Inara's Cold
Tuesday, October 13, 2009

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.


“Jin jin” Inara was hoping it was Simon with the promised cold tablets. Her nose was stuffed and she felt miserable. It just wasn't dignified for a Companion to have a cold. An ex Companion Inara reminded herself. The cold had come on so suddenly that an injection of immune boosters or the antiviral injection she would have gotten as a matter of course in one of the Houses wasn't available. She'd have to fight the cold the old fashioned way, with decongestants and a fever reducer.

The last person she wanted to see walked into what was her shuttle. Mal walked in with a chipped mug full of something steaming hot and several pills in his hand.

“Thought I'd repay your kindness. It ain't tea, but I found a can of chicken broth. Heated it up for you. My Ma thought chicken broth would cure just about anything that ails you. Simon gave me these pill for you, he thought they might help more than the broth”

“How kind of you” Inara said nasally. “Considering you gave me the cold, Ooh here it comes!” Achoo She sneezed into an embroidered handkerchief that in Mal's opinion looked so delicate that it would blow away in the slightest breeze, much less a full blown sneeze.

Mal shifted his weight from foot to foot and looked around unsuccessfully for some where to sit. All of Inara's opulent hangings and furniture weren't there, in fact all she had was what was in the box she'd left on board when she went to the Training House. She had supplemented her wardrobe with a few practical yet typically Inara pieces while Serenity was being repaired on Persephone. A proper bed had been brought into the shuttle from Shepherd Book's old passenger dorm along with a chest for her things. It was sparse but still had an elegance about it.

Mal handed her the mug of broth and the pills, He stood uneasily looking at Inara reclining on two pillows with a dark green wool blanket pulled up over her waist. She took a sip of the steaming liquid and took the pills.

“It's hot, And Mal you're making me nervous standing there like a mother hen.” She patted the bed with her free hand. “Sit down.”

Mal obeyed with out thinking and plopped down on the end of the bed. “'How you doing? The meds working yet?”

“Achoo! No, not yet. I just took them”

“Well, I guess not. Want me to stay for a while?”

“Please. I need a distraction. I haven't had a cold in a long time”

“Aint' nothin' but a thing. We're full up with our first cargo, thanks to you.”

“You just try to be gracious and charming when your head feels like a hammer is pounding the sides, your nose is stuffed and dripping and your throat is parched.” As if to emphasize the dry throat, she took another delicate sip of the broth.

“You'll be fine by the time we get back to Persephone”

“I hope my things will be waiting for me. I talked to Sheydra two days ago and she made the arrangements. My resignation will be official by the time we arrive. I never thought it would come to this but they made me so mad. Trying to make me choose, yet not really giving me a choice. I'm afraid I acted very unCompanion like at the hearing”

There was silence for a few seconds. Mal was all argued out about that particular subject.

I need to get my mind off of it.” Inara looked at him and smiled. A genuine smile. “I told you about my mother, tell me about yours.”

“Turnabouts fair. She was a remarkable woman. Strong enough to do just about anything on the ranch, like any hand.” Mal paused a bit, remembering.

“She took a little bit of a ranch that she and my Pa started and after he died she grew it into one the biggest on Shadow. Not that I'm boasting, but we shipped beef to the best restaurants on Ariel.. And she held it together the best she could 'til the end.”

“Was she born on Shadow?”

“Shadow born and bred.” he said rather proudly. “My great-grandpa Hiram Tully came out to Shadow in the first wave of settlers. He wasn't enthralled with farming or running cattle and decided that the ranchers need things and started a general store in a little crossroads. My grandpa ran it 'till he died and Ma helped him there 'till she got married.”

“Come on, tell me more.” she cajoled as she took another sip of the broth.

She said it in such a way that Mal couldn't resist. This new Inara intrigued him to no end. There was no wiles or manipulation about her. The usually closed gates that kept his memories penned up opened up with a gush that he couldn't contain.

“She was a hard woman in her way. Kept the ranch hands in line, and me. I was a handful to say the least. She could do anything the ranch hands could do and do it better. Ridin' ropin', brandin' , she did it all. I always think of her in her workin' clothes with her hair pulled back. Only time I saw her in a dress for was for church every Sunday or some other special occasion.”

