Friday, October 16, 2009

Post-BDM; Reg Crew; OCs; Inara/Mal, Simon/Kaylee, River/Oc: Four times Inara Serra walked in on River Tam


Still nothing to do with Gifted Ones (though I have touched it). You could link this one to the last and say they occurred in same universe. This however is just another exercise.



“I missed havin’ passengers.” Kaylee beamed as she flitted about the galley in her floral half apron, the sizzle of freeze dried vegetables and protein filling the air. Her smile stretched the grease smudges on her cheeks as she pushed the vittles around the old wok. “I know the Cap’n isn’t fond’a taking on passengers, but it’s so nice ta meet new people.”

Inara smiled, hanging on the fringes of the galley. “I can understand his suspicions though,” she cradled her mug of tea as a sigh escaped her “since Miranda it is harder to trust others.” Her dark eyes flitted off to the side as Zoe walked in with her air of authority. The Amazon paused, allowed herself a disdainful look to the helm where the new pilot sat, and headed off to make rounds.

“I know, admit I was a tad shy when they first came on board.” Kaylee missed Zoe’s sour face as she was too busy humming and swaying to the songs filling her head. “But we’re gettin’ paid, and they all seem like nice folks, headin’ out ta settle.”

“What’s this?” Simon came jogging up the stairs, dressed nicely yet sensibly. His eyes shimmered at Kaylee as he swooped in. “There you are.” Simon exclaimed as his arms gamely encircled her hips, his movements energetic.

“Simon!” She shrieked, joyfully as his hands squeezed her waist in a wicked way. The smell of him, cologne and linen, filled her nose as she could feel his mouth grinning against her neck.

A laugh rose up from his chest towards her shriek as he smelled the nape of her neck. Oh how she smelled of oxidized metal and oil. It was like the scent of rosebuds in a fait perfume to him though, and he kissed her salty neck. “I’ve been looking all over for you.”

“Ya have?” Kaylee set the spoon aside and leaned back against his chest. He supported her weight easily as he rested his cheek to her ear.

Simon idly looked at the food. “Well, really just the engine room.”

He went on, Inara tuned them out and turned away. They were deep in throws of young love, which had turned the usually prim and rigid Simon into a playful, loving fellow. Perhaps it was the brush with death not too long ago, perhaps he re-evalutated his life, but he was no longer afraid to show affection. Kaylee in return lapped it up like an elixir, and she was sunnier than ever. Not to dwell on the two, nor watch them and interrupt their moment, she left.

To look for a place on Serenity to take refuge was a new issue for Inara. Kaylee for so long had been her source of chatter and friendship. That was no longer the case as she took to wandering past the warm engine room, because if the girl wasn’t tinkering in that engine room, she was off with the good doctor. As she went downstairs, she kept her eyes trained to the grate flooring.

And that’s when she saw a pair of Captain’s boots.

Gazing up, there was Mal as he stopped himself in front of her. His eyes darted to her face, but then he jerked his head away and seemed to start counting the hoses coming out of the ceiling. “‘Nara,” He cleared his throat.

“Mal.” She gripped the railing, feeling like she needed the balance. “So, how are the passengers?”

“Oh, dandy.” Mal scratched the back of his neck, his mouth ajar as he was clearly avoiding the question. “Told them about the time frame, be on their world about’a week.”

“I doubt there will be any clients for me there.” She said lightly, but quickly regretted it as there was a deep look of hurt that came through his eyes. Her heart wrenched, for he was not going to call her out on ‘whoring’, he was just positively bereft.

“Yeah, well....” he wet his lips. “we’ll get back to civilization soon enough.”

“I didn’t mean it like that.”

“Doesn’t mean it can’t be takin’ like that.” He said honestly, furrowing his brow. Catching her eye briefly, he squared his shoulders and did his best to compose himself. “Chow should be done soon.”

Watching him leave with a thundercloud hanging above his head, it was times such as the one before her that Inara certainly wanted to resign. A part of her wished to stay on, the part that loved her craft. But then there was another part of her, the Mal shaped part, that seemed to be growing larger by the day. Exasperated, she soldiered on down the stairs, determined to find a distraction.

She stopped.

For it was just at that moment that the boy pushed River off of him, looking at her with fear and disgust. The girl, seated on the dusty common area couch with the strapping pioneer lad, showed confusion.

