What Still Could Be
Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mal catches Ianra at the Docks. Happy Ending-ish sequel to Might-Have-Beens


What Still Could Be by 2x2 Rating: PG Word Count: approx. 515 Spoilers: one allusion to a deleted scene from the Movie Characters/Pairing: Mal/Inara Notes: Happy Ending-ish Sequel to Might-Have-Beens for all those who begged for it ;o) I didn't manage to get giggling in there, but I touched on the failed proposal sorta and I got a kiss in there, so, hopefully this satisfies :o)

The docks were depressingly empty as Inara slowly made her way to where the passenger shuttle sat, waiting to take her back to her life. Sounds of merriment trailed after her, music, laughter and warm light spilling from the hall she’d left behind.

It hurt to look back.

She quickened her pace, even now feeling the pull of that world, urging her to return. All the more reason to leave now, tonight, she knew. Otherwise—


Oh no. Her breath caught, her feet stumbling to a stop. Traitors. She closed her eyes, willing him to just let her go, knowing he never would. She sighed. “Must we always do this Mal?” she asked wearily, turning to face him.

“’You really just gonna leave?” he retorted angrily, stepping into her space.

“What else am I supposed to do?” she hissed through clenched teeth, refusing to back away.

“Stay,” he whispered, the anger leaving him in a desperate plea, his hand searching out hers entreatingly.

She felt her chest grow tight. Oh no. “Mal…” She pulled her hand away and shook her head in hopeless exasperation, turning for the shuttle.

“Inara!” He caught her wrist, pulling her back to him, his eyes imploring. “You asked me once why I didn’t stop you. Seems to me that meant you wanted me to.”

“That was a long time ago. Mal,” she said beseechingly. “It’s too late for the might-have-beens.”

“Ain’t interested in what might have been,” he said stubbornly, his hand squeezing hers. “‘s what still could be that matters. Back then I weren’t brave enough to stop you from goin’, an’ you weren’t brave enough to stay. But now I’m here, an’ so are you.”


“You don’t wanna get married, we don’t get married. That ain’t what’s important. But I love you, Inara,” he said with absolute conviction. “An’ I know you love me. That’s all that matters. We make the rest work.”

“But it never works, Mal,” she said, despairing. “Every time, we end up right back here.”

Mal nodded. “An’ we probably will again. But that’s okay. It’s okay, Inara,” he said fervently. “An’ when you leave again, I’ll let you go. Until the next time. An’ then we’ll do it all over again. An’ we’ll do it all over again the time after that. An’ the time after that, an’ the time after that, for as long as we can. Because that’s what matters. You an’ me, an’ takin’ every scrap of happiness we can in this ‘verse, for however much time we can take it.”

She searched for an argument, for the words to refute what he was saying; her eyes closed in defeat.

He stepped closer. “You know I’m right,” he said, breath hot on her ear sending shivers down her spine, just like always.

“It’s crazy,” she whispered, protesting weakly.

“Conjure it is,” he agreed and she could hear the smile in his voice.

Buddha help me, she thought, shaking her head. “I can’t believe I’m doing this aga—“

Her words were silenced by the press of his lips.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010 8:22 AM


Look at you, being all sneaky and getting people to promise to write you stuff! Guess I should make good. My other stuff isn't exactly going anywhere.

The two of them return for the reception, because it's so sad that Inara felt like she couldn't stay and celebrate with her little bandit family. Next time, Inara makes MAL leave. Anyway. They get back, and they dance. And Kaylee squeals and snaps a picture.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010 8:30 AM


Yep, you gotta pay up now ;oD

And yes, that's exactly what they do *nods* with Kaylee taking the picture. Inara has looked back at that picture many, many times when she's needed to :o)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010 10:01 AM


I really loved this. Course, I want more. :)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010 10:23 AM


Thank you :o) I do accept bribes ;o)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010 11:40 AM


I'm a happy, happy briber!!! Inspired, darlin'! Thank you so much :)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010 2:10 PM


I love this! The last one left me too depressed to comment, but this one made up for it. Thanks so much for showing more to their relationship.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010 5:01 PM


wow, bribes work! and lead to delightful stories like this. oh Inara, there's still time to slap him for kissing you and make your escape!

Thursday, May 13, 2010 2:03 AM


Lovely insight that any relationship they ever manage to maintain is not going to be all sweetness and light ... but making up can be fun too. Thank you!

Thursday, May 13, 2010 9:40 PM


This is actually sort of similarly bleak (Let's be codependent and unhealthy together, yay!) but I adore you for writing it because it made me feel better! Thank you! :)

I'll try to scrape up something today. Zee Offeez is being extremely slow.

