Sunday, April 2, 2006

Semi-AU one-shot set after Objects in Space. Mal/Inara. NC-17


Truthsome By Kaynara

*** Semi-AU one-shot set after Objects in Space. Mal/Inara. NC-17 *** My thanks, as always, to Grimlock. It’s Joss’s ‘verse.... *** “Go to Hell.” Those were the last words I said to her. I guess it’s fitting: something honest to remember me by. In earnest, Lil’ Kaylee’s the one to blame. Girl came down to my quarters after the evening meal, sat on my bed, all, “I gotta talk to ya, Cap’n.” She wasn’t cryin’; I learned long ago not to cave to womanly tears. Cryin’ females can be held, hushed with soft words and assurances. They ain’t the ones to scare you breathless. It’s the ones that try to be brave, stifle the sniffles. Their eyes go big and their lips quiver--the lip thing about kills ya--and you end up promisin’ ‘em all manner o’ crazy in a desperate attempt to prevent the waterworks. Trust me on this: I been tortured a time or two. Dread ain’t bein’ tied to a bed while some psychopath sharpens his surgical tools. Dread ain’t tryin’ to figure whether the paring knife or the scalpel will hurt more when it slides into your gut. Dread, true dread, is wondering which word flung loosely from your lips will be the one to start the torrent. Most men would rather be horsewhipped than make a woman cry. “If you don’t tell me what’s wrong, how my gonna kill Jayne and fix it?” Not even a chuckle. I guess we’re past the point of comedy. Or maybehaps my humor ain’t so shiny as I thought. “Tell me what’s what, mei mei.” She gazes up at me, big brown eyes glistening in the lamplight. “Cap’n.” Her voice is uneven. “I just don’t think I can bear it if she goes.” “I see. Don’t ‘spose the rest of us is any consolation? Zoe and Wash and me stayin’ put. Doc and lil’ sis ain’t spoke of travel plans neither. Think I heard a rumor you liked him well ‘nough....” I nudge her shoulder, hoping for a smile. She just shakes her head. One of her hair buns is come loose and piecy bits fall in her eyes. “Ain’t the same, Cap’n. Don’t get me wrong: I love you, and Wash and Zoe and all the others. But they ain’t her.” No. No, they surely weren’t. “Well, I guess that’s so. I’m sorry, Lil’ Kaylee. I know you two was close.” “Are you sorry, Cap’n? Truly?” She cringes, prolly expectin’ me to yell. I just sigh. “Inara made her choice. She’s a big girl. Not you nor me nor anyone on this boat got call to stop her.” “How’dya know that, Cap’n? Hmm? Did you try?” “Figure I’m done talkin’ on this topic.” I make my face stony. I can do that. “Uh huh.” She’s sore with me. Or maybe she’s just disappointed. “Sleep tight, Cap’n.” She stomps up the ladder as best she can in bunny slippers. Oh, yeah. I’m feelin’ all sorts of tranquil now. Alone, I ready myself for bed. I used to sleep in the buff. Then Wash joined the crew. Man has a penchant for pranks. “Captain! Get up here, Captain. The ship’s under attack!” First few times, I’d stumble up the ladder in naught but my bedsheets. “What is it? ‘Liance? Reavers?” “Dinosaurs! Attack of the Tyrannosaurs, muh huh huh! Aw, c’mon, Mal. *Smile.* Zoe, does he look angry?” “Sir. Sir, please don’t shoot the pilot.” I woulda tossed him out the airlock, ‘cept he is the best. Also, if I beat on Wash, Zoe’s like to shoot me through the throat. So Wash stays and I sleep in my trousers. Ain’t all that bad. Believe me, I’ve slept in worse. I’m not sleeping though. Goin’ on an hour I been starin’ at the ceiling, musin’ over our last bit o’ dialogue. I stopped by her shuttle this morning. Mine now, I reckon. As such, I don’t bother knocking. “Lowly captain requesting audience with the Ambassador. Think you can slot me in, Highness?” The smirk fades when I see what she’s done. Whole ruttin’ room’s packed up. She took away the curtains and the couches. She took the froofy throw-pillows and the tall candlesticks and the woven carpets. She took the vivid reds and vibrant golds and left only gray. She took all she was--all we coulda been--and replaced it with boxes. Boxes and the lingering scent of her incense. “Huh. You been busy.” “I’m leaving in the morning, Mal.” “I do recall that fact.” She smiles but it’s false. I’ve made her smile in earnest a time or two and know the difference. “Did you need something, Mal?” “Ha!” I meet her gaze, feeling particularly