Pretty ... pretty - chapter 15 - "Be strong"
Monday, November 14, 2005

Fifteenth chapter of my Simon/Kaylee fic. Chapter focuses more on Mal/Inara and Inara's choice to leave Serenity.


AN: I've had hints of Mal/Inara before and as there was something left from "Heart of Gold" that needed focus. So here's some shifting focus between Mal and Inara on her decision to leave Serenity.

AN2: I'm dedicating this chapter to my sister and my niece who was born just 6 hours ago.

*** Be strong ***

Mal was sitting on the bridge, thinking. Inara had finally announced her departure to the rest of the crew. Just waiting for it had been eating him up inside, it was somewhat a relief not to have to keep it quiet, hidden. But the relief didn't take away any of the gut wrenching pain. He was thinking about the moment Inara had told him she was leaving.

He had Nandi in mind as he realized how short and brutal life could be and that one should embrace whatever happiness one could find. Looking straight into her eyes he gathered the courage to finally let her know what just the mere presence of her in the room did to him.

- Inara, I ain't looking for anything from you. I'm just, uh, just feeling kind of truthsome right now. But, uh... Life is too damn short for ifs and maybes. - I learned something from Nandi, Inara interupted him. - Not just from what happened, but from her. The family she made, the strength of her love for them. That's what kept them together. When you live with that kind of strength, you get tied to it, you can't break away. And you never want to. He felt himself approaching her, her gaze was just hypnotic, reeling him in like a fish caught on a hook. But this fish didn't struggle one fidgement of a second. - There's something... There's something I should have done a long while ago, she continued, being closer than ever. - And I'm sorry... for both of us... that it took me this long. He felt as if there could be nothing stopping him from going in for that kiss. And then she said it. - I'm leaving.

And for so long he had been waiting for her to finalizing it. He knew her to never say something without meaning it. So the thought of avoiding it, that would just have made it even more painfull when she actually went through with it.

- 'Tis your fault, you know, a stern voice said behind him.

He turned to find Kaylee staring at him, one hand behind her back and the other one supporting herself on the railing, looking as thought the doctor had said another dumb thing. But Mal knew very well it was him she was angry at. Simon had actually been very good for a long time. Amazing what impending fatherhood had done to the boy. He was currently sporting the record in it.

- 'Nara has no other reason to leave. You been pushin' her away.

Of course Kaylee blamed him. Inara was her best friend, who had chosen now of all moments to announce her departure. Kaylee had been down ever since she was forced to stop working in the engine room. She was still in there every day, making sure the shepard did as he was told. Usually she would lay in the hamper, watching. Her pregnant belly was starting to get really heavy for her. He had more than once had to put up with her complaints of sore and swollen feet and an aching back. As well as to hear detailes on her morning sickness returning. Nothing personal, Kaylee usually let out her complaints to whoever was nearest. Jayne who was allready avoiding River the best he could was now also avoiding the usually cheerfull mechanic. These were the moments he didn't envy the doc at all.

Then again, Simon wasn't the one who had to go through one of her lectures right about now. He was.


Inara took a long deep breath. She had finally done what she had been dreading to do. Things were arranged. The traininghouse was awaiting her arrival. All she had to do was pack up her things and say her goodbyes. This prooved to be quite difficult. Kaylee who allready was struggling with her newfound vacation was... Upset was not word enough for it, but it was closest. The young girl had tears in her eyes and found trouble looking at Inara. Before she could be approached, she had left for her bunk, saying she felt tired. It was probably true, but it usually took Kaylee more before she went to lay down.

She had wandered the ship, the best she could, avoiding the bridge, where she saw Mal sitting. It wasn't time to talk to him yet. She had to minimise contact, anything else would be just a whole lot harder. She found Wash and Zoe up at the helm. They didn't question her decision or tried to talk her out of it, but it didn't make it any easier nonetheless. Wash tried to easen the mood with some jokes. It was his way of letting Inara know she was going to be missed. And she appreciated it more than ever.

As she came down the stairway to the bridge, she saw the back of Kaylee as the mechanic left Mal sitting on the edge of the bridge. It didn't take a genious to figure out that she had taken out some of her anger at Mal.

