Rating: PG-13, (will change to R in later parts)
Pairing: Mal and Inara, cannon for the rest
Part: Two of...still to be determined
Summary: This takes place between Shindig and Serenity. Mal and Inara find out just how close they're becoming to one another. Mostly covers the mishaps between episodes, filler. BIG thanks goes to noneofyours for being Inara :3! And more thanks to my friends for betaing this story for me! Hope you all enjoy this!
Link to Part Other Parts:1
Inara gasped, her hand raising and covering her mouth. Her eyes widened at the death and destruction in front of her. "Oh no," she whimpered, a tear sliding down her cheek.
"All right. Salvage what we can..Shephard. Start sayin' some prayers. Jayne, Zoe, Wash start diggin' some graves." Mal kept his cool, calm. He stepped off the ship and started walking the area to check things out. Make sure everyone was dead this time.
Everyone started doing what he said, without question or argument. Inara followed along, feeling her heart lurch in her throat. She guessed she wasn't going anywhere for a walk on this planet. "This poor... these poor..."
Mal just nodded his head, moving down towards the river. He stopped Inara before she could go any further. There was a woman..or what was left of a woman half in the water, the rest of her torn apart. "Stay here..dong ma?"
"No, Mal, I want to go with you." She started to push past him, till she saw what he was trying to protect her from. "Oh Buddha," she turned away from him and ran back to the ship, feeling sick.
Mal sighed and shook his head. And then he heard it. He was trying to be careful walking down the incline, but the land gave way and he fell, sliding down. Mal winced and held his side, walking to the body with caution. Looking at the body, he pulled out his gun, walking slowly towards it. Kicking it over, his eyes widening to what he saw.
Back in the town, the trenches were dug and the others were starting to pile the bodies in. Shephard stood over the grave, head bowed, while the others did their best not to heave from the smell. The whole thing was awful. Simon didn't bother seeing if he could save anyone this time. After their run in with that man who was changed by Reavers, he knew Mal wouldn't be helping another in the same situation anytime soon. They'd seen Inara run back, but there was still no sign of their leader. Just then though, Mal appeared jacket wrapped around something small, walking carefully.
Inara was sitting on the edge of the cargo bay ramp, a sweater wrapped around her. Even though it was a dust moon, she felt cold. Staring out in front of her, she was lost in thought.
Simon ran over to Mal, looking to see what was in his arms. "Oh..oh God." Simon looked pale and took whatever it was from Mal, running to the ship and past Inara. Mal looked like he was going to be sick and continued to walk slowly back to the ship.
Inara looked up, watching Simon run past. Then, she turned to Mal, raising an eyebrow. "Find something," she asked, trying to lighten the mood.
Mal looked at her as though he just realized she was there. "A boy, couldn't be more then half a year old. Found him under that woman by the river." Mal leaned against the doorway of the cargo bay, holding his side. "Gorram..he's still alive. Smilin' at me as though nothin' was wrong."
"What!" Inara was up on her feet in a heartbeat. Her eyes widened, looking back into the ship, watching where Simon had run off to. "A child!?" She looked back at Mal, her jaw hanging slack, open. "Oh the poor baby."
Mal nodded. Simon reappeared with the baby, rewrapped in something cleaner. "He's fine. A little melnurished, but that can easily be fixed." He smiled with some hope. Mal nodded. "Next planet we land on, we'll find a home for him. We can't stay here. Nothin' here. Wash, find us another planet. Close." Wash nodded and ran to the bridge.
Inara walked over to Simon, smiling sadly. "May I?" Simon nodded and handed her the baby. She held him as he was supposed to be held, supporting the head just so and kissing his forehead. "Such a beautiful baby," She murmured. Softly, she began to hum to him.
The little one smiled at her and grabbed a lock of her hair, sucking on it. Mal couldn't help but smile a little. Simon, smiled himself, thinking that the picture was almost to perfect, but didn't voice anything. "Perhaps, you'd like to watch over him till we get to the next planet?"
Inara nodded. "I would like that. I think we have some protein in the galley. Can make a protein drink for him to drink. I don't think we have any milk..." She smiled up at them, before taking the little one off to the galley. "I think I'll name you Rey," she murmured to the baby.
Mal watched her walk away and smirked then turned to Simon. "Need you ta' check this side again. Fell down the hill, whacked it good." He shrugged it off like it was nothing. He was a tad clumsy.
