BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - DRAMA

CERES

Inara's Story
Wednesday, September 28, 2005

It was June 2004 that I wrote my first Fanfic 'Book's Story' and it's taken me till now to write my second one, so I'm not a prolific writer but I enjoyed doing it. I think Joss has said that there's more to Inara than you think, but this is just my ordinary version of her story.


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 2355    RATING: 10    SERIES: FIREFLY

Kaylee peered into the glass display case and gazed longingly at the beautiful jewelry lying there. Platinum and diamonds, gold and diamonds glinted back at her as she looked wide-eyed at the display and she spread her hands over the glass imagining the exquisite rings on her work-worn fingers. Serenity had stopped over on Aphrodite, a small planet on the fringes of the system, so that Inara could keep her appointment with the owner of one of the most successful diamond mines there. The terrain was harsh and rugged and Serenity loomed over the compact wooden buildings of the landing port. In strange contrast to these a large transparent dome had been built into the bleak landscape to tempt visitors to enter and spend their money on the enticing goods displayed inside. Kaylee had almost decided that a small round pendant set with a tiny diamond, probably the cheapest in the store, was just right for her when she noticed Inara and her escort at an opposite counter choosing between several opulent bracelets. While she watched, Simon came over and stood beside her. He noticed the curve of her cheek as she leaned over the display case and watched fascinated as her eyelashes brushed against her skin, till she suddenly turned round and caught him staring at her intently. 'Simon, The jewelry here is amazing, I'm gonna buy myself somethin'. Do you think this one or this?’ Kaylee pointed out two delicate pendants. She sighed, ‘Look at Inara, don't they make a beautiful couple. He's soooo handsome - and rich too. He's buying her a bracelet, ain't that sweet? So romantic. Real shiny to be bought a present like that.’ Simon looked at her thoughtfully as her comment sank in. ‘You're right, it's all very pretty. It would complement you, brighten the – the – the sparkle in your eyes,’ he said self-consciously. Kaylee smiled. He hesitated a little before saying, 'Do you think these would make an appropriate present? Which is your favorite? Perhaps you could help me choose....’ ‘Sure,’ Kaylee beamed at him and turned to choose a piece. ‘....it's a long time since I bought anything for River and she'd love something like this,’ he finished. Kaylee compressed her lips together and frowned, but then touched Simon’s arm, ‘Hush, River’s coming over,’ she cautioned. As River joined them they were startled by loud voices. Kaylee could see that an affluent looking couple dressed in long silk robes were standing close to Inara and her client and the woman was becoming very agitated, so Kaylee hurried forward to see if Inara wanted help and Simon followed, not sure whether he should get involved. River pushed forward. ‘Peace, no arguing – the crystals can hear, the walls can hear -they’ll come for you.’ Obviously distressed, she put her hands over her eyes. The woman pulled the skirt of her red silk robe away from River as if it had been contaminated. ‘Did I ask your opinion?’ she snapped. River uncovered her eyes, ‘We shall see the sky sparkling with diamonds,’ she breathed as Simon pulled her gently away. The store security guards were beginning to take an interest in the disturbance when the woman hissed, ‘I think we should leave now,’ and glaring at them all she pulled her partner away towards the exit. Inara’s face had flushed red, but she thanked River, Kaylee and Simon then took leave of her partner with as much dignity as she could still manage. ‘You will be OK?’ he asked. ‘Yes, thank you. Good-bye,’ Inara replied with a gracious smile.

