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ENDS WITH A HORSE (12) Part (07)
Monday, March 18, 2013

A plan and a reconciliation


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ENDS WITH A HORSE (12)

Part (07)

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Follows WHAT BEGINS WITH AN APPLE (11).

The series so far:
A LION’S MOUTH (01)
ADVENTURES IN SITTING (02)
SPARKS FLY (03)
EXPECTATIONS (04)
BREAK OUT (05)
THE TRIAL (06)
SHADOW (07)
ONE MAN’S TRASH (08)
BANDIAGARA (09)
TWO BY TWO BY TWO (10)
WHAT BEGINS WITH AN APPLE (11)

A plan and a reconciliation

* * *

“How goes the research, Simon?” Ip frequently stopped by the infirmary to chat, after taking data from the ongoing gravitational anomaly experiment whose main unit was housed in the cargo bay.

“Not bad, Ip. I’ve been reading up on treatments for PTSD.”

“What’s the news?”

“There’s an experimental treatment involving a stellate ganglion block. It seems to re-set the threshold for triggering fight-or-flight responses. About half of experimental subjects experienced a clinically significant reduction of PTSD symptoms.”

“Is this for the Captain?” Ip was well aware of the Captain’s PTSD, having been witness to one of Mal’s more uncontrolled flashbacks a few months before. They had been flying by the Captain’s home planet of Shadow on their way to Beylix, and it seemed that the sudden view of a violent volcanic eruption on Shadow’s surface had triggered Mal’s fight response.

“Well, yes. The Captain. And River. Zoe, too, on occasion.” Simon didn’t mention the others. The entire crew had experienced some symptoms of PTSD after the Miranda incident. Jayne had come to him for sleeping pills; Inara had come for counseling. He and Kaylee had taken solace from each other and helped each other through more than a few nightmares. River had reluctantly accepted his course of medication, and Zoe and the Captain, as usual, refused to seek medical help and tried to tough it out. “They all could use some form of PTSD therapy, especially if I can find something that actually works. Now, how about you, Ip?”

Ip actually jumped at Simon’s unexpected question, and his startle reflex prompted Simon to follow-up. Simon continued, “So, besides the hypervigilance, are you experiencing any other after-effects from your brush with death on Beaumonde?”

Ip looked away and avoided answering, and Simon, his medical doctor side now fully engaged, immediately followed up. “Have you been having nightmares, Ip?”

“Hmm. A bit,” Ip finally answered.

“How frequently?”

“Mmmm…”

“Frequently, then. About once a week? Twice? Every night?” Observing Ip’s response, Simon continued, “Nightmares every night are a sign of PTSD, Ip. How long has it been since you have had a full night’s uninterrupted sleep?”

Ip gave in. “I slept through the first night after the attack.”

“Yes. The crash after the adrenaline surge.”

“Exhaustion, I suppose. But since then…well, pretty much every night I wake up at some point gasping for breath.”

“Elevated heart-rate?” Simon queried. “Cold sweat?” Ip nodded.

“I keep seeing River kicking the Blue Hand man in the head, breaking his neck.” Ip shuddered.

Simon nodded.

“Simon,” Ip began hesitantly, “does your…”

Simon waited for Ip to finish formulating his words.

“Does your sister often…well, kill people?”

“Not very often,” was his matter-of-fact response. “Why do you ask?”

“Not very often? You mean…she’s done it before?”

Simon bookmarked the medical journal article he’d been reading and turned to Ip. “Ip, you have to understand.” Then he paused, unsure of just how much he actually wanted Ip to understand. Finally, deciding which part of the story he could safely tell, he continued, “Ip, first of all: River is not in the habit of murdering people in their beds. Let me be perfectly clear about that.”

“I never thought so,” Ip replied defensively. “I certainly don’t mean to insinuate that she would.”

