Shadows Fall part 5
Monday, April 24, 2006

Another day at Shadow. There's emo, some talk, some secrets and some tears... Ch5 with M/I and K/S.


Sorry it took so long to update. Got a thesis to work on, and ugh. Tnx for the reviews, they’re much appreciated!

CHAPTER FIVE rating: pg13 Disclaimer: see part 1 Oh and things in Italic are between // :) As usual, reviews are highly appreciated :p

Ok, on with the story: ****************************************************************************

The road to ruins is filled with obstacles, but you walk it anyway. The way home isn’t any easier. You’ll get there in the end, but with tremors on the way. And it leaves you speechless…

Mal had remained silent throughout the better part of their journey. Once the mule was back up in the Cargo Bay, he’d stomped off to his bunk without looking at anyone. Inara had heard Kaylee knocking on his hatch, trying to talk to him, but he’d just dismissed her with a shout.

She was worried, but knew he just needed some time… He’d faced some demons that day, and needed solitude to fight them down.

Letting out a deep sigh she made her way to the kitchen, hoping some tea might help her relax a bit.

To be honest, she was surprised to see Zoë sitting there. It was late and Inara knew Zoë had been a bit under the weather as of late. Well, that was what she made everyone believe. Inara knew better. She’d seen that far off – look in Zoë’s eyes, and how her hand tended to wander towards her belly unconsciously. Inara wasn’t a doctor, but she’d be damned if Zoë wasn’t pregnant.

“Hi Zoë,” Inara greeted in a sweet voice as she moved towards the counter to heat some water, “How are you?”

Zoë nodded shortly. “I’m fine. How’s the Captain?”

Inara let out a sigh. ”I don’t know,” she answered truthfully. Had it been Kaylee, she’d probably told her he was fine, that he just needed some rest, but this was Zoë. If there was anyone who knew Mal, it was her. No need for charades.

“Has he come out of his bunk yet?”

“No… And I don’t think he’s going to come out ‘til morning. He’s got a lot to deal with today.”

“Suppose he has,” Zoë acknowledged. “How long have you been in love with him?” She continued after a short pause.

Inara was taken aback. This wasn’t what she’d expected. But ever the Companion, she masked her surprise. ”Am I that transparent?”

Zoë smiled. “He needs you, y’know? Loves you, too.”

Inara smiled knowingly and nodded. She’d known it all along, but she also knew it was too soon… Too soon for them to put their differences aside and just be happy. He wasn’t ready, and she wasn’t so sure of anything anymore either. The focus was too much on her now for her liking, so Inara decided to turn the convo around, forcing Zoë to stop her charade as well. Better to let her know she knows… “How far along are you?” She asked while she poured the hot water into her cup.

“You know?” Zoë raised an eyebrow.

Inara smiled and nodded.

“’Bout three months now. Cap’n doesn’t know it yet.”

“I won’t tell him, “Inara stated, “Unless you want me to of course.”

“No, I’ll tell him myself.”

“Congratulations!” Inara said as she took up her cup and moved towards the door, pinching Zoë in the shoulder as she passed.

Conversations with Zoë were always brief. Inara guessed she was the one member of the crew she spoke to the least, maybe with the exception of Jayne, but it always left her with insight. Little words, yet so much meaning.

Loss. Love. Life.


“How are we doin’, lil’ Kaylee?” Mal asked as he entered the engine room. He spotted his mechanic lying underneath the beating heart of the ship, fiddling with some wires and doing god knows what.

“Cap’n!” She exclaimed. A pause as she crawled out form under the machinery. ”We’re shiny. Good to go in a day or so.” Kaylee continued with a grin that stretched out the streak of engine grease that graced her cheek.

“A day? Guai!” Mal questioned, “We’ve been here two days already!”

“She really needed a fix, cap’n! The router to the G-line was about to snap too, so I had to rewire that, then reroute the secondary….”

“Fine,” he interrupted her with a sigh. She had started that techno-babble of hers again and heaven knew he was just a simple captain. “Just get us back in the air ‘s soon as possible, ‘kay?”

“Fahng-sheen,” she replied with a smile that could light up a room. “You going out with ‘Nara today?” She then questioned, noticing he was wearing that worn brown coat of his.

“Yeah…” he said in a pondering voice as he left her alone in the engine room.


They’d left Zoë back on Serenity. She wasn’t feeling too well, and Jayne, who looked suspiciously worried, had suggested for Simon to accompany him on this errand.

” ‘S just a milk-run,” he had stated when Zoë started to protest, “Nothin’ me and the Doc can’t handle. You just lie down for a spell, Zoë.” And that was the end of that.

As he looked around the shop, Simon wondered how it was that every old supply-shed in every port featured the same dusty floor, sterile-white sacks of proteins and the same dodgy salesmen. Not that he’d been to many suppliers before, but as far as he was concerned, the saying ‘Seen one, seen ‘em all’ applied just perfectly to the shops on the rim-planets.

