Fireflies

Mal sat on the catwalk above the cargo bay, letting his legs dangle beneath him. It was night and most of the crew had already gone to bed. Not Inara, though. Inara was sitting next to him. For once, they weren't fighting - a pleasant silence had fallen around them and they were both wrapped up in their own thoughts. Inara wore a silky red dress and the empowering scent of incense drifted about her. Mal breathed in deeply, letting the aroma fill his nostrils. It was a good feeling.

A sudden flash of light caught Mal's eye. He squinted into the darkness behind them and after awhile, found himself able to focus on the brightness. What intrigued Mal was that it was an insect of some sort. It floated around aimlessly, one end of it glowing lightly in luminescent white that would've been blinding, had it been bigger.

Mal reached over slowly and rested his hand on Inara's arm to get her attention. When she looked up, a questioning expression on her face, he gestured towards the firefly. Inara smiled and watched the shimmering bug fly about them. Mal did the same, not removing his hand from where it lay on Inara's arm. After awhile, Inara broke the silence for what seemed like the first time that night.

"To the Aztecs, fireflies symbolised a spark of knowledge in a world of ignorance or darkness. They were spirit guides, in a way, allowing the truth to be revealed." She paused.

"Is that so?" Mal questioned. He grinned at Inara as she continued.

"In a European legend, it was said that if a firefly flew in the window, someone was going to die."

"Huh." Mal said, thoughtfully. "So, which one do you believe?"

The firefly at that moment flew towards them and frantically circled them, as if trying to put across a message. Inara smiled, one of her secretive smiles that drove Mal to the edge of space and back.

"The first one."