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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Short update. Inara asks for help.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 2201 RATING: 10 SERIES: FIREFLY
Sitting in front of her Cortex screen on a low, silk-upholstered stool, Inara looked through the offers-to-contract that had come in since her return. She was limp, desultory, exhausted, until she came to the last one. The first six were from men she didn’t know, but the seventh, David Yo, was a person who she thought of as a friend.
Friend. She saw very clearly that Dr Lang would be expecting to hear from her. During their journey, she and Dr Ronson had discussed possible strategies for convincing Lang that she no longer wanted treatment without him realizing that she had uncovered him.
But what of Lang’s connection to the Guild? Even if she could free herself of him, wouldn’t the enemies that were directing him seek other ways to reach her? And why? Why? Why? Why? Still she couldn’t fathom why; and once again, as always during her circular journeys through the mystery of who was harming her and their motivation, her thoughts alighted on Edward Tang. Good-Son had let her know that he had been placed at Madrassa as a spy; and clearly the target of his scrutiny was Ling-Ling Tang. This had happened while she was away; so Good-Son’s presence had nothing to do with her.
She had to talk to him immediately…
Just then, there was a knock and, before she had given permission to enter, Ling-Ling Tang opened the door to her quarters.
“Inara!” Ling-Ling cried, rushing towards her with hands held forward.
Inara knew that she should rise to meet her but she couldn’t – the smile, which she hadn’t been sure she would manage, would have to do.
As she took Inara’s hands Ling-Ling brushed her fingers over the wide sleeves of Inara’s damask morning robe.
“You look so beautiful, even at this time of the morning,” Ling-Ling said with the note of quietly-awed envy that Inara remembered well. If Ling-Ling had anything to do with her own and the Guild’s troubles, Inara thought, it could only surely be as willing slave to her never-awed brothers.
In the same way that she had touched her robe, Ling-Ling then grazed Inara’s hair. Again Inara smiled. “Your hair looks beautiful,” Ling-Ling almost whispered. “Shall I brush it for you?”
“No, thank you, Razma has already done it,” said Inara, allowing herself to pull her head back a little.
Poor Ling-Ling. Adoring; unwanted. The way she was dressed, in voluminous orange dress, was as much like a Companion as a House Administrator could get away with was – pitiful.
But did she know? Did she know what had been done to her, Inara wondered?
Ling-Ling was looking around the room (perhaps planning what to rifle through when the quarters were unoccupied, Inara thought). And then she started to touch the few things that Inara had started to unpack, lying in an open trunk. The most important things: one almost-black tea-cup, a scarf of inky purple, a small handmade note book, a paint-speckled yellow smock…
“Don’t touch those!” said Inara, not caring how she sounded. “Please,” she added, as she scooped Ling-Ling’s hands away. She continued holding them, to distract Ling-Ling. “You must tell me what’s happened, since I’ve been away,” she said as warmly as she could.
Ling-Ling was pleased. “Is it true, did you get married?” she asked.
“Five times!” Inara replied.
“And that you had a baby?”
No. This was – too much. Inara couldn’t, didn’t want to continue to dissemble.
“Ling-Ling,” she said, in a low voice. “That’s a very delicate question to ask any woman. Never mind a Companion.”
It was part of Ling-Ling’s irredeemable vulgarity that she could never quite admit when she was wrong. “Oh, but your mother was a Companion.”
Inara turned away, sank on to the stool with her back to Ling-Ling. She was wondering if she would have to tell her to go when Ling-Ling let out a cry.
“Oh Inara, have you had a wave from David Yo?” Ling-Ling came over to the screen, touched the image of David Yo, activated his wave.
“Please,” said Inara, stopping the wave before it had played more than a few seconds.
“That’s so romantic!” Ling-Ling continued. “You’ve been back less than a day and he already wants to see you.”
“He’s a dear friend,” said Inara, desultory again. “Now please, I ought to reply to these waves.” Ling-Ling hovered. “In private. You understand, of course.”
“Oh!” said Ling-Ling, blushing. “Of course! I’m so sorry Inara. Of course, I’ll leave you in peace.”
“Not at all,” Inara managed.
Ling-Ling’s progress from the screen to the door was slow, with many addendums to her first goodbye, involving invitations to tea, queries about Inara’s needs, points of information that were of interest only to Ling-Ling.
When she heard the door finally close Inara wanted to drop to the floor with her arms over her head. She wanted to say something, to give voice to how she was feeling, even if it was just whispering it to herself, but she couldn’t.
In the next moment, the first for many, many years in which she had ever acted on impulse, she put in a wave to David Yo.
She wanted to cry out to him when he answered; Yo himself saw it in the sag of her shoulders and the desperation in her eyes.
“David,” she said. “Help me. Please, help me.”
Thursday, February 25, 2010 2:24 PM
Friday, February 26, 2010 3:18 PM
Friday, February 26, 2010 4:51 PM
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