Choices - Part 1
Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Is Inara making the right choice? Could leaving be any harder? (Mal and Inara angst)


Choices Part 1 by 2x2

Serenity was silent as Inara slowly made her way through the corridors leading to her shuttle, relieved she’d managed to get back on board without running into Mal and being forced into yet another confrontation about her leaving. Everyone else was off-ship for a few hours, with the exception of the Captain, who’d opted to stay on Serenity to do whatever ‘Captainy’ things he felt he needed to do. She’d been avoiding him, and she knew it, though no more than he’d been avoiding her lately.

Except when he wanted to trade insults in his clumsy way of trying to make her stay.

She sighed, letting her fingers linger on Serenity’s sloping hull. How could she have let things go so far? She should have had more control, remained distant, not become attached; then it wouldn’t hurt so much - leaving. But then, it wouldn’t matter one way or the other if she didn’t care, would it?


It was the attachments – the attachment – that was forcing her to leave, before she wasn’t able to. But it was far too late to be thinking of that now. She had to leave, and the less she had to see of him before she did, the less chance there was that he would change her mind and she would never get away.

Light spilled into the corridor from her obviously open shuttle door and she pressed her lips together in irritation. There was only one person on board Serenity other than herself, and only one person who would dare enter her shuttle without her permission, damn him. His name and a curse were on the tip of her tongue as she was about to step through the hatch, but she stopped in silent shock when she saw him.

He was seated on her couch, head bowed against his fists, one of her silk scarves clenched tightly between them. His shoulders shook silently and she was horror-struck to realize he was crying. She blinked in distressed astonishment, pulling back into the shadows of the hatchway, unwilling to intrude on such a personal moment, regardless of whether he was in her shuttle uninvited or not. She had never seen him cry, had never heard of him having done so.

The thought that she had driven him to, was an agony.

Abruptly he stood and she slid further into the shadows of the corridor, careful to remain unobserved as he drew in a deep, shuddering breath.

“Just get them fool notions out of your head right now,” he said, and for a panicked moment she thought he was talking to her, but when he continued she realized he was speaking only to himself. “You can’t have her, and she don’t want you anyway. ‘Got no use for a…” His voice cracked and he drew a hand over his face. “A gorram petty thief likes of you…” He nodded, echoing his words. “Gorram petty thief.”

Inara felt her chest constrict at the pain she heard in his voice, never truly realizing until now the depth to which she’d wounded him with those careless words. She watched him pace the floor of her shuttle, her eyes swimming as he ran a rough hand through his untamable hair.

“You ain’t never been good enough for her, and you won’t never be,” he told himself harshly. He shook his head with a sigh. “She don’t belong here. Not her world… No world, no life for her.” He stopped pacing and sighed deeply again, staring at the scarf he still held in his hands. “She ain’t yours. You gotta let her go.” She could see him trembling as he squeezed his eyes shut and she held her breath, not sure what she was waiting for but unable to resist the tension she could feel in the air. An anguished sound escaped him and Inara had to fight with every bit of her training not to go to him, to comfort him and tell him it was all a mistake, that she wasn’t leaving, would never leave him… but she couldn’t let herself do it.

“Gorramit!” he cursed in defeat, knowing there was nothing he could do to forget her. He stared at the scarf again before bunching it up and shoving it deep into a pocket, letting his hands drop to his sides with a weary sigh. “’Flay you alive if she caught you in here while she was out, and be right to do it,” he grunted and Inara pressed herself into the darkness just as he swept out the door and past her, his face set in a blank expression that hurt her to see, his eyes unfocused and unbearably sad.

She waited, her breath held, as she heard him descend into Serenity’s depths and then open the cargo bay doors, his footfalls echoing heavily in the empty space as he left it behind, and then the final metallic echo as the door closed behind him, settling into silence.

Only then did she give in to the tears, falling to her knees before her statue of the Buddha, praying tearfully for guidance. And the strength to hold to her choice.

Go to Part 2


Thursday, November 17, 2005 11:34 AM


Excellent, almost had me in gorram tears too! I wanted to shake Inara and tell her not to be such a silly goose and just this once to follow her heart. Sigh. Sometimes you have to leave a thing behind to realise how right it is to have it. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Thursday, November 17, 2005 5:01 PM


Thanks so much everyone for the feedback. I'm very pleased you're enjoying it. So much so, I wrote my little fingers to the bone getting part 2 done today, just for y'all!!!

Thank you very much!

Friday, November 18, 2005 3:54 AM


inara! sometimes ya could just kick that lot for bein’ so gorram stupid!!!


Tuesday, March 21, 2006 3:10 PM


OMG was just going through the Mal?Inara fanfic thread and ended up going to this link, I was bawling by the end of this little ficlit... and my hand to god, (and not to sound mocho or anything I swear!) I am a guy that never crys, not even at my own grandma's funeral... *sniff*

Friday, December 1, 2006 7:37 PM


Awesomely well-written! I'm speechless.


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