Title: Naked

Author: Slipstream

Rating: G

Disclaimer: Dudes, not mine! Joss's!

Summary: Blue was not her best color. Inara gets in a spot of trouble, and Jayne gets her out again.

Notes: Originally written in response to the color challenge at Firefly Friday. Because fandom needs more Jayne and Inara interaction, gorramit.

This wasn't supposed to happen.

Of course, it sometimes did. There were reasons behind everything she'd learned at the companion training house, and her skills with a bow and arrow were not merely for show. Companions picked their own clients, a measure enacted not only to differentiate them from common whores, but also to protect them from those that meant them harm.

Lt. Redding was a repeat client of hers, an Alliance officer well past the age of retirement. At parties he was an embarrassment to his former military friends, sporting a ridiculous moustache and leaving the top buttons of his uniform undone. He did not partake in the pleasures of her body, wishing only for her slight weight in his arms on the dance floor and attentive ear at dinner. An evening was him was restful, enjoyable.

There were always other people at parties, however, and unlike her clients, Inara could not choose who those people were.

Things were a jumble from the party to this stark white room, naked of furnishings and decorations, just as she was naked. A small, black camera blinked at her from over the locked door, and she turned her back to it.

She'd sat proudly defiant at first, secure in her knowledge that nudity was not solely defined by lack of clothing. She had meditated, ignoring the chill of the floor as it spread through her thighs. She was a woman, a companion, and she would not let these men make her feel ashamed of her own skin.

Then the sounds had started; low, scratching sounds coming through the wall of the room next to hers, and that had made her skin itch all over, a shiver that ran through her and broke her resolve. She'd scooted back into the corner furthest away from the scratching, her hands frantic in their panic to cover some part of her, any part of her. In the end she'd curled her knees up to her chest and covered her eyes while she'd sobbed.

Eventually the scratching noises stopped. There was silence for a while, and that silence was almost as horrible as the scratching. The lights flickered, and bootsteps thundered down the hall, away from her. Gunfire, distant at first, then surprisingly close. It was right outside the door. She pressed herself further into the corner as someone shot out the locking mechanism before breaking through the door with a violent kick.

It was Jayne, his skin shiny with perspiration, Vera held out in front of him as he quickly scanned the room from left to right before settling on her. Inara forced herself to sit up straight. She covered her breasts and glared at him defiantly through her ruined make-up, expecting the mercenary to leer at her nakedness. Instead he turned away, reaching up to key the com-link in his ear as he did.

"Found her, cap'n. We're headin' your way."

Quick as a flash, he jammed his gun between his thighs and shucked off his shirt, tossing it in her direction and reshouldering Vera in one smooth motion. The rumpled garment landed in a heap at her feet.

"Here," he said, eyes and gun focused on the hallway outside the door. "Get dressed. We gotta move."

The t-shirt was pale blue, not her best color. There were crude characters on the front, advertising some bar out on the far rim. The cotton was soft from many washings, and when she pulled it over her head she caught a hint of the detergent the rest of the crew used buried underneath a heavy head of Jayne-sweat.

He glanced briefly over his shoulder at her. "You ready?" She nodded, and he reached into the back waistband of his pants and pulled out a small, silver handgun. He held it out to her, handle first.

"We ain't gonna be able to leave here all quiet-like. Kaylee's done best she can with the alarms, but there's still plenty of folk about. Once we're out the door we're gonna hafta hussle it to the shuttle." He looked at her quickly, up and down, but there was nothing sexual in the glance, unlike others she'd had from him. "You gonna be okay in bare feet? I'd a brought you shoes, but I didn't know you was gonna be nekkid."

She fingered the safety, adjusting to the weight of the gun in her hands. The metal was warm from Jayne's skin. There was a delicate pearl inlay along the barrel, and it glittered pink under the fluorescent lights.

"Yes," she said. "My feet are tougher than they look."

"Good." He stuck his head outside again and gestured for her to follow. "Stay close. And don't shoot me with that thing."

They ran hard through the corridors, Jayne always a few steps ahead of her, Vera held steady as he rounded corners and took down any in their way with bursts of gunfire. Jayne's blue shirt flapped too-large around her small body, skimming her thighs as she struggled to keep up. Unsupported, her breasts bounced painfully against her chest, and the hem of the t-shirt crept up around her hips, leaving her flashing legs bare.

She'd never felt more dressed in her life.