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Zoë avoided the teacup, acutely aware of her shaking hands. “I've never done this before. Not visit a Companion...I mean the other thing.”

Inara stared over the rim as she finished her tea, her voice husky when she finally spoke. “I understand.” She slid around the table, grabbed a fistful of Zoë's hair, and yanked. “You can let go with me,” Inara whispered, breath hot against her skin.

She relaxed into the strong arm, warmth flooding her as she felt rope encircling her wrists. “Thank you.” Her mind stilled, folded into itself, floated away. A leaf on the wind.