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As Serenity took off, Kaylee and Inara walked to the dining area together while Kaylee told Inara of the dimness of Simon. Inara laughed, ‘Well he's generous to his sister, isn't that a good sign?’ ‘I guess so,’ said Kaylee forlornly. ‘How was your date? He looked so smart. Was he romantic?’ Inara smiled slowly, ‘He asked me to marry him.’ Kaylee squealed with delight, ‘Oh Inara, that's so neat - but you said no I guess. We don't want you to go. You're not going back?’ ‘I refused him, yes,’ reassured Inara, ‘I've found my home here.’ They reached the dining area where the rest of the crew were already eating. Kaylee couldn't resist, ‘Inara's had a proposal of marriage, ain't that shiny.’ ‘That hwoon dahn, he's sly,’ countered Mal. ‘Sly but gorram rich, Mal,’ Jayne mocked. ‘Great taste, he's got great taste, Inara,’ Wash pointed out, then he saw Zoe's jealous expression. ‘I have good taste too, er - great taste, my taste is - er - er - er’ ‘Impeccable? Exemplary?’ suggested Simon. ‘Yeah, just what I was gonna say,’ said Wash, as Zoe laughed. ‘But you're still on this boat Inara, there must be something here worth staying for.’ Inara glanced at Mal and then looked down. ‘Don’t you want to settle down sometime, have children though?’ said Kaylee wistfully. ‘You want children Kaylee, I’ll give you some,’ grinned Jayne. Kaylee threw some food protein at him, which ricocheted off his chest and hit Mal on the arm. ‘Hey, behave,’ Mal muttered in irritation. Inara sighed. She’d got involved with the lives of this crew, risked her life with them. What was the point of being reticent about her past now? She spoke quietly, ‘Back on Sihnon, when I first became a companion I nearly married, but his family stopped us – prevented him I mean.’ She paused, painfully recollecting her life in the companion house and then explained that in Chinese tradition, marriage is a matter of family pride and honor. ‘Lee Hoi Leong was one of my first clients and soon I became his exclusively. There were 40 women in House Madrassa but somehow he always preferred my company and wanted to keep me to himself.’ ‘That’s neat,’ Kaylee murmured. ‘We were so much in love,’ Inara continued, ‘that when he proposed to me I couldn’t see that there could be any problems. I just couldn’t believe that life could be so good, but when he left that night I never saw him again, until today.’ ‘Who we saw in the store, with that boo hway-hun duh puo-foo , is that who you mean?’ asked Kaylee. ‘Yes, that was Hoi Leong. After he’d gone I thought that if I worked hard, learned all my lessons well, became exceptional, I could have been house priestess in a few years time,’ Inara replied. Mal probably shouldn’t have said it, but he remembered, ‘Yeah, Nandi told me that.’ He could’ve kicked himself as they both instantly thought back to the Heart of Gold and painful memories of Inara’s beautiful friend. Inara flinched then continued bitterly, ‘It was what I focused on, hoping that then his family would think that I was good enough for him, but then I heard he’d married and so what was the point of all that I’d worked for? I left the House and my fool-headed dreams to find my own way in the 'verse.’ ‘Hey. You’re good enough for anyone,’ stated Zoe, ‘You ain’t no jien hwo.’ ‘His wife wasn’t happy when she realized who I was, what I was,’ said Inara. ‘You want me to slice him, Inara?’ offered Jayne, ‘ - or her?’ Inara looked amused. ‘Thank you Jayne, I’ll keep that in mind.’ Zoe noticed that Mal didn’t say anything more, but he’d instinctively crushed the piece of protein as flat as a pancake. ‘Lee Hoi Leong? I heard planetside that the family has an estate here, Coolwater I think,’ said Book. ‘Coolwater,’ exclaimed Zoe, ‘that has to be ironic on a rock like this.’ ‘I could send them a wave, see if we can visit. They might not turn away a preacher,’ suggested Book. ‘A man of God is always welcome,’ he said wryly recalling a conversation he’d had with Mal. ‘I would like that, will you try?’ requested Inara. Book left, while Mal got up to avoid further conversation and helped Kaylee store away some of the supplies they’d picked up. He and Kaylee were talking quietly together when Book returned. ‘Well folks, that was easier than I thought. Hoi Leong sent back a wave immediately and we can go there tomorrow.’ Inara looked down at the table and pulled her drink towards her, to hide the agitation she was feeling.