cruel. “That’s a loaded question if ever I heard one.” She winces, glimmers of pain piercing the burnished gold of her eyes. They go dark as her hair when she’s pleased. Course I ain’t seen her pleasured so often as some. “Don’t do this. Not now.” “Do what, Nara?” “Don’t make this harder than it already is.” “Shed a few tears when you say that, sweetheart. Might spice up the performance.” “And I’m a consummate performer, right? Isn’t that what you meant to say? After all, lies are a whore’s wares.” “Inara--” “You’re a hypocrite.” “ ‘Scuze me?” “You condemn me for holding back, for denying my emotions. But you’d rather fight than feel.” “And you’d rather fuck.” Her hand goes to her belly then, five scarlet-tipped fingers digging into flesh. Otherwise, she doesn’t blink, those hot eyes cool, that soft mouth expressionless. “You could have had me.” “Shuh muh?” “Not for hire. In truth, you couldn’t afford me. But I would have given myself, Mal. I would have given myself to you. All it would have taken was a kind word, your hand cupping my cheek. What stopped you? Was it hatred? Do you hate me for making you want? The righteous Malcom Reynolds, lusting after a lowly whore. Is it revulsion, then? Does it disgust you, knowing how many I’ve lain with, how many I’ve let love me? Or maybe--maybe, Mal, you’re just incredibly insecure. Do you suspect I’ve had better? Do you doubt your own ability to satisfy me? Hell, even a whore has standards, desires. Do you fear you can’t fulfill them?” “Go to Hell.” I left her there, pretending not to hear her whimper as I walked out the door. *** I shoulda let it rest then, let those words be my last to her. But then I’ve always been an uncharitable bastard. I didn’t want her to leave Serenity with any such peace. I didn’t want her to leave hating me. I wouldn’t give her the satisfaction. I shrug on my shirt, not bothering to do up the buttons. Maybe I shoulda. Maybe those six or seven circles o’ plastic coulda been our saving grace. At her door, I knock. A thousand times I coulda done the same. Only now, when everything’s lost, do I take the time to scrape my knuckles over her entrance. ‘Spect that makes me a special kinda stupid. “Inara?” Silence. I get a cool flash of the future, her shuttle empty, the woman long gone. And yet my ship’s ripe with her visage. Ghosts of her in the kitchen and the common room: a swish of silk, a whiff of lavender. I feel the scalpel now, rooting around in my belly. “Come on now, Nara. Ain’t chewing me out more fun than the silent treatment?” I have a thought then, the nightmarish kind that ices the blood. Maybe she’s already gone. Maybe she’s been gone months and me fantasizing fights a sign of some sick inability to accept her absence. Would explain her offer to screw me. That kinda crazy could only be sprung from the most diseased of minds. I stand there a while, wondering at my own mania, till I hear something faint. It’s the surf, ocean waves cresting and crashing. Not quite common racket for the black of space. She’s playing an audio disc I realize, and relief glides over me like a balmy summer sunrise. One o’ them relaxation recordings she swears by. I shake my head, grinning like some kind of sucker. Infuriating woman must be asleep. If I was any kinda gentleman I’d shuffle back to my bunk nowbouts, resolving my appetites in the way I’ve grown accustomed these past months. Problem is my clumsy hand with its calluses, its gnarled knuckles, ain’t never been a fair substitute for hers. I dream about those smooth, rounded fingernails, colored red, gold, white, black to match her dresses. I ache for the curve of her palm, the slender length of her fingers. I wanna feel those hands in places got know right knowing her touch. “You could have had me.” Sweet Ye su, was it stubbornness kept me from knowing her? She’s curved on her side in that big bed, spartan now save a single afghan she’s laid out over the bare mattress. Some one o’ them boxes holds satin sheets the shade of blood. Did she choose that color intentional? Surely her profession lends itself to stains. How often did her own blood soil these sheets? I really am a bastard. “Inara.” I kneel on the floor, reach up a hand to shake her shoulder. Her skin’s cold. Ai ya, whole shuttle’s a bit on the nippy side. Was it always this draughty? And