He jumped to his feet, gazing at her as if she was a grotesque side show attraction. “Dé-dào yuăn-lí wŏ, nín gŭ-guài de rén.” Stumbling away, the lad made a quick retreat to the passenger dorms.

River kept a steady eye on the corridor he had raced off to for shelter. Her little body shook as the dark eyes filled with tears. Whipping her head around, hair spraying about, she gazed up at Inara.

Gathering her skirts, she rushed to River as tears streamed down her cheeks. “Oh Hái.” Without hesitation she took the ship’s child up and held her close, allowing her to cry into her dress.

“I am a girl.” River sniffled, having settled on the Companion’s lap, her head on a shoulder. “I have the pieces.”

Inara kissed her forehead and held her tight. “Let’s go to my shuttle and have a little chat.” She whispered.

“End of the world.” River mumbled forlornly.

“I know,” Inara kissed “but you know what makes the end of the world better? Tea.”

*** ***


Mal was asleep.

He was snoring, softly, as Inara fixed her tousled black tresses in the mirror. From the angle, she could see him lying naked on his back. The dim light of the bunk room showed off his musculature, and his hair stuck up like a rooster’s comb. He lacked the endurance of many men she had laid with, and was not a man of many techniques. But what he did know, he did well.

He snorted in his sleep and rolled over as she finished fixing her hair. Inara couldn’t help but smile at him. The poor man was spent as she fixed her dress and walked over to the bed. She took his quilt and covered him to the waist.

Mal roused, his eyes peered from behind their lids, and he grunted. “Heeey.”

“Go back to sleep, Mal.”

Furrowing his brows drowsily, he reached out and took her wrist, pulling her to sit on the bed. “Where y’ goin?”

Inara laughed soflty at his face, sleepy and concerned she was abandoning him. Leaning forward she kissed his lips reassuringly. “I need to go, and you need to get some rest, Captain.”

Mal’s hewn fingers gingerly moved down her wrist to her hand. His thumb ran over her knuckles as he allowed a considerable pause, carefully threading words together in his mind. “What happened right now?”

She felt the happiness of the moment waning into something else. Straightening her posture Inara didn’t say thing, couldn’t, the words weren’t there.

Mal was passive enough to not sit up, his body far too staid for him to put in the effort. “Why you leavin?”

Inara knew her face was playing her hand as she stumbled for words. Her fingers began to play with his chest, but she pulled them away, suddenly becoming far more conscious of her actions.

“Middle of the night, Nara, ain’t no place you need to be.”

“I need to evaluate some things.” She hedged, the contentment of their night together being dashed.

“You gonna report this? Broke the rules and all.” he said, it was plain as the nose on his face he was shutting down, closing himself off again. “Or, is there some other way a woman of your grace handles somethin’ like this?” The words came out mean, insinuating what they had just done would become nothing more than an act of commerce.

The blow, was heavy. However her eyes were like fire towards him as she got up. “There is nothing to handle. This was just a simple act of indiscretion.” She said it more meanly than she meant to, and watched him take the comment like a swift kick. Mal didn’t say anything, and she didn’t let him as she climbed the ladder and left him. Standing in the corridor she glowered at his door and nearly kicked it in a bout of rage.

A heavy thud came from the helm.

Inara sniffled back tears as her curiosity and need for a distraction overtook her. Heading up the steps, she pulled back the door.s

These things never startled her.

She was a Companion, she was trained in the art of love and pleasure, she had witnessed and preformed many things. Passion never made her flinch. However here was their pilot of less than a year, Chivo, naked and muscular, standing in front of the lockers. Who he had pinned to the lockers, who was letting out a moan, who was in the process of climaxing, was the youngest of the crew. River Tam, who Inara has just seen draw a picture of Serenity on the wall using her finger and some of her own calligraphy ink as paint. And while Inara prided herself on being open and progressive, this struck the pit of her stomach like Jayne’s cooking.

After another thrust, Chivo looked over his shoulder, heaving and sweaty. Seeing Inara, he nearly dropped River who had the glow of euphoria about her. “Oh Jeezus.” He clumsily set River down and spun to his chair, groping for a pair of paints.