Simon nodded. "After you then, Captain." Simon smirked. "Maybe this time you will actually get some rest."
"I rested the other night." Mal protested. He sat up on the table and lifted his shirt, showing off the bandage. He sighed though and looked out the window. "Poor guy, won't remember none of this. Have to find out what happened to him.."
Simon nodded. "Indeed, it will be difficult. With a child that can not really speak." He began to take off the bandage. There was a little blood and the stitches had been opened. "I need to re-stitch these." Grabbing a needle and some medical thread, Simon began to work on Mal, smiling. "So, Inara looked quite relaxed with the child in her arms."
"Can't say that I noticed. To busy lookin' at him. Must be nice not ta' have a care in the world. Be completely clueless." He paused a moment. "Think he and Jayne might be best friends.."
"Of course, Mal. And yes, you are right. Though, I think that the child might grow bored quite quickly." He chuckled. "Perhaps Kaylee and River could teach him some games."
"He ain't stayin' long." Mal looked up, serious. "Next planet we land on, we find a home for him."
"Of course, Mal." Simon finished sewing and bandaged him up once more. "You popped your stitches. You will, again, if you don't take it easy."
He shook his head. "I slept for one day. What more ya' want from me." He slid off the table hissing. "Gonna go check on Inara and the little one." Simon raised and eyebrow. "And sit. Happy?"
Simon nodded his head. Inside the galley, River had emerged. She was singing some song, holding the baby, while Inara made some protein watered down mush. River made a face at the prospect of it. "Some is better than none, River."
Mal walked in and sat down beside her, looking at the little guy again. "Seems happy enough." He saw the bottle Inara had and made a face of his own. "To bad none of ya' are producin'." He smirked, knowing that real milk would have been better for him.
Inara raised an eyebrow. "Well, Mal, you'll just have to get River pregnant here so that she can."
River looked at Mal and smiled. "Later," she whispered. Mal's eyes got huge and he shook his head. Inara burst out laughing, putting the protein solution on the counter. Her eyes looked over at River, covering her hand with her mouth. Oh, that was too funny. "And who, River. Jayne?"
"That ain't funny. No one on this ship. And he's not stayin' long. Wash is landin' us soon and we're given him ta' someone that can raise him proper." Mal watched her, probably the most serious he'd been in days. "He deserves better then what he's been through. And none of us have time ta' be raisin' a baby. Get him a good home, nice people and go on our merry."
"Oh I think I could raise him fine, Mal. I think I would be a good mother." She glared at Mal. "I coddled you well enough last night." Placing her hands on her hips, she dared him to argue.
"Have to take your word for it. I passed out if ya' recall." He raised an eyebrow at her. "Ain't sayin' you can't raise a kid. I just dun want 'em on my boat. Not if he can have a family."
"Fine." Inara stomped over to Mal, shoving the protein mushy stuff in his hands. "What do I know about it." She turned and stomped out of the room. When it was quiet, River looked up at Mal, shaking her head. "She feels bad. Misses what she doesn't have anymore."
He handed the bottle to River. "Whatcha mean by that..?" He looked out the doorway where Inara had stormed off.
River looked past Mal, out the doorway. "Inara has a past."
He frowned. Had she..? Did she have..? He got up, wincing and walked out the door, looking for her and heading to her shuttle. He walked in. "'nara? Look I didn't mean nothin' offensive by what I said.."
Inara looked up from the sofa. She had been sitting there, just thinking. The shuttle was very dimly lit, only a few candles here and there. She nodded her head to Mal. "I understand. I overreacted. I apologize."
"I..bah. I just want him to have a better life then this. Don't want him grownin' up in anymore fear then what he's been through. I ain't sayin' your can't have a kid. Hell! Ya' make a great mom, I'm sure. Just..not this time, dong ma?"
Inara nodded her head. She didn't say anything, but she didn't argue either. In her head, she thought that maybe Mal was right, about having a better life. She knew Zoe and Wash had argued about something similar.
Mal patted her shoulder. "And dun think I don't appericate what ya' did for me last night. Cause I do." Mal moved to sit beside her and cringed horribly. He fell into the table, holding it and his side. Gorram Simon and being right about resting.
"Mal!!" Inara was up and beside him in a heatbeat. Her arms wrapped around his hips and she tried to get him to lean into her. "Ok Mal, c'mon..."
He was panting, which turned to deep breaths through his nose and he shook his head. "Forgot I was hurt.." he lied. He turned to look at her, paler then he was a moment before.
