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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Inara arrives on Sihnon; Mal is remembered.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1176 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Thanks to GillianRose for helping with developing this idea.
When they had boarded this last vessel, the one taking them on the final leg of their journey to Sihnon, Dr Ronson had noticed, as they stepped inside, how heavily Inara had leaned on him, with her head turned towards his shoulder – the first time that she had shown any sign of pain or difficulty during their many days of travel. And he wondered, was it understandable fatigue, or a sudden onset of an unpredictable symptom? Or was it calculated to elicit the treatment that followed? – the sympathetic as well as admiring glances of the cabin crew, the ushering with the merest and most respectful of words into a section of Premier Class separated from the rest of it by sliding doors of frosted glass that opened and closed oh-so-quietly. Shm. And then the peace. The utter and absolute being left alone, and a chance to sleep with legs outstretched.
Had it been arranged in advance, this accommodation? Undoubtedly Inara could afford it. Or was it something that came automatically to exalted representatives of the Guild, such as herself? He had exerted himself to fall in without reaction, following without any expression, without comment. When they were offered champagne he had accepted it as though it was the most natural thing in the world; and had managed by a supreme effort not to throw himself immediately on the vast and elaborate array of sushi that was put before them.
Dr Ronson hoped that in all his dealings with Inara – from the moment she had walked into his consulting room until now – he had conducted himself properly. Though he had never had dealings with someone of her standing before, he asked himself if, were he to show any interest in her outside of her illness, would that interest appear indiscreet, prurient even? On the other hand, would it not seem downright rude and cold-hearted to pass the entire journey without asking a single personal question? Perhaps that was why she had slept, or appeared to sleep, for most of the trip, as a characteristically gracious and unobtrusive way of saving him the discomfort of struggling to hit the right note.
A muted, electronic bell tone sounded out of the mini-speaker buried in the arm of Inara’s seat, and she opened her eyes and stood up.
“I asked the cabin staff to let me know when we were two hours out. I have to get ready.”
She lifted her arms to reach the baggage compartment containing her bags, but straight away almost fell back into her seat.
“You shouldn’t do that,” said Dr Ronson. “Let me help you.”
“It’s the one with the velvet panels,” Inara said, holding her forehead as she recovered from her dizziness.
“We should get to the clinic as soon as possible,” Dr Ronson continued, pulling down the bag. “Tomorrow.”
“I don’t think that will be easy. You realize that I’ll be followed everywhere. And I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to be seen with me when we arrive. I suggest that you go ahead or hang back.”
She sounded so tired. “Let me help you,” he repeated. “Tell me what you need.”
“My make-up. I’ll leave dressing until the last minute. These things” – she indicated the soft, flat, fur-lined boots, long robe-cum-coat, and simple woollen gown she was wearing – “these things are so comfortable! Now.” She started to take out brushes, compacts, tubes. “If you could hold the mirror, then I can stay sitting down.” She squeezed an iridescent white cream on to her fingers, dabbed it over her face, where it instantly became invisible. “Thank you,” she said. “The way you’re holding it, that’s just right.”
She chose another cream, this time in a pot, and in her thoughts the dark, distant outline of a man appeared, a man very much loved, who had once held her face and made it up like a clown’s, in response to a need of hers that he’d understood, tenderly, without being told, and she allowed herself to think the momentary thought that he had understood sometimes, and known just what to do, when they were alone and it was just their feelings for each other. And her heart lurched painfully in response to this thought, so much so that she had to end it. And the man’s outline receded as she brought herself back into the foreground of her mind, and he was gone.
Dr Ronson seemed to understand too. He held the mirror with one hand, brushes with the other, then a section of hair in place while she pinned another over it, fiddled with the tiny clasp of her necklace, tied the sash around her waist, helped her with her shoes now that it was difficult for her to bend down, shook out her shawl and draped it symmetrically over her outstretched arms, and finally, thank the heavens, said, “Well, I think you’ll do,” and made them both laugh out loud at how solemn the preparation had been.
He had wondered, when she had asked him to make his arrival separately, if it was really necessary. But the flash of capture-imagers, as she proceeded majestically into the arrivals area, proved that she was, of course, right. She would know about these things, after all.
As he flicked through cortex channels later in his small and far too long-unheated apartment, he came across a report about her. It could have been anyone on the vessel of course – cabin crew or passenger – who had alerted the media of her return (and he remembered how she had leant on him when they boarded and understood that she had been trying to hide her face). A woman’s voice ran over the top of the report, commenting on how refreshing it was to see such a celebrated style icon as Inara Serra re-working an outfit from two years ago – and an image was intercut, of Inara arriving at Capital City’s Opera House in the clothes he had only hours ago helped her to put on.
“Idiots,” he said to himself, as a close-up of Inara’s face filled the screen. She was trying to make her way out of the vessel-port, fielding questions, always smiling, always pushing forward without seeming to: “Where have you been?”, “Are you back to stay?”, “Is it true you married a border bicarium billionaire?”
“Can’t they see she’s sick?” he said out loud, his mouth full of the crackers he’d found in a cupboard, understanding why they couldn’t, because, to do that, they would have to see past her incredibly beauty…
He stood up, flicked off the screen, busied himself with unpacking his bags.
Thursday, January 7, 2010 12:25 PM
Thursday, January 7, 2010 3:50 PM
Thursday, January 7, 2010 3:55 PM
Thursday, January 7, 2010 6:39 PM
Friday, January 8, 2010 10:34 AM
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