why didn’t I never notice before? “Nara.” She sighs in her sleep, a shuddery sound like she’s crying in her dreams. I could stop myself but I ain’t of the mindset. I lean over her and take from her lips what cost others dearly. It’s a fairy-tale kiss, the slumbering space hooker and her knight in shining shrapnel. She freezes up for an instant but only that. Never let it be said that Inara Serra don’t know her trade. When she opens her eyes, they’re warm and languid, not just allowing but inviting. She snakes up a hand behind my head, fans her fingers in my hair. And then we’re kissing and my only aim in life is to keep on kissing her. I thrust my tongue inside her mouth, and she does nothing to stop me. She lets me take for awhile, knowing I need to. When I’m calmer, if only marginally, she tries for finesse, guiding my tongue with hers, sucking gently at the tip. She nibbles my bottom lip, and I feel myself go hard. She feels it too surely, pressed as it as into her belly. Suddenly I’m embarrassed, shamefaced as a boy caught pleasuring himself in the barn. Caught milking something weren’t the cows. Caught by his momma and, ai ya, that is a story I’m of no mind to tell just now. Got more pressing matters to contend with anyways. Nara’s hand for one, sliding down my belly to cup me through my trousers. Maybehaps she senses my distress. Woman always was far too skilled at reading me. “It’s alright.” She smiles, and for a second or two it really is. Through the crack in my shirt, I feel her breasts, soft and high against my chest. I wanna rip the straps of her nightgown, drag the fabric to her waist and bury my mouth in those curves. The violence shakes me a good bit. “I didn’t come here to--to rape you.” The look in her eyes is so hollow, so rutting sad I can’t bear it. “This isn’t rape, Mal.” I don’t dare ask the question my brain’s all but screaming. Instead I do somethin’ I’d be sorta proud of had this all turned out another way. I climb off of her and lay back against the bed. I find her hand in the dark and squeeze. “What I said before...’bout you goin’ to Hell? I don’t want that. If I believed in Heaven and Hell--Hell beyond the ‘verse we inhabit every day--well, I wouldn’t want you there. You oughta be someplace shiny with puppies.” She smiles and it’s genuine, as is the giggle what follows. Ai ya, she sounds ‘bout sixteen when she giggles like that. “I’m sorry too, Mal. All this pain serves no purpose. I, however, meant what I said before. I would have given myself to you. It’s not your fault, at least not wholly. I--I was afraid too. But I would have, Mal. And...and I will. If you want me.” She meets my eyes, her own wide with little-girl innocence. “Do you want me, Mal?” *** We tease each other some, cracking jokes as we get naked. I guess it’s laugh or cry. She does look pretty when she laughs. Stripped, she’s almost too exquisite, least that’s what I keep tellin’ myself. Her belly’s too flat, her breasts too full. The dark triangle between her legs is too seductive. I twist my fingers in the curls there, almost afraid to delve them lower. Sensing my reluctance, she takes my hand, guides me between her thighs. I thrust my fingers inside her, hoping third base is the sorta thing comes back to you. I find my rhythm, find her nerve bundle with my thumb. She whimpers, and her head lolls back. I press my mouth to her belly, kissing and nibbling as my fingers work inside her. “Mal.” She stills my hand, tilts my chin so our eyes meet. “I don’t think I can wait anymore.” Her breath is heavy, her cheeks a soft, rosy pink. I nod, rising from the bed. I left my shorts on before. Now I slide them over my hips, feeling her gaze on my bare ass. She’s seen me naked before. Back then I was cloaked in bravado. Now: “Inara.” I clear my throat, staring at a spot just south of her eyes. “It’s been a little while for me. I’m not sure how long I can--” “Mal.” She kneels on the bed, stark naked like an offering to the gods. “You always did talk too much.” I press her back into the afghan and settle between her hips. Her heels nudge insistently into my butt cheeks, and I grin. “Hold your horses, woman.” I’m a lumbering old stallion and her my anxious jockey. “Haven’t danced this tune in a while.” “Perhaps I should lead.” Her eyes glitter like Christmas time