They hadn’t been inside for more than a minute before shop owner appeared, clad in a hooded long cloth appeared, beard with knots and foul stench included. Simon hated being right so often.

Simon shifted around uncomfortably as Jayne negotiated the price. He had the feeling the man was eyeing him and he didn’t like that one bit.

The man patted him on the back as they left, creepy laugh as he waved Jayne goodbye. Simon shrugged, and follow Jayne back to the mule

“You really think we shouldn’t have waited for the Captain to get back?” Simon asked as he ran after Jayne. Running seemed to be just the right word for what he was doing, cause the large mercenary wasn’t one to slack down.

“Mal didn’t want to linger here. An’ we can use the supplies.”


“You didn’t have to come,” Jayne breathed as he turned around, facing Simon for a second, then he went on and checked if everything was on board of the mule. Satisfied, he grunted and got behind the steering wheel.

/‘You invited me along’/ Simon thought, but decided to just remain silent. Jayne on his operating table was like a big puppy, Jayne glowering as he was sitting next to him was like a large man-ape. And he hadn’t had enough drinks to face that particular image yet again…


They were lying in each others arms, her head resting on his broad chest. Strands of hair sticking to her face, and beads of sweat pearling on his forehead, but there were blissful smiles on their faces.

“Thought you wanted to make it quick this time?” Simon teased while he brushed away some damp locks behind her ear. Kaylee let out a soft chuckle and rolled over so she could look her lover in the eye.

“We got time. Cap’n is off ship and besides I needed a break!”

Simon didn’t argue, just kissed Kaylee’s nose as he pulled her closer again.

“What’d you think happened?”

“Huh?” Simon looked at her, a bit annoyed she wasn’t responding to his kisses the way he wanted her to.

“The captain’s family... What do you think?”

Simon let out a sigh. Ever since Kaylee had come back from the little road trip with Mal and Inara, she’d been worrying about the Captain. Granted, he’s had worries of his own on that subject... Mal was more snippy as usual, and broody.

“I don’t know. But he’s with Inara, Kaylee, he’ll be fine.” Simon offered as he moved his head down a bit so he could nibble at her neck.

“’s just... He seems so sad. Just like Zoë,” Kaylee said as she gently rolled her head to the side.

Simon stopped his ministrations again. “I’m sure Zoë will be just fine, baobei!”

”But how can you be sure, Simon? She must be so sad, all grieving. And I know Jayne’s tryin’ to comfort her, but she... she’s so alone!”

“Once the baby’s here she’ll be...” Simon blurted, getting a little bit annoyed with Kaylee’s little rant. This was their alone-time, and he wanted her.

“Baby?!” She interrupted with a squeal.

Simon closed his eyes as he laid his head on his pillow once again. “Gose!”

“Simon, is it true? Is she pregnant?”

“Kaylee, keep quiet! You mustn’t tell anyone.”

“She’s gonna have a baby?!” Kaylee started giggling.

“Kaylee...” Simon urged her again. “Promise me you won’t tell.”

She giggled, then kissed him softly on the nose. “Fine, I promise,” she whispered before claiming his mouth once more. To hell with break time. It was time for a little celebrating!


** Flashback **

The day seems to pass too quickly and yet it seems endless when you’re a kid. There’s just so much to do and see, a whole world to discover!

“They’re following us, Martin! We gotta take cover!” The young boy whispered to his little friend. He was lying at the edge of a cornfield behind some rocks, watching the legs of some passers-by, a teddy bear who’d seen better days clutched tightly in his little hands.

“Shht!” The boy motioned, “You gotta keep quiet now, Martin! They’ll hear us. Now you don’t wanna go back there, do you?”.

The boy looked at the bear something fierce, then tugged at the old toy as he moved some more towards a farmhouse in the distance, not even noticing the broken-down toy lost an eye in the high-handed attempt at saving their lives from those cruel men!

“We’re gonna make it, Martin. They can’t take us, we’re nearly there…”

“Mal Reynolds! Get here right this instant, young man!” The intimidating voice of his mother brought the young boy out of his dreams, and out of the field.

“I’m here, ma!” He answered her as he ran towards the house, Martin still in his little hands.

“Where have you been? Thought you were gonna help Old Raymond with the horses?!” She didn’t sound pleased.

“I was out in the field, and then me and Martin got kidnapped, ma! It was purplebellies! Said we was doing somethin’ wrong. But we got away, and then they came after us, chasing us!” Sparkles lit up in young Mal’s eyes as he told his mother about his adventures of the day…

“Purplebellies huh?” Old Raymond said in that grim voice of his as he approached mother and son.

Mal nodded, forgetting all about his mother who was tapping her foot nervously.

“But me an’ Martin got away, Ray! We travelled for days ‘n days, but we made it back now! Just barely!”

Old Raymond started laughing, rubbing little Mal over his head, “So we’ll let it slide this time that you didn’t help me with the horses.”

“I promise I’ll be there tomorrow, Ray. Me and Martin both!” Mal said as he took off again before his mother could give him anther sermon.

