tail spin and he was still reeling from it.

He tugged fitfully at the blanket that had tightly wrapped itself around his middle leaving his chest and legs bare.  As he did this a sneeze and cough combined escaped.   “Accchhho, yeah, I’d like some,” he said fighting to unwrap himself from the blanket.   “Let me help you.” Inara bent over and tugged on the blanket as Mal lifted himself up.   It suddenly gave way and Inara took an involuntary step back as the blanket flew up.  It took her a second to recover and shake the blanket out.  She tucked the blanket around his shoulders as he sat on the side of the bed and handed him the teacup. He took a slow sip and said, “I don’t think I’ve had this tea before”   “It's a version of chamomile especially formulated to sooth. I just happened to find a little bit.” She pulled up the chair from the desk next to the bed and sat down. “I hope you’re feeling better.”   “Just sleeping a bit, that's all.” Mal said with all the dignity he could muster considering he was half dressed and more than half sick. “I've been sicker than this when I was little. Could get out of at least a weeks worth of chores if I could convince my Ma I was sick enough.  Bet you never had a cold” his voice more than a mite scratchy.   “Not that I remember. I got regular immune system boosters and if any Companion developed an illness they were isolated in the infirmary until they were well,” she said with a hint of a sorrowful smile. “I don't have too much nursing experience.”   “I'm sure you'll do fine,” Mal said with just the barest hint of sarcasm in his raspy voice. He stopped a beat, thought better of it and said in a much softer voice, "Really, I'm glad you came.  I could use the company. It's getting mighty lonesome down here, but I don't want you to get sick.”   “Don't worry, a simple cold is the least of my worries. Tell me, what would your mother do when you were sick?” she asked, quickly changing the subject again.   “She'd give me this horrible tasting medicine and smear an awful smelling paste on my chest.  I really hated it. Worse than being sick and smelled up my room for days. Despite that I'd try to be sick as long as possible, chicken soup and all that you know. At least Simon didn't put any on me, I mighta slapped him.”

“Maybe he should have. It would have covered up the smell in this room.”  Her nose wrinkled a little as she spied a large pile of dirty shirts, pants and socks in the far corner of the bunk.

“Can't smell a thing and ain't had time to clean lately, been down here sleeping off a gorram cold that some hun dahn gave me. And who ever it was can gladly have it back.” He smirked a bit to cover his embarrassment.   Before Inara had a chance to retort, Mal said in a soft voice, “Ma'd read to me all the time. We actually had a real book or two. Or she'd get stories off of the Cortex but mostly she made 'em up.  Couldn't get enough of 'em.    “You should have heard some of the stories.  They were full of heroes, cowboys and even some bad guys.  She loved to talk about Earth that Was and especially about a place called the Old West with cowboys, bad guys and their adventures. I think she'd seen too many movies on the Cortex. And also stories her family handed down about settling on Shadow.”  His voice got rather wistful remembering.   “I could tell you some stories, but I don't think they'd be as exciting as as your mother's tales.” Inara said with a laugh in her voice.    “I'd love to hear about your childhood.  Hardly know anything about how you grew up, your family, anything.  Come on, I told you my secret passion for cowboy stories.” he cajoled.   “I've led a boring life. I trained as a Companion since I was twelve.  It's all I've ever known.”   “Come on now, you had a life before you went into the Training House.  What about your family?”   “Nothing much.”

“Come on now, you didn't just spring to life outta no where, but then may be you just did.”

“I lived with the Wangs, my foster family.”   “You an orphan, 'Nara?” his voice all of a sudden full of concern.   “The Wangs were chosen by my mother to raise me.”   “Why would she give you up to another family?  If she was working you could a lived with her. My Ma worked on the ranch all the time. She told me about putting me in a sling and going out and working cattle. I'm hoping she was exaggerating a bit. Didn't want to get trampled even at that young age.“   “She was a companion, Mal. She chose to have me when she discovered she was pregnant. Companions can have children, but they pay a heavy price and not just in credits. She had to compensate the Guild for the months when she couldn't practice her profession. As soon as I was born she selected the Wangs to raise me.”

“You ever see her?”

“I saw her only now and again, and I thought she was so glamorous and lead such an exciting life as a companion. “She would sweep in, and we'd go out for tea to the most elegant tea houses in Shinon. I'd cry for hours after she left, and I'm sure she did too.

“She made sure I had everything I needed, except her.  From an allowance to the Wangs to the school fees for the very best nursery and elementary schools until I entered the Training House. Last time I saw her was at my licensing ceremony a few days after I was eighteen.”

“Poor little rich girl, huh?”

“You might say that, except the Wangs really loved me and I them.”   “What about your Pa?”   “I don't know much about him. I do know that he was wealthy enough to engage my mother on a regular basis for several years.  It's Companion tradition that the father has no claim on a Companion's child, especially a girl child. You see, I was pledged to the Guild as soon as I was born.”   “You were forced into the Guild? I really don't cotton to that.”   “I was raised with the expectation that I would be a companion, but I wasn't forced.  I wanted it with all my heart and soul.  I'd be helping people and following not only in my mother's footsteps, but her mother's too.  I guess it's a bit like a family business.”   “'Nara , you certainly are talkative 'bout things.  And not arguing, not like you're usual self.” Mal said, amazed at Inara's sudden openness.   “Things have changed, I've changed.  Everything I used to hold so dear is gone. Those poor souls on Haven and Miranda,  Shepherd Book, Wash ... how could it all happen?”  She crossed her arms around herself and shivered.

He wanted desperately to hold her and take away all the hurt she had seen but said instead pushed it out of his head, Even with the change of circumstances, he's never have a chance with her. Never ever.