so I know she’s teasing. I make a hurt face for the hell of it, pleased when she rolls her eyes, dots remorseful kisses along my jaw line. I lift her legs, settling her ankles over my shoulders. When I’m fully sheathed, she smiles at me--the sweetest smile I’ve seen grace her face--and strokes my chest. “Don’t try to last.” She suckles my earlobe. “Just relax this time.” I bury my face in the curve of her throat and give a few more thrusts before flooding into her. *** We make love all night. Every time, I fall back panting, thinking I’m finished, spent. Then she does something unspeakable with her mouth, and I’m sixteen again, hard and rearing to go. “You’re gonna be the death of me, bao bei.” She strokes my hair back, pressing kisses to my eyelids. “We can rest if you like.” It’s a dare. And I’m more than game. I grab her by the waist so fast she gasps. I haul her up my body, yank her so she’s all but sitting on my face. With my tongue, I spell my name. M-a-l-c-o-m R-e-y-n-o-l-d-s. By the second ‘o’ she’s well on the way to hers. *** A minute ago we were cuddling, not talking or arguing, just holding on to each other. Later I’d have a tougher time believin’ the snuggling than the sex. “You’re leavin’ still? After we just...?” “I--I thought you understood.” Her eyes are huge. I’ve never seen ‘em so gorram big. “I wanted us both to go away knowing something sweet, something to counterbalance all the sour.” Here she tries to touch me, feather-light brushes over my arm. “Mal, I wanted us to have this before I--” “--’fore you go? ‘Fore you slink off in the daylight like a common--” I don’t say that word. So she says it for me. “Whore? Is that what you meant to say? Go ahead, Mal. You’re running out of chances to call me one.” “Tell me one thing, Nara. What lunacy had you thinking this was better? Did you think I’d just fuck you and forget you? Huh, Nara? Did you think I could just do that?” My voice broke. I set myself to tugging on my pants, unable to look at her for fear of what my eyes would show. “I ain’t you, sweetheart. Where I come from, sex means somethin’.” “What does it mean, Mal?” She’s clutching the afghan to her breasts. A minute ago she was strewn over my chest, bare as the day she came into this ‘verse. I wonder at that, her sudden bout of self-consciousness. How many men looked on her naked body? How many of ‘em did she cover up for after? “Huh?” “Just what does sex mean to you, Mal? Does it make us lovers? Is it precursor to love and wedlock and plump little babies? Does it indicate some undying union?” “I--I don’t--” “Exactly, Mal. You don’t. So why do you ask of me that which you’re unwilling to give?” “Not unwilling.” I hop comically, tugging on my boot. “This surely ain’t about willing.” Always partial to pain, I allow myself one last look. She sits on her haunches, all that ebony hair curling, curling, falling forward over her shoulders, rioting like madness down her back. Her lips are swollen, bruised from my attacks. I take the whole of her in, burning the image over my retinas, storing it away in my brain. When she’s gone, I’ll take it out, play the picture in my mind as torture. A paring knife to the belly don’t hurt this bad. *** He doesn’t come down to the cargo bay with the others. Kaylee’s indignant. “Ain’t right, Nara.” “It’s fine. Anyway, it was my choice to go. Don’t blame him for my choices, mei mei.” I hug her close, feeling her tears wet the nape of my neck. “Be good, Kaylee. Be happy.” I take her by the shoulders, give her a gentle nudge into the doctor. “Kaylee’s very dear to me, Simon.” He nods, understanding. Before, he kissed my cheek, blushing all the while. Jayne kissed me too. I’m not sure which was more unnerving. “Zoe. Wa--” He tackles me, nearly toppling us both with his bear hug. “Don’t go, Nara. We need you around to keep us civilized. In a week, we’ll be cursing like space-sailors and eating off the floors.” “I’m sure the doctor can keep you ruffians in line. I’ll miss you, Wash. I kiss his cheek, turn to Zoe and kiss her as well. “Take care of him, Zoe.” I whisper the words in her ear. “Keep him safe for me.” “I’ll do that.” I allow myself one final glance at the catwalks. He isn’t there. I didn’t expect him to be. I walk down the ramp, relief a brisk breeze that fans my flesh and dries my tears. ***


