She tried not to listen, now that she had a choice. But there was still something in her, some sense that told her when eavesdropping would be useful.
Usually, her intuition was aimed at keeping Mal alive. He did tend to get people in a killing mood quite regularly. Occasionally, it was aimed at keeping all of them alive. Sometime Mal got people so irritated, they were willing to take out the entire crew. But once in a while, it pricked her at a calm moment, rare as those moments could be.
In those situations, her intuition was aimed at the emotions roiling under the surface of the crew. They worked together perfectly in the middle of a job, but no group of this many people in this small a space could always get along. She'd broken up fights between Simon and Kaylee before they both said something unforgiveable. She'd defused Jayne's stupidity and insensitivity before Zoe tossed him out the airlock. She'd protected Simon from getting his jaw broken when he was picking at Jayne's soft spots, and gently directed Kaylee away from Zoe when she was taking quiet moments to mourn.
But she'd never interfered with Mal and Inara.
She did her damndest to stay out of their brains entirely. It just seemed wrong, somehow worse than peeking in on everyone else. There was something about it that seemed... unethical.
This thought perplexed her. What made Mal's and Inara's mind's more off-limits than Simon's or Kaylee's, than Jayne's or Zoe's? She'd been puzzling on this question for several hours now. Simon had been looking for her, but she'd tucked herself into a small hidey hole so she wouldn't be disturbed. His worry started to press at her, and she knew she'd have to come out soon or he'd panic, and worry the entire crew, and Mal would give her a strict talking to...
Synapses firing and disparate thoughts connecting and breakthrough.
It was unethical because she had a vested interest. It was unethical because her motives cannot be trusted. It was unethical because she had feelings for Mal.
The thought shocked her.
She'd spent two years on this ship, locked in her own insanity, trapped by the secrets that
had been forced on her. She'd spent two years seeing Mal as a protective father-figure, Inara as his compassionate counterpart, halves of a whole.
But now, that had all changed. Baptized in the blood of Wash and Book, drenched in the sweat of battle, she was free of the insanity-tinged hysterics. Free to see things in a new light.
But not free to use her talents to sabotage Mal's attempt to make a life with Inara. Not free to drive a wedge between them.
Not even free to try and save them from themselves, knowing they could never work (only 2%
chance they have successful relationship. And in 75% of those happy endings, it only works because Mal dies within the first two years. Unacceptable result.)
So she'd stay silent, stay out of it. Not instigating arguments, no matter how her hands itched to interfere. Not deflecting arguments, no point in delaying the inevitable.
Just waiting, and hoping.