Cleansing her demeanor with a breath, Inara calmly spoke “I’m sorry I didn’t mean to interrupt something..”

“Oh no, there’s nothin’.” He shakily jumped into his pants.

Hearing his words, River’s face broke out of it’s bliss, and she gazed at him with bewilderment.

“Just... uh....”

“I’m not going to preach to you two.” She reassured, though not caring for his body language. The young man didn’t regard River, nor her nakedness.

River stared at him in a way that would unsettle one’s soul. A shuddered breath rattled her chest, and she went over and grabbed her dress.

“I was just here to discuss the itinerary for Aquila.” she kept an eye on River as she slipped on her dress, the way the girl looked like she was about to drive a spear through her lover before she quietly slipped out. “However,” Inara continued “we can do that in the morning.” Before he could stutter, she was out the hatch, searching for a willowy seventeen year old in her new blue dress. Pausing in the galley, she took a hunch and left to her shuttle.

River was already curled on the bed.

She shut the door quietly and went over.

“There’s no heart.” River began before Inara even took a seat. Her fingers picking at the silk sheets. “Not for me.”

Taking a seat, Inara watched the girl clamber into her lap and open arms. Wrapping her up, she kissed the crown of warm hair and rubbed her back. River felt damp with sweat, and stank of sex, but neither fazed the Companion. “Yes there is.”

“Not him.” River confessed. “Knows but still plays. Feels, can feel. I can feel and I like the feeling of being able to feel. Feels good. Just in it for the feeling.”

“But you want more than just the sensation, băo-bei.” Inara fixed River’s skirt, so she was modestly covered.

“You’re in the sensation business.” Her gangly legs jutted out in the most awkward way, and her spindly arms were hanging limply like a doll’s.

River’s words were startlingly cohesive, and they made Inara pause but a moment. “I am, and I’m not saying that you can’t enjoy sex that doesn’t involve a relationship,” she corrected. “However I don’t think that path is for everyone. Particularly someone such as yourself.” Through the soft glow of the shuttle’s light, she saw River’s wants and needs plainly advertised on her youthful features. She caressed the apple of her cheek, brushing away the streaks of tears.

“Everyone has the half. Everyone but the girl.” River threw a pitiful glance towards the door. “They sleep in their sheets, bodies like twine, intertwined. They have one, they had one, they can have one.”

“It will come for you Sweetie.” Inara pressed a kiss to her hair before scooting River off of her lap.

“No it won’t. Too wooly.” River sulked.

“Nonsense.” Inara left the bed and went to her armoire, opening it up and finding a silk nightgown that was more modest than her usual fare.

“Nobody wants a crazy girl.” She dramatically flung her arms out and collapsed backwards onto the bed, the pain in her chest heavy. “Quoth the pilot.”

It made Inara’s blood boil as she hung the nightgown and went to fetch her basin. “Don’t listen to that wū zhuó de zhī-guān-jié chĕ zhuāi de huài-dàn .” Filling the basin with water, she dropped a sea sponge in and set it next to the bed. “You are a beautiful, wonderful young woman.” she took out a towel and some soaps, setting the area up. “Though you may have your foibles you will find someone that will accept and understand you.”

A moment passed, River looked dubious towards Inara’s uplifting words.

“Now come on.” Inara gently squeezed the girl’s ankle. “Let’s clean you up, you’ll feel better.”

*** ***


Carrying Lila upstairs upon retrieving her from Simon and Kaylee, she entered the shuttle. Before heading back from a client she had gotten into a routine of cleaning it and putting things she didn’t necessarily want the girls to see away, to the space would be ready for them upon her return. The shuttle that had hosted so many clients now had a small table with school books, a chest of toys and a play rug.

Lila fussed suddenly, whining and wriggling about.The baby was ten months old, and as Simon announced at her last check up ‘fat and happy’. There was little happy at the moment though, for she needed to be put down for bed.

“Lila, Lila, Lila. It’s alright my xiăo yīng .” Taking prompt action, Inara found a pacifier and gave it to the baby. She sucked earnestly on it, settling in as her mother sang a little tune and settled in a rocker. Inara didn’t quite know how she had ended up taking in two girls roughly eight months ago, but she had. Hannah and Lila had needed someone to nurture them, guide them, and being between clients for weeks at a time afforded her the time to care for them. Her training as a instructor gave her the patience and affection needed for becoming an adopted parent, so she had taken easily to it. She still went and saw clients, but the engagements were never more than a night’s stay. They were also planned carefully around the children, to make sure their schedules were not too drastically altered.