“She was also the best business woman I ever did see, present company excluded of course. She'd bargain with the best of the Core suppliers and always come out with the best end of the deal . And if things went wrong she could, to use an old Earth-that-was expression, take a sows ear and turn it into a purse.”

“She sounds extraordinary. I wish I could have met her. What about your father? You don't mention him at all.”

“He was shot and killed a week before I was born. A ranch hand that had been fired for drinking on the job thought he was owed more than the wages he made. He showed up about 3 a.m. Stinking drunk and looking for a fight. Pa was killed protecting my Ma.

Then Ma got the gun she kept in her bed side table and shot and killed the ranch hand. She didn't talk about Pa much after that, but she must have really loved him. She never even looked at another man and poured all her energy into the ranch.”

“Didn't your father's relatives help you and your mother? Families on the Border and Rim planets seem to be so close.”

“He wasn't from Shadow. He was from some high faluttin' family on Londinium. He left there and gallivanted around the 'Verse for a while, and didn't marry the girl his family picked out for him so they disowned him. Him marryin' Ma and staying on Shadow made it worse. They wouldn't even come out for the funeral, not that there was time, but Ma never heard from them again. Seems that we both were too embrassin'.

“That's awful. They don't know what a fine, upstanding person you've become.”

“ Not to change the subject, but got any plans about what you're gonna do now that the Guild kicked you out?”

“I wasn't kicked out, I resigned. It may have been before they kicked me out but I am “retired in good standing”, just barely. By the way, I'm thinking about running a whore house.”

Mal couldn't contain himself. “You, becoming an honest to goodness whore? “

“Don't you wish.” she said with a smile on her face. “I'm already one in your eyes. Now it'll be more than true.”

Mal's mouth dropped open and starred at Inara in amazement.

“Well, not really a whore, More like a madame.”

Mal found his tongue and said, “Will you, hah, be leaving the ship?”

“No, I don't think so. Actually Petaline sent me a wave the other day. The town is really booming now and Petaline wants me to invest in the Heart of Gold. I'd be her partner and she wants to expand the house. I'd have to be there a couple of times a year to see how things are going.”

“And lord over the town folks a bit”

“No, just go over the books, see how the girls and the house is doing. Address their concerns.”

“Just don't let Jayne know about this. He'd expect a free go 'round” Mal said with a laugh. Then Mal rose. “You're looking tired. You get some sleep and get well.”

“No, stay with me a while. At least until I'm asleep.”

Mal sat down, took her hand in his and sighed as she closed her eyes.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009 4:09 PM


Interesting idea.

Well, being they aren't this side of legal, those girls do need someone to look after them. Someone with contacts and who's legit. Enough, anyway.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009 1:41 AM


I like the idea that Inara hasn't had a cold in a long time due to the 'immune boosters' etc. through the Guild, and now she's got to suffer through this one the 'old fashioned way'.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009 1:43 AM


Oh, and I'm pretty sure it's 'Qing jin' not 'jin jin'

Check out the Firefly-Serenity Pinyinary for translations of all the Chinese used in the series, comics, and movie:

Wednesday, October 14, 2009 2:08 AM


I love the visual of Inara as a 'madam'. Oh, please do a sequel where she visits the Heart of Gold and has to deal with representatives of the town - I'd love to read about her being sufficiently haughty that she can put these men in their place, and for Mal to be impressed. He might even find it arousing! There is definitely more to come ... please?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009 7:24 AM


Interesting that having a cold seemed to have mellowed Inara and eased the usual prickly snark between her and Mal. Hope it doesn't rub off when she is recovered. Ali D :~)
"You can't take the sky from me!"

Wednesday, October 14, 2009 8:20 AM


I like the idea of Inara deciding to resign her contract, leaving her in good standing, before the Guild could terminate her contract. A scenario like this always seems to make the most sense to me business wise for both parties, and Inara is always the consummated professional, as you’ve so nicely illustrated here.

I could see her eventually starting an entire chain of Heart of Gold’s with Mal shuttling her between locations, when needed.

Write more!


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.