Author's Note: This is the first of many chapters. Rated for graphic imagery and a touch of gore. I try not to get too gross, but when writing Reavers, it's inevitable.
I own nothing of this 'verse! But I will accept any and all donations to purchase it and put it back on the air.
Mal felt the tension curling up the back of his neck the moment they approached Madrassa. It had been three days since they dropped Inara off to meet with the Guild. She was going to tender her resignation with the Training House, and officially retire from being a Companion.
They were about six hours away from the nightmare on Mr. Universe's planet when the two of them admitted their feelings for each other. They decided to wait a couple of days to drop her off on the planet she had left only a couple of days ago, because they wanted—needed—some time together before she went through the grueling ordeal of resigning.
But Mal was ecstatic. He would finally have her to himself.
"I never liked the idea of you with those…men…" Mal had all but spat as they swung back-and-forth gently in the Engine Room's hammock. "I know it's a respected career! I get that! But I don't like the idea of YOU doing it."
Inara smiled and turned her face upwards so she could look him in the eyes. "Mal, I love you. I meant what I said…and did…last night. You're it for me." She kissed his chin softly. "Besides, even if that weren't the case, do you really think I'd be dumb enough to bring a client on board my shuttle after this?"
Mal laughed and pulled her tighter to his chest. "I'd kick the Feh Feh Pi Goh from one end of the ship to the other before stripping him naked and tying him to the roof."
"You're so charming." Inara giggled letting her head rest in the crook of his neck before beginning to drift off.
"Captain!" Wash's voice startled him out of his reverie. "I think something happened here." The tremor in the man's voice had Mal walking towards the front of the cockpit to the large windows looking down upon the city.
But it wasn't a city that he saw—it was a wasteland.
The remnants of what were obviously once very large fires flickered around the ash and rubble that had once been homes and trees. There were small figures—bodies—scattered in the streets. And there was blood.
Even hundreds of feet up in the air they could see red in the rivers and in the dirt. As they slowly made their descent, they could see that most of the bodies were skinned and left with their entrails hanging out.
"Reavers." Zoe muttered from behind him.
"There's no sign of another ship within two thousand miles." Wash reported. "They must be long gone by now."
Mal swallowed and nodded. "Land where you see fit." He choked. "I'm taking the shuttle to the training house. Don't leave until Inara and I get here. Dohn-Luh-Mah?" The couple nodded as he swiftly exited the cockpit.
His stomach continued to twist as he made his way to the cargo hold. "Jayne!" He shouted at the large man bench-pressing below him. "Be on alert! Reavers have been here!"
"Reavers?" Kaylee's frightened voice came from behind him. "Wh…'Nara?" Her large eyes blinked at him, asking him what he was too afraid to ask himself.
"I'm going to get her now." He told her confidently. "Doc, come along! Might need ya!" He pointed at Simon who had come into the hold behind Kaylee.
The younger man swallowed and nodded as he followed Mal into the shuttle.
"Wou Duh Tian Ah." Mal whispered as they approached the training house. The once stunning building was in ruins. Fires burned along the cliffs that supported the remaining walls and pillars, and blood was smeared across the white bricks.
Simon tried to hide the terror he knew was building up his eyes as they landed, and tried to keep the doubt out of his voice when he asked, "Where's Inara's room?"
"Follow me." Mal darted out of the shuttle and up the steep incline towards the entrance he had used when he rescued Inara less than a year earlier.
The stench of blood and burnt flesh hung in the air as they walked down the marble hallway. The floors were littered with partially devoured corpses and innards. Above them, various limbs hung from the once so extravagant chandeliers.
Simon didn't like where this was going. He didn't want to be the one who was with Malcolm Reynolds when he found the body of the woman who had become so dear to all of them.
Mal stopped dead in his tracks when they got to her room. Her door had been knocked off of its hinges and was hanging crooked across the frame. Inside, they could see all of her belongings had been strewn across the floor. Mal kicked the door out of the way and entered the room, trying to brace himself for what he might find.
Blood was smeared across her walls. Blood soaked the sequined and brightly colored garments on the floor. Blood stained her beautiful bed. Bile rose up in his throat.
