Author's Note: This fic was written based on a deleted scene from Serenity. In it, Inara is at the Training House and the character of Sheydra is discussing how the girls view Inara as a 'figure of great romance' and how she especially likes the story about Inara being made love to in a burning temple by her pirate. Keep in mind I haven't written in awhile, and this was just in fun.

Disclaimer: Firefly, Serenity, and all the characters created within are from Joss Whedon's brilliance, I don't own any of it. The girls are mostly mine, but you can borrow them if you want.

A Figure of Great Romance

Since the Alliance had come to occupy the Training House, the girls had mostly remained in their dormitories when not in class. The girls in the west wing dorm were waiting patiently for Sheydra, who was to escort them to their dulcimer lessons. While waiting, they discussed their favorite topic: Inara Serra and her space pirate.

"He's probably tall, dark, and handsome," Melinda said, pulling her knees to her chin, "With dark, piercing eyes and a voice like gravel wrapped in velvet-"

"He doesn't look like that at all," Likides protested.

"And how would you know?" Haidee retorted, sticking up for her friend.

"Because," Likides answered smugly, "I was with Sheydra when he dropped Inara off."

The room came to a standstill, the other eight occupants staring wide-eyed at Likides. "And you're just choosing to tell us this now?" Isadora shrieked.

Likides shrugged, "Didn't seem that important."

"What do you mean 'not important'," Melinda broke in, "How are we supposed to tell a story properly if we have to speculate on what he looks like?"

"What does he look like," Essin inquired, focusing on the valuable information.

"Yes," the girls chorused, leaning forward eagerly.

"Well, he is tall," Likides granted them, "But his hair is a sandy blonde, and his eyes are blue, like the sky after a storm." The others sighed. "And his name is Malcolm. Malcolm Reynolds."

"Malcolm," Maia repeated, testing the name. She grinned, "It is appropriately roguish." They all giggled.

"Well," Kalila broke in, her calm voice quieting the others, "Now that we know this piece of vital information, perhaps Deepika will grace us with a story?"

"Yes," everyone chorused, turning to the eldest among them, "Story!"

Pika grinned, "All right, but which one should I tell?" In a graceful movement, she brought a slender hand to her chin, as if pondering deeply. The other girls grinned as well, calling out suggestions.

"The one where he fights a duel in her honor!"

"When he makes love to her for a week in a hunting cabin!"

"The poetry lessons!"

"When he saves her from a bounty hunter!"

"When she saves him from the Feds!"

"No, the temple affair!"

"Yes! The temple!" they all agreed. It was their favorite story.

"All right, all right," Pika agreed, gesturing them to be silent, "The temple story it is." And so she sat, facing the other girls as they gathered around her, and waited with the carefully blank face of a Companion-in-training. When she had accumulated their breathless anticipation, she began…

"Once, not too long ago, Inara was commissioned by a new client. This client was unknown to the Guild files, as he lived deep out in the Black, on a remote planet. But Inara liked his face, and decided to meet with him. So she went to," and here, Pika paused, smirking at her audience, "Malcolm and informed him of her appointment.

Her lover was displeased, but she stood her ground even as he tried amorously to change her mind. And so, Inara met with her client, surprised to find he was a priest. As the appointment continued, and the client made no attempt to fulfill the contract, Inara began to politely question her purpose in being there. The priest smiled and offered her some tea.

She awoke chained to an altar, the temple disciples chanting, incense burning, and her client standing above her with an obsidian knife. Frightened, but refusing to show it, she demanded to be released. The priest didn't even look at her, his gaze intent upon the giant statue that represented his god, and began to plunge the knife.

The recoil of a gun resounded and the priest collapsed with a bullet hole through his brain. Inara's lover stood at the temple entrance, his guns blazing as he approached the altar where she lay shackled. The pirate crew ranged behind him, taking out those left in his wake. He took the steps to the altar deliberately slow, his blue eyes locked upon her dark ones, and halted beside her. He didn't look away as he ordered his crew to burn the temple to the ground.

