Hi everyone, here's Mal's point of view on what happened in the last chapter.

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Malcolm sighed as he walked towards the kitchen. He was glad to hear that his crew was laughing and chatting wildly with eah other. He slit himself in a chair and looked at his plate. Was he really hungry? These last days he hadn't been hungry at all.

"Inara? Kaylee to planet Inara?" Kaylee said out loud.

Malcolm eyed Inara warily to see her look up out of thought. He focused on his proteine bar again and took a bite as he followed the conversation between Book, Zoe and Wash.

"Could you pass me the water please?" Kaylee asked with a surprised look in her eyes. She quickly averted her attention away from Inara as Simon asked her something.

Mal laughed out loud at one of Washes comments as he heard River say something in a very loud and clear voice.

'Because you like him.' River said.

Mal swallowed and almost choked in his food in surprise as he looked from River who was looking at Inara meaningful. He almost held his breath. Inara's eyes had grown bigger then they already were. Mal realised that everyone had stopped talking and was staring at Inara and River now.

'You like someone?' He heard Inara say with a controlled face. Malcolm got confused, he thought that he had heard that River had said that Inara had liked someone, not the other way around. Maybe his mind had played a trick on him?

'No. Wrong. I was wrong. I am wrong.' River said slowly as she looked at the ceiling.

Whas there someone on this crew that River liked? Who would it be? Jayne perhaps? No he couldn't see them together well.

'You love him.' River blurted out suddenly as her brown eyes stared in Inara's again.

Mal held his breath. No, this was definitely about Inara. She loved someone? There was no denying it, if River said it, it was true. After all, the girl could read minds. He felt a stab of jealousy and pain instantly. Who was this man that had been in Inara's mind when they were having dinner on his ship? Who was it? Who had gotten across the walls of the ever so controlled Companion? Who had managed to make her love him? Was it really possible? Mal couldn't take his eyes of Inara. It was like he wanted to follow every detail of this conversation, every move the two woman made, he wanted to register everything. In the meantime a thousand questions and fears ran through his mind.

Mal was surprised at Inara's reaction. Her cheeks flushed, and this almost never happened, and she had no cheeky comment back. That was something new, and to make it even more interesting and terrifying, there wasn't coming ONE word out of her mouth. It was like the beautiful Companion had frozen to her seat in shock.

So she loved someone. Well maybe for the better, he thought angrily. That whore, she had enough choice in men so it should have been bound to happen sooner or later, Malcolm thought angrily. But still he felt something hurting on his insides.

He felt anger and fear at the same time as he studied Inara again. He saw her swallow visibly. She feels trapped, he thought.

'Who do you love?' Jayne asked bluntly.

'The…. Ehh…Uh..' Inara stuttered as she still had her eyes on River. 'I…' She looked from River to Jayne now and plastered her civilised smile on her face.

Mal raised an eyebrow. Well well, the Companion wouldn't flush or stutter when the subject sex was involved but when it was about love she couldn't get one word out of her mouth. Typical.

'I… No one.' She said in a high voice as she laughed shortly. 'Where did you get that idea?' She said amazed as she turned her head to face River but her eyes avoided eye contact with the young girl.

O this is so obvious, Mal thought annoyed. Quit playing that game. For the whole year he had known Inara he knew that she could act in all different sorts of ways, that she could put on a show, and hide her true self easily. And it was difficult to see through that, she was really good at it. But this moment, she was failing miserably. Maybe it were those big dark eyes of hers that betrayed her real uncomfort instantly.

Those same damn eyes that would make her look so innocent, so sweet, so lovable… He was sure that he wasn't the only one that was enchanted by them. And he was sure that she knew too what she could do with those eyes of hers. She used them to get what she want. She was after all quite manipulative. He wondered if she had learned how to use her eyes in her Companion training. He wouldn't be surprised about that.

"River!" Simon said in a stern voice

"What?" River asked. "She was asking it a million times. If someone asks I answer. I just want to help." River said as she looked at her brother. She had a scowl on her face.

Mal pushed away his fear and anger and plastered a mask on his face too. He was good at this game too. He grinned widely as he mixed himself in this conversation.

"So, the Companion loves someone? Who is it?' He said as if it was a joke. He brought it in a challenging tone. He just wanted to know who it was.