Ip tried to speak confidently, but Simon could tell from the way the set of his shoulders relaxed slightly, that he had been genuinely disturbed about River’s violence. It had taken Simon himself quite a bit of time to reconcile the image of River as an expert fighter, trained to act as a human weapon, with River the brilliantly impish but sweet-tempered child he had known before she went to the Academy. Simon’s anger was directed at the Alliance, not his sister. More specifically, at the Alliance-sponsored and Blue Sun-funded Academy that had taken River from him and changed her, abused and tortured her, used her as a test subject in unethical and illegal experiments of extremely dubious scientific legitimacy.

Simon had never actually seen River in action. He had arrived at the Maidenhead Bar to find most of the patrons already taken down or hiding, and the battle with the Reavers had taken place mostly beyond the closed blast doors, while he was barely conscious—barely clinging to life, in fact. After Miranda, his whole perspective on the necessity of violence in certain circumstances had shifted. For instance, he no longer looked on the Captain as a cold-blooded killer. Having seen him operate as a soldier, he now understood that Mal resorted to violence in reaction to violent circumstances, rather than gratuitously. The realization had done much to reconcile him to his vagabond life aboard Serenity, and honestly, it made him much more comfortable with his fellow travelers.

“Ip,” Simon told him, “River was abused at that Academy she went to.”

“I know that, Simon, you’ve mentioned—”

“Part of the course of experimentation done on her involved intensive martial arts training, behavioral conditioning, and the embedding of triggers to evoke the fight response. She has extremely good hand-to-hand combat skills as a result, and her use of them is not entirely voluntary. I think it was part of a counter-Reaver experimental program.” He refrained from adding, one in which she was enrolled involuntarily, illegally, unethically.

“Counter-Reaver program?” Ip was surprised and interested.

“A few months back, before you joined us—” Simon omitted to say precisely when and where. He didn’t need to tell Ip that it occurred on Ferdinand Moon, or that it was associated in any way with Miranda. “—Serenity was chased by Reavers. A lot of Reavers.” An entire fleet of Reavers, in fact. A terrifying number of hungry, aggressive, cannibal savages.

Ip shuddered, remembering the Reaver ship that chased Serenity around Shadow. Those Reavers hadn’t managed to catch them, but the feeling of being stalked by a predator was terrifying. “Was it near Shadow?” he asked. “Did they board?”

Simon shook his head. “We were chased through space on our way to…well, we were headed toward a remote moon. The ship’s controls were disabled, apparently by an electromagnetic pulse, and Wash—Zoe’s husband—had to glide us in. A whole fleet of Reaver ships were after us, and one in particular was hot on our tail. Kaylee managed to get the back-up controls on line just in time for Wash to pull us out of a death-spiral. He was able to make an emergency landing, and we all survived. Then he was pierced through the heart by a Reaver harpoon.”

Ip was shocked.

“We took cover in a building on the moon’s surface.”

“Why did you leave the ship? Wouldn’t it be safer to stay aboard?”

Because we needed to send the Miranda broadwave before the Reavers or the Alliance stopped us. “Because the Reavers were right behind us,” he hedged, hoping Ip would overlook the illogic of his reason.

“They came after you on the ground?”

Simon nodded, masking his relief that Ip had not questioned his explanation. “Zoe and the Captain chose a place to make our stand, a bottleneck point with some blast doors for protection.”

“You fought too?”

“Ip, it was a choice between give up and die, or fight and die. Of course I fought.”

“How did you survive?”

“We almost didn’t.” Simon still had occasional nightmares about that battle. They all had a bit of post-traumatic stress over that incident. “Wash was already dead, of course. Zoe received the first wound; a blade slashed her trapezius and paraspinal muscles. I applied a field suture and bandage, and she was able to keep fighting for a time. Jayne had a shoulder wound, his deltoid, not too serious. Kaylee was shot with a poison dart, and luckily I had the antidote to neutralize the poison. Inara, fortunately, had only minor abrasions—”

“Inara fought as well?” Ip was surprised.