They scattered to do his bidding, the sound of grenades exploding echoed throughout the sacrificial hall, empty now but for the dead and the two lovers. 'Malcolm,' Inara breathed, her eyes alight with emotion forbidden to a Companion. His pistol came up, and shots rang out. The fetters holding her prisoner fell away and she sat up to find his arms around her, his mouth possessive as it ravaged hers. 'Malcolm,' she repeated, as his mouth moved down her form. Her hands scrambled to find purchase as he tore her dress from her body…"

Here Deepika took a breath, eyes taking in her audience, with their flushed faces and eager forms. Even Bethan, the loner of the group, was leaning forward, an air of expectancy on her plump face. And so she continued, "He made love to her as the temple burned down around them. His hands caressing her body, stripping away her Companion training as only he was able to do, and then, as she climaxed, he demanded the one thing she could never give him. 'Tell me you love me,' he said roughly.

Her head shook from side to side, his ardent assault upon her stealing her breath. It was forbidden, the way she felt for him. She could never tell him the feelings in her heart, for she was a true Companion. 'Tell me,' he said again, this time in a tender whisper, 'Please Inara…'

It tore at Inara's heart; the expression on his face, so open and needful, and the gentleness of his big hands as her cradled her body against his. She opened her mouth to say the words, to betray all that she was so that she wouldn't betray her heart."

The girls sighed and waited for the ending, wondering which Pika would choose this time, for they had come up with so many for this story. The look on her face told them, even before she began again, that it would not the happy one they hoped for.

"He saw the stray grenade as it flew over them and rolled them off the altar, groaning as his back hit the steps and he wrapped himself closer around her body to protect her as they tumbled down the steps. The moment lost, Inara simply clung to him, as he lay above her, waiting for the explosive to detonate-"


The girls shrieked at the sound and immediately huddled together as the stared at the door to their dorm room. A man stood there, gun drawn, in a simple outfit complete with suspenders and a dusty brown coat. "'Scuse me ladies," he drawled, sending them a grin that stopped their hearts and dissipated the fear his abrupt arrival had garnered. "I'm looking for a Miss Inara Serra, would one of you lovely darlin's be willing to help a fella out?"

"Inara?" Haidee repeated, a suspicion arising in her mind.

Likides rose, brushing off her uniform. "The Alliance Operative has confined her to her rooms Captain Reynolds." The girls exchanged glances at the confirmation of the intruder's identity.

"Well now," he said, scratching the barrel of his pistol to his forehead, "that presents a bit of a problem."

A movement from the back of the room drew everyone's attention. Bethan stood, the cloak the completed their training uniforms in her hands. "I may have an idea, Captain."

He looked at her blankly for a moment, and then a mischievous sparkle appeared in his blue eyes and an impish smirk on his face. The girls could finally see the charming pirate within. "Pretty girl like you can call me Mal." A blush spread over Bethan's face as she passed to cloak to him. He spread it out before him, examining it every which way, before looking back up at them with a sheepish expression that melted their hearts even further. "Could I get a little assistance with the fancy duds, here?"

They moved as one to crowd around him, and in moments, he was covered in the crushed red velvet. The beads clacked as he moved his head. "Much obliged, ladies. Now, if'n I could be pointed in the direction of 'Nara's quarters…"

A clap halted their directions and Sheydra appeared in the doorway. "West wing, are you prepared for you dulcimer lessons?"

"Yes, Madam Sheydra," they chorused.

Isadora tugged Mal next to her as the girls lined up. "Just follow our lead." He nodded, staying silent and walked beside her. "More graceful," she directed, "You need to sway as you walk." She suppressed a smile as he sashayed his hips a bit.

As they crossed the courtyard, she saw Melinda look back and nodded. "Miss Inara's rooms are through that door on the left," she murmured, keeping her eyes straight, acutely aware of the Alliance officers hidden within the complex. Hopefully they were 'occupied' at the moment. The man at her side drifted away quickly and, surprisingly, unobtrusively.

Bethan sprinted in as they were seating themselves by their dulcimers; she went to her station unnoticed by the instructor. The girls exchanged glances, elated by the adventure, and giggled. "Ladies," the instructor said sharply, "Your instruments should be the only noise I hear coming from your direction. He glared at them, before focusing on Deepika. "You first."

"Yes, Instructor Romera," she said obediently, bending her head to the instrument. As she plucked out the first notes of the melody they had been taught last week, she was already composing the newest tale of Inara and her Pirate Captain…

The End

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