lattelady6 (lattelady6) wrote,

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Heart Bound

Disclaimer:  The characters belong to Joss. I only want them to love each other.
Timeframe: about a month before the movie. Spoilers: Shindig

Something’s Gotta Give series  Shattered, Nothin Left To Lose, Of Companions  And Whores, Of Captains And Desires, Heart  Bound ....later down the road comes Walking With  The Dead

Heart Bound



 Inara looked out over the valley below the Training House and shivered as the evening breeze blew across her skin and through her hair.  It had been over two months since she’d left Serenity.  Golden high summer had given way to the beginnings of fall. Nights were cooler and there was the smell of frost in the air.  It had been a long time since she’d been planet bound and had never spent a winter on one that hadn’t had environmental controls. 

When the sun slipped behind the highest mountain peek, it shrouded everything below in shadows. “Like my life,” murmured Inara. She tried to tell herself that it was the thought of the long cold season ahead that caused her to tremble, not the searing loneliness that came out each night to torment her.


She was caught in a trap she hadn’t seen coming, but it held her in its grasp as tightly as an Alliance force field. Nara had hopped that by leaving the Firefly class ship where she’d lived for almost a year, it would break the spell its Captain had unintentionally woven around her, but she was as firmly caught now as she had been two months earlier.  Keeping active helping her friend Sheydra, teach in the first Companion Training House on the Rim, only occupied her mind during the day.


She closed her eyes and pictured herself standing outside a door in Serenity’s guest section.  It had been right after Kaylee had been shot.  Zoe had been explaining to Simon about Serenity Valley and the significance it had in the Captain’s life.  Inara had known even then that she shouldn’t have been eavesdropping, but she’d been frozen in place by a hunger to hear first hand what Mal had experienced during the war.


On this quiet night surrounded by mountains instead of the Black, she could hear Zoe’s words as clearly as she had then.  Mercy, forgiveness, trust, those are things he left back there.  What he has now is this ship and us on it…Once you been in Serenity you never leave.  You just learn to live there.’  Nara sighed and pulled her heavy brocade wrap tighter around her shoulders.  In an odd way she was as stuck in her past as Mal was in his.  In his darker moments he walked Serenity Valley, in hers she walked the corridors of a ship that bore the same name.


She was a Companion who had strayed.  She had broken the first rule of the Guild: do not get emotionally involved.  It was there for a sound reason. Involvement meant loss of control and loss of control could be devastating.  The results were well documented, though they usually took the form of physical abuse.  She herself had brushed very close to the edge of that kind of treatment in her dealings with Atherton Wing.  The man had a streak of cruelty hidden beneath his polished exterior. She had no doubt what he would have done to her if she had become his permanent Companion.


Her eyes filled with tears as she remembered how Wing had toyed with Mal when the men had dueled. He’d take joy in cutting small slices out of the less experienced swordsman rather than a quick clean kill.  Nara could still hear her strangled cry as she begged Atherton to spare Mal’s life and promised to become legally bound to him if he would do so. 


She bit her lip to keep from moaning as the memory and ramifications became full-blown.  It was something she’d been able to blot out until just now.   It was obvious she’d become emotionally tied to Malcolm Reynolds and his undeniable strength of will.  There was only one power in the ‘verse that would have caused her to offer herself up to a man like Wing for more than one night, but even now she couldn’t say it out loud. 


“Inara, you’ve got a wave.” Sheydra handed over a handheld communication device, and quickly left.  The rumor mill at the Training House vibrated with romantic stories about Inara and a certain Rim pirate.  Though Inara heatedly denied them, Sheydra had her own opinions on the matter.


A knot formed in Nara’s stomach as she tapped in her pass code She tried to hide the disappointment she felt when Shepherd Book’s face filled the screen.  “How are you, Shepherd?”  She cleared her throat and slipped a practiced smile on her face.


“Fine, just fine, my dear.”  He’d caught a fleeting look in her eyes and knew that he was not who Nara hoped to find on the other side of the signal.  “A small mining community called Haven was in need of my services and I had a desire to feel land under my feet and sun on my face again.  I’ll be staying on a spell.”


“They’ll miss you,” she whispered.


“The Captain promised to be back for visits.”  Booked looked her straight in the eyes at the mention of Mal.


“How is he…how is everyone doing?”


“They’re missing you a great deal,” he spoke slowly then added quietly, “every one of them.”


“Oh…ah…well I…miss…”


“Inara,” he cut in sharply, riveting her attention to his wise old eyes. “You really should tell him the truth.”


“I…don’t…I…” She shrugged and tried to smile, but only succeeded in looking sad.


Book studied her face and couldn’t believe what he was seeing.  She was a Companion, but suddenly she looked shy and unsure of herself.  He nodded as an idea took hold. “Haven is having a celebration in four months for the Christian winter holiday and you’re invited.  In fact I’ve got a friend with a Firefly class ship who I’ve almost convinced to come. I bet he’d be glad to stop on his way and pick you up.”


“Thank you, Shepherd; I’ll keep your offer in mind.”  Inara sign off.  She’d been given a lot to think about.


“You do that, child,” Book whispered as his ancient wireless went black.  One of the sad things about being a Shepherd was that any secret he learned while giving solace had to be taken to his grave.  He was afraid Mal and Inara were just stubborn enough that that would be the case.           

Tags: firefly, mal/inara, something's gotta give
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