“Yes. She saved Zoe’s life. Shot the Reaver that was trying to—”

“What about the Captain?”

“He received a number of injuries. Broken tooth, corneal hemorrhage, and a sword thrust through the lateral oblique muscles, fortunately rather superficial. Numerous contusions,” Simon replied, hedging around the Captain’s exact role in the battle. He had no intention of mentioning the Operative, nor the Alliance soldiers. “He nearly died, in fact, but by that point, I was not in a position to help him.”

“What do you mean? Were you injured as well?”

“I was shot. In the stomach. It damaged my spleen as well. I would have died, had River not gone back beyond the blast doors to retrieve my medical bag.”

“Wait. She went out?”

“It’s not as if I could stop her. She informed me that it was her turn to take care of me, retrieved the bag, and shut the blast doors behind her. None of us saw what she did, but when the battle was over, River was the only one left standing in a room full of dead Reavers.”

仁慈的佛 Réncí de Fó,” Ip said faintly, slumping down onto one of the infirmary chairs.

For a moment Simon watched, as Ip silently freaked out in his chair. He did not want to see Ip suffer, especially after confirming that Ip had been experiencing preliminary symptoms of PTSD—an acute stress reaction. Casting about for a suitable distraction, Simon redirected the conversation to the first subject that popped into his mind. They were headed toward Bernadette. “So, Ip, are you looking forward to going home?”

“Home?” Ip echoed, trying to shake off his shock and confusion. “Umm, yes. Yes. Very much. My family lives on Bernadette.”

“Father and mother?”

“Yes.”

“Do you have any siblings?”

“What?” Ip’s thoughts were racing, and he tried to focus on what Simon was saying. “Siblings? Yes. I have a sister. Keiko. She lives there. And an aunt.”

“What part of Bernadette are you from?”

“Listen, Simon,” Ip said suddenly. “I have an idea. I have a friend, Hari Nyiri, from when I worked at Blue Sun Research Division. He’s a good friend. Actually, my best friend, before I left Blue Sun. Listen, he works in the Reaver Studies Department.”

Simon listened with interest. Ip had mentioned this friend of his before, but at the time Simon had been too appalled at the idea that Blue Sun actually had a department dedicated to researching Reaver biology, technology, and culture to recognize what an opportunity it presented. (Frankly, the whole concept of “Reaver culture” still sounded like an oxymoron to him.) Ip’s friend might not know anything about River’s Academy, but someone who studied Reavers for Blue Sun might be in a position to have some insight about Blue Sun’s goals in supporting the Academy’s illegal research program. Anything he could find out about Blue Sun’s interest in the counter-Reaver program might help him help River.

“I’d like to set up a meeting between you and Hari,” Ip continued. “He’d absolutely jump at the chance to talk to you about that encounter with Reavers that you just told me about. He studies Reaver behavior, and although most of the research he does is classified, he’s told me enough for me to get the general gist of it. They can’t study live Reavers, because apparently it’s not possible to keep Reavers confined. They’re violent, and they…uh, they—”

“They’d gnaw their own arms off to escape captivity,” Simon filled in. Ip gave him a questioning look. “Or so the Captain says.”

The more Simon thought about it, the more eager he became to talk to Ip’s Reaver Studies friend. Though he was unlikely to have knowledge of the specific program River had been forced into, still it would be worthwhile to find out what kind of research Blue Sun was interested in regarding Reavers. It might give Simon a clue as to what Blue Sun’s angle was on the whole Reaver business. How was Blue Sun linked to the Reaver problem? Why, exactly, did they maintain a Reaver Studies Division? What were the main thrusts of the Reaver research? Were they simply addressing a problem that had cropped up as the megacorporation expanded its reach ever farther into the inhabited ’Verse, or did they have a more vested interest in the Reaver issue? Why did River’s Academy even exist? For what purpose? River clearly was capable of battling Reavers, but was that the raison d’etre of the Academy, or was that merely a side effect?

