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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Next in this Mal/Inara saga. Inara breaks away. Follows 'Connection'.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1215 RATING: 10 SERIES: FIREFLY
Polite notice: I'm intending this to be my last update in the BSR and am moving to ff.net. See you there, maybe.
In Inara’s mind, the actual words that Mal had used during their conversation just ended were drowned in an overwhelming sensation of their content and meaning. She was filled with a feeling of profound happiness at their reconciliation, as tenuous as it seemed, having taken place through the light years between them, over an invisible wave connection. For that was what, unexpectedly, after believing without having decided upon it that she would never see him again, had happened. They had reconciled. She loved him more deeply, more completely than ever. And this could only have happened for her because the same thing had happened for him.
She had looked at him openly. He had looked at her. Through the torrent of her emotions she could remember exactly the quality of his look, a particular moment when it had combined everything she could ever have dreamed to find in his face. His dear face.
He planned to go to the Abbey. This was right. It was right for him to go; the right place at the right time. And Serenity. Serenity had gone. Gone? She couldn’t imagine it.
These last thoughts flashed through her mind as with Dr Ronson she returned to the main hall of the Guild headquarters building, where the House Secretary was waiting to lead her to the High Priestess’s office. She had to think of what she was going to say; she had demanded an appointment without needing one. But, the knowledge of being loved by Mal, by a man so courageous, of such great integrity, emboldened her. Serenity was gone, but Mal endured. He would always endure. He would – rise. Yes, she had a sense that something about him had changed fundamentally. She was very happy that he was going to the Abbey, and after that –
And with a pang she stopped her thoughts from following where her heart led her; and the sudden curtailment led her to revise them, to temper her appraisal of a courageous and righteous Captain. He was brave, that she could allow, and – good. He was good.
He was hers.
Then, out of the corner of her eye, she caught a flash of blue, a blue that she knew very well: the sapphire blue of the salwar kameez worn by the many massage therapists employed by the Guild. In that instant, with a knowledge based entirely upon instinct, she understood. She turned away from the course steered by the Secretary in pursuit of the blue flash, her walk losing with each step the grace that had been inured in her, gaining instead grim, enraged resolve. She quickened her pace as she caught sight of an arm, a leg, the back of a head, disappearing around another corner, and then started to run.
It was her: Rehka, the overall administrator of all the Guild’s therapists. Inara knew her hair, the way she carried herself, the shape of her body. It was her, the guilty one! Rehka!
“Why are you running away from me, you coward!” she cried, her voice cracking into an almost-roar on the last word.
Rehka had reached her own office, was trying to force the door closed. Inara pulled with all her might, staring into Rehka’s face, taking in the gasping breaths, the pleading, agonized look, the cringing shoulders and chest that betrayed her guilt. There was nothing, nothing in the world that would stop Inara from getting into that room –
And she burst in, grasped Rehka with such force that they both fell to the floor.
“It was you!” Inara cried, and she grunted as she hit Rehka with both fists. “It was you!”
Rehka, defending herself from Inara’s blows with arms raised half-heartedly, gave a sort of whimper. “They were going to hurt me!”
“Hurt you!” Inara repeated, the volume of her voice matching the force of her outrage. “Hurt you! So instead you allowed them in, to hurt me!” She sobbed, once. “Do” – blow – “you” – blow – “know” – blow – “what they did to me!”
Rehka, stretching her head to the side, started to cry. Dr Ronson appeared in the doorway, the House Secretary behind him.
“Inara!” the House Secretary called. There was a movement behind him and the High Priestess herself appeared. She hurried over, gently but firmly pulled Inara away from Rehka. She looked from one to the other, asked, finally, quietly: “Whatever is going on?”
Rehka, still crying, turned on to her side. “Rahul, help Rehka please,” the High Priestess said to the House Secretary. He took a step forward, bent down, at which Rehka pulled herself into a ball.
“Call a therapist,” said Inara coldly, her rage shimmering through her narrowed eyes and gritted teeth. “Give her a soothing massage.” With two steps she was at Rehka’s broad desk, seizing a heavy leather-bound book. “It is she who’s in charge of allocating treatment rooms, is it not?” She half-dropped, half-hurled the book to the floor, where it landed, pages splayed and bending.
“Inara,” said the High Priestess, holding her gaze with a quiet strength. “It has been so long since we have seen you.”
“Yes!” Inara replied grimly, defying the Priestess’s calm authority with a stare of just-controlled wildness. “I’ve had some troubles!” She stared down pitilessly at Rehka, still sobbing on the floor.
“We – I’m sorry that, whatever it was, you couldn’t come to me.”