Thursday, May 13, 2010 11:59 PM


@GillianRose: Aw, you're welcome. Glad you enjoyed it :o) No giggling, but who knows? Maybe there'll be more ;o)

@Katesfriend: Too depressed to comment? Wow. But that's a great comment in and of itself :oD At least, it is to me :oD Glad this one made up for it though, thanks :o)

@mincingbeast: she could, t'is true, and I know that might have made for a happy ending for *you* ;oP You'll just have to read the first part and treat this one as optional. Isn't that better? ;oD

@Jane0904: Thank you :o) Is there such a thing as a relationship that *is* all sweetness and light? *G* And, more importantly, would we *really* want to read about it? *G* Give me the angst, anyday ;oD

@AgentRouka: Still bleak, huh. Hmmm, but... don't codependent, unhealthy together people deserve some happiness too? ;o) At least it made you feel a bit better... but... let me think on it, I may come up with a little more for you ;o) Also, yay! Fic!!

Friday, May 14, 2010 4:55 AM


Ooooh, can I pressure you into more, yes? ;)

I went and finished my bribery. Find it here or at lj. And please, take full responsibility, because I'm blaming it on you. ^_^

Friday, May 14, 2010 6:27 AM


Maaaaaaybeee ;o)

Or, if you want something other than more of this one (i.e. a new sort of prompty prompt) I have several unclaimed letters in an A to Z meme post on my LJ, you could pick a couple letters and prompts (and even fandoms *gasp* if you want to choose something from my list other than firefly) or I can just continue on with this one merrily... I'm easy ;o>

Will I get more drabbles if I write more too??? :oDDDD

Saturday, May 15, 2010 12:20 PM


*joins party at a sweaty jog - am I late?*

I've been wondering what would get these two out of this dynamic. And of course it's: kids. They wouldn't have the time or energy for the endless to and fro. What would it take for a pregnancy sequel? Or a 'we haven't been out for two years' sequel? :)

Monday, May 17, 2010 5:50 AM


Pregnancy sequel, huh... hmmmm. I'll have to think about that.

The standard rate seems to be drabbles in return, so.... how about "indiscreet endeavor" Mal/Inara of course ;o) and I'll see what I can do :oD


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History of an Object
There’s no reason to keep it, damaged as it is. Save one. Doesn’t matter that it’s finer than any other cup on the ship, even with the crack. Doesn’t matter that it would never hold liquid again without some of it seeping through. Burning your fingers. Was only one reason he still has the cup.

Five Years' War
The night was warm. Clouds, low on the horizon, blue black in the last light of the setting sun. Nothing but the breeze and the buzz of the cicadas breaking the stillness. A perfect evening.

The Close Shore, At the End, Untenable
“Dead ’re in my head tonight,” he said finally. “Can’t get ‘em out. Don’t got the booze or the bar to distract me. Don’t know why I’m here ‘cept I don’t think I can go through it alone.”

The Slower Path: All the Difference - Part 15 - Sequel to The One Less Traveled By
She let out a breath, saying nothing for a long moment before she raised her eyes again. “There are some things I want you to know,” she said softly. “Things I want you to understand.”

Much as he wished he could ignore it, he could see it was important to her that he know whatever it was she wanted to tell him. He knew he wouldn't have let himself see it in the past, but that weren't where they were anymore, or at least, not where they wanted to be, either of them. Their relationship had changed, was changing, and he weren’t so stupid he didn’t recognize that. He didn't know that he wanted to know it, much less understand it, but she was reluctant enough to talk about any aspect of her life as it was; could be he might ought not stop her when she wanted to.

Unlucky at Cards...
“I… You can’t be that lucky!” Mal moaned as Inara beat him again, laying out her cards with a flourish.

The Slower Path: The One Less Traveled By - Part 14 - Sequel to Regrets
They fell silent again, struggling to find the ease that they had found, before; before the argument that had almost ended things.

"I feel like-," she started.

"This is-," he said at the same time.

They looked at each other. "Awkward," they both said, laughing lightly.

Always Had Faith
Faith in a higher power? That was always Mal's thing, the Captain, back in the war.

Loved and Lost
Love’s the biggest kind of hurt there is.

And I wouldn't trade that love for nothin'.

The Mood That Passes Through
He felt the first trembling shudder go through her, heard her breath hitch and felt her fingers grip his skin; knew it was comin', the wave that was cresting the walls she'd built to hold it back, whatever it was. Knew they were about to come crashing down around her. The first sob still hurt though, still lanced through his heart like a searing hot blade to hear her make that sound.