Inara laughed shortly in surprise at that. "I don't love anyone if you please. And if I would it would be of no ones bussiness.' She looked at River now. "My thoughts are my own, they are private. I wish for no one to read them."

"O, I do." Jayne said as he took a bite of his protein bar and smiled widely. "What else do you got in that pretty little head of yours? Bet it isn't all that innocent in there, not innocent at all." His grin grew even wider at that.

Mal swallowed deep. He had thought about Inara a lot of times, fantasised about her. What would she be like if she gave up her control? The many layers and walls that she had built around her? She could only be more beautiful then she already was. And maybe that was too much to take. No, he believed that Inara wasn't that innocent. Besides the fact that she was a Companion, the woman was quite passionate and had an outspoken opinion. If she hadn't been in control so many times and had masked her true feelings in many situations, how would she have been then?

He saw her breath in carefully. Now the snappy comment would come, Mal thought as he saw her big dark eyes move to Jayne. They had a powerful gleam in them.

"As I told you before, YOU will never find out." She said sweetly in a fake voice. She turned to River. "And YOU have misread me. Companions don't fall in love. That is a known fact." She looked at Mal now. "When I came onto this ship we had an agreement of privacy. Privacy also means that my thoughts are mine if you please." She said as she gave River an angry glance.

He felt pushed away. And she was right. It was none of his bussiness who she loved. It was none of the other bussiness either. She was out of his league. Way out of his league and he really regretted that. But that was just the way it was, he thought sadly.

'Yes, I agree. Our thoughts are ours.' Kaylee said in a cheerful voice as she tried to brighten up the conversation a bit and get the attention away from poor Inara.

"Maybe this is a good time to make a new rule." Mal said as he looked at River. "If you can't stop hearing what other people think, just don't say it out loud okay?"

"But she keeps asking the same question over and over!" River muttered.

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Mal sighed again as he looked at the stars in the dark sky. He couldn't sleep, his mind wouldn't settle down. He had thought of all the clients Inara had had this last month but he couldn't come up with a suitable person that she would love. But what sort of person would that woman love? Probably someone rich, and handsome nevertheless. But who would she find handsome? A wrinkle appeared above his brows. She always chose her clients herself. Maybe there was something in them all she was attracted too.

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Next day

'So, who managed to steal your heart?' Mal said as he looked at Inara. She was sitting on the bridge, dangling her feet in the air. In her hands was a mug of tea. She almost spilled the warm liquid as Mal asked this.

'No one.' She said quickly as she looked down in the cargo bay, avoiding his gaze.

'Is it one of your clients?' Mal said as he sat down next to her.

Her eyes met his and he could read something of irritation in them.

'Which part of 'my thoughts are mine and not for others' didn't you understand?'

'Well, we are already past that now. I have heard your 'thought's' and I am just curious as to who you love. It's important for me too you know.'

'Why?' She asked astonished. It was none of his bussiness.

'Because you are renting my shuttle. This is just a bussiness talk.'

She gave him a confused look.

'Do I really have to explain?' He asked annoyed and looked at her as if she was a dumb little child.

She tilted her head and shot him a warning glare.

'Well it's obvious you will go to this man you love, you'll imprison him in your seductive webs until he can't run away anymore, you'll stay with him, night and day, you will take over his place fully and fill it with shiny pillows and silk sheets and a lot of other meaningless mess, then you'll annoy the hell out of the poor man and then force him to marry you and finally you'll trick him into having your kids. It's all very clear.'

'Is it?' She asked in a dark voice.

'Maybe the next whore I rent my shuttle to will pay more. I'll ask more you know.'

This hurt her deeply. He could see it in her eyes. She gave him a hurt glare as she slammed her mug down and stood up leanly.

'Just leave me alone.' She snapped hatefully as she stalked off.

He looked at her with regret. It was obvious that she had trouble with her feelings and he was only making it more difficult for her. He looked at his shoes. He wasn't a friend to her, he wasn't acting like one. In a perfect world he should have talked to her, listened to her, advised her, helped her and comforted her. And then she would have left him. He thought bitterly. She would have left him for another man. For a man that actually was in her her league. He wanted that darn woman to stay. He could not bare to see her leave. It seemed like he didn't know any other way then to hurt her, argue with her, bicker or whatever else there was. The woman had really messed with his mind.

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