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Book and Inara stepped off the shuttle onto a beautiful marble terrace. Neither could believe the contrast between Coolwater and the harsh landscape surrounding it. Fountains sent water gushing into the air and the intense smell of orange and lemon groves filled the air. Green lawns were cut with flowerbeds that were filled with flowers of every color. A tall dark-haired boy had kept his distance while the shuttle landed but now he stepped forward and Book stretched out his hand in greeting. The boy didn't reciprocate. ‘I'm just a slave sir, please follow me.’ Inara noticed that he wore a band on his wrist, stamped with the name of the estate. As they walked up the steps to the house, a beautiful blonde girl attended to open the wide wooden doors to let them pass through, and Inara noticed the same slave band attached to her wrist. She wondered sadly what misfortune there'd been in their lives, as the girl opened a further door and gestured to them to enter a reception room. They just had time to take a glance around the room when Hoi Leong stepped forward to greet them. ‘Inara, I didn’t think I’d ever see you again,’ he said as he kissed her hand. ‘Welcome to Coolwater,’ he said to Book. A door opened at the other end of the room and a strikingly dressed, elegant woman swept into the room, who Inara recognized as Hoi Leong’s wife. Her clothes and jewelry had obviously been chosen to make an impression, leaving no doubt that they were very rich. She approached Book. ‘Shepherd Book, I’d heard that you’d made an appointment to see my husband, you're very welcome. My name’s Alysha. Please sit down,’ she said as she gestured towards the yellow silk couches that dominated the room. She made no attempt to notice Inara and so Book stayed standing. ‘You needn't worry, I know all about my husband's youthful infatuation with a whore,’ she sneered. ‘I don't think.....’ Book started to say, but she quickly interrupted him by offering him a drink. He accepted a glass of water but moved towards the windows to give Inara and Hoi Leong some privacy and stood admiring the beautiful gardens. Hoi Leong led Inara to one of the couches and they sat down. ‘I’m so happy to have a chance to see you,’ Inara said, ‘but I don’t want to cause any disagreements between you and your wife.’ ‘Don’t worry,’ Hoi Leong reassured her, ‘she appears antagonistic but she suggested that we meet. Maybe she thought it was better to clear the air.’ His tone changed. ‘I’m so sorry that I left you Inara. I should have been stronger, stood up to my family, but my father pointed out how disloyal I was and I wasn’t used to disobeying.’ ‘You always did take far too much notice of them, and we were very young,’ Inara said softly reminiscing. ‘It was my loss,’ he agreed, ‘but how are you? Are you happy?’ Inara smiled gently, ‘I think I’m at more at peace now than I ever was.’ Hoi Leong reached for her hand but Inara kept them clasped together in her lap, although the movement had attracted Alysha’s attention. Book distracted her for a moment. ‘How do you keep the land here so fertile? he asked, ‘Has it been terra-formed?’ ‘We divert any water that we need from the lake up above,’ Alysha replied. ‘It belongs to our estate so there’s no need to economize.’ ‘Isn’t that a little unethical in a land this dry?’ Book commented. ‘If the town wants more they can pay us for it. Why should I care?’ Alysha shrugged. Book gave her a contemptuous look and turned back to the window. A sudden movement caught his eye and he stared. Was it his imagination or was that Kaylee that he'd just seen sneaking into the shuttle? Was he getting so old that he was seeing things? No, that was definitely Wash standing under one of the orange trees trying to keep in the shadows. What were they up to? He was still speculating when he heard Inara speak. She stood up and held out her hand to Hoi Leong. ‘Goodbye, perhaps we’ll meet again one day. It’s so good to have seen you again.’

