China Doll - Chapter 3
Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Mal is worried about not seeing Inara for 2 days, River helps him get to her.


Author's Note: I appologize for being so late in getting this up. I know it's been like a year! Please click on my name and check my Blue Sun Room items to read the Prologue, and first 2 chapters! Chapter 4 is ready for typing and Beta-ing. Thanks to IvoryValentine for telling me this doesn't suck!


It had been two days since their last fight. Every night Mal sat at the table in the mess hall drinking what was advertised as coffee. The little anime geisha girl on the jar of coffee crystals assured him that these tasted “just as good as the coffee from the mountains of Earth-that-was.” If this was true, he understood perfectly what could drive a planet full of people to destroy said planet, said coffee producing mountains and flee. If anything it was so they could stop drinking this bitter goh-seh.

He sat there rolling the cup between his hands, watching the steam disappear between each sip. He was waiting for her. When she was on board, every night at approximately 9:13 she would come down to the mess, covered in silks and tapestries, smelling of spices Mal couldn’t pronounce, and make tea. She had the capabilities to make tea in her own shuttle, but she always chose to come down and slum it with the rest of them for a few hours. She had not shown for 2 days. Mal figured he really had pissed her off this time.

Kaylee came bounding into the mess, humming some tune she had created in her head.

“Hey captain! How’s it goin’?” She asked while rifling through the cracker drawer.

“Fine Kaylee, how’re you?”

“Better than perfect!” She was always bordering on too cheerful for Mal to stomach.

“And how’s my ship running?”

“Somewhere between dead in the water and good as new! You know, the usual.” She smiled, and patted the metal beams in the mess, “My girl, she always finds a way, don’t she?”

“I think that has more to do with her mechanic than the boat herself.”

“Thanks Mal.” Kaylee busied herself trying to make the moulded protein as appealing as was possible. “So, where are we heading?”

“I’m trying to get us back to Persephone or someplace of similar if not better repute.”

“Got work from Badger again?”

“Inara needs work; we’ve kept her from her meal ticket for too long. Someone should earn an honest living around here, even it that honesty is whorin’.”

“True.” Kaylee always looked a little off-put whenever Mal called Inara a whore or alluded to the idea that she was nothing but a glorified whore. He figured it was cos as a little girl Kaylee, like so many others had wanted to go to Companion academy. None of them knew that the Companion academy didn’t want future prairie harpies and girls who could make a slightly less fine, but no less fulfilling career as a standard whore. Companion’s were respectable women, girls of well born families, girls who could do nearly anything they wanted but chose to master the arts, the music and the man.

“You seen her in the last few days?” Mal tried to come off more nonchalant, less concerned. “I wanna see where she wants us to stop, see if she’s got some appointments and such.”

“I ain’t seen her since, wow, 2 days ago at dinner. You could always just go to her shuttle and ask about her plans.”

If anyone would have seen Inara within those last few days it would have been Kaylee. He knew how Kaylee stole away to the shuttle whenever she could to have her hair brushed, face washed and to have her wrists dabbed with oils. He knew that Inara enjoyed it almost as much as Kaylee, and would never have turned her away.

Mal stood up from the table almost knocking over the planet destroying-coffee. “I’ll go do that right now. Talk to her, you know, about those plans.”

He tried not to run, but he remembered how she hadn’t looked well when he was fighting with her. He remembered her half-assed fight she had put up.

When he tried to open the shuttle doors, they were locked. He started pounding on the metal doors, the sound reverberating through the cargo hold.

River was there too, on the cat walk, watching. She began tapping on the metal railings so as not to startle the captain as she crept up to him. She knew this was an irresponsible way of alerting the enemy to her position, but she also knew he wasn’t the enemy.

River put her hand on the door to the shuttle, tipped her ear toward it and looked at Mal. “Shh, so many secrets, locked up tight. Pounding can’t wake the sleep she is in.”

Mal understood her almost immediately. He was shocked at the fact that he wasn’t surprised to understand her.

“River, you go get Jayne, tell him to bring the torch. Then go and get your brother. Can you remember that?”

“Jayne – torch, get Simon.” She repeated.

“Good now you run along, and make it quick.”

River started to walk away, and stopped. She turned to look at Mal, “Why the torch?”

“River, doors locked,” He demonstrated to remind her, “We need the torch to cut through the locks.”

River smiled, “Wash has the spare key. He keeps it with his others, with the dinosaurs, under the herbivore.” River made a face of mocking when she said dinosaurs.

“Really?” Mal asked surprised, “How do you…” He stopped; he really didn’t want to know the how of it, “Then go get Wash to get you the key.”

River started walking away again; her steps were so light the metal beneath her didn’t even groan. It was as if she were weightless, a ghost of flesh.

“Is she okay in there?” Mal asked quietly.

River didn’t stop, she continued walking, “Silk thread. So fine, but strong, she hangs from it, dangles from it, swinging to and fro.”

Mal’s heart sank a bit at the thought, “Hurry.” By the time he said it, River was out of sight.


Wednesday, September 21, 2005 11:26 PM


Oh wow, don't let anything bad happen to Inara! Gulp, this sounds so full of foreboding. Trust River to know where the spare key is hidden but I'm surprised Kaylee hadn't been to see Inara for two whole days. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Friday, September 23, 2005 6:08 AM


*bites nails* oh no, oh no, oh no. don't let 'nara die!!!



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China Doll - Chapter 4
Inara's memories only come to her when she dreams, now she dreams of heartbreak.

China Doll - Chapter 3
Mal is worried about not seeing Inara for 2 days, River helps him get to her.

China Doll - Chapter 2
This chappy has some Wash/Zoe cuteness and gets inside of River's head. River connects to Serenity for more information on Inara.

China Doll - Chapter 1
Someone's been stealing from Simon's supplies. Inara needs to leave, but has to get Mal to get close enough to civilization to do so.

China Doll - Prologue
Inara-Centric fic. Covers her past, that suspicious syringe, and her future (well my vision of it). Eventual Mal-Inara pairing.