DISCLAIMER: I do not own any of these characters or settings or whatnot, they belong to the brilliant Joss Whedon.

A/N: This is my first proper fic so please don't judge too quickly...thanks. Oh and give lots of feedback, I need to learn.

Inara blinked. Then she blinked again. Then she paused for a second. Another blink.

"I'm not sure I understand…"

Her beautiful face was furrowed in confusion.

"I know Inara."

Mal looked solemnly at her and she gulped.

"Know what Mal? There is nothing to know."

Mal gave her one of his irritating, knowing smiles.

"If you tell me yourself I won't be as humiliating…actually, it'll be humiliating either way…but I'd like you to tell me yourself."

Inara took a deep breath, and started in a whisper, slowly getting louder, until she was almost yelling.

"All right Mal. I'll tell you. I love you. I've loved you since I first heard your voice, since I saw your face, since I felt your smile warm a room. And you can laugh all you want Captain Reynolds, but I will love you tomorrow, and the next day, and the week after that and forever on. And no matter how cruel you are, I will keep on loving you. So now you know."

Mal smiled, then grinned, and began to laugh.

Tears began to pour down Inara's face.

Finally Mal stopped laughing.

"Now I know."

With that he grabbed her arm and she tried to pull away, but his strength won. Grabbing her face gently, he kissed her, once, twice, and the third time he could not bring himself to leave her. So they stood together for a time, and began to seemingly fall into each other's gaze.

A purple cow floated past, and Jayne walked through the room in a pink bathing suit.

Then Mal woke up. He was silent for a moment, lost in thought. He then finally realized what thisrecurring dream meant.


Breakfast was never quiet for long on Serenity, except when everyone was aware Mal was in a bad mood. This morning's meal was silent. Kaylee observed that Mal looked at Inara about double what he normally did, and he seemed rather troubled about something. And as for Inara, lately it was like she was never there. Meals were the only time anybody saw much of her; she always seemed to be with clients nowadays. Mal had even stopped calling her a Whore, but it hardly seemed to matter since he hadn't had much of a chance anyway.

"So Inara, where ya off to today?" Kaylee braved the silence.

"I have appointments." Inara said quietly, smiling at Kaylee but keeping her distant air.

Mal looked rather amused and appeared to shed his bad mood all at once.

"Well, don't wanna be late then do we?"

And with that he picked up his plate and Wash' and dumped them in the sink.

"Hey!" whined Wash, "I was eating that."

"Past tense baby," Zoe smiled at her husband, "Captain's in a hurry."

Inara slipped out quietly, and Mal watched her go. He thought he better leave her be, if he payed her too much attention she might catch on.

"Come on Wash," he said, turning to head up to the Bridge, "Let's get moving. The Ambassador has clients waiting."

Jayne, who had been unusually quiet all morning, finally gave his opinion.

"What the xiao ji was that about?"

A/N: Please give me lots of feedback on that one, i erm...i am unsure where to take it from here, but it will be a chaptered fic so stay tuned.

Oh, and erm chinese translation: xiao ji-chicken