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Book and Inara retraced their steps along the terrace and back to the shuttle. Inara looked a little tearful as she set the controls to take them back to Serenity. ‘Did you think it went well?’ asked Book. ‘Oh, yes, I wasn’t expecting anything more,’ replied Inara. ‘I was surprised that his wife allowed us to meet but - ,’ she stopped and delicately sniffed the air. ‘Can you smell oranges?' she asked Book. ‘I can, but I think it’s lemons,’ he replied as stifled laughter came from behind the rich silk hangings lining the shuttle. ‘I think we’ve been caught, little Kaylee,’ Wash laughed as he tried to look contrite. He and Kaylee appeared, pulling back the drapes to reveal several baskets full of lemons and oranges. ‘What have you been doing?’ asked Book, unsure if he should approve. ‘We hitched a ride and just thought they could spare a few,’ asserted Kaylee. ‘Yeah, we just pulled off the Great Lemon Theft Caper,’ joked Wash. Kaylee giggled, ‘If life hands you lemons, you gotta make lemonade. Who wants cool, fresh drinks with dinner?’

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At dinner Inara and Book explained how their mission had gone, and then Kaylee and Wash entertained them with a long story on their exploits in the garden. Mal again helped Kaylee to store away the rest of the fruit. ‘You’re sure being helpful today, Capt’n,’ said Kaylee. ‘Yeah well, I aim to please,’ he said. ‘I saw some real good hardware today, did I tell you?’ she asked. They stood deep in conversation while Simon and Book cleared the plates away, then joined the others to hear Book’s continued description of the garden. ‘So, they have themselves a little paradise while the rest of the town’s dry,’ said Zoe sipping on her lemon drink’. ‘Yeah, it don’t look like the same part of the ‘verse,’ commented Wash. Mal sat and listened thoughtfully. ‘I think I know how we can make ourselves some money and fence the Lassiter which Inara said is like trying to sell the Monal… Mona….’ ‘The Mona Lisa, Mal. It's a famous painting from Earth-that-was and would be just as difficult to fence,’ said Inara. ‘We need coin,’ Mal stated. ‘The longer we keep the Lassiter, the more chance some fed’s gonna trace it. We gotta get some new parts for Serenity, fuel her up and we can all do with a boatload of hard cash.’ ‘If you need money, Mal, I can sell one or two of the things I’ve been given,’ offered Inara. ‘We ain’t running Serenity on the handouts you’ve been given, Inara. Not till we’re dead in the water,’ refused Mal. ‘The Lassiter’s priceless but that ain’t no good to us if no-one’ll take it. You guess they’re very rich, you reckon they’ll want an heirloom for their little empire?’ ‘I can ask. I’m sure Hoi Leong can be trusted,’ Inara said. ‘If he’s not interested he won’t take it and that’ll be the end of it.’ Jayne drew in his breath sharply. ‘This makes me more’n a little skittish, Mal. Don’t see how we can trust ‘em.’ ‘I reckon I’ve got it covered. We won’t get what it’s worth, but we need supplies, so we can take a bit of a drop. Who else can we trust? You wanna ask Saffron who to fence it to? Or wait till she hitches up with some fed to net us?’ Mal explained. Jayne frowned but Kaylee touched him on the shoulder and gestured to him to follow her.

