Hybrid Lives 2: Inara.
Sunday, October 9, 2005

Explores each of the crew after "Serenity", no non canon pairing and not particularly angsty either.


All comments and disclaimers in full in Ch 1 (Simon), it's the usual fare: not mine. Comment or send feedback,


"That's the way it's always been. It all comes down to creating time. We don't always have to make it right. We'll all drive by in our hybrid lives. Chances are... chances are... We'll make it back." - Sheryl Crow.


She pressed the softness of it into the worn and weathered grooves of solidity and was surprised by the complete lack of contrast, it was almost like they were made for each other. Inara knew different, however, she could remember the last time, officially the first time, she’d hung the drapes and wall hangings and sheets over the crude metal walls of the shuttle.

It had taken her so much longer back then, but now she knew where everything was supposed to go. There were five whole trunks full of nothing but silk and satin, screens of utmost delicacy and beauty. Each of them had a designated place, she hadn’t been off Serenity long enough to forget where they all go.

“I know I’ve seen ‘em all before, Inara, but wow, look at all the pretties!”

Inara smiled as Kaylee gushed over the materials. She thought back to the Companion House and how five trunks of cloth were nothing to blink at, except to wonder why there wasn’t more. How Sheydra had lifted her brow, but covered the surprise the very instant later, when she hadn’t brought more things aboard.

Fine cloth that, in the Training House, would have been hung decoratively over already plush, lined walls that were so dense with luxury it was almost too hard to breath. Here, it was laid over stark metal walls, providing a very thin veneer.

“Speaking of pretty,” Inara unfolded a piece of cloth that she’d been keeping aside. “I did bring you back a present, mei mei.”

She watched eagerly as Kaylee’s eyes widened when she saw the dress, watched as Kaylee reached out hesitantly, touching the material with a reverence that seemed almost obscene for nothing more than a piece of clothing. Inara did not tell her that it had been cast off, once belonging to a girl who had disregarded it as easily as the peelings of an apple. Something she knew, also, that Kaylee would have appreciated.

Inara thought about the young faces that had surrounded her during the short time she’d spent at the Training House, about how you can train people to respect, tend and care for themselves, for their belongings, for other people, but you cannot teach this level of love, this pure organic appreciation for the small things.

“It’s real pretty, Inara, honest, but…” Kaylee bit her lip as her cheeks flooded with red. “I got nothin’ to give you.”

“I don’t need anything, you know that, but if you find yourself overcome with guilt for no reason, you could always spend some time fine tuning my shuttle.” There was nothing, as far as she knew, wrong with the workings of her shuttle, but Inara knew Kaylee hated being in debt, even an imagined debt like this one. She also knew that Kaylee understood, even if there was nothing wrong with a machine, it still needed a personal touch every now and again. “In the meantime, maybe you can wear that one night to impress a certain doctor?”

They shared a smile, secretive and knowing. A weak moment of overt girlishness and camaraderie that was usually discouraged at the Training House. Companions are creatures of availability to the right people, and only the right people. They do not perpetuate any fallacies, however weak and unsubstantiated, of sharing trade secrets with each other or having a closeness with another person that supercedes the relationship she has with her present client.

Most likely, Inara mused with a smile, to avoid said person rushing through said client with a sword.

“I gotta go try this on!” Kaylee leaned over and hugged Inara tightly. “Thanks so much for this! I mean… if you can spare me? I’ll come back and help later, I promise.”

“You go.” Inara said as she gestured her out of the shuttle. “I’m fairly sure I can finish here on my own.”

Inara turned back to hanging a screen over the dingy metal of the shuttle. It was strange, she thought, to compare the two times she’d done it. That first time, a little over a year before, she’d used all her finery to cover and hide the obvious ugliness and shoddiness of the materials. Now, now it seemed like the two belonged together, not so much a contrast, but a joining that enhanced both the material and the metal.

“I interrupting anything, am I?” She turned to see Mal stride into the shuttle and take a look around. “You puttin’ all these fineries back up for a reason?”

Inara breathed in and tried to think of something to say and how to say it.

“You’re still gonna be entertainin’ clients then?”

She looked him in the eye.

“Is that going to be a problem?”

Mal’s whole face tightened and his eye twitched a little. Inara could feel it in the clench of her stomach. She waited for him to use the ‘w’ word that would make her instantly regret her decision to stay.

“I reckon so.” He answered, then paused. “But I also reckon it’s my problem to deal with. You’re a companion and I can’t change that any more’n you can change the petty thief in me.”

She watched him walk straight up to her and hold out his hand. She watched her own hand reach out to take his.

“It’s about time for dinner, you ready to join us, Miss Serra?”

Inara pressed the softness of it into the worn and weathered grooves of solidity and was surprised by the complete lack of contrast, it was almost like they were made for each other.

*** End Ch 2.


Sunday, October 9, 2005 3:29 PM


you are my big damn hero.

Sunday, October 9, 2005 4:12 PM


This is all very intriguing! I look forward to more.

(Just a note: It's Inara Serra .

Sunday, October 9, 2005 5:53 PM


Thanks for letting me know, guys, I've fixed it now. Something bothered me about that name, I should have checked it out.

And thanks for reading, too.

Sunday, October 9, 2005 6:09 PM


Oh Jacqui, I'm loving these. This quick, little flashes of life afterwards. So perfectly in character too. Wonderful!

Monday, October 10, 2005 2:38 AM


Oh wow, love what we got from you but want more Inara and Mal! Yep, they sure do fit together. Loved Kaylee and I could see how she wouldn't want to be taking advantage of Inara however much Inara knew she would not be doing that. Shiny, Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Monday, October 10, 2005 2:08 PM


need more!!


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