“I’ll have to introduce you,” Ip was saying, “while we’re on Bernadette.”

“Do you think he’d want to meet me?” He put no stock at all in Ip’s ready answer that of course Hari would want to meet him (presumably because of his scintillating personality and natural charm). He knew well that he tended to put people off at first meeting—he had been told that he struck them as arrogant, cold, uptight, and short-mannered. Even his friends had generally taken a while to warm up to him, and that was only after they had decided that he was not deliberately setting out to make them feel stupid. What might he offer up as bait, to interest such a person as Hari Nyiri?

Reavers, of course. Simon had encountered Reavers, in person, and lived to tell the tale, and that alone should make him a remarkable person in the research scientist’s eyes. A Reaver ship pursued them to Whitefall on his and River’s very first voyage on Serenity, and only Wash’s expert flying and some small miracles in the engine room had enabled them to escape. There was also the Reaver chase as they flew by Shadow, as well as the journey to Miranda and back to Ferdinand Moon through Reaver space.

Then there were the close encounters. The battle on Ferdinand moon, of course. He hadn’t been conscious at the end of that, but as a medical doctor, he had specific knowledge of the injuries the Reavers had inflicted on the crew as well as the types of weapons used to inflict them. There was also the Reaver raid on Lilac—he hadn’t been in town, but a Reaver vehicle had pursued River and the others back to Serenity, and one Reaver had actually crashed right into Serenity’s cargo bay. Mal and Jayne shot him dead the instant he emerged from within the wreckage, but it was Simon who examined the Reaver’s body before it was disposed of, and as a physician he had a unique perspective to offer.

Perhaps his most interesting encounter had been with the survivor of the Reaver attack on the settlers’ ship that Serenity encountered not long after he and River joined the ship. He had given the young man a complete physical exam, before he began to cut on himself and turn violent, and he had not only his professional assessment to offer, but detailed medical records, including blood tests. Yes, this was the bait he could offer—especially that last bit with the survivor-turned-Reaver—and it was exactly the sort of information that was likely to draw this Hari person out and stimulate a discussion and exchange of ideas on a scientific level. Simon was calculating enough to direct the exchange without being too obvious about it, he was cautious enough not to reveal too much on his end, and he could trust to Ip and his genuine innocence, to encourage Hari to openness. It seemed like a good plan. Time to request the Captain’s permission.

* * *

Mal skittered to a halt just outside Inara’s shuttle door. In his haste to apologize, he hadn’t even made a plan. Should he knock? He reached for the handle, but he had barely touched it when door flew open, propelled by Inara’s pull from the other side.

“Mal. I was about to—” she stammered, just as he said, “Inara. I was just, uh—”

They both stumbled to a halt, and gazed at one another for a moment in bashful confusion. “I’m sorry,” they both blurted simultaneously.

Mal’s lips twitched upward and Inara’s eyes lit as both of them recognized the absurdity of the position. But neither one let it sidetrack them from their purpose, and after a mere instant’s pause, they continued.

“I’m sorry, Inara,” Mal repeated, pulling her into a reassuring hug. “So sorry.” The physical contact was as necessary for him as it was reassurance for her—it just felt good to hold her closely and rub his hands over her shoulders and along her spine.

“Mal, I’m so sorry,” Inara was murmuring on her part, as she placed sweet and gentle kisses on his cheeks. “So very, very sorry. Mal, I should have—”

“No, no, it’s my fault, Inara.” He lifted a strand of hair off her face and tucked it tenderly behind her ear. “I ain’t been—”

“I didn’t—I should have—so sorry—so very sorry, Mal—” Inara breathed between dotting him with more chaste, comforting kisses.

“I love you, darlin’. I will always—”

亲爱的 Qīn'àide Mal.”

For some minutes, they simply embraced, comforting and apologizing to each other. They exchanged sorrys and murmurs and sweet kisses, and held each other like priceless treasure, and for some time neither one attempted to forward the matters that had caused them to seek each other out. They simply comforted each other, enveloped in the warmth of feeling, giving and receiving love. An observer might have found it sickeningly sweet, but they were completely alone.