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The shuttle landed on the terrace again and Inara and Mal followed the same slave boy up the steps to the house. Once they’d disappeared the shuttle door opened again and Kaylee and Jayne emerged, cautiously making their way down into the orchard. ‘This where you and Wash got the fruit from,’ said Jayne. ‘Yeah, worth stealing wasn’t it,’ grinned Kaylee. ‘You wanna get some more?’ suggested Jayne. ‘We won’t have time,’ said Kaylee, ‘we need to keep moving.’ ‘Just a couple,’ Jayne insisted and reached up to pick two of the nearest oranges and put them the bag he was carrying. ‘It’s quiet ain’t it?’ queried Kaylee, ‘Kinda unsettlin’. I guess most of the work’s automated, though Book said they had house slaves.’ ‘It ain’t where I’d be if I had the coin,’ said Jayne, ‘no beer, no whiskey, no women – ain’t no point.’ Suddenly Jayne spotted a chicken run laid out in the shade of the walls. ‘Hey, I'm gonna get me a chicken for dinner tonight,’ he claimed, putting down the bag. Kaylee gasped, ‘Jayne, you can't do that. It'll make too much noise.’ Undeterred Jayne crept over and opened the wire door. He made a grab for one of the birds but it ran squawking into the roost and he was left with a couple of feathers in his hands. ‘Gorramit,’ Jayne cursed. ‘Jayne, just leave it,’ said Kaylee anxiously. ‘Won't be long,’ he said lifting the roof of the roost and peering inside. The hens were clucking like crazy now. ‘Hey, I can get me some eggs,’ he exclaimed and scooped up as many as he could hold in his cupped hands. ‘Jayne,’ scolded Kaylee, ‘if this messes up our plan I'm killing you.’ She held the door open and closed it behind him. ‘You can try little girl,’ scoffed Jayne. ‘Quit frettin’ and hold these,’ he ordered. Kaylee made a pouch with scarf from her neck and took the eggs from Jayne. ‘See, no problem,’ Jayne said. Kaylee glared at him. ‘I can rig the electrics to your bunk,’ she said crossly. Jayne laughed, then she saw his expression changed as he tried to work out if she really could do that. ‘Let’s move,’ he said. They ran to the wall and, keeping to the shadows, made their way to the side of the house and entered through a small door leading from the garden. It was dimly lit and deserted inside and all that could be heard was the sound of machinery and the soft drip of water running. ‘This won’t take me long,’ said Kaylee as she opened the bag of tools that Jayne had been carrying. ‘Help me with these valves Jayne.’ Kaylee selected the right gadget and Jayne used it to close down the valves to the water pipe, so that water was no longer feeding down into the holding tank. Kaylee skilfully disconnected the machinery from the tank then, using some spare bits that they’d brought with them, she bridged the gap between the pipe and the tank. ‘I’ll switch the valves back on, then we’re finished,’ she said. Jayne hauled the device on to his back and Kaylee arranged some straps to help keep it in place, then remembered to pick up her bundle of eggs. Jayne was almost bent double under the weight, but they slowly edged their way back to the shuttle. At one point they heard the noise of some vehicle in the distance and had to wait in the shadows of a lemon tree, but slowly and cautiously they got back to the safety of the shuttle.

