The Walk Back

The thin shawl around Inara's shoulders and her long silk dress – both a rich sea blue – seemed to attract the chilly air to her. She could see her breath coming out in white clouds in front of her and somehow everything around her was quieter, like it had been muted by the weather. She shivered.

Of course it would have to go this way. She was expecting Mal and Kaylee at any moment to walk back to the ship with and the moment they stepped around the corner and saw her, Mal would know. He'd tease her for being foolish and not checking the weather on the cortex before landing and he would keep reminding her of it.

Kaylee would be sweet to her and that would only make things worse.

A sudden gust of wind caught her off guard; instinctively she tightened her arms around her middle. A shudder went through her body, head to toe, and almost simultaneously, Mal and Kaylee appeared.

"We got the new compression coil," Kaylee announced happily. "It's so shiny! Be good to have it around for back up in the case the one we got in Serenity now blows again."

Inara forced a smile. "That's great, Kaylee."

"Back to the ship?" Kaylee added.

"Yes. Let's go."

Kaylee bounded off, bounty under one arm and Inara began to follow. She stopped when she realized Mal wasn't moving. "Mal?"

"Here." He pushed his coat into her arms, shrugged at her shocked expression and started after Kaylee.

With Mal's coat on and with the knowledge that Mal cared if she were cold, she barely shivered again during the walk back to the ship.

fin.