Finally they yielded from the embrace and looked in each other’s faces. “I’m sorry,” they both said again, and this time a little laugh escaped from Inara’s throat while Mal’s lips twitched into a smile. This set off another round of comforting hugs and kisses—briefer this time—then finally they pulled back and gazed into one another’s eyes.

“Come in, Mal.” Inara tugged gently on his hand, and led him toward the sofa. They sat, retaining hands and facing one another so that their knees brushed, unwilling to relinquish contact.

“Inara,” Mal began after a moment, looking down and softly caressing the hand he held, “I’m sorry. I’ve been such a 混蛋 húndàn. I never noticed, and I shoulda noticed sooner, but I weren’t looking. Please—”

“Please, Mal, I’m the one who needs to apologize. I’ve treated you abominably. I overheard parts of your conversations, and jumped to unjust conclusions. I acted in anger, and I hurt you. It’s inexcusable, and I beg you to forgive me.”

“Of course,” he replied. “Of course I’ll forgive you. It’s me oughtta be apologizin’ at this juncture. It’s—”

“I was unreasonable and completely out of control,” she confessed. Their knees touched and she felt an involuntary thrill run through her body at the contact.

“You know, I usually like that. Makin’ you lose control.” He smirked, caught her look, and added, “Okay. I mean, not like that, but—you know what I mean—”

“I’m serious, Mal.” It was tempting—oh, it was so tempting—to join him in that light-hearted, smutty-joke place, but this was important. This was fundamental to their relationship, and it needed to be addressed, not glossed over. “Mal, I saw you comforting Zoe, touching and kissing her, and I mistook your actions for infidelity. I interpreted everything in the worst possible way, and I over-reacted. I was jealous—crazy jealous. I don’t quite know where these feelings are coming from. It’s like…crazy extreme moods. They hit me all of a sudden. And I’m afraid. Afraid that something is wrong with me.”

This was the closest she had ever come to telling him about her illness, and she really was afraid. Not simply of what the illness might be doing to her, but also that Mal would seize on it, ask more questions, demand the full story…and she just wasn’t ready for that. It was too draining.

“Inara—I noticed, and that’s exactly why I come here. I think you’re—”

“Please. Mal,” she silenced him. “There’s more. I need to tell you. I was angry, but that’s really no excuse. After we had our fight, and I broke up with you—”

“I never considered us broke up, Inara. It was just a fight. We’re good now. We’re together—”

“I’m sorry, Mal. I need to tell you. I know you didn’t accept it, but in my head I broke off our relationship. I was wrong, but I was very angry. And I scheduled a conjugal client on Beaumonde.” She met his eyes and waited for his reaction.

It didn’t take long. His eyes flashed with betrayal and hurt, followed quickly by anger. He dropped her hand and pulled back. “You lied. You told me your secret business didn’t have nothin’ to do with clients.”

“I didn’t lie, Mal. Those appointments were for something else, just like I said.”

“You didn’t say. You never said what they were for.”

“You didn’t ask.”

“Of course I didn’t ask. Last time I asked about those gorram appointments, you slapped me and wouldn’t speak to me for weeks.” And I’m not askin’ now. I’m not stupid enough to want a repeat a’ that. Tired of havin’ objects thrown at my head. But maybe you should oughtta tell me. Without me havin’ to ask.

“I should tell you,” Inara replied, taking her cue off his look, as if she’d read his silent message loud and clear. “I owe you an explanation.” But she seemed uncertain how to proceed. “Mal, it’s complicated—” she began, falling back on her old cop-out. He wouldn’t allow that, and interrupted immediately.

“Of course it’s complicated! Everything about our relationship is complicated, Inara! But that don’t mean we shouldn’t talk about it.”