There was a knock at the door.

“Jìn-lái.” Inara called, softly as she rocked and unsnapped the pajamas Lila had been put in. Her shuttle was always a little warmer than the rest of the ship, and the footed pajamas Simon had dressed the babe in after her bath were a bit too warm.

“You’re back.” Mal slipped in, watching Inara and the baby cautiously. Stopping, he hung by the door. “I can come by...”

“No no, we’re just getting ready for bed.” She peeled the pajamas off and hung them on the cradle. It helped Lila settle even more, and Inara kept rocking whilst gazing at Mal. “And how was it while I was away?”

The Captain stepped in, his eyes wandering about as if he was trying to read what the shuttle had seen during the trip. “Fine, delivered the goods.”

“Anyone shot?”

“Tā dé-dào liăo féi măn. I remember when she was just sickly skin and bones.” He countered, watching the ginger haired baby. "And it went fine, by the way. Haven’t put us in a position to be shot at since you adopted these little whelps.”

“Well what you plan and what happens is not always the same thing.” Inara looked down as Lila rested a fat cheek against her breast, her mouth no longer working so fiercely on the pacifier.

“We all got our fingers ‘n toes Miss Serra.” said flippantly, venturing further in as Inara gingerly removed the pacifier.

Lila puffed her cheeks and scrunched her face. Her watery blue eyes gave Inara a look of betrayal for taking away the pacifier.

“Shhh.” Inara helped her find her thumb, which she sucked on and fell back asleep. “How is Josephine?”

“She’s fine, flyin’ right now. Zoe’s takin’ a shining to her.”

“That’s good, seeing as she nearly shot the last pilot.”

“Well, so did I.” He hitched his thumbs under his suspenders. “He gotta happy ending as far as I’m concerned.” Mal watched Inara with her baby before noting. “They sure miss you when you go off.”

“I know, I miss them too.” She cast her eyes down, Lila was finally at peace. “But my career provides for both of them.”

“It doesn’t have to.” Mal voiced.

“Mal, I’m not going to get into this with you again,” She kept an even tone as to not disturb Lila, but the lines of exasperation showed on her face. “This discussion never ends pleasantly.” It never truly did. Mal would talk about how the ship’s business could support her and the girls, then she in turn would site that the only reason everyone ate food that wasn’t moldy protein was because she bought groceries so her girls would receive proper nutrition. From there he would grow offended, it would escalate, the ‘whoring’ would slip out, and soon they wouldn’t be talking.

There was a pause as Mal weighed his options. “You’re engagement filled with glamour and wonder?” He quipped.

“Of course.” She got up and gently set Lila in her cradle, watching her for a moment before turning on her baby monitor. Slipping on a robe, putting the other monitor in her pocket she went to Mal.

He shifted, nervously.

“What is it you want to talk about?” She inquired.

“Just came in to say welcome home...”

“We both know that’s a lie.”

Mal said nothing as he shifted his weight.

“Mal if you want to talk about us, then we can talk.”

“I don’t think there’s anything to discuss.”

“I think you try to start a fight every time I return from a client. Whether it’s a conscious attempt or not.”

Mal furrowed his brows, looking insulted. “I do not.”

“Yes you do.” She moved out of the shuttle, knowing there was a confrontation in the wind.

“I come in ta say hello.” He followed her out, raising his voice.

“You come in to belittle my work because you put it between us.” she quietly shut the door and turned to him, folding her ams.

“I don’t put it between us it’s already there.” He snipped.

“Mal, I don’t see my work between us, I haven’t since I renewed my registration a year ago and I went through the process of having a relationship outside of my clientele approved...”

“Why does it have to be approved?” Mal growled. “Why does a board of people gotta have a say in this?”

“I want to retain my standing.” She voiced sharply.

“Why does this have to define you?!”

“Why does this have to bother you?!”