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Mal and Inara followed the boy through the reception room and out into a formal garden which ended in a black lacquered pavilion. Unusual stones and plants in tranquil colors were arranged at formal intervals throughout the area which centered on a large pond. Inara hung back slightly and allowed Mal to walk forward first. Hoi Leong was waiting to greet them. ‘Welcome Captain Reynolds, Inara.’ Mal surveyed the garden, taking in all the details, checking out the shadows. ‘It’s a mighty fine place you got here,’ he said. ‘Yes,’ Hoi Leong replied, ‘My wife’s family own the biggest mine on Aphrodite and they like to have someone on-site. It’s a very lucrative business. It’s a dilemma sometimes how to spend all the money.’ ‘Can’t say that’s a problem I’ve had,’ Mal said dryly. ‘No, well, you’ve got the Lassiter? I’m interested in antiquities but it’s not something I’ve had the chance to expand my interest in yet,’ commented Hoi Leong. ‘I ain’t bringing it in ‘til I see how things are,’ Mal replied cautiously, ‘let’s see the coin.’ Hoi Leong looked a little offended but opened a case to reveal the money. ‘4000 in platinum, as agreed,’ he confirmed. ‘Shiny,’ Mal was reassured, ‘I’ll go back and get the goods.’ Once he’d left Hoi Leong hurriedly pulled out a small bag from his silk robe. ‘Inara, quickly, take this. When Alysha joins us she’ll try to negotiate you down. You won’t get much for the Lassiter if she has anything to do with it.’ Inara opened the bag and tipped out a small diamond bracelet into her palm. ‘It’ll be worth a bit if you sell it,’ Hoi Leong suggested. ‘Thank you,’ Inara whispered. She stepped forward and caressed his shoulder gently. His face came closer to hers until their lips almost met and she could feel his breath on her face. He stroked his fingers down the back of her neck and kissed her gently. The sound of footsteps reached them and they jumped apart, each aware that this was a mistake. A bodyguard appeared followed by Alysha. ‘I thought I’d up the security on our investment, not that I don’t trust you of course,’ Alysha said scornfully, looking around her. ‘Where is Captain Reynolds?’ Mal re-appeared carrying a canvas bag. ‘Here it is,’ he said, ‘Ready to deliver.’ He handed the bag to Hoi Leong who checked inside. ‘This is exquisite. Please, take your money and go, quickly’ said Hoi Leong. ‘Wait,’ commanded Alysha as she walked forward and pulled the case of money towards her, ‘We need to do some negotiation on this.’ ‘The price is non-negotiable. You’ve got a good deal on this,’ said Mal, his eyes narrowing. Alysha raised an eyebrow, ‘I think we’re paying you too much. In fact I don’t think we should pay you at all.’ ‘Ta ma duh,’ spat Mal. ‘You think we’re gonna let you just take it.’ He lunged towards the case but the bodyguard grabbed his arm and held it twisted behind his back. ‘I do,’ said Alysha, ‘You’ve got no time to argue. You see you’ve got less than a nanosecond to get out of here before an Alliance patrol ship docks here.’ Her face contorted into a spiteful sneer, ‘did you think I didn’t recognize Dr Tam and his sister in the store? I spent a year on Osiris, I’d remember them anywhere and I know exactly how much reward I’m going to get. I contacted the federal officers yesterday so, given the distance, I reckon they’ll be here anytime now. Why else would I let trash like you into my house if it hadn’t kept you here longer?’ She smiled vindictively. Hoi Leong looked stunned. ‘Gorram, run Inara, run.’ Mal grabbed her hand and they ran through the house and back along the marble terrace. ‘Goodbye, sir, ma’am’ said the slave boy hesitantly as they shot along the landing stage and into the shuttle. Inara nearly ran into a large object that had been left in the middle of the shuttle floor, covered with a tarpaulin. She barely raised an eyebrow at seeing Jayne and Kaylee waiting for them, but ran to the controls and sent the shuttle into the air. ‘Contact Serenity,’ ordered Mal, ‘Tell Wash to take us out of the row, quick as he can.’

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The shuttle connected to Serenity, which took off immediately, heading as fast as possible from the direction Wash thought any federal vessel might fly in from. Mal, Inara, Jayne and Kaylee came out from the shuttle into the cargo bay. ‘That was a close call,’ gasped Mal. He hit the com button. ‘Any sign of another ship, Wash?’ ‘That’s a no, Mal.’ Wash replied. ‘Shiny. Let’s keep it that way,’ said Mal. ‘We’ll be out of atmo in 5,’ said Wash confidently. Inara leaned against the stair rail, ‘What have you cluttered up my shuttle with?’ she asked. ‘Just a little idea I had,’ said Kaylee smiling. ‘Yeah, we might have lost the Lassiter, but we’ve got a mighty fine piece of engineering there,’ said Mal. Jayne grinned, ‘It’ll make us a heap of money on some border planet.’ ‘They won’t notice yet, the tank was full, but in a day or two they’ll notice that their water’s greener than it was. I reconnected the water supply direct to the lake. Their water filter’s gonna make it to some place where it’s really needed and we’re gonna be richer,’ said Kaylee beaming. ‘We can buy what we need to get Serenity back up to A1 and a mite left for each of us,’ explained Mal. ‘A bit more than a mite,’ revealed Inara as she pulled a small bag from the folds of her dress. ‘Hoi Leong gave me this - not for me, for us. He guessed we’d be cheated and so he gave me this to sell to make up the difference. It should make a lot of money.’ She emptied the bag to display the bracelet. ‘Ooooh, shiny,’ exclaimed Kaylee. ‘That’s a fine piece of pretty,’ said Jayne, admiring the stones. ‘I gotta find me a bar and a piece of trim soonest - have me a galaxy of fun.’ ‘Quit yammering, we gotta trade it in first,’ said Mal, but he was grinning.