She sat next to him, not touching, staring at the floor, unable to look at him. “I broke up with you. I thought you’d betrayed me. I was hurt. I felt so…bleak. Hopeless. Like my future was a dull blank. There was nothing to look forward to anymore.” She couldn’t bring herself to look at him as she confessed her shame. But without thinking about it, her hand sought his, and she unconsciously began to caress it as she spoke. He did not withdraw it. “So I tried to get over it. Tried to throw myself into my work, to forget. That’s why I scheduled the conjugal client.”

How could you, Inara? He refrained from saying it out loud. She still wouldn’t look at him.

“He wasn’t you. I spent the entire appointment comparing him to you…”

他妈的 Tāmādē. 他妈的 Tāmādē, this was where she told him he didn’t measure up. That he was no good. Angry mean old man, is what he was.

“…and he didn’t measure up. He wasn’t you,” she finished, meeting his eyes at last.

Mal looked at her in astonishment.

“Being with you has spoiled me. I don’t want to sleep with clients anymore. None of them can give me what you give me.”

“What I give you?” he said, finding his voice at last. He couldn’t imagine what she thought he gave her.

“You give me everything. Heart and soul—”

“Inara, this is 该死的 屁話 gāisǐ de pìhuà. I don’t got no soul to give. Got used up, years ago. Nothin’ left. Hollowed out shell, is all—”

“Nonsense, Mal.” They were precariously perched, ready to slide down a slope of maudlin sentimentality or revert to childish bickering. Inara grasped at her self-control, whatever shreds of it she had left, and brought the conversation back to the essential point. “I’m sorry, Mal. So sorry. I thought you’d betrayed me, and so…I betrayed you.”

Mal sat silent for a long moment. Inara couldn’t read his expression at all. At last he said, “Tit for tat.”

“Yes,” she breathed. It was so petty of her. She was ashamed of herself. She should have known better. She did know better, but she let her passions rule her. Engage your passions in what you do, but do not let them govern you. No control. Had she never trained to be a Companion? She’d forgotten the first lesson. Control is the first lesson, and the last.

The silence stretched between them. Mal looked at his hands, folded in his lap. She couldn’t read his face at all. At last he raised his eyes to hers. “Inara, that’s…” he hesitated, searched for the right words, found them, and continued in a surprisingly grown-up way, “well, it’s immature, is what it is.”

“Yes,” she acknowledged, hanging her head.

“Thought I had the monopoly on immaturity in this relationship,” he said, with a ghost of a smile on his face.

“Aren’t you mad?” she asked in astonishment, meeting his eyes.

He fell back against the cushions, exhaled and turned his face away from her. “Of course I’m mad,” he answered, running his hands through his hair. “But I don’t got a leg to stand on. After all, I done the same to you.”

What? Her eyes involuntarily darted to his face, and she noted how his body language spoke of guilt. She didn’t understand. He and Zoe hadn’t—had they?

He raised his eyes at last, and met her gaze. “Thought you didn’t love me, slept with somebody else.”

She couldn’t help her reaction. “But you said—”

“Not Zoe. Ye gods, woman! Can’t you get that notion out of your head?” He spoke testily, but the undercurrent of his thoughts was too dark to hold to that tack. Ain’t as if Zoe would ever take to bed with the likes of me, anyhow. Knows me too well. “No, I meant your friend Nandi. Thought you didn’t love me, that you and I could never…” he trailed off with a sigh, ran his fingers through his hair again, and finally summoned the courage to meet her eyes. “Anyways, I slept with someone else, when it was you I loved. Shouldn’t have done that. ’S just wrong.”

“That’s different, Mal. We weren’t even together then.”

“Yes, we were,” he insisted. “We just wouldn’t admit it. Not to each other, not even to ourselves. Inara, we done betrayed each other before.”

“Petty.” She was speaking of her own behavior.

“Immature,” he responded, speaking of himself now.

Inara could see the barest ghost of humor in the situation. “I suppose…you’re not alone. It seems…Mal, I’m just as immature as you are when it comes to relationships.”