“Because you come back like nothin!” He blew up in her face. “Like what you went out and did was nothin’ more! You hug your babes and you come to me and want to lay with me! And what do I do? Huh Inara?” Mal’s voice dropped off to a pained whisper, he swallowed thickly. “I want this, I want this more and more. But to have you come to me right after you service some good ol’ boy for cash don’t bolster my pride.”

She watched him turn away, red with frustration. Feeling sick, guilty to be the cause of so much rage she reached out and touched his shoulder. “I come to you after a client, because I need to be with you. They are inferior to you, Mal.” Stepping forward, she wrapped him up from behind and pressed a kiss to his shoulder. He felt as tense as a ridgepole. “I don’t let you come to my bed because I feel it’s a place of... commerce.” She struggled. “I go to your room because there is nothing attached there. And I lay with you because I love the way you make me feel.”

Mal sighed, relaxing, his hands resting on her own.

“I feel cherished, with you.” She whispered. “I enjoy being a Companion but it does not carry the weight it once did. I am a mother, and if you allow me, your lover. Those are two titles I hold in higher regard.”

The Captain turned, gazing into her dark eyes. Mal held her and wore a look of relief.

“I mean it.” She whispered, kissing his lower lip. “I’m sorry that you feel that way, but you can’t expect me to drop my stability and livelihood. I will however make adjustments.” She cupped his jaw, watching him soften.

“Are you sure you wanna leave Lila all alone?” He whispered, pulling her closer and leaning in for another kiss.

“She’ll be fine while we’re occupied, I can see to her afterwards.” She hummed, indulging in his mouth. Making herself pull back, she caught her breath, “I should see to Hannah first. I had told her to go head to bed, I need to say goodnight.”

“By all means.” Mal let her go. “Go tuck her in, girl needs her Momma.”

Inara smiled and left him “And you go ahead, I’ll meet you at your bunk.” She mouthed before picking up her pace. Swiftly, gracefully, she moved downstairs and to the doors. Avoiding the mess of the common room, strew with books and baby toys, she found the right door and slid it open.

River was on Hannah's lap.

Her seventeen year old daughter had her back to the wall, her hands on River’s pajama bottom clad hips as her mouth was locked with the readers. River’s chest heaved, her hand clumsily trying to get behind the hem of Hannah’s fuzzy flannel pants.

They both looked up.

Inara, drew a brow up.

River pulled her hand away and slowly slipped off of Hannah’s lap, her eyes wide and frightened.

However Hannah held onto her. Sitting up she kept River seated between her legs, and she wrapped her arms protectively about her waist. “Momma.” hiding the lower half of her face behind River’s shoulder.

River shrunk against Hannah, resting her hand on the arm that was holding her. The reader looked ready to turn transparent and avoid whatever scolding she was about the receive. There was no peeking at Inara’s brain, just a wild imagination.

“Why are you so ashamed?” Inara shut the door and walked over, taking a seat on the bed with them.

They both sat there, silent, trying to process Inara.

“River, what’s wrong?”

“Tā shì nĭ de.” River held onto Hannah’s arms tight.

Turning to them, she reached out and cupped River’s face, meeting her dark, fathomless eyes kindly. “You’re mine too.” Inara told her, lovingly, watching River melt from rigid with fear to relaxed. “I love you both very much, and I know you two are inseparable.” She looked over to Hannah. “And what do you have to say?”

“I love her.” The teen said honestly.

River beamed rapturously from up front.

“I can tell.” Her fingers pushed a lock of Hannah’s glossy brown hair back, a smile of happiness for them on her lips. “And River loves you very much.”

River nodded her head, her wild tresses tickling her face.

“I will never condemn this, I’m happy.” She reassured the teens. “How long have you two been sleeping together?”

“Two weeks.” Hannah turned her head and rested her cheek against River’s tee clad shoulder. “But we haven’t done anything.”

“Just lips.” River added from the love of Hannah’s embrace. She allowed her body to slump, so her head rested against her chest.

In return Hannah loosened her grip, resting her hands on River’s flat tummy as she dropped an affectionate kiss on the top of the dark head. “We... we never...” Hannah screwed up her face, awkwardly “well... we kinda don’t know how to.”

“Well.” Inara took a more comfortable position on the bed, Mal was going to have to wait a little longer than expected. “I’m surprised River’s never gleaned anything from me.”

“Not quite specific, can’t tune the voices.” River gazed up at Hannah. “I tried. Pinky swear.”