Still not ready to deal with him just yet, she hurried past him. When she reached her, Kaylee was laying on the bed. Her eyes were between open and closed. She didn't tell the companion to come in or to leave, so Inara took it as sign to come over. She sat down next to Kaylee. Her hand slowly reached to her best friends belly. The baby had gotten very active this past month, since the first kick. Everyone had had at least two rounds of feeling baby kicks. Some of them more, Inara was one of those few, but it never got tiring.

As with marriage, children wasn't something she imagined having one day, the life she was leading, it just felt unrealistic. This would be the closest she'd have to it. Right then a strong kick was delivered. Kaylee smiled slightly at it, before her face turned back to the stern and sad look.

- She don' want you do go, she murmured, sadly.

Inara smiled at the use of she. She loved how Simon and Kaylee both regarded the baby as more than just it as most expecting parents would, before knowing the sex. But she knew these gut feelings parents had of what sex their baby had, never to be much trustworthy. Sure there were times where the parents had been spot on, but she remember her own mother telling her that when she had been carrying her, everyone had been so sure she had been carrying a boy.

- Sometimes, we can't give them what they want, Inara sighed. - And they just have to learn that.

- You don' need to go, Kaylee objected. - He's been an idiot 'fore an' you've still stayed.

- This isn't about Mal.

- Liar.

Seemed like both of them just silently agreed not to say anything more. Inara stroked her cheek before bending down to kiss the girl's temple.


Mal was still at the bridge when she returned.

- So you've said your goodbyes, he asked, trying to sound nonchalant.

He was failing miserably.

- Yes, she said, trying the same with same level of success.

Mal just stared at her for so long. He hated never being able to tell her how... He couldn't finish the sentence, not even in his head.

Inara couldn't move, not away from him, not towards him. At the moment it felt like they were staring each other down, waiting for the other to say or do something.

Then he finally did it. He grabbed a hold of her shoulders and brought her lips to his. It felt as if her lips was made out of the sweetest honey he'd ever tasted. And it was making him greedy. He couldn't get enough of her. Her lips parted slowly at first, then quicker, before she knew it she was kissing him back, not wanting to let go for the world. She had kissed what felt to be a thousand men or more and now she just realized she had never truly kissed one. Everything could be up-side down, the grav panel could go to hell, making them all float and she wouldn't know the difference.

His hands went down her arms, before settling on her waist, fingers slipping under the layers in her dress. Her arms reached for his waistband, they got under his shirt and made direct contact with his back and sides. As air became an issue and they broke up with a gasp, Inara looked at him, a confused expression on her face before she turned and ran.

Mal stood left on the bridge, his shirt hanging out the sides of his pants, staring dumbfondly after her.

Inside the shuttle, Inara was clutching to the steering panel, breathing heavily, tears flowing. This was exactly the complication she had been working all these months to avoid. She needed her hands to reach the buttons, but her arm was limp. Her body was raging in newfound hormones, out of controle.

- Come on, she whispered. - Be strong.


Monday, November 14, 2005 5:28 PM


Woah. That was pretty hardcore emotionally. And congrats on your sister. I imagine this whole series was partially inspired by her.

Keep it up. Am intrigued by how you're going to intergrate the BDM into the series. Or are you just going to ignore it altogether.

Monday, November 14, 2005 5:55 PM


Aww...Your neice is in the world!! w00t! Congratulations!! :) :)

Loved the Mal/Inara intraction..and

Also, when My favorite friendship is Kaylee and Inara's.. LOVE IT!

Here we go... AWWW (10!)

Monday, November 14, 2005 6:09 PM


Really great chapter. Keep them coming. Congradulations on your new neice. Happy Birthday Little Baby! :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2005 1:56 AM


welcome to the 'verse, kid. ain't pretty but, boy is it fun!!!


p.s. hardcore emotions, totally

Tuesday, November 15, 2005 2:27 AM


Great... Love your writing and awww you got a baby sister... no wonder you wanted to write this awww

Tuesday, November 15, 2005 1:25 PM


loved it! I like how you stayed true to the "we want to, we know we want to, but we can't" mentality they've got goin on.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005 7:57 PM


As everyone has pointed out, very emotional! It made my heart ache! Congrats to your sister and your new niece! Many blessings to both!


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