"Mal, you don't look good." She urged him over to the bed, not taking no for an answer. "C'mon... lay down and I'll go get Simon. That's an order." She glared at him and helped him to lay down, her hands petting his face.
Mal laid back slowly, swallowing and shaking his head. "Simon already looked at me two seconds ago." He closed his eyes, his head turning into her hand without realizing.
"Mal..." She leaned down and placed a kiss on his lips. It was chaste, but it was loving. She hated seeing him hurt. "Just rest, please..." Pulling away, she looked around for a blanket.
He wasn't sure what happened, but he liked it. "Don't think I can move," he whispered with his eyes still closed. The day had been more eventful then he'd planned. He kept his hand firmly pressed on his side, eyebrows furred.
Inara got a soft, plush blanket and covered Mal with it. Tucking him in, so to speak, she curved it around him. Then, she leaned down, pressing another kiss to his lips. "Goodnight, Mal."
He opened his eyes. "Ya' keep kissin' me." He stared at her a long time, hoping for an answer but she didn't seem to say anything about it. Then he remembered what River had said to him in the galley and he needed to know. "You have a miscarriage..? Lost a little one of your own..?"
"What..." Her jaw dropped open. "What are you talking about? I... How? I don't know what you mean." She hugged herself, pulling away from him.
"River..said somethin'. Sorry.." He closed his eyes again and turned his head on the pillow, hand returning to his side to hold it.
Inara sighed. She walked around the bed and climbed in beside him, so he had to look at her, or he would if his eyes were open. "It was a long time ago, when I was a
companion, still new. I didn't understand the birth control like I should have..." She sighed. "It's ok, Mal." She stroked his cheek. "It doesn't matter."
He opened his eyes again, looking right at her. He winced and rolled on his good side facing her. He burried his face in the pillow again, swearing under his breath and then looking at her again. "Weren't my business to say nothin'."
"The baby... well, not a baby anymore, but... it was given up for adoption." She whimpered a little, stroking his face. "It's still out there, somewhere. I... I wonder, is it... is it happy?"
His eyes widened. "You have a little one out there somewhere..?" He sighed. "I'm sure..he or she is happy and healthy. Livin' a good life. Happy ya' made a responsible choice."
Inara nodded her head. "Yes, they're out there somewhere. A little girl." Inara smiled, getting a wistful look in her eyes. "So yeah, the fact that you want to give that baby a better life, it deserved a kiss or two. You are my champion."
"I ain't nothin' of the sort.." Mal's head sunk in the pillow. "I'm a mean old man. Thinkin' more of my crew then the rest of the 'verse." His head slipped off the pillow and onto her shoulder, cringe still hindering on it. He curled himself up into a ball, hoping that would help the pain. "Mean old man that can't let his crew see him like this.."
"Oh Mal, you're not mean. Or Old." Inara curled up around him, being gentle with him. Her hands moved up and down his face, while she kissed her forehead. "What can I do Mal?"
"No more sly costumers. I dun mind savin' ya', but I don't know how many more times I can save ya' like that." He blinked. "Ya' kissed me again.."
"I'll stop, then." She pulled back and rested her head on the pillow, staring at him. One hand reached out, rubbing his back. "Get some rest, Mal. You're hurtin."
"You are right about that now." He smirked and even chuckled a little. "I dun know the meaning of the word rest. Got two settin's, work and break down. I'm inbetween the two." He closed his eyes and pulled the pillow close.
"Of course you'd snuggle up to a pillow," she teased. Rolling over, her back to him, she closed her eyes, trying to get some rest. The shuttle was quiet, except for the sound of their breathing.
A few hours later, Wash's voice came over the comm. "We're landing everyone. Plenty of life here." Mal's eyes fluttered open and he growned a little, sitting up. At least his side wasn't hurting all that bad anymore.
"Inara groaned and rolled over, mumbling somehing. She was not all dressed up, just her normal clothes, asleep beside Mal.
Mal got out of the bed, still rather clothed and stretched a little, not to much though. He went to the comm and told Wash he got the message. Then he called out to River whom he believed to still have the baby. "Pack him up. Need to get him to the group home here."
Inara raised her hands above her head as she sat up. She stiled a yawn, trying to be quiet.
"You coming out with the rest of us, or ya' plannin' ta' stay here. I still owe ya' a walk." Mal smirked and ruffled his hair to hopefully make it look better.