“No, I couldn’t! I couldn’t come to you!” The Priestess said nothing, looked with concern; and inside Inara felt that she hadn’t known. “This person” – Inara looked at Rehka again with absolute contempt – “she lives here. She works here. Our beloved sisters pass through her hands. You need to” – Inara took a breath, breathed in a measure of self-control as she realized suddenly the offence and hurt that her words would inspire – “I respectfully suggest that you look to your House. This House. There is rot, here, on Sihnon, and in our Guild and in this House! And I” –
With a look around her, from Rehka, to the heavily-curtained windows, the panelled walls, to the Priestess, Inara took herself to the doorway.
“But Inara,” the Priestess said. “You asked to see me. And I was hoping it was with news of Ling-Ling.”
Inara, who had been about to leave, turned around. Now it was the Priestess’s turn to search Inara’s face, to ascertain the genuineness of her response.
“Good-Son had a wave from her this morning. She was desperate, almost screaming. We traced it to her mother’s house. She said that she was being taken away against her will.”
Inara let out a deep, grim breath. “Ask her brother. He’ll know where to find her. And it will lead you to Tammni and Kinza too, I have no doubt.”
Rehka’s sobs, which had quietened, now stilled entirely at the mention of the names of House Madrassa’s two disappeared Companions.
There was nothing more to say. Inara turned, walked from the room and steadily along the corridor down which she had pursued Rehka. Dr Ronson, after a moment of hesitation, followed her. He didn’t intend to catch up with her, to insert himself into a situation of which, no matter what she thought of him, he knew himself to be on the periphery. Even as she walked down the headquarters’ main stairway he had a sense of her urgent need to be away and how simultaneously at a loss she was as to where, where to go.
By the time they reached the Madrassa transport that they had borrowed she had sagged, gone blank. He opened the door for her, helped her in. “Shall I drive? Just drive?” he asked, and she nodded.
He followed the outer road that looped around the city until he was diverted inwards by a white-gloved policeman. After another mile or so they were thoroughly bogged down in traffic, with market stalls selling fruit, vegetables, fish and meat to either side and the capital’s biggest temple rising behind.
“Shall I put up the screens?” he asked Inara, the first words that he had addressed to her since they had left the headquarters of the Guild.
She shook her head, pressed a button, made the window slide down. She took a deep gulp of air, smiled a sad, distant smile. “It smells,” she whispered.
Then the people, traders, shoppers, temple-goers, started looking. Inara smiled warmly back; reached out of the transport to take a half-crushed lotus-flower – just picked up from the road - that was offered to her by a small hand. It was a child, wearing the jade-coloured shift of a 寺廟妓院孩子. Inara played with the girl’s fingers as she reached up through the open window towards her hair. The girl made a grab.
“Don’t pull,” Inara said gently.
“You’re beautiful,” said the girl slowly, with a shy but brilliant smile.
Inara laughed. “Thank you! So are you. Very sweet, and very beautiful. Little girl.”
Dr Ronson glanced into the rearview mirror. The traffic ahead had moved a little. Should he move on too? He put his foot down, eased the transport forward through the garbage and market debris lining the side of the road. Inara let go of the girl’s hand but leaned out of the window to look back at her. She had put the lotus flower behind her ear. The girl, still smiling brilliantly, stared happily back.
By now, others had dared to approach the transport, tentatively at first, but more insistently as their numbers grew. Dr Ronson looked back again. Hadn’t Inara noticed? Why didn’t she close the window?
The transport had come to a stop again and the ever-increasing crowd pressed forward.
“Be careful!” Inara said loudly, as the girl was swallowed up by the largely-adult throng and, at the last moment, knocked over. “She’s fallen over!” Inara cried, pushing open the transport door. There was a noise of excitement as Inara stood; some tried to touch her, some waved capture imagers in the air, trying to gain proof that they had really seen her. Inara pushed through them, impatiently brushing away the hands that grasped at her clothing, touched her hair, and got to the place where the little girl lay on her back, half-stepped upon and kicked by the feet around her, staring up in terror. She stretched out her arms and gave a short cry when she saw Inara, who bent down and gathered her up. She brushed the grit of the road from the girl’s hair, soothed her with quiet, sing-song sounds. She looked up, over the heads of the crowd, towards the temple.
“Let’s get you home,” she said.
By now, Dr Ronson too had got out of the transport: he stood with one hand on the open door, watching as his heart was pulled further and further away with each step that Inara took towards the little girl’s home.
Then she stopped, look back. He understood what it was that she said. “I’m not coming back. You’re not coming with me.”
She turned away and continued towards the temple, a crowd of thrilled onlookers in her wake; and he took the key from the ignition, tossed it in a trash can, and disappeared into the market.
寺廟妓院孩子 - this is what I got when I typed 'temple brothel girl' into an online translator...
Thursday, December 16, 2010 12:44 PM
Thursday, December 16, 2010 12:59 PM
Thursday, December 16, 2010 3:18 PM
Thursday, December 16, 2010 6:02 PM
Friday, December 17, 2010 1:09 AM
Saturday, December 18, 2010 3:34 AM
Saturday, December 18, 2010 12:09 PM
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