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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1235 RATING: SERIES: FIREFLY
Inara saw how stricken Mal was by the revelation that by keeping her from appointments he had kept her from treatment. Treatment she didn’t need, it turned out. But treatment that she had thought she’d needed. That was in the past, though; she wanted the future to hurry ahead so that it would all be a long time ago.
He was standing by the sink, arms still folded tightly across his chest. He hadn’t moved since Simon and Kaylee had left the room. She rose from the table, stood in front of him.
“They counted on my ambition,” she said. He looked up, looked at her. “They counted on my ambition to be House Priestess, mistook it for a lust for power, as they would. And that’s why they matched me with Michel Chamillart: they thought I must long to be connected to a powerful man. Mal. I was ambitious, and arrogant, and many things that I’m glad I’m not now. And that’s thanks to you.”
He raised his eyebrows a little at that.
“No, don’t you dare dismiss it! Don’t you dare allow your self-hatred to dismiss it! You changed me! Being here, all the troubles we’ve had, it changed me, and it was worth it. It was all worth it.” She lowered her voice, and a tenderness he had never seen filled her face. She lifted a hand to touch the hair that rested on his collar. “For you,” she said. She gazed at him. “For you.”
At that, he had to relent, had to wrap an arm around her waist and bring her gently against him. She planted a kiss on his cheek, kissed the spot with tiny kisses that went on and on. “One day, we’ll talk about the war,” she said, very close to him. “You’ll tell me everything and I’ll make you feel better.”
He looked at her, this very young woman, and wanted to smile at her earnest confidence in her ability to bring healing and relief to others.
“So?” he asked. “This doctor was following you round the Border?”
“No. It wasn’t him. I’d contact him as the date of the appointment approached, let him know where I was going to be, and he’d arrange for a therapist to meet me.”
“Always the same one?”
“No. Different ones.”
“They wanted you for something. Wouldn’t let go.”
“Simon and I talked about it yesterday. The fake illness and treatment could all have been experimental. They were simply keeping their options open. I don’t believe that they would have given up on trying to take over the Houses. Or the Law Raterships, one by one. That was their real interest. Perhaps they saw a part for me in that.”
“They want the colleges too.” He told Inara about the Opprobrium panels.
“Anything with a vestige of independent thought. But what for?”
“Ain’t that the question,” Mal murmured. She could see he was thinking. He took a breath as though to speak; stopped; started again. “Why didn’t you tell me?” he asked then, as though forgetting he had asked her before. “Why didn’t you tell me you were sick?”
Inara hesitated a little: the true answer was complex, and Mal didn’t deal in complexity. Before, she had said that she didn’t want to burden him, and that had been part of it. Now, she continued obliquely with a subject she had already broached. If she presented it to him gradually, in small pieces, perhaps he would be able to digest it.
“Because I didn’t want you to get involved," she said. "Your life was dangerous enough. I knew that you’d want to ‘do something’ and it would only bring more danger down on you, and on the rest of the crew too.”
That reminded Mal of the comment she had made in the early hours of that morning, alluding to his having done something inexcusable. But he couldn’t face probing for clarification he more than likely didn’t want to hear. He changed the subject slightly.
“And what Simon found out, about the needles – what does that amount to? You reckon he can fix it, whatever they’ve done?”
“He needs to know what they’ve administered before he can have an idea of how to undo the damage.”
“What kind of damage?”
Inara looked to the side, pulled away a little. “He used the word ‘cascade’. They used to put the needles in my head and in my spine. He says they’ve caused nerve damage and it’s as though its effects are cascading through my body. That’s why my symptoms keep changing. It’s too random and chaotic to be planned. Look at River.”
Instinctively Mal had curled his hand back around her and touched her spine lightly with his fingertips. “Just can’t see Simon having the know-how or the wherewithal to find out what drug it was.” Inara said nothing. “Find the therapist, find the drug is what I say,” Mal continued quietly. Inara shook her head but he went on. “Crew don’t have to be involved.” That subject, the inexcusable, looming between them again.
“Please, don’t,” said Inara, tension in her voice and her expression.
“Just don’t - do anything.”
“We got to do something.”
“Yes. We can bide our time, wait for a better moment.”
Mal shrugged quickly. “S’what you said about Saffron.”
“Yes, because it’s what normal people do!” Inara’s eyes flew open with alarm when she heard what she had said; Mal pulled back, momentarily shocked. “I mean, it’s what people normally do.”
Mal’s emotions prowled behind an impassive mask. “People that ain’t inexcusable.”
Inara steeled herself and pulled back too. “Don’t.”
“What did you mean? This morning. You had something particular in mind.”
Inara took a deep breath, lowered her voice. “I meant that you are reckless. You are reckless. And that has consequences. For the people around you.”
Mal nodded. “Inexcusable. Consequences.”
Inara held his gaze, said nothing: he wasn’t going to draw her, she was determined. What was gray he would try to make black and white. What she said from the truth of her heart, the heart that loved him but knew all his flaws – he would turn that into an accusation, an indictment that was never meant.
“You can not act as though you are free to play with your life any more. I need you. I need you!”
Her emotions overwhelmed her with a burst of tears, and she turned and hurried from the mess.
She looked for Kaylee, found her quietly closing the door to Simon’s quarters behind her.
“He’s asleep” – Kaylee started to say before Inara fell into her arms, sobbing.
“Oh Kaylee!” She was finding it hard to speak. “It hurt so much! They stuck those needles into me all over, and it hurt so much!”
Kaylee stayed where she was, whispering comforting words to Inara, wondering – and feeling she knew all too well – why Mal wasn’t in her place.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009 10:56 AM
Tuesday, July 7, 2009 11:11 AM
Tuesday, July 7, 2009 9:41 PM
Wednesday, July 8, 2009 4:36 AM
Wednesday, July 8, 2009 5:45 AM
Wednesday, July 8, 2009 5:56 AM
Wednesday, July 8, 2009 7:03 AM
Wednesday, July 8, 2009 8:39 AM
Wednesday, July 8, 2009 9:39 AM
Wednesday, July 8, 2009 11:03 AM
Wednesday, July 8, 2009 12:43 PM
Thursday, July 9, 2009 1:41 AM
Thursday, July 9, 2009 1:44 AM
Thursday, July 9, 2009 7:00 PM
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