"Oh really." She reached over and tugged at his shirt playfully. "Well, maybe I'll get another person to escort me."
"You plan on doin' business while we're here?" he smirked.
"No!" Inara pulled back from him, shaking her head. Her hands fell away and she looked at a point across the room, suddenly finding it very interesting. "That wasn't what I meant."
He looked to see what she was staring at, but didn't see it. "Right. Well, I'm headin' out. You comin' or stayin'?"
Inara got up, nodding her head. "Right, a walk." She didn't want him to think that she was doing this because she saw him like a client. She didn't. And when he asked if she was doing business on the planet, while they were there, and then speaking about walking with her, that is what she thought.
"..right. Movin'.." He pointed to the door and stepped out, grabbing his jacket along the way.
Inara followed after him. "Mal, are you ok? Do you need some help?" She offered her arm to him. "It is clean, you know?"
He took her arm and smiled. "Would expect any different from you. I'm fine. Feel better then yesterday." River was in the bay, holding the baby in her arms. "You all right? You know this is best.."
Inara raised an eyebrow at Mal. "I... I know, Mal. And I trust your judgement. It's just... hard. It reminds me of... things, as you know." She blushed, looking down, dipping her head. "I'm sure someone nice will take care of him."
"Won't leave him 'less I'm sure." Mal walked over to River and took him from her, holding him close. "Strong little guy though. Sure he'll be fine. Survive something like that, he'll be able to survive anythin'." He nodded to his crew. "Same orders as before. Move out."
Inara couldn't help but be right at Mal's arm, stroking the baby, or humming to him. He was so beautiful to her. River nodded her head. "Daddy has spoken." She turned and went off to find simon.
Mal stood there a moment, holding the little guy and staring down at him. "Right. Find you a home little guy." He smiled and walked off the ship, heading into town to find the group home.
"Where are we going to take him, Mal?" Inara smiled. "I mean little Rey here, he needs to be given to the right place. We cant just give him to anybody?"
"There's a good group home here. Take in orphans all the time. Treat him nice, give him a warm bed." He walked around, looking for the sign and finally seeing it.
Inara looked up, dubious. "I don't know, Mal. What do you know about this place? Is it safe? Is it clean?" Typcially, Inara was appearing worried, when part of her wanted to keep the child for her own. "I mean, c'mon Mal..."
All the kids outside ran about happily, playing. For kids they seemed pretty clean and well dressed. Well fed. "Everyone seems fine ta' me." He stepped inside, seeing a nice woman at the desk.
The woman looked up. "Hello, welcome to the Zenintine Orphanage. Aw, what a beautiful baby you have." She was an older woman, with graying hair and little glasses on her face. "I'm Kendra Daniels."
"Found him, named him Rey. His ma' was killed by Reavers. No one left in the town to take 'im so we brought him to you." He took a look at the little one again and then the old lady.
"Oh, dear." The woman stepped forward and took Rey, stroking his little face. "Poor child," she murmured. "Well, of course. There is always a spot for children here." She carefully took him from Mal and began to bounce him in her arms. "Do you both have any children of your own?"
Mal laughed a little and then looked to Inara and then sorta stopped laughing. "We ain't..just the same crew, family. We ain't...So. You can take im. Get 'im a good home?"
Inara shook her head. Of course Mal would act like that. After all, the mere idea of having a child with her was laughable and pathetic. Why would he want to even touch her. "No, of course not. Just crew." The older woman nodded her head. "Of course we can. He's cute. Everyone will want him."
"All right then. Need to be signin' anythin'?" He stuck his fingers in his belt loops and watched the old lady with him.
The woman handed Rey to an assisstant while she got the necessary forms ready. "Just a release form, sir." She slid it and a pen to Mal.
"Yeah.." He took the pen and stared at it. Quickly he sighed the forms and placed the pen down. "Thank ya' we'll be goin' then if that's all."
"Of course. Thank you." Inara turned and walked out, needing some air. All she could think of was doing that so many years ago for her baby. She put on a smile when Mal emerged, trying not to let it show.
"Come on..needin' that walk now." He stared up into the sun and then kept walking heading to the edge of town, hands in his pockets and walking slow so she could keep up.
"Sure." Inara gazed up at the sky as they walked. The sun was really brigh. She had to squint, ultimately loking down at her feet or the ground instead.
"I didn't mean nothin' by what I said back there. Not sayin' I dun want critters of my own someday neither. I just.." he looked at her and sighed deeply. "I dunno.."