So he said instead, “I would take advantage of the situation but seeing that I've got this cold and all… Achooooo!”  Another sneeze escaped from Mal.  He managed to just turn his head from Inara's direction just before he let loose again. “Achooo!  Gorram cold!” Mal whined.   “You could stop sneezing all over me.” She said with a twinkle returning to her eyes her face open and honest, at least for the time being.   “Just a minute, I think I gotta handkerchief here somewhere.”   Mal turned away from Inara for a moment and searched all over his bed for a the handkerchief he had discarded hours ago.   As Mal looked for the handkerchief Inara nervously fiddled with the things Mal had left strewn all over the desk.  In the corner, something wedged between the desk and the wall of the bunk caught her eye. Her curiosity got the best of her and she picked up what was left of  a capture. It was the capture of her taken by Kaylee the day she left for the Training House. She quickly turned and slid it back. She hoped he hadn't noticed that she'd seen it.   “Here it is.  Mal displayed handkerchief in his hand like the big fish he had caught in the creek and had proudly displayed for his Ma. “Achoo! Damn cold.”

When he sneezed he saw Inara try to slip the capture unnoticed back into the space between the desk and the wall. He felt the dread in the pit of his stomach that he felt when his Ma found him with apple pie crumbs on his face. He'd forgotten to wipe them away and got a good whipping for eating the apple pie he'd found cooling on the window sill when he was around 8 or so. He felt 'bout that old right now, and he was sure the punishment would be just as swift if he admitted to Inara that he'd missed her when she left Serenity.

The silence between them was deafening. All of a sudden Mal's head started to reel and his eyelids were incredibly heavy. His eye lashes kept fluttering open and closed, open and closed. The more he tried to keep them open, the more they wanted to close. And his head started to nod . It got heavier and heavier and harder to keep awake.

“You look tired, don't you want to go back to bed?” Inara said awkwardly, breaking the silence.

“I am a bit tired, 'Nara.” Mal stretched out on the bed, his head tilted toward the middle of the room and his eyes slowly closed, then jerked open, then closed again.

When she thought Mal was sound asleep Inara quietly rose. She tenderly put the blanket over his back and tucked it around him like a baby. As she turned to leave, Mal's hand reached out from the blanket and grabbed her hand. Not roughly, but tenderly. Everything rested on this one moment.

“'Nara, don't go.”

Inara stood there a second, her hand in Mal's, “I won't.” She grasped his hand tighter as he drifted off to sleep, a small smile on his face.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008 3:44 PM


I liked your explanation of the family business very much. Poor Mal - not much experience in having a cold.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008 9:47 PM


Good start! And I mean for Mal and Inara. I hope they manage to say the things they really want to, without either of them getting in the way of their real feelings. Maybe when Inara comes down with the cold and Mal goes into her shuttle to minister to her ...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008 9:50 PM


Well done. I always love exposition into Inara's past. What we have for her backstory is so vague and ripe for many different and plausible takes on her pre-Firefly life and everyone has their own theories and takes. Loved it, especially the detail on what the proper procedure is for companion that becomes expectant on the job. It sounds completely plausible.

Thursday, October 23, 2008 1:58 AM


Awsome! I really think you should keep writing this!! I saw an interview with Alan, Nate and Morena and she said something about a family business... I don't know if you saw it - Anyhow... well done!!!

Kim =)

Thursday, October 23, 2008 5:12 PM


Well done! I always enjoy your take on back stories! :)

Friday, October 24, 2008 11:07 AM


Very nice! I loved the addition of the cold. Hundreds of years in the future and still no cure!! lol!

Saturday, October 25, 2008 6:31 PM


This was beautiful, i love when fans create backstories for characters it's so interesting and like we get a second look into the verse...

It really was nicely written and a fantastic idea behind Inara...



You must log in to post comments.



Quick fic done at the request of a friend as a Christmas present. Enjoy!

Inara's Cold
Post-BDM Mal/Inara Ok, here it is. I did manage to put a little bit of snarkiness in it. You can't have Mal and Inara communicate without snarkiness.

The Crush
Mal/River Just a little fic I found on my laptop. I wrote it about 9-10 months ago and I don't think I posted it here. PG-13 for brief sexual thoughts on Mal's part.

All I want for Christmas is a Pony and a Plastic Rocket
I was getting a nostalgic as I reread some of my first fics and decided to repost the the first two since they concern the holiday season.

I also resisted the urge to rewrite them so here it is in all it's glory.

The Last Christmas Present
I was getting a nostalgic as I reread some of my first fics and decided to repost the the first two since they concern the holiday season.

I also had the inclination to go back and rewrite the fics but I resisted the temptation. So here it is, in all it's glory.

Veteran's Day
Just a scribble I quickly wrote down. Mal muses on Veteran's Day in the quiet of the night.

Well, here it is. An attempt at Mal and Inara post BDM, after Serenity has been fixed, but before their first job.

I've also wondered about Inara's background and I basically took Moreana's comment that being a Companion was a "family business" and let my mind construct a back story.

Many thanks to Phyrelight and Taimdala for the Beta workd

Apple Pie
I'm back! Many many thanks to Phyrelight who provided a quite a few suggestions and helped me take this little fic beyond just scribblings on a scrap of paper.

This takes place just after Heart of Gold but before Inara leaves the ship for the Training House.

Spring Fever
Another "Young Mal" story.This was just something that wouldn't get out of my head. It was warm and gorgeous today and this sort of wrote itself. As a result, it's unbetaed so all the mistakes are mine.

Dear Mal
This has been on my hard drive since Christmas but real life and my Mom's broken hip kept me from finishing it.

Thanks to MissWhatitis for the beta and a bit of inspiration when I thought I should trash this.