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Mal sauntered in to Inara’s shuttle and sat down. She looked up, ‘Tea?’ ‘Sure,’ he replied putting his hands behind his head and stretching his legs out, looking more relaxed than he’d ever done previously in her shuttle. ‘So, that’s the end of the Lassiter,’ said Inara. ‘Yeah, well, what were we gonna do with it? Set up next to Durran on a floaty island of our own? Carrying two fugitives and the hottest piece of property in the ‘verse ain’t my idea of staying inconspicuous. Now we can give Serenity an overhaul, get her supplied, have a vacation maybe,’ Mal’s expression took on a distant look as he thought over the possibilities, then he sighed and came back to the present. ‘Once we’ve sold the goods, dong ma. But what ‘bout you Inara? You ain’t regrettin’ anyone left planetside since we skedaddled?’ ‘No, now I’ve finally realized that what I really wanted then is not what’s important to me now,’ Inara replied as she leaned forward and gazed purposefully into Mal’s eyes. He became intensely aware how soft and lustrous her lips were. ‘Shiny,’ he said as he abruptly sat up and took a huge gulp of tea which was far hotter than he’d expected. He spluttered. The corners of Inara’s mouth twitched, ‘You’re supposed to sip it Mal.’ He grimaced, ‘I’d have no-one to bicker with if you left, - have to argue with Zoe instead which could lead to all kinds of unpleasantness.’ ‘True,’ Inara laughed. She hesitated, ‘Well……’ ‘Well……’ said Mal. He looked disconcerted and carelessly took another gulp of hot tea then winced, ‘Can I just leave that?’ ‘Of course,’ said Inara taking the cup from him. ‘Well….. where do we go from here?’ Zoe coughed loudly then appeared at the door, ‘Wash needs more info on the flight plan, sir.’ ‘Well …. I guess we go to Newhall from here, see ‘bout selling our ill-gotten gains,’ Mal visibly exhaled. He stood up and left to go to the bridge with Zoe. Inara collected together the cups and teapot, putting them together on the side table. She seemed to be contemplating the complex pattern decorating the china, but gradually a contented smile spread across her face and she breathed easily.

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Back at Coolwater another shuttle landed and two men strode out on to the marble terrace. ‘Good afternoon, sir,’ the slave boy said, ‘please follow me.’ They ignored the boy, pushing him out violently of the way and walked along the terrace to the main doors. The girl stepped forward to open the door for them. As they walked through she noticed that incongruously they both wore blue gloves. She leaned back against the cool marble and watched the clouds drifting across the sky, till the boy came up and joined her. ‘Are they feds?’ he asked. She shrugged, ‘Don’t seem like it.’ They sat in the hot sun daydreaming until their consciousness was pierced by terrifying screaming coming from the house. Unsure what to do they raced through the garden and hid in the depths of the citrus trees. The two men left the house and nothing in their grim expression encouraged the two children to leave their hiding place. They boarded the shuttle and it rose and curved off towards the main ship. It was almost out of sight when a rhyme flickered into the girl’s mind. ‘Two by two, hands of blue, two by two, hands of blue.’

COMMENTS

Wednesday, September 28, 2005 8:38 AM

AMDOBELL


Very good but one query. Wouldn't the hands of blue have eliminated anyone they met? Seems a mite unlikely them leaving behind witnesses that they had been on the estate. Loved how Kaylee and Jayne put the sting in the tail so that the estate would be pumping all their precious water out into the lake for the rest of the folks to enjoy. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Wednesday, September 28, 2005 12:34 PM

JOSSISAGOD


Great story, but if I may make a suggestion, Inara wouldn't say "learnt" she would probably "Learned", Great story!

Thursday, September 29, 2005 11:46 PM

CERES


You're probably right Amdobell but I'm too soft-hearted to kill off the children :~)

changed learnt/learned too - Thanks

Tuesday, October 4, 2005 12:35 AM

BELLONA


river's usin' her mind mojo on the kiddies now? the girl's a menace...

zhufu ni

b


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