“Inara, that’s a load of 废物 fèiwù,” he countered assertively. “You’re professionally trained, uh—” he screeched to a halt, suddenly unsure how to say what he meant without completely screwing up. Hell, he wasn’t even sure what he meant.

“Mal, I’m…not…” Inara stopped. She didn’t want to talk about her Companion training—it invariably upset him. Besides, she had never admitted such a thing to anybody. “Mal, I’m not on any kind of solid ground here,” she continued bravely. “I’m trained to connect with people transiently. When it comes to a sustained emotional relationship…I’m…well, I’m just as inexperienced and immature as you.”

天啊 Tiān ā,” Mal said with a sigh and a small smile, “no wonder we been squabbling like this. We’re both no better ’n grade schoolers in a sandbox.”

Inara smiled in return. “Immature.”

“Come.” He patted the sofa next to him, and she slid over, closer to him. He reached over and gathered her in, pressing her close to his side. “You know, our timing is just terrible.”

“How do you mean?” She looked up at him in concern.

“Seems I decided to trust you completely, right around the time you decided not to trust me at all.”

“I trust you now.”

“Well, there ain’t but one way forward that I can see,” he declared. Humor glinted in his eye. “Inara, you made your cake, and now you must lie in it.”

“Mal, that doesn’t make any sense.”

“Makes more sense than, ‘You can’t have your bed, and eat it too.’”

Her mouth twitched upwards. 哎呀 Āiyā, he was making her laugh. “You are insane!”

“So I’m told,” he answered smugly, as if she’d just delivered an expected compliment.

“That just takes the cake.”

* * *

*

*

*

glossary

仁慈的佛 Réncí de Fó [Merciful Buddha]

亲爱的 Qīn'àide [dear, darling]

混蛋 húndàn [bastard]

他妈的 Tāmādē [Shit]

该死的 屁話 gāisǐ de pìhuà [damned nonsense, bullshit]

废物 fèiwù [rubbish]

天啊 Tiān ā [God]

哎呀 Āiyā [Damn it]

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A/N: Sorry for the slight delay in posting this chapter. I'm trying to stick with a regular schedule of one chapter every eight days, but this one needed fixing up, and this weekend was a very busy one for me at work. Hope you like it, and don't hesitate to leave a comment! Also, I want to thank ViaLethe at fanfiction.net for sharing her thoughts on Simon, which I incorporated into Simon's scene.

COMMENTS

Monday, March 18, 2013 3:10 PM

NUTLUCK


Somehow I doubt the talk with IP's friend will go as well as Simon hopes it will.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013 9:55 AM

AMDOBELL


Good to see another chapter though I have reservations about Simon meeting IP's friend and the whole Reaver subject being discussed with him. I cannot see the benefits for Serenity's crew while at least Simon's research into PTSD shows some promise of being able to help not only the crew but IP. Ali D :-)
"You can't take the sky from me!"

Tuesday, March 19, 2013 1:48 PM

BYTEMITE


Very interesting look at the PTSD, while also good use of an original character, who is part of the crew, and has his own character arc and storyline. While possibly advancing part of the myth arc, by discussing Reaver studies with Hari.

And of course Mal and Inara finally talking for real, and an actual make-up instead of blowing off the tension.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013 4:08 PM

EBFIDDLER


It's interesting that everyone seems focused on SImon's talk with Ip and his plan to meet Ip's friend. I thought you all would be commenting on Mal and Inara -- finally talking about their issues and beginning their reconciliation after all this time. In any case, thanks for the feedback!

Thursday, March 21, 2013 7:45 AM

NUTLUCK


Mal and Inara are like most couples. They fight, they makeup, they fight, they makeup. I mean we all expected them to make up after this eventually. :)


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ENDS WITH A HORSE (12) Part (12)
Mal tells Inara a folktale from Shadow

ENDS WITH A HORSE (12) Part (11)
Inara and Zoe have a little palaver