Inara nodded. "I know Mal. I am sorry. That baby, he'll have a better chance this way." She looked up at him, her eyes sad. "I didn't mean to upset you."
He rubbed at his nose and sniffed the air. "Fine. More worried 'bout how you'd take it anyways." He stared at her for a beat, before shuffling his feet and starting to walk again. "S'sides. Man like me, shouldn't be reproducing anyways."
Inara didn't follow him this time. "I think that's a little harsh, Mal." She shook her head, unable to stop the things that she probably shouldn't have said. "You can be mean, nasty, and many things, but I think you can also be good..."
He stopped walking again, but didn't turn around. "But its cause I can be mean and nasty and many things that it's probably for the best. What's a kid need an old, messed up man like me for?" He sounded, sad almost. "For the best I dun make more of me."
Inara walked up behind Mal, raising her hand. Pressing it to his shoulder, she gently rubbed him. She wanted to hug him, to kiss him, and do a few other things, but she didn't. Not yet. "Mal, I am sorry, but you're wrong. You have good in you. I see it in the way you take care of Kaylee, River, and the rest of the crew. The way you love, though you don't want us to know you do. You never know, Mal... You never know. You might be a great father." Inara leaned in close and brushed her lips against the back of his neck. It was a chaste kiss, her lips barely dancing across his skin, before she pulled back once more. Gently, she pulled away from him, her hand trailing down his back as she did so.
His hand caught hers in his surprisingly gentle like. He stared at her, taking a step to close the gap between them and he smiled down at her. He couldn't stop himself, he was just moving on his own.
She didn't move, looking up at him, eyes widening a little. She didn't know what he was doing, but she could guess. "Mal?"
He stared at her a little longer, before he leaned down a little closer to her face. "Yeah..?" he whispered.
"W... What are you doing?" She couldn't take her eyes off of him. She swallowed, her heart fluttering a little. Reaching her hand up, she stroked her fingers against his chin.
"I..." His face was dangerously close to hers, when the radio snapped on. "Cap'n? Where you and 'nara? We're all set to go." Mal closed his eyes and stepped back answering it. "Yeah..be right there."
Inara couldn't help frowning. She too stepped back, shaking her head. "Time to go," she murmured. Slowly, she turned back to the ship, her hips swaying as she walked. One step forward, two back.
Mal was pretty quiet the whole trip, looking around. His focus wasn't on her anymore. He didn't really know what he was doing. Well he did, but he wasn't sure himself why. He sighed as he walked on the ship and soon was all business again.
"I'll be in my shuttle," she murmured. She made her way up to her shuttle pretty quietly, her head hanging down a little. She had to admit, at least to herself, she was enjoying how comfortable her and Mal were feeling. They had been getting along. When dinner came, Inara didn't come down.
Mal didn't either. He was standing outside her door, staring at the cieling to the bay, thinking wheither or not he should go in or not. Before he knew it his hand slid across the button and her door was opening.
She should have been surprised, but she wasn't. Looking up, her eyebrows raised. "Well... hello." Inara was seated on the sofa, her arms resting in her lap.
He just stood there, pointing to the door and then he scratched his head. "Um..payday. For your shuttle." His thumbs quickly looped in his belt and he cleared his throat. Yeah..that was a good reason to come up.
Oh, of course, she thought to herself. Rising to her feet, she moved over to the dressar, pulling it open. At first, she rifled through it, making it look like she was rearranging, but she was actually looking for something. Pulling out a small satchel, she came over and handed it to Mal. "Your coin."
"Huh..Oh! Right. Much abliged." He nodded and stuck it in his pocket. And then there was that silence. He persed his lips and bit at the bottom one, looking everywhere but at her.
Inara moved back over to the sofa and sat back down. She then proceeded to do the same thing, looking everywhere but at Mal. It was quite comical to watch them both .
"Back in town..ya' had somethin' on your face. I was just tryin' ta' get it off. Dirt..or somethin'." He nodded confidently and finally looked at her, smirking.
"Sure, Mal. That was quite gentlemanly of you, trying to keep me clean. I think the gesture alone might make me die of shock. It's just like you keeping your arm clean," she grinned.
"Right." And then he looked at the floor. "WELL! Thanks and well thanks." He nodded and turned tail to leave.
"You're welcome." Inara laughed a little. Mal was quite predicable. It amused her. Maybe someday they would change their ways, but it looked like it wouldn't be this day.
End of Part Two