Disclaimer: Joss is Boss! Seriously, Joss Whedon and the grand high Mucky Mucks own Firefly. I am making no money from this and no copyright infringement is intended. Any similarity to any story not my own is coincidence.
Title: The Kiss
Genre: Firefly; Mal/Inara fic
Timeline: Immediately after TBDM
Note: So, this one isn't a smut-fic *grin* But there are different versions, and honestly, I don't know which one gets across better what I was trying to say... so...
Malcolm walked the silent corridor, not sure which felt more haunted, him, or his ship. He reached a hand out to touch the cool metal.
“We’ll make it through this, we just have to keep flying,” he murmured into the stillness.
That’s when he heard it, a low sound, soft and melancholy. It was faint, but he could hear it whispering through Serenity and could swear that he felt its quiet vibrations in his fingertips. He would have called it a ghost sound, except that it felt more alive than that, mourning and aching, but quietly alive nonetheless.
“River?” he asked in a low voice. It certainly sounded like something that could be associated with the jing shen girl.
But no one answered.
“Wo-men cai-qu shen hu-xi,” Malcolm advised himself under his breath.
Again there was no answer. Malcolm took a deep breath and listened carefully, hearing the sound resolve itself into the low notes of a melody.
He took a deep breath. “Okay,” he murmured.
Slowly, Malcolm made his way through Serenity, following the song that seemed to be brushing against his heart like watered silk. The paths of its weaving lead him through the corridors and to the cool metal walkway that hung above the wide cargo bay.
“Inara,” he murmured.
Carefully he made his way up the steps to what he would always think of as her shuttle. The door was open, and inside, Inara knelt on a simple mat on the floor. Most of her belongings were still packed away, and the shuttle seemed more like a part of Serenity, and his world, and less like the warm sanctuary of Inara’s own. What scared Malcolm the most though, was that she did not look out of place there.
She looked up from the samisen in her lap and over to Malcolm with eyes as dark as the black surrounding them. He noticed then, that she had been crying and the sight made parts of his soul bleed and ache.
“Bao bei,” he murmured.
He stepped into the shuttle, and Inara looked back to down to the samisen in her lap. Quietly, she began to play again, the notes whispering softly and brushing against Malcolm and Serenity’s walls like silk in the breeze. Her fingertips caressed the strings and she coaxed the song from them like a reluctant and melancholy lover.
Malcolm saw more tears fall from her dark eyes and drift into her hair like stars. His fingertips ached with the desire to capture those stars and make certain that no more fell. Instead, he walked over to her until his shadow fell down at Inara’s knees. Gently, he brushed her tears away before cradling her face in his hands.
Inara’s hands stilled on the strings of her samisen
He kissed her then, and she tasted like despair, and love, and home, all at once. And Malcolm felt his heart call her name, inviting her in. And what scared him, was that she looked like she belonged there.
Serenity danced through the stars in what seemed like hours, but were really only minutes as Malcolm laid his kiss upon her.
And when they finally broke the kiss, the captain brushed his thumb tenderly over Inara’s bottom lip in parting. Then, without anything else said, Malcolm walked out of the shuttle and back into the corridors of his ship…