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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Post-BDM Mal-Inara re-post. Comes before 'Truth Was', and after Mal has found out about Inara's illness and Inara has discovered that she's not dying.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 902 RATING: 10 SERIES: FIREFLY
They had rutted, humped, sexed a lot. Inara had heard all these coarse euphemisms and more. From the mouths of men who would never use such language unless in the throes of the act itself. But not from Mal. He called it making love. Each and every time it had been making love too, since the night of that day when she’d admitted she was staying with her ‘I don’t know’, and he’d come to her shuttle and they had almost wordlessly, finally come together.
The game still went on, however, now over saying love. It was painfully sweet – and vice versa – this man-woman dance, and perhaps they feared that something would end that they didn’t want to end. That the feelings between them would diminish if they were to speak of them; that each of them might change for the other if they were to say it. So they continued to relish their delicious, intoxicating banter, seeking each other out for that as much as for a kiss: last time, in the infirmary, he insisting on applying a band aid to a barely-damaged finger, she leaning into his body, remembering the time he had reached for her hurt mouth and she’d turned away. It made her eyes fill with tears, how glad she was that things were different now, and he asked her ‘what’s wrong’, and she said: “I like you very much”.
And he’d got a little closer and murmured: “That’s the kind of ringing endorsement a man waits a lifetime to hear.”
And all her feelings had leapt inside and she’d said: “I endorse you very much.”
And they’d stared and stared at each other, quivering, melting, until finally he said: “I endorse you too.”
Now things were different again. She had come to in her bed, been told by Simon that she’d had a seizure, that she’d been unconscious, and her first thought had been ‘they know; he knows’, and she’d sought out Mal’s eyes, having to see how he’d taken the news that she had tried so hard to keep from him. But there was no answer there – whatever he was feeling he was hiding it. He sat on the edge of her bed with his arms folded and his legs stretched out, smiling easily and touching her sometimes as they whispered to each other. He loved her and she him; they would be telling each other soon, now that they both knew that time was limited, and she felt happy about that.
Then Simon had asked Mal to leave and he’d told her – that he’d examined her medication and that it was not what it said it was: one was to create symptoms, the other to suppress them. That she wasn’t sick. Wasn’t sick, but was damaged, by what she’d been taking. The doctors on Ariel, House Madrassa and the Guild, her Companion friends – the comforting fabric that she’d drawn around her in the face of a non-too-distant death fell in tatters. That whole world, the one she carried inside her, which had formed her and nurtured her, shattered along the fracture lines already created by their discovery on Miranda. She shouted at Simon and wept until she was hollow and weak. Why?
Finally she buried herself under her covers. Silk and velvet from Sihnon. She didn’t want them, wanted Mal’s blankets. But she didn’t want to ask him, because she didn’t want to talk to him. She didn’t want to see anyone.
She forced herself into a heavy, black sleep and didn’t know where she was when she woke later in darkness. Fear held her to the bed and she screamed Mal’s name, certain that he would not be able to hear her through the shuttle door. But he was there – a light came on, followed by the sound of his hurried footsteps, and he was right next to her, climbing into bed with her, boots and all.
In the morning he got her breakfast, helped her to wash and encouraged her to change. She’d pulled back a curtain and revealed a rail bowing in the middle with the weight of her beautifully-made clothes. “What shall I wear?” she asked helplessly. She sank to her knees. “Look at it all. I don’t want to wear any of it.”
Mal pulled out the bottom of a familiar-looking dress. “What about this one?” he asked. It was the dress she had worn at the ball on Persephone. “Bit last season though.”
Inara smiled in spite of herself. “Try last, last last season.”
“Why’d you keep it?”
She took hold of it herself. “Why do you think?”
“Wouldn’t hurt to say.”
“Because I danced with you in it,” she said, very quietly, running her hand just beyond the surface of the fabric.
“Put that one on, Inara,” he said. “I’d sure love to see you in it again.”
She stared away from him. “I’ve been so naïve,” she said, in the same low tone. “Do you remember what I said – ‘I like these people and they like me’.” She mimicked herself cuttingly.
“Don’t think about that now,” he said. “Got to get you dressed is all. Put this on and I’ll – y’know, do your hair and your” – he made a circular gesture over his own face, “your make-up stuff.”
Inara laughed, just as he had wanted her to. She put on the dress and Mal kissed her once on the mouth and once on each generous area of breast revealed. He gazed into her eyes. “Sure look ugly without your slap. Best get started.”
She sat on the floor and he sat on the edge of the bed again, holding her face, applying make-up sometimes according to her instructions and sometimes not. When he had finished he gave her a mirror to admire herself in and she said she looked like a clown. How did he know that it was just what she needed? – to be close to him, to be light-hearted but at the same time gently mocking everything about her life that she was finding so painful to bear.
Then he said: “Do your nails now, if you like,” and she said, “Okay.”
When he was painting her nails, each one in a different color, she asked him: “Would you mind if I said you were sweet?”
“Seen you doing it for Kaylee and River oft-times enough. Hell, think even Zoe’s had a taste of your hairbrush lately.”
But as much as he was borrowing her own way of comforting, he was also using his own very well-practised methods: build ‘em up, ‘cos it’s only going to get tougher. Next step was finding a cure for the ‘cure’. Which might mean tracking down Saffron. Which would mean a conversation with Inara that neither of them ever wanted to have.
“Will you brush my hair?” she asked.
“For as long as you like.”
Thursday, November 19, 2009 8:33 PM
Friday, November 20, 2009 11:27 AM
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