“I believe you.” her partner giggled.

“I think you two should enjoy your time together, and how you wish to enjoy one another is up to you.” She watched the two of them, they way Hannah looked down at River with her big brown eyes, and River looked up at Hannah with her darker ones. Her daughter leaned in and pressed a kiss to the reader’s lips as she continued. “If you want, we can talk about ways to experience and express your love.”

“You’d really be willing to talk to us about it Momma?”

“Of course.”

*** ***


“We got nightmares Momma.” Mal announced as he climbed down the hatch with Lila, who’s freckled face was buried in his shoulder.

“Again?” Inara carefully sat up and left the bed going over and taking the two year old in her arms. “Oh Baby.” She rubbed her back and showered her with kisses.

“Mommmmmmma.” The child sniffled, throwing her arms around her. “I don’ wan id gid meeee.”

“It won’t get you baby girl.” Mal went over and brushed her ginger curls out, guiding Inara back to the bed. “We’re right here, and you can sleep right between us.”

“Noooo.” She yawned, already tired since Mal had soothed her on the way over.

Inara was glad they had gotten a larger bed as she took a seat on the side. Laying Lila down, she watched the littlest go to sleep instantly in the safety of their room.

Mal took a seat next to her and rubbed her shoulders. “Ya need ta lay down yourself.” He leaned in and kissed her neck.

“What I want to do laying down has been thwarted by the toddler in our bed.” She turned her head and kissed him temptingly, listening to a little whimper come from him.

Though he made a doting father to the girls and a thoughtful lover, Mal could not get enough of every voluptuous inch of her. He stroked her thighs and sighed.

“Mal, don’t start what you can’t finish.”

He sighed again, defeated, falling backwards onto the bed they shared.

Inara laughed, though feeling his pain as she reached out and pinched his shoulder.

He gazed up at her and reached up, spreading his fingers out on the circumference of the round mound of her abdomen. “You good?” Mal petted the silk nightgown with his thumb. A healthy babe was Simon’s report. Sex wasn’t known, Inara wanted it kept a surprise, but sex didn’t matter to him. It was a little bit of both of them, ten fingers and toes, heart beating. That was what truly counted.

“I feel like a small habitat.” She rested her hand on his own.

“Nín kàn-qĭ-lái nu-shén.”

“I think I may raid the matcha ice cream stores.”

“I can fetch it.” He offered, soothingly rubbing her belly. There was a hefty stock of anything green tea related on Serenity as mother and developing child couldn’t get enough of it.

“No need, I fear I’m a little restless.” She confessed. “I think a little walk with ice cream in hand will do me well.”

“You want company?”

“I think someone needs to stay with Lila.” Inara looked over her shoulder, Lila in a deep sleep. “Besides, you need your rest Captain, seeing as you must pleasure your expectant partner tomorrow.”

Mal read her wicked grin and smiled back. “I will take my job quite seriously, Miss Serra. Feel like a million bucks you will.”

“I’ll probably be feeling fat from the ice cream, you you’ll have your work cut out for you.” She grunted, pushing herself up to stand.

“Nà shì huāng-miù de.”

Inara put on a robe and watched him crawl up to the head of the bed, lying next to Lila as she snored softly. “Sweet dreams.”

“Enjoy the ice cream.”

“Oh I will.” She climbed up the latter and left them, padding down the hall to the galley’s freezer. Opening it, the half eaten pint of matcha ice cream was pulled out.

“You got them cravings?”

Turning, she saw Jayne sitting at the table, cleaning his gun. Though he had lost his right eye a year back, he still picked up on things even if they weren’t in his line of site. “Guilty as charged.” She went and found a spoon. “Are you ready for another one scampering around Serenity?”

“Ain’t really my choice now is it.” He smirked, the action pushing up the long scar and distorting it. Jayne absently scratched the stump of what was left of his right ear, chewing on his cigar. “They ain’t all bad though, woolie things but they ain’t bad.” he went back to cleaning his gun. “Reckon cause’a that one growin’ in ya Mal’s been a touch more pleasant, forgivin’.”

Inara pulled the spoon out of her mouth. “He has been more positive.” She held her tongue and several other things Mal was more of.

