Thursday, January 26, 2006

Inara stands in the mirror and takes a long look at herself, brooding on what it is she sees. (PG13)


Inara stood in front of her elegantly framed full-length mirror, examining her completely bare body in the reflection. She observed her curves, the way the light danced on her tanned skin, the way shadows were cast at whimsical angles on her flesh. She took in the way that her hips were in disposition to her delineated body, the way her breasts curved delicately above her ribcage, the way her shoulders were held high and proud with perfect posture.

She was always being told that she was beautiful, and she always felt beautiful, but she would have given anything to have seen herself from a different perspective. She wondered whether she saw herself the same way that others saw her. She wondered whether she saw herself the way that her clients saw her like this, or the way that Simon saw her when she had to disrobe in order for him to examine her for one reason or another.

No. Her clients looked at her with an almost sacred admiration whilst Simon looked at her with a completely stoic and clinical gaze. Two opposite ends of the spectrum, those perspectives were.

But how did she look at herself?

Inara sighed lightly as if her expression of resigned sentiment would help her to gain perspective. She focused her gaze on her reflection in the glass once more, trying to see something she hadn't already seen, but her reflection didn’t change.

She met her own eyes in the mirror. There was some sadness in them, some hurt. To the untrained eye it wouldn’t have been evident, but Inara knew herself, she knew what she was feeling, knew why her heart was beating with such a heavy rhythm. She knew herself, but she didn’t know how she saw or perceived herself.

At that moment, Inara didn't feel beautiful. She didn't feel like there was any inner beauty or outer beauty. She wasn’t beautiful enough. Her charm and allure hadn’t been enough to tempt Mal. Instead he'd gone and done the lovers’ dance with Nandi and it left Inara feeling inadequate.

She suddenly didn't like the curve of her jaw, the stretch of her neck, the jut of her collarbone. She didn't like her thighs, or her immaculately flat stomach and perfect calves. She didn't like the gold shimmer of her skin or the long, curled eyelashes that graced her dark eyes.

Inara didn't feel beautiful on the inside any longer either. She'd allowed herself to get close to Mal. She'd allowed herself to be hurt and she hated herself for being weak. Weakness wasn't beautiful. Strength was beautiful. Tears were hideous and she hated herself for the tears she was crying now.

She could see the tear tracks sparkling on her cheeks in the flickering candlelight as she stood in the mirror, bare and naked in every sense of either word. She reached up and brushed them away in frustration, sighing exasperatedly.

Inara shook her head slightly, her curls falling down around her face, framing it elegantly. She wanted so desperately to shake off the self hating feelings, but she just couldn't bring herself to do it. Not when she deserved to hate herself like she did. She reached up and brushed away some of her tears, streaks of her black eyeliner left behind on her cheeks.

Inara slowly ran her hands over her body, down from where they'd been at her cheeks, wiping tears away, over her collarbone, her breasts, her stomach. They came to settle on her hips and she turned gracefully away from the mirror, slowly walking to her opulent canopy bed, lying back on the silk sheets to stare up at the ceiling of the shuttle.

She was so used to being without her clothes, but she couldn't get used to being naked. She hated feeling exposed, vulnerable, uncomfortable. She hated learning about herself, her tendencies, in this way. She hated other people learning of her weaknesses as she just began to probe into them and explore them herself.

And what about Nandi? The poor woman had died thinking about Inara and how Nandi had wronged her. Inara hadn’t wanted it that way, but Nandi had been too good at seeing through her. She’d always been able to tell exactly how Inara felt and now Inara was feeling the guilt, the horribly ugly guilt, for letting Nandi die feeling guilty.

Inara pulled a thin silk sheet out from under her and draped it lightly over her body, covering herself up. She was no longer without cover now, but she was still and would probably always be naked.


Thursday, January 26, 2006 8:18 AM


This is an excellent piece of introspection but still Inara does not and will not admit even to herself her own foolishness. So afraid of getting close to someone and letting them in that she shuts Mal out but lets everyone else buy pieces of her then laments the loss. Seeing Nandi and Mal getting closer should have been her wake up call. Hidng from the truth all the time can only end in tears. Superbly written piece. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Thursday, January 26, 2006 10:57 AM


Very nicely written--interesting interpretation on Inara's feelings after her crying scene. We don't know much of Inara's backstory, do we? We don't know yet why she left the Alliance planets. I'd also like to know why she became a Companion.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 5:45 PM


Very nice! Liked this alot... some good introspection... poor, foolish Inara, never learning that to be strong is to be able to be weak...

Wednesday, February 8, 2006 11:20 AM


poor inara...


Friday, June 23, 2006 12:40 AM


*done the lovers’ dance with Nandi *

I like this choice of words.

The guilt about Nandi was very good too, very much in the character's voice/mannerisms.

Monday, July 17, 2006 1:36 AM


This was excellent to read i like the amount of empathy you have for Inara, the way you get that into the characters mind is great. I really enjoyed this. Well done.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012 3:00 PM


Huh....guess I'm rather late to the party with commenting about this story, even though I'm pretty certainly I once spent days reading every fanfic posted on at that time, and that was after 2006. Oh well ;D

Wanmei, you have done something mighty with this, let me say. You give us a three-dimensional Inara who is in-character but is showing us more, looking at beneath what's underneath of who she is and still missing something important in her denial of being "weak" as being a part of strength. I think we would have a good view of this had the series been able to flourish. Thank you for letting us get a glimpse :D

Saturday, November 24, 2012 9:18 AM


Pretty. I think there's plenty of things Inara doesn't understand, but that she also would feel that Mal not choosing her was on her, because she pushes him away intentionally. But that doesn't mean it doesn't hurt.


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