"I—Inara?" He choked looking around frantically. "INARA!" It came out as a shout the second time. Simon jumped as the captain kicked an overturned bookshelf out of the way.
"Inara! Inara!" Mal continued to shout as he looked around and behind every piece of furniture in the room. "INARA!"
This went on for nearly five minutes before Simon thought it necessary to intervene. "Captain!" He called, grabbing Mal's arm. "Please, you'll only make it worse on yourself." He tried to be gentle, but even he didn't like his word choice.
"Worse? How can it be worse?" Mal snapped, holding up one of Inara's beautiful—now blood stained—gowns. "How could this possibly be any worse Dr. Tam?"
Simon sighed and shook his head in defeat. "I-I'm so sorry." He whispered, touching the man's arm.
Mal closed his eyes and hung his head. "She can't be gone." He choked looking up, his eyes were indescribably miserable. He held the orange fabric of the gown to his lips and kissed it gently before letting it fall to the ground.
Simon decided it was best to remain silent as the man mourned amongst the wreckage. A wise decision—because if he had made the choice to speak or comfort his captain in any way, they may not have heard it.
It was a tiny noise at first. It could have easily been mistaken for the squeak of a mouse or chirp of a cricket. But because the two men were keen observers, they picked up on it right away.
Mal lifted his head and looked in the direction where the noise had come—the bed. He slowly made his way towards the large canopy monstrosity covered in fluffy blankets and shiny pillows. As he got closer he heard another noise, this time it was louder.
It was a whimper.
Without a second thought, the captain dropped to his knees beside the bed and looked underneath it. A pair of wide terrified eyes was the first things he saw.
"Inara?" He whispered.
The dark haired woman looked beyond him at the room and began to tremble harder than she already was. "Inara, Bao Bei." Mal reached out to touch her cheek but she jerked back.
"Re-Re…" She stammered. "N-n-n-" She couldn't get a coherent sentence out, but Mal didn't care. He just wanted to get her out of there.
"Inara, you're safe. It's me, Mal." He crawled closer to her holding out his hand again. She stared at him, but she didn't move away much to his relief. "Please, come with me. I need to take you to the ship."
The shaking woman let him take her arm gently and slide her towards him. "M-M-Ma…" She choked, coughing as she tried to speak more.
Simon immediately came forward, bag in hand. "Wo De Tian A, she's covered in blood." He stated the obvious as he went to take her pulse. Inara screamed and jerked away from him. "Whoa! Easy Inara! Relax!"
She didn't listen as she tried to sit up and grab onto Mal, who was more than willing to take her into his arms. "We'll examine her on the ship. Let's go, now!" He ordered, picking his girl up and rushing out of the room, with Simon on his trail.
"Jayne! Zoe! Get back out there and look for any other survivors!" Mal shouted as he entered the hold with Inara still in his arms. She looked around frantically as she was carried quickly through the ship. "Kaylee! Come with us!" He gestured to the worried mechanic with a nod of his head.
"We'll probably need to dope her if you expect me to fully examine her." Simon warned as they entered the infirmary.
Mal nodded, resting his head on top of Inara's. "Do it quickly." He sighed, setting her on the table and taking her face in his hands as the doctor approached with the Hypo-gun in his hands. "I love you." He whispered right before she was knocked out.
Jayne and Zoe got back just after nightfall, reporting that there were no other survivors—Inara was the only one. Book was surprised when he saw Mal look up briefly from Inara's form and whisper "Sheh Sheh" To the heavens.
Well, there's the first chapter! I've already finished about three and a half chapters for this piece and I'm planning on finishing it by the end of next week. I'll post the rest if it seems to be well received. This is my first story in this 'verse and I'd like to do well by it!
Mal might seem a bit OOC, but I like writing him as a softy.
Feh Feh Pi Goh—Baboon's ass crack
Dohn-Luh-Mah—Are we clear?
Wou Duh Tian Ah—Oh My God
Bao Bei—Sweetheart, Precious, Treasure
Wo De Tian A—Dear God in Heaven
Sheh Sheh—Thank you