“Then again it’s probably all that crazy sex that has ya bangin’ on the gorram wall.” He grinned, wolfishly, as his fingers took their precious time oiling down the disassembled weapon he treasured so. “Hell, rate you two’ve been at it, might haveta knock me up’a girl and see what it’s all about.”

Listening to his chuckle, Inara dug out another portion of Ice cream and moved on. “Good night, Jayne.”

“Feed that baby, ‘Nara.”

Ignoring Jayne, the catwalk was first. Inara hardly glanced to her shuttle, as she hadn’t needed to use it since proclaiming to the guild she was taking an official sabbatical to conceive a third child with her lover. She did pause to overlook the vast cargo bay, tuning into Serenity’s gentle purr of a lullaby. Heading down the stairs, she slowly wandered into the common room where Lila’s toys were heaped in a basket. Hannah and River’s books had their own crate too.

Inara nudged a stray dolly to the toy basket with her foot before venturing on. Making a left, she went to the wing that the girls kept to, feeling she should check in on the girls, who had both blossomed into stunning young women, but were her girls none the less.

Gently sliding the door open, she paused.

River lifted her head off of the pillow, looking over Hannah’s head as she lay behind her in her pajamas. Seeing Inara, she settled closer against the other girl and kissed the back of her head, clearly claiming her as their bodies fit well together.

Hannah sighed.

Inara smiled at them, nodding her head gently. Seeing a shiver run through both of them she stepped in, set her ice cream on the nightstand and grabbed the spare quilt resting on a chair. Draping it over the two girls, she watched Hannah stir and turn into River, who in response shushed her with a kiss to her lips and snuggled closer. Close was an understatement, soul mates was a far more adequate description when Inara watched over them. Hannah cherished and understood River, and River in turn felt the same. They were rarely ever apart.

Hannah yawned, opening her brown eyes curiously. Seeing her mother, she smiled sleepily. “Checking up on us?”

“Can’t help it.” River yawned, as it was horribly infectious. She rolled over onto her back.

“I can’t,” Inara brushed Hannah’s cheek as her daughter rested her head on River’s shoulder “I love you both. Besides, you two were chilly.” Tugging the quilt up as Hannah nuzzled her other half and draped an arm over her, Inara also brushed River’s cheek. “Sleep well.”

“Always with Hannah.” River piped, getting a kiss on her neck for the sentiment. “Finish your ice cream.”

*** *** ***


Dé-dào yuăn-lí wŏ, nín gŭ-guài de rén: Get away from me, you weirdo.

Hái: Baby, child

băo-bei: darling

wū zhuó de zhī-guān-jié chĕ zhuāi de huài-dàn: filthy knuckle dragging bastard

xiăo yīng: Little baby

Jìn-lái: Come in

Tā dé-dào liăo féi măn: She’s gotten plump

Tā shì nĭ de: She’s yours

Nín kàn-qĭ-lái nu-shén: You look like a goddess

Nà shì huāng-miù de: That’s absurd.

*Honesty is the best policy*


Friday, October 16, 2009 1:37 PM


Well done! I like this variation. Particularly the integration of Inara's Companion Status and still having a relationship with Mal.

And River's experimentation with Sex seems spot on. She's both innocent and experienced at the same time. I would imagine in your setting she would feel left out with everyone else in relationships. Having her fall in love with Inara's adopted daughter is a twist I wouldn't have thought of.

Bravo Ash, Bravo


Friday, October 16, 2009 1:41 PM


Interesting progression. I'd like to know more about Inara adopting the two girls. :)

*Rages @ pilot in the second part* Did he say that to River? He's lucky he wasn't killed, but I hope someone knocked out all his teeth! Was he harassing Zoe too, then? Or did Zoe know?

On River and relationships: Hmm. Well, you'd hope that eventually River might find someone. Newspapers tell me it's not impossible for someone with her condition. I will be glad she's obviously in a better place in your fic, and that Inara and Mal and all the others are there to watch out for her.

Friday, October 16, 2009 5:57 PM


Brilliant, Ash, I really like how Mal learned to relish the good things in their relationship and how he gave Inara time to balance her family with her work and how both didn’t give up on what they could create together.

River finally finding the right partner that loves her, a logical and appropriate progression for her.
So Jayne loses an eye and part of an ear, is there a story in that?


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