Tag to Shindig.

Some Kind of Hero

"Ain't right," Mal muttered to himself. "She ain't stupid but same time, she's still attached to that guy like he's some kind of hero."

He frowned and reached for one of the swords that had been left in the room he was being kept in. They were there so that he could practice, Mal assumed. Civilised folk, as they were, it weren't right that a man in lockdown didn't get a fightin' chance.

The place was well guarded too, so escape would be near impossible. Weren't like he wanted to escape this time though.

"Damned core folk!" The handle of the sword was cold in his fingers. The edges felt sharper than they should. "Who knows how to fight with swords, anyway? Other than Ath?"

He swung the sword hard and it scraped along a pillar. A second swing missed the pillar entirely, and the third hit it and stuck. Mal stared at it, stunned. He had not intended to do that!

He pulled at it and it broke free. "Aiya!" The truth of it was – and he was too stubborn to fight against it, even knowing it – he had no chance against Atherton.

Atherton was a trained swordsman and he was just a man – a mean old man with a bloody past, present and future, and more experience running than fighting.

It was time for that to chance. Could be it wouldn't make a difference to her, but he'd fight this time to defend Inara's honour.

Even if he lost, it'd be a battle worth spilling his blood over. Inara was worth more than his life or anything else he could offer her.