Sunday, April 2, 2006 3:35 PM


Oh, this was so good. I usually don't read a lot of M/I unless its got some S/K in it too, but this was just a great little tale.

Your one shots are as good as your series. Any way to convince you to write a S/K story? I know, I know, about as likely as I am to write a strictly M/I centered piece, right? :)

Either way, keep writing. This one was excellent.

Sunday, April 2, 2006 3:41 PM


I know it's AU, but it's very true to them, and I could see this having happened just before she left.

As always, very well done!

Sunday, April 2, 2006 5:13 PM


Oh... so achingly, tragically beautiful! How they can come together and yet be so totally on different pages, tears my heart out!

And this:
“You could have had me.”

“Shuh muh?”

“Not for hire. In truth, you couldn’t afford me. But I would have given myself, Mal. I would have given myself to you. All it would have taken was a kind word, your hand cupping my cheek. What stopped you? Was it hatred? Do you hate me for making you want? The righteous Malcom Reynolds, lusting after a lowly whore. Is it revulsion, then? Does it disgust you, knowing how many I’ve lain with, how many I’ve let love me? Or maybe--maybe, Mal, you’re just incredibly insecure. Do you suspect I’ve had better? Do you doubt your own ability to satisfy me? Hell, even a whore has standards, desires. Do you fear you can’t fulfill them?”

“Go to Hell.”

I just about died when I read that! Oh, Gods!!! so painful! so, so MUCH... ahhhh...

Loved it, wonderful, wonderful stuff, as usual...

Now I have to go to bed, and I'm just gonna cry my little tears into my pillow and let my heart try to put itself back together...

Sunday, April 2, 2006 5:13 PM


I really liked it. I especially enjoyed the aftermath. Poor Mal, thinking he would finally get what he wanted... but poor Inara, forced to be smarter than that.

Sunday, April 2, 2006 5:17 PM




You write them so well. With so much pain and longing all wrapped up together. *bows*

The first person POV was done particularly well - that's a hard thing to capture and make it seamless. You did. I'm not really surprise.

[A minute ago we were cuddling, not talking or arguing, just holding on to each other. Later I’d have a tougher time believin’ the snuggling than the sex.]

Pain and sweetness all wrapped up together. Essence of M/I.

I also loved Inara asking Zoe to take care of him. Nice little touch that rang true for both characters.

*sighs happily*

Thanks for this. I get so happy every time you post new M/I.

Sunday, April 2, 2006 6:20 PM


Oh...Kaynara...this some deeply angsty stuff....I bow to your powers of emotionally draining love;)

Still...this some highly believable Mal/Inara UST (cuz the sex really just added to the problem), but I wonder if what you had Inara say about Mal could have had her much earlier.

I just get the feeling that a declaration like that seems a bit...false, I guess. Inara certainly had the conflict between her feelings for being a Companion and her feelings for Mal...that isn't under debate my lil' ole me.

No...the issue comes with the fact that I just feel Inara hadn't quite reached the stage yet where she would utter that comment by the time she left Serenity. Dunno if she's quite at the stage now, canonically, after the BDM.

Guess while I saw and recognized the "AU" label for the story, I still got thrown off by one thing seeming to be more "alternative" than the events portrayed here.


Thursday, February 8, 2007 10:49 PM


I can't believe I never commented on this!

I absolutely love it. Your thoughts inside Mal's head are perfect and so in character it's almost astonishing - you really have a gift for writing him.

I love your M/I - write some more!


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