“Don’t be too hard on him,” Raymond said as he heard Mal’s mother sigh, “He’s just a kid. Let him be one. He’ll grow up fast enough as it is.”

** End of flashback **


“Martin…” Mal sighed as he picked up a bead out of the dust. It was an eye of a stuffed animal… a teddy bear, and Mal knew exactly which one. It was Martin’s eye, the one he’d lost the day out in the cornfield. A sad smile appeared on his face…

“Who?” Inara asked, taking his hand in hers. She’d followed him out to the ruins again. He didn’t want her to come along at first, but her arguments – you don’t have to suffer alone, I’m here for you – were too hard to set aside this once, so she’d tagged along.

“Martin,” Mal repeated, giving her the bead in his hands, “my teddy bear… he lost his eye.”

Inara didn’t know what to say. Mal barely talked about his past, let alone his childhood and teddy bear names.

“Y’know, I had a doll once,” Inara said tentatively, “She was the most beautiful toy you’d ever seen… Wonderful soft auburn hair, carefully painted red lips… Some kid cut her hair one day, and pulled out one of her legs. My mother wanted to throw her away, but I went out and got her out of the trash. She was my Jiali.”

Mal looked at her and smiled. She came out here for him, he realised. And she was talking to him about her childhood, just like he did. They were reaching a new equilibrium.

“We’d better be getting back for dinner.” Mal said as he put his arm around Inara’s waist, guiding her back, “Kaylee and Simon are cooking!”

Inara smiled, “Then we mustn’t be late”.


“Zoë!” Mal called out as he entered the airlock again. He needed her by his side on the mule to get the supplies.

”She’s not here,” Simon answered, “She’s resting.”

“Resting?! It’s 2 pm!” Mal gave the doctor a funny look.

“She wasn’t feeling well.”

“Bullshit, Zoë never gets sick”

“Mal…” Inara put an arm on his shoulder, calming him down a little. She’d entered the ship a moment after him. “Everyone can get sick. Relax!”

“I need her with me, we need to get the supplies.” Mal explained, looking at Inara.

“It’ll be okay, “ she said reassuringly.

“You talking ‘bout them protein bars and the like?” The intimidating voice of Jayne Cobb rang out from in the cargo bay, “We got them earlier, Cap.”

“Oh.” Mal replied, speechless. It was true that he’d been a bit preoccupied lately, but he’d never thought he’d be left out on his own business!

”So, what’s she got, doc?” Mal questioned Simon.

“I…Uhm… The flu,” Simon stuttered, avoiding Mal’s eyes.

Mal nodded, then took off towards the crew’s quarters, shouting Zoë’s name.

“Mal, you can’t be serious!” Inara shouted as she tried to keep up with him.

“No, Inara, something is going on here, and I’ll be damned if I don’t find out what it is!” Mal yelled as he rattled the door, losing his temper.

”Zoë! Open up!”

”Mal, she’s ill.”

“And I’m your well-paying cocky client!” He spat as he opened the door to Zoë’s quarters.

“Zoë!” he exclaimed once more as he descended the stairs, then remained silent as he indeed found her sleeping in bed.

“Huh,” he stated before rejoining Inara upstairs again.


Inara closed her eyes as she laid back, resting her head on the feather-don pillow. Her eyes were burning a bit – whether it was from fatigue or because she was maybe getting a cold she still ignored – and she welcomed the darkness with a sigh.

She was tired, but sleep wouldn’t come. She couldn’t help but think about Mal, and how he’d reacted to the fact that they had to land on Shadow. Seeing him standing there in the cooling shadow of a tree, looking at the ruins of his childhood-house, and the tombstones of his family she kind of understood why. He didn’t talk about it, but she could see the sadness in his eyes, and it broke her heart.

She let out a sigh as she turned on her side. /‘Lying here awake isn’t helping him either’/ she thought to herself, and closed her eyes yet again. Staring in the darkness is pointless anyway. Nothing more to see than with your eyes closed.

She was about to drift off to sleep when she heard a faint squeak of an opening door, followed by a rustle...

“Mal?” Inara questioned as she saw a silhouette in the semi-darkness, “What’s wrong? What are you doing here?”

He shook his head and removed his shoes before slipping beneath the covers. She was just flabbergasted. /What was he doing?/

“Shht… Don’t say anything,” he whispered as he saw the questioning and worried look on her face. A beat as he stroked a strand of hair out of her face before placing a soft kiss on her cheek.

“Hold me,” he then pleaded, and she could feel the warm wetness of his salty tears stain her silk nightgown as he rested his head on her shoulder.

A sob in the silence of the night, then another as he slowly let himself fall apart in her embrace. She didn’t say anything, just held him as he cried, rubbing his back soothingly as her lips brushed his temple, rocking him gently until he had fallen into a restless sleep…




Monday, April 24, 2006 11:45 AM


Wow....the ending really had me...definitely a Joss-quality tearjerker moment:)

And I too wonder how you had Mal's family die....Alliance? Reavers? Local mob? Can't wait to find out;)



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