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Of Companions And Whores

Title: Of Companions And Whores
Author:  Lattelady
Rating:  PG-13
Pairing:  Mal/Inara
Prompt:  #69 – Book (chart 1)
Word Count:  949
Disclaimer:  It all belongs to Joss
Spoilers: Heart Of Gold a tiny bit
Third in Something’s Gotta Give series: 1. Shattered  2. Nothin’ Left To Lose  and somewhere down the road would come Walkin With the Dead


Of Companions And Whores




 It had been 21 days since Inara Sara left Serenity and every morning Captain Malcolm Reynolds started the day by telling himself, ‘it didn’t matter’.  By the time he’d finished drinking his morning coffee, he could almost believe it. <>

The days melted into an unexpected sameness that left him strangely melancholy.  He excused it by reminding himself that ‘just ‘cause he was a bad man, didn’t mean he always had ta be causin’ trouble.  But then there were the night, the long nights he spent wonderin’ his ship, restless, unable to take his ease. It was becomin’ a source of cantankerousness that had him wound tighter than a tick.  

 “Gorramit,” he muttered as pulled out his seat at the head of the big dining table, a bottle of Kaylee’s homebrew in one hand and a glass in the other.

 “May I join you, Captain?”  Shepherd Book poured himself a cup of coffee and nodded toward the seat next to Mal.

 “This is a public room, so I ain’t goin’ stop ya.”

 “Thank you,” Book sat and took a moment to ask God to help him find words that might help lead the younger man from his current dilemma.

 “Just get it over with and say your piece, then one of us can get some sleep tonight.”  Mal poured more whiskey into his cup and took a look drink.  If he had to endure another of the holy man’s sermons he wasn’t gonna do it sober.

 “Did you know that the definition of companion is ‘an intimate friend or associate.’?”

 Reynolds's glass hit the table with a thump and he glared at the man across from him.  “Yeah, intimate, like a whore!”  He spat the words out.

 “No, I believe according to the latest cortex dictionary; a whore is ‘a woman who engages in promiscuous sexual intercourse, usually for money’.” 

 “You’re talkin in circles, Shepherd.  This conversation is over.”  He slid back his chair and reached for his whiskey bottle.

 “Wait, Captain, you’re missing the point.”

“Then let’s get to the point, gorramit!” He was a man grown. People should stop tryin to manipulate him, especially on his own ship. “It doesn’t matter how you pretty up the word, Inara is a whore, plain and simple.” He turned and headed for the companionway that led to his bunk. “Since she ain’t doin’ business on my ship any longer it’s no never mind to me,” he muttered over his shoulder.

“That’s where you’re wrong.” Book’s words stopped Mal in his tracks.

 “I do believe I’ve indicated this conversation is over.”  The Captain’s eyes had turned to blue ice and he gripped the bottle until his knuckles turned white.

“Did you know that the only pleasure a Companion receives from a client is the knowledge that they have been of service to someone?  They are taught from a young age to repress their needs so they can be more receptive to those they…ah…serve.”

“What are ya sayin, Preacher?”  Mal moved back to the table, unable so stem his curiosity.

 “That no matter how many men Inara Sara has been with, there is not a promiscuous bone in her body.  And when it comes to her own feelings and desires she is as innocent as she was the day she entered the Training Center at age 12.”

The Captain slid into his chair as memories filled his head.  Foot bathing is one of my specialties.’ ‘The Ambassador deserves privacy.’ ‘Would you like some tea?’ ‘A good backrub is very relaxing.’

Book took advantage of Mal’s silence and pushed his point home.  “I believe that is why the word ‘whore’ is so tainted.  Those who really deserve the name have no problem taking what they want.  It could be as simple as money or pleasure, or as complicated as stealing a space craft.  It doesn’t matter to them who they hurt or what damage is done in the process.”

“Wait, are you tryin to tell me that Inara has never…well never had…?”  It was too impossible to believe, that a woman as sensual as ‘Nara didn’t satisfy her desires on a regular basis.

“Of course she’s had sex, but fulfillment….Mind, I have no way of knowing for sure, but it isn’t the Guild way.”  Shepherd Book sipped his cold coffee content that he may have finally gotten through to the stubborn young man.  “What I can’t figure out is what happened to make her leave.  She seemed so happy here.”

 Mal shrugged, afraid to conjure much on the last month.  Nara was gone and there was no gettin her back, it best leave it at that and get on with his life.

“Well I guess we’ll never know.”  Book sighed and got up to put his cup in the sink.  “She took the death of her friend Nandi hard.  I wonder if that could have had anything to do with it?”

The Captain took one last drink and put the bottle back in the cupboard. He forced himself to make eye contact with the other man.

“I know it made her cry on more than one occasion,” the Shepherd whispered.

“Cry?” Mal gasped.

 “More than once,” Book nodded.  He could read the guilt in the younger man’s eyes and suddenly he had his answer to what had made Inara leave.  The Captain had slept with Nandi and somehow Inara had found out about it.  Suddenly he was very glad he was old and now a man of the cloth. Matters of the flesh were no longer things that could harm him.






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September 2012


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Let us go, you and I, when the evening is spread out against the sky...T. S. Eliot

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